Blood of the Devil (Tinder and Yuuki_Tatsunohi)

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by Tinder, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. The rhythmic sounds of cicadas humming mixed with the distant rumble of diesel engines and the high-pitched whine of electric lines hung in the air, occasionally broken up by the urgent blare of a car horn. A hot breeze blew through the city and up into the sky, dragging with it the unpleasant odor of the town. The scent of rotting garage and sickly sweet gasoline clung to Nike’s wine red tank top and loose denim jeans. She lay on her back atop a crumbling office building ten stories high. She dozed off and on, her arm thrown over her eyes to block out the occasional light when sun managed to break through the heavy cloud cover. Her prized black hoodie lay beneath her head, haphazardly folded into a pillow. Just another lazy afternoon.

    She shifted positions, looking up at the aging sun in the sky. It would be dinner time soon. She glanced to her side where the remnants of her lunch lay, a grease-stained take-away box and half-empty juice pouch, her stomach turning when she considered a second course. Dinner at home sounded more appealing. She sat up, examining herself. Her arms had several patches of yellow skin, healing bruises from the previous night. Easy enough to hide so long as she wore her jacket in the house. She pulled out her ancient phone, turned on the camera function and looked within. Her split lip had healed, but that she’d expected. Her eyes went to the taped down bandage on her forehead, watching her fingers gingerly probed to find the edge and tore it off. Beneath she found stiches from the previous night, lacing together what now appeared to be a long scratched on her forehead. She frowned, remembering the wash of blood from last night when she’d been knocked into a post and cut on loose nail. The people from the emergency clinic had said she’d need a least a week to before the stitches could come out, perhaps even more than that. She removed the stitching, deciding the mostly healed cut looked better than walking in with a bandage on her forehead.

    She dropped the remains into the pile next to her, staring at her phone. Her body had been quick to recover these past few weeks, far too quick to normal. Common sense told her it shouldn’t be possible to heal from a head wound like that in a night, but she didn’t know what to do about it. Telling Xander would be too awkward, or get her a one way ticket to the nearest laboratory. “Then again, maybe he’d say it’s just another one of my quirks,” she mused, laughing dryly, “I have a lot quirks.”

    She glanced at her phone screen again before clicking it off and standing up. She swept her jacket up off the ground and zipped it up with a smile. “No use worrying about it now. We need to get back before dinner.”

    Retrieving her trash piled, she stuffed it into her pockets and approached the edge of the building. Without a moment’s hesitation, she gripped the ledge and swing down, stretching her leg to find a foothold. She began a precarious dance down the side of the ruined building, sliding from hand hold to hand hold with little more than a glance with each shift.

    She came to the sixth floor, her foot finding the window sill of a spider infested office. Just a few more minutes and she’d be on the ground. She shifted weight to her foot, preparing to move her hand down, when the bricks beneath her crumbled. Her hands slipped and she plummeted down. A shot of adrenaline ran through her veins, sharpening her senses. She made a swipe at the wall but found nothing to grip. Her feet tried as well, doing little more than damaging her worn tennis shoes. She tried again with her hands, grabbing the next ledge that jutted out beneath her, stopped just above the second floor window. She swung into the ruin. The beating of her heart began to slow, stabilizing her vision. She breathed deeply to calm her shaking limbs. Her violet eyes slipped closed, finding her center to bring her mind back to the present. She tested her arms, noting a few more scratches but no serious damage. She sat down with a thud, looking out the window and laughing. “I suppose I’m more durable than I realize.” Her long, dark braid had come undone, but she left ignored it. The loose hair helped to hide her cut.

    After calming herself, she stood and made jumped from the window to the street, biting back a groan when her feet slapped hard against the concrete of the sidewalk. Thankfully few people came to this end of town and the inhabitance rarely came out during the day. It had been the subject of an “incident” a few years back and after deemed unlivable. Some believed that the demons lived among the ruins, but most knew the government was just too cheap to fix it. The homeless lived among the decrepit buildings now along with those who chose a life away from polite society. Nike straightened up, stretching to relieve her aching muscles. She paused, feeling her pulse increasing again. She glanced over her shoulder, frowning when she found an empty window there. “Weird,” she whispered, taking a few steps away from the building. For just a second, she could have sworn something had been standing there. Watching her.

