Song of Thunder

The sound of running water rushed through Tori's consciousness as she strummed her guitar, eyes closed as she reached into the depths of her soul to produce each strong note. Outside the window of her small apartment building, the rain pounded against the walls, demanding entrance through the thick glass panes. Thunder rumbled in the distance like the roar of the Sphinx, and lightning streaked across the night sky like the rough, fiery tongue of a dragon. Tori continued her soulful song, acknowledging the storm's command but never heeding its tacit words. The strokes of her fingers on the strings were gradually growing more profound as painful memories knocked on the door to her mind, pounding more and more heavily as she fought the desire to explore them.
Hoping vainly to drown out the rapping of her bloody past with the robust power of her melody, Tori plucked skillfully at the tight wires. She remembered the first time she held a guitar in her hands, so small, no more than three years old. Tori had been gifted as a child, in many ways, and her mother had always loved music. She would strum her guitar softly and sing songs to Tori, and hoped that one day her daughter would learn to play as well. Tori had learned, and learned quickly, from her mother. Even now, thirteen years later, she remembered being fascinated with the way such beautiful music could come from just a series of strings. How proud she would be now, Tori thought. But her mother could never see her play. She was dead. Tori winced, her song wavering for a moment as she crossed that dreadful thought once more. She was dead.
The agony of it all came back to Tori. How could she sit and play the guitar carelessly when the killer of her mother was still afoot? At least, Tori thought, he was probably still afoot. Her own father had been the culprit, but Tori would never know whether or not he was still alive. There was no way she could know. He was a demon, an evil creature from the darkest pits of hell. Tori knew. She had watched him kill her mother, she had witnessed him laugh as his body transformed into a thousand serpents, only to slither away like the snake that he was. Tori's eyes burned as she remembered. She was only five years old when she saw her own father murder her mother, she was only in the most delicate and precious stage of life when she had heard his violent laughter converge into a chorus of serpentine hissing. Even now she could make little sense of what had happened. All she knew now was that she was a half-breed, a demon and a human in one. She was the first one, the only one--and all she could do was fight it.
At this very moment, sitting cross-legged here in the dead of night, black clouds spewing an intensifying rain outside, Tori fought it. Her father's evil was inside her, his urge to kill ran through her blood just as her mother's music did. Her strange dark powers came from him. The plagues that haunted her every day, the blood rain, the demons possessing herself and others, the floating objects that seemed to strike all those she laid her eyes on--everything was the fault of her father. Her half-demon blood boiled with rage at his mention or even mere thought. Yet these things that happened to her, the things that came with being a demon, even the murder of her mother--these were not necessarily the worst things that Tori hated her father for. Oh, no. It was the armor.
The armor. It had destroyed all that Tori had ever been--her dreams, her hopes for the future! No day went by in which she didn't wish the armor had never been given to her. The mystical Armor of Thunderbolt was a thing of legend, something that men had only dreamed about. To the world it was an old legend, perhaps widely forgotten, but a wonder of holy Light that could save the world from the omnipresent Dark. To Tori, though, it brought about pain and destruction, only furthering the perpetual cycle of evil she should have been striving to stop. It made her realize how futile it all really is, how insignificant life can so often be. It made her want to end it. Tori's bloodlust was magnified tenfold when she wore the armor, and the insane hunger for battle lingered even after the armor had left. All she had to do was simply call it with an ancient phrase, and it would be there. There existed no other way to explain it, it just suddenly was there. The sword would be in her hand, and she would sever the head of a demon's form from its body, or destroy it with a fatal bolt of divine lightning. The more she fought, the more she wanted to fight, the more she wanted to kill. And all of this, everything, her father's fault.
The rain outside was slowing now after an unexpected burst of intensity. The thunder rolled away gradually, and the light of the massive bolts of electricity dimmed and faded out dramatically, as if ending a story without a conclusion. Tori ended her song the same way--with a lingering note--dropping the guitar and holding her head in her hands. Tears seared her eyes, and she rose to place the guitar gently back into its black case. It was past midnight now, and Tori decided that she had to sleep--all she could do was hope that the incessant nightmares would stop, just for tonight. The hiss of rain hitting the roof and windows gently died out and, just before she drifted away from consciousness, Tori thought--but just for a moment--that she could hear the soft music of a guitar lull her quietly to sleep.

Author's Notes: You wouldn't believe how many different prologues and preludes to the whole Tori thing I have...I think I wrote out the real story only once, fic-style. I wrote this particular one for a statewide contest, which my much-hated writing teacher mandated. It had to be under 1,000 words when I entered it--this original version is 1,001 words long, by complete coincidence. It was rather forced, but I got myself some inspiration and it didn't turn out terribly. =) Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. ~Mistress Jakira

Claimer: Yes, claimer. I do believe I own every part of this story. *mwaha*