The Trouble with Demons (18+)

A place for the stories that take place within Rhy'Din
Post Reply
User avatar
Equilibrium
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 pm
Location: Little Meracydia (between Little China & Little Korea), Dockside, Rhy'Din City

The Trouble with Demons (18+)

Post by Equilibrium »

((18+ Mature Content Warning - Read at your own risk))

"It's the details I'm not sure on. If she deserves it or not, who carries it out, why. Is it to prove something, or just because of a power struggle? But that's me looking for too much reason where there probably isn't any. That's the issue I seem to run into every time I try to come up with a justification for why someone has to die. It's why I always follow them for far too long, to play witness to final moments when they don't know they are final moments in the long run."

The hiss of a sucked cigarette, the slosh of a beer, a story recounted time and time again.

Few targets were so prominent and well protected as this one and yet, he found just the right time. Just the right moment where the gaps in time between who was protecting her, where she'd be traveling, the amount of backup she'd have, were just so that even a shot from a well chosen rooftop across an open courtyard on a quiet street. The crack, that unforgettable sound, the surprise in her eyes before she turned her head. The one perfect little hole in the perfect placement. It had taken him months and months, but he'd finally found a way. Or so he thought.

His target's morning had started off like any other. The Mad Widow had gone to sleep promptly at twelve oh one in the morning and woke without an alarm clock at six in the morning. She worked out, showered, had breakfast, made a half dozen phone calls, dressed and left the house at 7:30. Greetings were called out to her along her journey, received with polite replies. The only misstep she had taken so far was deciding to walk instead of drive. The people of Little Meracydia knew who she was and, while they gave her plenty of cursory kindness, they also gave her a wide berth. No one came close, no one tried to approach her, and that was perfectly fine by Sophia Song. A left, a right, a right again, a stop by a shop for a satchel of tea that may help her sleep from a woman they all called Witch.

"Are you well, love?" The Witch had asked her, studying her with a curious, almost avian, cant to her head.

"Fine." Sophia responded, monotone.

"Hm." The Witch clucked her tongue to the roof of her mouth and neatly tied a red string around the cinched neck of the white bag. She passed it to the Widow. "Are you busy tonight, ma'am?"

"That seems likely." Sophia drew her gaze down to the bag. It smelled wonderful. Peppermint, chamomile, eucalyptus, spiced chocolate...the kind of combination she normally would turn up her nose to. Right now, the scents were grounding, and she nodded without thinking. "Thank you, you’ll be compensated accordingly."

"Thank you, be well and be safe." The Witch bowed her head, and Sophia reached to settle her hands on both shoulders before lifting them away and heading onward. The crowd seemed to be thickening and growing in unease. Whispers as she moved. Perhaps not, they were too excited.

"You better come back with something big this time."

"Why doesn't she ever stay in the car if she's such a big important person?"

"I'm so sorry. She'll make it up to you, I promise."

"Isn't she so beautiful?"


Beautiful? She couldn't recall being called that, not for a long time. Couldn't even remember the last person she'd been complimented by. But she had no reason to lie.

The Witch was waving a few blocks behind her when the sound of a snap rang out, sudden and quiet in its nature. It was no louder than a handful of firecrackers dropped beside your ear. Any other place, another day, another time, it wouldn't have mattered. So quiet, so subtle. There'd been many that had failed in other ways before. None had ever gotten close enough to her, especially with a shot like this. And for most it ended with blood dripping from the ceiling onto the keyboard of the unlucky secretary unfortunate enough to be working during a failed hit. Not today though. But, it was merely the beginning.

Twice more in the next few years her body was wracked with bullets, once nearly driving her to the point of death and another merely a few hours late to truly make an impact. Unfortunate. Both incidents resulted in three different operatives finding that their lives were cut short abruptly that day. But the world keeps turning, work keeps moving, and the Mad Widow is a force to be reckoned with whether standing in the dead zone of three bullet's paths or not.

A week after the first attempt, Sophia and several other business leaders gathered at one of her exclusive and extensive properties to discuss how to move forward, and whether her business could remain in the legitimate sphere with how she dealt with those who opposed her.

