Chasing Darkness

Wheels of Fate, carousels of time; past lives and karmic ties. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

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Chasing Darkness

Post by Canaan » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:42 pm

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Canaan read the words for the third time without taking them in. The irksome clock on the wall behind him ticked emphatically, the second hand's militaristic advance resounding like the drums of war. Tireless. Resolute. Each beat a moment he could not earn back, sand slipping through his fingers. He was seated at his desk with the office door mostly closed, but it seemed leaving it open that tiny bit had invited with it every distraction known to man. Footsteps plodding down the hall. The metallic bite of a stapler. Laurel's rolling chair moving back and forth between her desk and the filing cabinet. And elsewhere in the building, unheard, but every bit as distracting, if not more, a wayward son of summer held court with a handful of knives. He glanced up from the sea of paperwork to eye the door and chewed thoughtfully on the ball of his tongue ring. Mind fresh and full with memory, the urge to seek out his latest distraction was a tempting lure he could hardly resist. He dragged his attention back to the page.

Space statistics for this facility cannot be added to the database until the facility information has been entered. Note: Space information (form CPDC 4-3) should accompany NEW, RENOVATED or REMODELED facilities. New facilities will not be considered for funding without the accompanying space data (ASF).

The words blurred, blending into a senseless smattering of letters and sounds so nonsensical he couldn't make heads or tails of what information he needed to provide. His mind tried to focus on the task at hand, but it continued to wander right back to the door and through it. Straight to him. He thought he might be sated after their violent tumble and the tenderness that had come later, but if anything it had only created a deeper hunger. He was not done.


After working for what felt like an eternity, Cane had yet to make any progress. It took him several more tries to compute the first sentences, and even longer to track down which code needed entering where. A sharp, uncomfortable pressure began to build up behind his eyes. This was boring, tedious work; the kind of soul-sucking task that was slowly eating him alive -- exactly the sort of thing he'd been encouraged to play hooky from, and by Isaac no less.


When Cane thought of him, he imagined a starlit summer night, the atmosphere hot and heavy, so thick he could almost drink it in. Isaac, whose steady, sure hands had both harmed and held him, and whose lingering breaths, sweet with the honeyed scent of bourbon, had coaxed him to quiet contentment.

Now, growing restless, he threw down his pen and turned to glare up at the clock.

3:18 PM

The minute hand had made it a whole ten minutes from the last time he'd looked up. Though he'd tried to wait until the end of the day to cave, Cane realized he'd run out of excuses to keep from giving in to desire. And why should he fight it anymore? That ship left the harbor three nights earlier.

Pushing away from his desk, the Cajun abandoned obligation in pursuit of something far more exciting. He didn't care that Isaac was in the middle of a lesson, or that he'd need to keep his hands to himself. That Cane could be in the same room as him, listening to the man's sweet antebellum cadence, would be enough. And how strange it was, he thought, to find comfort in that honeyed drawl after spending so many years rejecting his old home. Perhaps it was fitting he find kinship in a man whose roots were so closely tangled with his own.

He turned off all the lights on his way out of the office, pulling the door all the way shut behind him and started down the hallway that would take him to the knife thrower's domain. Cane was just starting to let his imagination run wild with thoughts of what he might say or do when all the students eventually filed their way from the classroom, when he turned down another corridor and came face to face with a pair of boys who'd made themselves cozy up against a wall.

"I'll say," the taller, dark-haired boy rumbled suggestively.

Discovering a pair of necking youths would not normally cause him to look twice, but the second half of the duo had the bright shock of red hair and short stature of a young man he knew well. Morgan.

Morgan lowered himself down from tiptoe after sharing what Cane thought might have been a kiss. He knew the exact moment the redhead noticed his presence, because the boy stiffened in the other one’s arms. Clearing his throat, Morgan managed to look unashamed, but rather more concerned that his company knew they were no longer alone. The taller of the two swayed immediately away and Morgan straightened his sweater.


