Bright, dazzling lights blinded me for a split second. The hard surface I lay upon felt neither cold nor warm. I looked at my right, feeling the beast stir within my body, my cold, dead body. One of my own kinds was there: kindred. He was wearing what seemed like a bear fur, draped across his shoulders like the Vikings of old times, like he had come out of a history book. A pair of mangled trousers covered him, and dirty, old gymnastic shoes. Yet he also had near him a giant stereo, the likes of which could only be compared to trashy telenovelas that showcased the rotten life of downtown. He didn't know his name. Yet his beast was familiar with him. His body was tall, muscly, a real giant. His eyes were the cold blue of Nordic people, and his blond hair seemed uncouth, without order, without control. He looked like a strong man in the height of his age, no more than twenty-five.
On his left, he saw what looked like a covered in make-up boy, no more than nineteen years old. He was wearing a tailored suit, a dazzlingly bright green, something that seemed to scream against all common sense. He seemed to be frail looking, his mop of red hair barely feasible, in its defying of gravity. He seemed to possess green eyes, which could excuse the choice of his suit, probably.
His beast too was familiar. It was purring, conscious of the ties that bind them together, not scraping at the rattling chains of humanity that bind it.
I finally looked in front of me, realizing, once more, the strange circumstance that surrounded us. There were two others in front of me.
One seemed a strange guy in bizarre looking attire. It looked like his coat was a jigsaw puzzle of hard leather and rags, while his jeans were torn in multiple places. He seemed to have nothing underneath the coat, revealing the pale skin of the dead. The abs that he showed had probably been cultivated when his muscles still gave him the possibility to. His hair was dirt brown, but it was cut short, in a neat and precise style. His eyes, cold and blue, looked around with perplexity, just like mines.
The last one was probably the most worrisome. I knew his name. Not precisely his name, but what he was. That I knew.
Well, more than knowing what we all were, kindreds in undeath, I knew what he actually was: Nosferatu.
The notion hit my head like a bullet train, as I gritted my teeth the pain was one of the few things I felt.
The rest was but echo of dull emotions, lost in the midst of my death.
I looked at my hands, well cured, at my clothes, dark jacket, white t-shirt, dark black trousers, and I realized I was neither the sissy prick with red-hair, nor the brutal individual which resembled a Viking.
The Nosferatu's presence forced me to actually look at him once more, albeit my hope was to avoid meeting his gaze. His face seemed to have been carved from a pure block of unadultered disgust. I couldn't bear myself to his features, and yet I felt compelled to look at them. My brain rationalized them, dark green eyes, pale grey hair, and yet I found myself refuting the notion of his face. It was just…hideous.
Nosferatu had a curse, the strongest of them all. I knew that. I studied that…I studied it under…someone.
The memory was fuzzy, and escaped my grasp, refuting any and all knowledge of recognition with previous memories.
"Name's Viktor," the guy with the jigsaw jacket spoke, "and anyone's got a clue what the hell we're doing here?"
His question was met with a startled silence, before another one took cue, looking around nervously.
"My name is Leon…and I don't know what I'm doing here," he muttered, with a slightly high pitched feminine voice. I looked at the others, and realized much to my surprise that everyone shared the same thought, concerning the boy. It wasn't necessary to explain what the thought was: it just was there. My attention turned to the Nosferatu, the only one I could successfully place within a blood clan, and his voice, rasp and similar to chalk being grated on a board, made me wince.
"I am Ardenic," his voice seemed to be that of east Europe, Albania probably, but his features looked more intermixed with English ancestors, probably son of immigrants, "and the boy stays in front of me always," with those words, I had to give in to a small chuckle of mine.
The Nosferatus always did their best with their curses, some toying with it, others joking on it, most, however, were pissed if someone insulted them on it. It wasn't their fault; they weren't the one who chose the curses: the curses chose their takers.