At the conclusion, she addressed them all by thanking them for their concern, but adding that it had merely been an insult and not a grave injury, though one of her own had paid the price. And then went home to eat an entire calorie rich cake in honor of the day her life had changed in more ways than one. Though more would come in the next few months and one more that would involve a grenade lobbed through her penthouse window, these were the incidents that others took particular note of, citing in reports that she should be terminated first as she was the most reckless and volatile. Two more failed attempts were made. Two more men were dead on the floor of the Widow's office and those that the Mad Widow reached over the safety of her desk and grasped by their necks.

But that, the night of the snipers. This was the story many refused to take part in. It wasn't something to trifle with, nor something to rush. The three of them had scattered when the flash of golden light had exploded. One on a fire escape that was a distance but near enough to have a decent shot. One atop the roof, and one kneeling on a balcony just above. One hadn't even managed to take aim before the light had started to engulf the figure, too close to the heat as the Widow's shadow had started to become like the wings of a dragon, slashing out to pin someone to a nearby wall. Eyes following a black trail in the air, it was impossible not to believe that she had, in fact, absorbed the power of the light from the gunshot. She didn't hesitate for a moment to close the distance, hand flashing out as easily as if she was reaching into a well stocked icebox. Hand through one eye, down, down, crushing something vitally important as she drove the hand just a bit deeper, pulling it out and casting the man down like trash onto the roof. Like an eagle, diving for a rodent. Quick, efficient. No fumbling, no hesitation, not like those times she came back home soaked to the bone in blood that certainly wasn't her own. Not someone she had so cruelly shredded with nothing but sharpened fingernails, the occasional bullet ricochet, or a garrotte.

"Nnno," Another cigarette sighed, cigarette ash flicked away as a face was run with gloved fingers over it.

"She's not without emotions. I don't believe any murderer ever is, be it the clean and deadly slice of an assassin or the bloody clawing of a deranged killer. Besides, the way I look at things, it's rarely about the kill for me. I wouldn't call myself a sadist nor a megalomaniac, let alone a morally devoid being of pure, unfiltered villainy. Really, when I take out a hit I am nothing more than an audience member, a voyeur, silently observing what unfolds before me in silent anticipation. No, you can't really say I have anything to do with the fall of humanity itself unless you view me as a harbinger of an idea. A new kind of justice or retribution, and this story? This is not my story but that of a woman lost, and the tragic circumstances that lead her to where she was on a cold evening in November."
User avatar
Equilibrium
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 pm
Location: Little Meracydia (between Little China & Little Korea), Dockside, Rhy'Din City

Re: The Trouble with Demons (18+)

Post by Equilibrium »

He could have killed her in any other way; he had planned to when she escaped his first trap. That hadn't been personal. It had been business. Even after every successful mission, every paycheck collected, every time that he'd not missed. Something about this one, though, filled him with a rage that he hadn't known since the loss of his own, little family.

The crack of a palm, the curl of a lip, a tiny set of hands clutching uselessly at the neck. But that's not who we're here to talk about. For now, settle back, and let this version of a story be told.

"Things didn't go according to plan, not that it was a very complicated one. First comes the kill, then comes the reward, then goes the anonymous. There was supposed to be a simple one, and a bit more complicated second. I wish we had time for it. But, by the time she reached me it would already be too late."

So.. Where does it start? Is it your first sight, or that unpronounceable feeling the moment you sense danger? Does it start long before that, the moment your heart starts beating, or is there another history, buried so deep even the gods would have trouble finding it? Who are we to say, as much as it does matter in the end, it does matter when it starts. They knew that much, just as a painter always knows what color to mix, what size canvas and paint brush is needed for which piece.

In his head it went. A blurry figure that was far too fast, even with the careful watching of each step, tallying every breath the would-be assassin took. He could have moved, to the window, that she would pass by it. He could have waited, letting her investigate the broken glass, the darkness. The perfect moment to strike, she wouldn't know the face. She wouldn't recognize him now. Yet as he turned in his boots to bolt, a flash of a mirror stopped him, even as the chill of night rushed down his spine, causing the black scales along his arm and shin to flex. His reflection had stopped him, or the appearance of it. He wasn't him anymore, not as quickly as the image was changing, the hint of fangs peeking from lips that should not curl into a predatory smile, eyes of green gazing deeper into the growing dark where more shadows stretched the distance between them. A slight tilt of the head as his, the reflection mimicked.

