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The Gothic Rainbow: Beginning Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries

The Gothic Rainbow: Beginning Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries

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The Gothic Rainbow: Beginning Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries

valutazioni:
5/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
810 pagine
11 ore
Pubblicato:
Feb 20, 2013
ISBN:
9781301916771
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Helle Tompkins has reached the end of her days as an outcast, suburban teenager. Ever since her beloved father killed himself, and they released Helle from the mental hospital for trying to join him, she's been in a place where her pain is far deeper than high school melodrama. No more hiding behind black lipstick and a mohawk. Now she's playing with pagan charms, Wiccan rites, and the scrying sorcery of her Ouija board. It's the perfect distraction until she summons the attention of a charming and sinister faerie prince. A seductive spirit lurking in the shadows of treebranches shimmering upon her walls, he may be something much more horrible than he claims. Will she succumb to bewitching promises and find salvation in his cruel embrace, or will his own agonizing secrets draw Helle into even deeper heartbreak?

The story continues in "Annwn's Maelstrom Festival: Concluding Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries".

Pubblicato:
Feb 20, 2013
ISBN:
9781301916771
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore


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Anteprima del libro

The Gothic Rainbow - Eric Muss-Barnes

Barnes

Proem

This is the world's first musical-motion picture-novel (well, I doubt that ... but it's the first to my knowledge anyway). All that means is that many songs, albums, and bands are referred to throughout the pages, whenever the atmosphere of the story is befitting for them. Some of the songs were picked for their lyrics. Some for their music. Some for both. And some were chosen just because I like the tune.

- you will even see a few sections of text -

- that are written like this -

Those lines, like the previous two, which are set in italics between hyphens, often (but not always) denote song lyrics, and should by no means be construed as copyright infringement or plagiarism on my part. That is the whole reason why I set them apart from the rest of the text to begin with; in order to acknowledge that they are song lyrics composed by musicians I have mentioned.

On the contrary to offending these musicians, I'm hoping my novel provides some additional positive exposure and free promotion for these artists, simply because I enjoy their work and believe it should be heard.

If you possess the means, and so long as it doesn't interrupt your pace of reading or distract you too severely, I would strongly suggest that you stop to play these songs, whenever they're described. Often, those parts were written with the specific intention of being read that way, seeing as I wrote those parts while listening to those songs myself. Like a movie, I wanted a musical soundtrack to accompany my tale.

Although I certainly want readers to find this novel worthwhile, even if read in total silence, doing so while listening to the recommended music should contribute a lot to the scenes and enhance the feel of the book. As with a film, the boundless emotion reflected in music will often serve to give a greater luster to the facets presented in this saga. My decision to write it like this was my way of adding a touch of further realism, in the hopes of granting the story that much more depth and substance. Subjecting oneself to the actual sounds these characters experience, could make it all the more tangible for you to imagine, and all the more enjoyable for you to read. You may even wish to consider purchasing a few of the albums if you don't own them already.

A playlist, respectively covering all the musical references, starts at the back of the book, if you want to jump ahead and look at it before you begin.

... Welcome to the Noctuaries ...

". . . now 'tis the time of night

that the graves all gaping wide

everyone lets forth it's sprite

in the churchway paths to glide. . ."

- William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Act 5 : Scene 1

Chapter One

Allyson called it The Killing Game.

The seduction of mortals. Charming them. Wooing them. Enchanting them. Feeding... and driving them into the plunging depths of madness. The act of shining a light onto that everpresent darkness in their own minds. Turning lives upside down. Tearing souls inside out. Filling them with desire... and stealing more than blood. Taking sanity... Hopes... Dreams... Dignity... Everything.

My hands shook with anticipation. With excitement. The lustful thrill. Soon, it would begin. That night, We would play again...

Skinny Puppy's Last Rights CD blared out of My stereo. Peeking into the room, Allyson asked, So, what will it be tonight?

She smiled, seductively, with only the corner of Her mouth. Her hair was down and dangled at the top of Her black, lace bra. Her cream-white skin was covered with leather boots, painted-on shorts, spiderweb nylons and a spike encrusted motorcycle jacket. All black. Nothing else.

She was ready to play.

I turned down the music. I smiled back, putting on My underwear. Forty-something. Banker-type, with -

Her eyes rolled. - No, She interrupted, Lonely. Too easy. You can do better than that. She walked in and sat on the bed.

Kid.

She cocked Her head, inquisitive. How old? She took out some black lipstick and began to put it on, defying the myth that Our Kind cast no reflection.

Underage. Got in with a fake I.D.

Her lips pursed in disappointment. "Too easy! Horny as hell. Not to mention neurotically nervous. I fucking look at him and he'll cum."

I chuckled. My, aren't We modest?... Fine. Eighteen - with a girlfriend.

She leaned back, laughing. Beautiful, My Dear. That's more like it... Do I get her too?

If You want.

Two for the price of one. Love it.

I smiled, satisfied, and continued getting dressed. Good. And for Me?

I'll tell You later. She put the lipstick away.

Oh? Something special in mind?

She stood, threw Her arms around My waist, licked My neck and whispered. Sure do. You're going to love this one. She was purring and slowly pulled away. Now finish dressing - No. Wear Your hair down, it looks better. And wear a little eyeliner. I'll get the car. The Testieroaster? She joked as She walked out the door.

Giggling I said, Cool. We'll do crotch-rockets next week.

She peered back slowly, raising a questioning eyebrow. Crotch-rockets?

I made a revving motion with My wrist, as if on a motorcycle.

Oh. She mused playfully and took a deliberately long look at My thighs.

Here I was hoping You meant something else. She grinned, showing iridescent pearl fangs. I cast Her a cynical gaze and threw a pillow. She ducked.

Just get the damn car.

She blew Me a kiss and went downstairs. I finished dressing.

∞ ∞ ∞

Shamus Devonson was hosting a small party on the estate that night. Very big deal. His company, Devin's Squire Publishing, just recently released a biography on some famous, recently-deceased orchestral conductor. Not My type of crowd.

Camillia was just coming down the hallway as I left Our room. She was arm in arm with a man. He was handsome. Clean-cut. Sophisticated. The GQ-model stereotype. I suppressed a grin - a fine Concubine for Her.