    She dug in her pockets and produced a pair of wireless ear buds. She slipped them in and tapped the outer button to resume her music. With sound of traditional piano accompanied by an operatic voice there to drown out the city, she started back toward the center of town, using her usual series of back streets to navigate around the heavy traffic areas. Her route took her through the back alleys, but most days they felt safer to her than the main roads. Fewer people to offend. A down a few alleys, she swore she could feel the eyes on her back again, but nothing ever appeared behind her when she looked. All the same, she picked up her pace. When she came to a crossing point at the main street that ran through the city, she walked over to a trash bin and cleaned out her pockets. Oddly enough, the bandage was nowhere to be seen. “Must have fallen out,” she muttered under her breath, turning to cross the street with the crowd that had begun to walk.

    Another fifteen minutes of walking brought her to the quiet neighborhood where she lived with her sister and Xander. While not the wealthiest area, few could complain about their lot in life. The homes, mostly recently painted, were packed together in an orderly fashion, each with a small yard hidden behind a tall wooden fence. Some even boasted a two car garage. Nike slowed her pace as she approached their street, peering round the corner cautiously to be sure Xander had no one watching for her return. She preferred to arrive when he was away, and then sneak up into her room before he could catch her to talk. While her staying away for extended periods had become common place, Xander always had some lecture prepared once she returned, usually on the dangers of a young person alone on the street. She crept to their front gate, noting the absence of Xander’s rusty blue car from the curb. A promising sign. She tested the front gate and found it open. A bad sign. She slipped inside, glancing around, but found it just as empty as the street. She made her way to the front door and walked inside the house. No one came rushing to meet her. She glanced toward the shoe stand by the door, noting that Xander’s weathered brown shoes were missing. Either he was desperate to catch her this time or he was actually out. Either way, she stopped her creeping and made a beeline for the kitchen, calling out for her twin, “Diana? You home?”
    • Love Love x 1
  2. The sun cast an orange glow on the horizon, the hustle and bustle of the day beginning to die down. A young girl by the name of Diana Lee walked home from school, texting her friend about one of them being asked out today. She laughed as her friend rapidly texted her back, still in shock about what happened but elated that it did.

    As she passed over a bridge, a kid around her age came in the opposite direction. He looked rough for wear, sporting a bruise on his cheek and a sullen look in his eye. He wore a hood as if trying to make it known he didn’t want to be bothered. Diana briefly looked up from her phone to see a swarm of black spores circling his head. They chirp, yip and tug at his clothing but he doesn’t take notice. Diana had learned from her guardian when demons gather around someone, it’s usually to cause harm. Sometimes to alter their personality, sometimes to drain their life energy, or sometimes to find a new host. Diana had never experienced those things on her own body and mind, but she had seen what possession could do to someone. Having been viciously attacked by possessed kids in her younger years, she had seen how possession can change a person and make them do things they would not normally do.

    Diana watched the kid walk. Perhaps one of those demons would be able to touch his soul, or maybe they all would. Another person passed, dressed in a long trench coat. The man had an ominous, almost predatory aura. They made eye contact and the man flashed a pocket watch with a G.U.A.R.D.S symbol on it. He nodded and continued walking, following the kid. Diana decided then she was done watching and kept moving.

    She continued the rest of the way, resuming her texting conversation while sneaking in little bits of her concern for her future. Diana, like most kids her age, carried numerous college applications in her backpack. She had grabbed so many they started to take up more space in her binder than her school subjects. It’s probably time to sort them; she could only imagine the look on Xander’s face when she lays them out on the table. She’d have no trouble getting into any of them; her grades have been remarkable ever since elementary school. Her main problem was deciding. Xander recommended a few great schools, but she thought of going to a local one where she could just stay at home instead of a dorm, thus saving them a lot of money. But she also thought of a few schools that were in safe zones, spaces clear and protected by G.U.A.R.D.S., places free of demons or angels.

    Diana arrived at their familiar neighborhood. She said hi to the neighbor’s cat who was hanging out on their fence again before shooing her away. Xander’s blue car wasn’t in the driveway, so he wasn’t home yet. By routine, she retrieved the mail, sorting through them and picking out those with her name. Just as she opened the door to the empty house, she heard a hollow bump. Diana turned around, looking for the source of the noise. She heard it again and looked up to see a flaming wheel with many eyes banging against an invisible barrier set over her home. The eyes on the wheel blinked, noticing Diana for the first time and continued to hit the barrier for another minute before seemingly deciding to give up and fly away.

    Diana sighed when the angel had passed, closing the door behind her. She was grateful to the charm from Xander that protects her and anyone within a ten-foot radius. She was also grateful for the strong barriers Xander set up long ago to protect their home from the monsters that scared her out of her wits as a child. It was all because of Xander she couldn’t be bothered by the supernatural and feel safest at home. Indeed it was just like what that movie said: “There is no place like home.”

