Can't Escape Your NaturebyLoneKiller©
Dante sauntered lazily into the classroom that morning, unaware of his easy rolling swagger that caught the eye of all the girls. Unaware of how his perfect, rugged profile and messy black hair brought a hitch in their breath. Unaware of how the other guys hated him with the terrifying intensity of an angry swarm of bees. He wove his way through the maze of desks to his at the back corner, away from the people who bothered him so. Registration was set to take place in five minutes, at 8.50, and he knew that his name's recent addition to the register would be forgotten again, and that he would have to explain that he was new and had been here last week again, and would have to put up with standing infront of the whole class while the girls drooled and the guys glared again.
He sat back and folded his arms across his muscular chest, and was acutely aware of the 'popular' group of boys talking and laughing in hushed voices, occasionally looking back at him with disdain and unsuppressed malice. He was also very aware of the gaggle of girls at the other side of the classroom nattering restlessly or putting on makeup. He took in all the events around him with a quick glance and settled back again. The unwanted attention he received irritated him. He didn't want it, and he couldn't help the way he looked, walked and talked. It was who he was.
The movement of a guy caught Dante's eye immediately. His bottomless black eyes flicked up from his desk in an instant and met his eyes as he hulked across the classroom. He didn't seem bothered though. He had the self assurance and presence of a bully, and Dante had taken that in the first day they met. Sid was up to something today, he could tell, and he was ready. As far as he knew, Dante was the oldest in the class at 18 years and six months old, but that by no means meant he was the biggest. Sid was, he'd heard, pretty new to Danauby School too. No wonder he was already so 'popular' after seeing the way he threw his weight around. His weight, however, was not necessarily muscle as Dante's was. The mood in the room switched as quickly as everyone's mind took in that Sid had made a move, and anticipation hung as heavily as musk in the air. The silence was deafening. Dante kept a straight face as he approached, openly taking in his gross teeth in a skewed, overshot jaw and the considerable absence of his ginger hair.
"Get up, Hatake." Sid said huskily.
"Sit down, Sid." Dante replied disdainfully, unfussed. He'd confronted him before and failed to do anything remotely interesting. Dante was sick of his games. Sid stepped in close and planted his huge hands on Dante's desk, leaning in and grinning uncouthly in his face.
Dante grimaced, "Did I ever mention how vile your breath smells?" he said flatly, never breaking eye contact.
Something akin to a death stare passed over Sid's face. Dante allowed himself a little quirk of his lips. Cheeks turned from pasty pale to red to purple in a matter of seconds and then he shoved the desk sideways suddenly, causing the girls to scatter with a shriek. "You're going to pay for that, mate! No-one talks to me like that and gets away with it." He roared. Other classes gathered at the doorway, hooting and cheering like a pack of wild animals. They were all cheering for Sid, who, fuelled on by the support jumped into the gap he'd created and drew back his huge fist with slow and giant-like movements for a punch. Dante stood suddenly, his chair sliding back with a hiss, and vaulted the chair to his right easily. Sid's punch missed by light-years. How many times have I moved schools because of these damnable affairs? Last year of school. I'm not moving again. Dante thought, the constant flame of anger in his heart beginning to roar again. Sid's face dropped at Dante's liquid dodge. He smiled. If Sid could have got any angrier at that point, he would have exploded. He tried, and failed miserably to swallow the rage inside him. He shoved the desk fully at Dante, who to his surprise leaped up onto the desk like a cat, hampering his movement. His jaw dropped with shock and Dante took the chance to kick him in the mouth. Hard. Blood fountained from his broken nose and shattered teeth. He rocked backwards, then forwards as if time had slowed, then pitched over sideways, taking a couple of chairs with him. The silence was back again. Everyone was staring at him with mouths agape. Two girls ran from the room, obviously to find a teacher of some description and the sound of their pounding footsteps receded until silence descended again. Dante was panting as rage crept up from the depths and he struggled to hold it in. Beating a pathetic bully like Sid did nothing what-so-ever to make him feel better. "Friends" went to check on Sid, giving Dante a wide berth as if he were a wild animal, which he supposed was how the others saw him.
Being the centre of attention like that was suffocating for Dante, he felt the need to be out in the clean air, to be able to move in sync with the melody of the blood in his veins, and that's what he did.