Camillia smiled. Hello.

"Ah, the slight southern accent tonight, Camillia? How charming. How could he resist?" Hi.

"Don't start dear Brother. Not now." Her smile turned amused. She loved it all, these games We played.

Davíd, this is My Brother.

Ah! A pleasure. Miss DuBois has told me about You.

Pleasure? It is all Mine, Davíd. I said, shaking his hand. Miss DuBois? My, My, what a gentleman. He seems unaccustomed to see a guy in make-up. What kind of a fucking name is Da -

- Were You just leaving, Brother dear?

Why, yes, I was. I grinned sarcastically.

Davíd spoke up. Ah, You are in a play, yes?

My smile dropped. Ah, no... You're not from around here, are you? You conservative dipshi -

"No, he's not. We'll see You later, Dear. I have to finish showing Our guest Our humble home." And if You make one more smartass remark Brother," You won't get fucked by Me tonight."

Ah, fine. Well, You do that. You're such a tease Sis. It was a pleasure meeting you -

" - Call him Dave and I'll kill You - "

- Davíd. I saw him nod politely and I walked away.

"Hey... I love You, Camillia."

"Love You, too. Have fun. And do try to not upset Shamus."

"Come, come. 'Tis not I. Allyson on the other hand..."

Camillia giggled aloud, Davíd thinking it was over an inane joke he'd made.

The party was in full-swing downstairs. Our mansion filled with lots of stuffy, pompous arrogance in fancy clothes. It was very formal. High-class. Invitation only... What was that phrase, cultural elite?... Yeah, sure.

It was a hundred lost souls of the old, uptight, and well-to-do, discussing European vacations, third-rate orchestral performances, and the latest successes of their children whom they never see anymore. The couples leave out the parts about no longer loving each other. About pain. The singles, divorced and widowed, leave out the loneliness that torments them - how they'll go home after the party and cry over a faded photograph of a lost love. They all leave out their lost dreams. Their hating. Animosity and resentment toward life. The pool and the ballroom wouldn't be used that night. Just the piano. Upon which a has-been pianist would play happy tunes with a tortured heart. The mansion stank of the stale blood of the forgotten. Their essence disgusted Me. It was foul. Vile. Revolting. I couldn't wait to get to the club.

I laughed as I walked down the steps into the main hall. Outside, Allyson was honking the horn and revving the Testarossa engine so loud, that the noise was completely drowning out the party. A fitting mockery and belittlement. The guests stared at the door and each other. They were muttering and murmuring. Dazed. Confused. Offended. I smiled and nodded graciously, offering them superficial hellos or an unconcerned enjoying the party?

Shamus was at the door. He leered at Me. He was hurried. Impatient... Hateful...

I took My time and returned a sly sneer. Evening, Shamus.

He ignored Me and shut the door behind Me on My way out. I broke up laughing. So did Allyson. The passenger door on the Ferrari was opened. I climbed in and Allyson peeled out. She careened up the winding road leading off the estate and shot towards the highway. We rode a sleek, black monster, howling towards the city at 120 miles an hour with The Cure's Pornography album turned up to eight on the CD player.

My mind swam in a relaxed fever. Controlled adrenaline. I felt nothing. Sensing everything. My eyes closed. Images danced in the darkness. Lights. Music. Movement. Heat. Dancing mortals. Sultry youth. Sweating. Protruding veins.

Veins. Arteries. Throbbing. Coursing. The pulsating heat, driven off-beat by the irresistible bass. Beating. Pumping... Bleeding - out the neck. The eyes. The arms. The thighs. Everywhere. Ripping flesh. Gored bodies. And blood. Blood. Blood. Draining. Drunk until the soul screams to take flight... My body swims in a blood sea. I'm clutching them. Embracing them. They kick. Scream. Thrash... They're so small. Puny. Insignificant. Meaningless. Helpless. Terrified... Dragging them under the waves. The Oceans of Hell. I laugh. Sweet warmth, caressing My throat. Ecstasy. Oh, sweet ecstasy. To touch. To Kiss. To ravage...

I opened My eyes and stared at Allyson. I smirked, wondering of Her Own fantasies. Of what beautiful perversions did Her black heart dream? The blood of tortured children perhaps? Dragged about the estate as the battle of Hector and Achilles? Ancient perversions with a twisted, demented aspect to lend it originality? Indeed. My dark friend could love just that. Twisted genius. I loved Her. Allyson - My Lovers Sister. My best Friend.

I closed My eyes again as the car carried We two Creatures, and the dark harmonies of One Hundred Years through the night. We didn't speak. There was no need. We were on Our way to Our haven. Our sanctuary. Our hunting ground. Heaven. We were on Our way... to play the Killing Game...

Chapter Two

Fuck! Allyson punched the roof. Her fist almost tore through. Literally. I've seen Her do worse. Human bones are crepe paper to Her.

That's Nix's piece-of-shit-car, isn't it? She glanced at Me. "I'm going to kill that little bastard."

Fine. Just chill. Wait here. I climbed out of the car. The parking lot was jammed. A line of two hundred mortals snaked around the building and awaited entrance to the club. It was only 10:30. And the line was growing.

I glided past them to the front of the line and the crowd parted as I strolled in.

Hey! Some angry bouncer grabbed My shoulder. "Get back in line!"

Slowly, I turned to face him. He was enormous. He towered over Me. I leered at him. Excuse Me?

My tiny hand clutched his wrist. I squeezed it and took his hand from My shoulder. He swiftly grabbed at Me with his other hand. Okay, buddy, that - Uuugh!

I squeezed his wrist harder. Very hard. He squealed and collapsed to his knees.

I said, excuse Me? Circulation was cut. With little more effort, his wrist would be pulp. Like crepe paper.

Whoa! Stop! A voice called out above the amazed crowd. Out of the mass of people stepped Brandon Gurhin. Another bouncer. One of Us. The guy is new, man! He didn't know!

I glared back at the bouncer on his knees. He didn't speak. His eyes pleaded for mercy. He was in shock. His soul in terror. He -

He didn't know, man! Ease up! Brandon repeated. I looked at Him.

Giving orders now?

N-No, Your Highness. I just - You know -

Without looking back at the groveling bouncer, I let go of his wrist. To Brandon I said, Where's Nix?