"How the..."

Another strike of a palm across her cheek, cracking hard against her jaw. Maybe if he did this it would block out the hissing, growling, the laughter. Make her eyes close, unable to see what lingered around her ankles. A sound of whining came from somewhere to his left, prompting him to turn and frown. It reminded him of the way his youngest son would whine at dinner when he wanted food. There was a time she had done the same thing, only a bit before when dinner wasn't fit for a king. Then it did.

It was perhaps because of the angle he looked from that he didn't see it, something that should have made his eyes flash in fear. And fear he should have felt. Yet a flash in the window, somewhere above, the sound of a ruckus on the balcony that snapped the trill of another snarl in her voice to his ears. Something had found its way into the game, and they hadn't considered it a serious threat.

Or perhaps this is it, in the moments before a story comes to fruition. Perhaps we can learn more in those moments of pain and sorrow and grief. Perhaps more than your pasts should tell. You can't blame me for trying, especially in all that is to come.

"It's always been about balance, you see. But not in the way you might think. I will forever remain ageless, timeless and unaffected by such petty human things. My beauty is impeccable because I have no concept of aging. My money is infinite because my coffers simply replenish themselves. Nothing ends for me. Nothing dies. I remain stubbornly alive. I remained consistently undefeatable. So how much of me must continue to die just for me to remain barely tethered to this rotting existence?"

Even in that bare room where nothing lived or moved, even she had to breathe. And the sound of it chilled him far more than the nights of his youth, even more than the winters in this city. Even when the woman stumbled and caught herself on hands that gripped like spiders and seemed to want to burrow deeper, further down and deeper into the bones below. Even when the sudden silence filled the square.

"Tell me where I went wrong, where did they die, but that is not important. What is important, dear children, is what it took for all of us to be here. I'm sure many of you had more innocent dreams, a life away from this. The sort of dreams your parents might have hoped and wished for. You could have avoided coming here, much like he could have gone a different direction on this story."

Closer, closer, until he could hear her heartbeat.

"But people have such a knack for walking into the light, and seeing the goodness when there is not such a thing as innocence here. Love, hate. Two sides of the same coin. People get so involved in the mundane. All this over nothing."

Sometimes you might find something about yourself that you didn't consider before. How easily the body turned towards her, not unlike how the water began to run red in the sinks, the showers.

"Blood doesn't show on my clothes you know, not like it used to."

It wouldn't be too far of a stretch to try and find the pieces of her skull though, like shiny little glass marbles beneath the furniture.

"There are worse things to get caught on at least. I don't worry so much about the little details, you have to see the bigger picture sometimes."

Like the bits of brain on the bed frame, or the smear along the frame where a fist would have hit against her skull like you would imagine in a crime movie.

"No, not like you see in movies... You think of your movies, and I will show you nothing but raw experiences in the most horrible places. Just like in one movie, that's all that love and happiness is to me. And, I've always liked games, but don't get it in your mind that this is a game... I guarantee you, there is someone who will play with the same ruthlessness as me, in equal levels of cruelty."

The squelch as her spine crunched. The crunch when a heel would have put it deeper into her sternum. He could not see what was happening, not as the first blood splatter hit the floor. Not in the moments that lead up to when this occurred. But at some point in the story, he had shifted into a more dangerous state. More horrifying. Was it a shift to better defend himself? Or was it when her head ripped away from the spinal cord, leaving a gaping maw with its jaw unhinged?

But where does this story begin? For him? The moment of her betrayal, or the moment he allowed himself to see the bigger picture behind her intentions? He would never share what happened with anyone, refusing to even answer the questions. Silence was better than spilling his soul, but to spill the souls of those that had hurt him? That was fine. That would still keep him silent. It isn't often a human can walk through both sides of hell, a single entity of one choice given the ability to look into a mirror and do the impossible.
User avatar
Equilibrium
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 pm
Location: Little Meracydia (between Little China & Little Korea), Dockside, Rhy'Din City

Re: The Trouble with Demons (18+)

Post by Equilibrium »

"We'll just ignore the hard hitters in the story, just leave those out and gloss over the time between this, and the trial by the Triad Council of Seven. Or even the aftermath. You won't need that portion, even if it's important to the people involved."