For Cane's part, there was an aseptic lack of response, just the the spark of recognition and acknowledgement with the shift of his eyes as he continued toward them down the hall. It took him another six steps to recall his own instructions from over the weekend and realized this was the friend Morgan meant to introduce to him. All at once, his hopes of sneaking in to leer at a very pretty man from the back of a classroom for the next twenty minutes died a swift and painful death.

"Morgan," he greeted warmly. The boy needed to come first, especially after everything he'd been through recently. Cane owed him that much, if not more. "Giving your friend the grand tour?"

"Hey, yeah. I'm Rhodes. Nice to meet you." The dark-haired youth stuck out his hand. Morgan spread out his arms as if presenting a prize at a game show. Ta da!

The Cajun accepted Rhodes’ offering with a smile and took his hand without hesitation. "Rhodes. Pleasure. As, uh, as Morgan said -- I'm Cane. He also said you can dance." Here his gaze broke away from the dark haired boy to peer at Morgan, checking to make sure he'd gotten it correct. To be fair, he'd been a bit preoccupied that night. "Got a degree or something?"

Morgan nodded.

There was still that wedge of distance between the two, and now that he was closer to them, Cane found it amusing. Did they think he’d disapprove? As if he hadn’t been about to go corner a man himself? There was a dull pang of longing for the missed opportunity, but he brushed it aside. Cane gave Morgan a playful wink before shifting his gaze back to Rhodes, withdrawing his hand and gesturing down the hall in the direction he’d been going.

"Well, why don't you tell me a little about yourself, Rhodes? We can head back to an empty studio while Morgan goes to warm up."

"Er, yeah. That's... sure." Rhodes looked between him and Morgan, gratitude stitched into his every feature, but haunted by the ghost of uncertainty. "I'll come find you after?" he asked Morgan, reaching over to touch his wrist with a few fingers. Feather light touch.

"Yeah,” said Morgan, smiling encouragingly. “I'll see you when you're done, okay? You, uh... You know where I'll be."

Cane pretended he didn’t see the way Morgan turned his hand to drag his fingertips against Rhodes’ palm. The redhead gave an exaggerated two-fingered salute to Cane as he backed away, and shifted his backpack up higher, turning away and calling over his shoulder. "He's got the moooooves."

"Something tells me you're outrageously biased!” He started moving with Rhodes in the opposite direction. “Go get to work, you little shit." Ah, but his tone was so very fond. It felt nice to joke around and tease the boy, even if he knew Morgan was only pretending things were fine for the sake of his friend. Cane knew too much.

There were empty rooms all over the building, some much closer than others, but the one he chose for Rhodes’ interview allowed him to drift past Isaac’s classroom. If he couldn’t sit in on the rest of the lesson, he could at least catch a glimpse of the man to hold him over. There was no shame in this craving, and by all accounts he flaunted it, slowing as he passed the open door -- hoping to be caught. Isaac’s dogwood drawl carried through the cavernous room to his ears.

“’ll need your index finger positioned on the spine at the balance point. This controls the release and prevents spin. Next is…”

He flashed a predatory smile as the Showman glanced up from the demonstration and met his eyes. It was only a moment, there and gone, for he had already passed out of the man’s line of sight. But it was enough. For now.
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Re: Chasing Darkness

Post by Wheeler Scion » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:53 am

Class began the same as always—Isaac not bothering with taking roll and instead ignoring his students for the first few minutes while he arranged his throwing knives. No point in roll. He hated being counted absent and earning licks and/or detention as a kid and these students weren’t being forced to be here. Show up if you want to, learn or don’t and don’t waste anyone’s time. The class was relatively small, but eager to learn. Course there’d been a few casualties along the way…figuratively speaking of course. Just separating the serious from the inaccurate and unsteady and timid is all.

