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Comicality

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  1. Comicality

    Darker Themes

    There are going to be times, every now and again...when the written content of your stories may take a very dark turn, or veer off into situations that are somewhat uncomfortable for other readers to absorb as readily as they do some of your 'brighter' themes. This can be an intimidating atmosphere for you to thrive in. The gritty realities and graphic nature of the story that you want to tell may be too much for some of your readers to handle or understand. But, while there is the temptation to avoid darker themes and controversial material at all costs, especially with the sheer brutality of the typical ′internet comment section′ working against you...I say GO for it anyway! They′ll get over it. The people who pretend to be the most offended by the story you wrote have NO problem ripping the author to shreds with their opinions. So you might as well balance things out by treating them the same way when you′re writing what′s in your heart. Hehehe, that being said, there are ways to tell a ′heavy′ tale without having it totally wreck the lives of the people absorbing it for the first time. Still, there are some stories with sensitive, and sometimes disturbing, details that deserve to be told. Whether your reading public is ready for it or not isn′t your concern. They have the option to stop reading. Period. But, as a writer, you have the right to bleed through your words and tell your story any way that you see fit. You just have to find a way to keep things ′accessible′ so at least some of your audience can latch onto it, and appreciate it for what it is. That′s the topic that I′m going to tackle today. So let′s get DARK! The thing about many of these darker themed stories you may read online...is that they often come from a very personal place in the heart of the writer. It′s not always an author trying to be dark for the sake of being dark. Sometimes, it′s a much needed healing process, translated into fiction and created to convey some kind of message or express some sort of personal tragedy. Stories of loss, heartbreak, suicide, rape, physical or emotional abuse...they can be extremely hard to digest for some readers. And if they take it too close to heart, they may end up turning away from the project instead of dealing with the turmoil the story is putting them through. That′s understandable. But if this is a story that you really want to tell, something you really want to put out there for public consumption, then do it. Why not? Get it off of your chest. Share it with other people who might relate and feel even closer to the work than you do. You may touch something deep within them that they haven′t fully dealt with themselves. So every paragraph may end up being a therapy session for the both of you. Again, these stories are often very personal in nature. You′ll never find a more exposed artist than one who is delivering you an unrestricted look at their pain. There′s a rawness in it. Strip every piece of armor away and speak from the heart. It connects to an audience in a way that your ′happy go lucky′ romance stories just can′t. So, if you′ve been holding off on giving a dark themed story a try...maybe you′ll change your mind and step up to the plate after you finish this article. Hehehe, I′d love to read it! But, then again, I happen to be a very dark individual, myself, at times. So that′s just me. There are a lot of readers out there who use fiction as an escape from the problems and stressful impact of the world at large. They may be looking for something cheerful, or uplifting, or inspirational. But that may not be the kind of story that you want to tell. And that can shake a percentage of your audience out of their comfort zone in ways that they weren′t looking for and don′t appreciate in the long run. When it came to some very painful memories about my own past, and I felt the need to talk about it and add them to one or two of the stories that I was writing for the site...I had some difficulty with it at first. I dealt with some extremely abusive memories growing up in a household with a father that was...ummm, less than fatherly. I remember adding ′elements′ of that abusive relationship in a few stories, but I clearly wasn′t ready to tackle that situation yet. Especially when I added it (Briefly) to ″New Kid In School″. If you notice, that plot point was rather quickly written out of the story, and never brought up again. I simply wasn′t practiced enough to take the theme head on like I wanted to. Not at that time. In ″Gone From Daylight″, I tried to do the same, but it was a side story until I was more comfortable talking about it. However...when the time came where I really wanted to tell a ′no holds barred′ account from my personal experience with physical domestic abuse...I started writing ″My Only Escape″, and that was the right time for me to do so. That was my release. A lot of that story is autobiographical, and I still have moments where I have to deal with the aftermath of what happened way back then, even when I would rather leave it behind for good. But it was a story that I felt was dying to get out, and since it′s first chapter, I have received sooooo many emails from people who could relate in one way or another. Emails of support, and sympathy, and encouragement, as well as messages of people who had gone through similar experiences (Or who were younger, and experiencing them currently). I have NO regrets, whatsoever, about finally writing that story, and waiting for a time when I was emotionally stable enough to get it right. If you have a painful part of your past that you want to bring to the screen, and tell from a perspective that only others in your position can truly understand...then don′t wait. Do it. Pour your whole heart and soul into it. Let your voice be heard, and know that your writing had an impact on your readers that they′ll remember. Good or bad. Three things to remember when writing a story that may come off as a bit disturbing to your readers, are as follows... Give it meaning! If you′re going to sink into some truly dark themes and bring that into your story, make sure that you′re doing it for a legitimate reason. NOT for shock value. Shock value doesn′t last long, and will ultimately just become a part of your story that people would rather forget about instead of taking it to heart. If you′re going to have a rape scene, or a drug overdose...a suicide attempt, or someone battling terminal cancer...then I think writers should make sure that it is actually a part of the main character′s growth and evolution as a person. Don′t just throw it in there as some kind of sucker punch to your audience. That′s just plain MEAN! Hehehe! If a character of yours has recently beaten Leukemia? Then have that be a part of his or her personality. What outlook do they have on life now? Maybe they′re super excited to get back to living their lives. Maybe they′re angry at the time they lost battling the disease. Who knows? That′s up to you. But let it be known that the dark circumstances of the story had some meaning, and some impact on how the rest of the story plays out. Don′t go overboard! Scenes of extreme violence and sexual abuse are hard to read. If it′s a part of your story, and you don′t want to pull punches about the reality of what happened…then use your own judgment when it comes to what you say and what you don′t say. I′m not saying that you shouldn′t include some of the graphic details needed to get your point across...but keep in mind what your goal is. You don′t want to depress and disgust your audience. Evoking sympathy and an emotional bond, capable of getting your readership to cheer for your main character is great! But let′s not drag our readers down so low that they can′t recover. Learn to ′allude′ to certain parts of your story, and go into painful details about others. As always, its important to find a balance. Don′t ′bully′ your audience into sharing a truly disgusting experience in a way that overpowers every other aspect of the story that you′re trying to tell. I think it′s important to not let the dark content take center stage, when it′s the characters and how they deal with the content that should be the focus of your story. Give us hope! No matter how horrible a character′s life may seem, no matter how graphic you are with the details of their suffering...readers will struggle through it if they think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Give us a few brief glimpses of joy. A possible solution to the tragedies they′re facing from chapter to chapter. If all you′re bringing to the table kis pain and murder and rape and misery...your audience will eventually get turned off and go elsewhere for a story that doesn′t make them feel like shit every time they read it. BUT...if you dispense some truly awful scenes here and there, but combine them with possible ways out of their situation...opportunities to experience some level of happiness if only they could get away...then people will keep reading. They may be disturbed and disgusted by the events that are currently taking place...but with just a few hints at a hopeful outcome, they will continue to read to see if things get better or that justice is served for the character involved. Be proud of that. It means that you told a great story and that people sympathize with your situations, no matter how dark they may be. This doesn′t mean that every story has to have a happy ending. It just means that you have to give your readers a break from the misery every now and then, to let them believe that things are not as dark as they may seem. At least for a little while. Think of it the same way as swimming underwater. Let your readers come up to the surface for a breath of fresh air every now and then before they drown. K? The world isn′t always a happy place. Not by any means. And the stories of the abused, the less fortunate, and those in turmoil, are just as important as the uplifting stories that are told elsewhere. But there′s a skillful way to deliver that message without sending your audience running for the hills. As always, I hope this helps you out! And I′ll be back soon for more! ((Hugz))
  2. But, apparently, it's not. So let me make something very clear, here and now... Nobody OWNS me or my ability to write stories. Nobody. Every single word that I publish here or anywhere else online is a free expression of who I am, and what I'm willing to freely SHARE with the rest of you. You are not 'entitled' to anything that I create. You are not in 'control' of this. If you have control issues, or dependency issues, or have something in your life that is causing you great distress or discomfort...and you need my stories to use as a form of escape from those issues...that is NOT my problem. Nor is it my responsibility. I am SO grateful for you guys who love and support and appreciate what I do. And I hope that you know that, because you've written to me personally, and I've responded to you personally to say 'thank you'. I read your comments, I read your reviews, I've made it my mission to react to every single comment that I've gotten over the past 6 months or so. I LOVE you all! But don't EVER think that you can shoot a snotty comment my way or 'humiliate' me into doing your bidding when you haven't spent a single DIME to get access to the quality entertainment that I've given you for more years than most of you have been online. STOP IT!!! I don't owe you a fucking THING! You can support me, or you can keep your mouth shut! Thanks to you, everybody is on punishment. I'm not posting anything. Everybody has to wait, because you're too arrogant to wait for quality content to be posted on this site. To my real friends online? Those who always leave a comment or want to see new chapters of their faves, go ahead and email me. But to those who think they can control me and choose to be nasty in order to FORCE me to do what they want? You guys have to wait an extra week now. Keep it up? I'll add another week's delay. All I ask is that you not be a DICK to me! And you can't seem to work that out. So let's make this a lesson in anger management. KNOCK IT OFF!!! Or you get nothing from me ever again! How's that?
  3. Comicality

    You know...I'd think this would be easy...

    Right up there with "Poke Her Face" and "I Was Porn This Gay"!
  4. Comicality

    Exposition

    Not long ago, I wrote a short article on the concept of ″Show, Don′t Tell″, and made sure to add that both sides of the equation are needed to tell a good story. When it comes to exposition, it is the skillful use of both show and tell in unison that can give your story a smooth and natural feel, while still giving the audience the tools it needs to fully understand what′s going on. Finding a way to finesse both sides takes a little practice, but once you nail it down, it will pretty much become automatic in your writing process. So that′s the topic for today! Let′s talk ′exposition′! Exposition is basically a way to fill your readers in on everything that′s going on with your story. Details like time, location, character details, what period the story takes place in, and more. Who are these characters? Where did they come from? What is their background? It′s fuel for the imagination, and it gets the writers and their readers on the same page as far as kicking things off and keeping them going from beginning to end. This is especially important if writing something from the supernatural or science fiction/fantasy genre, or in a story that takes place during some sort of past era or during a historical event. The world building aspect makes exposition super important so your readers can grab onto the rules of society and boundaries put in place for what they′re about to read. Now, exposition is a bit more ′tell′ than ′show′, but I′ve always thought that it was important to figure out how to find a decent balance between the two, regardless. Doing it out of balance can slow the entire flow of your story, and that′s not good. There are two ways of delivering exposition...narration (Or simply what you write about the characters and their situation) and dialogue (What the characters say out loud to one another). Without balance...giving an entire ′info dump′ of narration all at once can seem a little complicated and boring. While having a character deliver 100 years worth of backstory in one long winded speech can seem weird and unnecessary. It would be like randomly asking a stranger on the bus how they′re doing and having them tell you their life story without so much as taking a break to realize that you only wanted to hear, ″Fine. How are you?″ as a response. We want to give readers details, but we don′t want it to be a stumbling block in the story itself. Not easy, but possible. One thing that I′ve learned over time is that exposition goes a lot smoother when it′s spread out over time. Not only does it keep your audience from getting bored, but it actually makes future chapters more engaging as your audience finds out a little bit more information as they keep reading. Things get a little deeper, layers are added, characters become more developed. It builds momentum in your storytelling. Much better than explaining everything all at once in the first ten pages of your story and having everyone try to remember it all for later use. Many readers look at exposition and treat a lot of the info as, ″Is this going to be on the test?″ So trying to cram a ton of details into their brain all at once can be a bit of an overwhelming experience. Trim it down. Think about what′s most important for them to know right away, tell them what they need to know to get started, and then add more details along the way. I′ve always found that it works out better that way in terms of reader involvement. So, how do we choose between ′showing′ and ′telling′ when it comes to delivering the important information? And how do we trim it down in an efficient manner? When I first started writing stories on Nifty, I used to always make sure that I mentioned the fact that my main character was gay. I was still brand new to writing gay fiction, and I always felt it was necessary to make that distinction so my readers wouldn′t suddenly be caught off guard. That...was totally unnecessary. Hehehe! I was writing gay fiction on a gay website for gay readers. There was hardly any ′surprise′ involved when it came to the fact that my main character was a homosexual. So I don′t feel the need to add that detail anymore. That can be ′shown′ to anyone reading, simply by stating the fact that this is a boy who finds another boy attractive. The fact that he′s gay is demonstrated through his feelings and his actions, and the audience will immediately come to the conclusion of, ″Oh, so he′s gay. Got it. Moving on.″ Done. The information has been delivered, and I didn′t have to muddy up the waters by explaining to my readers what′s going on. They got the memo, now let′s keep going. You can ′tell′ your readers what they need to know without actually ′telling′ them at all. Use your prose to set up situations that will deliver the message you want them to receive. Like...you could begin a story like this: ′It was a particularly cold Winter night. I was huddled in a tent with three other soldiers, dreading the next battle against the Confederates that was sure to come just before dawn. I think about my dearest sister Eliza, back home...and I pray that her and the baby are alright.′ Now...in those first few sentences, you can cover a lot of ground in setting the stage for your audience. What has this small section suggested to us as readers? We know that it′s Winter time. We know that our main character is a soldier during a time of war. We know what side he′s fighting for and what side he′s fighting against. We know that he′s frightened and worried about going into battle. We know that a battle is quickly approaching. We know that has a sister, named Eliza, and that she has a baby back home, and he loves them both dearly. There we go. ALL of that information was given to your readers in the first three sentences of your story, and your audience is immediately engaged in what′s going on, and intrigued by what might happen next. You don′t have to explain the entire history of the Civil War, or talk about the horrors of combat, or mention that the soldier is straight or gay or anything like that. The audience has the foundation set for the story you′re trying to tell, and that′s all they need for right now. Later on, maybe you write a scene where the soldier wakes up the next morning, and while feeding on breakfast rations, your main character looks over and sees another soldier that he thinks is beautiful beyond words. (″Oh, so the main character is gay″) You can use that moment to mention that he′s been camping out with them for the past three months, you can give his infatuation a name and a description, you might hint at a few friendly moments between them that gives your audience a hint of their relationship...and then jump right back to the main plot of the story. Just give bits and pieces of information at a time when it′s useful, and keep your momentum going forward. Don′t stop for an info dump of details that aren′t directly relevant to that particular scene. The same goes for all stories. At the very beginning of ″Jesse-101″, I started off with a bit of narrative exposition to detail an event that led up to the exact point where the story begins. Something that I felt was necessary to set the stage. But after those first few paragraphs, the main character, Tristan, is simply talking to his best friend, Lori, in his bedroom. While the opening scene is mostly dialogue, I tried to use their back and forth conversation to deliver the exposition needed for the audience to get a clear picture of what was going on and dive right in with no further explanation. Just from their banter, you learn that Tristan is in high school, he′s only out to his best friends and no one else, that he and Lori share a history of friendship together, that Tristan sees himself as being a bit ′sissy-ish′ and doesn′t have much in common with other boys his age, that he′s dealing with a recent rejection...that one conversation delivers a TON of needed information to the readers about the story, but without just having me write the details down in a narrative with no human interaction or emotional involvement. The bonus to giving exposition through dialogue is that you not only get important details and story plot points out there, but you get a sense of your characters′ personalities as well. You kill two birds with one stone, and you flawlessly move from ′tell′ to ′show′ without your audience even being aware of it. See? It′s all magic! Hehehe! So...all in all, exposition is a part of writing a good story. It′s necessary. I know that there are critics who will pick it apart and try to make the ′E′ word something awful and lazy and worthy of dismissal, but it′s not. It is a necessary function when it comes to telling an effective tale and bringing people into the world that you′ve created. Don′t be afraid to give your readers a map to navigate through the situations that you′ve got planned for them, but don′t be afraid to have faith in their intelligence either. The actions and dialogue of your characters will infer and display the story details your readers need to know for them to understand what′s happening without you telling them directly. They′ll get it. ″Oh, this person is taking an insulin shot every morning before breakfast. He must be diabetic.″ Or, ″The main character is being woken up by his mom opening the shades and telling him to come down for breakfast. He must be a teenager.″ Or, ″This guy is wearing a skin-tight costume, and he′s perched on a rooftop looking down at the dark city landscape for criminals doing wrong. He must be some sort of hero or vigilante.″ Whatever. ′Tell′ in some parts. ′Show′ in other parts. And train yourself to know the difference, and what will be most effective in any given situation. Ok, I′ve babbled on for long enough! Stop reading this and get back to writing! The world needs more of your genius! Hmmm...I wonder if this whole article counts as exposition. Food for thought, I guess. Best of luck! And I hope this helps!
  5. Comicality

    Chapter 1

    Well, what has changed over the past two years or so, is that I've been going back to my older stories and re-editing them, word for word. There are stories that I began years ago, that are full of errors and mistakes and open tags in the code, etc. I feel that I have grown into a much more experienced writer since then. So a lot of the stories that haven't been updated in a long time are going through rewrites, so the new chapters will blend smoothly with the older ones. If you read any of the stories that I turned into ebooks on Amazon, they have all been completely redone. I, literally, went through every single line of dialogue, every paragraph, every scene, every loophole, and did my best to fix it up. So that's why some stories have been without an update for so long. I never stop working on them though. Hehehe, promise! And some of those incomplete stories? You might want to give them a peek. You might like those the best.
  6. Comicality

    You know...I'd think this would be easy...

    Thanks to all of you! ((Hugz)) I really do appreciate it. I know that people will assume I'm being thin skinned or oversensitive, but I'm not. Every single time something like this happens, the authors are told to ignore it. We're supposed to just say 'to hell with them'. Turn the cheek, pay them no mind, don't let it bother you. Well, you know what? It DOES bother me. Because I don't treat other people like that and never felt the need to. We continue to spare the rod and spoil the child. These little passive aggressive tantrums get flung around on the internet and these people are total jerks to us with NO consequence! They never get any better. Any more patient. Any more sympathetic with the people they criticize. No. I don't agree with that. I'm going to stand up and say, "Hey jackass...knock it off!" I'm a human being with feelings like everybody else. And I work so hard on this website that I wouldn't even have the *TIME* to sit down at a keyboard and type out a snotty remark like that. Hard work that I do to entertain YOU! And that's what people have to say to me? So yeah...let THEM feel like shit for a little while. Instead of always tossing it on my shoulders and waiting for me to be the bigger person. I don't mind getting right there in the mud with you, if you want to take it there. Now then, sorry for the disruption. Back to life.
  7. Of course, I think some of these are more 'flaws' than attributes...and some of the last five I can't do anything about (No siblings, no blue eyes, and I don't know about my mom's morning sickness! Hehehe!), but HEY...I'll take it! Yay! That's my weird ego moment for the day! https://youtu.be/ASthCF9OiCw
  8. A glimpse into the world of the mysterious Vampire Elders of "Gone From Daylight", this new spinoff is certain to raise an eyebrow or two! Be warned, this DOES tie in directly to the "GFD" series, so there are major SPOILERS in this if you haven't read the original yet! Enjoy! And let me know what you think! https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/gfd-circle-nocturnus/
  9. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus 2

