A/N: GODDAMMIT! I'VE HAD THIS FREAKING STORY READY FOR LIKE A WEEK! But, because FFN is like "Well, since we need to be annoying assholes who can't do anything right on a regular basis, we're not gonna let you upload the story right now. Tough titties." I kept getting the same error every time I tried to enter this into New Story. Ugh! South Florida Rage!
Ahem...but now it's here, and all is right with the world. Carry on.
Okay so first I just want to say thank you to Lulu-Ichigo for giving me permission to write this story. This one-shot is based on Chapter 1 of her story Six Makes the Sky: The Arcobaleno. Although you can read this independently, I recommend reading her story first. A lot of the things in the story will make more sense.
I'll admit, it's pretty long, easily the longest individual thing I've written so far, but I'm very proud of how it came out, and hopefully you all will like it too.
Warnings: None really, except for the themes and subject matter presented in the story. Also, there is a tiny mention of sex, but nothing terribly explicit.
Also, this fic was a bit of an experiment, as it's the first story I've written where there is no dialogue. The story is told completely from Viper's point of view as he's talking to Luce. You'll see what I mean. I think it came rather well.
Okay I'm done babbling lol Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Sushi*Bomb does not own Katekyo Hitman Reborn. But I do own Volume #1! My sister gave it to me for my birthday. I am a happy girl.
Crawl with the Heretics
From birth, I was different.
There isn't really a name for a person with abilities like mine; the closest would be a psychic or illusionist, I suppose, but that's only a fraction of the story. A very tiny fraction. I have gifts, or curses, depending on how you look at it, that people have only seen in movies or read about in books.
On the outside, I am of the belief that I appeared to be a normal child, aside from my hair. The doctors had never seen anything like me. A child, born with a full head of dark violet hair, and pale as a ghost. From what I recall my mother telling me, I didn't even cry when I was born. I was stark silent. The doctors assumed I was stillborn, until I opened my eyes. Eyes like ice, they said.
My mother told me I was the most frighteningly beautiful baby she had ever seen.
It was something she told me often, up until the night she shunned me from her life. That I was beautiful, I mean. It seems strange now, that she called her little boy 'beautiful,' but that's what she called me. I was quiet, almost angelic in my serene demeanor. My father thought I was beautiful, too. But not the way my mother did.
My mother thought I was beautiful in a vain, 'this is my offspring' sort of way. My father thought I was beautiful to admire, to touch.
But I was dangerous. They knew it, and feared me. And rightfully so.
She often told me I was a walking contradiction. The demon child with the angelic face. She and my father, who had both begun drinking heavily after I was born, often called me that. Mostly when they beat me, among otherthings, in my father's case. I suppose it was a way of quelching their guilt at hurting an innocent child. By always reminding themselves of what evil lay just beneath the placid surface, they felt justified in their abuse.
My own parents…thought I was a monster. A child of the Devil.
I could see it in the way my mother and father looked at me. With contempt, disgust, hatred, fear. These weren't feelings I could understand at the time, mind you. How could I?
I was only a child.
But I could see it. And feel it.
And I don't mean feel as in feeling their violent lashings on my physical person. I mean, I could feel it within my body, almost like an illness overtakes one with a weak immune system.
It was a feeling that made me sick to my stomach, and gave me horrible aches all over my body. I understand now, that it was my body manifesting their negative emotions that were directed at me into physical pain. Much like a normal human body registers the sensation of pain to warn the human of a potential threat to their body and well-being.
I guess it's safe to say my body took it a step further.
I could also see things. Things that, at first, I didn't realize were invisible to those around me. I found that out rather painfully. I used to tell my parents that there was someone standing beside them, glaring holes into their skulls. They knew my parents were bad people. They sympathized with me.
It scared my mother and father nearly to death when I would go silent and stare at them, at a point just over their shoulders, as if I was watching someone. Which I was, but it wasn't my fault they didn't believe me.
They usually hit me to snap me out of the daze. And I would tell them what I saw, which earned me bruises along my jawline and all over my body.
But they never hurt me. Not at first, anyway.
I could talk to them, touch them. And they, me.
Sometimes, they looked like people. I didn't mind them, really. Most of the time, they simply wanted someone to talk to. I had long conversations with these earthbound spirits, learning their stories, what kept them bound to this horrible place.
Most of the time, they didn't understand that they were dead. But the realization would hit them then, when I would ask them why it was only me that could sit here on the roof my house talking with them when I was supposed to be asleep, and not anyone else, and then they would sob and yell and deny everything I told them. I did my best to console them. Many a time, a spirit moved on from this world because of me.
Then there were the scary ones.
They would just watch me when I was a baby. It was all they could do, since they were unable to touch me. You see, when we are born, we are protected from evil by a light, an aura if you will. They cannot permeate this light. Whether to call this a 'holy light' or not is entirely up to you, but I personally believe it to be a physical manifestation of the innocence and inherent goodness we are all born with. And like our innocence, that light diminishes as we age, all the while being replaced with our consciences.
The Devil himself told me that.
