Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An introduction . . .

This is the story I just started working on; I'm going to have Michael's appearance similar to my own, though his personality will be far from mine. He's going to be a very cocky guy, gloating and proud. Confident in himself, boastful, and taunting. Usually, it seems that I can write a character just like me, or one WAY different . . . I'm going to try to capture a medium here, but it's unlikely that will happen to any extent.

A soft breeze entered the auditorium, rustled his hair and sent a shiver down his spine. The moment was finally here. There was nowhere else to go. Michael Tertian had evaded his pursuer to the best of his abilities, as he always did; it was his policy. It was the promise he'd made to her. In secret, though, he hoped it would come to this. He always hoped it would come to this. A shedding of blood, the beauty of the final breath being released into the air, the fleeing of a soul from its carnal binding. He treasured the act. There was an aesthetic appeal to it. It was something to be observed, to be respected, to be . . . enjoyed. The fear and the courage, the peace and the war of it all, he found it was truly a moment in which he was alive, seeing the life drained from the hunter, ironically, by the hunted. Why he was being hunted was no longer a question; all the dark-alley-types knew who he was. He had managed a reputation in the underworld of New Hildeport. The criminals, the mercenaries, the assassins, the bounty hunters and the Corrupted Rebirths all knew of him—most that could afford it even had a price on his head.
The rhythmic thudding and jingle of stalking boots followed the slamming of the door. As he stood on the stage, back turned to the entrance, he spread his arms as if inviting the duel. A wry smile crossed his face, his lips twisting upwards around the edges.
“'All the world's a stage', but I disagree . . .” he spun, his arms still outstretched, “I say the stage is all the world.”
A slender, almost feminine figure was approaching slowly, unimpressed. The way they carried themselves told him it was a male, despite its shape; tall, shoulders held high, straightened back, neck perfectly vertical, complete absence of sway in the hips, consistent and wide distance between the feet with each step, stepping flatly opposed to heel-first. A flat gray gas mask covered their face; the two vacant eyepieces seemed to absorb the light around them, giving the appearance of two holes in an otherwise smooth faceplate.
The pursuer's strides gradually grew quicker and longer until he was in a full-on sprint. He escalated the two-meter flight of steps to the stage in one swift motion and stopped just short of Tertian's reach. With a sudden jolt of his arms, two downward-angled sheaths extended and unfolded into scythe-shaped blades, one from each sleeve. Michael acknowledged the weapons with a short, approving nod and retrieved an antique, gnarled dagger with a golden handle and half-meter titanium blade from his belt.
He nodded once more, “You're the one following me,” he said, holding his hand out and signaling for the pursuer to attack first; “It's your move, babe.”
The two blades whistled as they sliced through the air towards one another. Bending backwards, Michael dodged them, but not so far away as to keep them from chipping one of the buttons on his vest. He straightened himself and swung the blade, which emitted a shower of sparks as it collided with the mask on his attacker's face.
“Tsk-tsk, you're not playing fair.”
He twirled the dagger around his fingers and narrowed his eyes before swiping away one of his opponent's swings. He turned the knife around in his hand so that the blade came out the bottom of his clenched fist and swung it frantically at the assassin's chest. He grazed the armor once, which sent out more sparks. He made three sudden steps backwards to avoid the blades that were swung in an alternating motion at him, nearly falling off the stage. He lunged forward and struck his opponent's hand, forcing him to drop one of the swords as it crashed to the cement floor in front of the platform they were fighting on. Another swing and he disarmed him altogether. He bent down and picked up the blade, examined the etching along the length of it, noticing the design was intended as much for blood-letting as for looking at. He dropped it to the floor where its twin already lie at rest.
With a crack of the knuckles, it was made obvious that his attacker wasn't giving up just yet.
“Spunky, aren't you?” Michael mocked.
One of the masked man's claw-knuckled gloves swung through the air towards Michael's face, deflected by the dagger. He raised an eyebrow and countered, but his strike was dodged by a fluid twist; his wrist was caught and crushed in the grip of his attacker, collapsing the nerves and loosening his hold of the blade he held. It fell to the floor with a bright sounding crash.
The wind from a metal-encrusted fist passing by his face at lightning speed momentarily chilled the sweat on his cheek. The sweat that was beading on his forehead began to trickle downward as he righted himself, managed a proper footing and steadied his breath. He felt his heavy pulse slow and begin to normalize before he lunged forward, catching his opposite figure about half-way up, doubling him over and taking him to the ground. The opponent hit the ground with a solid thud, Michael landing on top of him and forcing the air from his lungs as his shoulder drove into his chest and bent his ribs inward slightly before one of them finally gave way with a crack and a muffled cry from its owner.
He felt a metallic object, one of the sharp nodules at the knuckle of one of his attacker's gloves, pierce the right-hand side of his chest, returning the pain he'd just caused his enemy. A streak of pain shot out of his lower ribcage as the veins on his forehead protruded from the intensity of his scream. He spun onto his back and lifted himself to his feet. The blood from his wound staining the torn fabric of his neutral colored vest and the white dress shirt underneath. He stumbled to his right, grasped at the wound and looked at his hand, the blood trickling over his palm, down his wrist and into the ruffled cuff of his sleeve. Once again, he brought mind to the rhythm and depth of his breathing. The dagger he'd held before now lie beyond his masked attacker. He darted forwards and tried again to force his enemy to the ground. His opponent side-stepped him and extended a foot, tripping him. He barreled into the floor and slid forward and into the blade. He took it into his hand and held his other hand over the wound and lie motionless on the floor.
The masked attacker walked calmly and slowly towards him, seeming to be gloating over his triumph, though vaguely limping and embracing his side. His smooth mask, albeit unchanged, appeared almost smiling now, regardless of the lack of 'mouth'. Nearing Michael, he stopped beside him, tilted his head and let out a soft, repetitive rumble; a laugh. Michael fingered the carved handle of the dagger as the masked man lifted one foot off the ground, placed it on his back and began to slowly apply pressure until he could no longer breathe. The pain from the wound shot out in a bright pain like a flare. When he could no longer stand it, and the world around him was starting to fade into blackness, he worked the blade out from under himself and jabbed it deep between the assassin's Achilles tendon and ankle bone. As the man lost balance and began to fall forwards, Michael ripped the blade back and through the tendon itself; a deep red fountain came gushing from his foot as the crimson fluid splashed on the floor. The sight of stringy viscera dangling from the wound forced Michael to look away and wrench. The armored man collapsed on the floor, screeching and writhing about, reaching for his foot.
He regretted it not being a fatal wound. The thrill he'd been anticipating would not be his after all. He'd promised her he'd avoid killing if he could, even if that meant leaving an attacker incapacitated but still alive.
Michael stood and walked towards the door, the attacker still behind him writhing on the floor emitting a loud, shrill, although muffled cry.
He looked at his down at the nearly-black, red splotch around the tear in his vest and let out an amused grunt; “I need a new suit. Nice try.”

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