A/N: Well, here's my new Blue Exorcist OC story, the Runner. It has a lot in common with the Ghost Rider comics. Sorry. It's kind of a companion to Demon-Princess-Astarte's story Demon Training, but can be read on its own, especially the first few chapters. I don't own Ao No Exorcist, only Cassie.
Let me tell you something right now. If you're looking for a happy story about someone with solid morals that falls head over heels and lives happily ever after with her love, well, try the next story down. This is anything but. No, this isn't that story. This is the story of a half-demon whose 'other side' is always haunting her, trying to take over. It's the story of a girl who's been running for two years, all the way to Japan, to keep herself from killing. It's my story.
My name's Cassandra Martin. Nice to meet you, I guess.
This story starts about two years ago, when I was sixteen, in Camden, New Jersey. For those of you who don't know, it's one of the nastiest, most crime-filled cities in the good ol' U. S. of A. Everyone around here, especially in the bad part, knows—or is—a gangster, hooker, or druggie. Or a combination of the three. It's my hometown, where I grew up. Pleasant, I know.
Anyway, that day, I was heading home from school, pepper spray safe in my pocket, because let's face it—unless you wanna end up raped, dead, or both, you didn't walk around without it. And believe me, after it slipping my mind twice, that stuff is never leaving my reach. Whenever I got home, for once my mom was waiting for me.
Kristin Martin was a tall, curvy woman, with tan skin, curly blond hair that fell to her waist, and eyes the color of a clear summer sky. In other words, the only thing I physically had in common with her was my height.
"Cassie, you're going to have to come with me to work again," she said, grabbing a light jacket for the early spring weather. "We're short tonight."
I groaned. I hated going there, with all the leers from drunken truckers and bikers, on top of the mocking of my schoolmates. "Fine. Whatever." This was actually common. I'd 'volunteer' where my mom worked if and when they were short as a waitress.
"Hey, Cass. Glad you could make it," greeted a scantily-clad bartender in her forties.
"Hi, May." I've known May all my life. My mom and her worked together here since I was in diapers and thought that they were ballet dancers. Of course, with time passing, May was relegated to bartender duty, too old to 'dance' but not old enough to fire.
"You know, hun, when you work here often enough for the boss to assign you a uniform, you really ought to talk to him about putting you on his payroll."
I grabbed my 'uniform' with a scowl on my face—thigh high black boots, ripped, faded booty shorts, fishnets, elbow-length ripped fingerless gloves, a white cami, and a waist-length leather jacket. "Yeah, I know. But this way if Boss gets caught in his little, ah, enterprise, I don't get put in prison and his sentence goes up. Besides, once I'm eighteen, I'm outta here. Pennsylvania, maybe." In case you were wondering where my mom 'worked', it was a place called 'The Cage'. A speakeasy that survived the Prohibition, with the lack of 'illegal', they started changing with the times. As new drugs were introduced and new substance laws made, the people who ran it didn't just want to be a speakeasy that faded into the pages of history as one that survived; they wanted to stay in the shadows as the head of the new generation of nightclubs: one with dens for every drug introduced since, from marijuana to cocaine and meth, as well as prostitution and ignorance of checking ID. In other words, if he was caught, I seriously doubt the boss would ever see the light of day.
Uniform, or costume more like, on, I headed out, where 'Maneater' by Nelly Furtado was blasting, and I made sure my pepper spray and taser were safe. The first table I was assigned to was one full of jocks from my school. Dammit. I've formed a reputation of sorts when people found out about my working there. Well, this was going to be a great night.
"Well, well, well, it's Sassy Cassie we get assigned to today. Aren't we lucky boys?" The leader, the quarterback unsurprisingly, laughed at my friends and winked at me.
It took everything I had not to punch his lights out. Moving away from Camden. I need the tips. Just put up with these assholes until they leave so I can get tips. I smiled back flirtatiously. "Well, I guess it is your lucky night. Maybe in more than one way…"
"Well, my bike does ride pretty well, if you know what I mean."
"Tempting, but first can I get your order?"
"A round of rum and Cokes for us. And maybe later we can all get some Ice together."
Of course he was on meth. I saw it now. The too-wide eyes starting to droop, the fact they didn't want anything to eat. But I could also tell that they were near the end of their high, so that's probably why they went straight to the good stuff. "All right. How's about we meet around, say, two o'clock?" My mom's shift ended about one, so it left plenty of time to get away.
The next few hours went much the same way, when after a shot… or three… I decided it wasn't worth it so stay around. So I changed back into my faded ripped jeans, t-shirt, biker boots and motorcycle jacket and left, too drunk to think about the fact I didn't have a car, bike, or money for a cab. Then I saw it. The rich brat hadn't been lying. He did have a nice motorcycle, but was enough of an idiot to leave his keys there. So I did the most idiotic thing in my life prior to that moment—I stole it. What the hell? I figured. After all, I did have a license.
I lost myself in the roar of the engine and the way it rode until I heard something—a scream. I pulled over into the next alley, knowing not to interfere with gang business.
"I'm telling you, I didn't touch your fucking drugs!" yelled one man, obviously terrified.
"Oh, really," said another man, obviously the ringleader. "Well, boys, I guess we'll just have to make an example of him, won't we?"
I knew what was happening next. I heard gunshots and the body of the man hit the floor. In that moment, something clicked. Ever since I was little, I had another side—sadistic and violent and hungry. I've been fighting it as long as I can remember without knowing why. But the second that body hit the ground, I couldn't fight it anymore. It got out.
I can't even begin to describe the pain of the transformation. Depending on your upbringing, you probably heard of Joan of Arc: the great French warrior who led the country to victory at the age of seventeen and burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft two years later. I can now safely say I know how she felt. My flesh started crawling first, before catching on fire. Little by little, my flesh burned off and hit the ground, my eyes long gone. In place of the thin, pale, girl with choppily cut dark brown hair and gray eyes was a flaming skeleton. The sound that came out of my mouth was a twisted sound between a scream and a laugh. I was screaming; it was laughing, I don't know why. Maybe it was glad to be free. Either way, the other side was completely in control no matter how much I wanted to turn back.
It walked to the alley where the men—there were five of them—were congratulating themselves and looting the body. My hand—now skeletal and on fire—reached out for a weapon and found a chain. It lit on fire once I touched it. They seemed to notice me after that.
"What the hell is that thing?"
"How the fuck am I supposed to know? Kill it!"
I don't know how, so don't ask me, but they never got the chance to kill me. Laughing like a maniac, I ran at all of them swinging my fiery chain/whip, full of hatred for these men. They were the worst of the worst. I saw it all—the raping, the murders, and the drugs they abused and pushed. I wanted to make them pay. So I did, the whip cutting through each body leaving behind nothing but ash.
The other side satiated, I returned to myself, skin reforming, fire receding, but before the blackness closed in, I could still feel my bones on fire.