There is no better feeling than being important. Its a feeling most search their entire life for, even if it is for a glittering moment then fades like a distant light. Many have killed and maimed, enslaved and plotted to grasp it. Yet, such glory could easily be found in small and dirty places, a secret only those who had risen from the ash of such places as Harlem, and Compton know, and one that many a rich man would have killed for. It was a glorious feeling. Briar Gantz knew that feeling, and boy did she know it well. At the virile age of 19, she had accomplished what many girls her age could only dream of. She had a good job, a small yet nice apartment, and had managed to snag a hot and talented musician. A rock star to be exact. Well, technically not yet, but soon his name would be in lights. At least, thats what she believed, sitting on the hard backed chair of the Carnivore club, head rocking to the blasting notes thrown about the room. Seventh Terrace, its lead singer Adam Leve, were bouncing around stage, bellowing their metal music into the microphone on stage.
" Death is a woman in six inch heels. Gonna get the job done no matter who she kills." Mouth as close as possible to the microphone, he grabbed the stand, bellowing into it as his drummer smashed his way through another set of drums. Next to him his guitarist strummed away at the double necked base with Satan painted on the side. Dante, the drummer hit the symbols, sending a loud earsplitting ring through the speaker next to him. At her table, she sighed. A queen of this scene since she was old enough to drive Briar had grown, as so many nobles before her, bored with her limitless power. She had long ago lost the feeling for the glitter and the smoke.
Around her sat her court, the girls who loved the band, and were jealous that she had snagged Adam before they could. Birds of the same feather, they all twittered about how hot they were, who was currently sleeping with the drummer, and asking her how things were with Adam.
Excusing herself for a moment, she walked into the bathroom, or at least what the boon dock club called a bathroom. Wiping her hands on her skirt, she looked into the mirror, checking her makeup. Not a hair out of place, or at least out of the wild mane it was in on purpose. Green eyes glittered out of the black makeup smeared around them, lips smeared with just a touch of pink gloss to make them shine. Sure that she still looked on top of the world, she returned to the pounding room. Sliding back into her chair, she looked around at the table. Having left the question hanging, she forgot that they would not have anything else to think about till she answered it.
" Fine." she lied as always, putting on her best smile to hide the fact that things were NEVER fine with Adam. The moody and pre-madonna singer spent more time partying with the band then he did back home. So many nights he got in at 7 in the morning, only to pass out on the couch.
"Are you and Adam getting married?" one of the six bimbos, the one with curly hair smiled at her. Briar was taken aback. Marry Adam? Maybe. That was if he asked. She loved him so, it was okay not to be married right? Briar went to open her mouth, only to be saved by Adams " Goodnight everyone!" from stage. She got up, heels clicking as she strode to where Grunge was putting his base away.
"Where's Adam?" she asked. Not saying a word, Grunge pointed one painted nail to the door frame with the crudely stapled curtain. She sighed, and walked back, passing through the door. On the other side, Adam grabbed her around the waist, kissing her. Briar let out a play yelp, laughing as he spun her around.
"What a great show! Ready to party?" Adam grinned, kissing her again. She rolled her eyes, and adjusted her top. That man could be such a baby. With short brown hair in spike, the tips a dark green, and more piercings than she could count, he looked the part of a rocker.
" I thought we could stay in tonight, babe." she cooed, a hand running down his chest. This worked every time. Well, at least it did. Adam grabbed her wrist, and flung her hand away.
"I worked hard for this, Bri. We are going to this bash, cuz there are going to be agents there." he hissed, the cute boy demeanor disappearing, the angry asshole taking its place. Briar nodded, hating when he got like this. No one could talk him out of anything when he got in this mood.
Adam smiled. " Good. Lets get going."
Briar loved parties. The thumping music, beer, moving bodies, and screaming your conversation. All of it made her feel so alive. Somewhere amongst the crowd, she had lost Adam,not that she cared. He was a jerk, and she knew she should break it off with him. Not that she would, as her only living family was in a coma in Jersey. Hips rocking to the music, she forgot everything. Nothing moved her but the song. No worries, no problems. Briar even forgot how tired she was. Nirvana was hers.
