Everyone wishes they could change the past.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The shining knight

Why do the chicks follow their mother? For knowledge.

October 4th 2011. That was what the card that came through the door said. Written in that tell-tale crimson lettering, the time and a location. A request for a meeting. How, my friend, could I possibly refuse?

Walking through the unseasonably hot October night, I walked through empty alleys; wandered through deserted neighbourhoods. The moon stood above me; I would have liked to say that I saw it's reflections in the puddles, but there were none. Heat lingered around me. I sniffed; the smell of sweat hit my nostrils. No group of people were prepared for this manner of heat; some wore as little as possible, others went as they normally did in October. No preparation from anyone.

But the world turned, and I went with it. I arrived at the location, only a minute late. An abandoned building, it seemed; to borrow a poetic allusion, it was like being at the base of a tower, with the monument standing above me. To bring us back to reality, it looked like a semi-demolished house; the worker had gone home for the day, it seemed, his work undone. Half the house remained, with the rubble tipped on the ground before it. I stood at the base of the slope of rubble, and could clearly see the outline of a human being in the house. Their back to a bare window, the moonlight giving me a clear profile of them. A hood over their head; something black over their upper regions. Shadows claimed the rest of their being. But I could see them.

"Experience: the most brutal of teachers. But you learn. My god, do you learn." The voice called to me, a light tone in it's voice. But from the voice alone, I could honestly not determine the sex of the speaker; it seemed to be at a balance between the two, with perhaps a slight tendency towards the female voice. Obviously some form of training to achieve the effect.

"Who are you? What do you want?" I called back, putting a foot up on the slope. If I climbed to the top, I could reach the stairs on the far-side; climb up to their level.

"My my, you don't recognise a Lewis quote when you hear one? How very shaming," they said, giggling. Such an annoying giggle. "Who do you think I am?"

"I think that you're the person that [Vanitas] told me about. The spurned lover; a lecherous stalker," I said. Another step, inching up the slope.

I saw their outline move a little; they were pointing at me, I think. I could not see their hands, though. "Oh, is that what she told you? It is so like their ilk to lie, is it not?" A chuckle, here. "But even if it were true - and believe me, it is not. I have standards for who I take interests in - that is only a descriptive. Give me a name. Go on!" The voice raised; the last two words were a shout of an almost masculine timbre. It had to be voice training - that wasn't normal.

"I don't know. Why don't you tell me?" I stopped ascending to speak; I could feel their glare resting down on me. Had they seen my intent, to climb that slope?

"Oh, but I have; I gave you my calling card when we first touched tips." Giggling.

"Is that so? I didn't care then, and I don't care now; just tell me," I said. She began to speak; I then took another step, despite the glare.

A gunshot; a bullet hit the top of the slope. If angled even slightly differently, it would have gone straight through my chest. "Stop that! I am talking!" At this point, they moved away from the window; they were only visible as they moved in the darkness, but move they did. As if unable to hold themselves in place, they strutted and stood across the floor, with no regard to the structural damage the building had taken. "They have called me Coward; they have called me the Dark Mirror; the so-called Sage called me Opposition. They have called me creepy, destructive and vindictive. Those who call me by those are wrong; I am purity, tempered by the practicalities of life. I have seen the truth in the world and am making my imprint in it. So call me what you want; what power do words have? But I would like it if you called me by the only name I wish to be called: A."

The name clicked in my head, but why? I don't know anyone by such an... ambiguous name. "And what do you want with me, then?"

A tutting noise could be hear, as A stopped in place. "You? I don't give a flying fig about you, frankly, my dear; what I want is for people to know that I'm still here; I'm still alive. I want the world to know of my existence. And, while I'm at it, I want to settle a score with your girlfriend."

"Got a little vendetta there, huh? And she's not my girlfr-"

"Oh, shut up. But there is a happy coincidence when it comes to all of this..." At this point, they stepped forward, into the light of the streetlights in the street. Despite the muted colours, I could make out the prematurely-aged face, which, as the voice did, tended to feminine over masculine, but could have belonged to either. Hair came down to the shoulders, but not an inch further; the hood was back now, of course. "I know something. A little secret, a little thing about you that you, yourself, do not."

If I had trusted them for even a moment before, those words froze my trust and shattered it. To make it all the worse, as A said those words, the mouth tightened; it became a manic, shark-like grin. Even in the muted colour of the streetlight, I could see stained, unkempt teeth. "A-and what would that be, hmmm?" The slight stammer was caused by the small matter of her hand; I had not seen it before, but there was a handgun held tightly in their left hand. Perhaps a revolver. I'm not an expert.

"Oh-oh-oh-oh~!" With the grin came even more rapid movement while talking; they seemed downright joyful to speak. Such a shame that it had to be on such a topic so close to my heart: myself. "Now I have your attention, 'cause it's all about you to you, right?"

"No. It's about everyone els-" I was, once again, interrupted by a peal of laughter from A, who then made the short hop down onto the slope from the crumbling ruins of the house. As they went past me, my eyes flickered; I considered hitting them right there and then. Their eye caught mine; I heard the gun click. "Don't even think about it, my sweet~" A quick wink, and continued moving.