    "GFD: Circle Nocturnus 2" It was a level of deafening silence that I had never herd before that took over the other Elders in that conference room. A tension that threatened to crush us all from its building intensity. Julian stood back in the shadows with the others, but I could practically taste the shock in the air around me. Lord Zarius didn't make a comment until the depth of what he was saying had begun to truly sink in with the others. And even then, the skeptic's role was the first to be played by all. Mistress Simone leaned back in her chair, and was the first to speak. "What intelligence do you have to support such a wild assumption?" "I assure you, Simone...the information collected is sound." Zarius informed her. "We received confirmation a few months ago from vampires in our sector that came to believe that the vampire Mimic was a reality, and we sent out scouts to thoroughly research the claims made by each and every single one of them. We began generating lists of potential targets in the area and came up with nothing. A least not at first. But somehow...new rumors resurfaced with frightening accuracy. And they do fit in with the teachings of the Mimic prophecy. We have reason to believe...that our recent findings are true. It IS happening again." Beraad wiped some extra food crumblings from his chin, wheezing and grunting like a fatigued hedgehog, and said, "How many times have we found ourselves, sitting here at this table, having this discussion? Huh? Vampire Mimic? Psh! Many potentials, many mistakes. The prophecy is dead. It no longer applies to the new testaments, the ones we are writing now. I say we ignore these new reports, get back to business, and make ourselves some money out there. Enough of this old world foolishness." "But what if the rumors are true, Beraad?" Zarius replied. "What if we are dealing with the coming of a genuine prophet, beyond our understanding?" Simone added, "Or an angel of darkness, waiting to destroy us all?" The council turned their attention towards her as she continued. "Is that not what many of the vampire scriptures have foretold? Is that not the tragedy and horror that we faced and fought against with the last of his kind?" I had to speak. "There is NO reason to believe that this new vampire is a threat to anyone. He's displayed no harmful or malicious intent at all. Many of the scriptures also described the Vampire Mimic as a being of pure light. The one who can bring balance and peace to everything we know of as a species." "You CAN'T believe in this silliness." Olujimi said. "I, too, have read the many scriptures surrounding the Mimic mythology, both good and evil...and it is a farfetched ideology to think that such a thing is even possible." "How will we know if we never give it a chance?" I said. "EVERY potential Mimic that has been born into darkness over the last six centuries, whether it has been a random rumor or not, has been hunted down and terminated before it was able to reach maturity. Every last one. It's been a series of vile witch hunts with no merit, whatsoever. And now Olujimi is convinced that it is impossible for a true Mimic to even exist? These two ideas don't match at all." Masato put down his pen for a second, and said, "How can such a creature maintain his sanity? How can a soul, born out of such intense suffering, be anything less than a demon himself? How can one so unstable be trusted with this level of power and not be expected to completely lose his mind in the process?" "The legend of the Vampire Mimic says that he was born out of LOVE...not suffering and pain. And it is that love that will keep him balanced until he has discovered the path he needs to take towards his awakening. The path that will, ultimately, save us all." I told them, but I could already see the council turning a deaf ear to my argument. "We can't afford to be this irrational." "The true question is...how do we proceed forward with what we have found out so far?" Navius said, leaning back in his chair and pressing the most negative parts of the issue. Zarius said, "It seems Romero has reason to believe that we should first see what this newblood has to offer before decisions are made on how to carry out his execution." I told the council, "We have to take this opportunity to, perhaps, LEARN from this new arrival in our world. To allow him to spread his teachings. He may be the key to finally awakening the rest of us and bringing about the Vampire Dawn..." "Oh PLEASE!" Navius interrupted with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Vampire Dawn. This is not a circle for discussing fables and folktales. We are concerned with facts and hard hitting evidence." "The Dawn is an honored philosophy that could easily unite both daylight and darkness once and for all. On all levels. Imagine a world where such clarity and acceptance is possible. Maybe even 'common'. If we just give the Mimic an opportunity to mature..." "MATURE???" Navius said. "May I remind the Circle of what happened the LAST time a Mimic was allowed to 'mature'. Hundreds of vampire lives were lost. HUNDREDS! Twenty three highly skilled hunters had to sacrifice themselves, JUST to bring an end to his wave of havoc and bloodshed. And now you want to allow it to happen again?" "We can't base the value of this new Mimic on the mistakes of one born into darkness centuries ago. That's ridiculous." I said. But Navius just smirked, "More often than not...history has a tendency to repeat itself, lest we learn from our mistakes." Then added. "It has been scribbled into the scriptures themselves. Chances are, the boy is already falling from grace. Ready to lay waste to everything that he touches. We cannot wait until he has gone completely insane and pushes forward with a devastating attack before we are able to take the proper precautionary measures to stop him." Lord Zarius attempted to calm the argument by redirecting our attention back to the video screens. "As you can see...with the recent events that have been taking place all over the city in the past 8 months...we definitely have a reason to be concerned. A 'threat' is coming." As he went through the list of incidents, I felt Julian send me a mental message. "What's going on? I thought Mimics were just a story?" "Apparently not. With all of the documented ancient accounts, scriptures, and prophecies, I always had faith that at least ONE of them had to have existed at some point, if not many." "But then...why do they wanna kill him?" He asked. "The same reason anyone would wanna kill anybody...they're afraid of him, Julian." I said. "That's why they want to keep the Vampire Dawn a secret. It's a threat to their control. To their hold over the city itself. Especially to Elders like Navius and Beraad who thrive on their constant manipulation of the people. They don't want anyone in darkness to find out that there is a creature out there more powerful than they are. It would shift the balance of god-like power to the chosen one instead of their cutthroat band of assassins and shadowed puppet politicians. They can't have that." The meeting continued. "The amount of violence displayed in each of these attacks was said to have been committed by a newblood. And a halflife at that." Navius said, noticing that Piotr didn't even blink when the term was used at our table. "Gyms, habitats, clubs...all destroyed. By the same young vampire. Blond hair, blue eyes." Beraad grinned. "Mmmmm, he sounds sexy. Got any nude photos to back up your claim?" Ignoring Beraad's comments, I brought out my paperwork, and put it on the table. "Not quite true. If I may turn the council's attention to these documents, you'll see that many of these new reports describe a newblood teenage boy committing these acts as well...but he had reddish brown hair, and dark green eyes. This is not something that you could mistake for blond hair and blue eyes, even during the violence of a scuffle. In fact, we've had MORE reports of this other boy's actions than the original reports. This is not the same person." Navius shook his head with a chuckle. "Are you so hell-bent on proving your point that you would attempt to sway the Circle with such insignificant details?" "How is the true identity of this menacing attacker considered an insignificant detail?" I asked. "You're attempting to quickly push forth a deadly agenda without knowing all of the facts beforehand. You're talking about murdering an innocent boy for something he didn't do." "And YOU'RE talking about putting the whole of our species in jeopardy by romanticizing over an old forgotten legend that you know nothing about." "That 'old forgotten legend' is detailed, at length, in the same collection of scriptures you seem to be using and twisting around to prove that your plans of extermination are justified, is it not?" I asked. But Navius was persistent. "What I am using...is a collected database of undeniable evidence to determine a pattern of behavior. Or have you forgotten the 'truth' of the situation? That EVERY documented Vampire Mimic in our long reaching recorded history...EVERY one...has gone mad. INSANE with power! Causing an apocalyptic amount of damage before he, himself, was destroyed." "Not all of them." I said. "You forget at least two instances. You forget India. You forget Japan. Where the Mimics were allowed to grow, to find their purpose...and they made huge achievements in our culture and our level of understanding. They advanced our kind far beyond where we were at that point in time. And if we just give this one potential a chance, we may be able to go even further." Olujimi said, "Suicides. Both of the 'successful' Mimics you speak of. I know the legends as well. Individuals who could not handle their positions as prophets and scholars. Pushed to an overwhelming level of stress and fatigue. This is what we have to go on as a righteous example of a true Mimic?" "What is IMPORTANT here, is that these vampires were willing to die for what they believed in. And it is because of their message that we were able to take a giant step forward towards a period of true enlightenment." I said, but Navius, again, dismissed my words. "Abnormalities in an already abnormal cycle of events." Simone raised the question, "If this new anomaly IS the threat we fear him to be, what then? What security measures do we have in place to battle such a thing?" They weren't listening to me. NONE of them! Zarius spoke to us all. "I'm afraid that any measures that we have in place now, and any strategies that we formulate in the future, will be both unpredictable and untested." "Well, what does THAT mean?" Beraad huffed. Lord Zarius took a very grim stance on the matter. "What I am saying...is that none of us in this room have been 'aged' enough to have ever had any experience with the last Mimic to walk in darkness. That part of our history had already been passed down and diluted even before we crossed over. All first hand knowledge of the Mimic, how he was born into darkness, how he was corrupted, and how he was destroyed, is lost forever." Piotr's boyish voice spread out across the table, his heavy Russian accent still evident, even after all these years. "What of the Vampire Versai? It was my understanding that he had survived the assault, and had passed his knowledge on to a powerful reader before the great fire. One who was calling himself, 'Zero'. What of his involvement?" Navius responded. "The Vampire Zero, I'm afraid, is no longer with us. Whatever secrets he held, along with Versai's knowledge of the actual Mimic event...they died with him." "Then we are lost." Simone answered. "Not if we act quickly." Navius assured her. "Our prime objective should be to eliminate the threat before he realizes exactly who and what he really is and what he is capable of. The boy is strong, but he is young. Just now coming into his own. We can strike while he is still confused and unable to fully defend himself." I spoke up, almost in desperation. "Are you hearing yourselves? He's a CHILD, for crying out loud! And here we are, a circle of Elders, plotting his destruction." Piotr spoke again. His voice was always such a rarity at these meetings. "My sire was an Elder when I crossed over long ago. He used to tell me stories of the Vampire Mimic by the fire at night. He told me that he was a despicable and vicious beast. A horror among men and vampire alike. I know of the favorable depictions of the chosen one in the scriptures, I've heard of this being, created by love and light. Destined to bring a message of prosperity and peace to the world when we needed it most. But can we really take that chance?" He turned to me and said, "I graciously accept your argument, Romero. But we will need more proof. This takes more than a matter of blind faith. There can be no mistakes." Olujimi added, "If we are exposed...if this boy causes enough tragedy and destruction to draw attention to the rest of our kind...the humans WILL retaliate. The upset in the balance will cause their governments to break the treaty. They have to. If the population found out that their own government was willingly allowing them to be fed upon by a parasitic race of vampires, there would be anarchy. They will deny all knowledge, and come after us with everything they have got. It will be a slaughter!" Masato spoke up, "No one believes that this boy has anything but pain and suffering to offer the rest of us. And what of the iluminirae? The oldest living vampires among us all? They will not tolerate such negligence." I exchanged a look with Zarius, who unfortunately had to be truthful. "I have spoken with some of the iluminirae...in Washington DC, London, Beijing, Cairo, Rome...all of them are deeply concerned. They want a decision before dawn on how we plan to handle this situation. There can be no further delay." One of Simone's advisers approached the table, and whispered something in her ear before she addressed the council. "And what of the Vampire Comicality?" "What of him?" Navius sneered. "Was he not one of your many chosen safeguards for handling this very situation? He has begun writing his scriptures again. In fact, his newest additions have, reportedly, been coming in faster and more frequently than ever. I doubt there are many vampires who believe in the prophecy more than he does. Is this a possible sign that we should consider in these talks?" "Heh...is that ridiculous man still writing stories about his fairy tale messiah?" Masato asked. "I would say that his vision of the Vampire Mimic is beyond optimistic. A dream that will never come to pass. He is blinded by his unfounded faith." I told them, "He has been of GREAT service to this council over the years. His scriptures and passages have been followed and respected by vampires from every corner of the globe..." "...And yet, he is just as mad and as useless as the degenerates that hear his word." Navius said. "So 'great' is he? A man of service to the Circle Nocturnus? Such a profound misjudgment of character, Romero." Navius turned to Lord Zarius and slid a folder of papers across the table. "While we have been in contact with the Vampire Comicality and asked for his full compliance in investigating these reports...it appears that he has been lying to all of us since the whispers of a Mimic began." Zarius frowned his face slightly. "You have proof of this, Navius?" "Yes. Indeed I do. In fact, not only has he been hiding the existence of the Vampire Mimic from the Elders for quite some time...but we have reason to believe that he has actually been training the boy to fight!" Olujimi asked, "To fight? Fight who?" And Navius answered, "To fight...US." Clearly upset...insulted...Lord Zarius sat back down in his seat and stared down at the table. Attempting to hold his anger at bay. "Have any among you spoken with the Vampire Comicality since this treason was made known to us?" Masato replied, "He is aware of our impending response, Lord Zarius. He knows that his treachery will not go unpunished. And he knows that his betrayal of the Circle's wishes have tagged him for execution." Zarius lowered his head. "And what did he say?" "He has agreed to face his execution with grace, and turn himself in to the council...but first, he says he must finish the scriptures on which he is working..." Zarius pounded the table with his fist. "That is not GOOD enough! There will BE no more scriptures written by Comicality! I want him FOUND, and in our custody!" He said angrily. "Seal off his entire catalogue in the Nifty archives, and any vampire library that carries his message. I want a complete information lockdown, and all of his works withheld from public viewing. If Comicality tries to add anything further, I want hunters there to collect him and bring him in for termination. This is a disgrace! His incompetence led to the maturation of a MONSTER...a creature that threatens to ruin ALL that we have built! He has broken ancient laws that were put into place for our very survival. This will not be tolerated." "Funny you should mention that, Lord Zarius." Navius said with another wicked grin. "It appears that the Nifty Archive in the IceZone has recently been the victim of a sudden attack. It was partially destroyed, and is still under reconstruction at this very moment...the texts within, including Comicality's, are being moved to other libraries until repairs have been made." He looked over at me, slyly. "Same blond halflife...same blue eyes. And on the same evening that many of our psychics within the area claimed to have seen the supposed 'chosen one' with their own eyes. This is no coincidence." Olujimi stated strongly, "The boy must be destroyed. Already the tragic events have begun!" Beraad added, "It's obvious he is already losing control. How much longer can we afford to wait before he's too strong for our hunters to silence?" I stood up at the table, hoping to get them to hear my pleas. "May I please beg for all of you to listen to me. Just this once. To consider what we are talking about." I said. "I realize that you all look at me as though I am a lesser vempirae because of my age...but I have spent a century learning our customs, studying our legends, contemplating the ways of our kind. I understand the fear and concern of those on the council, and it is not without reason that you feel this way. But the legend of the vampire Mimic and the Dawn are, perhaps, the most IMPORTANT and prolific philosophies of our time. Despite what has happened in the past, or even what is happening now, there is no reason to believe that the boy is anything other than confused. Scared. And without proper guidance." Looking around the table, I had their attention...but they didn't seem to be softening at all on their decision. "Don't you see? He could actually BE the chosen one. For centuries, all of his predecessors, any vampires even showing SIGNS of potentially being a Mimic...have been hunted down and slaughtered without any question as to whether or not it was necessary. And what has been the end result? Countless wars, global disasters, holocausts and genocides, riots and uprisings and horrors on a level that could have been prevented if the message was allowed to thrive as it was meant to. Is your faith so fragile? Your reasoning so blind? That you would execute this boy before he has the opportunity to share with us a message that could possibly redeem us from all that we have done?" Simone said, "It is our duty to neutralize threats BEFORE they happen, Romero. If we wait, he will become too powerful for even the best of us to challenge him." "So we slay him? And all who are like him? One after the other? Out of fear? Why?" I asked. "What is there to be so frightened of? We are being given a precious gift. For the first time in 600 years, the fates have provided us with another chance to experience a level of awakening that has been lost since the oldest of us have walked the Earth. Instead of taking advantage of it...we fear and persecute anything and everything different from us. We reject growth, we shun those with radical ideas, we attack new information with skepticism, and mockery, and HATE! Why? So we can maintain control over the population in our tiny little sector of town? Keep them on puppet strings and breed a civilization of virtual sleepwalkers with no goals or desires except for the ones we allow them to have? Have we come so far from daylight that we have forgotten the importance of our individuality, our independence...maybe even our humanity?" I asked them. "If we hunt this innocent boy down, and he truly is the chosen one, then we lose. We ALL suffer from not having heard his message. To do this would not only be an act of ignorance, but of sheer brutality." Navius, as I expected, rejected the idea. "Over and over, we all listen to Romero whine and complain about our treatment of the other potentials. The same argument, again and again. He has no concern for the well being of the MILLIONS of vampires walking in darkness. No. He has let his bleeding heart care more for these random abnormalities than for the whole of our kind, personally feeling the sting of guilt for each one that we destroy. But since you've chosen to take it upon yourself to ask such questions...let me ask YOU one..." He said. "What if you're wrong? Hmmm? If WE'RE wrong, then we lose one newblood vampire, and life goes on. But if you're wrong...we're talking about the unraveling of a foolproof system that has ensured our survival for thousands of years. Are you going to able to carry the burden of thousands of murdered vampires on your conscience? When our kind is being hunted down like dogs in the streets by panicked humans who neither know or care about how particularly 'special' we are...will you still feel the same way about the dangerous entities that you tried to save for 'emotion's' sake?" Navius then looked around the table. "Romero knows the details of the coming prophecy. I'm sure we all do. He's claiming to be the expert here. So ask yourselves...what happens...when the Mimic's sire dies? What happens when he goes all out to protect him? ALREADY he has displayed great acts of rage and violence...but we are talking about a tortured soul who has only ONE anchor left in this life that leads him back to his so-called peace of mind. What happens when that anchor is gone...and there is only fury and suffering left behind?" I paused. A dangerous thing when addressing the members of the Circle Nocturnus on such a solemn evening. I didn't know exactly how to answer at first, but I tried to push forward with a notion that I knew was going to be met with opposition right away. "I am only asking that we embrace the boy for as long as we can. We can bring him here. We can question him, learn about him, offer him some level of advice and guidance...direction and purpose. With the proper teaching, he can lead us all into the Vampire Dawn and we can restore the faith for the future Mimics to come. The vampires at this table are NOT deities. As much as we'd like to believe we are, we are no better and no worse than the other vampires out there, fighting to understand where they belong in the world. This is our opportunity to advance together, as one. Wasn't that the purpose of crossing over into darkness in the first place? There was a time when learning from our differences was what really mattered. Where did that Utopian mentality go to? What will we lose if he turns out to be the one? Our imaginary control? Our money making businesses, our petty politics, our falsely perceived 'greatness'? Maybe all of the above. But isn't it worth it...if it makes the world a better place? Can't we give up the control and the money and the shadows and the secrecy for the chance to elevate to something with greater meaning?" "He talks nonsense." Beraad said. "This council, and many others, are approaching a disgusting and irreversible state of corruption. It has become more of a chess game to maintain order and satisfy egos while keeping up the appearance that we are doing it for the good of the people, than a service for the well being of the people we claim to protect. Keeping our pockets fat while looming over the others who live in sewers and abandoned buildings, or who turn to spice dealing and prostitution, in order to keep themselves in a protective habitat and safe from daylight so they don't PERISH in the poverty stricken areas we allow them to dwell in without escape. I dare any one of you to trade places with them. There are SOME vempirae at this very table that would do anything to keep another source of power from coming into existence. And it is that imaginary threat that keeps us all in this violent circle of chaos and murder." I said. Mistress Simone was outraged. "Hold your tongue, Romero! How DARE a vampire of such unimpressive age address the rest of the council this way." Beraad asked me, "And what are YOU willing to sacrifice, Romero? How much are you willing to give up, for a fabled message that may never come?" And I answered, quite simply, "Everything." Lord Zarius looked at me, and gave me a gracious nod. Finally, at last, someone heard me. "Perhaps Romero has a point. Until we have reason to think the Mimic is unstable...we should be able to reach out to the child and assess his mental state before giving him a death sentence." Navius, still attempting to protect his position of power, stood up at the table, and sent his adviser to the conference room door. "You want a reason, Lord Zarius? I can provide you with one." Navius looked back at me and gave me a wink. "You see, MY information, unlike Romero's, doesn't come from dusty old books and vampire pseudo-religious dogma. It comes from current events, and spectators to the horror that is soon to come crashing down upon us. You see...I have a witness." He said, and the doors opened behind us. In walked a young vampire. Perhaps 25 years of age, but with a significant number of years in darkness. He approached the table, and everyone turned to see him. "Ladies and gentlemen of the council...let me introduce to you one of our most productive promoters in the fighting arena circuit. This...is Soren." Soren bowed to one knee in front of the Circle, and Zarius was first to address him. "Vampire Soren...Navius here tells us that you were an eye witness to the Mimic's capabilities. Is this accurate?" "Yes, sir. I have seen him with my own eyes. And I have seen the damage that he can do." Soren answered. Navius asked him, "Go on, Soren. Tell them what you told me." Soren seemed a bit shaky in front of the council, but I listened with great interest. "I first encountered the Mimic at my arena. He participated in the tournaments under the name 'Renegade'. I assume, to gather more extras from my fighters and become even stronger than he already was. I saw him again at the IceZone, after my fighters had been brutally attacked to the point of not being able to enter and perform their scheduled competitions. We were forced to forfeit all of our matches for the weekend. I confronted the boy about the matter, and requested that he help me rebuild me business, to pay tribute to Vampire Elder Beraad as expected..." He said, getting a nod from Beraad for being the obedient lapdog that he was. "Then...the boy instantly threatened me with violence when I merely asked for his assistance." Piotr spoke. "Threatened you? Threatened you how?" "He said...if the council will pardon the expression...that he would 'Fucking KILL me', sir." Soren replied. "He was quite serious." Navius turned to the table. "He would 'Fucking KILL him'. Those were his words. This is the 'stable' creature that Romero wants us to embrace." Masato asked, "What provoked this particular threat, Soren?" "Nothing, sir. I mentioned his sire, and he went ballistic." He said. "He was blond, with blue eyes. His name is Justin. And his sire's name is Taryn. This I know for certain." Again, Navius was pleased. "Is this not the behavior we have come to expect from a demon on the brink of madness? This attack was only the beginning. Soren...please continue." Soren told us, "After the IceZone incident, I attempted to restore my business from scratch while my fighters healed themselves. I only wanted to generate more funds to make up for what I lost. And then...the Mimic suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He had returned to carry out the details of his threat. Complete, unprovoked, hostility. He destroyed everything he came into contact with, and took my best warriors down with it." Zarius seemed suspicious. "This hardly sounds plausible, Soren. You expect us to believe that this halflife boy attacked you for no considerable reason, whatsoever?" "I would not lie to the council, sir. What I witnessed was an unprecedented level of uncontrolled rage. The things that boy could do...words cannot explain." I spoke up, "This is ridiculous. Why would he threaten this man and then lead a full blown attack on a fighting arena promoter if he didn't have a definitive reason to do so?" But Soren kept going, "He was INSANE! My entire warehouse and everything in the surrounding area was torn to pieces! I lost MANY of my best officers, including my own personal bodyguard, in a single night. He was a monster!!!" He said. "I saw...with my own eyes...a beast rise up from within him. An evil creature made PURELY of shadows and darkness grew out of his intense anger and consumed him. Giant black wings, fangs...unimaginable power! Never before had I seen such destruction. He tore through that place like a whirlwind, my soldiers savagely torn to shreds by this creature's level of unrestrained madness. I was lucky to escape that place with my life." Navius said, "Do we need any more proof? Do we need to wait for more destructive evidence to appear before we agree on what needs to be done?" Just then, I got another mental message from Julian who was trying his best to remain silent during the meeting, but was forced to let me know his current thoughts on what was happening. "He's lying." He said. "What?" "That Soren guy...he's lying. Or at least HALF lying! I can sense it." "JULIAN! I WARNED you not to read anyone's mind!" I snapped. "You said not to read an ELDER'S mind." "I said NOBODY'S but mine!" I scolded him, but he stood firm on his discovery. "Doesn't mean he's not lying about this. He's not being honest. Romey, you've GOT to tell them! You've got to make them believe." He said, and I struggled with trying to find an opening to even accuse this 'Soren' vampire of any untruths. "Just...SHHHH! Ok?" I told Julian. And then I turned to address the council. "Lord Zarius, I have reason to believe that Navius' so-called witness is not telling us the whole truth about his encounters with alleged Mimic." Zarius gave me a look. "On what grounds do you make this accusation, Romero?" I didn't have much of an answer for that, unfortunately. I couldn't tell them that I brought a reader to the Circle. Instead, I turned to Soren. "You said the Mimic attacked you out of pure rage. Madness. What could have gotten him so angry, in your opinion?" "I don't know." Soren answered. "He was...simply out of control." "Did he demonstrate this loss of control in your arena?" "What?" I repeated. "I am asking you...if at any time...this 'insane monster' demonstrated a loss of control in your 'Stronghold' fighting arena? It seems that a vampire with that level of immense power would have somehow revealed these unbalanced tendencies while fighting in the ring. Right? Maybe something that could have alerted you to some level of instability long before his...unprovoked attack on your warehouse. It's doubtful that he would be able to hide his malice and mean-spirited abilities from you. Especially in a place where fighting and aggression is pushed to such high extremes." "He...he simply wanted to gain more power. That's why he was in the arena. He must have been trying to hide it, like you said. But, even then, from the moment I met him, I knew that there was something evil brewing inside of him..." "And yet, upon seeing him at the IceZone, you approached him again. A second time. Is this right? You made him an offer to help you generate some much needed revenue for your arena. Are we to believe that you wanted, or needed, assistance from an unpredictable vampire psychopath that you claimed not to trust in the first place?" I said, but Navius swiftly moved in to interfere with my questioning. "A beast with large black wings and fangs. A destroyed warehouse! MORE vampire lives lost! An outright threat, when mention of his sire was made, a threat that was carried out with great cruelty. A merciless vampire with nothing on his mind other than how to protect his own sire from a prophecy that is inevitably going to come true no matter WHAT he does to try and prevent it." Navius looked towards Lord Zarius and said, "Sir...if we do not act now, we risk losing the opportunity to act at ALL. The child grows stronger each and every night. The last vampire Mimic nearly destroyed our entire civilization, and that was without the technological advances in communication and surveillance that we have in this day and age. Not to mention that the last Mimic had a MUCH smaller population of vampire extras to draw from back then. In this city, alone, there are enough extra abilities to make this new demon nearly invincible in a very short amount time! It is CRUCIAL that we take a stand and settle this now. Or there may be no time left for any of us." The table, again, went silent...and despite Lord Zarius truly giving my opinion its equal weight among the others...I could tell from his expression that it might not be enough to sway the others. "To all of the Circle Nocturnus, who vote to have the Mimic targeted for execution...please say so now." Navius was the first to place his palms on the table, and say, "Aye." Piotr was next. "Aye. It must be done." Then Simone. "Aye." Olujimi. "Aye." Beraad. "Aye." And Masato. "Aye." Zarius met eyes with me, and even though I knew my vote wouldn't count at all, I stood my ground, and I told them, "Nay." Zarius didn't even have to say anything. It had been decided, and that means the boy didn't have much longer to live. Zarius spoke to Masato. "Green light hunter deployment immediately. I want the boy taken care of as soon as possible. Reroute all of our best sources to targeting the threat...and taking it out as quickly as possible." I stood up. "Lord Zarius, with all due respect, I feel that you are making a terrible mistake. I beg you to reconsider." "I am deeply sorry, Romero. But in light of this new evidence, it appears that the Mimic is already heading down the path to darkness and feeding his psychosis instead of rising above it. It is simply a chance that we cannot afford to take." I desperately tried to fight for him. "I officially approach the council to ask for more time." "There can be no further time given. The iluminirae want an answer by dawn." "Then I demand to speak to them directly..." Zarius gave me a signal to sit back down. And he said, "As always Romero, your fight is commendable. But, I am sorry. We have to do what must be done. Before it is too late. It is our duty, as well as our burden." Angry, I sat back down, and clenched my fists as I heard the usual death sentence given out to yet another innocent. The way it always has been. And the cycle of fear and death continues. "Masato...what are the chances of getting a task force of hunters ready for action within the next 72 hours?" Masato put down his pen, and cleared his throat. "We...seem to be having a slight 'problem' with the best of our agents, Lord Zarius." "What kind of problem?" "I have recently gotten word from Adviser Elias Sneed...and it appears that Mistress Katrina has had bit of an upheaval in her own facility. The hunter, 'Exile', has recently left her employ. And he was one of the best." Masato said quietly. "It also appears that he has taken her recent crossover, Orion, with him. Neither of them have been found." "Has the whole world gone insane?" Zarius grunted. "We can definitely acquire some quality hunters for this particular objective, but our most experienced problem solvers are tied up at the moment. Not a problem that can't be solved though. We're looking into the matter as we speak." "Good. I want this Mimic found and dealt with. Quickly. And as soon as the Vampire Comicality's location is confirmed...I want you to take care of the execution personally, Masato. There can be no further mistakes. He MUST be held accountable for his betrayal of this council and to all of vampire kind." Zarius spoke the words, and I felt my spirit dying with ever second that passed by me. Another potential that I couldn't save. Another life lost...senselessly tossed into the abyss, while the powers that be stay in control. Not even Zarius could stand up for me. "This meeting is adjourned. I will inform the iluminirae of our plans." And it was just over. All of it. There was nothing more that I could do. As the Elders got up from the table, Navius looked me in the eye, and gave me a wicked smirk. "Perhaps when you're older, you'll understand, Romero. Power never fades. Only a weak morality does that." The Elders left the room, and Zarius came to comfort me. "We're doing the right thing." "No, Zarius. We're not." I said defiantly. "The Circle Nocturnus hasn't just failed me...it has failed us all." And with that, I took Julian and walked out. Julian was right on my heels, a worried look on his beautiful face, and an angry look on mine. He finally began to speak out loud as we approached the limo. "So what's gonna happen now??? Can't they change they're minds?" "It's not likely. It's out of my hands." "So they're gonna kill him?" I looked back into Julian's eyes, and I said, "Unfortunately, this is how things are done. My hands are tied. Let's just hope that this Mimic has learned what he needs to know to defend himself. And to keep the hunters at bay until he is able to overcome the demons in his past. If not...then he is lost." I said, almost tearing up at the thought of it. "Hopefully, Julian, the fates will be with us all..."
  10. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus

    I want to let everyone know that this story ties into chapters of the original "Gone From Daylight" storyline! There are spoilers within if you haven't read it yet! This spinoff gives us a dark look at the mysterious Vampire Elders of Chicago. When a new threat arrives in darkness, possibly bringing madness and death along with it, the Elders must get to together to discuss an effective plan of action to deal with it. But will cooler heads prevail and can a peaceful solution be achieved? Or will fear and corruption lead them to a much deadlier option? The clock is ticking, and tough choices must be made before it's too late!
  11. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus

    "GFD: Circle Nocturnus" It is a dark old mansion that sits by the placid surface of Lake. It is fenced in, surrounded by a thick cover of trees and bushes...and a long driveway made up of old bricks, that lead up to a circular parking area with a large working fountain in the middle. A dark collection of long black limos have been lined up in front of the house, shining like dark slivers of glass in the light of the full moon. As my driver takes us onto the property, the fence is closed and locked behind us, and security teams of hunters step out of the shadows to watch over the property and provide us all with the heavy security needed for such an important meeting. Attended by such important people. It is obvious that we are some of the last to arrive. I look over to my right to see my vampire childe, Julian, anxiously tapping his fingers against his thighs, practically bouncing around in the back seat of our limousine. I was beginning to regret bringing him along with me tonight. He is still SO young. And while I love him with every fiber of my being...he has only been a vampire for 6 short years, and he has never met another vampire Elder except for me. Much less the high governing Elders of this area and many others that he'll be seeing tonight. Their traditions are much different from the vampires of today. To the point where the oldest of us, the 'vempirae'...or even OLDER than the council itself, the 'iluminirae'...might seem like an almost entirely different species to him. It may be too soon to bring him into this part of my existence. I promised to allow him a bit more access, but I can already tell that he is too eager to contain himself. I really should have left him behind tonight. Because if this meeting is about what I THINK it's about...there is some very dark work that we have ahead of us. Chances are, they will object to having such a newblood at our table. "How many of them are gonna be there, Romey? Lots, I'll bet!" Julian grinned happily. His neatly cut, blond bangs dancing back and forth across his light blue optrix as he gave me a boyish smile. He was only 15 when he crossed over, and even though he remains physically unchanged, I swear, he grows more beautiful each day. I, on the other hand, have been wandering the streets of Chicago since Al Capone was still knocking over paperboy stands for some kid's lunch money. I may have crossed over at the age of 17, myself...but I guarantee you, I am MUCH much older. I have seen this once small industrial city grow into the massive metropolis it is today. It happened so very fast back then. I've seen its skyscrapers built from the ground up. I've seen it run by blatant bullies and thugs...and I now see it run by secretive political bullies and thugs. I've seen the night skies set ablaze with the light of the great Chicago fire...and I've seen the glory of the World's Fair celebrate its revival in all its brilliance. I once passed H.H. Holmes in the street, picking up on some of his mental images as we nearly collided with one another. Seems we were both looking for a fresh victim that night. I've been a witness to soooo much, and have gathered more experiences than Julian has questions to ask about. And yet, despite the nearly impossible age gap between me and my childe...we still found and maintain a love that I am confident will stand the test of time and beyond. Something about him...his youth, his excitement, his eagerness to explore and experience and absorb ALL that he possibly can at all times...it rejuvenated the life within me. It made me remember what it was like to see the world with fresh eyes again. And for that, I am truly grateful. However...when dealing with the other Elders on the council tonight...that delightful energy will have to be nearly suffocated out of him and pressed to the very bottom of his stomach. And the utmost form of poise and respect must be put there to replace it on the surface. They won't tolerate his naiveté. Not even for a moment. Not tonight. "Which one is the oldest one, Romey? Can I, like, talk to them? Omigod, I've got SO many questions!" Julian peeped. "Romero, Julian. When you're in there, you must call me Romero. No nicknames. Understood?" I told him, and then I put my hand on top of his to keep him from patting his thighs. "And you HAVE to stop fidgeting. They take offense when you fidget. You're a VERY young vampire to them, Julian, and they're going to notice that right away. The key to being allowed to stay within the walls of the mansion during our meeting is to show great respect and self control." "I know, I know. I am...I'm just...this is so COOL, you know???" He leaned over to hug me around the neck and I should have been trying to calm him down more, but...there was always something so soft and affectionate about his embrace. Sincerity in its purest form. I had no choice but to hold him close, and place a tender kiss on his lips. I can't believe I'm sneaking him in here as my 'assistant'. A READER at that! He has been bugging me for the last three years to let him sit in on a meeting with the rst of the circle. I finally surrendered and agreed to let him come as long as he let me train him on Vempirae etiquette and approach. And now...here he is. On tonight of all nights. Sighhhh...what have I done? "Alright, Julian...you remember what we discussed. Right? It's EXTREMELY important that you follow what I taught you to the very letter of the law. This is serious. Elders aren't like other vampires. Especially the traditional ones from the old world. You have to follow certain 'rules of engagement' when you're in their presence. Timelessness makes them...touchy about things like that." "Ok, no prob. I gotchya." He smiled. "Stop smiling." I said, and he tried...but with a gentle blush, the smirk broke through his defenses regardless. And it was so contagious that I couldn't help but to smile myself for a moment. So beautiful. So VERY beautiful. There was a time, shortly after my 125th birthday that I swear I went an entire year without so much as cracking a single smile. Time wasted. I was worried that I had exhausted my sense of humor for good. But humor consists mostly with a sense of 'surprise'...and how does one surprise a century old vampire? All that time...I had convinced myself that there weren't going to be many chances left to laugh during my stay in darkness. And here Julian is again, proving me wrong. There truly are a few unexpected tricks left in this life of mine. We giggled to ourselves for a moment as the limo drove us up to the house, and I leaned over to give him a quick kiss on the lips. "Ok...for real this time. Pay attention." I said. "When you're in there, you're supposed to be my assistant. You don't speak unless spoken to. And if you ARE spoken to, you answer in SHORT phrases, if not just 'yes' or 'no' answers. Try not to stare, and don't make any sudden or jerky movements, they don't like it." His knees were bouncing again and I pushed my hand down to stop them. "DON'T fidget, Julian...it makes you look nervous. If YOU Look nervous, that makes THEM nervous. So try to control that as best as you can, ok?" "Ok." He said, taking a deep breath. "Give me your optrix." I said, and he took them out of his eyes to hand them to me. Allowing his amazing vampire glow to shine through. "You have to show an Elder your true eyes at all times. Anything less is a sign of disrespect. And NEVER bare your fangs at any time! You understand? It's like...giving them a middle finger or something, you'll basically be picking a fight. You don't want that." God, I hope I had taught him enough over the last few weeks to get us through this. I was taking a HUGE chance here. "Romey..." Julian smiled, then corrected himself, "Sighhh...Romero...it'll be FINE! I won't embarrass you, I promise." I took his smooth pale cheeks in my hands, feeling the porcelain smooth flesh against my palms, and I gave his moist, ruby, lips a lover's kiss torelax him. And possibly relax myself in the process. "You could never embarrass me, Julian. Not ever." He grinned, but then I added, "However...if you piss one of them off, they're liable to kill us both. So...keep that in mind, will you?" Our limo came to a stop, and our driver got out to open the door for us. "Sweet! Eek! This is it! Ok...I'm calm! I'm calm!" Julian panted. "REMEMBER...the second we get out of this car, you don't read ANYBODY'S mind but mine! Ok? The Elders can easily detect these things. Reading an Elder's mind within the confidentiality of the Circle is considered an act of treason, so DON'T do it! If you want to communicate, mentally, back and forth with ME, that's fine. But you start poking around in someone else's head, and you'll take a shiv in the heart right there and then. I won't be able to protect you. Do you understand?" "Yes, sir." He smiled. "STOP SMILING!!!" I giggled. "Hehehe, sorry." The limo door opened, and our eyes connected briefly before he stepped out. I followed, and immediately he formed a mental link with me as we went to walk towards the front door. At least we could communicate without the others hearing. For a little while, anyway. I never know what they can and can't sense. We Elders are definitely known for keeping our secrets. Any violation of that means immediate execution. No discussion. I hope Julian can keep his excitement under control. The mansion loomed over us, black as the night itself, at least a century old. But secure enough for the governing Elders to meet in secret whenever there were matters of great importance to discuss. Each Elder had their own selection of personal bodyguards and protectors that accompanied them everywhere that they went. Some were visible in the open areas, and some were hidden in the shadows. For this heightened level of security, my suspicions about tonight being extremely important were confirmed. A few of the guards at the door bowed their heads slightly when they recognized me, and I allowed Julian to enter the mansion first, before quietly walking in behind him. We were scanned, physically, for weapons in the foyer. Then scanned, mentally, by some of the experienced readers standing in front of the door. Two men, in black suits, that skillfully ran through our 'surface' thoughts, without going any deeper. They were looking for signs of aggression, deception, fear...I was worried that Julian's wild excitement would have them stop him at the door. But I think they recognized him as a younger vampire, giving him somewhat of a handicap, and let him in anyway. The light was so dim in the main hall that the bulbs barely served their purpose. The center of the giant mansion was spacious...to the point where you felt as though it could swallow you up and never release you again. High ceilings that disappeared into the darkness above you, and two winding staircases that snaked their way around either side of a giant hanging chandelier. Spread out in the main hall, were the other Elders in attendance for this meeting. Vampires well over 200 years old, mostly, or nearing that age. I am the youngest member of the council at only 156 years in darkness. An achievement, sure, but until a vampire has reached their bicentennial, they can't even begin to fathom the idea of eternity. At least that's what I've constantly been told by the powers that elected me to be here. Because of my apparent youth...there are many times when they look down on my voice within the Circle. But the oldest of us, the governing mage of the Circle Nocturnus here in this sector, knows that my reasoning is sound. That my opinion has merit. It has proven to be a necessary component of their decision making process. I'm hoping that will come in handy tonight. I looked to my right, and saw Julian fidgeting again as he saw the other Elders moving into the large room around him. Each one with their own private entourage of advisers and assassins alike. I had to silently communicate with Julian before the rapid beating of his antsy heart caused him to explode. "Julian...stillness. Remember?" "Right...right." He said back to me, psychically. "Wow...they don't look much older than we do. Are they really THAT old?" "Most of them remember when the United States first became a country, believe me. But, like everything else, they've updated and adapted to the current times. While keeping their cultural knowledge and individual traditions in tact. We are all reaching forward into eternity, seeking the ultimate answers, evolving through the illusion of time to find the boundary...and look beyond it." "That is soooo wicked..." He said. "Do you really think they'll instantly know that I'm...you know...so young?" Julian asked, almost feeling a pinch of humiliation for it. "They knew the second you walked in the door." I told him. "Your youth is evident in everything you do. An Elder knows the difference. But don't worry...to them...even I'M young." "You still look pretty to me, OLD man!" He said, and he started to smile, but then corrected himself and held it back. We both moved forward, and the Elders acknowledged me with a silent nod from a distance. Discussing matters of the city with one another as they allowed us to pass. Their hunter bodyguards always blatantly stared you in the eye when you passed them. Every time. Hands ready on whatever weapons they were carrying with them. Ready to cut you in two if you made any sudden movements. That's their job. Their ONLY job. Julian was staring in amazement. I could practically feel the energetic tingles radiating from him as he trembled in the presence of the others. I had to keep talking to him. At least until he got used to the idea. "Don't stare." "I'm sorry." He said. "Try to stay with me here, ok? Short, casual, glances. I'll give you a quick break down on who everyone is." I told him. "Don't worry about the hunters watching you. You won't sneak any glances past them, they'll catch you every time and stare right back at you. Every single hunter in this room is keeping an eye on everything around them at all times, watching VERY closely, and their gaze will follow you no matter where you go. It can be unsettling at first, but you'll grow accustomed to it in time." "Ok..." He said. Even in his mental messages, his boyish whine sounded adorable. But I could already tell that the paranoia behind being stared at with such brazen intensity was beginning to make him feel awkward. It was shameless the way they burned a hole right through you with their unapologetic gaze, but it was a part of the job that I had gotten used to over the years. To our left was a woman in a long, sleek, red dress. With long black hair hanging to the small of her back. She crossed over around the age of 40...but that was 236 years ago. "You see the woman to the left?" I secretly asked Julian, keeping him focused. "That is Mistress Simone. She traveled here from Romania just over a century ago. She's been a high ranking member of the Circle Nocturnus for nearly 75 years now." I saw Julian staring again, and had to make sure that he remembered to look away. "Now...the reason all of her bodyguards and her adviser are women is because she doesn't trust men at all. None. Rumor has it that she was very much in love with her sire once...but when she found out that he had been having a lurid love affair behind her back...she had him dismembered, put the pieces into an iron treasure chest, and let it sink to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean...where he still lies to this day. Crying out, waking up each night to drown all over again. He can't even turn himself to ash, as the depths of the ocean are too far down for daylight to reach him. Hell of a punishment." "Jesus!" "Indeed. Don't let the calm face and dark red lipstick fool you. She's quite rational...but she can be truly heartless when she feels the need. And she likes for it to HURT. Long lasting agony that is meant to provide the maximum amount of suffering." Two of the other Elders were in conversation in another corner of the room. One of them, A large, broad shouldered, African man, with a bald head covered in tribal tattoos, and had a long visible scar across his throat. The other, a blind, Asian man, about 35 years old, with shoulder length black hair, and dressed in an extremely expensive suit. "Now...over here, Julian, are two very important Elders on the council. The one on the right is Vampire Elder Olujimi. He hails from Zaire, and he is our link between the human world and the vampire world. He negotiates the treaties, he maintains the balance, and it's his job to make sure that this connection between the two worlds is kept SECRET! There's a legend that the scar on his neck happened AFTER his crossover, and it never healed completely. It's been said that an assassin actually cut his head OFF...and he was somehow able to 're-attach' it in just one sleep cycle. I don't know if there is any truth to that, but I DO know that Olujimi was a warrior and a king in his homeland before he crossed over into darkness...and he's gotten more ruthless since then. So anything is possible." Julian's eyes got big, and I saw the other Elder reach into his pocket to answer his cell phone. "Yes...so it is done? I am pleased." He said, his eyes completely white from his blindness. No pupils at all. "Payments will be transferred into your respective accounts within the hour." He hung up the phone, and returned his attention to Olujimi. "It appears that one of our little 'problems' has recently been taken care of in the IceZone sector. The target has been silenced. There will be no future pirated radio broadcasts." Olujimi nodded. His voice a deep baritone that rattled in his chest when he spoke. "This is a good thing. I trust you are still checking for others using this same hidden frequency?" "Indeed, we are. Soon...all vampires attempting to hide their actions from us will suffer a very serious set of consequences. This, I can guarantee." "Who's that?" Julian asked. "The blind Asian is Vampire Elder Masato. He's 288 years old, and he is one of the main 'problem solvers' in the Circle. If any of our ancient laws are being violated by this new and growing population of modern vampires, if any information is leaked or withheld, if there is any threat of exposure whatsoever....Masato is the one that makes the call." "Makes the call? Meaning what?" Julian asked. "Meaning...you get an unexpected 'visitor'..." I told him. "...Your very LAST 'visitor', to be specific. Masato is in touch with all of the hunter training sites on the continent. Assassin contracts are written, and payments are delivered. Just pray he never writes your name down. Ever. Even though Masato is blind...he can still write clearly, keep notes, and return to somehow 'read' them later. It is legend that once Masato scribes your name in his book of targets...you die within three days' time. Even without hiring an assassin." "Whoah...is that true?" "Who knows? When these Elders crossed over, myths and legends were seen as the gospel truth. The world was a very different place back then. But for what it's worth, that's one legend that I don't care to put to the test." I said. I then turned Julian's attention to the big, bloated, vampire stuffing his face with food by the large fireplace. "The giant PIG of a man you see by the steps is Vampire Elder Beraad. Very old. Has Viking blood in him." I saw Julian make a face as the 450 pound vampire reached into a metal bucket to grab a sloppy handful of mixed meat. It looked like some chicken, some ham, some crumbled, greasy, ground beef, and a piece of raw fish...and he shoved the whole thing in his mouth at once. Breathing heavy as chunks of half chewed slop fell out of his gaping maw, some of it smeared on his face. "Dude...that's SO sick! Ugh!" Julian made a frown, but was quick to straighten up when he noticed Beraad's hunter detail prctically assaulting him with an overly attentive stare. At that moment, Beraad picked up a second bucket that he kept at his side. And once he had chewed all the flavor he could out of the garbage he had pushed into his open mouth...he lifted the second bucket and spit out the disgusting 'mush' in a sickening ball of waste, so as not to swallow any of it and cause himself any pain later from digesting anything other than the blood of the innocent. He let out a rude belch before one of his advisers handed him a black silk napkin to wipe his mouth and chin. "Beraad's job is to control the heft of our underground finances. The money made from the clubs, from the fighting arenas, the safeguard marks, the blood dealers...all have to be taxed and the money pushed back into the system. Disgusting as he may be, his numbers are never wrong. He can mathematically calculate all budgets and percentages faster than most computers. And whatever is left over, he greedily hordes for himself." The front door opened again, and another Elder showed up with a few adviser of his own. In appearance, he was just a 12 year old boy. Small in stature with an almost feminine frame. Tiny shoulders, and a neatly cut chestnut brown mop on his head. He was dressed in a black suit with a tie, his black shoes shining, even in this dim light. He was also wearing dark sunglasses and a pair of black gloves, which he calmly removed once inside, and handed it to his right hand adviser to place gently in a briefcase. Julian let a smile cross his lips, and I nudged him in the side. "Awww, no way! He's so cute! Is he, like..." "An Elder? Yes. That is the Vampire Elder Piotr. And I suggest that you take the word 'cute' out of your vocabulary when talking about him. He may just be one of the most ruthless Vempirae Elders in this room." I said, and Julian watched in disbelief as the young boy found an exquisite antique chair against the wall, and politely sat down, his adult male entourage dutifully taking positions on both sides of him. Piotr was always so quiet. So delicate in his voice and his movements. But, truth be told, many have been slaughtered under his reign...and he's never lost a moment's sleep over it. "Piotr is over 350 years into his crossover. He comes from a very old criminal order in Russia, when there WAS no government and each settlement had to pretty much fend for themselves. The four men he brought with him are more than just his advisers, they are his lovers as well. They are his four husbands. And even then, he goes out to look for more. He demands older males, always. His own body never developed before he was bitten, so a fully matured body is what he is looking for. He also has a fetish for humans. But with them...once he's done with the sex, he bleeds them quick, disposes of the bodies, and goes right back to business like some kind of black widow spider." I said. "Piotr's very traditional. He maintains the laws and keeps a firm grasp in all of our activities. He uses fear to prevent anarchy, or so he says. I honestly think he enjoys watching them die. He has a zero tolerance for...well...everything. He's done things that would make Hitler blush." "I suddenly don't want to ask anyone here any questions about anything anymore." Julian said. "They're all so...demented. Why so much violence and murder?" "Unfortunately, there is no line drawn in the sand for many modern vampires today. How do you govern over a species that feeds off of the living on a monthly basis. Vampires that think they are 'gods'. Our decisions are difficult, but they're put into place to keep the balance and stop this whole process from suddenly spinning out of control. The worlds of daylight and darkness...if they were to suddenly collide with one another before both worlds were ready to accept the impact of it...the results would be catastrophic." Julian quickly looked over my shoulder. "I think that 'guy' is coming over." I turned around, and tried to hold back a growl as I saw one of my most hated members of the Circle. Standing at over six feet, his long dark hair coming down to his cheeks, evil eyes staring at me with a wicked smile as he began to approach. He was in his 30's when he crossed over, but that was a few centuries before now. "That is Vampire Navius. He controls all forms of communication with the other Elders and vampires in higher places than what exists in our private sector. He collects information from every knowledgeable source in the country. It's his job to know everything that is to be known at all times. And in case you were wondering...he's an asshole." It was the last thing I was able to send Julian mentally before Navius greeted me with a fake smile and an invasive stare at Julian. "The great Vampire Romero. I am so very pleased to see that you have come to grace us with your presence this evening." Then he looked at Julian, and squinted his eyes slightly. "And I see that you've brought...a guest." I was quick to tell him, "This is Julian. He's my adviser for the evening." "An adviser for an adviser. How quaint." He said in a snotty tone. "And such a lovely adviser at that. So...young. You usually come alone, Romero. What changed your mind?" He was already prying. Already trying to push his way in to find out what was going on. Julian was frozen, attempting to keep his eyes down. "This was an important meeting. I wanted him present." Julian was trembling slightly, and it only made Navius smirk wickedly at him. "Why so nervous, child? You're among friends, I assure you." He said, with a reptilian tone of voice. "I'm...ok, sir." He stuttered, about to rattle himself to pieces. "For such an 'important meeting', Romero, I find it awkward that you would bring with you such obvious distractions. In fact, I find it insulting." He said. "The Circle Nocturnus does not have a nursery." "Maybe what it needs is some new blood. Something refreshing, instead of conformist. Perhaps that is why the Circle is constantly making the same mistakes without learning the proper lessons presented to them." I said, challenging him, but only with a subtle change in demeanor. "So then...you DO know what tonight's meeting is about then?" Navius grinned. "I can already see you getting fired up with the same old arguments that you have been giving us for the last three decades. But I can guarantee you...you will continue to get the same response you always have. We will not jeopardize everything we have worked so hard to maintain for the last few centuries over your optimistic vision of misplaced hope." "The council knows true wisdom when it hears it. And they know that, eventually, this violent cycle of ours has to come to an end. We can't continue to keep wiping 'potentials' out of existence over a few rumors alone." "Ahhh...but THIS time, Romero...it's not just rumors and hearsay." Navius said, his smirk widening before my eyes. "It's not a guess, it's not a hoax, it's not a myth. This time, I have evidence to prove its legitimacy. And your petty quarrels and debates aren't going to do you a bit of good. Not this time. All Masato needs is the proper authorization, and it is finished. This meeting is nothing more than a polite formality to keep the other members of the Circle informed. A shell game, to satisfy those in control." "Well...we shall see, won't we?" I told him. "Indeed, we shall." Navius sneered. And it was then that we all heard the opening of a door at the top of the winding staircase. All eyes turned upward, and a much older man, with long white hair and a white goat tee to match, stepped to the edge of the balcony. Lord Zarius, the oldest of us all, and leading member of the Circle Nocturnus. With a calm wave of his arm, he greeted us, and began his graceful decent down the stairs to begin the meeting. Julian nearly shook himself sick at the very sight of him. He had read many scriptures, many legends, of Lord Zarius since his crossover. Text dating further back than anything he could ever imagine. He was beyond fascination as the gentlemen reached the floor of the main hall, and shook hands with the other members of the council. He was impressed beyond his ability to speak. Hold onto your grace, Julian. Don't slip. The doors were opened to the conference room, and all of the Elders began to head towards it. I watched as Mistress Simone was allowed to enter first. Anything less was considered rude. She would not stand for it. Olujimi and Masato entered shortly after Navius, and Piotr silently walked forward...being cut off by Beraad. A known molester, Beraad never passed up an opportunity to openly drool over the attractive young lad. "Mmmm, the passions you arouse in me, boy." Beraad lewdly sucked his middle finger into his mouth at the sight of him. "My, my, my...you look good enough to eat." "Solu tedumeo..." Piotr sneered. Even offended, his soft, high pitched, voice hardly seemed threatening at all. The boy said nothing else, and walked into the conference room without looking in Beraad's direction again. "What did he say?" Julian asked. "It's an old language. VERY old. I'll teach you the basics of it one day. Hehehe, translated, it means...'You disgust me'." I said. I began to walk towards the door myself, when Lord Zarius himself came over to speak to me. Julian noticed his approach and he nearly fainted from a sudden lack of oxygen. "Lord Zarius." I bowed my head with respect, and he put a hand on my shoulder to set me at ease. "I understand that this assembly was put together on very short notice, Romero, but it was imperative that this meeting be held tonight." He said, his voice was soothing. A bit gravely, but comforting. Like that of an old uncle or a grandfather, dispersing words of wisdom for the ages. But despite his friendly face, I could tell the deep level of concern in his tone. "I understand. When I caught word of the announcement, I knew that I had to come." I said. "Navius says that he has actual proof this time. Is this true?" Zarius looked me in the eye, and attempted to forge a counterfeit smile. "Romero...I understand that, as a part of the Circle, you are considered to be...a very young candidate. I realize that the other Elders often see your reasoning as irrational. Inexperienced. Unsound." Then he patted me on the shoulder again. "But as far as I am concerned, your inclusion in the Circle Nocturnus is one of the most important perspectives that we can ever hope to have. You are not bound by antiquated beliefs and age old mythologies the way so many of the others are. You've proven to be worthy of your seat on the council...and I guarantee you that you will be treated fairly tonight during these proceedings." He said. "I know that you must feel as though all of your arguments in the past years have gone unheard. But this is not the case." "With all due respect, sir...I doubt my arguments were what the other Elders were judging me upon." I said, and Zarius took his arm from my shoulder. "The other potentials were destroyed only after serious consideration for an alternative from the members of this council. Nothing else could be done." He said. "You couldn't have saved them, Romero. You made a valiant effort, and that is commendable. But what we are dealing with now is much too important to be taken lightly." Zarius was a friend. A good friend. And I believed him to be a fair man of the highest caliber. But I have to admit that I was disappointed in his stance on this. "That's why I am here, sir. So that it won't be taken lightly." He gave me a nod, and then looked over at Julian, who was staring in awe, and squirming in his own skin. "Good evening, little one." Zarius said, and I had to nudge Julian to get him to speak. "Oof...uh...h-h-hi..." He squeaked. "...I mean, hello. I mean... greetings...Master Elder Vampire Lord Zarius, sir..." Zarius smiled with delight. "Zarius will be fine. Too many titles attached to one name breeds arrogance." He shook Julian's hand, and the boy grasped it softly, as though it were a baby bird with a broken wing. "I am soooo honored, right now. I've read EVERYTHING you've ever written. Every scripture. I've studied your work from front to back ever since my crossover. You've truly written some beautiful and inspiring passages." He sighed, still holding the man's hand unknowingly. "Thank you." Zarius said, smiling. It was good to see that Julian's contagious youth isn't just wasted on me. Zarius turned back to me and said, "Charming boy." "Yes. Julian here is my adviser for the evening. He won't be any trouble, I promise you. He simply wants to sit in on the proceedings and..." "Oh nonsense." Zarius said. "The young one is more than welcome, provided he understands the confidentiality of the situation." He then leaned forward to whisper, "And I may be a very old vampire...but the concept of involuntary love and affection predates us all. I know an 'adviser' when I see one, Romero." He told me with a wink. "I also know the sparkle of renewed life in the eyes of one of my dearest friends when it comes to love. For what it's worth, I'm happy for you both." I grinned a bit, and saw Julian blush deeply as a huge smile broke out on his face. "Thank you, sir." "Come. We have urgent matters to discuss." Zarius led us both into the conference room. A large circular black marble table sat in the center of the room. With seats all around it, one for each of the members. A harsh white light cast its beam on the table itself, and the table alone. The rest of the room was always kept pitch black, with the exception of a series of dimly lit video screens on the wall. You could only see the council members...their assassins stayed hidden in the darkness surrounding them. This was the Circle Nocturnus...the governing Elders of Sector 9 in Chicago...and this is where the balance was built, and where it is kept. Navius stared at me mischievously from across the table, and Zarius led us in a short spoken motto in verzpertillio before bringing the meeting to order. A motto that, in short, means...'to bring the morals of daylight into darkness, and serve the dire needs of our kind with no ill intent.' That said, Lord Zarius stood up from his seat, and addressed the council. An image appeared on the video screen behind him. It was an old abandoned house, that looked as though it had been completely destroyed from the inside out. Only rubble was left behind. "I am certain that many of you in this room, if not all of you, have been hearing the accumulated whispers of what has been happening on the streets, right here, in our very sector. An unprecedented event that, as you know...affects us all. Not just as a council...but as a species. Despite the previous ambitious hoaxes, despite the pseudo-religious dogma, despite the fanatic searches and the outright denial of most random claims...it appears that we may actually have a valid reason to be concerned this time. And from what we have gathered so far...this new arrival in our world has been exceptionally disturbing." Masato took out his notepad, and began writing instantly. Blindly recording the conversation word for word. While Mistress Simone slowly leaned forward with interest. Zarius looked back at the video screen for a moment. "A few days ago, I received word that Vampire Elder Tim's habitat had been completely decimated. While it is almost certain that he is still alive somewhere, he has yet to resurface." He said, now circling the table. "The reports that we have been getting in the last few weeks have been unsettling. And they are becoming more and more frequent. To the degree that I can say, without fear of sounding rash, that there is some validity in their statements." The table got extremely quiet. Until Olujimi spoke, "We have been through this before. We have heard the scandals, we have tested the potentials, we have searched far and wide for any evidence for what was foretold to us. And there has been no sign of a true account. Not a single one." "This time, it's different." Navius said. "How? How is this different?" "There have been witnesses." Navius smiled. And Zarius confirmed his findings, changing the pictures on the screen. "That is correct. Some of our most trusted psychics have foreseen his coming. Here, in the IceZone...nearly 50 witnesses. Here...on Navy Pier...hundreds more. These vampires are not all believers. Not like we are. The very legend itself has passed itself on into obscurity. Made out to be a fairy tale from the old world. And yet...these same vampires have reported, with great piety, that they have actually SEEN him with their own eyes." Zarius gave the rest of the table a very serious look. "What we are dealing with has not been a part of our kind's existence for more than 600 years of darkness. I am informing the Circle Nocturnus that we may have an extremely sensitive issue approaching on the horizon. One that could either mean our enlightened salvation...or our total annihilation. Ladies and gentlemen of the council...it is believed that a true vampire Mimic now walks among us. Right now...at this very moment. And before this meeting is finished, we will be forced to decide whether we plan to embrace this potentially dangerous anomaly...or destroy it...once and for all."
  12. I am actually really anxious to hear an entire album from Ruel! He's only 15 and Elton John picks him up and is working to make him the next big thing. How awesome is that? And this kid is good! Writes his own music too! He's like...the 'Comsie story' version of Adele...if you can believe that! But he's got a VEVO account now, and a video reshoot of his first single, "Don't Tell Me"! I'm looking to hear great things from him in the future! Best of luck, dude! CUTE TOO!!! Just thought I'd throw that in there...
  13. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    Still going, full steam ahead! It's also really cool that he gets to stay in the studio and have a hands-on approach and final say in his own music. ALWAYS a good thing for any artist! Things are looking good! And a short interview, as well...
  14. Comicality

