A/n: So I know most of you probably think I'm dead. I kind of wish I was at the moment. I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. So I decided for my novel I would write a prequel to Heartless, about Xerex's past. I was ahead of the game but my jump drive that the file was on was corrupted and I had to start over. So since I'm so far behind this is all I've been typing on. Since it will be awhile since I work on Soulless again, I figured I'd post some of this on FP. It jumps around a bit time wise, since it has to span over four hundred years.
I was born into pain and it is present in my earliest memories; it has been closer to me in my life than a lover. My entire existence has been stained red by it. I do not have memories of lullabies or fairy tales in the dark of my childhood, only the screams of the other experiments rising into the air with my own. With my close relation to pain I find it laughable, that Gabriel thinks he can use it to break me. He wishes to take my pride from me. I do not have much left, but I will keep my pride. My arms are suspended above my head, wrapped intricately and artfully in razor wire.
Gabriel paces back and forth in front of me, a scowl pulling at his thin lips. He is not used to my kind trying to rebel against him. He is used to weaklings that will cower under his rule, where I refuse to do so. I may have to follow any order he gives me, but I do not follow them willingly. I can tell by his expression that he never expected me to last this long, he thought the pain would be too much hours ago, when we started this game.
I smile at him, despite the wires slicing through my skin like butter, and the hot blood running down my arms that now stains the sides of my shirt and pools on the floor. My kind is much more resilient than humans. I wonder how much experience Gabriel has in torturing humans, because over the last eighty years, he has not yet learned how to push things such as me over the edge. He stands in front of me and says something, I am sure that his words are meant to be derogative and insulting. I might even be insulted, if I could hear him, over the screaming of the monster in my head. Its screams echo through my consciousness and block out every other sound. The creature is excited by my blood loss, for the weaker I become, the closer it gets to gaining control over our shared vessel.
"You will have to speak a little louder, afraid I cannot hear you." I rock forward, pulling against the wire, blood dripping dangerously close to his expensive leather shoes. He steps back with a mix of disgust and anger twisting his features. He says something else, but I do not have to guess what it is this time. In response the wires tighten around my arms, and I lean back, my boots nearly slipping on the pool of sticky blood under my feet. If I lose my footing the wires will tear away chunks of flesh, but I regain my balance.
When I do no more than flinch he raises a hand, the words he speaks are barely audible, but I do not understand them. They are a growl of a language that is spoken only by monsters. I feel the crackle of power in the air, like the tension before a lightning storm, and then the pain hits. It feels as if he has set me on fire. Waves of intense heat boil through my veins and lick at my bones. My back arches and I yell in agony, unable to remain stoic under this new attack. The pain is gone as soon as it came and I sag forward, which only causes the razor wire to cut further into my arms. I do not know how much longer I can stay on my feet, but it does not matter. I would rather bleed to death here than become a willing slave.
The other demons in the room are getting tired of waiting. I see the brute at the controls of my torture device lean forward, his eyelids drooping. While sleep would be nice, I do not think I can manage to doze off in my current position. There is a sudden silence when the creature stops its screaming. The quiet echoes louder than the screams, and leaves my mind reeling. My breath is ragged in my own ears, and my heart beat is growing softer. I am worse off than I thought, but still not in immediate danger. I can find no comfort in this sudden silence, because when it is not screaming, the monster speaks.
"This ridiculous charade has gone on long enough boy, give up and let me have control," He growls, probing at my consciousness. I push him away, recoiling from the creature's touch. The feeling of our consciousness touching is like a cold dread that shivers down the spine and coils tight in the pit of my stomach. On my initial refusal he decides to fight for control, attacking my will. I try to fight him back, but it is a difficult fight even when I am not weak.
My muscles tense and my fists clench, digging into the wires. I am managing to hold him off for now but it is already taking its toll on my body. My fingernails are replaced by thick, black claws, and I can feel the fur push out from beneath my skin. A low growl starts somewhere in my chest and rumbles up my throat, shaking my teeth and rattling my bones.