An obnoxious person in life would get a loud high squealing voice, to increase the problem. An ugly person would become uglier. A quiet person who felt saddened by being left alone would find himself ignored even more…the curse always hit where it hurt…not where it would help.
I found myself in the process of sorting out this information, just how did I get my hands on it? Somebody had to have taught me, right? But who? And why did I think that I had a teacher, necessarily? I brought my right hand to my temple, trying to massage it. I felt no stress, nor did the touch, the cold touch of my skin, did more than simply give me more proof of yet another truth: I felt no warmth, nor cold, no emotion, no sensation was really there…it was dulled.
I didn't sport a headache: I simply remembered, or recalled, that in this situation, when alive, I'd have probably gotten one.
"I'm Bjorn," the voice, Nordic, belonged to the giant, the blond giant with blue eyes, who moved to his enormous stereo, only to open it and reveal, to my eyes and the rest of the company, an axe, "And this is Valkyria," he pointed out, "Valkyria, says she's pleased to meet you."
"A pleasure to meet you too…" Leon's voice was charged with worry, obviously the kindred had been turned recently, that was probably the reason he still held emotions in his voice.
As I looked at my hands, slowly letting my palms open and close, I heard a voice address me, at least, I hoped.
"What's your name instead, gloom-guy?" the question came with slight scorn from Viktor, the guy already climbing the ladder of people, or kindred, I didn't like.
Since when do I have a ladder?
The thought drifted away as I shook my head, letting my eyes, hazel was it? Yeah, I vaguely recalled hazel eyes, settling on him, as the rest of the makeshift group eyed me with perplexity. The Nosferatu was the only one who showed suspicion. Good instincts.
"Frankie," I muttered, realizing that was the only name that came to my lips.
Frankie do this. Frankie do that. Frankie, why are you still there? These thoughts are messy, what are they?
"So…again, anyone knows why we're here?" Viktor asked once more, "Or better yet, what we are?"
Wait…he doesn't know? How can he not know that we are kindreds of the night, beasts of the night, bearers of the gifts of Cain? How can he not understand his condition, his…
I blinked, for a second, before the thought materialized in my mind: he hadn't been taught. I had. I had been groomed.
I had been prepared for this moment.
Slowly, my hand went by instinct to the pocket on my jacket, from which an Ipod came out: one of the small two gigabytes ones, now in the year two thousand and eleven an old model. I realized this action had gotten the attention of the rest of the group that eyed me with perplexity, as I simply started looking through the selection of music, until my eyes settled on a playlist.
Double meaning was the title of the playlist, and as my finger tapped on the play button, the first song that came up was Hurricane 2000.
I looked puzzled for a second, before recomposing myself. That song wasn't in my style.
Since when did I have a style, actually?
"So, instead of listening to music, how about we find out why we're here…or where is here?" Viktor insisted on that point, his voice faltering a moment, as he realized that my hands had placed one of the two earphones on my right ear.
He could talk, and I could listen.
"Hey! You want music, I got stereo!" the giant from the Nord actually seemed to be beaming at the proposal, as the rhythm of the music began to sink in my right eardrum.
It's early morning
The sun comes out.
"We could look for a bar? I mean, I'm a bit hungry," Leon suggested, "A sandwich would be nice…my throat is a bit parched, so some water?" he added.
Last night was shaking
And pretty loud
"I'm not a bar person," Ardenic muttered, his voice making everyone wince, except me, I was busy with the music, "Is something wrong?"
My kitty is purring
And scratches my skin
"Your voice man, it hurts to listen to it," Viktor pointed out, "Well, a disco is better than a bar, right?"
To call kitty the beast, one had to have a really quick desire for death. The beast wasn't a kitty, a meowing ball of fur. No, it was a beast: the Beast, the one of nightmares, of forgotten darkness, the thing that gnawed and growled and bit and hunted the night till nothing remained. The beast didn't scratch, the beast attacked, fiercely and ferociously the cage that trapped her, the cage known as humanity. It didn't just attack it, no, it waited, ready to strike at the most important moment, at the most difficult moment to battle it. His beast, furthermore, didn't play fair.
