Night Two: Night of Longing
Hunger burned in the pit of his stomach, scratching at his insides, screaming to be sated. He could feel his blue eyes turning black with his hunger; whenever he was about to feed or drew on enough power, his eyes would bleed to black. Panting softly, Cristophel groaned and pressed his cheek up against the stone of his room. The cool surface helped steady him. Every moment he went without feeding was drifting him farther from reality, from his sanity. They loved watching him squirm. He knew they wanted to see him beg to be fed like some animal in a zoo. They were hoping to tame him. A wishful dream.
Nails raked against the stone, breaking the keratin into jagged edges. They would grow back shortly, and pain was nothing but a distant ache to him. Under his mask, he could feel the slow aching hours of daylight outside. Because the stone room lacked a door, as the sun set, it shined its light into the threshold, beaming across the floor. Cristophel had to constantly maneuver to avoid it, blind folded, it became tricky. He wouldn’t burst into flame, but it could irritate his skin. During the day he did not get much sleep. He became lethargic as the sun rose, but sleep was a luxury. He had to keep his senses and his mind sharp.
He longed for the night yet resented it all the same. At night the humans would come. Cristophel crawled to the back corner. The dark corner in the back of the room would avoid the sun for the rest of the day as the star went to set. Cristophel pulled his legs up and folded his arms against his chest; the sun had left the stone warm in its wake, it was an odd comfort. He felt he could smell the daylight it left behind. Its warm perfume would soon fade though. Cristophel shut his mind off. He let the darkness and the ghost of sunlight left on the stone take him to a quiet place where he could rest.
It only seemed like a few moments but when Cristophel came back to his senses the sun had already set, the warm stone had grown cold and unfriendly, and crickets sung softly in the fresh night. But that was not all he heard. Cristophel quickly roused himself and crouched in the darkness. A whistling coming from outside drew near. It was a happy tune, yet when he heard it nothing but dread filled him. He knew who was coming; it was a man that handled all of Bertram’s dirty work. And Cristophel was surely considered “dirty”.
The mask that kept him seeing visually was removed. A beam of light was flashed into his face, the vampire hissed and shied away from the flashlight. The man chuckled and lowered the light.
“Missed me?” Jack said. “I know I’ve missed you”
The male was called Guro Jack, “The Ripper”. He was tall and his hair was long, slick, and black, with trimmed sides with two lines shaved into the sides of his head. He was half Japanese, half English yet held a nondescript accent when he spoke. His eyes were dark, his skin pale. Across his face was an old scar that cut across his nose and ended on one cheek. Cristophel wanted to squash his arrogance. He thought he was so cruel, so bad. The vampire wanted to show him why humans feared their kind. There were many he wanted to simply kill, but Jack, he wanted to take his time with and show him pain a hundred times worse than he could ever deliver to his own victims.
“Don’t give me that look, I like spending time with you.” Jack set a bag down and walked out for a moment.
Cristophel knew there was nothing sharp in the bag he could use but he grabbed it and checked it anyhow, rummaging through it hurriedly. All he found were folded clothes, a kimono, a brush, towels and other useless items. He heard Jack coming back and quickly zipped the bag up and shoved it away a second before jack’s scarred face came into view. He had hooked up a hose and had the nozzle resting in his right hand.
“Do vampire’s like the cold?” He smiled and set the nozzle down before approaching.
Cristophel knew that he had blades hidden somewhere on his body and would use them whether he behaved or not. The vampire bared his teeth but it didn’t faze Jack. The other male forcibly took hold of his clothing and began to undress him. Like every other time, Cristophel fought against him. He didn’t want his filthy hands to touch him. He hated every part of Jack and even if he couldn’t stop him, he wouldn’t make it easy.
“I love playing this game with you,” Jack said smiling, making Cristophel want to tear it right off his face. “Why do you think I’m always the one to prep you?”
The vampire wasn’t wearing much, a simple kinagashi. It was always white, which he found ironic. He was anything but pure. Underneath he wore nothing. He could feel the cold bite of the chilly night but his mind was hardened and trained to ignore it. The cold also helped numb any pain inflicted, he considered it a blessing. Cristophel used his free leg to kick Jack low in his stomach in attempts to keep him away but the male grabbed his ankle and moved his body on top of his other leg, pinning it. With a snarl and growl, Cristophel raked nails at Jack’s face, the male moved back, but not enough. His nail sliced his pale flesh and Cristophel watched as crimson blood dripped down his cheek.
Jack brought fingers up to his cheek, he smiled when he came away with blood and saw the look on Cristophel’s face. The male licked the blood off his fingers slowly.
“I forgot, you haven’t eaten in a while…do you want to taste me? Hmn?”
Jack leaned down to let the sweet metallic smell wafted into his face, teasing him; his body reacted with such a desire to feed, it pained him. Cristophel’s eyes bled black with his hunger, but he would rather starve than take blood from Guro Jack. As the male leaned in, Cristophel spit into his face. Jack frowned, which he did not often do. The sadist sat up, hand tightening on his ankle as he thrashed about.
“You disappoint me bunny, I thought we could have some fun, but I see you rather get down to business.”
Cristophel hissed as Jack gripped the front of his robes and threw him to the side. By word of his master, Cristophel could do no lasting harm to the male, unless he would risk the wrath of the curse upon his body. He lay there, gazing up at him as he switch the hose on and began to spray him down like some filthy creature in a cage.
“Now, now, don’t you have any fucking manners? You don’t take a bath with your clothes on, Jack said before leaning down to snatch at his clothing, the robes clung to his pale flesh like a second skin, soaked through.
Once his robes were off, he washed him down, making sure to spray his face longer than what was unnecessary. Cristophel couldn’t drown and the water was only a small irritation. Once he was done, Jack squatted over him. He ran his spidery fingers over the pale flesh on his stomach.
