My Soul is Selfish

He had never known that such pain was possible. When he looked into her eyes, when she continued to plead for her daughter, despite the fact that she was literally being torn limb from limb, he could feel the intense pain almost as much as she.

He didn't want to do it. He didn't know who she was; he didn't know who her daughter was, or why she thought that she was there. The woman was a vampire, and a beautiful one at that. She was the pinnacle of danger to the Leaders. She was Eve to their Adam. She had long, silk-like raven hair. It had come undone from its brand, the strands covering her tear stained face, and sticking to her in the places where she was bleeding. Her eyes were the blue of the lightest oceans in the world, that clear water that shows straight through to the bottom. She was pale, like porcelain, a beautiful, tall doll with long legs. She was voluptuous but lean, her curves pronounced. Her white dress was stained blood red, and she still reached out to him, still repeated the same thing, over and over again.

"Please, boy…my daughter…my beautiful daughter…Where is she…?"

All he could do was look away as he continued to carry out his deed. Because by that point that was all he could do. He was six years old, pulling a despairing mother limb from limb. In the three years that he had been at the castle, he had been instructed on how to kill without ever being detected, how to slowly kill a victim, torture words, truth or fiction, from their lips…and all of these people were vampires. The Leaders wanted to eradicate their forbidden race. But he did as he was told. It was all he knew how to do. But in his soul, he could feel the unease, the tugging at his heart that told him that what he was doing was wrong, and his own mother, the only one who had wanted him, came to mind.

Soon, the woman realized that she had made a mistake. Her sudden realization made him firmly believe that she had been tricked. Her gaze suddenly softened and she looked up at him as her life faded. "Her name is Shane…"

"What is your name?" he asked softly, his voice no more than a flat tone.

"Valene…Lombardi…" she responded, a bitter smile stretching weakly across her lips. "The fool…" And her life faded.

When he reported the completion of his job to the Leaders he really looked at them for the first time.

They were old elves, so old that their skin was wrinkled as though they had grown too small for it. They wore brown robes with the hoods pulled up, their evil glinting eyes sometimes catching the light of the moonshine coming through the high windows. They sat around a small, round table that had a dial in the center. He had never really thought about how strange a table it was. They sat around it, smoking their cigars and drinking their liquor.

"Good job, Kiyoshi," one said. He had never been told their names. Everyone just always called them the Leaders.

"You may be able to change your prisoner status to that of an agent one day," another man said, his voice higher than the first. "Cosmius is doing a very good job of training you it seems."

"A believe we should give Cosmius a bonus," the third man spoke in speculation.

"You can go," a bored voice accompanied by a shooing gesture of the hand sent him from the room.

He relived that day over and over in his mind. Almost every night now he dreamed of the beautiful vampire he had been forced to murder. When he looked in the mirror and saw the rough, scarred tattoo on his right arm, marking him as "AP1366", any joy or hope he had had drained from his body.

Killing others was wrong if they didn't deserve it. When he had argued that fact with Cosmius he had paid the price. He had shot him in the shoulder blade, giving him the white, puffed out scar that tore over his flesh. But he knew that that pain deep down in the pit of his belly was because he was a murderer, because he was doing injustice to life.

But they had trained him to be a killer. He was a master with the long staff, the power in his arms enough to crack open the skull of any man. He knew the quickest way to rid himself of an opponent, and to dispose of the body where it could never be found.

The world he lived in might as well have been lawless. The monarchs and presidents couldn't pull together such a scattered population well enough to create such laws except for within individual cities. He had moved as far away from Nausca as he could. That country held his past, his people, and the Black Ribbon Gang. He would never return until the day he finally went to meet his father.

But he was destined to live a life that still required a fight. He didn't enjoy fighting. It made his blood run cold. When he began to fight, his mind closed down and he became a cold blooded killer, showing absolutely no mercy.