So what is wrong
With another sin
"I like music! But Valkyria can't come in discos…they don't like her, that's why I hide her!" Bjorn placed his axe back in its half empty stereo, turning to look at the others.
Sins, anything that debased humanity, brought forth one less shackle to the beast's legs, granted more space for the beast to run, dash, circle and attack. Eventually, the difference between beast and captor would be null, and the beast would be free to hunt, to kill, to feast.
The bitch is hungry
She needs to tell
"Yeah, but I'd like something solid…maybe water, discos don't serve water usually, man my throat is parched," Leon said once more, wincing from distress, as he slowly moved his hands to where a rat, from the dirty and forgotten by the sun's rays alley in which they were, was. It took a moment, before worry crossed his face, clearly visible by the others, who stood perplexed, except Viktor, who was smirking.
The red-haired boy was a Daeva, probably. Whoever sired the poor bastard didn't even tell him he no longer could eat. However I was more worried about Viktor. He knew and yet he didn't talk. I understood his reasons…but he was taking pleasure in it. One thing was doing something because of a purpose, a higher one: another was because of personal spite…it meant the beast was crueler.
So give her inches
And feed her well
"I asked if something was wrong with my voice," Ardenic spoke again, his voice, rasp and horrendous, making Bjorn hold his ears, in a fake mean to kid with the Nosferatu.
The descent in the beast-dom was terribly easy, something that started innocently enough: a small violence, a little bout of rage, anger uncontrolled and unchecked. Then, when the shackles started to loosen up, the bars started to widen. One who moments before would shield his living family from bullets suddenly became their own butcher, and darkness clouded the mind.
More days to come
New places to go
I've got to leave
It's time for a show
"Well, it's not pleasant," Leon pointed out, carefully. The Daeva was probably the best bet in avoiding a bout of frenzy from the Nosferatu. I looked with curious interest at the exchange, trying my best to keep my ear focused on the music. The vitae that circled in my body at my own command rested itself in my stomach, or what atrophied remains I still held within the meat bag that my moving corpse was.
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
"And you're a fucking ginger," Ardenic replied, locking eyes with Leon. This wasn't good. Viktor and I dashed on our feet, moving back, just as Bjorn did so too. Bjorn? My eyes narrowed on the two, who in turn looked at me. I had expected the move from Viktor, but Bjorn too? It meant knowledge, understanding. It meant knowing that insults, direct ones, were a challenge to the beast, a challenge the beast wanted to fight, with claws and fangs, a fight for supremacy.
My body is burning
It starts to shout
Desire is coming
It breaks out loud
There was nothing but silence in the alley. Out of there, there was probably an entire world, an entire city, and entire nation, a universe, stars, galaxies…but in there, there was a hungry kindred who was doing his best to reel in his beast, his anger, and there was a Nosferatu who was doing his seemingly best attempt at making the boy snap. There was nothing but understanding, when Bjorn took out his axe once more, and received nods from both Viktor and me.
Lust is in cages
Till storm breaks loose
Just have to make it
With someone I choose
The screech was immediately halted, as the face of the Nosferatu turned to something of pure horror that forced the Daeva to start running for his life, or un-life, in the blink of a second. The feeling of dread washed over my body, but my will wasn't like that of normal Gangrels, and I refused to back down. In a moment, Bjorn was already running away, his axe tightly held within his grasp.
"So…coterie?" the question, why did I have to be the one to ask it? Obviously: because I wanted the subtle implication that I was to be their leader.
The night is calling
I have to go
The wolf is hungry
He runs the show
"What can you provide?" the question came from Ardenic, and I did my best to reel in the disgust. It would never be completely removed from my senses, but I could try. At least making an effort could yield me a slightly more loyal coterie teammate. As loyal as loyalty could go in the world of darkness that we lived in.