He jerked a thumb. Inside. Not sure where. Could check the lounge.

Fuck, damnit!

What's up?

"The asshole parked in front of the garage and Allyson is about to tear the Testarossa a new sunroof, She's so pissed."

Impatient Lady. He chuckled, crossing His arms.

No shit.

Yeah, I wonder where She gets it from? He asked sarcastically. He looked at the bouncer who grabbed My shoulder. You okay? The man stood again, holding his wrist, and nodded.

I grinned. "Fuck You, Brandon. She does not get it from Me."

Did I say that? He gave Me a friendly slap on the back as I slipped past Him into the club.

Luckily, Nix was right inside the doors. His real name was Nicholas Iscariot.

He was an annoying, sniveling kid who was mentally trapped with the mind of a fourteen-year old, trying way too hard to be cool. Physically, He was eighteen - and had been ever since three years ago in New York. He was a Regular, when He could pay the cover.

Hey, dude! Nix raised a high-five.

I ignored it. Don't bother. Move Your car or Allyson's going to kill You.

Huh?

I turned sarcastic and condescending. "You parked in front of the garage, Nix. That means Allyson and I couldn't park in the garage. It also means I had to come in through the front door, Nix. You know I hate the hassle of that. In fact, I got hassled tonight. So, what are You going to do about it Nix?"

He fumbled with His keys and stared at the floor; a reprimanded dog. I'll move My car.

I stopped Him. "No, You won't. Allyson will just assume kill You. Give Me Your keys. I'll move Your car. You just go have fun and avoid Allyson tonight. Alright? You owe Me one... How many's that make?"

Still staring down. Um... Five?

That's right, Nix. Five... Say it.

I owe you five, dude. He handed Me the keys.

I turned without another word and headed outside. When I reached the car, Allyson was standing against the door, arms crossed. Pissed.

"Where is He!?"

I've got His keys. I walked past Her and She got back in Our car. I put Nix's car in the far rear corner of the back lot. There were closer spaces, but He didn't deserve them. Idiot.

Allyson waited for Me. A torrent of light and music poured out of the darkness as We walked in the club. We had arrived at the Gothic Rainbow.

The crowd parted as Allyson and I made Our way across the dancefloor. The club was packed. Hot bodies. Fresh blood. Mortals danced, entranced by rhythm. The dreary vertigo. Spinning. Losing all sense of direction. Losing all sense of self. Losing everything. Throwing their fevered souls into the despair. I could smell the anger. The apathetic hate... What sweet ecstasy... To taste the aura of malice... It was almost as blood... Almost...

Allyson and I walked up to the second level, overlooking the main dance floor. To watch. To hunt. Loud, industrial music shook the walls. The metal railing vibrated in My grip and the floor did likewise underfoot.

She whispered to Me. Who?

I smiled. I've changed My mind.

Allyson looked interested. She was aroused with the Hunger. I could see it.

Find a girl. I said. Like her. I pointed below. She was brunette. Long hair. Late twenties. A conservative, professional business woman. She and her boyfriend sat at a bar. Flirting. Plastic affections.

Allyson gave Me one slow nod and smiled. Fine. She began to move down below.

Hey! I called out. And Mine?

Allyson looked back. Patience, Sweetie.

I stood there motionless for a long time. Watching. Time slows at such moments. The music. The lights. The movement. It becomes a hypnotic trance, those intangible images in the dark. A half an hour can come to pass in a blink. Or a minute can drag on for eternity. Time loses all meaning and coherence. Time loses all meaning in the gloom.

Eventually, I walked down to the main floor again. As I passed the bar, Allyson flashed a subtle smile at Me - cold joy blazing in Her eyes. Evil. It happened dreamily... Slowly. Surreal. Her face was a distinctive, burning image in the chaos of light and shadow. Her hand was on the thigh of the woman I challenged Her to take. The woman wore an engagement ring.

Fuck her.

I smiled back. She was Allyson's now. Neither she nor her fiance will understand why they drifted apart. How she could've changed so much. She will be consumed by guilt for loving Allyson. She won't understand how she became attracted to another woman. When her fiance finds out, he will hate her. When that happens, she'll turn to Allyson for comfort. She'll have no one else left. No alternative. But Allyson will abandon her. She'll be cruel. Vicious. Without compassion. Without remorse.

Allyson will be laughing. Two lives destroyed. A thousand hopes. A thousand dreams. Shattered. Allyson will be full then. Fed upon pain. Fed upon blood. Tossing the empty carcass of a soul into nothingness. The whole thing may take years. The poor couple. I would have pitied them had they meant anything...

Moving into the lounge, I sank into a couch and gazed out the gargantuan bay window, overlooking the rear parking lot and the city skyline. The crowd came and went, the ebb and flow of humanity. The pretentious yuppies and artists to the hardcore punks. The clean-cut preppies and jocks to the laconic gangbangers and skinheads. Walking business suits, a lone herd of working-class schmucks, and grotesque fluff chicks with hairspray-lacquered scalps. All came to the Gothic Rainbow. Many were drawn there by Us, although they didn't know it.

But the largest percentage of the crowd were the industrial/punk/goths. Dressed all in black. The Wannas, as Allyson sometimes called them: Wanna-be Children Of The Night. Dark. Gothic. Vampiric. They were the ones who would have been there anyway. We had no need to draw them in. They were the Regulars. The Clubbers. Those who had no life but the night. Those who did but one thing - go out into the abyss to dance. Religiously. Addicted. Everynight. They were Nothing. The Lost Ones. Soulless. I knew them all, those sensual deities... And a few of them were like Me... Immortal...

The DJ put on a hometown artist - Trent Reznor. (Fine, maybe he wasn't born here, but it's close enough.) Select and magnificent tracks of The Downward Spiral and March Of The Pigs EP started to shake the foundations.

I went to the floor to dance. Black motorcycle jackets protected those who started slamming. Those who usually went to the Top 40 dance clubs seemed a little unnerved. Spinning Kindred sent cloaks in spiraling flight. Skins stomped like madmen in Docs and suspenders. Hate and anger electrified the air and insanity boiled in the eyes of a raging crowd. Strobe lights froze a thousand images into the mind. Dry ice and fog machines turned the frenzy of dance into a surreal nightmare. I became lost in it all as Nine Inch Nails wailed malice... It was My world... I was home...