Isaac spent the first few minutes of class arranging his blades. They had actually been a gift from Patch years ago. Isaac feeling a little twinge of remorse as the thought randomly drifted up from the deep water of his memory. It’d been the day Benny had told him he was going to Single O the next jump and made the Showman the single attraction. With it and for it. Patch’s words as he tossed the leather messenger bag over to him. Shame those words hadn’t mattered recently when Wheeler’d walked due to new owners from the only real family he’d ever known that didn’t share blood. The regret tasted real similar to the family leaving flavor back in Savannah, but Isaac knew if he sucked the marrow out of that regret it would turn his stomach sour and poison the soul. In the end, both had been for the best.

Course sharing blood was open to interpretation as well. Isaac’s rough and calloused finger tracing the length of one of the blades. He’d recently shared blood with Cane and been surprised in the intoxicating gratification he’d taken in it. Course there were those dark impulses…they’d been there so long he’d learned to make peace with em if not outright friends, but lately they’d been embraced as well—something Isaac never thought would happen.

“You think he’s picking out which one to hit you with?” A whisper of one student, Tanner, to another named Hudson as they huddled in a half circle with a few others near the large target board. Today was supposed to be silhouette work with real knives being thrown at human shaped silhouettes in preparation for the coming exam of throwing blades at Isaac himself. They were all aware that he’d promised to inflict the exact same level of damage they delivered his way. They still hadn’t decided whether he was serious or joking.

“ remember last class? I’m sure as hell not puttin my hand up again.”

“You ask stupid questions that waste time and that he’s already answered. He hates that.”

“Shut up. Least I can hit the target with the right end.”

“You get up and volunteer this time then when he asks. I had nightmares.”

“You’re gonna be the next if he hears you.”

“I think I saw him smile earlier...could have been a snarl...there were teeth involved.” Hudson muttered. The two owners of the murmured words had Cirque du Soleil dreams unfortunately currently tethered to backyard magic show skills.

“I dunno…he seems oddly more chill today, right?” He hasn’t threatened to kill either one of you. Besides, how cool is it that we are actually encouraged to throw knives in here? Let’s go to that new taco cart for lunch, I’m already starving. ” A more promising student injected herself into the conversation. Emma was here to learn how to own a stage as well as any potential opponents with her knife skills.

“Bet.” Tanner nodded in agreement with Emma’s words while in the middle of firing off a text to tell the others.

“Whatever, M&M....” Hudson tried to teasingly silence the girl with a nickname but wilted a moment later beneath that fiery feminine stare.

Isaac couldn’t deny the observations. Oh yes, he heard the side comments...impossible not to. Just as it was impossible to say he didn’t feel…good. Fingers grazed the razor’s edge of one of the knives and the images of a similar one sliding so easily across the skin, opening the wound so pent up intimacy could flow like a harbinger of ecstasy. There was a lightning flash, a sudden pernicious urge to drive the blade deeper until it hurt, until it drove all pleasure away. Suddenly seizing hold of him, it had metastasized with wicked malignancy to his next thought and desire again and again.

Isaac released the knife, stepped back from it as if it had scalded his hand. He hadn’t been sure of where such a visceral need had spawned from…only knew that it had the familiar residue to the times he’d woken up with bloodied hands, shattered glass scattered around. Thunderstorm colored eyes blinked and lifted to find the collection of students staring at him.

“No one eats till Thing One an Thing Two over there learn to throw worth a damn before the final exam. And they don’t serve tacos in the hospital.” Plantation parlance stretching out that rare bit of humor like a snake sunning itself on the road as he side eyed the troublemakers and a rare half smile appeared.

“Huh-ha.” The nervous laughter sounding first from Hudson and then the others, ice broken as they hesitantly joined in. It wasn’t like Isaac to make a joke. He was usually all business and demanding. He also looked like he’d been put through the ringer—but came out looking better than before.

“Stations.” Isaac instructed with a wave, daring to claim his own blade as he held it up to demonstrate once the students had arrived at their preordained positions “…you’ll need your index finger positioned on the spine at the balance point. This controls the release and prevents spin. Next is…” glancing towards the door as he was speaking, his own hand elevated and poised with the knife held high when he spotted Cane and that predatory smile. Dangerous game to play with a man currently holding a knife—as they’d both quite pleasurably learned already.