And true to that fact, as I grew older, they started to touch me. Sometimes hit. Sometimes scratch. Bite, push, pull. Whatever way they could think of to make sure I knew they were there.
It wasn't as if I could possibly ignore them.
They were horrific looking. Some were disfigured. They had scars, burns, blood. Their bodies would contort in the most terrifying ways you couldn't possibly imagine as they came towards me. They would trap me in corners. Hurt me, taunt me.
At times, they truly meant no harm. Poltergeists are rather playful. But only for a time. Sometimes, they meant to hurt me. Simply because they wanted to make their presence known to everyone, and I was their way of doing that. Demons are malicious creatures.
I had been possessed on more than one occasion. It is a terrifying experience, but it's not like in the movies. The best way to describe it is, well, simply, there is someone else sharing your mind and body with you, and you're battling them for control. You can see them, and they can see you too. I won't attempt to describe them to you; it's beyond even my comprehension or words.
They made me do and say things I didn't want to. Hurt others, hurt myself. They made things come out of me that were physically impossible.
That was when my parents called a priest.
But for some reason,it never made me hurt. On the contrary, its presence brought my mind and body to a place of calm.
I was very young the first time I saw it.
Perhaps four or five? I don't know. The earliest years of my childhood have a rather uncanny habit of meshing and spiraling into one unpleasant dreamlike haze.
I was certain that I had seen it before; you know that feeling when you're being watched, but when you look, nothing is there? It was something like that.
This little black creature (I was unsure what to call it at first) followed me around anywhere and everywhere I went, always remaining in the corner of my peripheral vision, just out of my line of sight, vanishing as soon as I looked in its direction.
But that day, I saw it so clearly. I believe it wanted to be seen that rainy morning. I locked eyes with it, and it with me.
They were a piercing red, its eyes. I remember because they gave me chills all over my body. I had never experienced anything like that before. But I wasn't afraid. By then I was too jaded with the constant presence of spirits, good, bad, and neutral, to be afraid of this little black sprite.
Its crooked black lips were moving. It was saying something, which wasn't clear to me at first. And then it smiled. It was a strange, closed-lipped smile, and yet it held no malice. I wasn't sure what to do, so I smiled back. And it was a genuine smile. One of the few I've ever given, as a matter of fact.
And then my mother called me inside.
I was unsure whether I should've told her what I saw or not; she was in a particularly nasty mood that day. But I had never seen a creature like that before, and I thought she might've known what it was. All I know is that when I made up my mind and told her there was a smiling creature in the alley outside of our house, she got really mad and busted my lip open, and it hurt. A lot.
That night I couldn't sleep. I remember it was very cold outside, and the heater in our house was broken. And the little black creature was sitting outside my window. Whispering things to me. I strained to hear what it was saying, but it was useless, as the window was closed. So I opened it. But the thing is, I never moved from the bed.
That was the night I realized I could move things with my mind.
Now understand, it took a lot of concentration on my part. Telekinesis is not an instantaneous ability; it takes years of mental conditioning. The window simply shook at first. But the more I willed it to open, the higher it lifted itself, until the window was completely open.
The creature smiled that crooked little smile that I would soon become accustomed to, and vanished.
Whatever sleep I thought I needed never came. I spent the rest of the night seeing what else I could move just by thinking about it.
It was a mentally arduous process, but by the time morning came around, I had rearranged all of the furniture in the house, all while sitting in the middle of the living room with a cup of strawberry milk.
When my parents woke up, they were ready to beat me to within an inch of my life when they saw what I had done. That is, until I showed them that I could move things without actually touching them. And I hadn't stopped there.
I realized that same night that my own body was also subject to my newfound telekinetic abilities. In other words, I could fly. It wasn't the same as lifting a picture frame or a table, however.
At first, I could only rise a few inches off of the ground, and only for ten seconds at the most. But I was persistent. The more I did it, the higher I rose, and for longer periods of time. It took me exactly four months to master the art of levitation. Admittedly, it was fun and as a child, I did it at any and every given opportunity. My mother dropped her coffee mug when I floated into the kitchen one morning, my feet several inches above the ground.
No one had ever seen a flying person before, especially her. Needless to say, she yanked me right down and slapped that moment of contentment right out of me. She told me that if the people in our town ever got wind of the things I could do, she would sell me to the circus.
I didn't understand then why she was so worried about people finding out about my abilities. I thought they made me special. All arrogance aside, I can now safely say that even by psychic standards from that time, I was a prodigy.
But apparently, her and my father didn't think so at all. They thought I was a freak. A perversion of nature. They weren't the only ones, either.
The kids at school thought I was creepy.
I had no friends growing up, you see. I felt my classmates were too… I don't know how to explain really, they just weren't like me. We were in completely different worlds. While the girls preferred playing with dolls and gossiping about the boys and the boys enjoyed pummeling each other over an awful looking brown pigskin ball, I often sat in the corner of the playground by myself and talked to the ghost that hung around the monkey bars.
He was around my age when he died. He had fallen off of the monkey bars and broken his neck after a rather daring trick gone wrong. I suppose it was lucky that he died instantly. I would never wish that kind of pain on a child. He was my closest friend, even though I was the only one that could see him.