I don't know how long I danced. Time vanished and the music filled Me. There was a Curve song just starting when I noticed Devan Fordough in the sea of people and light. He was very handsome. Tall. Long black hair. He was lead singer in a local industrial/gothic band called Lioncourt. They took their name from Lestat de Lioncourt, the main character in the infamous Vampire Chronicle novels by Anne Rice. Their band was excellent.

Lioncourt was going places.

He approached Me, smiling. As we hugged hello, he asked, How's it going!?

Good! We separated.

Hey, man, You'd better come outside!

What's up!?

Just come on! Felicia wants You!

She was the manager. Felicia Delbourne - a classy blonde Woman with a southern drawl. She was a Playmate many decades ago. October. Took Her centerfold on a pool table. I always tell Her that She looks like She hasn't aged a day. Lucky for Her She's not Dorian Gray.

Wait'll this tune's over, Devan!

Just have Jim play it again! Come on! He tugged at My arm. Oh, fuck. I was annoyed. More-so at Felicia than Devan. But Devan wouldn't do this without good reason. I went with him, groaning. What is it!?

We moved closer to the entrance and the mood of the crowd changed. Incoming patrons were tense, almost paranoid, looking over their shoulders, saying things like:

How are they going to get in!?

What were they yelling!?

What's going on!?

I don't know, dude!

Shit, that's crazy!

"I'd hate to be working security here tonight!"

Brandon and his friend were quietly nervous.

Felicia spotted Me and grabbed My arm. John Dackman was with Her too. He was an enormous black man. He had been a professional weightlifter and boxer in the 1940's. Won a few competitions. I've seen trophies. He and Felicia were lovers.

Found Him! Devan told Her.

Thank goodness. Am I glad You're here. I asked Devan to find You - I was just going to look for You Myself.

What the fuck is going on? I asked. The entrance to the club itself was far enough removed from the street that most people standing in line (including those lined up outside) couldn't see what all the commotion was about. Swaying torsos, tip-toed feet, and craned necks tried vainly to offer a better view anyway.

As Felicia, John, Devan and I rushed out of the club, My question was quickly answered. We stood on the edge of an enormous cement patio overlooking a railing to the street almost fifteen feet below. About eight-hundred protesters were lined up and down the sidewalk, three rows deep. Some sitting with arms interlocked, some marched with signs.

Slogans on shirts and signs read, We Shall Overcome Our Parish Shall Not Perish Give Us Back Our Church The House Of God Is For The Holy Return Our Lady Of Gentle Compassion and more.

Over and over again, many chanted:

Je - sus Christ... Is Our Strength!

Je - sus Christ... Is Our Strength!

A priest encouraged them. I can't hear you!... I still can't hear you!

They were not only blocking the sidewalk itself, but all of the driveways to the clubs parking lots. Traffic was jammed in the streets. The traffic light in front of the club changed time and time again, but no car could move. From our vantage point, I could see cars lining the street in each direction for about half a mile.

Among the gridlocked cars, across the street, directly in front of the club, was a white Chevy station wagon, jacked full of speakers. Empirical Sound. Alpine. It was a sound system that could vibrate the timing off of a car that passed it on the freeway. It belonged to a Regular named Kristian. He and his friends idolized A Clockwork Orange - obsessively. They all dressed in white with white trenchcoats and black fedoras. Kristian and his Droogs. They were all insane... And undoubtedly pissed.

Wannas, skinheads, punks and gangstas all taunted the congregation of parishioners. Car horns blared. Drivers yelled:

Move, you fucker!

Get the hell out of my way!

"You wanna eat that sign, you psycho religious shit!?"

Yo! Asshole! Move it!

Hey! What's up with this!?

The freaks and degenerates joined in. None of them were even in line to get in anymore. Yelling at the protesters was more fun.

The protesters yelled back:

This isn't a playground! It's the lord's house!

"That's our church! We want it back!"

This is god's house, not yours!

Je - sus Christ... Is Our Strength!

Je - sus Christ... Is Our Strength!

Tension was growing on both sides. The picketers were determined that their voice be heard in the face of impossible odds. Desperately clutching to old causes and prayers in vain. Prayers their imaginary god was powerless to answer. Hopes he would never grant.

They were mostly middle-aged couples. The kind of couples who had families. Families with proud sons, loving daughters, and chipper fucking family dogs. Married a dozen years under vows of eternity, already longing to return to their marriage counselors in their old church. Already regretting their eternal vows after a handful of years. Fearing such blasphemous thoughts and the wrath of their god. They know nothing about eternity.

And then there were the others. The old, withered people, burdened with the sins of a lifetime, one foot already dipping into eternal heavens. Uselessly trying to cling to a sliver of their past. Insignificant lives approaching their long overdue demise.

And finally, the young, well-adjusted teens. Attending youth renewals and planning for college. Condemning those who failed to conform to their standards of appearance and thought. Going to pop and christian rock concerts in cars their mommy and daddy bought them on their sixteenth birthday. Feeling like they'll live forever. Unable to imagine the weakened, feeble body and soul that inevitably awaits them down the compassionless corridors of time.

Mounted forty feet above the entrance, immense jets of red flames ripped skyward from flamethrowers on either side of the behemoth, marble Gothic Rainbow sign. The entire scene unfolding in front of the club was illuminated in the eerie, hellish orange glow of their fire.

This was Our castle... and the villagers were pissed...

Fuck. I looked at Felicia. Felicia, what the fuck is this?

She looked at Me apologetically. Before She could say anything, John said. It's My fault... Uh, I should've told Her sooner.

I rolled My head. "Well, no shit! These assholes didn't just materialize here, did they? I mean, a few hundred people take awhile to show up, don't they?"

I glanced back below, both hands clutching the railing. Fuck... Damnit, John. Back to Felicia. You know You two have responsibilities here. My tone became very matter-of-fact. "You're the managers. You're a team. You're supposed to be working together. Okay? And this - this is just a fucking mess. Camillia is going to shit."

I - I know. I'm sorry. Felicia interjected.

I turned around and pointed at the doors of the club, frustrated. Well, shit, look at this! There's like, what - eighty people in line? Pointing back to the protesters. "And thanks to this mess, no one else is coming in!"

