It rattled against the cage. It was hungry. It was hungry for the blood and the life of those below. Perched atop the six floors high building made of bricks and concrete and second hand wood it growled. I was hungry too. We were both hungry, yet the distinct difference that made me and it so different was the line. The subtle line of eating and of killing separated me from it. I wanted to eat. It wanted to feast. I wanted to survive. It wanted to destroy. It rattled once more and I obliged it.
I never grew around the growing of my claws. I never understood the feeling of the blood that I loaned from others within my body. I only knew that it worked. It was after all no different than chakra. Only chakra came from within us. This was different. It had to be taken by force, by cunningness, by being the top of the food chain.
Antediluvian they call me. I am the top of the food chain. I care not for politics or the Invictus. To me those names are meaningless. I know of Hokage, of my dreams shattered upon that night. It rattles once more. To think, to remember, it stirs the beast. I seek not its companionship tonight. I carefully let my body slide alongside the building, to land in a dark and grimy alley, the ones that petulant mothers warn their children against. They have a reason after all.
That reason is me. People like me. Monsters like me. Beings like me.
I once believed in things like friends, comrades. I believed in love. I was foolish once. The emotions died within me, crumbling like a castle of sand against the wind that is time. How long since I last felt the wind on my skin? Too much time: I feel nothing but the blood. I am nothing but my blood. I am dust that walks and moves. I heard from Frankie about it.
He has these stupid theories about what we are. What we are going to become. I don't actually care, but he's the only one who doesn't run away. Maybe he's too stupid, or maybe it's because he likes to boast around how he befriended an Antediluvian.
It does not matter. His antiques amuse me, and that is all I need to kill my boredom.
Sometimes, my eyes look at him and see a dark haired teen in its place. Those are the times I must stay my hand from killing him. He's dead. Just like the pink haired woman I loved. Just like my children. Just like my wife. Just like everyone else I cherished and loved and swore to protect to my dying breath.
Some died of old age. Others died of war. Some died of sickness, others disappeared to never return. They are not among the kindred for I would know. They are not hiding among the Nosferatu, for they would know and ask favors in exchange. They are not among the lupines, the mages or the ghosts. I am alone.
I walk the night alone. The dark alley's stench doesn't even reach my nostrils. It is not the stench I feel, but the memory of a stench of one of the many dark alleys I walked when I was young. Thousands of years and I can't help but remember.
What else could I do?
I remember everything clearly, like it was yesterday. Once I was a knucklehead wasn't I? Once I couldn't even do a Bunshin properly. Now that I am deprived of chakra I can't do it nevertheless.
I can grow claws however, claws made to rend and tear at my own kin. I am a Gangrel, some say. I am a Brujah, other says. I am a diablerist, many add. Did I kill my sire, my creator? That I did. I enjoyed every moment of his trashing, of his screaming blasphemies about unworthy children. I enjoyed it as I feasted on his soul.
It was happy that day. I feel it purr at the remembrance. It is not a cat or a mere animal. It is the beast.
Once I thought the Kyuubi in my gut would be a problem. It was nothing compared to the beast. I could talk to him, I befriended him. It cannot be befriended. It is but a figment of a mad mind that feast on blood and torment.
It rattles for dominance. It screams for murder, it thirsts for blood.
It is my jailer and my jailed. It's my prisoner to keep.
Some whisper of Golconda, as the solution to the problem. I sought it out for years and years, but I never found it. Golconda is a myth. Yet some seek it. Some look out for it. Some desire it and fight to find it. They come and they go like madmen tied together by the string of a wicked fate. They will not find it. It does not exist.
I met another Antediluvian once, but it was not from my country. Its claws were as black as its soul, yet it kept the appearance of being kind. It asked for me to walk with her, and I obliged.
I was bored, and she was bored too.
Was that my chance at Golconda? I don't know. I know we departed years later. Nothing done, nothing forgotten and nothing to forget: we walked different ways after all. Evil doesn't always need to do something in order to work.
Some say it's strange I still roam around the night. It's dangerous, Frankie says, for one like me to walk around. It makes all but the strongest or the Gangrels cower and run. My beast cannot be defeated. It is strong, and my will is too. Frankie sends me a message. I know the buzzing in my pocket means that.
I know that the prostitute I'm sinking my fangs in is clean. It's in Frankie's area: it has to be kept clean. I let her go moments later, and she doesn't even know I was there. She's one of blood sacks walking on the street. No matter how many quickies they might do in a night, or if they might or not get an orgasm from one of their clients, they'll come back to that street eventually.
The kiss of one of us, of kindred, is something far more pleasurable.
The blood is even more. I feel it once more. It is placated. It grumbles and growls slightly, but it does not attack. Another beast is near, and I finally decide to look at the message.
Behind you I stand. Kindly avoid killing me?