He's licking his lips
He's ready to win
On the hunt tonight
For love at first sting
"Yeah, emo-man, what can you provide?" Viktor's jest comes straight at me, but my beast doesn't reply. She doesn't care. My beast isn't their beast, I realize it now. MY beast is controlled, soothing, calm, collected. My beast has a leash, a collar. My beast…has a pedigree.
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
"Knowledge," was my reply as a tiny smile appeared to be cracking my lips.
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
"Understanding," Ardenic winces at the implications.
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
"Loyalty to the pack," now Viktor is interested, he had doubts, but now he has confirmation, confirmation I gave him, he shows it off by relaxing, something he hadn't been doing till then. He knows I'm Gangrel, worse to worse, he knows I'd side with a fellow of clan than a Nosferatu, a rat chaser.
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane...
"And finally, I think this is a test," my words echo in the alley, "We remember what we are, and who we are, but only to a certain degree…our knowledge is too extensive to be a casual circumstance…we are being tested. This means only one thing."
"That someone enjoys raping minds? It had to be the Daeva prick, I thought so!" Viktor spat to the side, or at least tried to. I knew, just like he knew, but refused to believe, that there was no saliva in our mouth. Dried blood, or vitae, but never saliva…no tears would be shed from our eyes, no disease would harm us, no matter how many would silently breed in our blood, that wasn't even ours to begin with.
We were dead men walking. We were Kindreds. We were vampires.
We were betrayers, backstabbers, untrustworthy, natural enemies of humans, werewolves, fairy folks, hunters, ghosts and of ourselves. The masquerade was our sole shield, the words our sharpest weapons.
"No, he was young, my blood was stronger than his," Ardenic pointed out, "Gangrels, right?" he asked. He could have gone without asking. The Gangrels never backed down from a fight, they never retreated, they never stopped. They died, obviously, but that didn't stop the others from keeping at it.
"I certainly ain't a Ventrue, you see me snorting how I'm superior?" Viktor said, flapping open his arms, trying his best sarcastic imitation of looking all high and mighty.
"The words shouldn't be ushered in the silence of the night with such emphasis," I spoke quietly, looking carefully to both sides.
"We need to regroup," I added, "Albeit one is an infant, probably," one was never sure, I knew it from experience, albeit I couldn't recall what experience it was, I knew it, "we cannot have the boss' ire on us, for letting two breaches go around."
"I am not taking the red-haired guy, he smells of milk," Ardenic pointed out, as Viktor raised his hands.
"I could go," he said, "I'd probably track him down with a dog or something."
"I'll go," I offered myself without fault, "I think…I'm the best suited, for some reason," the puzzlement in my mind must have moved to showing a puzzled expression on my face. I know I'm the best suited to calming people down. Why? I have experience dealing with children and young adults. Why?
A Psychiatric evaluation on me!? Come on! Dad say something to her! It's a voice that rings in my head, for a moment, a female voice, young.
I shake my head. There is nothing, it's already gone.
"Something…in here," I point at my head, "Suggests me I'm the most suited one."
"Yeah, I'm starting to hate the damn voices in my head too," Viktor points out, "I mean, there's this one yelling about uncouthness…what the hell does it mean to be uncouth!?"
"Unrefined?" Ardenic suggested, before nodding to my face, "You may go," he adds. Is he trying to control his words, to make short sentences? I wince as little as possible, as I start to move, before stopping on my tracks.
"See you here in three-four hours? Feed if possible," I say, and receive two nods back, before finally emerging from the alley.
The street is deserted.
Cars are parked to the side of the street on both sides. Small identical brick houses with stairs, all leading to oaken doors: the perfect picture of a typical street in the good side of New York. Only it isn't. I see the bricks fade under the weight of years, the road getting unkempt, the graffitis suddenly adorning the sides of the houses. It was so beautiful, a long time before. Now it was no longer.