Besides, the other kids were cruel.
As you can imagine, I was the designated 'crazy' in the school. The one kid that even the teachers were secretly afraid of and everyone went out of their way to avoid. And when they couldn't, they did very nasty, unchildlike things to me. I was often bullied by the other boys in my class because of my quiet, reserved demeanor. While most of them were obnoxiously loud and like to play rough, I tended to sit alone and read, or stare at the ghost of the man who died during the construction of the school who came into our classroom from time to time because he knew I could see him.
I was called names, and I was often the unlucky victim of many cruel jokes and pranks. My sole purpose in that class was to be the martyr of ridicule for the other children. The teacher, a mousy little woman, was too afraid of me to do anything about it. It got worse, and worse, and worse.
Until one boy took it too far, and I involuntarily retaliated.
Now, I say involuntarily because I couldn't control my abilities perfectly yet, and I tended to have 'outbursts'. I still do from time to time, particularly when I'm feeling ill or stressed, or any sort of strong emotion. This is usually why I try to maintain a very blank, deadpanned demeanor.
That way, no one gets hurt if they don't need to. Unless I want them too.
And I willed this with ever fiber of my being.
Anyway, it was right after recess one day that it happened.
I tended to walk behind everyone else, since I felt that if I was in front, everyone would stare at me. They stared at me anyway; I mean, how common is a child with purple hair? But at least I could stare back until I unnerved them enough to leave me be.
But on that day the boys had run in after me and as usual, they were rough-housing and generally being loud, which already had me on edge, since that day I was feeling particularly irritated. My ghost friend had not come to me that day, so I had no one to talk to. And that day, I had also seen the little black creature again. Right before the teacher called us inside, I saw it sitting under the slide, just watching me, and I watched it back. But it was frowning. I remember its somber frown made me feel very sad, and I wanted very much to see that crooked grin again.
But that day, the sprite would not smile for me. And it made me angry.
Out of all the boys, there was one who I guess you could call the 'leader' of the bunch, and he was one of the ignorant few who were not afraid of me and my supposed 'powers.' He often went well out of his way to do cruel things to me, simply because I was small and frail-looking, and he knew I wouldn't say anything or fight back.
In other words, I was the easiest target imaginable.
I heard him say 'watch this' to the other boys in his little pack and I immediately tensed. I felt his presence coming closer and closer, and then…
Then the boy pushed me.
I was afraid, but outwardly, I tried to remain as stoic as possible, hoping that he would grow bored and leave me alone.
But it was for not.
I remember hearing him growl at my lack of response, and he shoved me again. That time I fell to the ground, curling myself into a ball as I felt him and the rest of the boys tower over me. Their cruel leers and grins will forever be ingrained in my memory.
The boy kicked me. Hard.
Again. And again. And again.
I don't know what brought it on; thinking back on it now, I realize he had a lot of unaddressed rage issues. He was the type that often got into fights and argued with the teachers until either he was kicked out of class or stormed out on his own. And of course, I was his outlet.
But that day, I had had enough.
I don't really know how to describe what happened next; I guess if I attempted to, I would say that my body released a powerful explosion of energy and he was attacked by it. That's the most accurate way I can think to describe it.
My body began to pulsate painfully. And as the pressure in my mind built up, my mind frantically raced back to every moment this boy had tormented me; every cruel word, every punch, every kick, every spitball he launched into my hair when I wasn't looking, and then, something within me just snapped.
My body convulsed. I screamed and writhed in pain.
The other boys wisely backed off, fearing I was mortally injured in some way. But not him. He continued his onslaught without a care in the world.
The pressure built and built, and the pain was beyond words. It felt as if my mind was caving in on itself, crumbling under the weight of the boy's cruelty. I didn't know then that that was my body charging up to defend itself.
And then, as soon as it came, the pressure was gone. My body suddenly relaxed, and my mind melted into a state of absolute peace and calm. It felt as if a giant weight had been lifted off of me, and I found that I couldn't move a muscle; my body had been temporarily paralyzed by the surge of power. I think I might've passed out for a minute or two.
But when I came to, however, that moment of peace was promptly shattered.
I remember hearing sirens. From an ambulance, to be specific.
When I awoke, there was a man hovering just out of my line of vision, and he was prepping some sort of oxygen mask. I remember asking him what happened, and he just looked at me with the strangest expression.
Then he asked me what the hell I was, because a normal human couldn't possibly have done what I had just done. It was then that I looked around. My classmates were all huddled in a cluster, with my teacher gathering them to her protectively, like a mother hen and her chicks. But I didn't see the boy.
I recall tugging on the man from the ambulance's pant leg, and asking what I did.
I felt him tense under my grip. He tried to speak but no words came out, so he simply pointed. I followed his finger towards the other side of the hallway. Whatever I had done, it was enough to scare a grown man into silence, and that worried me.
It was a disturbing sight, to say the least. Numerous paramedics were huddled over him and shouting at each other in their medical jargon, trying to stabilize him. The boy was alive, physically. But I saw it in his eyes immediately. The glazed over, vacant stare in his once clear blue eyes somehow told me exactly what I did to him.