I snort as I turn around. My eyes must have been still glowing from that frenzy that comes from drinking, because Frankie recoils slightly.
It is but a moment, and then he holds his ground. I am always surprised by his willpower. Maybe he is just that lucky, or maybe he's a Ventrue hidden among the ranks of the Gangrel. It's not like I care about it.
"Naruto. How are you?" He asks in hesitant Japanese. Obviously he gets all the accents wrong and in the wrong place. Japanese isn't his language and Japanese isn't my language to begin with. It just goes near enough to it to resemble it.
Still I should be thankful for the effort, shouldn't I?
"Problems?" I ask. Something, anything to kill the boredom and stop my brain from working and remembering is welcomed. I know that some might think I'm chained, but it's not true. It isn't blood that binds me: it's the boredom.
"None. An Antediluvian in town pretty much kills all actions." He replies. I know, I know. He doesn't want to be frank about it. He's Frankie, but being Frank is something different.
"It's just been fifty-two years." I reply calmly, "Can't overstay my welcome if nobody welcomed me to begin with."
"Yeah. New York is a bit like that." A frothing purulence and gangrene of the world where kindred fight and die every night. He doesn't add that, but I know enough of his rants to know it's hidden somewhere deep within his words.
Frankie is one of the bitter kindred. He was turned and ate his family first. I never had to experience that the first time around, but I wonder how I would have turned out in that case. I went through that scenario for years and years. I thought of all the things I did a lot. I had nothing better to do to waste my time on.
At first I had wanted to stay away from civilization. I had wanted to eat on animals and nothing more. Then it decided it was long time I stopped hiding. It thirsted for more potent blood. It wanted the blood of humans. It wanted the blood of Kindreds once too, but I stopped it. I slept and slept and slept. Tormented in my sleep by the dreams of those I killed and ate. I woke up to a New York, when the last time I was around it was but wooden buildings and shambling civil fighters.
I walked into Frankie in the Fifties: the era of the Italian Mobsters, of the Mafia. Forget having a cellphone, a gun was everything one needed to be respected. I know of how New York changed, I helped with that.
Frankie talked to me after all, he doesn't probably remember me. He was such a cute kid, pity he turned out to be like this. I did not sire him however. I sired no-one and I tied by blood no-one.
"You afraid I'm going to kick the can soon?" I queried, tugging a small smile on my lips. I am not amused. I feel nothing. It is just the habit that makes me smile. Same for Frankie. He acts concerned, but is he? No. He's even more psychotic than me, I know it, he knows it, and we both avoid mentioning the two blood dolls he holds and pets and dress up like they were his deceased daughters.
We avoid mentioning a lot of things in this dark world.
Once I had yelled I'd be Hokage. Once I had painted the monument. Now it's not even a plain that piece of rock. It's a lake. Konoha? There are no longer trees around it. It's a desert. The ground itself cracked and stirred and everything was engulfed.
I am an Antediluvian because I came from before the final hours, the hours where god grew angry at the world and sought to destroy it. God's a bitch and I know it.
I don't know if it was actually god or some sort of twisted geographical rearranging. I don't even know if it actually was planned or it just happened. Science explains a lot of thing, and it might eventually explain us too.
If we let them start knowing us of course.
I was a wildcard in youth and so I am even thousands of years later. That's the reason they want me out of the city. Me: choosing a side would mean the end of the war for New York. Never mind Anarchs, Invictus, those freaky and twisted religious beings of both twisted Catholic and Pagan religions. Never mind. The side I'd choose would win the war.
Something about having the bigger bomb to unleash: I'm a weapon, and I find it amusing. I was one in the past too. I stopped wars by simply being there, speaking. I always thought they stopped fighting because my words were cheesy and peachy. If only I had had a good dose of years behind me, I'd have known they were simply afraid of me.
The best peace is the one achieved through fear and terror and blood. It rattles against my cage. Something makes it stir. It's the thought of blood I suppose. It ate already and yet it's still hungry. I had to stop it, or it would have killed the woman.
I know Frankie is trying to discern what to say. He's always like that. Paranoid doesn't even cut it. Even though I could snap his neck in a second, in a blink, he's more paranoid of offending me with words than with anything else. I always think he's a Ventrue in disguise: I just need for him to slip once to get my proof.
"Of course not: nobody can kill you." He replies. He tries to make the comment be a statement, and not an ass licking. I know him enough to understand though: he can't offend me and I don't want to be offended. Last time I lost my nerves London burned to the ground.
I think it's because I told him that that he keeps being polite. He never relaxes around me, the sour look of his stays where it is always. I think he thinks I'm a ticking bomb ready to explode. Point being he's right of course.