Except there wasn't much there either. There had been silence, a single night before anyone called it in. Not a peep, not even a mention until the police rushed into the room, finding the room a wreck as well as the naked and twitching remains of a woman that couldn't have been alive much longer in a bed that had been well manicured to avoid exposure or scandal. Not that there was much left of her once they got in there. Naked doesn't mean she was defenseless, never means she was too weak.

In a place like this, people forget the inherent danger they can show by being soft, by letting themselves hide in a shell. This never meant anything, except the screams later, echoing down the streets. Those people were fools. In Rhy'din, a land of beings that didn't exactly follow the laws, forgetting what it meant to be safe wasn't smart. It was those beings, not the law, that would come for the killers. That much could be counted on.

The only problem with a snake, is that a snake can't bring back what's already been devoured. So when the officers responded to that scene, several things became clear. One. Their victim had already been killed by the time they arrived. They didn't find the bullet shells, they found three empty guns, and the stench of gunpowder. They found five bullets lodged inside the walls, but no casings to tie the investigation to. The last problem, when they went to retrieve the body, her head was missing. The best explanation for this, with the shredded up neck and protruding bones, was that her head had been bit off. By the clean straight line of the incision, and the teeth marks, there would be no proving that a rabid dog had done this and not something a little larger.

But they would assume the animal was dead anyway, right?

The second story, we'll leave the bigger story where we don't have access, where a mind can turn fuzzy and a broken psyche turns on itself. An eye for an eye, why not a head for a head? This is the story about the ones you didn't notice. Not that anyone but them paid attention to who she was.

Two heads are better than one. Every family has secrets, every family has demons, everyone has a bit of darkness. But two people? With nothing but darkness in their being, or their actions? That is truly how nightmares are made. In this place, filled with myths and legends, there are infinite ways to make an army. The average citizen wouldn't understand them as far as the Triad was concerned. The average citizen wouldn't really know what was what. It was why those that owned this city were who they were. To possess so many souls to do as he pleased? Of course he would run around laughing in the streets.

Lights dimmed, streets silent save for the police presence, no one cared about the world around them. Perhaps some would, perhaps others would. Not many cared however, not when there was business to be conducted. Humans like the ones that existed here, lived day to day for survival. It didn't always take these creatures to kill a person, it didn't take much to snap another to destruction. And wasn't that always a sad thought? Not because that was simply the truth, but because it spoke to the true darkness of humanity.

"Blood," she would whisper quietly.

"Yes?" The whispers would return.

Not his blood, and not just hers.

There had to have been something sick, something twisted. Revenge was meant to be something that lasted but did it have to be like this?

Not long later, a man could be seen sitting next to her, something resembling a priest might if not for the fact he wore all black. The Mad Widow liked to share her bed with as many lovers as possible, and men like this were used to bringing a knife across the throats of the ones whose names didn't matter. When you had too much blood on your hands to keep your word, it was simple enough to do whatever one needed.

It was his job, you see, to continue on the cycle.

After a long night of debauchery and drunken revelry, it wasn't long before the final partner slipped into a drugged stupor. Sophia's silky, black hair was splayed across the bedspread that had managed to stay clean in their desperate gasps of lust. Lulled into false security, her dark brown eyes started to slip shut.

He watched her start to wake, an automatic reaction no doubt from too much alcohol, or a drugged haze she didn't quite control. Soon, the thrashing would begin, when the poison started to work its way through her system. He would have loved to play a song for her, to serenade her demise and send her spiraling towards her eternal resting place. Sadly though, she might not even get that. People didn't often go where they should in this world, especially in death. Some found ways to linger, some found ways to never actually reach hell. In this instance, he would be both as his fingers hit a familiar tune against the guitar strings and he allowed himself to continue playing a mournful lullaby.

Time passed, and she was fading, or so it seemed, when she had reached out for him. Oh how he would have loved to clutch her hands, or hold them to his face. Not a monster then, just a lost soul that had sought and found something that felt like a home. The trouble with an assassin, you see, is that you always take one back home with you. It is always the memories that end up killing a person, the thoughts that weigh heavy over a soul, until eventually they are nothing more than dust.