A practically danced to the bottom of the slope, before turning around and looking back up at me. "Oh, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense~!" The hair colour was still muted; but mixed in with moonlight now. The face looked more tired then it had before, despite the obvious fun the person wearing it was having. The hair was greying in places, but the person couldn't have been that old, could they? "You only care about you! That has been obvious to me right from the very, very start~! You only paid attention to little old me when I had information about you~!"

That voice was giving me a level of frustration her words could only attempt to. It had made the jump from straddling the line between masculine and feminine to hitting into the latter with all the force it could. "Why does that even matter to you?"

"Oh-oh-oh~~ It does so amuse me to look at people like you, don't you know~? People who can't see beyond their own shoulder for fear of the little devil that they've so proudly placed on it, teeheehee~" A twirl as they finished, so that they faced me once more. The firearm still in hand, still pointed at me. "You really are pathetic, you know~? It's almost tragic to see someone who has fallen so very, very far from what made them great, heehee~"

"I was never great. And no matter how far I fall, I'll always be higher then scum like you."

A froze; the speed at which she did so almost startled me. Their eyes narrowed down to slits, and I could feel them staring into my very being. "Oh-oh-oh. No, no, nooo. You, my dear, will never, ever be higher then me. You got that, hun~?" The smile returned; she raised a hand to their mouth, and blew a kiss in my direction. "Y'know why? 'cause I'm not like you. I'm pure; things don't imprint on me without me imprinting on them. Now you? You're damaged; scratched; imperfect..." She stopped talking from a moment, apparently thinking.

"Oh, no, that just isn't strong enough! You're rotten to the core; you're broken; you are worthless. It truly boggles me as to how you fail to see this: even if you had many redeeming qualities - and I, pers'nally, struggle to think of two for you - it wouldn't matter to me, because you can't change the nature of the beast. You were as you were from the very moment of your birth. And you wanna know that is?" As they had been saying this, they were stepping towards me. And with these last words, they were in my face; the rancid smell of their breath washed over me. "You were fucked."

I took my chance; they were too close to me for the gun to be useful. Hooked their leg around my own, grabbed the gun-holding left arm with my right, and punched them straight in the face with my free hand. Hissing like a savage beast, A quickly untangled from me and, a furious look on her face, pointed the gun at me once more - from too far a distance for me to seize it from them, of course.

"Look at you. Look at you!" They snarled, fury in their voice. But even as blood began to run down from their nose, the mouth broke back into the grin. "Just... just look at you, haha..." They couldn't keep it in; they laughed hard, but when I made a slight movement (for I had been hurt in the untangling), they ceased laughing and the anger took them over once more. The revolver didn't move an inch; it remained pointed straight at my head. "Look at yourself. A savage. Nothing more and nothing less. For all your preening and posturing, you're the same as ever. Just a stupid savage, incapable of anything but rage." They giggled once more; as they said their last sentence, the voice wound back down, now erring towards stoic masculinity.

"An-and you aren't?" Damn, how could such a minor event hurt me as much as it had?

"Oh, no, no, no... heehee~!" The giggle was a return to the irritatingly high voice of before. "I'm so much more then that, my dear, dear Chromie... heeheeheeh-" The giggle was cut short, as the streetlight suddenly flickered. With traits not dissimilar to a a cat, the eyes of my antagonist narrowed, staring at the light, as it flickered once more. They remained wide, and flitted over to me. "Oh-oh-oh-oh, it's you. I don't want your taint, so... sorry!" And as they finished that last sentence, they began to back away, before they shoved the revolver into a pocket, and run for the wooden fence that lay straight ahead of the footpath I had used to exit the house; it would lead to the house's back garden. Nevertheless, they charged straight at it; fingertips danced as they tapped the top of it, as A catapulted over the garden fence and out of my life. At least for now.

I remained still for a few moments, before moving my foot and beginning to walk down the footpath and away from this house. I could see A's blood shining red on the floor; I ignored it, but the reflection was soon gone. The streetlight flicked again, before shorting out - I was plunged into darkness, with only the moon to light my way. But the footpath was not hard to traverse; I could get into the street and into the light of the other lamps soon enough. But when I looked straight ahead, I saw thick fog beyond the gate. But I could still feel the baking unseasonable heat: there could not be fog in such circumstances.

Despite the heat, a chill went down my spine; the temperature had not dipped, however. I heard something rustle on the pile: had A returned to get their petty revenge once more? I stared at the slope; I saw a humanoid figure moving in the shadows beyond it, and could feel the moonlight beginning to dull and turn to grey...

And then it stopped. My memory stopped there. I awoke at the door to my apartment, my key in the lock. I say "awoke", but I was already awake; it was more like snapping to attention, I think. But it's the first thing I remember after sighting the figure in the shadows. I think that I'm too tired to talk much tonight, after typing all of that out. I don't even know what I'd write about.

"Taint", huh...
-Achromatic Morality-

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