I let out a long sigh. "Please, tell Me You're going to do something about this." I turned to Them.

John nodded his head. Knowingly. The way one does when they've got a good idea. I'll be back. And He dashed into the club.

Devan was quiet. Felicia said. You're right... I know. I'm sorry. This is crazy.

The clamor grew louder. The tension tightened. Things grew uglier below. The crowds were ready to snap.

A young girl started to play Amy Grant on a portable radio. She and her friends started dancing. It was too loud. A bit too loud for some fellow degenerates to withstand.

In slow-motion, a full beer bottle flew at the radio and shattered inches away from it.

And that's when it started. The first stone was cast.

Frothy beer splattered the radio and sizzled on the sidewalk. The startled kids stopped dancing and looked in the direction the bottle was hurled from. So did almost everyone else.

A skin laughed and pointed at them. He flipped them off and made a sieg heil, much to the elation of his friends.

A priest dropped his Keep Holy The Sabbath sign and angrily approached the bottle thrower. He pushed up his sleeves. "Hey!... Hey, you!... Yeah, you punk! I'm talking to you!..."

...The Lamb broke the first seal...

Kristian's car peeled out of the traffic, shot across the street, and leapt over the curb in a spray of sparks. Fifty demonstrators jumped up and scattered like a scared flock of filthy pigeons. The sidewalk in front of the club was at least thirty feet wide. Plenty of room. Kristian had his parking space.

Aw, shit... Here it goes... Devan said.

Kristian and his four Droogs got out of the car, black hat and trenchcoat clad. They each had one hand in their coat.

The angry priest immediately turned his attention toward them and the commotion they caused. Car windows rolled down and drivers cheered Kristian's insanity. The crowds of freaks cheered. Fuming picketers surrounded Kristian and his Droogs.

Hey! What do you think you're doing!?

Are you crazy!? Huh!?

Are you trying to kill someone!?

Hey! I'm talking to you punk! What's your problem!?

Kristian and his Droogs stood there in silence. Unmoving. At brain-shearing volume, a song began to emanate from their car. The Beastie Boys, Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun.

Out of five white trenchcoats flew five baseball bats. Kristian nailed the face of the nearest protester, sending a thick arc of blood through the air. Blood that sparkled in the light of the flames. The body hitting the ground was like the drop of a starting gate.

... The Lamb broke the second seal... And the rider of the red horse brought war on Earth so that men should kill each other...

The riot began.

Girls screamed. The gangs, skinheads, and hardcore punks broke out into the demonstrators. Switchblades flashed out of hands, reflecting the yellow glint of streetlights and flamethrowers overhead. Fists and feet battled wooden stakes with God Forgives Your Sins signs tacked to them. Spiked gloves and metal chains tore into flesh.

Some people jumped out of their cars to join in. People waiting in line finally gave up their places and gathered around the railing to watch the carnage below.

Holy shit!

Fuck me!

Oh, my god!

Look at this!

Check this out!

No way!

Old people scattered. Screaming, tortured souls unexpectedly cast into the fires of Hell. Young girls ran too. A few punker goddesses devastated the cowering teens. One girl among the protesters held their own with martial arts.

A gangsta had a kid on the ground and was wailing on his face. An old lady whacked the gangsta with her cane. He pivoted, shooting his booted foot into her knee. She went down as it popped.

Insanity raged and reigned.

Kristian and crew wasted everybody in their path with no mercy or remorse.

Old folks. Girls. A priest and a nun or two.

The hate was strong... The hate was sweet... The hate was lovely...

The girl who put on that Amy Grant tape tried to get her radio. She was nailed from behind and tackled to the ground. Hard. She screamed. Her attacker flipped her over. It was the bottle-thrower. She squirmed and frantically tried to scramble away. She screamed again. He punched her face and tore her sweater from the neck. Her hand fumbled in her pocket. She pulled out a small canister. Mace. He roller off of her, screaming and holding his face.

Cruelty was everywhere. Yelling. Screaming. Angry curses. Pleas for mercy. The violent hate of hundreds saturated the very air. I grinned ever so slightly. I took in a deep breath, to relish it all. Never had I felt so alive since the day when I ceased to be living.

Bodies shattered windshields. Bottles broke over faces. Picketers knocked people cold, breaking signs across skulls. People were pinned on their stomachs and their heads were slammed repeatedly into the ground. Some were ganged up on and pummeled. Ribs were cracked. Noses broken. Fingers crushed. Flesh gorged. There were people being cut, punched, kicked, stabbed, thrown, and clubbed. The Beastie Boys told it like it was.

Most of the demonstrators ran for their cars parked on sidestreets, leaving their peers behind. One woman who ran was assaulted by some punk girls. They tore off her blouse and dry-fuck raped her against a mini-van before she reached her stungun and zapped them unconscious.

Devan went back inside, saying it was too crazy for him.

So fast it happened. Simultaneously. Before Me were mortals who would label Me, Beast!... Monster!... Devil!... all reverting back to their barbaric, animalistic roots at the swing of a bat. Destroying one another in a single, massive fury. An anarchic street fight, converging and separating, over and again in one violent swarm.

Hypocrites!

So much for turning the other cheek. Fitting that I should find Myself perched above them. Superior. They were below Me in every sense, in every way. How strongly I fucking hated them. How beautiful it was to see them hurting. What pleasure that gave Me. The scent of their hate. The scent of their pain. Their blood... It drifted on the night winds, sweeter than any flower. More sensual than any perfume.

Gods did live in their church... and We were called Vampire.

Suddenly, John and Allyson burst out of the club with five other bouncers. Allyson had a hunting rifle. John had an uzi with an extended butt and a megaphone in one hand. The others had everything from a pistol to a Tommy-gun.

The surrounding crowd parted in startled fear. Allyson and John jumped up by some lampposts mounted in the railing.

Before anything else could happen, John fired a round into the air. It blared over the roar of music and fighting and the crowd froze in their tracks. It was as if the director of an epic movie yelled Cut! and the scene came to a dead halt. The crowd was silent except for the moans and cries of the many injured. The crowd was paralyzed, except for those uncontrollably writhing in pain.