His eyes burned at the thoughts of it, to have taken so many lives that he could no longer count or would ever know of the number. What value was there in life without light? There was a time when his daughter would smile as bright as a sun, now, what was she? Blood on his hands, all blood on his hands. It is difficult to understand what happens in a flash, let alone what it means to destroy someone else's world.

We would like to make it a point of sharing something few ever did know. If there was anything for an assassin, a thief in the night, a boogieman in shadows, there was once a time when they did not know what it was to destroy that which was not their business. Maybe he should have picked up a different career, perhaps, but don't we all change fate? Especially in a place like this, there was no choice but to continue forward.

The trouble with demons? Eventually, you become so tangled in them, you can't even look in a mirror and see yourself. Eventually, the monster breaks, and you hear howling at midnight in the shadows, but no one ever knew, even as it felt as though the streets would drip red.
Though it should have been the contrary, her grasping turned into thrashing, the sedative not doing its job. Dark eyes closed to rest, only opening momentarily, allowing a loud enough shriek of terror to pulse through the air, an audible promise of never having the idea, 'night', feeling safe again.

The words to the assassin would be spoken gently. Not by a frightened victim, not by someone used to not understanding fear. Not by someone not fully alive, not a fragile flower that had learned quickly. No, no, this was a directive, a statement.

"I will eat your heart."
User avatar
Equilibrium
Junior Adventurer
Junior Adventurer
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:36 pm
Location: Little Meracydia (between Little China & Little Korea), Dockside, Rhy'Din City

Re: The Trouble with Demons (18+)

Post by Equilibrium »

Silence never really existed, not at times like these. This is a land of ghosts and monsters, after all. A threat doesn't always have to be expressed with aggression, not always. In this city, though, intent was everything. Even in the land of broken minds, madness existed and one day, she would be free again. He stayed to watch her struggle, even when it wouldn't change things, even though he could slip away without notice. The shadows must have something for her to greet.

A quiet voice though, a quiet presence, "Do you want it warm? We could provide your loved ones something to remember you by."

She paused in her thrashing, gazing upon her companion and a wry smile almost greeted her mouth, but there would be no light, not even a flicker. Only the sound of an animalistic grumble escaped and echoed through the room.

Did he not understand?

"You look concerned." she whispered, even though she did not appear to be calm. The assassin would certainly appreciate the truth in his query. They had only one goal in mind. It took another moment, before a simple nod would pass from the woman in response.

"Make it a fitting death."

Well, that certainly had an implication, hadn't it? Regardless, there was a name that he had to repeat over and over again, to put the pieces together. What a man would do to cause her demise, would truly be beyond the imagination of most.

Rather simply, he just set the candle to her flame, burning her up from the inside. For once, a fire could be heard on the streets and others noticed, others knew, others watched. In this land, others waited for anyone and anything that might mean the destruction of all they had worked so hard to build.

Imagine it, an unknown vessel delivering final judgment. These streets would learn to obey or die.

She did not yet though, she did not. Her last words would remain silent to anyone but the monster sitting before her, so many wishes and wants, and wants so much.

Her eyes gleamed towards the one who ended her, a silent goodbye forgone with the removal of head from neck, the former stuffed into rough burlap hardly befitting such a specimen. But proof was proof and it would suffice for the Demon indeed.

It is said that when hell is running over, we might all think about our sins, our little slips that really meant nothing. But we would all care about life once it was over and there was nothing left. Who would claim to care in a land of monsters, after all? Surely then there would always exist hope, just a flicker, even a glimpse.

"Was it enough?"

All beings will ask themselves that at some point, if it was even possible. Everyone was meant to want more, and yet, here was when that would end. Was it ever, truly, enough? There is always a reason for the things in this world, always a justification. Don't we like to pretend there is? The world is a hell for others, another place to peruse our own whims and desires.

But that won't end it, will it?

Rumors are rampant when magic exists and rumor has it, Sophia holds an impressive array of spells in her arsenal. It might well be true, or it might not. No one, in this age, in this era, will make out like they can give someone the dreams they so seek. The world exists in a shadow of fear, like it always has, like it always would.

Such trivial things don't survive for very long anyway, now do they? They get cut down before they can become grand, before they can become beautiful. So, whether it is her, or her name, doesn't mean anything at all.

All she is, is but a memory now.
Image
Post Reply

Return to “The Streets of Rhy'Din (shared)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests