Hunters Advent Ch. 02byArcerdo©
Written by: Zelix (My original penname, but Literotica already has an author by that name.)
A/N: Alright, here is the second chapter for those who found the first one interesting and are curious to read more :)
Before proceeding I will mention one thing; these chapters may leave you with many questions but there is no need to worry, as the story progresses answers will come. That's the type of an author I am.
Lastly, I'm sorry for the long wait; I'm juggling between two and soon possibly a third story as well.
Also, I got married on July 28th 2013, go me :)
Now, onto chapter 2!
**** Scene Change ****
If this was a TV series:
Opening theme: Daisuke Ono – Key Phase 1 (Shinrei Tantei Yakumo)
Ending theme: Minami Kuribayashi – Signs ~Saku Tsukiichi Yoru~ (Total Eclipse)
*** 2:34 am, Neighbourhood where Vincent lives, two hours after the death of Garth***
"The Forgotten", is what these districts were called these days. It was a strange thing to call the place, and the popular opinion as to why was due to the fact that a lot of the people who lived there were those who lived on social welfare, the unemployed, immigrants both legal and illegal alike, prostitutes and gang members.
But strangely, the area had a very low crime rate or drug related problems, even the gangs were oddly docile. All in all, it was a neighbourhood where those the society ignored lived but at the same time, there was almost nothing here that would draw attention from the authorities, press or anyone outside the area.
It was truly a place that one forgets almost as soon as it was remembered.
However, the reason for the name was very different; for this was where many residents of The Underworld lived.
In every city there were districts like this one that those from the world of light knew existed, yet it always found a way to disappear from their memories; like a stone thrown into the lake hitting the surface creating ripples yet always sinking into the darkness as the ripples die out, leaving nothing behind them to show if the stone had even existed to begin with.
'Walking alone in the dark in an area like this... or rather, if I was anyone else it would be terrifying, even dangerous to do so. But, it is only here and at this time that I feel this sense of clarity; I belong here, among these beings that at any time could become predators of mankind. My fate is to hunt them, yet only among them do I feel at home...' was what Vincent was thinking as he walked the lit streets of The Forgotten, before saying to himself: "pffft...Fucking hell, what am I, an emo? Get a grip already."
He continued to walk the street, feeling the breeze passing through him along with the sounds and voices of the residents who had come out after dark, wondering if those who were asleep or not affiliated with The Underworld would ever realise exactly who, or what, lived right next door to them...
By the time Vincent finished his musings he had arrived at his home, a six-storey apartment building. It was somewhat run-down but utilities worked and the tenants were friendly enough, considering half of them were... more or less human.
After getting off the elevator on the 4th floor and entering his apartment, he had managed to start taking off his jacket and shoes before his phone begun ringing. Groaning to himself and really not wanting to have a conversation with anyone at the moment, even when the caller was Rosie, yet he still somehow mustered the will to answer it:
"What's up Rosie? The hunt is done, so why-"
"Renate wants to see you at 1pm sharp." Rosie interrupted him, her tone serious.
Vincent was wide-eyed after hearing that: "... What? Why does he want to see me?"
"I don't know, but one of his men asked, quite firmly, that I relay this request/order to you."
"Shit... But why does he want to see me? Last I checked I haven't done anything to warrant his attention." He replied. His earlier irritation temporarily replaced with growing concern.
"If I had to guess, it would have to have something to do with Garths' death but that is unlikely; I logged his death onto the Guild server less than 30 minutes ago. No one, not Renate, or anyone in fact, is capable of reacting this soon and fast."
"... Well, regardless, I'll see him in about 10 hours and find out what this is all about. But right now, I'm hungry and exhausted."
"Alright, take care Vinnie, I have a bad feeling about this."
"Yeah, I know. You take care as well."
And with that he ended the call and proceeded to finish taking his jacket and shoes off, before making himself a microwave dinner to eat. When he was done he plopped down onto the couch and let out a sigh of frustration, before thinking to himself; 'First tracking down an elusive Fallen for 3 days without real rest, followed by a boring hunt that left me craving for more and now I have to deal with Renate. But what the hell does he want? I haven't broken any of the district rules as far as I know.'
After taking a moment to breathe deeply in an attempt to counter the rising frustration, he resumed thinking with a questioning frown; 'But... something doesn't add up, not just about what Renate wants but also about Garth. He was elusive I admit, but he was not THAT good at it; if this was 20 years ago it wouldn't surprise me, but with the methods and equipment we've developed over the last 10 years, I wonder how he managed to keep evading us?'
Vincent then got up and said with an irritated tone to no one: "Aaargh... fuck it, I can't figure this out now, not with these annoying hunting withdrawals kicking my head all over the place."
With that he took the remote for the TV and turned it on, just surfing the channels at random; stupid talk shows, utterly retarded 'reality' TV shows, a half-decent movie, not so decent series, horrifyingly shitty soap opera... and the news, or 'borderline comedy starring humanity' as he liked to call them. A bit pessimistic or even morbid, but he made a living by killing inhuman predators, so there.
Then on more than one news channel, there were talks going on about a rise in drug related crimes due to some or another new or old drug, it was impossible to keep up with this shit so he didn't pay attention to it. Then there was a report about a home invasion where the perpetrator, believed to be either on drugs or insane had broken in and brutally butchered the entire family living there.
'But on the other hand, whenever I hear disturbing stuff in the news, I find myself questioning; exactly when did my head get so twisted? I live in a world with things that go beyond human understanding; things that can tear steel apart with bare hands, sustain themselves with the blood, meat or other organs of humans or God knows what else. They can even twist laws of physics at will. Yet I enjoy hunting them down more than anything else. Not because of justice or to protect the innocent, but becauuszee-'
Vincent's thoughts drifted away as he fell asleep on the couch, exhaustion finally takings its toll on the weary Night Hunter and whisking him away into that ever inviting darkness of dreams...
The thrill of the hunt for a prey that knew how to fight back... there was nothing like it; especially like tonight's game.
He had been chasing it for hours now, trying to be one step ahead but even with all of his efforts the best he could do was keep up with it, and he LOVED this.
The heat rushing in his head, the numbness that burned his body, his instincts howling like a beast, urging him to move faster, to react quicker, to sense and feel beyond what a human normally could...
And still his prey continued to elude him, leaving behind traps, launching surprise attacks, turning this hunt into a dance of madness between life and death. Both matching the other perfectly, just waiting for that one misstep that would plunge one of them into that final oblivion.
Then it happened; his prey made that misstep and he took the opening.
Now it was lying in front of him, wounded and helpless, trying to plead for its life but all of its words meant nothing because he couldn't hear them anymore; the pure joy of the hunt had made him deaf to everything except the pounding of his own heart. He then pulled the prey up, not even knowing what it was anymore... in fact, he didn't even know how this hunt had began or why, but right now he didn't care.
Its pleadings began to intensify, but for some reason even if he didn't understand a word, everything it was saying made him feel irritated, angry, until he wanted it to stop! With that thought, he thrust his weapon right into its chest, causing blood to spray everywhere, covering everything, but something was wrong.
He looked down to see what it was, only to realise there was no weapon; he had thrust his own hand inside the preys' chest. He could feel the blood on it, the dying heartbeat on his fingers... He was beginning to feel panic welling up, and when he looked up at its face he wanted to scream but his throat had become so tight nothing was coming out.
It was the face of Vincent Zacrias, staring back at him with dead eyes.
In panic he attempted to pull his hand out but the dead 'him' grabbed it, stopping it from moving before saying with a cold, accusing voice; "Isn't this what you want?!"
'It' then charged at him, pushing him down and proceeding to strangle him with inhuman, unflinching strength. Despite his arm going even deeper into its chest, it did not stop.
"My life, my body... give it back, GIVE IT BACK!!"
As its grip tightened, Vincent, in a last ditch effort to escape death mustered all he had left into his hand that was inside this things chest and squeezed. At first it didn't seem to be working, but as his sight was beginning to go black, 'Its' grip suddenly loosened and using the opening he had managed to pry open, he rolled them over, pulled his arm out of its chest and proceeded beat this things face, the face it was copying from him to confuse him, to deceive him!
"You are not real! This is my body, my life!" As he was shouting and smashing the face of his enemy, all he could feel in his gut was a frostbitten feeling he could not make sense of; was it fear, doubt? No, it couldn't be...
As Vincent took a break from punching, breathing deep and hard, his opponent was trying to talk with a voice that was eerily clear for something that just had its face beaten in; "Deceiver, coward... always running, always deceiving... everyone... even yourself-"
"Shut up! Shut up! You are the liar, you monster!"
'It' then looked at him straight in the eyes and said; "Have you already forgotten what you have done? What you will do again? Look behind you..." As 'It' finished that sentence, its entire body was suddenly swallowed by the ground, leaving no trace behind.
He then felt a cold chill run down his spine, as a very familiar voice was heard; "Vinnie, it's been a while. I have missed you..."
His entire body was being eaten inside out by the cold feeling that had began from his spine, prickling throughout his entire body and mind as he had to force himself to look at the source of the voice, despite every instinct and fibre of his being screaming at him to stop. When he finished turning, he found his entire attire to have changed to a very different kind of a hunter's uniform, torn, cut and ragged, his arm holding a sword dripping with fresh blood...
"When are you going to share this special, beautiful feeling with someone again? After all, it is what you truly desire, isn't it?" The figure in front of him said with an affectionate smile and a voice that had once made him feel... feel...
"No, stop it! Don't... don't make me remember! Why?! Why are you still...?!" Vincent was losing his mind, these feelings and memories were tearing his mind and heart inside out, and as the figure kept coming closer the madness was beginning to overtake everything, creating a chaos that mixed suffering and bliss into an intoxicating ocean that was beckoning him to drown in it's endless bliss.
Yet to him, that very bliss was nothing but a source of pure terror. As he felt himself drowning further and further, he heard it one more time; "Let it go, Vinnie, be who you truly want to be."
At that moment his mind snapped, and he let out a howl from the very depth of his being, causing that swirling chaos of darkness to finally drown him, letting the sweet oblivion of the end tear him apart until finally, his entire existence ceased to be...
Leaving only an echo behind...
"Is who I am, nothing but a lie?"
Vincent woke up with a startled yelp, breathing fast with cold sweat running down his face and back. He was looking at his hands and patting himself all over as if making sure that his body was still intact, while his eyes frantically scanned the surroundings trying to figure out or even remember where he was at the moment.
After almost 2 minutes of this, his mind finally began to sober up and his body to settle down as his memories were becoming clear. With a deep breath of relief, Vincent leaned forward placing his elbows on his knees and covered his face with his hands as he talked to himself; "Damn it, every single time after a hunt..."
He then looked at the time and realised it was 9am. 'It's been over seven hours already? Fuck. Today is going to be painful; first that nightmare and now I have to meet with HIM. Just being in the same building as him puts my teeth on edge.'
With an annoyed grunt he finally got up on his feet and proceeded to take a shower, and after getting his clothes, equipment and hair in order, he left the apartment.
He liked keeping his hair strong and healthy, and so should you.
*** 3 hours later, central area of the district ***
Jumping off the buss, Vincent shook his head slowly while muttering to himself; "I keep telling him to change the freaking name, but does he listen? Noooo..." before looking with a sour face at his destination, the nightclub "Vinnie's High".
It had been named after its previous owner, but he had a sinking feeling Renate kept the name because he knew how much it pissed him off. Well, that or he was too lazy to think up a new name for it. Vincent was leaning towards the former, though the latter wouldn't surprise him either.
Heading to the clubs backdoor he was greeted by one of Renates' henchmen, who was obviously new for Vincent didn't recognise him. The henchman then called his boss using the hands-free earpiece and after a minute he nodded and let him in, but Vincent could feel his eyes on him, clearly thinking; 'I'm watching you.'
The club was empty, as it should be during the day with the exception of the employees cleaning and preparing it for yet another night of business. After a few more minutes, Vincent arrived at the 2nd floor where Renate's office was. Two more henchmen awaited him at the door but he knew these two, Jacob and Rita; siblings who had followed Renate even before he had attained his position in power.
Jacob was a tall man with a slightly pale skin, brown hair and green eyes. He wasn't very smart, but had instincts that rivalled those of Night Hunter veterans. There were many scars throughout his body, even some on his face but despite that Jacob had a gentle presence about him, but his muscular physique and pale skin made Vincent and many others think of him as a polar bear.
Just don't challenge him to an arm-wrestling match, hurts like hell.
Rita was a slender woman with smooth, white skin, black hair and blue eyes. Unlike her brother she had no visible signs of ever having been in battle, but her entire being had the presence of an experienced enforcer. She didn't speak much either, but had an eerily accurate way of conveying what she was saying with her body language alone. Whenever Vincent saw Rita, he felt a shiver of excitement or a chill of fear run down his spine, sometimes both.
He had quit trying to make sense of it a long time ago.
"Hi, how has it been? Last time we met was... oh yes, 3 months ago." Was Vincent's greeting to the two siblings. To which Rita simply nodded while Jacob replied with a happy smile on his face; "Yup, thanks again for helping the boss out, Vinnie."
"Heh, I don't need to be thanked for that, I was merely doing what needed to be done." He replied with a small smile, but cringed on the inside.
As Jacob kept smiling, Rita made a small gesture with her hand that Jacob nodded at before turning back to Vincent; "My sister says thanks as well, but is also sorry about the inconne... inconien-"
"Inconvenience." Vincent interjected, knowing Jacob wasn't good with complicated words.
"That's it. She is sorry about the in-con-ve-ni-ence, the whole thing caused you." He finished, breathing out with relief.
Vincent had to struggle to keep his cringe from showing as he gave a peace sign; "It's alright. Jacob, Rita, It was fun working together with you two even if it was under less than ideal circumstances."
Jacob just kept smiling like a happy child and said; "You're awesome Vinnie! I hope we'll team up like that again!"
Vincent had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep his calm, and seeing Rita giving him an apologetic look behind Jacobs back just made it worse.
As far as Jacob knew or saw, he had willingly and for free helped Renate with an incident 3 months ago... but it seemed that nobody had had the heart to tell him the truth and to be honest, whenever Vincent saw that smile and the way he seemed so happy about the whole thing, he lost whatever resolve or nerve to tell him too. The truth was that 3 months ago Vincent had screwed up pretty badly and had basically been blackmailed by Renate into helping him.
Jacob was not smart, but how it was possible for 3 months to have passed and nobody even accidentally letting him know the whole truth? Even by The Underworld standards it was utterly bizarre.
But it had been genuinely fun teaming up with the two of them.
"Yeah, so I do. But anyways, Renate is expecting me for... something, so I'll see you two later." Vincent said to end the conversation, and after nodding Jacob opened the double doors to the office letting him in.
The second the doors closed, he just knew it was the signal for this day to start sucking.
"Vinnie boy! Glad you could make it!"
Case in point.
Vincent felt something twitching in his head at the sound of that cheerful, almost child like voice. It had been less than 10 seconds and already his nerves were ready to snap, for he knew behind that voice Renate was planning something which would be tailor made to piss him off for a week at the least.
Renate seemed to be a man in his late twenties, with grey eyes and smooth face. His skin was slightly tanned and practically flawless, making him look irritatingly handsome.
Which is why Vincent could never figure out why on God's green earth did he dye his hair pink and light blue?! For some reason that colour combination in his eyes made him look like a flaming fruitcake!