There and gone but enough to give Isaac pause as the presence stayed with him even as it prowled past the door. “Next is proper alignment of the wrist both when loading and on release…” Clarifying the next bit of technique. “You’ll be throwin at a livin breathin thing that don’t like getting sliced open and your audience wants the thrills, not the blood spills…” Rockslide of slate back towards the door briefly with an amused glint at his blatant lie. Certain company excluded of course.

The Wayward Wheeler Scion went through the rest of the class a bit more distracted than usual. After that look, time seemed to creep slower than a school clock, the Showman physically present while his mind drifted like an unsteered branch on the Savannah River, captive to the current which flowed in just one direction. Cane. The river’s energy collecting and building within him till he felt he’d burst if he didn’t let it out.

“That’s enough now.” Isaac’s drawl sounding amid the staccato of knife blades…and a few handles of his students…connecting with the wooden targets. “I swear tha lot of you could fuck up an anvil.” Isaac’s drawled words meant to cut class short. “Go on...get outta here. “His head jerked towards the door. “An come back when you’re ready to throw for real.” Accented words chasing them out of the room so he could find his own leave shortly afterwards.

He’d wander the halls with a relentless and restless energy …man was long used to wandering like a Bedouin from here to there and back again…until he found an empty room with a piano within. Wasn’t the first time this kind of energy’d found a release through music and with Cane in a meeting, it’d have to do. Isaac took a seat, fingers preparing the keys and thanks to Mrs. Broughton’s relentless need for perfection, he could play from memory. Woman would have battered the minister himself had he taken lessons from her.

“I’re gonna learn Beethoven, Isaac.” He could still remember those gnarled fingers that looked like a prunes and smelled of arthritis cream as she first laid out the sheet music for him . “You both got your own demons and a darkness in ya if your Mama’s to be believed.” She stared at the boy over her spectacles, who only glared back at her defiantly with that unwavering grey gaze like the threat of a summer thunderstorm on the precipice of unleashing, slicing right through a heatwave. The old woman only chuckled at the withering stare. She knew that Isaac wished he could be outside and not cooped up indoors like a caged animal learning to perform like a trained pet for his Mother’s posh parties. She gave him a knowing wink. He’d use that fire up in the piece. “Music worked for him…we’ll make it work for you.” And so, Isaac had learned Beethoven…had fallen in love with pieces like Moonlight Sonata’s 3rd Movement, Presto Agitato, as well as the one he currently sat down to be play. Sonata Number 23 Appassionata 3rd Movement.

This piece was about passionand the man was undeniably good with his hands. Isaac raced through the beginning—he’d taken to the challenge of the speed and intensity as a young man, strong strikes to the keys using the slightest of materials to recreate Beethoven’s rapid musical canvas as that relentless intensity began on a leash and ended with such fiery fervor that it threatened to cramp the hands even as it relaxed the soul. But Isaac had mastered those parts years ago—had always struggled with the slower parts of the piece that were far more intimate and earned knuckles numerous whacks. “Passion has many paths Isaac…it’s not always violent. Some day you will learn.” Isaac hearing Mrs. Broughton, but only just now understanding her as he negotiated the slower, more sensual part of the piece with an uncommon tenderness in his hands now as his fingers caressed the keys. It was not lost on him that the varying scales through the piece, each one added to the one before and after painting a similarly beautiful mosaic as the ones along Cane’s back. He embarked on the musical kaleidoscope with as much attention and passion as he had the ones tracing physiological contours of the man that had inspired him to play the piece in the first place and finished with the same fire that whet his appetite for bourbon, fire and blood.

Fuck. The single word breathed into the empty room as Isaac let the echoes of the last notes float upwards like the dust motes that caught the light, as he struggled inwardly with his own self-control and that darkness that craved more.

Appassionata 3rd Movement
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