The events of that day came back to me over the remainder of the week, in bits and pieces. I saw myself jerking up from the floor, as if being controlled by some unknown force. I recall the boy screaming profanities at me when I latched my hands onto his cheeks, burying my fingernails in his skin so hard he bled. I saw myself whispering harshly, holding his horrified face close to mine; my words were meant for his ears only. I don't know what I said, but I chanted it over and over and over again. His screams died down gradually, as the light left his eyes. Within minutes, he was a vegetable.
If I remember correctly, he is still alive. His mother and father put him on a respirator and to this day, they refuse to pull the plug, clinging to the tiny sliver of hope that one day he'll wake up. They might as well, though. Their son is no longer among the living, other than the husk they pay thousands of dollars to keep alive.
But I'm not going to be the one to tell them that.
I'm also not going to tell them that I can reverse the process and bring him back. Because that day, my sense of mercy and compassion vanished along with his soul, and I gained the cold, almost sadistic personality that he would've grown into, had he been given the chance.
Sometimes I wonder, is he perhaps living vicariously through me now?
It's just a theory, and not one I care to dwell on.
Needless to say, I didn't go back to school after that incident. Which suited me fine, really. Everything I learned about living and how to survive in the world, I didn't learn through proper schooling. Experience was a better teacher.
And now that I was unable to attend school, it gave me time to further develop my powers.
I spent more and more time locked up in my room, mentally training myself. I also spent a good deal of time reading books on the occult, trying to make sense of my abilities. I needed to know who or what I was, and the things I was capable of.
After the school incident, my mother and father fought a lot more often. Mostly over things I did. Naturally, everyone in town had heard about what happened at the school, and since then, my parents had been ostracized by their friends and our neighbors. No one wanted anything to do with us. Their fights were lengthy verbal spats most of the time; sometimes when he was feeling particularly vicious, my father would hit my mother. Sometimes she hit him back. But their fights always ended when she would storm out of the house and not come back for days.
It was at those times when I concentrated on leaving my physical body the most. I always knew what came next, so I had to be prepared. My father would always come into my room after he and my mother argued, sometimes so drunk I could smell the whiskey, or vodka, or whatever he had consumed that night from across the room.
He would always call me his precious little boy.
I suppose in his drunken mind, telling me how precious I was to him as he molested me was his way of making up for all of the cruel things he said to me when he was sober. Or perhaps it was his way of proving to himself that he wasn't afraid of his own son. In any case, it was never a pleasant experience, but one night was especially awful.
Mind you, up until then, my father had never donethat to me. He just touched, kissed, caressed. For the most part, I was able to go some place else mentally until he was finished, but that night, he went too far.
I recall hearing a bottle smash downstairs earlier that evening as he and my mother argued, this time over a bent spoon she found under my bed. Her words were especially hurtful that night. I knew they were both heavily intoxicated, since from the sound the bottle made, I could infer that it was completely empty.
Hours after she stormed out, I heard his heavy footsteps on the stairs and I mentally steeled myself for what was to come. Despite myself, I couldn't help but jump when my door slammed open and he bounded in, shouting at me. I was terrified.
He was demanding something of me that I had no understanding of how to give him. He touched me in places that he shouldn't have. He was muttering gibberish to himself in his drunken stupor, all the while poking and prodding my most intimate places. He hit me when I screamed.
At that moment, I felt that familiar pressure growing within my head again, just like in the school. I was afraid, because as horrible as he was, I didn't want my father to end up like the boy had. I remember looking around as my father slammed me on my tiny bed, trying to focus on anything but what he was about to do to me in a desperate attempt to alleviate the pressure in my head. To the door, the ceiling, out the window.
And there it was again.
The little black creature, smiling its crooked little smile. Whispering things. I remember my senses being heightened by the adrenaline coursing through me, and in my frantic desperation, I started mimicking the movement of its lips, trying to figure out what it was saying. Perhaps it was trying to help me. I felt myself slowly slip into a trance as my soul was peeling itself out of my body and soon, I was hovering over the earthbound forms of my father's nude body atop my own smaller one.
It was a disturbing sight for anyone to see, let alone a six year old child. I remember then, for some reason, I began picturing them. The creatures that haunted me from time to time. I don't know why I thought about them so intently at that moment, but I willed with every cell in my body for them to come and take my father away, to scare him as much as they scared me. As much as hescared me.
That was the night I learned I could create things just by thinking about them.
My father was taken away the next morning. The last memory I have of him is his still naked body strapped to a gourney, drooling and screaming and pointing at some unknown specter just over the paramedic's shoulder and crying that no one believed him.
But I did. They were my doing, my creations, so how could not?
I recall the little black sprite smiling widely at me before I went inside. Before then, I had never seen its teeth. They were jagged and yellow. And that was the first time I heard its whispers clearly.
You're not meant for this place. Come with me.