I am a bomb. I would have taken my life centuries if not millennia ago otherwise. There is no longer a Kyuubi in me, there is no longer chakra running through my veins, but that is not the problem. My beast is there. Once it was Kurama. Now it's only it. No amount of friendship can bring it back. I tried. I tried and Rome burned. I tried again and there are still earthquakes in Japan.
The Kyuubi was more than a mere chakra battery. The Kyuubi was the focal point of all the malice in the world. Now, two world wars later, I know that I can't die. If I do, then it would be unleashed. All of it, all the hatred of the jailed in the Nazi camps, all the blasphemous anger of religious believers that fight one another, all the blood and cries for help of the trenches, the deported, the mass slaughters of the Indians. It's all there. All bottled up in me. Every single drop of hatred is within my soul.
And it rattles to be freed. It growls and threatens and screams for the murder of everyone else. There is no innocent in its eyes. There is no-one untainted. It must destroy all.
So I cannot die. I cannot kill myself and walk in the sun. How long since its rays touched me? Frankie of course doesn't know this. He's worried I might snap and eat him, that he is, but he just has no idea what I truly can do if I die.
It's better that way. Some people might have tried to capture me then. Like this I'm just a friendly Antediluvian, who's just passing by. They probably sent Frankie to ask me how long I'm going to stay around, and obviously Frankie knows I know. He doesn't try to be subtle about it, at least not too much.
He knows better, and so do I.
"Tell the Prince I'll be leaving when I decide between Spain and Venezuela." Those names are anything but familiar to me. Hi no Kuni was familiar to me. Konohagakure no Sato. Uzushiogakure, Iwagakure, Sunagakure. The land of Stone, the land of Water, the land of the Moon. Spain and Venezuela are foreign names to me.
They mean nothing but the message is clear.
I will leave when I want to, but Frankie has done enough and the Prince won't be taking the blame on him. After all he doesn't even have the guts to come here in person.
What is he scared of? That I'd eat him? Of course he is.
The only reason he doesn't declare a blood hunt is that he knows it's futile. The Anarchs tried to recruit me once. It took ten years for another Anarch to have the guts to enter New York. The Prince knows this and thus stills his hand. He knows I might just as well destroy everything if they keep it coming. I'm saving the world and yet they don't even know about it.
I'm not going to tell them that I'm a hero though. There are no heroes here: only the monsters that inhabit the darkness.
"Will do." He nods back at me, and with the business done he smiles. "Want to go disco?"
"Isn't it 'clubbing' now?" I reply. Not that I'd care about correcting him, I'm just doing conversation. It's difficult to keep track of the modern changes. People go too fast. They move and move and move, they fight and eat and sleep and they take too little time doings things. I'm a hypocrite and I know it. I did things even faster than them, always smiling, always cheerful. I was the fastest. Turns out being fast means nothing when the other side can defeat sound.
"Yeah…The Bloody Cocktail would like your continued patronage." He replies with a light grin. It's his bar after all.
I don't know why, but I accept. We walk alongside the road until we reach his car. The first time I saw a car I thought they'd just be a trend. Then instead of walking like a dead horse, the cars reached speeds that no human could manage. The trend became a key point in the life of people.
Frankie knows how to drive. He was the driver of the Giovanni for a long while, and if you have to dodge bullets, police cars and enemy gangs, then you either know how to drive or you learn fast. The traffic doesn't matter to him. The lights can stay red for all that he cares, nobody can stop him. That's the reason I usually take the bus or the metro. I can't stand letting him drive. It's not sane.
Nothing ever is, is it?
The bar is a seedy little thing in the corner of an otherwise anonymous street. It's true worth isn't the appearance, but what's hidden beneath it. It's invitation only, and you better not try and boss your way through. The area is Giovanni's.
Trench-coats are still a hit around here, as are Tommy Guns and respect. Fun fact is that there's no criminality in here. It's all organized, and thus the streets are clean of drug dealers, muggers or worse. A bigger evil usually swallows a smaller one. Mobsters work best than policemen: it's a matter of fact. For once, they don't forget. Ever. For seconds, they fight to kill, not to capture.
He walks in with but a nod, and the security guard lets us through. Typical bull, ex-pugilist turned security guard. Mobsters even help the economy by giving out work. Truly, nothing would work without organized crime. How can you fight wars against enemies you can't kill? You call the Mafia. I always thought crime was evil, but when I met Frankie I just realized evil doesn't exist.
There's not even good around. The only things that exist are life and survival. Everything else is always in relation to that. I sit down at the bar, as the soft music speaks volumes of what the place really is.
It's a sort of trove for nostalgic of the fifties. Nobody here is younger than thirty. Some have even grey hair and one barely walks without a cane. Yet they're at peace. The piano swings once more and the tuba gently hums a tune. An elderly lady walks up to us, a bright smile on her face.
She's old and wrinkly and yet it wants to feast on her nevertheless. I can never forget it's there. It is there. It's there for me to remember always.