    Feeling too lazy to take off her favorite Chuck Taylors, Diana set the mail on the table next to a note addressed to her:

    There’s still some cake in the fridge. You can have some to snack on, but don’t eat it all kiddo. You can give some to Nike if she shows up today. –Xander

    Diana smiled with glee and hopped to the fridge. Inside was a large portion of the strawberry shortcake Xander made the other day, her mouth watering at the sight of the fluffy frosting on top. Grabbing a plate and fork, Diana sliced a piece and popped a small bite in her mouth, moaning at the deliciousness that was Xander’s cake.

    Suddenly there was a voice behind her, making her jump and almost dropping her plate.

    “Nike!” Diana ran to her twin and pulled her into a tight hug. It wasn’t uncommon of her sister to disappear for days—weeks on end. Diana had gotten used to it to a degree; she still deeply worried whether or not her sister would show up alive through that door. “Where have you been? No, wait, let me guess: you went fighting again didn’t you?” she asked the obvious, her fingers ghosting over the scar running across her sister’s forehead.
    • Love Love x 1
  3. Nike stepped into the kitchen in time to be tackled by Diana. The force of impact nearly knocked the air from Nike’s lungs and the following vice grip of a hug pressed down on her healing bruises. Probably less healed now. Despite the surprise attack, she couldn’t keep the smile from her face. She coughed, patting her sister on the back as she returned the hug. “Nice to see you too,” she wheezed, overdramatizing her lack of oxygen, “Would you mind letting go now? I think you cracked a few ribs.” She took a deep breath when her twin pulled back, rolling her shoulders to crack her back. “Been working out again, I see.” Xander had always told Nike to keep an eye on her sister, but there were days Nike wondered who ought to be watching who. Nike could throw a decent punch, but Diana could probably strangle someone with her arms alone.

    She paused when Diana ran her fingers along the healing cut. It never took her long to notice Nike’s scrapes when she returned home. Luckily she’d opted to come in without the gaze still taped over the wound. She lightly swatted Diana’s fingers away with a smirk. “Nothing of the sort. I got into a fight with a cat. I thought it might be nice if we had a pet around here. The cat disagreed,” she shrugged, walking around Diana toward the fridge which remained open.

    She spotted the cake immediately. A grin spread across her face as she reached in and pulled out the entire plate, “Perfect timing I see.” She set it on the counter, kicking the door shut as she turned. Without missing a beat, she retrieved a fork and sat down on of the stools by the island in the middle of the kitchen, taking a massive bite from the cake. “Mmm, perfect,” she managed to say around her mouthful of cake, licking the frosting from her fork. Xander’s strawberry shortcake practically melted in your mouth, perfectly combining the flavors of fruit and cream into what Nike considered the perfect pastry. There was no better meal to return home to than this.

    She looked back at her twin, a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “How’s school been? Anyone I should know about?”
  4. “A cat?” Diana said in disbelief, raising an eyebrow at her sister. Definitely no cat would leave a scratch that large or leave little extra pink dots surrounding the healed wound. Diana knew those little pink dots were the result of stitches which meant the wound, however Nike got it, was bad enough it warranted a visit to the doctor.

    Although she wanted to ask what the real reason was, she already knew. Knowing what her sister has been doing these past few years it wasn’t something she had to really think about. Diana, however, decided not to press any further. Past conversations between Nike and Xander sometimes resulted in Nike leaving again. She was more than happy to have her sister back home.

    She watched as her sister pulled out the entire cake and sat at the island to eat. Diana hoisted herself onto the granite top, nodding in agreement at her compliment of Xander’s cooking.

    “Good, good. I’m hoping to go to another college tour next week. Aah, I can’t believe this year is going by so fast,” she said wistfully, leaning on her hands. She half wanted to tell her sister about the G.U.A.R.D.S member or the angel she saw earlier but decided not to. That kid has probably been cleansed, and there was nothing to worry about with the charms Xander set up. Plus, it’s not like Nike could understand since she had never been able to see these things like her. “Oh! You remember Art, right? He finally—finally—asked Ella out. And she said yes!” Diana pulled out her phone and showed Nike the conversation between her and Ella. “Those two have been dancing around each other since eighth grade and now they’re actually going out,” she laughed.

    She let Nike look through the conversation for a few more minutes, picking up the crumbs of the cake on the tines of her fork. “Hey, Nike, we’re eighteen now and well . . . I’ve been thinking—no actually I’ve been meaning to ask you something: Um, have you thought of maybe getting a GED?”