"Move out of my way." He said dangerously, and a path cleared between him and the door. He leaped from table-top to table-top like he would've done in the training grounds of the Guild, and flew down the fire escape onto the field. He stopped. The stillness of outdoors was beautiful. He stopped and allowed his fury subside and his blood to flow in harmony with the earth. Taking a breath of the chill air he glided to the far end of the field. Two four-inch kunai throwing knives were in his hands before he knew it, spinning in a dizzying sequence from finger to finger that only he could master, lost in thought. Would there be any loss if I left? He thought dismally, I live alone. No-one would notice. Why don't I just end it now. A decision was made, then. The knives stopped their furious whirling and came to a chilly halt. Jugular or wrist? He knew it well. Both would be painless, effortless. An end to the pain. He began spinning the knives again.
A shout brought Dante back from the brink. He stopped spinning his knives and jammed them into the holsters hidden by his blazer before his headmaster would see as he stormed across the field towards him. "Dante Hatake! Come here right now!" Dante stopped and allowed him to catch up, puffing from his little jog.
"Sir?" He responded.
"Is it true what Leiaa said you did to Sid? You do understand that physical violence is strictly forbidden?"
"Yes, sir. But I did it in self-defence- Sid acted first."
"That's not what I heard from every witness I asked," he continued to bluster.
"I'm sure it isn't," Dante replied sedately, suppressing his irritation.
"Well if you would care to--" Headmaster Dukes was cut off as the shrill wail of the fire alarm knifed through the silence. Dante sighed, the tiniest external sign of his irritation. "If you would care to follow me to the tennis courts..." he said as if expecting it, and started waddling to the fire-assembly point on the tennis courts. Already Year 7 students were gathering in their PE kits, jiggling about in the cold. "Just go and stand with your form. Don't attract any attention," he ordered Dante and then, strangely smiled sadly. Dante frowned at him and then lined with his form as he had been told. Sid was there, holding a bloody bandage to his nose and standing with the nurse in the line. He looked nervous. Dante was forced to endure standing next to a girl who looked up at him, eyelids battering as if he were a god she'd like to bed. Ignoring her and the boring fire-drill related events taking place around him, Dante studied the field opposite him. Trees and bushes lined the perimeter to separate the outside world from school property. Something moved amongst the shrubbery and caught Dante's eye. "Hey did you... Never mind," he said as the girl goggled him again. He searched the horizon again but saw nothing.
"Ladies and gentlemen, be quiet please," Mr Jukes, who now wore a fluorescent yellow jacket and stood on a step ladder said through a microphone. Silence quickly began to fall. "Due to new health
and safety regulations we have been forced to call a fire drill and try a different technique. Instead of doing a separate register for each form, we're doing one per year group." Groans erupted as it dawned that this would take longer than usual, meaning longer stood in the cold. "Please cooperate here! Raise your hand and say, 'yes' when I say your name. Okay. Year 7. Jenine Aberford."
"Yeah." A hand stuck out of the rabble.
"Bethany Axe." Another 'yes' was shouted, accompanied by a hand. The process seemed to go on forever before he reached Year 11. "Right," Jukes announced, "Years 7, 8, 9, 10 return to lessons please." Another groan from year 11 and 6th Form. Dante stood in displeasure as he watched the rest of the school file away. He looked around again, totally disinterested in the events around him. Something moved again. He looked behind him, and again he saw something. The wind, surely. There was no wind. The register finally began but Dante continued to watch as more and more tiny movements seemed to take place at the edges of his vision. He'd move to get a better look and there was nothing there. Paranoia. With Hatake being about a third of the way down the register, Dante had a fair, agonising, shifty wait before it was his turn.
"Here." Dante called.
"Dante Hatake. Wave your arm please, are you present?"
Of course I'm present, you were with me twenty minutes ago, you dolt! Dante thought savagely as he did an emphasised wave at Jukes, pulling a face causing a few titters to go up around him. Mr Jukes just looked at him for a moment, and then shifted his eyes quickly to somewhere behind him. Dante turned too, and there was definitely someone moving through the crowd towards him. There were definitely people in the shrubbery. Dante froze, but remembering his training, palmed a knife, never taking his eyes off the figure. The man wore a long black coat that was flapping gently as a gentle wind plucked at it, his wavy, shoulder-length hair was casually messed and his piercing blue eyes were locked onto Dante, a smile of bitter contempt twisting his lips as he easily navigated the crowd.