Everyone looked up to the patio. Allyson leaned on the lamppost like an alluring stripper in a dance club. She effortlessly put the rifle to Her eye and pointed it at the Chevy on the sidewalk and held it in Her sights.

A Droog got the hint and shut the stereo off. John got on the megaphone.

Alright people! That's enough!... This club is closed for the next hour!... Now clear out! The party's over!

The crowd was still. Finally, one brave clergyman yelled. You want peace!? Not until we have our say!

He was shaking. His voice cracked on we have.

Allyson pivoted to face him and blasted his shin. She took the recoil like it was a BB gun. He fell to the ground with a horrible scream. The crowd screamed and scrambled back.

"I said the party's over! Fucking leave! That means everyone! Now!" John fired up into the air again. The picketers screamed and scattered - running, limping, hobbling with the injured. However they could, they fled. Cursing us with all the wrath of god on their way.

The Clubbers left too, defiantly.

Man, fuck this!

Shit! That's lame!

This sucks!

Man, who needs it!?

John turned to face those on the patio who had been waiting in line. That includes you too people. If you're not in the doors yet, you don't get in for another hour.

They were pissed.

"But we didn't do anything!"

We were up here the whole time!

That's not fair!

What the fuck!?

He apologized to them and herded them all out with the help of the bouncers. Along with the others, they went to the parking lot for their cars. Those who were injured left. Many of those who weren't hurt decided to hang out in the parking lot until they could get in.

The crowd dispersed. Some stragglers hung around, but a glance or two from Allyson convinced them to return later. Even Kristian left without a fuss.

It was over as suddenly as it began. Within five minutes, the entire outside of the club was deserted again. Even the street was relatively clear. No one had died. Surprisingly. Diamond shards of broken glass sparkled in dark patches of blood-stained asphalt and concrete. Broken, splintered stakes and torn signs were strewn about, skittering across the ground in a light breeze. No other evidence of the fight was seen.

Except for a frothy spot of beer on the sidewalk, littered with bits of a broken bottle.

Felicia sighed.

I did the same and patted John's arm. "Good going... Please do not let this get this way again. Okay? I'll tell Camillia You did what You could. Okay?"

We won't let it happen again. Felicia interjected. "John, We're going to put security back outside again. Double what it was."

Sure thing, little Lady. He turned around. Allyson was still on Her perch, pretending to shoot things with Her rifle, making sound effects like a little kid.

Allyson? John reached out His hand and walked towards Her. Allyson!

She looked at Him. Smiled. Oh... Is there anything else I can do?

Yeah, John chuckled, Go back inside and have a good time. John helped Her down and relieved Her of Her gun.

Cool. Allyson said. She put one arm around Me and We followed John and Felicia into the club.

Static crackles of hate, still lingering in the air, nibbled at the back of My neck...

∞ ∞ ∞

Allyson went back to Her new Pawn while Felicia and John went up to their offices. I headed up to the DJ booth to see Jim Wesson. Jim was in Lioncourt too. He was their drummer. On Thursdays, he used to DJ for industrial night at a club called the House Of Altars. On Friday and Saturday, he spun at the Rainbow. Sundays, he played Necropolis. He was damn good too.

Hey there! How's it going!? Jim asked. The booth was dotted with tiny white track lights, the size of small reading lamps, to illuminate the equipment and music library in the darkness. It caused weird, eerie shadows and strategic clusters of light all over the room.

Good!

He only gave Me half his attention, cuing up Bauhaus. He gestured hold on to Me for a second before he shook My hand hello.

Do Me a favor!? I asked. Play Curve again!?

Sure! What tune!?

"I dunno! Something older. Blindfold or Fait Accompli or something!"

Jim nodded. No problem! Hey, what was going on outside there!? Do You know!?

I shook My head and pulled up a chair. Holy shit! It was like... five hundred of these protesters out there! It was just insane!

Protesters!?... For what!? The church again!?

Yeah!

Wow! There were never that many any other time! I mean, before when they came, there might be... what, a dozen maybe!?

I shrugged. Well, not this time!

He began to cue a second song, Firebird, a song from Lioncourt's first album, Vampire Theatre. Jim looked amazed. Didn't that judge put a restraining order on them or something!?

Yeah! But it didn't matter tonight!

He shook his head. Shit!... How could that many people wind up out there with no one noticing!?

I don't know! I don't think they had any security outside! Felicia and John told Me They'd make sure it didn't happen again!

Damn. See, I knew taking security off the outside wouldn't work! I could've told Them that! He paused. They'd just better not let it happen again or Camillia would boot Them out on Their asses!

"No doubt! I tried to hint at that!" I jeered.

How is She anyway!?

Who!? Cam!?

He nodded.

Oh, She's cool! She's been back in France with family all week! She got home last night!

Oh, yeah, I remember You telling me about that!

What's that!? I had actually heard him just fine.

I said, yeah, I remember You telling me about Her going to France! He said, flipping through CDs he'd pulled. Is She here!?

No! She's at a party tonight!

Oh!... Are You going to tell Her about tonight!?

"Well, I'm gonna have to! Better She hears it from Me than on the news tomorrow!... Besides, I can stick up for John and Felicia! They did handle it pretty well!"

Oh! They got rid of them!?

Yeah!

How!? He put a disc on a tray.

I laughed. John fired an uzi in the air and scared the shit out of them and they ran!

Jim's eyes widened. "Fuck me! Really!? No way! An uzi!?"

Yeah!

"An uzi machine gun!?" He couldn't believe it.

I shifted in the chair and commented. Nooo! A fucking uzi pickle!... Shit! Yes! A machine gun! What other kind of uzi is there!?

You're not serious! He studied My face until he was convinced I was serious. It didn't take long. Where the fuck did He get an uzi from!?

Damned if I know. I lied.

"That's nuts, man! Camillia won't like that either!"

What do you know? Camillia would've shot at the fuckers if they'd pissed Her off. Never pretend to know Us. Oh, She'll be cool! Besides, I think they were blanks! That's what He said! I lied again. Come on, John's not stupid, you know! He wouldn't shoot real bullets for christsake! I wasn't about to reveal Allyson shooting the priest.

Jim laughed. Blanks!? Oh, shit! That's pretty funny then!