That was the same week my mother disowned me. It was unsurprising that she ignored the dire circumstances under which all of this occurred, but she was horrified when the doctors told her what I had done to my father. I suppose after years of trying to be a mother to a demon child, she had simply had enough. She could no longer keep up the complacent façade. She sold me to an old man who lived in the more wealthy part of the town.
I was afraid at first; the man had a smile on his face that made me sick to my stomach. But as I looked into his bespectacled eyes, the little black creature that had followed me for so long appeared on his shoulder, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. It was whispering to me again.
Come. Everything will be fine.
As anxious as I was, I knew the creature would never mislead me in any way, so I left with the old man with the indecent smile that night, and I never saw my mother or father again. The old man was a pedophile; he liked to touch me too, much like my father did. I was his property according to him, and as a child, I obviously had no way of saying otherwise, so I dealt with it.
But aside from his lewd nature, I honestly didn't mind staying with the old man, at first. Things never stayed complacent for long, you see, but he was a well-connected man in our town; he had money and he knew a lot of important people.
And it was from him that I learned the value of money. If you had money, you could have nice things. People did things for you. You never had to worry about anything. I noticed that in this part of town, everyone was content. Money equaled happiness. I thought then that that was why my parents were always so unhappy; well, aside from the fact that they felt they had the spawn of Satan living under their roof.
We were poor. Although, when I think about it now, we wouldn't have been quite so impoverished had my parents not spent every cent they earned on liquor.
In any case, I had never given it any thought before then, but as I saw important politicians, businessmen, doctors, and so on, with their beautiful wives and smiling children being chauffeured away in luxurious limousines and expensive cars, I knew then that money was something to be valued greatly, and I needed to have it. A lot of it.
The old man agreed wholeheartedly. He always told me that money was the key to everything. To power, to respect, to reverence. In his opinion, it was fortunate for me that my mother sold me off to him; he said that I was meant for better things, which made me feel good, as I had never heard anyone say that to me before.
We attended many lavish parties in and around our little town and as such, I had the opportunity to meet many important people. I once had a chat with Adolf Hitler before the beginning of the Nazi Regime in Germany. He was quite a comical man, which wasn't at all what I was expecting, given all that I had heard about him. He even gave me a cookie. It was a benign gesture, but as polite and humorous as he was to me, I knew that inside, this man was a monster.
And like the old man with the indecent smile.
He had his moments too.
The night I killed for the first time, he tried to do what my father did. Only, he succeeded. The experience frightened me more, because he wasn't intoxicated. He had no excuse for what he was doing to me, other than he felt he had the right, since he purchased me, and therefore I was his property to do with whatever he so pleased. He had kept his hands (among other things) to himself for so long, and that night, he could no longer control his urges.
It was a painful experience, and I couldn't understand why my body wasn't reacting to my fear the way it had before. I was waiting for the intense pressure to build within my mind again; I welcomed it. I didn't care what happened to the old man, whatever it took for him to stop hurting me. But it never came. The whole time, the little black creature was seated in the corner, frowning. Why had it let this happen to me?
But I realized afterward why.
When the man was finished, he said something to me, with that lewd grin of his, that unscrewed the metaphorical cork on my power. In that moment, all of the fear, anguish, hatred, self-loathing, every negative emotion I had ever been subjected to manifested itself in my mind, and I focused it all on him. I wanted nothing more than to erase his greedy, lascivious presence from the world. And that is exactly what I did. I recall his body beginning to vanish before my eyes, his legs turning to dust, then his torso, and finally, his face.
And for once, he wasn't smiling. He was screaming.
And then just like that, he was gone.
I had incinerated him. He was nothing but a pile of ashes in a pair of expensive Italian shoes.
I remember at that moment, as my body came down from the intense adrenaline rush, all of those same emotions that had enveloped the man and destroyed him also took their toll on me. I broke down for the first time in my life. I had never cried before then, so it was a foreign feeling to me. I just couldn't keep the tears back anymore. I cried for hours, curled up in a ball on the rare Persian rug in the old man's bedroom, hugging my naked, seven year old body tightly.
I was all I had now.
I had reached the lowest point in my life. I had no family, no friends, no one to turn to. People truly are the vilest of creatures. From the second we are born into this world, we do nothing but bring pain and misery upon one another. And for me, the fallen child, the calamitous perversion of nature, this truth came tenfold.
At that moment, the little black creature touched me for the first time. It startled me at first, but I quickly grew comfortable with its slow, deliberate strokes on my head. My mind was in a haze, and I found it very difficult to move, but I remember its stubby hand was very warm.
And I remember it whispering again. I could hear it perfectly, whispering in that low, hissing voice.
Everything will be fine.
And I believed it.
I couldn't be angry at the little black sprite for not helping me. Over time, I realized that I had to go through that traumatic event to unleash the full extent of my abilities. It was trying to help me evolve.
Soon, I ran away from the old man's house. It was only a matter of time before someone realized he was gone. I took what meager belongings I could carry on my person, and left. It was raining quite hard that day, and it continued to rain for the remainder of the week. I knew that at any point, I would come down with a cold.
But I found that I didn't care.