Another two men, similarly dressed in smart clothes were also weaving through towards him, their black attire standing out easily against the hideous red-and-gold of the school colours. One broke into a run as Dante saw him. He had a knife. A very, very long knife that flashed in the watery sun as he pulled it smoothly from a holster. Dante wasn't sure what type it was- he'd never seen a single sided, curved blade like this, the blade sculpted from some lustrous black stone that seemed to glint red as blood where it caught the sun, but he knew one thing. That knife was destined for his flesh. The man was shoving students now, who began to scream at the sight of the knife. Chaos erupted. Dante forced his body to work, forcing his training to the forefront of his mind. He fixed the man in his mind, aimed and threw his knife. The man took it right between the eyes, staggered sharply sideways and dropped like a fly. Dante hadn't killed in a long time, and he didn't like it. "Shit," he cursed loudly, staring at the body metres away.
The other men leapt into action, suddenly a few more than Dante had originally seen they all ran forwards, except one. Blue-eyes. Dante had no time to think. He bolted through the gap he'd created and onto the field. With free space, he picked up pace easily, sprinting from one side to the other in seconds. A flurry of throwing knives whizzed past him, but never close to lethal spots. These men weren't out to kill him. Dante chanced a quick look behind him. Mr Jukes was watching calmly while the rest of the school panicked. Just leaving the confines of the crowd were five men all dressed in black and eyeing Dante up with practised precision, but Blue-eyes wasn't there. He turned back and darted for a hole in the fence that he knew was just behind this tree... Two men jumped out, taking Dante by surprise. One however, quickly ended up with a knife in his jugular thanks to Dante's lightning reactions. Now, weaponless, he was pitted against the second man who appeared to be wielding a crossbow. A crossbow? He skidded to a halt and managed to throw himself into a side-roll just in time to miss a crossbow quarrel to the kneecap. He shivered at the thought.
Wheeling around, he saw that his pursuers were moving forwards slowly in a semi-circle. He had no chance of escape. The man behind wasn't shooting anymore, and three more men were appearing to circle him. Dante turned in a circle, looking for a gap but these men were well organised, it seemed. Blue-eyes had emerged now and was stood out of the perimeter of the circle, watching. He seemed like the leader, so Dante faced him squarely and tried to look confident, standing tall and looking him in the eye aggressively. Blue-eyes grinned.
Suddenly the sound of running feet approached behind him and a mass slammed his body sideways. Dante groaned as pain shot up his back and he tried to blink shooting stars from his vision. An unmistakable cold nicked his flesh near the jugular. Dante laid back his head and looked up at his attacker. Cold green eyes looked down the shaft of a one-foot knife. In an instant three other men were on him including Blue-eyes. He kneeled and conducted a lightning body search while others threatened him down with knives and crossbows. Who the hell are these people? Dante thought, stunned. "Ok. Get up. Up up up!" Green-eyes snapped cruelly, disorientating Dante. He struggled to his feet and was impatiently shoved by Green-eyes who then put a knife to Dante's throat. A wave of nausea washed over him and he stopped, gasping for breath. Green-eyes was having none of it. He punched Dante in the stomach and then kneed him forwards as he retched drily. When he straightened again he saw that the population of Year 11 and 6th Form were watching in stunned silence. Blue-eyes came over, "Put your hands behind your back," he said cooly.
Dante complied immediately.
"Good. You learn fast," he whispered into Dante's ear from behind as he put a set of manacles on his wrists. He put a slender hand on Dante's shoulder and almost too gently guided him across the field towards Mr Jukes.
Jukes stood tall, looking down at Dante hunched forwards in pain still. "Kage." Mr Jukes said to Blue-eyes.
"Is this him? You didn't mention that he was armed." He said calmly, but with a dangerous undertone as he gestured at the two bodies being carried away by soldiers in black military gear. Jukes blanched.
"It... it is. Tell me, what will you do to him?"
"That, is none of your concern. The Syndicate will do as required, you know the drill."
Dante suddenly felt angry and frustrated. He refused to move as Kage tried to push him away, "You gave me up. You coward. I'll be back for you, sir." He hissed through gritted teeth as Kage 'gently coaxed' by applying more and more pressure with a knife until Dante felt it draw blood. When he still refused to move and continued staring daggers at Jukes, Kage kicked the back of his knee savagely and he fell to his knees. Yet he still retained eye contact with Mr Jukes as Kage put his knife firmly to his throat and whispered, "Come along now." In response he tried to get up. Kage helped him and then led him to the back gate of the school. Dante limped along, his body broken, but not in spirit.
"Who are you?" He dared to ask.
"Your worst nightmare."
Dante didn't reply. He'd just been crushed with a block of ice and his entire body turned cold. Even his heart turned cold as all hope and defiance seemed to betray him.