He met a man a couple years younger than he in a bar one night. A drunk vampire had tried to get a bite, hoping to taste his Aryan blood. He had killed him easily, sending his staff through the back of his head. The bar had erupted into chaos, but a slick, thin man helped him to escape the ruckus before more people were killed. He took him to a rundown apartment, where they smoked marijuana and talked.

"You can't act that way here in the Underground," he had said. "It'll get you killed."

Kiyoshi stared at him for a long time, studying his movements. He was a solemn, stoic type of guy. It was hard to discern any motive or emotion from his tone. His eyes were a crystal blue, and automatically made him think of the vampire Valene. But his hair was disheveled a coal black. His skin was pale like his, and he could see no fangs, though his ears were pointed.

"Are you from Nausca?"

He nodded and passed the half burned joint to him. "I left a long time ago, and I don't ever plan on going back."

"Yeah," Kiyoshi said. "There's a darkness in that country that no one on the outside can see."

The man held his hand out to him in a gesture of camaraderie. "Dice."

Kiyoshi took his hand, shaking it once. He looked him straight in the eyes, his violet orbs intense. "Kiyoshi."

From that day on they were friends. He moved into the apartment with him and began to work at the same bar he had started a fight in.

One day a young girl came into the bar. She could only be fourteen or so, only six years younger than he. She was accompanied by a girl that was around her age. People turned to look at them, but slowly went back to their drinks. However, Kiyoshi noticed that they were stealing glances and whispering silently.

The first girl he had a seen, a girl with long blonde hair, came to the bar and sat on a stool. She looked up at him and he was startled by how strikingly red her eyes were. Her skin was like porcelain. She was young, but her form was already starting to show voluptuousness. She was tall for her age with long legs. He got a chill, feeling as though he had seen her somewhere before. He was intrigued by her. "What can I get you?" he finally asked.

She cocked her head to the side. She looked so solemn, as if all the life had been drained out of her. When she spoke, he could see the needle sharp points of her fangs. "Y'r accent is…really noble."

"And yours isn't," he replied. The senior bartender shot him a warning look. This girl was a vampire, a race he had been raised to believe was forbidden and evil. He tried to push back those thoughts, knowing that they were prejudices. He had met many a vampire that wasn't deserving of the death the Black Ribbon Gang tried to bring over them. "What can I get you?" he asked again.

"Whatever bottled blood you have, an' whichever one is th' cheapest," she replied. She didn't look to be too excited about what she was getting.

Kiyoshi frowned but went to get the bottle. He took the higher end stuff, the stuff that was rumored to taste just like the blood of a human, and fronted the money for her. He put it down in front of her and only asked for the price of the cheapest. She pushed the coins towards him. He reached to get them and she drew back violently, as though she were afraid she was going to be struck.

Kiyoshi stared at her in shock. She cut her eyes away from him and jumped off the stool, going to join her friend in the back of the bar. Her friend had gathered the most attention when they entered. Her hair was a light turquoise color, her eyes a sea green. She was an elf with long limbs and a thin waist. But the only people with such supernatural hair color were those mixed with faerie blood. His own hair grew bicolored, with black and electric blue as the under layer, but that was a mark of an Aryan elf. He was surprised a vampire was hanging around with someone that had faerie blood. The blood was said to be extremely intoxicating to them.

He noticed that she seemed happier around her friend. They sat close together, and he could tell by how they reacted to the people around them, that someone had done them wrong.

"Those are Sadakuno's whores," the senior bartender said to Kiyoshi when he noticed him looking. "Don't ever try to approach them though. They've been boned by the richest crime lords in the world. When he lets them out, he doesn't send them alone." He gestured to the door with a nod of his head. Kiyoshi turned to where he was looking and noticed a tall, broad set man wearing a black suit standing next to it, his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes glued to the girls.

"Interesting…" Kiyoshi murmured.

He didn't see her again for months. The next time she came in he was waiting tables. Her and her friend sat on the second floor at a table that overlooked the balcony down to the bar. He walked over to their table and pulled out his receipt pad, looking down at her. "What can I get you?" he asked.