Yeah, I know! We both laughed about it. Jim laughed at the image of a terrified crowd of peaceful demonstrators dropping picketing signs and running for cars. I laughed at the image of faces spraying arcs of blood through the air and skins screaming as mace filled their eyes.

As we laughed, Jessica Razzman and her brother Sevrin came sprinting up the stairs. They were the final two members of Lioncourt. They played guitar and keyboards, respectively. Everybody called Jessica, Zi Zi when she was younger and the name just stuck.

Hi, guys! I said. Sevrin nodded and smiled. Zi Zi hugged Me and pecked My cheek.

How goes it!? She asked.

Not bad!

Jim and Sevrin said hello. Zi Zi kissed Jim too and asked him, Oh, did you hear what happened outside!? There was this huge riot out there!

I know! Jim said and motioned toward Me. He just told me! John fired a gun in the air to stop them!

What!? She looked at Me.

No way! Perked up quiet Sevrin.

"Devan didn't tell us that!"

I explained. It was after he left!

No way! A gun!?

"Jeez! Yes! A gun! How many times do I need to say it!? It had blanks in it! It's no big deal!"

No shit!? Sevrin asked.

No! I shit you not!

Jim asked, You're not full of shit!?

We all chuckled. I said, Holy shit! We're in a church! Stop swearing!

You mean cut the shit!? Zi Zi giggled.

We all groaned and Jim playfully slapped the back of her head. Stop that!

Eat shit! She half-yelled, half-laughed.

Stop! Mercy! Sevrin groaned.

Oh, yeah!? Why!? Who do you think you are!? You think your shit don't stink!?

"You started this!" I laughed to Sevrin.

Zi Zi laughed, "Yeah, you started this shit!"

Oh, that's it! Jim started to tickle her. She was laughing and screaming and trying to get away from him.

He let her go and looked over My head at the stairway. Oh, hi, Aur - He paused awkwardly.

We had two more visitors.

Two supple hands covered My eyes from behind. Guess who!

Guess, My dear? It was Auri Nellis. She was seventeen. A platinum blonde from Mentor, with crisp blue eyes and porcelain golden skin. Unbeknownst to her mother, she was a nude dancer at a strip club down in the Flats. Most her friends didn't even know. She told Me the night we met. The first night I found her blood was a sweet and pure honey. No need to guess, My lover. I could smell the scent flowing in your veins a dozen feet away. Her friend Colleen knew about her job.

Colleen was with her, but I hardly ever spoke to Colleen.

Um, let's see! Is it... Auri!?

Yep! She jumped around to face Me. Allyson told me You were up here!... Oops! She stumbled. She was wasted.

I stood. How have you been!? You vanished for a few weeks there!

"Oh, I know! I've just been busy! You know! School and stuff like that!"

Yeah! And work!

And work! She agreed.

Colleen and I said hello.

Well, this is getting way too crowded up here! I said, taking Auri's hand. Come on, let's give Jim some room!

Cool! Jim smiled. I'll see you later!

I grinned and started to walk out with Auri and Colleen.

Hey! Jim called out. You're going to be at our show tomorrow, aren't You!?

Wouldn't miss it! The Agora!?

He nodded. Nine o'clock!

I'll be there! Cam wants to go too! Brief pause. Say, who's subbing for you here tomorrow!?

He made a face. Wayne Farina!?

He was a DJ on the local commercial alternative station called End Rock. It had a disgustingly large following in spite of how awful it was. The oxymoronic stupidity of commercial alternative never ceased to amaze Me. It was a pop station, plain and simple. If your band wore make-up, had any European accent, or wore flannel, and it released a single on a major label about love or filled with angst, End Rock would play it. Despite their claims, they were nothing new. Nothing unique. Ninety nine percent of their music library was a cesspool of stagnation from which the same old rotten corpse of Twentieth Century pop music was drugged up time and time again. Covered with more layers of crap each time, to create the illusion of being different. Same shit, different day. End Rock sucked. College radio was still the best.

"Yuck! Glad I won't be here! See you guys tomorrow!"

Bye!

Later!

Take it easy!

Auri and I went downstairs and found a couch in a quiet corner while Colleen took her leave to dance.

That was a mistake.

Auri's voice grated My nerves. She was on a drunken self-pity trip. I didn't really give a flying fuck about a single thing she told Me. All that I did pay attention to was that scent below her flesh. Yes, My dear.

Tell Me more. Open your soul unto Me. I will be so gentle with your pain.

She went on and on about her problems, fidgeting with the ruffles on her poet shirt the whole time she talked. Her grades were dropping. She was flunking out of school. She was really depressed, so she'd been going to school stoned a few times. Fuck it, right?

Her teachers called her stupid and she was starting to believe them. I didn't think she was stupid, did I?

No, hon. Of course not. Don't be silly.

Her best friend, Mark, won't talk to her anymore and everyone in school thinks she's a slut. Mark is gay and Auri fucked Mark's boyfriend, Danny. Mark really loved him. They'd been together for six months. But, she was just hanging out with Danny, watching movies and shit, and they got a little fucked up and started messing around a little. It was a mistake. She didn't mean it. Yeah, sure.

Auri's mom caught them in bed together, a week ago, and threw her out of the house. She was staying with Colleen for now. But, fuck her mom anyway. She'll be eighteen in eight months and then her mom can just fucking kiss her ass. You know?

My lips brushed her neck. I closed My eyes.

I didn't think she was a bad person, did I?

No, Auri. No. You're not bad.

Her mom thinks so.

One hand reached over her firm stomach. The other slid behind her back, over her thin waist. Into her pants. Under her smooth panties. Moist.

Everyone hates her. Nobody fucking gives a shit what happens to her... Her mom doesn't love her anymore... Why doesn't her mom love her?

I looked at her and told her it wasn't true.

Show Me your soul.

... She cried. Hard. A handful of tears landed on her blouse and rolled like mercury between the ruffles. Auri pulled away from Me, her body convulsing and sobbing, and curled up into a fetal ball on the sofa.

Bitch.

∞ ∞ ∞

I left her there, disgusted by she and her petty life's troubles. I danced for half a dozen songs before Natasha came up to Me. She was a little older than Me. She was dancing with a jock. The collegiate-varsity type. The type who would never call Her again. That's just how She would want it.