“I have a present for you, but to get it, you’ll have to give in return,” Jack said.
Cristophel might have told him to piss off, but what would be the point when he knew Jack would do whatever he pleased?
Jack gave a small smile and patted him on the head before straddling his body, trapping him. From his sleeve, slipped a small knife. He fingered the small, sharp blade then ran his tongue along it. Blood dripped down his palette. Before it could leave his body though, he pulled his tongue back into his mouth.
“I know who else likes to make you bleed, my silver bunny,” he said. “Why do you let her do it, when you know I’ll get jealous?”
Jack swiped the knife along Cristophel’s chest, just below his pink nipples. For a human, he was quick. Dark blood welled in a single line.
“Don’t you know how much I want to cut that whore up?” Jack said. Cristophel wasn’t fond of Victoria either.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t cut anyone other than you.” Jack laughed and placed the tip of the blade against the hollow of his neck. “I’m the ‘Ripper’ of the magus era. I have a reputation to keep. It wouldn’t do to keep to one man. Not when all those beautiful ladies await me at night.”
He began to drag the blade slowly down, vertically, so that it crossed the first wound and made a bloody cross shape.
“I’m also one of the great artists of my time.” Blood ran in rivulets down his body. Jack made sure to take his time as he dragged the blade down to his navel, where he stopped.
“You don’t agree?”
Cristophel didn’t reply.
“You hurt my feelings when you ignore me,” Jack said. “But, you have been a good bunny. And I did promise you a prize.”
As quick as the blade had come, it disappeared. Cristophel didn’t writhe in pain, he didn’t blink or make a sound. Guro Jack could cut him for hours. He would never cry out for him. The man on top of him looked at him with a satisfied grin and Cristophel took that moment to spit at his face once again. Jack sneered and got up. He made sure to collect the hose and his bag.
“Congratulations, you’ve earned yourself a meal. It’s one of your favorites.”
He couldn’t smell anything past his own blood.
Jack left him, whistling as he did. Cristophel waited. He heard Jack’s steps on the cobbled pathway in the garden. The glass doors slid open, and more footsteps sounded. He waited till they receded again and the glass door shut with a soft click and clink of a padlock. He couldn’t imagine what “surprise” awaited him from Jack. He didn’t think it would be anything good. Cristophel sniffed the air. He could smell the flowers outside and his own blood. His body was healing his wounds already. The blood on his torso was slowly seeping away into his skin and the cuts were a little less deep.
Something outside made a soft rustling noise. Cristophel crept towards the opening of the stone nook, chains dragging against the floor. His hands and knees scraped along the rough surface, giving him minor abrasions as he made his way to the entrance. He crawled out into the warm night. The garden was bathed in silver moonlight. The sky was clear and the cliff’s edge showed nothing but a sparkling backdrop of endless, dark ocean. The smell of flowers and the sea was strong. The grass rustled softly in the wind and brought to him the scent of a bird.
On the pond, in the garden was a crane, a white crane. The moon reflected off the pond and made the crane seem even brighter with its white feathers. Its long body sat on top of the water, hiding the long legs Cristophel knew it would have. Its neck was graceful and long, ending in a black beak. Cristophel might have hated humans, but he loved cranes. He found them majestic, beautiful and powerful. He watched the bird on the pond and for a moment, forgot about his pain and hatred.
Perhaps Jack had left his mask off for this reason—to show him this beauty, and to further torment him.
Hunger wretched his body and bled his eyes black. He could smell the bird and its bird coursing through its small, rapid beating heart. He didn’t want to feed from it, yet he needed to. The hunger felt like the blood in his veins was boiling. His vision intensified. He could see the every feather of the bird, and each ripple it made in the water.
The vampire began to crawl forward. He felt pathetic, like a beggar who had no choice but to accept what the world gave him. On hands and knees, he moved forward, every ounce of him wishing to turn back and curl up in his little cave so the crane could live to see sunrise. The bird noticed him and stirred. It moved its wings and revealed that it couldn’t fly—Jack had been thorough enough to clip them.
He was close enough to reach out now, the edge of the pond at his fingertips. His mouth felt dry and his head hurt. The bird flapped its wings and splashed the water in its attempt to get away. It was afraid and Cristophel could taste it. The bird could sense his predatory state. He was just as trapped by the humans as he was. Both just pawns to be used. Slaves to man and magic.
Cristophel reached out, faster than a human could, and grabbed the bird by its neck. It thrashed and cried out. Cristophel pulled it from the water and noticed one of its legs had been injured to prevent it from running. They were both victims. Tortured and humiliated, shadows of their former selves.
Wrapping both hands around the flailing birds neck, Cristophel did it a service by killing it first. He snapped its neck in one clean break. It fell quiet and limp in his hands. Its life was so frail and taken so easily. Cristophel had just as little control over his own life. Perhaps they would share the same Fate. His blood burned. Hunger filled him.
The crane was dead, but he was not.
“Do not envy me bird…,” he said, voice low and smooth. “For death is your only mercy in this world.”
The pain consumed him. He gave in. The fire in his blood blinded him to his surroundings. He didn’t even notice the way he ripped the crane’s head off, how he tore its flesh with his fangs and turned its white feathers into crimson quills. Only its warm blood quelled the boiling madness that had awakened inside of him. It was only then that he came to and found himself sitting under the moonlight, spattered with the blood of the broken bird, discarded to lie in the pond; the water now dyed red.
Cristophel gazed down at his hands. They too were blood covered. He dropped his hands and let his body fall to the side, to lay upon the grass. He watched the crane with empty eyes. The wind blew strands of his silver hair across his face. Even now they looked the same; white and red. Except now, one of them was free.