"Freedom," the vampire responded, staring up at him with the utmost serious expression.

He was taken aback, unsure how to respond. Was she fucking with him? He found his answer in her friend's instant reaction.

"Sh!" Her eyes darted to the guard at the door. "If he hears you we'll be in trouble…"

That was when he realized that they were slaves. They weren't prostitutes by choice. They were so young.

But he had been only three years old when his father had sold him to the Black Ribbon Gang. He figured there was nothing he could do for them.

"Y'r cheapest synthetic," the she-vampire said. Her friend ordered a fruity virgin drink.

He took the receipt to the bar, but decided to get the drinks himself. Again, he substituted the more expensive bottled blood and made the elf girl's drink. When he returned and set them in front of him, the vampire said, "That's twice."

"What?" Kiyoshi looked at her, unsure of what she was talking about.

"That's twice that you've given me th' better blood," she said looking up at him.

"I figure…you could use it," he said carefully.

She laughed, though it was a dry laugh. "It doesn't matter, it all tastes like shit anyway."

Kiyoshi didn't miss a beat before he said, "At least it's better shit."

She looked surprised, like she hadn't heard a joke in years. Then she smiled. It was slight, and it was brief, but it was a smile. He suddenly felt a little relieved. Someone that had suffered so much deserved a smile.

So every time she came into the bar, he tried to make her smile. He was never a very funny guy, but he was able to entertain the girls with his sleight-of-hand card tricks. He had developed the skill as an assassin, but preferred to only use it on cards. He gave them the best drinks, fronting the money himself. He ended up not having enough money for himself, because split between the girls and his rent at Dice's apartment he was broke after each paycheck.

But it was worth it to make them smile. It gave him something to look forward to, something to think about and prepare for.

Then one day, she asked for his name. "I'm Kiyoshi."

"I'm Lenora," the elf girl said with a small smile.

"Shane," the vampire said. He only gave her a slight smile.

It wasn't until that night that his brain made the connection. That first day when he felt like he knew her from somewhere and her name came together finally.

She was Valene's daughter. She was Shane.

He sat up on the couch where he slept. He thought hard, racking his brain. Counting the years, it would be right around her age. His heart was thumping against his chest, his eyes wide.

He had killed this girl's mother.

"We're going to escape. I don't know when, but soon. I can't take it anymore. Will you help us?" Kiyoshi stood in the back of the bar, reading the back of the receipt she had written on. She had already left, but it didn't matter. He immediately knew his answer.

The next time she was there, he had an answer prepared for her. It was only a slip of paper with the apartment's address on it.

Almost a week later, she showed up at the door with Lenora, looking ragged. Their hair was disheveled and they wore only thin white robes. Shane's was ripped open, showing an atrocious, fresh burn mark on her right side. Her breathing was haggard and she looked to be in panic, but adrenaline was pumping through her veins and she looked ecstatic.

"We got away, we got away," she kept repeating, even as he led her inside.

They stayed for only a few days. She told him she would see him again, and they disappeared. Not long after that, he started to see their names in the papers. The notorious duo: The Raven and the Butterfly; the two greatest thieves in the Underground.

She didn't come back to the bar. All he knew of her, he knew from the papers.

Then one day, Dice brought him the paper. He could tell by the look on his friend's face that the news wasn't good.

"Shane was captured by the Royal guards. They say Lenora is dead."

His world spiraled down into hell at those words. He had lived to see her return and to make her smile again, but now she was probably going to be put to death.

But she survived. He learned after that point that no matter what, Shane was a survivor. Now, he was with her again, and tried to see her smile, but too many times his dark soul made her frown and he began to believe that he was a blight on the life she could have—but he couldn't make himself leave.

His soul was selfish. His soul wanted her.

Author's Note: This was written just as an insight into my character Kiyoshi Aomori.