Hi, hon. She smiled. Her fangs showed. She was drunk.

She hung onto Me. How are You?

Good, Tasha.

She laughed and left with Her Concubine, who looked jealously at Me in his ignorance. And, like most of Her prey, there was something about him. Something reminiscent of Her lost love; a mortal named Scott... Forget his last name. Maybe I never knew it at all. Yes, something was similar to Scott... There always was. Sorrow emanated from them. Both were vampires. Both were victims.

Time passed.

∞ ∞ ∞

After Pigface, Dia Tribe, and a few more bands, I walked around some more. Auri was still on the couch, looking at the skyline, dazed. Tears on her cheeks dried in faint mascara-run lines.

Hey, maybe you should get a drink or something! I suggested over Andrew Eldritch's voice on the speakers.

What!? She sniffled, snapping out of it. I doubt she ever noticed I'd left.

I gently cupped My hand on her face. Go on! Go to the bar! Get a drink! You'll feel better! I knew damn well it was the last thing she needed.

She thought about it. Yeah!... Maybe You're right!

I took hold of her hands and we stood up together. Of course I am! Get a drink! Just relax! Everything will be cool! You'll see!

Yeah, okay! She pouted.

Okay!... You wanna see the show tomorrow!?

Huh!?

The show tomorrow! Lioncourt! You wanna go!?

Oh! Uh, huh! Yeah! She managed a partial smile.

Well, give Me a call tomorrow and I'll take you if you still want to go! Okay!?

She nodded.

Okay! Good! Now go get that drink and mingle and have a good time! That's why you're here, right!?

A full smile this time. Yeah!

Yeah! Now get going! I patted her ass with a firm shove.

She giggled. Thanks! You're so sweet to me! Wistfully, tear-damp eyes regarded Me affectionately. They turned colors as the rainbow beams of light from the dancefloor caught them. She kissed My cheek and was gone.

I sat down, put My feet on the table and closed My eyes. Dancing became a temptation when Ruiner by Nine Inch Nails came on. But I just sat there. Before I even began to relax, Nix came up to Me. I didn't even open My eyes.

Fuck, Nix. What?

Oh, hey, man. Are You okay?

Yes.

Oh. You don't look so good. You look kinda pissed.

That's because You're here. I opened My eyes. Everyone here looks pissed. And when I'm pissed, You'll know it.

Oh. He looked timidly at the floor and didn't say a word.

Finally, I asked. "Do You want something, Nix?"

Uh, yeah... Um, You still have My car keys, dude? He asked as if He'd just thought of it.

For a second, I considered fucking with Him. But instead I said, Oh, right. I fumbled in My pocket, found them, and tossed them to Him. He thanked Me... And He kept standing there.

"What, Nix? Is there something else?"

Uh, yeah. He said, sitting next to Me. I rolled My eyes. Dude, I wanted to ask You about Auri.

What about her?

Well... um, she's kinda cute, dude, You know?

I glared. ... Yeah, so?

He searched for the right words. ... Well, are You two, like, going out?

Like going out? I repeated.

He groaned. Dude, You know what I mean.

No, Nix, I don't. Enlighten Me. What are You getting at?

"Well, uh, I wanna go out with her. He paused, then quickly added, I mean, if You're not... You know. Give her the old eternal hickey." He grinned and nudged Me.

You want Auri?

Yeah. I mean if it's okay wit -

- My eyes narrowed. I grabbed His shirt.

Hey! He squealed.

"You know what, Nix? I thought You might be leading up to something that stupid. I'm not stupid, Nix. I started to figure it out all by Myself. But apparently, You are stupid, Nix. You didn't figure out that she's Mine, did You? Do You understand that?"

He nodded rapidly. Yeah. Yeah. I understand. I'm sorry dude. I - I -

" - No, I don't think You do understand. Listen. You can date her all You want. You can talk to her. Hang out with her. You can fuck her. I don't care. Write her fucking lovey-ass, Hallmark-card poetry and make her all gooey for Your worthless ass. I - could - not - care - less. But she's My Concubine, Nix. Her blood... is Mine. You touch a drop and I will be pissed off."

O - Okay. I - I'm sorry. I just re-really like her. That's all. He spat out nervously.

I sighed and let go of Him, speaking more calmly. You re-really like her? Look, Nix, that's fine. But she's Mine, okay? Now, I'm sure You have girls of Your Own. Well, I wasn't that sure. Now forget Auri.

Yeah, dude, but this - I mean... It's like, this is deeper almost than just, like -

I couldn't believe this. It wasn't like Him to go on like this. " - Deeper? Deeper than what?... Oh, fuck... What, Nix? You're not going to tell Me some bullshit You've come up with about falling for some fucking mortal, are You?... Huh? Is that what You're trying to fucking tell Me? Is that what you're wasting My time with?"

He looked hurt. No.

I stared Him down. Scrutinizing.

No. No, dude. He repeated. No. It - It's not like that.

I still stared. Seconds ticked by.

Good. He was a terrible liar. And that's My answer too: No. You draw one drop of her blood and I'll draw every drop of Yours. Got it?

Got it, dude. He was so let down. He muttered the words almost inaudibly.

Without another word, I got up and headed to the dancefloor, engaging in more superficial conversations with a few Regulars (both Damned and mortal alike) on My way. Most were much like My talk with Natasha. The ritualistic exchange of nothing:

Hi!

How are you!?

Good!

Cool!

The elixir of dance intoxicated me for hours then, until the club was nearly ready to close. Slowly, over time, the crowd diminished. Vanishing until only a few dozen souls remained. Last Call had long since passed. The cavernous place had a lonely chill to it when it was so deserted. Foreboding basslines echoed. Saints frozen in stained glass were sinister when night stood behind them and sunshine was only a memory. Meaty hands of devils covered the mouths of screaming angels in the shadows.

Halos tarnished.

Wings snapped.

The gargoyles grinned.

... And in the dark rooms of the basement, where no one went anymore, one could sense... things... were laughing...

∞ ∞ ∞

I sat down on a love seat by the edge of the dancefloor. Kingdom Come by Will had just ended.

What's wrong, sweetie? Allyson's left arm wrapped around My shoulders as She sank into the cushion next to Me.

I shrugged

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
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