That was until she saw him with her. In the corner near the stereo, Adam was leaning up against the wall, a young thin bimbo wrapped in his arms, sucking his face off. Adam leaned back, breathing hard, and ran one hand down the young girls face, his mouth moving in unheard words. Recognizing the face he wore, she knew he was wooing the young girl with that carefree attitude that had won her over at the age of sixteen. Briar froze, arms at her sides, shocked. Her heart broke, and shattered on the dance floor.
How dare he do this to her! Everyone, everyone at this party knew she was his girlfriend! That was it, Adam had done this to her for the last time. Nothing mattered, only getting to him, and letting him know what he could do with his rock star destiny.
Decision made, she tore through the crowd, straight to the DJ. The crowd parted for her, only a few dancers straying into her path. The music still blared, a new beat pumping out faster than the last, making everyones blood hotter than ever. Reaching the DJ booth,she pushed the stereo over, nearly hitting the couple in the corner. Adam pushed himself back from the girl he was feeling up, just in time to see Briar walking out the door. He turned, the whole party had stopped, and now everyone was staring at him.
Growling in disgust, he took off after her. The door slammed twice before shutting, and the party goers shrugged, not caring if the drama was not played out before them.
Gravel crunched under his boots as he tore across the driveway. Briar was sitting in the car, pulling out her keys to leave, when Adam slammed against the car.
"What the hell is your problem?" he yelled, slamming his hands on the cars hood.
"What is my problem? How about you exchanging saliva with one of your groupies?" she yelled back.
"I am a Rock star Bri! That's what they do!" he ran one hand over his head, pissed that she did not know this unwritten rule.
"Fine." Briar hissed " Then be a fucking rock star without me!" she turned the key, and peeled out, not even bothering to close her door. Adam stepped behind the car, yelling something she could not hear. Tearing off into the night, Briar decided she needed some sleep.
Beer coursing through his system, next to the shots of Jack, and the Vodka he had partaken of some time before, Adam stumbled down the street.
Not that he knew where this street was. Of course he knew it was
one of the more urban streets than the ones he was used to, but that was okay. Hell, even the fact the Briar had left him to walk home was okay.
"Supid bith. Don know wha she's missin'" he slurred, slamming his shoulder into an alley way wall. Clang. Adam snapped his head in the direction of the trash can that had fallen over. A dark figure had risen from behind it, holding onto a book it had probably scavenged from the trash.
" Damn Hobo's." he slurred. None the less, this looked like no hobo he had ever seen before. Adam reached slowly into his back pocket, pulling out the pocket knife he kept , he walked toward the figure. The closer he got, the less like some bum it looked. " Wha the hell?" he whispered. The figure continued to dig through the trash can, pulling out a small box of texts, and looking through them. It was totally unaware of his presence.
Finally, bravery fueled by the booze in his veins, Adam brandished the knife, yelling. "'ey You! What in the sam hell do ya think your doin?"
It's dark cloak whipped around, the hood turning to face him. Solid red eyes stared out at him, and narrowed. The knife clattered to the floor, as Adam stumbled backwards. Scared beyond belief, he turned and ran to the end of the turned once, only to see the figure gone. Adam turned, now amazingly sober, and rested. Nothing from the alley came out at him, so he heaved a sigh of relief, " What the hell was thaAAAAAHHHH!" Claws gripped his shoulders from the dark doorway next to him.
Before he could cry, he was pulled into the doorway, disappearing into the dark.
Blinding pain. That was what he first felt when he woke up. That and sick to his stomach. A headache was now pounding in his head. Going to put his hands on his head,Adam was surprised to find them bound by rope.
" What the?" he whispered. Groggy from the sleep he had been in, Adam could not make out his surroundings, and felt the beginnings of fear rise into his stomach.
" So you have woken up." a gravelly voice whispered from the other end of the room where he lay.
" Who are you? Why am I tied up?" Adam called his voice quivering in fear.
"You threatened my life." the voice said in a matter of fact tone. It seemed closer. A crack above his head in the ceiling let in a little stream of light, but beyond that it was still dark. Adam was blind to his surroundings.