The other demons in the room sense the change immediately. The all stand suddenly alert, their earlier fatigue forgotten. I see their fear in the whites of their eyes, and the way they stand. I do not blame them for it. While I can be held with well placed words and wires, the creature inside of me would not even be slowed down. One of the demons takes a few steps back, edging towards the door "He is about to lose control. Do we need to get out of here?" I can hear that he is nervous. All of these demons combined would be overwhelmed by Misery, and they know it.
Gabriel scowls, annoyed that his fun is being brought to an end. His control over the monster is not the same as his hold over me. While it could not harm him, cleaning up after the creature is no easy task. The beast has an insatiable bloodlust, and whenever it is let free, it kills whatever is in its path. It enjoys nothing more than causing destruction. Even from the darkness that I am banished to when Misery takes control, I can feel the excitement that he gets when he kills. "Cut him down," Gabriel snarls, irate. He turns away from me as he says it. The demons approach me nervously. I am shaking, still trying desperately to hold back Misery. When the wires are cut loose I fall to the ground, on my hands and knees. I can feel the warm blood soaking through the fabric of my pants.
I am so close to the edge that my healing is even faster than usual, I watch as the cuts seal up, turning in to scars immediately. My claws shrink back to finger nails and the fur sinks under my skin again. This time I have won the battle over my body. I can feel the monster's irritation that his chance has come and gone. Gabriel glares down at me, and I consider spitting on the well polished shoes in front of me. This would be trying my luck however, so instead I try to get to my feet again.
One of the other demons moves as if to help me up, but my glare stops him in his tracks. I manage on my own, struggling to lift myself from the ground. I stagger on my feet, swaying dizzily. The grim reaper gazes at me coolly. "This was fun, we should do it again soon," I say with a smirk.
He scowls at me, "Make no mistake demon, you will learn obedience. If I have to string you up a hundred more times, you will learn." By the barely concealed anger burning behind his eyes, I know that he wishes he could do so right now, but I am too close to the edge. If he inflicted any more pain on me, then Misery would be let loose. "Return to your quarters."
I manage a mocking bow, at first I think I will lose my balance and land on his feet but I stand up and walk past him. It occurs to me when I enter the hallway that I will be tracking blood all the way back to my room. I know that it will not be Gabriel to clean it up, but it will annoy him, therefore I am slightly pleased by the thought. When I enter the servants' halls it is quiet and dark. There are no lights or windows, but they are not needed. Demons can see in the dark, so the hallway does not even slow me down. To my surprise there is someone else awake, leaning against the wall of the narrow hall with a pipe between their lips. The smell of burning tobacco permeates the small space. It reminds me of my older brother, his presence is nearly always accented with the delicate curl of smoke. I wonder if he started the habit because of Pain, but I cannot say that I have been curious enough to inquire.
The stranger has not yet seen me; his white shirt is covered in darker stains that I can tell are blood. I am sure that the ruby liquid soaking the fabric did not come from his veins. I have not gone out o f my way to socialize with the other demons here in my years. I have no want for companionship, and no need for a sympathetic ear. I plan on walking by him without a word in passing, but it is clear that he does not share my sentiment. For when he sees me he smiles and offers a hand. "Hi, the name's Lucas. I guess I cannot be counted as the only demon out in these ungodly hours. What kind of job did you get put on?" I inwardly groan, and ignore the offered handshake.
"I was not out on a job," I reply, not giving my name. I try to just keep walking, but to my annoyance he keeps pace with me. The demon has oddly white hair, which he has cut so that it is short and spikes out in an odd way for the awkward length. His red eyes are aglow in the dark, as are mine. Part of the fun of being a demon, eyes that lit up like lamps. To be completely honest it was not as obvious as that, a subtle glow that one had to look for to notice.