The mortal enemy of humans, the annoyance of Kindreds, time was the sole thing that made the vampire sweat.
They didn't have time. They knew the day was their enemy, and night their friend. They knew the darkness would protect them and the light would kill them.
Yet…time took away everything. Living ones, loved ones, friends, enemies, everything.
Many fell to the call of the sleep: the peaceful sleep, the eternal rest. Awakening centuries after, a blank state, stronger with age, but feeble with powers.
I let my gaze wander to both sides of the road, the boy had probably been barely turned, no more than a couple of nights before. Had it been on the same day, he would have been in a frenzied state already.
I started a light jog on one side of the road, the boy could have gone on both sides of the road, but I felt my luck, and went downhill. If you run downwards, you run faster than if you go upwards.
It was then that I felt being watched.
I stopped for a second, letting my gaze linger around, worried I might have attracted a gang of downtown New York.
There was a small batting of wings.
Another one, a small screech, an animal one.
Then the bat flew straight on my shoulder.
I looked at him, and then I looked at my Ipod.
The next song on the track list was the one I pushed play on.
And I felt kind of silly.
Here I was, a thirty-five years old, or at least, looking that old, holding an ipod in one hand, the bat dangling on my other hand, where it had moved, and the song that started…was In the Dark of the Night of the Disney's Anastasia movie. I looked around, sheepishly self-conscious of what I was doing, and just like that, a second bat stopped to dangle on my left arm.
In the dark of the night I was tossing and turning
And the nightmare I had was as bad as can be -
It scared me out of my wits -
A corpse falling to bits!
Then I opened my eyes
And the nightmare was...me!
Good, this part was meant for me to understand I was a vampire, probably… Did I not know what would be erased and what not from my mind? Still, a Disney movie song, really?
I was once the most mystical man in all Russia.
When the royals betrayed me they made a mistake!
My curse made each of them pay
But one little girl got away!
Little Anya, beware,
I certainly wasn't Russian, at least, I didn't recall being Russian to begin with, but without a mirror to look into, there was no way I could actually come to terms with my appearance, except the fragmented memories I held.
In the dark of the night evil will find her
In the dark of the night just before dawn!
I silently started to understand, just as another bat, the third now, had begun cleaning himself on my left arm, adding his weight to that of his fellows. The song kept going on, but I ignored much of it, only the last bit gave me the final input I needed to be sure…
Come my minions,
Rise for your master,
Let your evil shine!
Find her now,
Yes, fly ever faster
In the dark of the night...
In the dark of the night...
In the dark of the night...
She'll be mine!
"You are my pets?" I actually didn't know what possessed me to ask the bats the question, but I did.
I did, and I obviously got no reply.
Except for a fourth bat, that decided to dangle on my other arm.
"This is getting ridiculous," I muttered, and then I spoke.
"Can you bring me to the red-haired boy that ran away beforehand?" a moment of silence, and nothing happened. That was when another bat, then another one, then again one more, arrived.
It was a flock.
In a moment, I found myself surrounded by dark leathery wings that suddenly began to fly around me, whatever they were, they weren't normal bats. No, they were trained ones: fierce ones, strong ones, big ones, apt at one purpose.
The Vitae within my body bubbled, as I realized it was calling, the price for commanding my minions was to be paid.
"Find the boy who ran past me, hunt him, and bring me to him!" the hisses, the snarls, the screeches, the composure assumed. There was no thirty-five year old man there, but a Gangrel who could speak.
Speak with his animals, his trained bats, his…blood vinculum pets.
The bats flew, trained to do what they were now doing. Flying in circles, wider and wider by the moment, one suddenly screeched, and the rest of the flock descended like falcons on a prey. A loud scream interrupted the poetic moment, and then the red-haired boy, Leon, was running again, straight towards him.
