Contract of the Dark

contract75x99Vote until April 14, 2014!

In the previous episode, L Strider had Omega at the tip of his sword, faced with a decision to leave him dead or alive. Readers voted for him to let Omega live.

Episode 10

Through cold, violet eyes, L Strider searches through the crimson gaze of his younger brother. He seeks some sort of true remorse, a sign of recompense for the atrocities that Omega has committed. But in those blood-red eyes is that of a beast that has been cornered, now trying to slither its way out. There is no sign of any sorrow.

All the while, Strider has the point of his nightmarish sword pressed against the devil karayan’s chest. The smallest motion would have the weapon pierce his heart, ending Omega once and for all. Even with the sins his brother has done, he appears unwilling to deal the mortal blow. The blade in his hand rattles, as his thoughts sway along with his conviction. Tears appear in his cold eyes, making the image of Omega blur. And then, he recalls the blade, as it recedes into the coat of maddening eyes that hang on him.

“I will not be like you,” Strider says with disgust. “I will not shed the blood of my family.”

“You are too kind, brother,” Omega responds with a grin, as he gets back to his feet.

Strider gives him a dark warning, “Do not take this too lightly. Consider this my final act of kindness to you, my brother. If, in the future, I must again turn my blade against you, I shall not offer this mercy. I will kill you.”

“I understand,” Omega responds with a graceful bow, accepting his defeat.

“Good,” Strider says, looking down on his frightened brother. “Now get out of my sight.”

The elder karayan whirls on his heel, turning his back on Omega. He walks with an air of superiority as he leaves the battlefield. His eyes are set on the facility, to see if Gamma has woken up. As he marches back, he realizes that the dark clouds that hung over the city have vanished. The sun starts to creep over the horizon, bringing a warm glow over the slumbering city. Many have lost their lives this night, but everything has returned to the way it should be.

Finding the entrance to Raphael’s research laboratory, he notices that Rune and Aaron are waiting outside for him. At first he approaches with a great smile, but that soon fades when he sees their faces of solace. He wishes to ask then the reason behind their despair. The anguish in their eyes speaks more volumes than words ever could. Knowing something is amiss, the elder karayan storms past them. A few twists and turns inside the laboratory lead him to the room where his blood was swapped with Gamma’s.

Raphael stands alone over an occupied operating table. The body is covered from head to toe with a white sheet, meaning that it is nothing more than a corpse now. Strider steps closer, his footsteps echo loudly against the metallic floor. The young scientist turns to see the visitor. Knowing it is the elder karayan, all he can do is shake his head in defeat.

“I am sorry,” he says with a voice of sorrow.

Strider rushes to his side, with eyes wide, “How did this happen? You said you could save him.”

“There were complications,” Raphael answers, not looking at him. “I did not think this would happen.”

A burst of anger flushes from Strider, as he grabs Raphael, “Look at me,” he barks. “What complications?”

“His body rejected your blood,” the young man confesses. “His heart never took a beat. I’m sorry, Strider, karayan blood appears to behave differently than humans. I did not assess that.”

Strider lets go of Raphael and steps toward the body. A quivering hand reaches for the white sheet, pulling away from the corpse’s face. There, he sees his little brother, Gamma. The pale, white-haired child never looked so peaceful, almost sleeping. While tears are shed, Strider smiles tenderly, stroking the head of the childish karayan.

His cold eyes melt away, as he says, “Goodnight little brother, I love you.”

**

Night falls over the city by the time Raphael Fantassa enters his apartment suite. Earlier he had watched L Strider and the others leave with Gamma’s body. They wanted to find a proper place to bury the child. The look on the elder karayan’s face was truly heart wrenching. Letting out a large sigh, Fantassa closes the door behind him, entering the blackened room alone for the first time in a while.

“This has been an exciting few days, I must admit,” he chuckles to himself, feeling the weight of exhaustion flow over his body. “Karayans are quite the interesting creatures. They’re not as easy to deal with as humans. Nothing I planned seemed to work. The same can be said for Vance. It all blew up in our faces.”

Moonlight casts a dim glow through the window, illuminating Raphael in a lunar silhouette. Alone in the darkness, he gingerly lifts his hand up to his eyes. With careful precision, he peels a pair of contact lenses out of his sight. The pieces of plastic are unusual, as blue rings encompass the clear surface. He looks onto the world with crimson eyes, the gaze of a karayan.

“My precious Gamma, I never was able to obtain your prized blood,” he chuckles lowly to himself. “However, your death proved useful to pick up a conciliation prize. The abilities of L Strider are quite a treasure to gain.”

***

Deep in the darkened underbelly of New York City, Omega runs for his life. Blood spills from deep wounds across his torso, gushing out with every beat of his weakened heart. His left arm dangles lifelessly, broken during some sort of confrontation. As he rushes across the subway tracks, he hears the sound of footsteps racing after him. Though he tries to flee, he has lost too much blood. His muscles give out, and he falls into the dirt. All that he can manage now is roll over and face his attackers.

What he sees is truly terrifying. Through the darkness, hundreds of crimson eyes glow like dancing embers. An army of karayans line the tunnels, as three, dark shapes approaches him. The leader of this daunting mob grabs hold of Omega, pulling him up by the collar of his shirt. A sinister, fanged smile spreads across this karayan’s lips, taking delight in seeing such a proud demon beaten.

“Alpha, Beta, and Gamma,” he laughs with a voice as cold as ice, “Or would it be Omega now? Either way, you three have been nothing but a disgrace to our kind.”

Rather forcefully, he wraps his fingers around Omega’s broken arm. The battered karayan screams in pain, but not due to the break. Looking to his arm, Omega watches with a look of horror as the flesh begins to rot away. Muscle and tendon break apart, dissolving into nothingness. What is left is nothing more than a number of weathered bones. Having nothing to hold it together, his skeletal arm falls apart, clattering on the metal tracks.

“What…do…you…want?” Omega says between painful gasps for air.

“I want chaos, destruction, domination,” the karayan leader sneers. “What I want from you specifically? I simply want you to rot.”

The hand of this powerful karayan reaches upwards, grabbing hold of Omega’s skull. The crimson sea of eyes appears to disperse, leaving everything in darkness. The shadows hide what is done, but a final scream echoes in the tunnels.    Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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