Kage was telling the truth.
The other men were already waiting outside the gates. Dante gasped in shock and almost stopped at the sight that met him. Every parking space that had been cleared along the road, and for about 150 yards each way was parked a caravan of black 4x4 vehicles. Placed at regular intervals were men with crossbows who upon seeing Kage and Dante emerge cocked a bolt to their bows and aimed at Dante with easy precision. With that he decided it would be best to get out of the line of fire and tried to drag Kage back to the shelter of the gate. His lean frame betrayed none of his strength. It seemed to take nothing for Kage to lock Dante in place and threaten, "Don't, Dante, you'll make it worse," in a low voice. Dante was breathing quick and panicky as he was pushed towards the central truck. He was tensed in anticipation of being pierced by one of those 12 bolts. The mad-man who had tackled Dante earlier was stood by the car door with a sick smile twisting his lips. "Open it, Stark," Kage ordered. He bowed and climbed in to the far seat. Kage pushed Dante in next and then sandwiched him in. Suddenly sitting still made Dante realise just how much he was trembling. Both Stark and Kage had a knife drawn in expectation of him baulking. Not likely. The car pulled out behind the armoured truck infront of it and set off at wheel-screeching pace down the street as cars swerved to avoid it. The windows were blacked out on either side, but Dante could see out the front window, and the two soldiers on the back of the truck with guns. It made his skin crawl to think of the amount of guard he was under. What do they think I'm going to do? Knife them with invisible knives with my hands tied behind my back? Dante thought. Just because he did some training in knife, and unarmed combat didn't make him this special. Something was going on.
In no time Dante had completely lost his bearings, and after about an hour he began to get restless. His arms ached from sitting back against them, but he didn't dare to move. Time went on and it became painful to remain in the same position. As slowly as he could he tried to shift his arms further up his back, but as soon as he started to move a jolt of the car caused his arms to move suddenly. Both Kage and Stark leapt into action, drawing a second knife from under-arm holsters and laying the first across his neck, pinning him to the seat. "What are you doing?" Kage growled dangerously. He didn't even look at him.
"I.... I was shifting position.... my arms--"
"Get comfy now, we have a while to go yet. Stark." Kage moved his knife aside and Stark mirrored his actions. Reluctantly. Dante moved his arms around as much as he could and then sat back again.
Dante didn't know how long the journey was, but when they finally came to a halt the environment that he was shoved out of the truck into by Stark was barren. A dirt track was still depositing dust into the air in the caravan's wake, and aside from shrubbery and an old abandoned car there was nothing. He staggered on wooden legs and fell to his knees in the dust. Dante counted about 10 military vehicles parked on the track and men armed with tomahawks, knives, guns and crossbows were dressed in black. The men with guns were in black military gear, whereas the crossbowmen and knifemen wore suits and trenchcoats. Kage stood out from the others with blue trims on his jacket to match his eyes. Stark took Dante's shoulder and forced him to his feet with a growl, and then produced a piece of cloth from his pocket. Dante looked at him quizzically.
"Goodnight sunshine," he said. It seems he met it literally, for he took the cloth and crudely tied it across Dante's eyes. He was then marched forwards in silence to some unknown destination. Dante didn't feel that they went far, but it definitely felt as if they went down a steady incline. Soon, the sound of many feet echoed around them, and the sound of a large door slamming shut completely split the almost-silence, causing him to jump with shock and jolt the knife that suddenly pressed against his kidney. Being forced to stand still, he listened to the sounds of keys turning in a rusty lock, and then hinges screeching in protest to a metal gate being opened. He was then pushed forwards a few paces, his blindfold roughly removed, and shown the huge cavern around him, and the round barred cell he was caged in. The gate clanged shut, echoing loudly. The ceiling went up into the darkness and the edges of the cave were almost completely shrouded in shadow, except for a small white door with light leaking around the edges. The huge door that had caused Dante to startle truly was huge and operated by some sort of electrical mechanism. Tiny square windows about 20 feet up the door allowed a small amount of unnatural-looking light in, but it wasn't enough to penetrate the dark. Dante looked to who had shut the gate. Kage. Stark still gripped him with a sadistic determination. Positioned around the outside of the cell were more military men. Stark unshackled Dante's wrists and then stepped back to the edge of the cell, smiling. Dante rolled his shoulders gratefully, but the feeling of blood rushing back hurt. In the darkness Kage made some gesture, and suddenly blinding floodlights came on with a mechanical whump, shocking Dante and forcing him to squint. He groaned.