He notices the blood on my arms and the white criss-crossing scars. Understanding flashes across his features, "A punishment then." I am irritated by the sympathetic tone of his voice. I do not wish to share my troubles with this annoying demon. He leans forward, staring at my face with curiosity. I know that he is noticing my eye color. Instead of the blood colored irises of the other demons, my own are the same emerald green that Zeke claims they always were. My pupils are still slit, so I cannot hide what I am through the color of my eyes. "I have heard about you, you are that demon Xerex, the one that gives Gabriel so much trouble. You are the demon with Misery?" I flinch at the use of the creature's name, as it responds by growling softly.
"Yes. That I am." I keep my reply short and precise, hoping that he will realize that I do not wish to talk. I do not like to be talked about, but it seems as if I am the latest gossip among the other demons. The smell from his pipe makes Misery recoil, and I do not particularly enjoy the smell either. I am nearing my room, which means I do not have to bother with this conversation for much longer.
"I have heard quite a lot about you." He says conversationally, I ignore this. I do not want to know the rumors that float around concerning me. "Is it true, that you cannot control Misery, even in the slightest?" I stop in my tracks, fixing him with my signature glare. He does not seem bothered by it, still waiting for an answer.
"Misery is much less… cooperative than the rest of the monsters; we tend to disagree on most things." I say simply, trying to end the conversation. I open the door to my room, eager to close it in his face.
"Have you ever been in control of his form?" He seems genuinely curious, but I do not know any reason that he would need to know this. I do not like him asking questions about me.
I sigh, my shoulders sagging under the weight of the question. When I am presented with a situation that makes me uncomfortable, I typically rely on my wit. Now is no exception. "It has only been eighty years; I will get back to you in a few more centuries." I start to shut the door behind me but he puts his hand out, stopping me.
"You know, most people do not like you much. They claim that you are hard to get along with." I have heard this before, from many people, those that were too afraid of me to say it expressed it in their actions. Still, I am not trying to impress anyone, therefore I do not care what they think of me. "I do not know what they are talking about, you seem like pleasant company to me. Perhaps not as pleasant as a nice looking woman," he adds, with a sly smile. "Still, I would enjoy talking to you again, friend."
Before I can correct him, and tell him that I am certainly not his friend, he lets the door shut between us. I narrow my eyes at the closed door. I get the feeling that this demon in particular will not be easily shoved out of my life.
Later, I scrub the blood from my arms and marvel at the scars there. White lines curve across my skin as if they were painted there in a pattern. They start on my fingers, like rings printed in my skin, and cross my palms, circling my wrists and a few almost reach as far as my shoulders. Some of them will fade over time, but I will keep the majority of the scars for the rest of my unnaturally long life. I have still not gotten over how fast I heal because of Misery.
I cannot remember the slow healing of a regular human, so I do not really have much to compare it to. However, when I watch my own wounds disappear, I can feel the wrongness of it. There is almost a feeling of revulsion hiding behind the pain when my broken bones fix themselves in a matter of hours.
When I am ready for sleep, I lay down on the small cot that serves as my bed and begin my nightly ritual. Every night, I think back to the night that I became a demon, the night that Misery's soul was forced into my body by those scientists. The memory is blurred in places, I was only seven years old at the time and it was many years ago. Some pieces are still fresh, as if it happened yesterday, and I can almost feel the pain all over again when I remember it. I think back to that night, and I try to push past it, to see a memory of before, when I was human. Every night I fail. There is nothing but darkness and confusion.
I would settle for the smallest recollection. The feeling of a skinned knee, a nightmare I had as a child, or the way my parents looked. But the earliest memory I have is being in chains. A child, that was confused, lost and afraid. My only company was a horrible, monstrous voice in my head, which terrified me. Some nights I wonder if perhaps I never existed before that night. Maybe the seven year old boy died and I am all that is left. I am the refuse; a shadow of the human that came before. Perhaps the memories that I want so badly to find, were never mine to begin with. Other nights the line between myself and the creature is blurred, and I have to wonder how much space is left between the monster, Misery, and the demon, Xerex.