"Help me! Help me! Take them off!" They clung to his body, their fangs razor sharp, but not biting.
They hadn't been ordered to bite, only to stop.
I made simple gesture.
I gave a single word.
And the assault ended, as the bats took to the street's sides, perching under the gutters, eying the boy, ready to strike.
"You fed?" I asked. His mouth was covered in blood and fur, brownish fur, a dog probably.
"I…I just…I…" he muttered, shock reeling in his mind, as he probably was processing what he had just done.
"You fed," I said again, pointing it out as a matter of fact, "Did he die?"
"He…I don't…I think…Dog," Leon replied, among stutters.
"He died," I finished the sentence, with a matter of fact tone, my eyes looking straight at the worried and nearly on the verge of tears boy. Actually, the boy wasn't emotionally feeling the need to cry, he was just remembering how it felt to be on the verge of tears.
"Crying is a waste of blood, boy," I snapped at him, "Your name is Leon, right?" I asked.
He nodded, silently looking at me with fear.
"I could take the easy route, but there's no easy route: you fed on the blood of a dog. You tore apart his neck as you feasted upon his crimson liquid…and you liked it," my words ring through the silence of the street, as my eyes are set on the scared form of the red-head.
He is shivering, he shouldn't be. Actually he should, but only to reflect the fact that he wants to fake being human in a crowd.
Daevas were sissies. That was the common concept.
There was much more, however, to the clan that spawned women capable of earning the nickname of Succubus of the nights and men born to please. Artistic tastes, luscious bodies, but most importantly…sins.
The Daeva relished in the sins they would commit.
Knowing the favorite sin of a Daeva was sure to obtain some favor…or to provide a nice enough political backslash.
There is a lot of knowledge in my head…for how long did I learn?
"You liked it, because you are no longer human," I added, taking a step forward, as the boy shook his head, vividly, "You liked it, because it was your nourishment."
"Welcome, child," I spoke quietly, opening my arms wide, as I took another step forward, "Welcome to the world of the night, the world of sinners and sins. Welcome to the world where virtue is rare and death is everywhere. Welcome to the world where words kill and your enemy is your best friend. Welcome to the world where strengths beyond your grasp clash in battles that take place in a single room. Welcome to a world where a mistake can cost you your life…welcome, dear infant, in the World of Darkness…" and with a small bowing motion, I chuckled. I always wanted to act this theatrical.
"What…What do you mean?" he asked, hesitantly.
"You're a vampire, my boy, and you will never age, you will never rot, death will never claim you from old age…so, enjoy," as I waved to my surroundings, I smiled, gently. Was that how one smiled gently?
"Enjoy…and remember that no-one is to be trusted, nothing it to be heard, and ignorance is bliss," I added, "Now come with me, the coterie awaits…alone, you will die in this world, now chose," I spoke quietly, "come with me or run, I don't care."
That was when I turned around, putting both my hands in my jacket, and began walking back to the alley. I probably had to fill in a Daeva pup on the basics of the world he was in. As I heard him move, hesitantly, following me, I smiled.
Hook, line and sinker.
That's how a Giovanni works.
But the question remained, deep in the back of my mind.
What's a Giovanni?
The night would tell…probably.
A doodle to try first-person writing. Using the Requiem ruleset, the Masquerade inputs, and embellishing the roleplayed sessions of vampire the requiem held in my house during the summer.
To be added (player came in later on)
As this is an embellished version of a roleplay session, expect characters to die, be killed, and also cliché to come up.
Like the oriental ninja samurai with a katana and smoke bombs.
Or the elite sniper from England belonging to a secret organization.
Yes…it would be all fun and games if I hadn't seen them played.
Since I'm doing this as a doodle, I am not going to update it much, just as a pastime, to take my hand on first-person writing.
And the key focus is on double meanings coming from the songs.
My character, by the way, is Frankie, (but that appears kind of obvious, I suppose).