    Chapter 25

    I won't. Promise.
  15. The third chapter of this "Gone From Daylight" spinoff is almost finished, so I'll be posting it soon! For now, check out the first two chapters of this mini-series, and let me know what you think! K? https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/gfd-blade-of-shadows/ More to come! '30 Days Of Night' continues! Because...reasons!
  16. Comicality

    GFD: Blade Of Shadows 2

    "GFD: Blade Of Shadows 2" The night seemed to grow infinitely darker in the few lonely hours that I spent sitting by myself, just outside of public view. I had a rather large jug of wine at my side, from which I sipped at an unmeasured pacing. But consumption of rice wine always has the same outcome, whether sipped a little at a time by an average dinner guest, or guzzled down recklessly by your common drunkard. It was simply a matter of how long it took to achieve the proper effect. At least drunkards drink with a designed purpose. A sense of honesty. Here I sit in denial, pretending that I will stop when I know well that I won't. Not until the common drunkard and I are one and the same. I had torn a rag from my own clothes to clean the quickly coagulating blood off of my sword. I burned the piece of cloth in the fire, but the tear it left behind still reminded me of what I had done. No tears would come to my eyes. Not a single one. The numbness had yet to wear off. I fear for the day when my emotions make a definitive choice...and either the tears or the numbness consume me whole, becoming all that I had left. I did not want this. Any of it. I should have kept passing through this place. Instead, I brought this death curse with me. I could hear the voices of villagers in the center of town. Thankful men, indulging in the gory details of what had happened. Tearful mothers, hugging their children close, happy that they had not been taken away to the dark peak of that dreaded mountain. A feast delivered by the 'hooded ones'. The blood gods. I could clearly make out the faint cheers of reunited families who were now too excited to sleep for the evening, having a late night dosage of wine and laughter to celebrate a victory over their tormentors for the very first time since this dark habit began. If only I was able to join them in their jubilation. Instead, my mind played and replayed the details in a continuous loop of sight and sound, haunted with the painful screams of my enemies. Limbs being severed. Blood being spilled. I feared that I had disgraced myself once again. Always left with the question of whether or not the violence I brought upon them was at all necessary. A question that rings out into the night with an eternal echo...and is never answered. I attempted to meditate on the issue, hoping to come to terms with my decisions and find enough tranquility within me to clear my mind. But I soon felt the presence of another watching me from the shadows. I opened my eyes, but I already knew who it was without seeing him directly. Tadashi's small, sneaky, footsteps had become so familiar to me. The curious boy could be quite the little spy when he wanted to be. He had an insatiable desire to see all, know all, and it never seemed to let him rest. Perhaps it is a good thing. I turned my head and nodded. Tadashi knew he had been caught. So he simply stepped forward to find a spot on the ground beside me. He sat down, looking at my crossed legs and naturally mimicking my position. "Why are you here behind the inn, Tatsuro?" He asked. I wasn't sure how to answer him. "Everyone in the village is talking about your great skill with your sword. Praising you for the way you moved so swiftly. The way you cut the bad men down with such ease. You were amazing! I've never witnessed something so incredible before." Quietly, I told him, "I'm afraid that I must apologize. I shouldn't have lost my grace, Tadashi." "Apologize?" He asked confused, his thin eyebrows arched, young lips twisted in a bewildered frown. "Why do you apologize? The bad men came to take us away. They terrorize our village and bring misery to everything they touch. You STOPPED them! You destroyed the evil that was trying to destroy us!" "All I did was cut down weak vessels of flesh and bone." I said. "The evil behind the bad things they've done still exists. It will only be further agitated by this offense, and my very presence among you. Violence only begets more violence. Bloodshed only incites more bloodshed. I fear that it is a curse I have brought upon your village tonight. One that will cause a great deal of tragedy and pain before a natural balance is restored once again." "You certainly don't talk like any samurai I've ever heard stories about." Tadashi said with a pout. "You're supposed to be fearless! A warrior! What meaning does it have for you to possess the impressive skill to destroy your enemies and not use it? If it were me, I would have cut them all down without mercy. Them...and a thousand more." "You speak from a very angry place, Tadashi. That is why you revel in the suffering of your enemy, and fail to think of the suffering you cause yourself." "I'm not suffering!" He demanded. "I'm *GLAD* they're dead! ALL of them!" "Then...perhaps you have lost your grace as well, little one." I said. "For that...I am sorry for bringing you such ill influence." Tadashi suddenly stood up, almost as if offended by my reaction. "I don't know what's wrong with you! The people in the town center celebrate your arrival and glorify your swordsmanship...yet you sit here in the dark, all alone, and you fuss like a hungry baby!" I lowered my head, but kept my silence. It was then that Tadashi's feisty spirit took a hold of him and he kicked a small cloud of dust on me. "Can't you even look me in the face? Some hero you are!" I said nothing. The dizziness of the wine kept me still. "Maybe the ruffians at the restaurant were right! Maybe the legendary Tatsuro Myoki IS a coward..." He turned around with a bratty grunt and stormed off to leave me alone to bathe in the empty shadows surrounding me. I felt a pain inside. Not so much from his anger, but from his disappointment. Sometimes, children can build up such high expectations when it comes to their idols. It can be a very tall pedestal to fall from when you don't measure up. Perhaps it was that fall that caused me to drink even more heavily than I normally would have. Crossing a line of intoxication that prevented me from keeping my more irrational thoughts at bay. I could still hear the people in the village enjoying themselves, now playing music and laughing with one another over their good fortune. But the dark winds of the night brought a familiar fragrance my way. A foul scent that I recognized instantly, as I had experienced it many times before. They were burning bodies in the town square. A bonfire built from the lives that I destroyed. And yet, they carry on. Praising what they think will be an end to their problems. When all it really represents is my failure to avoid my lesser instincts...opening a gateway for more horrific times to come. I attempted to finish off the jug of wine beside me, but the last of it seemed to make the jug feel bottomless. My throat was already beginning to lock up with the threat of sickness. My vision was blurry and dark. My hand coordination began to fail me as I tilted the jug further back than I should have, and the excess liquid spilled at the sides of my mouth. Memories began to echo inside my head. Memories of that night. Of my brother. Of what I had to do to stop him. Memories of the night that I lost everything. "JIRO!!! What have you done??? STOP! Jiro, STOP!!!" I saw the red eyes. I saw the fangs. The claws. He attacked me. He ATTACKED me! But...did I do enough to try to help him out of his madness before taking his life? Or did I draw my sword in anger over what he had done to the rest of our family? Then...there is always a chance that it was blind 'fear' that caused me to react. Unforgivable...dishonorable...fear. "JIRO!!!" It echoed in my mind, soon followed by a swift and immediate slash. My blade visible for a swift moment as it glistened in the moonlight...before severing his head clean from his shoulders...and allowing it to fall into the dirt at my feet. My eyes suddenly shot open. I could feel myself gritting my teeth as I looked down to see my right hand, tightly gripping the handle of my sword. I had yet to fully pull it from its protective sheath...but a few inches of silver had been exposed to the stars above. More than what should have been exposed at all. A tear crawled down my cheek from my right eye. Before I knew it, I was struggling to stand on my feet. I grabbed my jug of wine and kicked up a small cloud of dust as I fought for equilibrium. The constant laughter and music from the townspeople began to drive me into a rage. My sensible mind left me, and I was soon staggering my way toward the middle of town again. The flickering lights of an obscenely bright human bonfire lit the walls of every business and living quarters surrounding it. Children pretended to fight with sticks, imagining them as instruments of death. Much like the one on the side of my hip. I even saw one of the men's heads being carried around on the end of a stick. In front of the village's children! Drunk as I may be, I could hold my tongue no longer. As I shuffled closer, slurring my words, I wailed, "Is THIS how you celebrate??? Is this what you all wanted???" Suddenly...the music stopped. The laughter stopped. And all heads turned to watch me approach from out of the darkness. "Do not bring a halt to your festivities on MY account! No! Please continue!" I shouted sloppily, holding on to a nearby horse cart to steady myself. "Let us ALL take joy in the slaughter, shall we?" I stepped right into the middle of the crowd, so I could spin slowly from that position and look each and every last one of them in the eye. "This is what you wanted? They murder your loved ones, so you murder theirs? All is right with the world, is it? An eye for an eye? A tooth for a tooth? I′ll have you know that I take NO pride in this! None!" I stumbled forward a bit, but caught myself before I fell. I could peer around the flames before me to see Tadashi's judging eyes looking at me with a sense of shame. I only gave him an intoxicated grin in return. As if to defy his condemnation of me. Pointing a drunken finger, I shouted, "You all think that the ones you fear will forget this? You think that one display of aggression will somehow free you from the tyranny that exists atop that mountain in the distance? EH???" Now feeling weak in the knees, I hobbled around the fire, clumsily grinning like a fool as I scoffed in the faces of all who were there to witness my self humiliation. "You sing and dance now...hehehe...lalala! Whooooo! Wheeeee! But little do you know...I've doomed you all." The faces of the villagers changed from confusion to a look of fear. For some reason, my drunkenness found such humor in their lost expression. "Hahaha! I've doomed you all! So PARTY away! Eat! Hehehe...DRINK! Come on now! The time to celebrate is now!" I signaled to those playing instruments, "Come now! Laaaa la la laaaa! Hehehe! PLAY!" I said. "Because...on the morrow...or the next day...or the day after...this act of violence will have to be atoned for. What then, I ask you?" My awkward footing caused me to trip and fall down into the dirt, leaning against a nearby set of steps. "What then...?" I repeated, and took one last, long drink from my bottle of rice wine before feeling my eyes getting too heavy to keep open for a moment longer. Murmurs and whispers was all I heard as I was dragged into a state of unconsciousness. No more singing. No more cheers or chants over their recent victory. Good. Because they don't know what it's like to cut through flesh the way I have. They don't accept the burden of guilt it leaves behind. I slaughtered those threats so they could go on believing that it's easy. Little do they know that every life you take...also takes a piece of you into the afterlife with them. I fear that my soul is heavy enough to sink me into the depths of Hell as it is. And I have nothing but the enraged spirits of fallen enemies waiting for me there. In my sleep...the nightmares were all too eager to sink their claws into me. There are no darker visions than ones fueled by the true memories of deeds most foul. I thought about the way my sword vibrated in my hand as it sliced through my brother's neck. Bone, muscle...the sound of it will never leave me. My brother made me that sword. He fashioned it to be the sharpest and deadliest weapon to ever grace a samurai′s hands. I can remember the smile on his face as he heated the metal and folded it, time and time again...looking to make it sharp enough to cut through the rays of the rising sun, if needed. He was so proud of his creation. Almost arrogant, but in the most pleasant of ways. He was my little cub. I would have done anything for him. Anything to appeal to his mischievous heart. My, how that boy could make me laugh whenever his impish pranks were pulled off successfully. I can remember the evening when Jiro placed a nest of hornets underneath father's pillow. Hahaha! A dangerous prank now that I think back on it, but oh so amusing at the time. I doubled over, tears in my eyes, laughing as Father grabbed a whipping stick and proceeded to chase Jiro all through the yard until they both ran out of breath. By the time Father had gotten a firm hold on his collar, he was too exhausted to deliver the punishment he had so rightfully earned. Instead, he angrily sent him to bed, and me as well for laughing at his misfortune. Yes, we were a handful, Jiro and I. It was something that we took pride in. And when we got older...he took it upon himself to make me this sword. The sword that I still carry with me to this day. He...he made me this instrument of death... ...And I slaughtered him with it. "WHY, JIRO?!?!?! WHY?!?!" Suddenly...an ice cold splash of river water is tossed in my face! I spring from my sleep, coughing and sputtering, attempting to leap to my feet...but finding myself a bit too unbalanced to stand. I rubbed my eyes and wheezed until the shock of it all subsided. Clutching my chest with one hand, gasping for air. And once my eyes were able to shake off their lingering distortion...I saw Zhao standing above me...empty bucket in hand. "What...? Why?" I said, a scowl on my face as a severe headache settled in behind my bloodshot eyes and caused me to stumble back against the side of the house. I don't even remember traveling back home last night. I highly doubt that Zhao had the strength to drag me back himself. Perhaps he had help. "I allowed you to sleep for quite a while longer than normal. You overindulged in your wine drinking last night. I gave you some time to rest. But enough is enough. The sun has already completed half of its journey across the sky. If I wanted a corpse on my land, I would have taken one of the many you left in the town square." I could never tell if he was being cranky, mean spirited, or humorous. Perhaps Zhao had mastered the art of combining all three together in the same pot. Quite a painful mixture when trying to get over a wine headache. "I barely remember what I did. What I said." I mumbled, rubbing my temples. "If only you could say the same for the villagers you insulted with your recent behavior." Zhao said. He handed me a towel to wipe off my face. "Of all the fireworks and music being celebrated in that small festival, you were the biggest spectacle of all." My mouth was dry. My tongue feeling like an unused sponge in my mouth. "It was the wine talking..." I told him. But he responded with, "Just because you give the offenses you've caused a reason, or have found a target to blame, it does not remove the offense itself. Nor can it be accepted as an apology." He took his towel back from me and handed me a short list on a piece of parchment. "Tadashi and I are in need of supplies from town. You've slept half the day away, so I took it upon myself to do your chores for the morning. Now you can do mine." Rubbing my head, I cringed at the idea. "My apologies, Zhao. But it seems that the libations that I drank last night have incapacitated me for the day." "Nothing better for a drunkard's blood than good, clean, honest, work. I'm sure a great 'samurai' like yourself will manage." I lowered my head, as well as my vocal tone. "I don't think the townspeople will appreciate me showing my face again. Not so soon after I've disgraced myself." "Even more reason for you to go." Zhao demanded. "Insult is always easy to deliver when the culprit does not have to look his offended patrons in the eye. If it's humility that you need to be reminded of, I can see no better lesson for you to learn than going to those same people you shouted at last night and asking them for food and market necessities. Perhaps the shame of it will help to still your tongue in the future." The soreness in my head seemed to get worse as I stretched and stood up straight, my vision blurred. Zhao offered me some water out of his second bucket. It sank to the pit of my stomach like a stone. "I meant no disrespect. I'll understand if you want me to leave after what I've done." He gave me a frown, but scoffed at my offer. "A few drunken words never lingered for more than a day or two in the hearts of the people here." I lowered my head. "It wasn't the outburst that I was referring to..." Zhao gave me a sideways look. "Ahhh. I see." I can't explain what it was, but I suddenly felt Zhao transform into a fatherly role as he pulled up a small stool for me. "Sit." "I can finish out today's work first if you need me to..." "What I need from you, Tatsuro Myoki...is for you to sit. Go on, now." I did as he asked, and he began walk around me. "You know, those men that you killed last night...they've been here many times before. Them, and men just like them. They collect us like livestock, create havoc and destruction among our people, and then they steal our women and children away, never to be seen again. They tested their own fates every time they entered our village, and they always triumphed. Sometimes...it is not always wise to turn the other cheek. You have to act. Sometimes it's merely karma's way of restoring the precious ′balance′ you seem to cherish so much." "I'm sorry, but I don't think any words of wisdom will excuse me from the nightmares to come." I said. There was a momentary break in my speech. A drawn out pause where I tried to decide whether to confess my sins or prevent any further damage to my already tarnished image. I chose to confess. "It's true, you know? What they say about me in the town square." Zhao was quiet at first, but then let out a sigh. "I thought it might be. Through all of your good fortune here, a hint of sadness still glows behind your eyes at all times. It never goes away, even when you smile." I took another sip of water, but felt the pressure of tears coming to my eyes as I fought to keep my demons at bay. "I loved my brother, Zhao. I loved him with my whole heart. I can clearly remember the night he was born. Jiro...a best friend, related by blood. He had such a beautiful mind. He was a dreamer. Jiro made it seem like anything was possible." I said. "Then, just a few years ago...he disappeared into the night. There wasn't a trace of him anywhere. Not for two Winters at least. He wasn't the type to run away from his family. He was happy with us. If anything, he was the peacekeeper of the house. When everyone else had lost their way...Jiro was the guiding light that brought us back home." "So what happened?" He asked. "You would not believe me if I told you." "I have seen my fair share of nightmares in the flesh, Tatsuro. Believe me." He sat on the ground in front of me and crossed his legs. "I saw a demon in him. It was like nothing that I had ever seen before. I thought, perhaps, he was possessed, but...whatever it was that happened to my little brother...I could not save him. It was as though he was suddenly blinded with a lust for blood. I could not reach him, no matter how hard I tried." "Your brother was not possessed." Zhao said. "He was ′bitten′. Turned into something else. Not human, not a demon, but something in between. I have seen this sickness before before, and there was nothing that you could do." This definitely piqued my curiosity. "At first, many of us thought these creatures were merely legends. Ghost stories, used to keep children from wandering too far away from home at night. But, whenever a village like ours begins to prosper and grow in population...you will find a small, but demanding, nest of these creatures just outside of our boundaries. Most often in places where they can hide in the daylight, and walk freely in darkness." "So, you know of these demons? Are these the blood gods the attackers spoke of last night?" I asked. Zhao nodded. "They are worshiped by some, feared by others. And when the moon goes dark, they come to our village to find prey, hoping to appease their thirst for human blood. When the blood gods don't get their tribute, they become hungry. Angry. Their fury rips through the town and we lose more lives than we would have if we had simply given ourselves over to their will in the first place." "Is there nothing you can do?" I asked, a mixture of shock and anger creeping in. Zhao leaned closer, and said, "When the hooded ones came a few short years back, I tried to rally the townspeople in order to get everyone to stand up against them. I needed their help. But no one would speak. No one would participate. Had we all stood together as one united community, we might have beaten them. But the villagers did nothing. They stay in their misguided comfort like cowards avoiding the blue of the sky. Fearful that a time will come when they're asked to do something for a greater good, instead of merely tending to their own selfish needs. People who stand for nothing. Who won′t stand up to defend the people they claim to love and respect." With a sigh, he added, "A month passed. The moon went dark. And the hooded ones returned. This time...they took my son and his wife. Leaving little Tadashi all alone. All because the others refused to participate. They refused to fight. So the bloodshed continues, and they allow it because it brings them peace to know that it is not knocking at their neighbor′s door instead of their own." Seeing my sword leaning against the crate next to me, I said, "Violence only brings more violence. Sometimes, fate has a tragic plan that can't be avoided." Zhao said, "I've heard better philosophies coming from the ass of a mule." It surprised me to hear that. I was confused. "When the bad men came, I was not strong enough to protect the ones I loved. But you are. I saw the way you wielded your weapon last night, Tatsuro. The speed, the precision...that is not a skill, my friend. It is a gift. One that you waste by not using it when it is needed." "It should NEVER be needed." "If it wasn't needed then it wouldn't exist. In a perfect world, mankind would never have to create a single bladed edge. But that world does not exist. You still your sword because you are afraid. Afraid that you made the wrong choice with your brother. Afraid that you will cause more death and destruction with your every movement. But last night? Last night, you allowed your true warrior's spirit to act without question. Swiftly, without hesitation or remorse. A samurai in battle cannot hide his true self. No more than a man, drunk off of rice wine, can hide his demons when shouting at a crowd of people in the town square." Zhao stood up again and brushed himself off. Ready to go into the house to cook a light breakfast. But before he left, he told me, "I am deeply sorry for what happened between you and your brother. I am sad to hear that you were forced to make such a damaging decision concerning your own flesh and blood. But don't let those haunting thoughts of the past keep you from being who you were meant to be. Those villagers out there are scared. They live with the illusion of good fortune for the few short weeks between dark moons, pretending that the hooded ones won't return. Everybody is in hiding, Tatsuro. Everybody sits back and waits for some one ELSE to speak up first so they can find the courage to follow. A voice that gave them the permission to act." He grabbed his bucket and headed back towards the house. "Last night, those 'scared' villagers got the idea in their heads that YOU, Tatsuro Myoki, were that voice. Perhaps, you were not meant to simply pass through our town. Perhaps you were meant for something more significant than that. And I would, personally, find that to be a blessing for all of us...as well as a potential path to find the peace of mind you′ve been searching for." He left me to sit there and think about what he said. I was left with a choice. To not get involved, or to possibly bring more trouble down on their heads by protecting them from evil deeds. If my swordsmanship was a gift, it was also more of a burden than they will ever know. I would rather have been a blacksmith instead.
  17. Comicality