"What are you talking about man?" he asked, voice pitched higher than he would have liked.
"The knife." the voice came from right by his ear this time. Adam swung his head, and saw no one. As if a shadow his capture swooped in and out of sight. The voice came from his other ear this time, lingering for a moment as hot breath washed over his ear. "To threaten a persons life should never be taken lightly. Tis only gentlemanly."
"Gentlemanly?" Adam snorted. "Dude, I suppose you pull out seats for ladies, and open doors for old folks too. Chivalry is dead."
The voice growled, now in front of his face, as he could feel its hot breath on his face. "What manner of man are you?" it asked, voice no more than an echoed hiss.
Adam swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to stay calm.
"No answer?"the voice now sounded teasingly calm. Adam felt his reserve give away, and he shut his eyes in fear. "If you can not tell me what manner of man you are, then I must assume a man you are not. So, Worm, I take my leave of you." the breath dissipated from his face, and the voice seemed to fade away. "If you are still alive when I get back, we shall have a chat about the fate of your life."
" Wait!" Adam called out, not wanting his capture to leave.
" Goodbye for now, Worm." the voice faded to nothing, leaving Adam in the dark gloom alone.
Some insurmountable time later, Adam awoke. A candle now lit the area around him. One hand was loose, and its companion was now tied to his leg. Beside him sat a plate of bread, and two apple slices.
"Eat." the voice was back, but now Adam could see the cloaked figure sitting at a table at the other end of the room. Candle light wavered in and out, making the figure at the table waver in and out as if some ghostly spectar. It was tearing pieces of bread off, and chewing them slowly. The cloak was down, revealing a head shrouded in shadows.
Afforded a look about his surroundings, Adam found himself in a concrete room, books littered what little area he could see, and candles, unlit, were placed around the room. He reached for the food, glancing up to the wall next to him.
The entire wall was covered in roses, lit by the crack above his head. They crossed each other, blanketing the entire wall in green and red.
"Who's roses?" he asked, genuinely curious.
" Mine. I grew them." the voice stated, its red eyes softening.
Adam nodded, and used his free hand to tear into the bread before him. They both ate in silence.
Cloak pooled about it, the figure squatted next to Adam, staring at him contemplatively.
"What should I do with you?" it drawled, seemingly asking him.
"Let me go." he asked, voice quivering once again.
"Perhaps," the thing smiled, a mouth of sharpened elongated fangs lighting up from under the shadows."I should eat you. I tire so of fruit and bread."
"No." Adam shivered.
"Or, should I take your hide, and sit it at my chair?"
"Please." he whispered.
"No." the smile faded. "None of those will do? Why, then tell me what is worth my while to let you go."
Adam contemplated what he could give this thing to let him go. First, he decided, he needed to see the full gravity of his situation. No decision could be made from what little he knew. Was this guy just fucking with him for kicks, or was he some sort of freak twisted by years of abuse and dirt who thirsted only for human blood. Until these variables had been put in the equation, no solution could be reached.
"Show me what you look like." he demanded.
"Why should I do that, Worm?" the figure snarled.
"If I am to meet my death, I want to see what it is." he stated, hoping it was nothing to bad. This man seemed to like that whole chivalry thing, and if he acted brave maybe the thing would let him go. Adam silently prayed to God that he was correct in this assumption about the things character.
" If you wish. I only say,what is seen can never be unseen,Worm." clawed hands reached up, and pulled the cloak from his face.
Adam nearly screamed. What looked at him from inches away was unlike anything he had ever seen before. Gorge rose in his throat, and he suppressed it with a small gag. The figure replaced the hood, and Adam could have swore he heard him sigh.
"I warned you Worm." it turned, facing the wall. "Now tell me, what do you offer me? Hmmm?"
For a moment he stood still, searching his brain for anything a monster like that would take. Eyes wide, Adam finally managed to speak. "My girlfriend. You can have her."
The door creaked open, as Adam stumbled in. Briar, asleep on the futon bed, woke up. She sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes, and yawned.
"Adam? Are you okay?"sleep momentarily robbing her of the memory of his adultery. He nodded, and grabbed her hand.
"Baby, look I want to make up for what happened with that girl." he smiled.