"My, Francesco…been so long." I tune out the chatter of the two. I don't care about them. My eyes move through the people, searching for something, someone or anything that defies routine. Something that is not boring, anyone that can bring me a bit of a spark of normality: someone or anything. Something or anyone.
"Sakura." The name makes my head snap to the side. What does that name have to do with everything? I didn't think I'd hear that name again. I didn't even believe I could hear that name again. I'm not in Japan. I'm in New York. That name isn't something they'd pronounce. I wanted a fight against routine, not an earthquake.
"She's such a young darling, but I'm afraid she's getting bullied you know? Works late shift at Moe's and…" Now I'm interested. So I obviously listen in. Frankie isn't the Don, but he's still a wise man. Like he put it, he's the one who solves the small problems of the every day citizen. If it's big, then he sends it over to the Don.
"I'll see what I can do." He replies. Of course to him the thing isn't interesting in the slightest, but he's that sort of guy who'll help as long as he doesn't have to go out of the way. I should ask him direction to Moe's. This is something against routine, and as long as it is against routine I'm all for it.
"I want in." I don't even know when my voice left my throat, but the reaction from Frankie says it all. He hadn't expected it. It takes him a while to remember he doesn't feel shock, or that he doesn't need to feign it with me.
"What?" He asks back. "This isn't going to take much…you sure you don't prefer…clubbing?"
"No. This is good. I'll take this." I reply. I see him think about it for a moment. An Antediluvian solving mere problems like a girl being bullied by coworkers? He's probably thinking about 'overreacting' on an all new definition. It doesn't matter to me though. I've got my fix against boredom.
Moe's bar is near central park: the perfect place for the Gangrel and Brujah hang-out, and also the place where I feel the most at home. Frankie comes with me just to make it subtly clear under whose orders I am. It doesn't matter. It's not like he'll come out with it, but I know the voice around the streets is of me as a lapdog of the Giovanni.
It gave them as much power as headaches, because I'm no-one's lapdog. Once I served Konoha, now the village is dead and there's nothing else. Moe's bar is seedy. Truly another refusal of the Fifties to leave the city that never sleeps. It is probably because Moe's is actually Maurice Ferdinand, Daeva. He's not here of course.
He must have felt me coming from at least two streets before, and ran away. I can still see the puzzlement on the face of one of the waitress. Hazel hair, blue eyes, the name 'Mary' on the chest. The uniform she's wearing is the old one piece yellow thing with a white apron that you can still find in the Grills alongside the old roads.
Never trust one dressed like that. Some of the cousins I know of use it as an excuse to hunt. The dreamy waitress that sucks it up on a passing by truck driver? A lot of truck drivers disappear for a reason, you know.
There is no Sakura here, but the night is young and she seems to be working the late shift. The one that stretches up until morning…by that time we'll have to have left.
"I could have sent a picciotto." Frankie mutters, "Now I'm babysitting." He adds. Babysitting me. He's got the right idea. I don't need much, blood and a place to avoid the sun is all I actually must have. However if you're dirty then the hunted sniffs you out before time, if you're without money you can't catch the bus or the train. Little things like clean clothes are a must if you want to appear civil.
I order coffee. Coffee I will not sip or eat. Frankie does the same and we start one of the random chats. It's a bit like acting. We have all sorts of discussions we can do, ranging from me being a cheater and having a knack with his ex-girlfriend to him being asked to leave the drug circle and 'make life better for everyone'.
Tonight, I'm trying to convince him of the benefits of being a vegetarian, while he keeps on rambling that meat is the one true god in the world.
It's a discussion I'd be pleased to lose, but then the next words about Tofu die in my mouth.
The door jingle open, and a female figure walks in with a light jacket. She's half Japanese and half American. Her features are softer and she has pale skin. Her hair is black but her eyes. I'd remember those eyes everywhere. They're a bright green jade.
She's not alone.
A raven haired boy walks in next. He snorts and sits down on a free table and my gaze…my gaze lands on him too.
Reincarnation doesn't exist.
So why is there Sasuke sitting at a table, while Sakura is going to get changed?
I know the answer.
I always knew the answer.
God is a bitch. A whiny, pathetical, bastard creature of filth and decadence that strives to have a last bloody chuckle in the face of its impending doom at my hands: this is personal. God, be on your guard, I'm coming for you.
Frankie has slipped out in less than a minute. Maybe I gave the impression of being on the point of frenzying. I was close to it. The beast rattled against the cage with laughter and roars of fury, the cup that held my coffee cracked and bubbled like excess heat had twisted it.
You want to play, god?
Fine. Let's dance.
Xpgamer challenge on KNP, also my try at First Person narrative…it's a oneshot. Consider it like this until I've got the time to hang around it a bit more.