    GFD: Blade Of Shadows

    After a very long journey, a samurai named, Tatsuro Myoki has stumbled across a community of innocents that simply want to live in peace and harmony with the world at large. However, when the 'blood gods' come to collect local citizens as tribute...this lone samurai must choose between leaving a life of death and murder behind, or using his unmatched skill to protect those he has come to care about!
  18. Comicality

    GFD: Blade Of Shadows 1

    "GFD: Blade Of Shadows" It was a pleasant sight. A life giving vision. I had been walking through uninhabited lands and crossing endless fields for three days straight, without seeing anyone else in the vicinity of these flatlands. I was low on my limited food and water supply. The heat and wind had done their duty of drying me out, creating a constant feeling of fatigue. But still, I manage to keep pressing forward. It was easy to keep my bearings at night, following the brightest stars and letting them guide me in, what I had hoped, would be the right direction. But during these daylight hours, when the sun was blazing bright and the heat was heavy on my shoulders, I had only my instincts to direct me. Instincts that dulled more and more every day that I went without food. However, I was greatly relieved, when I came to the edge of a small river and saw a man made bridge before me crossing over it. An apparent sign that there would be civilization nearby. Life. Perhaps a small village where I can trade my labor for a place to stay and some food to fill the emptiness in my belly. I am Tatsuro Myoki. I am a wanderer. And even to a samurai...such a promised reward, possibly existing on the other side of that bridge, is enough to fill my heart with hope. And with joy. I didn't hold back a gentle smile as I thought about it. Why would I? Bliss, when found, is to be appreciated in all its forms. Embracing it with my whole heart is how I give thanks for good fortune. And I do so willingly. The road that I followed on the other side of that bridge was a long one. My spirit had been further weakened by the hunger inside, gnawing at me with a hunger all its own. I made sure to refill my supply of water at the river, thankful for Nature's gift. But with such a void within me, too much water, while satisfying my thirst, began to cramp my stomach. So I was forced to find a balance between my two most basic needs. Discipline, as always, was essential. It was important for me to keep moving. When wandering, one never knows how far off the next village may be, or how long one may have to go without sustenance. The distances can be great. Trying to cross them with speed alone will only tire you out faster, making the journey that much harder in the end. Perhaps the emptiness is meant to clear one's mind. To contemplate, through hardship, that which we cannot...when our bellies are full, and our taste for wine has been sated. Many wanderers have been found dead in the wasteland. Lost. Attempting to reach a destination that may or may not have been at the end of the path they chose to follow. I do not plan to be one of those lost wanderers. I believe the stars will tell me their secrets, and my ancestors will not allow me to perish so easily. Not out here. And not without the honor I hope to achieve someday. Soon...I witness the far off sight of soft lanterns being lifted into the fading light of the early evening. Buildings came into view as I emerged from the plains and the farming fields to find the center of a small, yet rather prosperous, fishing town. Such strange looks from the local villagers as I approached. Stares and whispers, but no confrontations. I had gotten used to such reactions in my journeys. Passing through new villages, exploring new territories...with everyone wondering if I was simply another vagrant passing through, or if I was there to cause trouble. Small towns protect their own. What affects one, affects all. I can only hope that they can look past their suspicions, and perhaps give me shelter until I have earned enough provisions to move on again. It was my sword that always enchanted the onlookers from a distance. Long and proud, handcrafted by two of the finest swordsmiths in the village where I was born. I kept it sheathed at all times, out of respect for those who feared the bloodshed such a fine weapon might bring to their community. But the sword had a soul, and a living presence, all its own. I had no shame in wearing it on my hip. It was a fine blade. Its ego and its reputation were well deserved. And I displayed it as such. The town seemed to grow in size as I got closer to its center. Some of the shops were closing up for the night. Gathering their things and fixing their carts so as to make it home safely before dark. Fading scents of freshly cooked noodles cling to the wisps of cooling air as it passed by me. It inspired the rumbling in my stomach to increase in its tenacity to break me down. I did not beg. I merely nodded as they walked past, and they nodded in return. Their eyes glancing ever so briefly at my sword before moving on. Perhaps I had arrived too late in the evening to fully see this village in motion. The sun was setting fast over the horizon, and only a few larger eateries remained open. I knew where it was best to take my chances. I approached a rather well lit eatery in the center of town. With any luck, I will come across a drunkard, and will be given the opportunity to escort him home. In turn, getting myself some shelter for the night and perhaps some sweet bread for my trouble. The mind is much more agreeable in the stupor of a late night binge. I took notice of a few youths lingering outside the restaurant doors. It did not take much previous knowledge to recognize the trouble maker appearance of their rude grins and mocking eyes. As I approached, they made a judgement of me, and one of them stepped in front of my path. I made no attempt to move him. Nor did I make any attempt to step around him. I simply stood still. Our eyes never met. I simply stood in silence...and waited. Neither of us said a word. And once the game got to be boring for him, he stepped aside, and I continued on my way. I would have gladly waited until dawn if necessary. As I walked inside, I was pleased with the warm lighting and quiet aura of the restaurant's atmosphere. Very traditionally designed, with ample space between each set of tables for privacy. Only half full of the village's loyal patrons, a lone woman was able to come and greet me right away. "May I seat you?" She asked, giving me a gentle bow. I was honest, and told her, "I'm afraid that I have no money to purchase food. But if you will allow this traveler a moment of rest, I would be grateful." As with everyone else that I passed in the street, her eyes fluttered down to the sword on my side. The threat of it caused her to hesitate slightly, and yet her heart went out to me regardless. "You may pick any table you like. We close the restaurant in one hour." She said, and I thanked her with a tender smile. Resting in that chair took quite an amount of stress and pain off of my weary feet. I could feel the relief pouring into me, causing me to sigh out loud. The lady brought me a single lit candle for my table, and with another smile, she left me to my leisure. I think that I might have been falling asleep when I felt a light tapping at the back of my shoulder. When I opened my eyes, a young boy was standing before me. It took a moment for me to recognize his gender. While he had all of the features that a young boy should have at his age, there was a certain feminine beauty in him that created a sincere level of doubt at first glance. Taken aback by his youthful smile and his dark brown eyes, I found myself unconsciously smiling in return. "I saw your sword..." He said. "Are you a real Samurai?" Of all the people in this village, it takes the brazen curiosity of youth to ask the first question. "Yes, little one. I am indeed." "I've never seen one before. You are my first." He was wide eyed with admiration. For a town that seemed like such a crossroads for travelers passing through, I was surprised. "Here. I brought you some food." The boy looked around the room for a moment, and then, from under his shirt, he took out two rolls of sour dough bread and handed them to me under the table. The rolls were still warm. The fragrance, so very inviting. A light crust on the outside crumbled beneath my fingers, the light, buttery, flakes, falling to the floor beneath my feet. "Where did you get these?" I asked him. "I took them." He said with an impish grin. Dizzy with hunger, tempted by opportunity, I blocked out my impure thoughts and rose to my feet. "From whom did you steal these?" The boy, a bit confused, pointed a shaky finger in the direction of a table at the far side of the room. Immediately I turned and, on tired feet, I walked over to the table where an older couple was sitting and having a quiet conversation. "My apologies for the intrusion, but I believe these rolls of bread belong to you." Their first reaction was bathed in insult. They snatched the rolls from my hand, and I saw them wipe them off with their hands and napkins. "I meant no disrespect. Enjoy your meal." I said, and turned to go back to my table. The boy was puzzled by my actions when I returned. "What did you do that for? Do you want me to steal you something else?" Such a young criminal. I let a short laugh escape me before telling him, "I am hungry. I have traveled very far, yes. But stealing is not the answer. If it is my destiny to starve, then I shall starve. I won't condemn or dishonor myself in an attempt to avoid it." I then leaned closer to the beautifully androgynous boy, and I said, "The human spirit, the soul...it is a very fragile thing, and difficult to maintain. But maintaining it is what must be done. Even when we are hungry." The boy gave me an odd look, but as I smiled at him to show him that there was no disgrace on his part, he smiled back at me. A smile that could outshine the sun and the moon combined when blossomed to its full potential. The boy hurried off to another corner of the restaurant, and I felt my heart fill with a warm sensation as his devilish grin lingered in my thoughts. It was a sensation that hardened, and turned cold, as I saw the older boys from outside enter the restaurant. Five of them. Already, the demons within them caused a gloom to thicken the tension within the eatery and among all of its patrons. Their eyes scanned the room, and eventually landed on my table. They headed towards me, and began to surround me from behind. "Hey." One of them said rudely. "I'm talking to you, wanderer." A slight shove from behind caused my shoulders to lurch forward. "Who are you? Huh? What are you doing here?" Without turning around, I said, "I am a traveler. I have only come here for rest. Soon I will be moving on." "Is that it? Huh? Just passing through?" The older boy picked at my clothes and my hair. "Are you supposed to be some kind of Samurai? Some big warrior? Come all the way from the coast to our little village?" Then he made the mistake of reaching for my sword, "What do we have here?" The moment his finger touched it, my body had an instant reaction. I reached down and grabbed the sword so quickly that the other boys jumped back in surprise. I didn't draw it more than an inch out of its sheathe, but it was not to be touched. Not by anyone. Certainly not by the provocative rogues in this restaurant. Attempting to recover from the humiliation of showing fear in front of his peers, the boy stepped closer to me again. "Do you want to know what I heard, vagrant?" I kept my eyes down. He was not worth the attention he craved. "I heard that there was another Samurai that was seen heading in this very direction, coming from a village just on the other side of the mountains. Not many of your kind wandering around the countryside. I was thinking...maybe that Samurai is you." "Your quarrel is not with me, but within yourself." I told him. "You hear that, boys? I have a quarrel within myself. Hahaha!" They all shared a laugh at my expense, and then he put a hand on my shoulder, leaning in towards my right ear. "That's quite humorous coming from you. Because if you are that same Samurai...and the legends are true...then you may have a few quarrels within you as well." The other boys cackled in unison. "They say...the great Samurai, Tatsuro Myoki...drew his sword against his own flesh and blood. They say he cut down his own kid brother, striking from the shadows like a common thief. No shame. No honor. The legend says that he travels the land, searching for a way to redeem himself from the horrific crimes made against his family." The sting of his instigation struck a particular emotional nerve within me. "So what's your story, Samurai? Or can the dishonor of your name even bear the weight of that title anymore?" Quickly, I stood up from the table, causing all of the boys to jump backwards and adopt a series of fighting stances for combat. I slowly leaned over to blow out the candle at my dinner table and I turned to the hostess, who was watching timidly from the corner of the counter from which she served food. In a respectful tone, I told her, "Thank you for your hospitality." And with that I turned to leave the restaurant. On the way out, I saw the young boy who offered me bread. He was watching me, and yanking excitedly on the sleeve of an older man with a gray mustache that I assumed to be his grandfather. A great deal of familiarity in their eyes, informed me of such, but the age gap spoke volumes. I gave the boy a nod and a smile as I headed towards the exit. "So now the great Samurai warrior is a COWARD as well! COWARD!!! Come back and fight! COWARD!!!" They yelled, but I didn't give the rebels their due. If this is what it takes for them to feel good about themselves...let them have it. I do a far better thing by giving their narcissism a moment of satisfaction than I do by cutting them down in this early period of their lives. They know nothing of honor. And they know nothing of my brother...or what I was forced to do in order to save us both. The air outside had grown quite chilly since I first went in. I stumbled a bit from dizziness, my body cursing me for turning down free bread when I had the chance. Only moments later, I heard the grumbled voice of an elderly man calling out from behind me. When I looked back, he gave me a suspicious eye. But it was the youthful exuberance of the young boy standing behind him that softened his stone exterior. "Tell me, where are you going to?" The old man asked. "I don't know these lands. I was planning on seeing where this road takes me." He grunted, and told me, "Nothing but outhouses and brothels that way. Is that what you are searching for? Outhouses and brothels?" I wasn't sure how to respond. I merely shook my head. "Good. Because that is not the kind of man I want staying on my property." The boy stepped from behind the old man, but he put his hands on the boy's shoulders to keep him from getting too close to me. "My name is Zhao. This is my grandson, Tadashi. If you promise to behave yourself, I can give you shelter until morning. And only until morning." "I am humbled by your offer. Thank you." He looked me up and down with a scowl. Not so much an unfriendly stare, but the mockery of one. "I suppose you're going to want something to eat, now, aren't you?" "Only that which you have to spare." "Hmph..." The man started walking away from me, gently pushing the boy along with him as the youngster fought to look back at me with curious eyes. Then he said, "Well? What are you waiting for? Come on, then." Not holding back a joyful smile, I gave thanks for my third blessing of good fortune for the day. I followed them out of town and through a series of dirt roads and fields to reach a very quiet cabin on the edge of their village. Tadashi was precocious soul, his changing voice creating a gentle thunder for us both the entire journey home. It made me proud to cause such excitement within him. He could barely keep himself still, even as the walk became long and tiresome. Something about his youthful energy kept me strong that night. The greatest strength can sometimes be found in the blossom of the most delicate flower. His beauty conquered everything around it. Perhaps that is my fourth good fortune of the day. We got back to the cabin, and Zhao was swift to send Tadashi to bed. He had no expectations of the boy actually going to sleep right away, but if either of us was to have any peace before dawn, he figured that he should start the process of winding him down ahead of time. Afterward, Zhao offered me a generous bowl of rice and some vegetables picked fresh from a small patch of garden that he had in back of his house. He told me that if I wanted meat with breakfast, then I would have to work for it when I awoke, and he would go to market to buy some. I agreed. And after sharing a warm cup of tea, he gave me a hand woven blanket and a flattened pile of hay to sleep on. I was fed. I was well hydrated. I was comfortable. It was more than pure luck. And I was happy to have the stars smile down upon me with such grace. But a peaceful sleep is not always meant to last... My dreams betrayed me as I thought back to that fateful night. I can remember finding the bodies. Pale. Cold. Drained of life. I can remember the stench of blood as it covered the floors of the place I once called home. I was so trapped between despair and rage, that when the tears began to fall from my eyes...I could not tell the meaning of one from the other. With a powerful scream that shattered the silence of the night, I stormed out with sword in hand in search of the one responsible. I went out into the darkest parts of the woods, and I called out his name. "JIRO!!! SHOW YOURSELF!!!" When he emerged from the darkness...he was not the brother that I remembered from childhood. Not the one that I helped to raise from the time he was a mere boy. I shall never forget that look. Those eyes... A demon's eyes. Glowing with the lust for blood. Long, jackal's teeth where his own used to be. I could not understand what evil had taken him over, but he wasn't human anymore. No longer a creature of compassion and warmth. No longer allowed to walk in daylight. The demon that I saw that night was not my brother. Not anymore. "Why, Jiro? WHY???" I cried. But he did not answer. He had been 'infected' somehow. Something had corrupted his mind, and stolen his soul. I barely remember drawing my sword at all as he rushed towards me. He was so inhumanly fast. And my training had been fine tuned to act on instinct. His destiny and mine met in a single instant...and only mine continued on from there. I often wonder...if I had been given more time to think, would I have made the same choice? Or could I have helped my brother find peace? That question may haunt me for the rest of my days. And perhaps beyond... I woke up early the next morning, going out into the yard to chop wood for the old man's fire. I sincerely wanted to help with as many chores as I could find useful in order to hold up my end of the bargain. It was more than Zhao had expected of me, possibly looking for me to be a freeloader or a crook. When he woke up and saw half of his work done for the day, he grunted again and said, "Well...I can't just let you do all this work for ONE night's stay. I suppose you can stay another night. But don't get too comfortable! I'm only being fair." This went on for three days more. The boy was very open about loving the novelty of being in my company. And Zhao, while hiding it much more skillfully, seemed happy to have a partner to drink tea with as well. Every day he served me noodles with chicken or fish, and occasionally fresh baked bread from town. He never came back from the river without a decent catch. He must be one of the luckiest fishermen in the village to deliver with such consistency. One morning, I got up to bathe in the small creek that ran not far from Zhao's field. Leaving my clothes on the bank, I stepped naked into the cool waters and proceeded to enjoy the natural cleansing of my body and mind. But I soon became aware of a presence in the immediate area around me. Small, feather weight, footsteps. Shallow breathing. Untrained rhythm in his movements. It had to have been a young one. My guess was it was Tadashi. I was clearly exposed to his roaming eyes as the running water only came up to my knees. Maybe a bit higher. I could sense his stare, peeking out from behind a nearby cluster of trees, fallen twigs snapping as he inched closer to get a better look at me. I made no effort to let him know that I had been alerted to his presence. I can remember being his age. He is only a little over half the age that I am now, but I have fond memories of wondering just how much further I was going to grow and develop when I got older. Wondering about my future virility, and how it matched up against the other boys in my village. To watch an older man at that age was an exciting study for me. So I continued to bathe as though I was completely unaware. However, after Tadashi wandered too close to the edge of the creek, some of my own childhood mischief took over, and I bent over to reach into the water for a small, rounded, pebble. No bigger than a thumbnail. Then, without looking, I waited for Tadashi to curiously peek around the tree at my nudity...and I tossed it over my shoulder, hitting him square between the eyebrows from a distance. "Ackkk!" He said in an agitated whisper, rubbing his sore forehead, and soon running off into the woods to avoid getting caught. My body lit up with tingles of bliss as I laughed to myself. I should be ashamed for giving in to such childish temptations. But in this case...it brought a hearty chuckle to my belly, and made me feel good. Later that night, I dug a small pit in Zhao's backyard for us to enjoy over the weekend. He made a magnificent meal for us, and I built a fire for us to sit around and share a few conversations as the sky darkened above us, and the stars began to show us their brilliance. Zhao brought me some rice wine, but made sure that Tadashi didn't swipe any for himself. He could be a crafty little devil when he wanted to be. As we talked, I would occasionally catch Tadashi rubbing the lightly reddened mark on his forehead, and I was compelled to grin every time that I saw him do so. At one point, Tadashi asked, "Why didn't you cut up those stupid bullies at the restaurant tonight? You could have easily beaten them all. They called you a ′coward′, Tatsuro. They made you look weak." "Tadashi!" Zhao warned him about his rude behavior, but I took no offense. "The only weakness comes from a loss of better judgement. The only cowardice, from not having the strength to make better choices.†I told him. “When you engage in battle, it is not just your enemy, but you as well, that is drawn into the conflict. It corrupts you both. I cannot control how they live their lives, but I can control how I live mine. If there is no war, there is no defeat. There is no shame in standing with grace. I had nothing to achieve from fighting with them." "But they called you names. You're a Samurai warrior and they shamed you." "Shamed me?" I laughed. "I am here. With good wine, and good friends. The only shame is that they are too stubborn to join us." I told Tadashi, "The greatest lesson that any true Samurai could ever learn is how to hold his blade in stillness. There will be many times during my travels when violence is needed, and can't be avoided. I always thought it best to save my energy for those times instead." Zhao stood up with a bit of a drunken stagger, and said, "I know what I'm saving my energy for..." And walked off to find a place to relieve himself. Tadashi instantly scooted over to be close to me, shoulders and legs touching as he smiled at me with great admiration. "I'm glad you are here." He said. "You can protect us. Nobody would dare come to our cottage with you around." Slightly bewildered, I asked, "Protect you? You live a very good life here. It doesn't seem to me that you would need any protection at all." "That's what they said the last time..." Tadashi's face drooped with sorrow, and I asked him what was wrong. "Last year, the village people told me that the hooded ones would never hurt me or my family. That I was safe because grandfather had moved us out here into the fields. But they came for us anyway. They took my mother and father. They mostly take children, but sometimes they take others too. It's almost time for them to come again." "They? Tadashi, I'm afraid that I don't understand." "The hooded ones. They don't always come to this village alone. But sometimes...when the moon is gone, and the sky is black...they raid our village. They take the children away and they are never seen again. They take them up to the top of that mountain." He said, pointing off into the distance. "That is where they are sacrificed to appease the thirst of the blood gods. That is where they took my parents." "Tadashi!!!" Zhao snapped as he returned to the fire. "You must excuse the boy. He falls victim to fairy tales and rumors quite often." As Tadashi gave his grandfather an angry and humiliated look for his comment, I found the boy's story more believable than his elder's attempt to discredit it. We all put out the fire and went to bed shortly after, but something about what the boy said stayed with me. The 'blood gods'. The title alone brought back memories of my brother's final moments. And I wondered...if perhaps there were more of these demons walking the same plane of existence as the rest of us. And if so...how many? In the days that followed, Zhao, Tadashi, and I, continued our nightly fire lit conversations. It became quite the enjoyable tradition. And seeing as I didn't drink as much as Zhao did, he was able to indulge without worrying about supervision for the boy once he was asleep. Then... One night, as the fire wood was low and I offered to go out and grab some more at sunset...something happened... I was coming back to the field with a load of kindling and firewood on my shoulder, when I heard screams and chaos coming from the center of town. Zhao lived far enough away where, to hear such distress from that distance, must have meant serious trouble. I dropped the fire wood and hurried off into the heart of the marketplace to see what was wrong. To my shock and awe, I witnessed a scene that looked as though it was ripped right out of Tadashi's worst nightmare. Men...hooded men...each with black cloth obscuring their faces...were savagely rounding up women and children in the center of the street. Tying them together with rope. Four, five, six, at a time. And one of them...was Tadashi... They began to march the collected group of crying and terrified villagers out of town...but did not see me standing there, blocking their exit. "Move!!! All of you move!!!" They yelled, and pulled their victims along while the townspeople did nothing to stop them. I saw tears on Tadashi's frightened face, and my heart broke for him. This was a light that was not to be extinguished. A joy that was not to be sacrificed. Not while I still draw breath. As the soldiers saw my silhouetted figure come into the light from the path before them...they stopped their advancement. Tadashi looked around his captors to see me positioned there, and his tears stopped. Almost on command. His face displayed confusion, first. Then surprise. Then joy. "Step aside!″ Their leader said. ″This lot is meant as tribute for the blood gods!" I replied, "I am not from here, and I know not of any blood gods that need or deserve our tribute. But I′m afraid that I cannot let you pass. Please, untie these good people and leave as you came." Taking a secretive hold of their swords, the other soldiers crept forward. "There can be no negotiations here. You will step aside...or will meet your maker, right where you stand." I gripped the handle of my sword, praying that I would not have to unleash its blade to the exposure of the night air. "Meeting my maker is for destiny to decide. Not you." I looked among them, counting their numbers. Ten total. Their power over these villagers was more a matter of fear and intimidation than anything truly lethal. I, on the other hand, was not cut from the same cloth. I told them, "If you let these women and children go free, and leave with no further malice...then I give you my word, I shall draw no weapon against you." "And if we refuse?" The lead soldier asked. "Then it is up to fate to determine your further passage. And we'll see just how powerful these 'blood gods' of yours truly are..." There was a silent wind that passed between us. I had no intention of causing bloodshed. But they made their decision...and for the first time since I slayed my own brother...the gleam of my blade came to light. The first soldier bolted forward with his sword held high. And with a single spin, a lower strike...my sword sliced right through his center. Flesh, muscle, tissue, bone. He ran a few steps behind me, but I held my pose. It was only his shadow, stretched out on the ground before me that let me know the dreadful outcome. I watched as my blade had cut his shadow clear in half. Dripping with his life essence as his legs and chest fell into two different pieces on the road. An order was shouted, and four or five men attacked me at once. My muscle memory was much more advanced than anything that they could have ever prepared for. Limbs were easily severed from their host without resistance. My sword was one of the finest blades ever engineered by human hands. The flesh stood no chance against it. I blocked each strike, slicing deep into my enemy without mercy. My mind was clear, and the spirit of a dragon took control of my skillful attacks. Taking on three soldiers at once proved easy. Without the intimidation, their skills with a sword were mediocre at best. The last one to face me, I used a backslash to cut clean through one leg and more than half way through the second, then piercing him through the chest before he even hit the ground. I pinned him to the dirt...waiting for the life to leave his frightened eyes...and withdrew my sword again. Angling it for another attack, if the others felt they would be brave enough to try. They weren't. I watched as the others ran off into the night, fearing that they would meet the same fate as their companions. Leaving their precious 'cargo' behind. Whispers from the dazzled crowd surrounded me. I felt an intense sense of sorrow as I, once again, saw my blade drenched in blood. I did not want this. I lowered my head in respect to the loss of my fallen enemies, and it was then that I saw Tadashi being cut loose from his restraints. The first thing he did was to run over to embrace me as hard as his young arms would allow, squeezing the breath from my lungs as he overflowed with gratitude. "Thank you! Thank you! You SAVED me! You saved all of us! I just knew you were sent here! I knew you would be our protector from the evil ones!" I heard the people around me talking, and they said things like... "I've never SEEN anyone move so fast!" "They just 'fell apart'! I never saw the cut happen!" "Did you see it! It was like he could cut through the shadows themselves!" But it was one comment in particular that caught my attention the most. It said, "They'll be back! SOON! And in greater numbers! What then? They will surely slaughter us all for this betrayal! The blood gods will take vengeance! That is guaranteed!" But as Tadashi held me close, crying softly into my chest with his arms around my waist, still trembling with a fear that a boy of his age should have no knowledge of... I thought to myself... Let them come...
  19. Comicality