I was too immersed in my mind to care about my body. I had to know what else I was capable of. Moving things with my mind, flying, making things appear out of nowhere, incinerating a grown man, this was only the tip of the iceberg. Who knew what abilities I would have in years to come.
As you can imagine, it was also a frightening and confusing time for me. My mental instability rose with my stress and desperation, and I had more and more outbursts as the months went on. The little sprite could only comfort me after I had had a breakdown, but was unable to keep them from happening, especially with my rising panic and fear that I would never learn to control these abilities I had.
Of course, there were many casualties.
Spirits, both good and bad, flocked to me in droves. In my weakened state, I had trouble fending them off, and often, they fed on my energy, draining my lifeforce continually until I was a shell of a human lying on the side of the road. I was too fatigued, too ill, too everything, to care about the state of my physical well-being anymore. I welcomed death that night, if only for my miserly lot in life to end.
It was on that quiet winter night that I first met the witch.
She was walking home from the market when she stumbled upon my lifeless body among the weeds, and upon touching my clammy forehead, she felt the power coursing through my small body. I recall her vivid green eyes boring into mine when I awoke briefly, and then her painted lips whispering in a foreign tongue into my ear.
And everything went black.
She healed me over the next few days, brought me back from the brink of death. I was angry. I had nothing to live for then, and I wanted nothing more than to no longer exist in this pitiful realm. I remember her response to that. A sharp laugh, almost like a bark. The most condescending sound I had ever heard in my life.
She told me if I had died right there, it would have been such a waste. I was rare, she said. I had a power in me that she had never seen before. She knew that it was unstable, but with her help, she told me I could learn to control it.
I would be great. Second only to her.
Her words had a profound impact on me. There was finally someone who understood what I was going through. There was someone with abilities like mine. She scoffed when I told her my story, of how my parents shunned me because of my curse. I wasn't cursed, she said. She called our abilities 'gifts.' And we had the power to do unbelievable things.
I spent years living with the witch. When you imagine a witch, you usually imagine an ugly old woman with warts on her nose and a big black was the impression I had always had from the books I'd read as a child. But she was nothing like that.
On the contrary. Physically she appeared young, and sinfully beautiful. Dark black hair down past her waist, bright green eyes, and a body that awakened desires in men they didn't know they had. Myself included, when I grew old enough to comprehend those feelings. She was a seductress, the worst kind of woman.
She was dangerous. Evil. She often did cruel things to me for the sake of me learning to control my abilities. Sometimes, she did cruel things simply because she felt like it.
But she was skilled.
From her, I learned how to not only better control my powers, but she helped calm the erratic nature of my 'flare-ups,' which still occurred every so often.
Fortunately for me, she was an enchantress, a gifted spellcaster. Her home was filled to the brim with books dating back centuries; page upon page, powerful spells and incantations were neatly scrawled down in her small, efficient hand-writing. Many books were filled with accounts of dark rituals, documented under demonic possession by her ancestors, as well as protective spells.
After one particularly frightening incident with an evil spirit, she gave me those spells. She stripped me nude, and impressed upon my skin hundreds of incantations, meant to keep them away. It was an intensely painful yet oddly erotic experience; at least for me it was. For hours her painted lips ghosted over my flesh, every inch of me from the neck down, whispering in a foreign tongue, forcefully embedding her spells into me.
It took me weeks to fully heal, but when I was finally up and about, I felt more powerful than ever. I could feel the power coursing through me, like you feel your blood pulsing through your body. The incantations focused it, made it more concentrated and stable. It was now a matter of my own discipline and willingness to understand my gifts.
In that time, I had taken to wearing a long black cloak, just like she did. It too was littered with spells and ancient symbols meant to further protect me from unwanted spiritual visitors. Those evil spirits that had plagued me for so long could not harm me anymore. I could live without fear, and with those worries out of my mind, I was able to focus on my training. She said I would never be one-hundred percent able to control my abilities, but that chance would increase with the more practice I got.
And true to her word, as I entered my late teenage years, my power did grow exponentially, as did my control over it. The things that I struggled with in the past, such as flying, became second nature to me. Not only could I fly, but I had developed the ability to teleport myself from one place to another. Although, at first I tended not to do that too much, since it drained a lot of my energy. It took me another few years before I completely mastered that skill.
I could create illusions. This was a skill I had long possessed, but in my time with the witch, I too honed this power. As a child, the illusions sprouted from my fears and my need to protect myself. But now, I only had to will it, and entire worlds came to life around me. And believe me, I have quite an imagination.
Over the years, I added many new abilities to my growing repertoire.
I discovered one day as I was walking home from my daily chores that I could hear the thoughts of those around me. Had I been a child, I would have been afraid, but as the witch had explained to me on numerous occasions, all I had to do was relax and concentrate. The noise in my head soon calmed down, and I realized I had a potentially lethal ability on my hands. Or my mind, technically speaking. Within days, I had honed my ability to read minds from a manic cluster of garbled phrases flying in and out of my head to singling in on one person and deciphering coherent thoughts out of hundreds.
The only person whose mind I couldn't read however, was the witch.