Everything came back to her, and she started to quiver. "How could you do it?" she asked, whispering.
"I let the whole rock star thing go to my head." he kissed her hand, avoiding her eyes. "Come with me, I will make it all go away." Adam stood, pulling her up. She nodded, following him.
Briar waited as Adam parked the car next to some old building. "What are we doing?" she asked suspicious. Adam had acted strange the whole car ride, not to mention how haggard he looked. Adam led her to an old sewer grate, pulling off the grate, and leaping down inside. "Come on, baby." he called. Again he smiled, but Briar now saw something wrong with it. The grin was slightly creepy, and hollow. Second guessing herself, she clambered in after him. He led her down a tunnel, going faster and faster in front of her.
"Slow down Adam!" she yelled, trying to keep up. He laughed, then disappeared around a bend. Briar ran ahead, her bare feet clapping over the cement as she ran on. "Adam!" she called out, wondering where he was.
His voice echoed from some unrecognizable place, calling her forward. Barefoot, she jogged through the tunnels, trying to find him or at least get the direction his voice came in. In the cement tunnel the sounds were indistinguishable as his feet running, their voices and her own footsteps combined to make a symphony of confusion.
"Adam!" she called, voice tight with fear. What sort of game was he playing at now? Briar continued forward, then stopped ahead of her, Adam peeked out from around a bend in the tunnel. Flashing her a grin, he pulled his head back, and motioned for her to follow. She let out a sigh of relief, he had finally let her know where he was. Gaining speed until she was running, Briar tore off toward her boyfriend, determined to stop this childish game.
Reaching the bend, she stopped. He was nowhere to be seen. She called again, voice full of fear, " Adam! Adam, this isn't funny! Come here!"
A voice from behind her, caused her to jump. "What? This isn't fun for you?" Adam gripped her shoulder, his grip unusually tight. Putting one hand over his Briar relaxed, then froze as the pain tore into her back. "This isn't fun for me either baby. It was you or me, and the only thing I love more than you, is me." Adams voice was pitched higher than normal, and warbled a bit. He seemed hysterical.
Briar turned, and the knife slid out. He had stabbed her? He stabbed her. Her eyes went wide, and the cement around her blurred as she fell. The floor rushed up to meet her, and she landed hard.
Above her, blurred by her pain, Adam wiped off his pocket knife, and bent down next to her.
"Sorry babe, but I had to make a choice. Plus, I'd rather kill you than give you over to him alive." He stood again, parts of him disappearing as the edges of her vision faded. Black reached the edges of her vision, crawling forward to steal all of her eyesight from her. " Nothing of mine will ever be touched by such a.." he paused, voice trembling, his body shaking slightly as if in some nightmare, "such a beast."
Adams head snapped to the side. From far off, a growl came from one of the many tunnels in the underground maze.
"Come and get her you freak!" Adam yelled, running back the way they came. Briar reached one hand toward him. Come back. A shadow at the edge of her vision tore off after Adam. She pooled the last of her strength, and called to him, to anyone.
"Help..help me." The figure stopped short. For but a moment it hesitated, then turned to her. Red eyes, red eyes in the blackness was what she last saw as everything faded to black.
"What in the seven hells are you doing man?" he whispered to himself, cradling the young girl in his arms. The dark cloak he wore drug after them, folding over itself with each step its master took. Looking down at the girl in his arms, he could not help but feel overwhelmed.
Why was he bringing her to his home? This was none of his business, if the girl died it was not his fault.
"Oh yes it is." a voice whispered in his ear. Cloak twirling as he spun around, he looked for the source of the voice,yet no one could be seen about him. "No. No its not." he called out, daring this spectral offender to defy him. No answer came, and he stepped forward, brushing it off as a remnant of some echo from the surface.
"She was down here because of YOU!" The voice screamed, causing him to flinch violently. Briar jerked back, nearly falling from his grasp. She slipped forward,and the sleeves of the cloak whipped forward, grabbing her and pulling her closer into its mass.
"No matter." he sighed, his unseen opponent quiet for but the moment. Walking forward, he swept into the darkness of some unknown tunnel.