    One Life to Live

    When writing a story of your very own, I think there is an added effect that comes from using your own personal experiences as a blueprint for the writing itself. Your memories, your feelings, your beliefs, your personality...drawing from these sources gives the whole feel of a story a certain ′touch′ that can′t be achieved by just putting words on the screen. You may often hear the term, ″write what you know″ being thrown around a lot, and I couldn′t agree more. No matter what the content of your story may be, there is an underlying meaning and emotion beneath the surface that your audience can connect to if you′re speaking from the heart. For example, you may have never been to the Moon (I′m assuming. Hehehe!), but if you write a story about two people falling in love in a Moon based colony, set fifty years in the future...your readers can still relate to the story that you′re trying to tell. They recognize feelings of infatuation, and love, and awkwardness, and beauty, and fear of rejection. The more honest you are with the emotions you are drawing from, the more relatable your story will become...even if the premise is something that your readers previously knew nothing about. Tap into that deeper meaning, that hidden ′something′, that captures the hearts of all people. This can be accomplished by using your own life experiences as a map to find a loyal and appreciative audience. Your joy, your regrets, your fears, your triumphs, and your mistakes. Weave it into every word you write and let it become a part of your project. The result will be worth it! Trust me! However, while your life and emotions may be a powerful source to pull from...that source is not unlimited. We only have one life to draw from, right? (Hehehe, again...I′m assuming!) We′ve only had one childhood, one college experience, maybe a handful of relationships, one set of parents, a select cluster of good friends...our experiences and memories create our view of the world, but there are only so many experiences that we can use as inspiration. And for authors who are writing a bunch of different stories at one time, or those of us who are writing a variety of completed short stories, one after the other...′formulas′ begin to form. Ideas may repeat themselves. Characters may seem similar to one another. Dialogue may become repetitive, situations may seem overly familiar, and common themes may begin to tire themselves out. But I′m here to tell you that you can master your own formula and use it to your advantage! So let′s get into it, shall we? Let me begin by saying that there′s nothing wrong with being yourself in the stories that you write. The idea of having a ′formula′ isn′t something to cringe and shy away from. I, personally, write a LOT of stories on my site. Hundreds of chapters, spinoffs, shorts, etc. And there will be people who will try to tell you that they′re all the same story. They′re not. Trust me. One story might deal with coming out of the closet, another might deal with financial differences, another might be a vampire sci fi story, and another might involve domestic abuse. The themes in every story change all the time. The obstacles the characters face are different. The interactions are different. Some stories have a darker tone, while others are more comedic in nature. It′s more than just changing the title and the character names to differentiate one story from another. It takes hard work and dedication to keep coming up with new angles to view life and love from. But it′s possible. Always keep that in mind. Like I said, we only have one set of personal life experiences to draw from. But the reason I write so many stories is because there are things that I want to talk about and issues I want to address that can′t POSSIBLY all fit into one story. It needs a story of its own. If I was just writing the same story over and over again, I would have gotten bored with it years ago. I′ve actually learned to take the ′Comsie Formula′ comment as a HUGE compliment. To have someone recognize your particular voice and style in everything you write is incredibly flattering. Take what might be seen as a predictable formula and make it your ′signature′. Your stories are a part of you, and you′re a part of them. Take pride in that. Stephen King has a signature. Spielberg has a signature. Andrew Lloyd Wright, Quentin Tarantino, Elton John, and Pablo Picasso, have signatures. If it′s an honest expression of self, and your unique, literary, DNA has become evident in every story that you put out there, then isn′t that a good thing? People can read something and tell that it′s your work. Simply because your imprint relates to them in a familiar way that just feels like ′home′. Awesome! Readers will come back to read your stuff over and over again without question. Because you understand the underlying themes that bind us all together, allowing you to tell an infinite amount of stories that can, and will, hit every single time with your audience. Stick to what you know. Find ways to express what′s in your heart, and then work to get even better at it! The stories may vary, but the core remains familiar and entertaining, no matter what it is you′re writing. An example... I am a MASSIVE James Bond fan! I have been since I was a little boy, and I always will be! I, honestly, think that 007 is one of the greatest characters in cinematic history. The suave, charming but dangerous, spy...has been around since 1962...and they′re STILL coming out with another movie in 2019! Obviously, 1962 and 2019 have NOTHING in common! Hehehe! But the character evolves, changes, and reinvents itself, many times over...but still keeps the same ′feel′, without compromise. To the point where James Bond movies could feasibly go on forever! That is mind-blowing to me! Now, audiences have an idea of what to expect when they watch a Bond movie, but they may not realize that EVERY single movie has been following a very distinct formula since ″Goldfinger″! All of them. Same exact formula, and yet all of the movies, while the themes are similar, are vastly different from one another, and entertaining in their own right. Some of these formula ingredients are as follows: Every Bond movie starts off with a mission that is mostly unrelated to the rest of the movie, and almost always involves a ′timer′ or ′countdown′ of some sort to get said mission completed. This leads into the gunshot Bond intro, and an opening credit scene with a song by a currently popular artist or band, combined with a surreal montage of ′guns, gambling, and seductive women′. Every Bond movie has an interaction with the Quartermaster (″Q″), who sets Bond up with a few technological spy gadgets that will ultimately come in handy later on in the film! (Remember my article on ′foreshadowing′? Hehehe!) Every Bond movie has a meglomaniacal villain with a desire to take over the world in some way, and is accompanied by a special henchman. This henchman will have some sort of weapon, disfigurement, or ability, that makes them almost superhuman. A rival for Bond...but will end up dying due to Bond′s wits and skill. (Oh, and the evil base or lair ALWAYS blows up in the end!) Every Bond movie has an extremely beautiful female character, who is there to help, hurt, or distract Bond from his task. This female will have a sexually suggestive name (Holly Goodhead, Plenty O′Toole, Pussy Galore, etc), and whether she is a friend or foe...she will end up having sex with Bond by the end of the movie. Bond will meet the main villain for the first time, and beat him in a particular sport or game of chance. They will antagonize one another, but in a gentleman friendly way, and the villain will use that frustration to order Bond to be ′taken care of′ shortly afterward. Every Bond movie, half way through, will have an intense chase scene of some sort. This chase scene will feature some variation of the original 007 theme! Yes...in EVERY movie! (Cars, boats, ski mobiles, tanks, trucks, etc) And of course, the famous ″Bond...James Bond.″ line, and the vodka martini...shaken not stirred. Here...take a few minutes and watch this short video, a montage of all the Bond movies combined... Hehehe, God, I LOVE you, James Bond! LOL! So, whether you′ve noticed it or not, decades of Bond films have all been closely connected to a core group of cinematic tropes that fans have all come to recognize and look forward to. To the point where we′d miss it if a part of the recipe was missing. Including Bond saying one of his famous quips after killing one of his enemies. It′s because there′s something about that formula that WORKS! It has been consistently successful for over 50 years now, and has appealed to a number of different generations without fail. It taps into that hidden space where we all relate and understand one another, despite our differences. Adventure and danger and sophistication and purpose. When you′re writing, no matter what your concept may be, always remember to return to those honest parts of yourself and make it a part of your project. That′s where your audience will find ′you′. And where you′ll find them in return. When reaching out to your readers, it′s that easy connection that can make or break the ′feel′ of a story. Bottom line, draw from your real life. Something honest, something real. And no matter how many stories you write, no matter what anyone might say about you or your signature style...your fans will latch onto your story and truly feel in tune with what you′re doing. Your experiences share a lot more in common with other people′s experiences than you might believe. That heart and understanding is what will keep their attention. Every time. I′m not saying that you shouldn′t challenge yourself and try new things from time to time. I′m saying that it′s ok for you to be ′you′ in your writing. You′ve lived ONE life, and that story deserves to be told the way you want to tell it. Even if you tell it a million different ways. You′re a 3-dimensional person, with complexities and nuances that can be expressed in a variety of different stories. So go for it! Write a story when you′re angry. Write one when you′re heartbroken. Write one when you′re horny as hell! That′s three completely different stories right there...all coming from the same place. And if somebody recognizes your signature style...AWESOME! It′s a testament to your ability to become one with the text you type on a computer screen. Let them see you. And allow your formula for success to carry you to new heights with every new release. Hope this helps. And I wish you guys the best of luck!
  20. Comicality

    HUGE thanks, you guys!!! XD

    Thanks go out to you all for the birthday wishes yesterday! Awwww, you guys are SO darn sweet! Hehehe! I had a great time celebrating, and I look forward to many more birthdays in the future! ::Knock on wood:: Thanks for thinking of me! Love you lots! And I wish you all the best! You're the best! :P
  21. LOL! Gutter! Brilliant!
  22. A bit of an advanced warning, this story does tie in with the original "Gone From Daylight" storyline, so there may be some very minor spoilers for those who haven't read it yet. Nothing major, though. I hope you like it! Let me know what ya think! https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/gfd-strobelight-puppy/
  23. Comicality