It bothered me immensely that I couldn't figure out what she was thinking; she always had an air about her that made me believe she knew something I didn't. She always wore one of those secretive little smiles that bordered on a smirk, and it was frustrating for me to try and bypass her mental block, only to fail every single time.
She was the only one I couldn't figure out.
But as I grew older, she soon made her intentions for me clear. You see, something that dawned on me after years of thinking it over was that in those days, my life seemed to follow a circular pattern. Every time I found myself in a new place and under the care of a new master, the same thing happened.
At one point or another, they became attracted to me. She came to me one night, smirking softly as she let her robes fall to the floor. Her nude body was a sight I had never imagined even in my wildest fantasies. She wanted me in that way, similar to my father and the old man, yet completely different. The three shared a sickeningly warped sense of affection, after all, though I don't quite think that 'affection' is the right word for it. Actually, I know that it isn't.
But I understood her desires, and I shared them. She lay with me that night, all coy smiles and breathy whispers.
Naturally, I welcomed her advances.
How could I not? I was a young man then, clumsily finding my way into adulthood, and of course, I had urges. Urges that she was all too willing to oblige.
We made love often; many a night was spent under her sheets, our bodies moving together in a passionate, frenzied unison until that one beautiful moment when she used to say our souls were connected.
I wasn't silly enough to believe that it was love; no, love had no place in my world, nor in hers. We were creatures of the darkness, as clichéd as that sounds; love and innocence, those words meant nothing to us. But as unpure and devilish as she was, I trusted her and she trusted me, and for us, that was enough.
For a time, I felt at ease with the way my life was going. I trained and meditated in the day, and my nights, I spent with her. But, like all the people in my life, she too eventually revealed her true colors, and I learned something then.
Never, ever, trust a beautiful woman. Especially if she's a witch.
It was on a clear night one year that I found out her true motives, on the eve of my …nineteenth birthday? Perhaps twentieth? In any case, I was on the roof meditating; I know, it's an odd place to do such a thing, but I preferred being outside where I could bask in the moon's glow and enjoy the chill in the air, rather than being cooped up in the stuffy house.
A ghost came to me then; one of our mutual familiars that I had become rather attached to in my time living with the witch, and told me of her intentions.
That very night, she intended to sell my soul to the very creatures I thought I was protected from, by her own incantations. It scared me, and deep inside, it hurt. Like everyone else, she too had betrayed my already fragile trust.
But she made several grave miscalculations in her time as my master.
One was the loyalty of her ghosts. The second was both the overestimation of her abilities and the underestimation of mine. I knew full well that she hadn't intended for me to exceed even her indescribable powers, but at the barely ripe age of nineteen, I had become far superior to her in every way. And three, she was aging.
For years I had been her faithful disciple and lover, and as physically youthful as she appeared, she was in reality quite old. Much older than she wanted me to believe. But she had also underestimated my intelligence, as well as my curiosity. It wasn't difficult for me to gauge her true years, according to the dates in her texts. Her methods and abilities were outdated and old-fashioned; as skilled as she was, she was stubborn and clung to her dusty old books like a life line. As if those very texts held the source of her power.
And as powerful as she had once been, I was far stronger. I was now capable of things that even she could never have imagined. I had no reason to fear her anymore. She could not harm me.
I went into the house that night, and she greeted me with that alluring smile of hers, beckoning me to her. I obliged, and as my arms enveloped her, she knew something was wrong.
When I had been younger, she had often told me of accounts where her ancestors had been overtaken by their pupils. Although in her mind, I believe she never intended for that to happen to her. She never expected for her only disciple to become stronger than her and consume her. And consume her I did, for now I could exist independently of her. It was time for me to break away.
Over the very alchemic scrawlings drawn in salt on her floor meant for my soul to be torn from my body, I held her and sucked her remaining lifeforce from her body. I tore her withered, malicious soul to shreds.
And then, I simply walked out the door.
I remember then, the little black creature that had guided me for so long appeared on my shoulder, smiling that jagged-toothed smile I had grown so accustomed to.
Only, it wasn't black anymore. Nor was it the stubby, slightly amphibious creature I was used to seeing. The creature was a pale yellow, with a small row of spikes running down its back. Its body was no longer short and rotund as it had previously been, but was now long, narrow, and limbless, like a snake.
It lazily wrapped its lithe, serpentine body around my neck as if to commend me for what I had done, and bit down on the spiked end of its tail, encircling me with its form. To me, it seemed that my evolution was finally complete, and the Uroboros wrapped around my neck had accepted me as its master.
I named it Phantasma, as I felt no name was more suitable for it and after that day, it never left my side.
That was also the day I decided to become an assassin. I had long accepted that I was not meant to be with normal people. I was different, special, and I knew I was superior to those walking around me. I would never settle down and have a family or have the silly, idealized future a normal person would envision for themselves. Mine was a life destined for the underground, the outskirts of society, and I knew my abilities would be coveted by those who had the capital to afford them.