    GFD: Strobelight Puppy

    "GFD: Strobelight Puppy" Even amid the wildly flashing lights of the high energy rave, and the fiercely pounding music in my chest...I couldn't help but to focus all of my attention on 'him'. Not even the thick orgy of perspiring bodies on the dance floor could do much to block him from my ravenous stare. He's soooo beautiful to me! The most fascinating part of any scene he dares to step into. I swear, I'm losing my mind! I've never been so in love! From the moment I walked into the club that night, I started to look for him. He comes in all the time, a well known fixture in the place. And because of that...*I* come in all the time, and have become a well known fixture in the place. Maybe I'm crazy, who knows? But I can't help myself. He truly amazes me in more ways than I could ever hope to count. God...I want him soooo BAD!!! Sometimes it literally HURTS to be so close to him and not have him be mine. I've actually come close to shedding legitimate tears over my harsh infatuation for this boy, and my lack of courage to do anything about it. How crazy is that? He can just be the sweetest, most exciting, most genuine person that I've ever met sometimes. His smile drives me wild. I don't think I've ever been so psycho over anyone like this before. And no matter how much the desire builds up in my chest and urges me to go forward to get to know him even better...I still chicken out, nine times out of ten. And probably will again tonight. He's the friendliest boy in the world, but making the first move to say hello to him is just...not my thing. Sighhh...I'm so lost right now. I used to feel really out of place in these clubs. I just turned 16 about a month ago, so it's not like I was expected to have a huge amount of experience when it came to the club and rave scene. But just over a year ago, I met a boy over by Buckingham Fountain one night that, quite literally, changed my life forever. He talked to me like no one else ever had before. Like...he knew things about me. Private things. He understood the world and its workings on such a profoundly deep level of wisdom and experience that even my teachers and parents couldn't reach me on once he had become a major influence of my life. It was SO hard to believe that he was my age, initially. Heh...then I came to find out that he wasn't my age at all. Nowhere near it, actually. I suppose he was going to have to come clean eventually, but I can't say that I was prepared for it when it happened. It took a bit of an 'adjustment', to say the least. But in the end, our relationship remained the same. We've been inseparable ever since. At least...in my mind, we were. I can't imagine that it was easy for him to tell me about the whole 'vampire' thing for the first time. I guess it would be like me trying to come out of the closet to my parents, but with much higher stakesif others found out. It's a hard concept to grasp. But, ever since then, I've been exposed to an entire civilized underworld that I never even knew existed in this city. If people had any idea how many of these things there were just around the dark corners and traveling down the shadowed alleys of this city...they'd be terrified. I get a little uneasy myself from time to time. My best vampire friend's name is Jason, and he's the one who keeps bringing me back to these hidden halflife clubs on the weekends. He's teaching me everything he knows. He even went so far as to buy me a 'safeguard' mark to keep me from getting...um...eaten alive, I suppose. Which is a good thing. It was difficult to explain to my parents why I had a permanent Crucifix tattoo on the side of my neck, shaped like a Crucifix, but I was able to dance around the issue until they finally racked it up as a teen angst moment and let it go after a stern 'talking to' and a brief punishment. Lucky. Now if only I can keep them away from finding out where I was sneaking off to on my weekend nights, I'd be able to sleep better. Jason's 'sire', as they call it, has a ton of money to burn. And Jason is super cute, so he's basically a houseboy for this vampire guy. All Jason has to do is party all night, spend money, have a good time, and then go home for a long night of passionate love making. That's all his sire wants for him and from him. And they make the cutest couple too! They really do. I feel really lucky to have been let in on the secret. To live like they do. To connect. Interact. Absorb. Such an unreal existence...a life in darkness. Don't misunderstand me. I'm still very much a human being. Just your average high school teenager. I asked Jason to bite me once, and he told me that I wasn't ready. Whatever that means. He told me that crossing over for the wrong reasons would be a mistake that I would regret for the rest of eternity. That it was basically a suicide that I managed to live through and allowed to torture me for years to come. I'll have to admit, at first, I took offense to him refusing to make me one of them. What made him so advanced and sophisticated that HE was ready for a life in darkness and I wasn't? But...now that I look back on the first few times that I asked him to turn me...I realize that he was right. It's not a decision you can take lightly. Not something that just looks cool where you can jump in blindly and start having fun without any thoughts to the commitment or the consequences that go along with it. Thankfully, Jason was responsible enough to know that before allowing me to make anirreversible mistake. Besides, why give up the daylight forever when I can enjoy the best parts of the vampire lifestyle without making the sacrifice? Despite a little teasing about me being human on occasion, Jason is always overjoyed to have me join him at vampire parties and stuff. I'm almost like his 'pet' when he goes to these events. Hehehe! They can always sniff me out and tell that I'm not one of them at first glance, but they don't seem to really mind. If anything, it's almost like a status symbol...still being alive and all. A real life teenager. Not forever stuck in adolescence the way they are. The other vampires seemed to really respect me for that. There were a few jerks, here and there, assholes that I think were just jealous of me for having a pulse, but...for the most part, I became a regular, well known, party boy just like the rest of them. Always dancing right at Jason's side. Every weekend evening that I could successfully sneak out of the house and sneak back in later, that is. This whole thing has been a really WILD ride. Going to clubs at my age is like...wow! I mean, I get to party with freaking vampires until dawn! How cool is THAT? "MARK! What are you DOING, dude! Snap out of it!" Jason shouted over the music as he caught me staring at my dream boy again from across the room. You seriously need to just ask him if he's interested or not so you can get it over with! What are you waiting for? Honestly?" "I know, it's just...it's not that easy, ok? I'm working up to it." I said. "Working up to it? Right." He grinned. "Well, just remember...he's got a LOT more time to wait than you do. You're not gonna look so cute trying to get a 13 year old to go home with you when you're forty, dude." "Very funny. You're a riot." I rolled my eyes, but after a shared smile...my stare wandered right back over to the beauty at the bar. "He's just so...he's soooo..." "Ugh! You're so hopeless." Jason reached forward to fix my 'club stylish', medium length, brown and blondish, hair, still styled with a swoop and accented with glitter. And he reached down to the holes in my jeans to rip them open just a little bit wider. I wiggled a bit, and he told me, "Stop fidgeting! I've gotta get you looking your hottest." "Why?" "Because you're going to talk to him tonight. That's why." "I'm WHAT???" I backed away from him, but Jason just followed me, still trying to pretty me up before I could escape. "What are you TALKING about? No!" I said, but Jason just smiled at me. "Here, take some of my glow bands. Put these on your wrists. He loves these things. Keep 'em. I've got plenty." "Jason...you're not hearing me! I said NO!" "What's the big deal?" "I'm not comfortable with any of this." "And yet you come here, night after night, week after week, and you creepily STARE at him from the darkest corner of the club that you can find? Does that make sense? You're supposed to be having fun, aren't you? Mark...come on, bro! I don't get you all dolled up and bring you here to needlessly torture yourself. Take a chance! Go for it!" Jason waited for a reply, but all I could really give him was a whimper. "I...I want to, but..." "If you want it, then go for it. Anybody that has the ability to make you ACHE this way has gotta be worth taking a shot in the dark. Knock it off with the teen angst angle! It's getting fuckin' repetitive now!" He said. "Besides...maybe you'll get lucky and he'll give you a few shots in your mouth in return! Hehehe! All over those pretty little pouty lips of yours! He's CUTE!" Omigod! What an image! "JESUS, Jason! Don't DO that! That doesn't help to calm me down, you know?!?!" "Yeah, yeah, yeah...whatever. Look, you're gonna talk to him, and you're gonna feel good about it. You hear me? I know you're worried. You've said it a million times before. But that 'fake bluff' shit is gonna stop tonight. You hear me? Why don't you try pushing things to the next level this time? What's the harm in taking a little risk?" "I TRIED that, Jason! Really, I did. But...I don't know. Every time I try to talk to him, I end up just turning into this really nervous wreck, and I try to combat that awful feeling in my gut by being 'friendly'. And he always responds, because he's just....awesome like that, and that's what he does. But I can't GO any further than that! I mean...we get stuck in this totally un-romantic, 'friendly', conversation where I couldn't make a move on him even if I WANTED to...and the whole time I'm trying not to be creepy and weird, he's smiling back at me and being all cute and...UGH!!! Jason HELP me!!!" I whined, and he laughed at my despair. "Ok, look...I'm going to bring him over here to talk to you...and then I'll just fade back into the party and leave you two alone..." "NO!!! Don't do that!" "Do you want to walk over there instead?" "NO!!! I don't want to do THAT either!" I said, my breathing getting shallow. Jason gave me a teasing look. "Okaaaaaay...so what are we doing here tonight? How are we gonna pull this off? Figure something out, because this is happening tonight, whether you want it to or not." I nearly squirmed right out of my own shirt, the discomfort causing my heart to beat loud enough to almost drown out the hardcore techno beat of the music in my ears. Jason persisted, "Hehehe, do you wanna just toss him a cell phone from the other side of the club, call him up, and talk to him THAT way?" I nearly slugged him for that suggestion. "Hahaha! WHAT??? There's an awful amount of distance between you and your favorite boy! You've gotta cross it SOMEHOW!" "I...I KNOW...I just don't wanna come off as being..." "Human?" He smirked, taking the slug in the arm for real this time. "Omigod...now that I think about it, is he gonna really trip on the whole 'human' thing? Maybe he only dates other vampires." Jason grinned. "Why don't we concentrate on whether or not he's even gay first, huh? Hehehe, we can worry about the human aspect later. It's a lot easier to make that leap." He said. "I mean, look at him. He's way too cute to be straight. He's always in clubs like this with boys like you and me. He's got multi-colored, rainbow, hair. He's got to, at LEAST, be bisexual, Right? And hey, if not...you never know, Mark! If you make a good enough impression on him, maybe you'll get him to switch teams, and he'll cross you over into darkness like you always wanted!" I gasped! Omigod...that would be so HOT! SOOOO freaking *HOT*!!! "Ok. I'll...I don't know...I'll think of something to say to him. Just give me a few minutes. Ok?" I said. "Do you really think he'll, like, talk to me?" "C'mon, dude! He ALWAYS talks to you! He LIKES you! He LOVES to party! He has for as long as I've known him, and that's a pretty long time. He always has a smile on his face, he's always the most popular halflife in the room. EVERYBODY loves him...and yet, he's always super happy to talk to you, specifically. What does that tell you?" I glanced back over at him again...standing by the bar, getting another free drink from the bartenders that absolutely adored him almost as much as I did...the mixed colors of his dyed hair being lit up by the frenzied lights overhead. Just seeing his sweet smile made me weak in the knees. Just one kiss. I'd give up everything I own for just *ONE* kiss of those sweet candied lips. "I dunno. Maybe tonight's not the right night, though..." I mumbled, but Jason knew how to focus his hearing on me to pick up every sound. "Tonight IS the right night. EVERY night is the right night! Win or lose, you're going to take a chance on your private crush tonight, dammit!!! I don't wanna hear about it anymore." Then Jason added, "Go! If you don't go over there, I'm just gonna walk over and tell him to read your thoughts to see what you're thinking about him. How embarrassing will THAT be? I don't think you want that!" Omigod, I hope he was fucking joking about that!!! "Sighhh...fine! Ok! Alright, just...quit PUSHING so hard." Jason winked at me and said, "I'll leave the 'hard pushing' to you once you get your rod lodged deeply in that tight, little, ass of his! Hahaha!" With another gasp, I gave him another slug in the shoulder. "Owww! Watch it! You know you want him. I would have gone for him myself if I didn't have a good thing going already." He saw me practically shaking, and he put his hands on my shoulders to hold me still. "Mark...don't worry so much. You're hot, you're smart, and you guys have already had a few chances to talk to each other. You know he'll be happy to see you again. So, just relax and be yourself. K?" I nodded, trying to calm the quake in my stomach. "Yeah. Ok." "Breathe. Hehehe, you'll be fine." Jason gave me a hard pat on my shoulders, then grabbed the sides of my face to bring me forward and give me a quick, hard, kiss on the forehead. "Now go find a way to wrap your lips around some sexy vampire boy dick before the sun comes up!" Jason's REALLY got to stop putting those images in my head if he wants to make this any easier on me! "Ok. Alright. Shit...just walk over. How hard could it be? He says hello to me whenever he sees me, right? So...I've just gotta let him see me. Get close enough, and hopefully the rest of the club boys and girls will stop clawing at him long enough to give us a few minutes to talk. And then... Then what? Fuck it. I'll just wing it. I moved through the dark room, spinning lights blazing back and forth across my frightened face. My beating heart was causing me to tremble with every step, but I kept moving. If nothing else, I was going to at least take a chance. Right? I can do this. Omigod, he's soooo cute. I love that boy's smile. And he's always smiling. I wonder what his kiss would taste like. I imagine that it would be mind-blowing. Like a heavy dose of boyish candy! I moved closer, and once I was about ten to fifteen feet away from him, I tried to appear casual as I leaned up against the bar. I don't think there's anything more uncomfortable than trying to look comfortable. I turned around and put my elbows on the bar behind me, pretending to look out at the dance floor while taking little peeks at him to see if he had noticed me yet. C'mon...please notice me. I don't know how to get any more brave than I am right now. Finally, while distracted by my own worries, I heard his sweet voice say my name. "Mark!!! Dude! What's up? Long time, no see, bro!" "Oh, h-h-hey..." I repied, attempting to look surprised. "Hey, kid...this tab of yours is running kinda long, don't you think?" The bartender asked him. "Come on now, Paulie, you know I'm good for it. Have I ever let you down before?" "If I had to make a list of all the times you did, it would be a longer list than your debts to us." He gave the man a charming grin, and said, "Just keep it open for tonight, will ya? I'll find somebody to pay it for me. You know I will." Then he added, "In fact, get my friend, Mark, something too. Something 'human'. Hehehe!" I've heard Jason use that expression before. It usually meant the kind of drink with a small dose of alcohol that wouldn't knock your average teenager on his ass and have him spilling his dinner all over the dance floor. The man slid me a glass of some sweet tasting drink, similar to lemonade. "I MEAN it, Gyro! Pay your fucking tab! I'm all out of favors at this point." The man said. "Don't worry so much! If you weren't crossed over, you'd be worrying yourself grey!" Then, the prettiest boy in the club...he took a hold of my hand to lead me away from the bar. "Come on, let's get out of here before he draws a vampire stake on me. Hehehe!" Sighhhh....Gyro. I wish I could explain my intense infatuation without getting goofy and swooning to the point where I lost balance. Physically, I know that he was a bit younger than me, but the truth was he had to be older by quite a few years. I've never been sure how many exactly, but I imagine it must be four or five at least. I think I was just attracted to the 'life' within him. It poured out of him in abundance. He felt so good about himself and about life in general that it made me feel good, just being in his presence. He had an aura about him that was just sooooo attractive. I always fell hard for boys like that. Can't help it really. "So, you found a new way to sneak out tonight, huh?" He asked me as we pushed our way towards one of the booths in the corner of the club. "Yeah. Um...well...sorta. I'll probably get caught. I'm running out of excuses for coming home as late as I do." "Hehehe, dawn isn't late. Technically, it's early." He grinned. Blazing white teeth. Such beautiful, shiny, light brown, eyes. "So what's new with you? It's been a couple of weeks since I've seen you around." "I've been here. I always show up. You're the one who's hard to keep up with all of a sudden." I said. Is it weird that I'm shaking just from the knowledge that I'm actually talking to him in a friendly way? That he's talking to me with the same flair? That we're talking to each other at all? "Oh, well, you know me. Gotta keep the party moving. Besides, there's been a lot of drama back at the car lot lately." "The car lot? That's...where you live, right? Or where you're staying?" "Yes. And yes. I don't know...this time I'm thinking of making it a real home this time. You know...maybe stay for good." He said, then leaned forward, his cute little face getting a bit closer to mine. "Dude, I can't really say anything definitive, but I have seen some kick ass shit over the last few months! I'm talking, like...of Biblical proportions! In the vampire sense, anyways. That's one party that I don't wanna miss!" "Hehehe, really?" "Yep! I'm, like...buddies with Superman!" He said, taking another sip of his drink. "Don't tell anybody I said that though. That's just a secret for you and me." Wow....a secret for the two of us. There goes that cheerfully queasy feeling in my stomach. I was thankful for the darkness surrounding us in the club, because I was sure that I was turning seven shades of red at that moment. I saw a lady vampire step up to the table, about 18 years old. She would have been pretty, were it not for the angry scowl on her face. "Well, look who bothered to peek his head out of the foxhole for a change." Gyro cringed a bit, but covered it up with a smile. "Felicia...hehehe, hi! Hey..." "You making it a habit of hanging out with 'daylights' now?" She said, referring to me evidently. "This is my friend, Mark! Mark, this is Fel...." "Don't try to charm your way out of this one, Gyro! What happened to you calling me back? What happened to coming to visit and taking me on a road trip? Where were you?" Gyro shrugged his shoulders at first, but that didn't seem to make her any happier. He said, "Come on, Felicia...it hasn't been that long. I was gonna call you. It's been...what? A couple months?" "It was July...of 2001..." She snarled with narrowed eyes. Gyro grinned sheepishly. "Heh...yeah...well, September 11th changed a lot of things for all of us..." "What the hell does 9/11 have to do with...???" "You know what? Hold that thought! Me and Mark have to run to the bar and pay our tab before Paulie has a heart attack!" I felt a light kick under the table to signal our departure, and Gyro and I scooted our way out of the booth as fast as we could. "We'll be right back! Promise!" "GYRO!!! Don't you DARE dash out on me, Gyro!" "I'll call you!!!" He said with a giggle, and he took me by the hand, pulling me through the thickest parts of the partying crowd so she couldn't follow. The both of us were laughing like crazy, and if he hadn't been holding on to me, I'm certain that we would have lost each other. Gyro had me duck my head down, and we stayed hidden somewhere between his angry stalker chick and his unpaid bar tab. "Hey, things are getting bit 'complicated' in here. Why don't you and me get out of here? I could use a little air." "Hehehe, yeah, I noticed." I said. He gave me the sweetest smile. And I swear, for a moment...just a moment...the whole world went silent. It was...a beauty that took me by surprise. It was like falling in love for the first time ever. If our eye contact had lasted for a second longer, I think I would have fainted. "Come on, I know the security guy at the back of the club. He'll let us go out that way." He said, and we started zig zagging our way to the rear entrance. We moved with our heads down, but trying to 'sneak' anywhere with Gyro was an exercise in futility. Everyone that we passed grinned at us, as they knew that Gyro was making another one of his patented escapes. "G'night, Gyro!" "Later, Gyro!" "There he goes! See ya Gyro!" "Run, baby! Run! Hahahaha!" The whole crowd began to cheer as we raced towards the back door, with only a few angry curse words being shouted in our direction. Knowing the routine, the large security guard with the dark glasses just shook his head and stepped aside, holding the door open for us as we rushed out into the cool night air. Gyro might have made many an escape from this club and many more like it, but this was my first. You couldn't imagine the exhilarating feeling I experienced, just having my favorite boy take me with him. My head was swimming with infatuation, even as he practically tugged me, violently, for about five city blocks before remembering that my fragile human body didn't quite have the same stamina that his did. We stopped in a small park area to rest, and I had to put my hands on my knees just to catch my breath. Gyro giggled in the cutest way ever when he saw me so exhausted. Hehehe! As hard as it was to get my breathing back to normal on my own, I couldn't help but to giggle with him. If I thought that I could raise an arm to give him a playful shove without falling over, I would have. Instead, Gyro took advantage of my weakened state, and with a single finger, he pushed me over onto my side and laughed as he sat down in the grass beside me. "You definitely need more exercise, dude. That was like...such a short run." Still wheezing a bit, I said, "Are you kidding me? Running with you is like being dragged behind a rocket powered race car." He giggled again. "Awww, quit your belly aching. Hehehe, better that you be stuck out here with me than back at the club trying to settle my bill. Trust me on this." Taking a bit of a risk, I smiled at him warmly, and I said, "Well...I can't argue with that. Being out here with you is...pretty much better than most anything else I can think of." He smiled at me. "Well, aren't you sweet. Hehehe!" He laid back on the grass with me, and we both looked up at the stars above for a while. I wish that I could stop trembling like this in his presence, but he was soooo nice to me. So amazing. He talked to me with such ease. It's like...Gyro never gets nervous about much of anything. God, I'd give anything to be more like him. Anything. Every word that came out of his mouth fascinated me to no end. His smile was the most addictive thing in the world to me. And when I spoke, he listened to what I was saying. I mean...REALLY listened. I go to school during the week, and I'm surrounded by fake people who just treat me like I'm their therapist...and conveniently 'forget' about me when their therapy isn't currently needed. They're basically just talking to themselves and forcing me to sit still and listen so they don't feel weird about it. Not Gyro, though. He genuinely responds to everything I say. And not in a selfish way, either. He 'hears' me. And he always wants to hear more. He's not just manipulating me into giving him attention. He's...like...interested, you know? Wow. It made me feel so special to share some time with someone, instead of just giving my time away with a bare minimum or love and respect in return. At one point, we were just lazily talking about life as a whole...and you know what he says to me? He says, "I wish people spent less energy putting up walls and more energy in trying to see what's behind them. Or why they're even necessary. You know?" Is that not the cutest thing ever??? I'm like, "What do you mean?" And he says, "Well...it's like people are always talking about what they hate, and what they don't like, and what ticks them off...it's so sad, you know? They work extra hard, trying to find fault with everything so they'll have a reason to reject it. Like...they're too proud to admit that they enjoyed something. They treat 'being happy' as though it some kind of uncool weakness. Because...all the COOL people hate life and push other people down to prove how far above them they are, right? So stupid." He said. "I don't want to put up any limitations as to what I might find out there in the world. Things that make me feel good. Experiences that I'm grateful for. The people I associate with, the music I dance to, the places I travel, the movies I see, the club scenes I've been a part of...I wanna see it all, you know? I mean, why limit your interests by pretending to know and hate everything? It's such a bratty thing to do. You never know what you might find around the next corner of your life if you stop boxing yourself in. I guess it all just seems so silly to me." "Yeah, I guess." I sighed, dreamily. I was trying to pull my eyes away from the intense beauty of him, but I was falling even deeper in love than I ever expected. No matter what I did to suppress the feeling, it just kept getting worse. He's so...arrrgh! "More people should think like you do, Gyro." I said, kissing up to him as much as possible. "Heh...well, maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't claim to be the best role model out there for anybody to follow." He grinned. "Besides, I wasn't always like this, you know? I used to be quite the little geek back when I was...well...almost your age. Hehehe!" I snickered. "C'mon, get outta here. You? I don't buy that for a minute." "Dead serious. It's true. I was like, this quiet little bookworm before I crossed over. Like...NO friends, really. Lonely. Bashful. Didn't go out at all. I don't know how I was able to even survive like that for as long as I did." "Hehehe, well what happened?" He smirked at the memory. "I just woke up one morning and decided to change. That was that." I gave him a sideways look. "There HAD to be more to it than that." "No. Not really. Deciding to stop being a geek and actually get out of the house to LIVE a little was the hard part. Once I did that, everything else was easy. I stopped making excuses...and it was like friends and good times and parties just sorta fell out of the sky. I guess it was always right there in front of me, but I couldn't see it. I was too scared." He said. "It's like...I really WANTED to have friends and people to talk to. But...the problem was, I didn't have anything to SAY to them. Like...even if I went out of my way to get their attention and said hello...what the heck could I possibly talk to them about afterward? I hadn't done anything with my life yet. I didn't share any common interests with anyone because I didn't ever explore anything. I was so far out of the loop that I couldn't even relate to any of the people that I wanted to get close to. The most I could do was get their focus for a few minutes and then bore them to death with my awkward conversation about stuff that doesn't relate to anybody at all. What was I gonna do? Talk about the weather? 