And over the next five years, my skills as a psychic earned me riches that I couldn't have possibly imagined, while my skills as an illusionist and spellcaster earned me a fearsome reputation in the underground. By twenty-five I was both a renowned psychic, catering to the wealthiest percentile of the world, and a renowned assassin who, for the right price, would kill anyone without so much as lifting a finger.
It was inevitable that I would develop ties with the Italian Mafia.
I was propositioned by the family that called my town its territory; the Don of the family had heard of my supernatural abilities and wanted me for himself. I was quickly invited to his sprawling mansion and that same night, he offered me a position as one of the family's elite assassins. Of course, he had little issue with the staggering fees I imposed upon him. I knew what I was worth, and I'd let the spirits of Hell take my soul before I worked for less than knew I could get.
I could kill, and I could do it well.
I gladly accepted the offer and in a matter of months, I became the family's top hitman. The Don was beside himself with my accomplishments, and tripled my salary. Naturally, I took no issue with that.
For several years, I worked as the family's elite assassin, with my own contracts and dealings on the side. During that time, the Don experienced an unbelievable growth in wealth and power; no rival mafia family had the nerve to mess with a man who had a spellcaster of my caliber in his ranks. Throughout my time serving the Don, I had done my own research on other illusionists, and was moderately shocked to find out I wasn't the only person in the mafia with these abilities. There were numerous other families who had illusionists, psychics, and spellcasters working under them. But it was of little concern to me then. The only other illusionist I knew of that could've come close to my level of ability was Daemon Spade, and he had been deceased for over two centuries.
I made numerous enemies out of not only other illusionists within my family, amidst other families, but many other well known hit-men at the time as well. Not that it mattered to me. I was confident in my abilities. My powers of the mind were far superior to any physical weapon; and my intelligence, quick wit, and cunning vastly outranked the others illusionists who, in my opinion, were mediocre at best.
I was unrivaled by my contemporaries and everyone knew it, and it was only a matter of time before I snuffed them all out.
The boss didn't mind though. On the contrary, he fully supported my actions. He and I were of the same mindset, and this same view was later adopted by the Varia, in which if you could no longer serve your purpose to the maximum, you were disposable. And compared to me, all of the others working for the family were entirely worthless. As far as the Don and I were concerned, I was merely clipping tiny irrelevancies from his monthly budget.
So you can imagine my surprise when the Don himself entered my personal quarters one evening and presented me with your proposition. I knew of the Trinisette before I read your letter; the rings and pacifiers that could level the world into an apocalyptic catastrophe if they were ever to fall into the wrong hands, and I had also heard of the Arcobaleno, the immortal, infantile protectors of myth, destined to guard the Trinisette forever.
For the record, I wasn't interested in the slightest. I was perfectly content as the top hitman in my family. My position brought me great wealth, power, and satisfaction, and after all I had gone through to get to that point, I was fine with that. But one look at the Don's grim expression, and I realized my interest in joining the Arcobaleno was irrelevant. The choice had already been made for me. I suppose I should have been flattered to be tapped with such a daunting honor as becoming a member of the Arcobaleno. In your letter, it was mentioned that only the seven strongest assassins currently in existence would be the only ones considered worthy of such a responsibility. But as they say, flattery gets you nowhere, and I wasn't terribly impressed with the idea of being a toddler for the rest of my foreseeable existence.
But in the end, what I thought had little impact on the situation. I was familiar with the Giglio Nero family long before that night, and I knew they were powerful, as its influence could be felt not only in Italy, but in all of Europe. My fate was sealed. I knew the Don of my family would bend backwards to make your family happy.
And so, here we are.
The expression on your face is heartwarming; the serene, motherly smile that is usually glued to your face is instead replaced by a sorrowful frown, tear-stains are present down both cheeks. You unconsciously press a tender hand to the swell of your stomach as you place a hand over mine, seeking to comfort me.
I'm not sure why I decided to tell you all of this today. Perhaps it was because I heard you asking yourself in your mind; I could feel the genuine need to know coming off of you in waves. Or maybe because in less than a year's time, I'll never have this opportunity again. But I knew I could trust you. Your aura is one of the purest I've ever seen, which in itself is shocking, considering you are the boss of such an influential family.
You're a good woman, Luce. One of the few genuinely kind people left in this world and a heretic among these ruthless Mafiosos, like me. In that respect, we're one in the same.
And I knew you would understand me if I told you everything.
Oh my God this was so fucking long…I think my hands are going to wither and fall off. D:
Oh well. So what did you think? If you enjoyed it, please leave me a nice review! I'd appreciate some feedback, since I've never written a story like this before. And if you all were cool with it, it won't be the last. I like first person P.O.V. It's a nice change of pace.
Oh and in case anyone is curious, not to mention to avoid any potential copyright infringement lawsuits, the title of the story is a line from a song that I like. It's called 'Lecher Bitch' by Genitorturers, which reminds me of Viper every time I hear it, and was in heavy rotation the whole time I was writing this. So yeah, just putting that out there.
Again, thanks Lulu-Ichigo for letting me do this! This idea was nagging me for the longest, and really I hope you enjoyed it, even though I tweaked some things and added stuff in.
Until next time loves!