'Wow' them with my knowledge of the state capitals? Who would want to be around me when I was so clueless about what to say to another human being when given the opportunity? Hehehe! It's weird, but you've gotta live a little to find out how to live a little more." Sighhh...he's a gorgeous soul. He really is. "That's...awesome. I guess I never thought of it like that." I said. I really wanted to kiss him at that moment. I wanted to pull him on top of me and feel him grind into me as our tongues mingled and I squeezed the adorable cheeks of his sweet, ripe, ass. I was almost breathless with the yearning in my heart. He was soooo close. "I wish I could be one of you..." "One of...?" He said, confused. Then he caught on. "Oh...hehehe, nah. No, you don't. It's overrated. You'd be surprised how many vampires wish they could go back to being 'one of you' instead." "Really? I'd think it would be amazing. I'm sure that the 'killing' part is ummm...unpleasant. I mean, I'm sure that sucks..." I said. He grinned. "Hehehe, 'sucks'. Yeah, it does." "But STILL! I mean, you get to sleep all day, and party all night. You can come and go as you please...and you get to be young forever. How can that be anything less than a life of eternal bliss?" "Believe me, Mark...it's not all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes it's fun, but...I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss my mom and dad sometimes. Or just...daylight in general, you know? Some nights...the clubs and the music and the people calling my name...it's not enough. Sometimes I need something more." He said, a melancholy tone creeping into his hazy young voice. God...I felt myself moving closer to him on the ground. I was getting so hard, being this close to him. Hearing him talk. I wanted him so badly that I could taste it. Then he said, "Besides...my friend, Bryson, says that the most beautiful thing about youth is that it's fleeting. That's what makes it so precious. So fragile. So important when it comes to trying to get things right the first time around. I guess he's right in a lotta ways. I almost wish that I could get all old and fat, and then look back at a yearbook photo of myself, looking the way I do now." "Hehehe, really?" "Hell, yeah! I think that'd be awesome!" He giggled, changing his voice to sound like an old man while feebly shaking his fist, "Like...'I was such a fine young man back in the day. Look at me. I was a total lady-killer. A real babe magnet. Now hand me my pills, it's time for 'Murder She Wrote'..." "Time for...what?" I asked, and he gave me a smirk. "Nevermind. Hehehe, it's before your time. But that's what I would have said though. Yep!" He was so cute. Thoughts of him naked danced through my mind. Fantasies of his smooth thighs closing in on my ears as I sucked him deeply into my mouth...tasting every succulent inch of him. Licking him from head to toe. Rocking each other's worlds until we fell asleep from the exhaustion...only to wake up next to my boyish prince again a little bit later. Whimpering until I got some more naked loving from him. Oh God...the things I would do to make this boy holler my name... "I still think...it would be seriously cool..." I said softly, moving closer, inch by inch. "...Just being here with you. Even in all of this darkness, is surreal. With the right person...I think I could take it. I'm almost sure of it." I thought about laying on top of his back, feeling those sweet little globes under me, inviting me inside as I pushed my way inside of him. I just know that Gyro would be the kind of boy that would make the sexiest noises ever when you're making love to him. His hole would be soooo tight. I wish I could taste his tongue right now. He's driving me nuts just sitting there, smiling like that. "Heh, I'm telling you, dude...all of the allure surrounding the vampire lifestyle, it's all from the outside." He said, not seeing me raise up on one elbow to hover over him slightly. "Not all of it..." I whispered. I couldn't help myself. My emotions had been pulled and stretched and tortured to the point where...if I didn't kiss him right away, I was going to shrivel up into a ball and roll away like a giant tumbleweed. I HAD to do this! I HAD to!!! I felt like I couldn't breathe, and my heart was about to leap up into my throat and try to escape on its own if it beat any harder. But despite the insecurity and fear involved, I just....I WENT for it! I didn't want this opportunity to pass me by and at least not take a chance. Like Gyro said...you've got to LIVE a little to find out how to live a little more... I leaned down quickly. I don't think he was looking at me at that particular moment. And just as he opened his mouth to say something else, I jutted forward and connected my parted lips to his, kissing him deeply, pushing my tongue inside and getting a quick taste of him as a symphony of infatuated fireworks went off in my head. Apparently...ONLY in my head... "Mmmph! Whoah...whoah whoah...Mark! Umm...wait..." Gyro said, lightly pushing me away with both hands. The look on his face was NOT what I was expecting to see after our first kiss together. "Dude...I uhhh...I....wow..." "Oh no...oh shit..." I said. It felt like my heart was being squeezed in a giant vice. Tightening up more and more until it was almost ready to pop from the pressure. This whole idea was dumb! So dumb! I made a mistake! A STUPID fucking mistake! Oh no! OH NO!!!! "No...it's cool, Mark! It is. I just...I mean...I'm not..." He was struggling for a polite way to totally reject me on the spot. But a rejection is a rejection...no matter how much you sugarcoat it with a sexy smile and a gentle tone. "No, I get it. God, I'm so sorry. I read this all wrong..." I said abruptly. "It's not that I'm not flattered..." "Flattered. Heh...right. Yeah. Sure." "Mark?" "No! It's cool! Seriously. Everything's cool. I think...I think I should go. It's late. I need to get home. And I don't know what I''m doing out here..." My heart was breaking. It hurt sooooo much. My only mission now was to quickly get away from Gyro before he could see me crying. "You don't have to leave. You just caught me off guard, dude..." "Yeah, I know. Off guard. Gotta go..." "REALLY...don't leave, ok?" He said. "I'm not upset. Really. I've got a lot of gay friends back at the lot. It's no big deal." Trying to hold back the emotion, I looked at him and I said, "I'm sorry, Gyro...but to me...this was a big deal." Ugh! Why did I say that??? WHY? What was my plan? To 'guilt trip' him into turning gay for my benefit? This is the stupidest thing that I've ever done! All I did was make him feel bad. The LAST thing I wanted to do was make Gyro feel bad! Disgusted with myself, I hopped up from the ground and I just...I ran. It was the only thing that I could think to do. I ran at top speed, hoping to get as far away from Gyro as humanly possible. My legs strained with every big step I took, my sneakers pulling the concrete beneath me to propel me forward. But...before I could leave the park...I saw Gyro step out from behind a tree in front of me, and hold his hand out to stop me. I was so tired from running that the extra shock of seeing him there took what little breath I had left in me. I slid on the ground and fell back on my butt, looking up at Gyro as he stood over me. "Huff...huff...how...huff...how did you...?" "Dude...you're human. Remember? Did you really think that you'd be able to outrun me?" He said, and then gave me a smirk as he offered me a hand to get up. "Mark...I told you, it's ok. Ok? I'm not freaking out or anything..." "I'm sorry. Gyro, I just...I like you, ok? I like you a lot. And you were talking to me, and I thought...I thought that maybe..." An intense feeling of shame washed over me, and I just wanted to get out of that park so I wouldn't have to humiliate myself any further over this. But it was then that I felt Gyro's hand on my shoulder. "It's alright. Hehehe, I've had boys fall in love with me before. I'm just awesome like that." I peeked up at his sparkling eyes, and that adorable 'joking' smile of his just made me want him even more. Why can't I stop? God this hurts. I suddenly felt like such a perverted loser for ogling him like I have been for the last...God, who knows HOW long? But when he saw my eyes watering up with embarrassment, Gyro just opened his arms and he pulled me in for a loving hug around the middle. I faked a giggle and said, "Stop being cute, ok? I just...God...I'm SO mortified right now!" "Well, don't be. Please?" He said. "I just...I didn't know that you felt that way about me. I actually feel like I kinda led you on, now." I said, "You led me on just by being you, Gyro. I know it doesn't matter now, but...you're really beautiful, you know that? Seriously." I saw him blush a little, and I hid my face from him. "See? You're getting cuter by the minute. I don't think you can help it." A tear ran down my cheek. I didn't want him to feel bad or anything but...the hurt of it all just wouldn't let me keep my composure. Not for a second. He moved to give me another hug, but I stepped back from him this time. "Don't. Ok? You don't owe me that. I just...I think I should go on home. I know that it's all cool with you and stuff, but I just...I don't wanna..." "Come with me. I wanna show you something." He said with a mischievous smirk. "What?" I sniffled. "But...but I just said that I'd rather..." "Yeah, I heard what you said. Put a hold on that for now. C'mon! I wanna show you. You'll like it. Promise. Hehehe..." How is it that he's so giggly when he was just kissed by another boy in the most disgusting way imaginable? How can he suddenly be so cheerful that it actually made ME start to feel better? "Gyro...I don't know..." "You don't have to know anything. Just come with me. Come on." He said, and he yanked on my shirt a little bit. I puled back with a bit of hesitation, but he says, "I'm a lot stronger than you are, you know? Hehehe! I could force you if I wanted to." And I snickered at the idea. "I'm serious! I could hoist you over my shoulder like they do a damsel in those old school monster movies if I wanted to. But it would look crazy weird to your average person on the street. So just follow me. Please? It'll be really cool. Promise." Sigh...like I could say no to him if I wanted to. Even now. I sighed, "Fine. Where are we going?" He said, "This way." And started walking. I'm like, "But...I asked where we were going." "And I said, we're going 'this way'. So if you keep going in this direction, eventually you'll get there. Hehehe!" "Smartass, hehehe!" He said, "Unh unh! I know that you're madly in love with me now. So it's too late for insults, buddy." Ugh! Low blow. But a cute one. I won't lie...it took the entire walk for my tears to dry up, even with Gyro being his usual charming self. But even when the tears and the sniffles had gotten themselves under control...the hole in my heart remained damaged. There's just something about feeling deep in your BONES that this one boy would be the absolute, perfect, match for you...that fate had somehow made this all possible because it was just meant to be...only to find out that it was all a stupid hoax. Something about that was like having the floor pulled out from under you and falling into a pit of hungry crocodiles. Still, I sucked it up and tried my best to be engaging. Even if my strongest instincts just wanted to go back home and isolate myself for a little while. I felt really 'exposed' at that moment. Spending more time with my dream boy only made it worse. God, I wish he had rejected me with some kind of harsh homophobic slur or something. Ugh! He's being so cool about this that I can't even find it in me to HATE him for it! We walked and walked and walked some more, and then he led me to some abandoned apartment building with boarded up windows and weeds growing around the base of it like a wildfire. I hesitated. It looked...dirty. Like...the kind of place a boy vampire would take somebody to KILL them in secret. Don't know why that suddenly crossed my mind, or why I did my best to ignore the danger involved...but Gyro's smile, along with a gentle tug on my wrist, got me to follow him inside anyway. "What is this place?" I asked, the lingering dust making it hard to breathe. "It's a place where I come to think sometimes. About god stuff...and sometimes, bad stuff. Come on, we've gotta go to the roof?" The roof? This whole building looked like it was going to collapse any minute. It was the kind of creepy place your mother always warned you to stay away from. But as Gyro bounced that cute little booty of his up the rickety stairs, streams of dust falling to the ground floor with every step, I had no choice but to follow. I swear...I could bite into that pretty little ass like a ripe apple if he'd let me! The place seemed to get darker and darker the further I went up...and I was thankful to see Gyro open a door at the top of the steps to finally get some fresh air into my lungs again. He beckoned me outside, and I stepped out onto the roof...marveling at the view. The building wasn't really that tall, but the Chicago city skyline looked absolutely majestic from there. It was like you could see the whole metropolitan area at once. An involuntary smile spread across my lips as I took it all in, and for a moment...I forgot about the heartbreak. I really did. "Whoah...it's beautiful..." I said, more to myself than to Gyro. "Yep! I know. It's peaceful. It's kind of like...the total opposite of the clubs and parties and all. You get to sit here and look at all this splendor and glory...but from a distance, you know? You're away from the chaos of it, but you still kinda feel like a part of it. I like that." He smiled, and then put his hands on my shoulders to turn me around. "Annnd...if you look over here..." I did as he said, but I didn't see much. This part of the city didn't seem as clean and brightly lit as the other side. But Gyro pointed his finger to guide me in the right direction, and he said, "Over there? That's the lot. That's where I'm staying right now. See it?" Not only did I see it, but I could vaguely make out a few other boys and girls who were moving around inside of it. "That's where you live?" "Yep! I know it looks like a dingy ol' junkyard to you...but to us, it's our Garden of Eden. Trust me, it's awesome once you get used to it." "Are those your friends?" "Yeah, some of them. Others probably went out tonight. I'm sure Jun is doing his slow motion Kung Fu thingy or whatever it is. And my sister is out there somewhere, but she's probably stabbing herself with a sharp object and bleeding out in some quiet corner for...whatever reason." "She's WHAT???" I asked. "It's a long story. My sister's got issues. Trust me. You don't wanna know." He took me by the hand, and I saw him sitting down on the gravely surface of the rooftop, and then laying back, pulling me down with him. At first, I thought that he wanted me to actually lie on top of him, which gave me an instant rush of infatuated adrenaline. But thinking better of it, I caught on, and he just wanted me to lay down next to him. I felt a few rocks digging into my back and shoulders, making it a little uncomfortable at first, but as the stars above were displayed with such brilliance...I soon relaxed soon and drank in the scenery. The fact that Gyro was still holding my hand helped. We lay there for about 20 minutes, softly talking to one another as friends. He was curious about my life, I was curious about his...it was this really soothing exchange. It made me appreciate him even more. Then I said, "Gyro? Can I ask you a question?" "Fire away." He said. "Why me? I mean...a hundred people would have been happy to go home with you tonight. I'm just...I'm so lame. Heh..." "No you're NOT. Hehehe, shut up." He said. "You wanna know how I discovered you the first time?" That definitely got my attention. "The first time?" "Yeah. Hehehe!" He turned his head to look at me...his lips were just a foot and a half away from me. I found myself wanting to kiss him all over again. "You were a strobelight puppy. You stood out from the crowd. So, I wanted to say hello." I got confused. "Wait...I don't get it. I was a...a strobelight...?" "A strobelight puppy. Yeah." He kinda rolled his eyes in this really cute way, and he looked back up at the stars. "It's like...with people who go to clubs all the time, especially vampires who have been doing it for decades, they're used to the lights and the music and the drinking and the dancing. To them, it's nothing special. And when the music is really cranked up, and the strobelight starts flashing...they just, automatically, get involved in it. It doesn't affect them. They don't see it as anything special." Then he turned back to look at me. "But then...there are these other people who aren't so used to the scene. And when the strobelights come on, they become a bit disorienting. Surprising. It's hard to navigate, hard to focus. If you look at any dance floor when this starts happening, you can tell the folks who aren't used to it. Because they always shy off to one of the corners and just kinda stand against the wall while they try to get familiar to the experience. They look so lost...but they're happy to be lost. It's like this really cool combination of fear and amazement. Awe and hesitation. When you look at them, they're probably just standing there looking like a lonely little puppy, just waiting to be adopted from the pound. Hehehe, thus the term..." "Strobelight puppy. Ok, I got it. Was that supposed to answer my question or what?" I teased, giving him a little push. "It DOES! Hold on, I'm getting to that." He grinned. "In darkness...people get jaded. Cynical, you know? They truly believe they've done it all, seen it all, said it all...after a while, they stop really enjoying themselves. They stop looking for something new to excite the senses. I mean...they're out and about, sure. But they're just doing the same things over and over and over again. They're no different than that quiet little shut-in that I used to be before crossing over. Afraid of going out and seeing what life has to offer them. They're just stuck in a routine. And when I see someone like you...someone who's actually experiencing life with his eyes wide open, taking it all in and totally wanting to be a part of it...well, I think that's cool, you know? You were the most interesting person in the room that night. You piqued my interest...and I wanted to know more." I don't think gyro knew how incredible it made me feel to hear him say that. "You really thought that I was...interesting?" I asked. "Of course, I did. Hehehe! Like I said before, soooo many people limit themselves for no reason. They talk about the same three topics all the time until they're so exhausted that it's hard to care anymore. God forbid, if they were topics that I didn't share an interest in to begin with. The first night or two that I saw you, you looked like you had something new to say. Something unique. I wanted to hear it." "Hehehe, all this because I looked like a lost puppy in the club scene?" "Awww, that's not what I meant." He said. "Strobelight puppies...they have these moments where they feel like they don't fit in. Like they're not a part of their environment. But that's just fear talking. A temporaryfear. Because once they get enough courage to just jump in and have fun...well, they end up being the coolest people ever. You looked like you were ready to jump. I wanted to be there." He said. "Everybody has situations where they feel like they're not ready, or like they don't belong...but the truth is, we ALL belong. We just get scared sometimes. If we can beat that...then the world is ours. All of it." The attraction was so strong that I forced myself to turn away from him and look back up at the sky. I know that he was giving me a compliment, but I wish he wouldn't do that. I'd much rather start turning off my 'love switches' now in order to save me from the severe heartbreak to come once I was alone again. He asked me, "What's wrong?" "Nothing." "Are you sure? You seem really sad..." "I'll get over it." I said. "I'm sorry. This is just...hard for me. K? I'm trying, but...but..." I trailed off, and felt tears returning to my eyes. Ugh...the suffering was intense. He was right THERE, and I couldn't reach out to touch him! Gyro thought for a second, and another devilish smirk came to his face. "Ok, look...I'm only gonna do this ONE time! Hehehe, and if you tell anybody about this, I'm totally gonna have you for dinner and bleed you dry! Hehehe, k?" "What? What do you mean?" I asked. "Here...lift up your shirt a bit." "WHAT???" Gyro didn't give me a lot of time to process what was happening. He just ran his soft palm up under my shirt and over the flatness of my stomach. I got the shivers something awful. What was he talking about???? What did he mean? Omigod! Omigod! "Hehehe, you might wanna undo your pants. It'll be a mess, walking home." He said, and I gasped as my mind wandered to sexual delights that I was MORE than eager to engage in with my favorite party boy. I didn't ask any questions, I just unzipped and unbuttoned my pants, my briefs tented out with one of the hardest erections of my life. Gyro giggled in the cutest way. "Take it all the way out. I promise that I won't look. But ummm...it's sort of important that you do this part." Ok...so now I was confused again. But I did as he said, and I exposed my hardness to the night air. "Can anybody see us out here?" I whispered. "Who knows? Hehehe, does it matter?" He replied. And the truth was...to get just a touch from him, no. It didn't. "Ok...now just...think about me." "Think about you?" "Yeah. All of those naughty little fantasies of yours, whatever they may be...bring 'em to the front of your mind, and just relax. I think you're gonna like this." Again, I was lost as to what he was saying to me. For all I know, this could be some weird little prank of his or something. But if thinking about him was all I had to do...how hard could that be to pull off? Gyro smiled at me. "Ok, now close your eyes." I did. "Take a deep breath." I did. "And try not to grab my hair or anything, ok?" "Try not to wha...???" Before I could finish my sentence, a jolt of energy went right into my chest. It shot right out of his hand, and my body almost lifted itself off the ground with the tension inside. Then...this...this current of tingly sensations spread out to every inch of my body. My erection specifically. They were the most pleasurable, most euphoric, series of tingles that I had ever felt in my entire life. I could barely sit still. What the...what the hell was he doing? My body began to convulse, and my legs flailed a little bit as I tried to find a comfortable position that would allow the energy to just run through me without me wiggling myself right off the edge of the rooftop. "Are you thinking about me?" He asked with a giggle. To be honest, I had forgotten about that part. The sudden shock of the sensation had thrown me way off. It was hard to keep my scrambled thoughts from melting like warm butter while under the spell of this arousing ability of his...but I kept trying, regardless. I thought about kissing his lips. About having him smile down on me as his naked body gyrated against mine. The little tingles had a mind of their own it seemed. They knew exactly how to tickle and tempt me in just the right way to bring maximum pleasure. A smile spread out across my face, but I tried to hide it as I heard Gyro holding back a few bashful snickers from seeing me SO turned on. Already, my balls were drawing up tight against me. I could actually feel the waves of pleasure slowly moving up and down my shaft. I could have SWORN that it was hand doing it. Better yet...a mouth. But when I opened one eye to peek...it was just my aching erection, bouncing around in the air with nothing touching it at all. Gyro caught me and chuckled, "Hey! No cheating! Eyes closed, Mister!" Hearing his voice only made the moment more erotic for me. I began to squirm uncontrollably as the orgasm was quickly reaching its peak. My eyes rolled back, and I pictured Gyro pushing his hips into my face, while I held on to those soft bubbles of flesh...guiding his thrusts into my salivating vacuum. The visions of us tongue kissing like mad, me sucking his balls in between my lips, licking lower...and lower...devouring that candied flesh for all it was worth. And the idea of him facing me, riding my shaft hard with a grind of his hips while kissing me passionately on the outh...it was almost too much to bear. And then...Gyro leaned forward...not in my dreams, but in real life...and he whispered, "I knew you'd dig it, Mark. Hehehe!" And his sweet little lips kissed me gently on the cheek. It was more than I could handle. My breathing stopped, my body went stiff, and without a single touch, the strong throbs and pulses began to push my eager juices to the surface. I didn't know what to hold onto, but as powerful as this climax was, I can see why Gyro warned me not to pull his hair. I probably would have ripped it right out at the root if I had. I gasped for breath, my hands clutching at rocks and gravel as I tightened up even more. Then I stifled an immasculating shriek as best as I could as my hand suddenly snapped forward and grabbed one of Gyro's ass cheeks, squeezing it hard. It was the feeling of that plump little morsel that took me over the edge, and the tingles went wild as my whole body went into a fury of orgasmic contractions. The first few spurts were like shots out of a canon! I don't know how high they flew up into the air, but they were already cooled when they landed back down on my chin and neck. And that was just the sneak preview of the torrential storm that was to follow. I clutched at Gyro's ass with a fever as more and more jets of sticky nectar were released in succession. I couldn't breathe at all. My body was tossing and turning involuntarily, and my heart was just trying valiantly to keep up. More and more...it was the hardest cum that I had ever experienced in my life. And Gyro giggled the whole way through it. When I finally calmed down, and my chest and stomach stopped heaving with release...I finally opened my eyes all the way, and I fell in love all over again. Honestly...If Gyro asked me to stick my head in a blender and hit the switch, I would have done it without hesitation. He was magic. Everything about my Gyro was total magic. "Hehehe! I told ya it would be a mess!" He chirped. He pulled his hand out from underneath my shirt, and grinned as he looked for a place to wipe off the excess semen that had splashed all over his forearm. Panting, I said, "Oh man! I'm sorry! I didn't mean..." "Don't sweat it. If you think girls are any less of a mess, you'd be wrong. Hehehe!" Then he's like, "You squeezed my ass pretty hard, there, Hercules. Hehehe! Are you ok?" "Um...yeah. Holy shit...I'm fucking GREAT right now..." I sighed, my eyes instinctively going back to the stars. "Good. Hehehe, but don't go thinking this is gonna become a habit. I wouldn't do this for anybody else." He said. "Only my strobelight puppy." Why is that term soooo much cuter when he says it? I think it was a full fifteen minutes before I was able to fully come down from my orgasmic high. I didn't want to move. My brain felt like every untapped synapse was firing off for the very first time. I didn't know if I'd ever be able to move again...because my muscles remained limp. I think I might have even dozed off a few times. Who knows? But eventually, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I noticed that the sky was a much lighter shade of navy blue than it was the last time I had experienced an 'extended blink'. "Hey...I've gotta go, bro. Daylight's coming." Gyro told me. And he helped me back up to my feet. He blushed and pointed down to remind me that my pants were still open and that I was hanging out like a clown in a jack-in-the-box. We both giggled at the sight for a moment, and then he looked me in the eye. "You're not gonna start ducking out on me when you see me at Bernie's Club from now on, right?" Was he serious? "Really? You've GOT to be kidding me!" I said. "Hehehe, ok, ok! Just checking. I'm glad you told me. About...you liking me. I feel like I know more about you now. You're even more surprising than I expected." He sat up, and he told me, "I've seen what true love looks like at the lot. What it means, and what it takes to maintain it. I can't say much about it, but...those two are the real deal. It made me realize that, when it comes to love...nobody deserves anything less than the full package. And that includes you, Mark. I mean that. K?" "Somehow, I doubt I'll ever be able to find a love like that. Not in my lifetime." "I beg to differ." He smirked. "I'm thinking there's still a lot of layers to you for me to discover. As a friend." 'Friend'...that word never sounded so vulgar before tonight. "Can't you just read my mind and get a view of all my 'layers' in one lump sum?" I blushed. "Yeah...but where's the fun in that?" He grinned. "I can wait. I'd much rather have you tell me...in your own words. And in your own time. I don't mind being a patient audience when the final product is worth it." He said. God...he's still perfect. I may NEVER be able to have him the way I want him, never in my life...but he's going to remain the boy of my dreams for as long as I live. Hands down...he's the best. I remember how sad I felt to see him going back towards his lot for the night, while I had to find a way to get home without too much angst from my parents. But as weirded out as I felt about things that night, I was right back at the club the following weekend. This time, dressed up with more glitter and wristbands than the week before. Heh, I remember Jason telling me how good I looked that night, but it was only a few seconds before he asked, "So Mark...what happened? With Gyro, I mean! Did you make him scream your name, or what?" I looked across the club, and managed to catch sight of Gyro at the bar, sweet talking some young female vampire into paying for his drinks for the evening. He connected his gaze to mine, smiled mischievously...and gave me a wink. Hehehe, what could I do but wink back at him? "WELL???" Jason asked again. I told him, "Let's just say that Gyro and I...shared a night that I'll never forget." "What's that supposed to mean?" He asked. "Well, I did what you said, and I took a chance, and I think it was worth it." "It was?" "Yep. It certainly was." I said, and then started scanning the rest of the club until I found another few boys that might interested me. Ahhh, there's one. A VERY cute boy with light blond hair and a black mesh t-shirt on. Maybe I should go over and talk to him. Jason saw me eyeing the cutie and raised an eyebrow. "Are you going for it?" "Yeah..." I smiled. "I think I am. ONE of these boys is going to turn out to be my proof that love exists, right?" Jason was shocked. "Holy shit! Really??? Fuckin' A! GO for it, dude!" I patted Jason on the shoulder, and I said, "Well...sometimes you've got to live a little bit to learn how to live a little bit more. Right?" He didn't seem to get it, but whatever. I've got a future sweetheart to pursue. And a life to live to the fullest while I still have the chance. Thanks, Gyro. You'll always be my favorite boy. Always.
  24. Comicality

    GFD: Strobelight Puppy

    After a close friend of Mark's clues him in on the secret of underground vampire clubs in the city of Chicago, he finds himself invited into a world of late night parties and reckless abandon. But, despite being surrounded by creatures that feast on human blood to survive...it is the insatiable desire for the love of Mark's number one 'party boy' that frightens him most.
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