Tell Me It Isn’t True

Morning after this thread. Character Development thread.

The morning after was usually reamed in guilt mixed with euphoria. But this was not your typical morning after. The night before did not end in pleasure not climax. It ended in such a way that Nox could hardly recall. Blood was everywhere. On his skin, in his mouth, still dropped down his sore nose. With gentle fingers, he prided his face, his lips and nose swollen, the nostrils still healing but having been ripped apart.

What happened last night?

He could feel his stomach rumbling, but unsure if it was do to hunger or upset. Upset, definitely upset, he decided as his body was forced over, convulsing as it rid itself of bloody contents. The color was off though. Not the bright or even deep red of any sort of thing he’d hunted before. Nox wiped his mouth with the back of her hand, sitting back against a cool tree trunk, letting the bark bite into his back. Eyes closed, he forced several deep breaths into his lungs.

The shifter didn’t remember a whole lot from the night before. He remember the loud sound of sirens, the flashing of bright lights, blood that didn’t taste quite right.... then nothing. Had he changed in front of others? He’d check his phone, but no clothes, no van, no phone was in sight. Nothing. He had nothing but broken bits of memory, a bruised and pined face, and sore muscles. His leopard was silent, as if put in some sort of self-confined purgatory. It didn’t help Nox.

Not when he needed answers. Not when he needed to figure out what happened. First, he needed clothes, food and then to find out where all of his shit was. He reach up, rubbing his throbbing temples, content to just sit there for a few more hours before doing anything at all.

Had the years not provided an education, the tracking would have been impossible, the steep, rocky terrain tossing breadcrumbs for him to follow with caution that overshadowed the messy transgression that had been committed mere hours before. An occasional droplet of the black tar vampires called blood rerouted him when he lost his way, the red content of the shifter's own veins providing an ambiguous sort of pointillism that resembled an equation instead of a picture.

Height x Habits x Weight x Terrain x Vegetation x Injury.

A mad connect-the-dots that he referenced against natural instinct. Nothing served men, or beasts, better, with every success, slipping into his innate role as a hunter.

It was abhorrent and reverential- the highs and lows of a substance Grice couldn't seem to quit.

Bullets instead of syringes.

The Electi watched quietly as the shifter sobered, peering past the crosshairs to watch the emotion move through the man's features.

Confusion. Exhaustion. Fear mixed with a bit of vomit.

Grice lost the wit for a joke as sympathy dragged humanity to shield Nox from the red dot previously steadied at his temple.


He rotated the carbine to keep it from swinging as he walked, pistol holstered as the distance decreased, kneeling beside a tree after throwing a flask into the shifter's lap.

"Hell of a night you've had, buddy."

Fifteen feet away. Enough space to beat the shifter to movement.

"Take a fucking drink. Can't imagine upchucked vampire tastes good."

Even in his seeming benevolence, there would be no hiding his intentions. He looked every part the Grim Reaper.

"Just do me a favor and don't try to Any of that bullshit. I promise I'll beat you to the trigger, and I'm trying not to be a dick here." He shook his head, and swore under his breath, running a hand over his jaw with visible irritation, studying Nox before exhaling his next sentence. "What's your name?"

Nox didn’t know what the hell to do. It all caught up to him in a slow fashion, seeming to tease him with bit by bit of memory that seemingly flashed before his eyes. Hand outstretched, bracing against the hard, cool bark of a tree. He barely felt the cold himself, the heat of his shifter blood keeping him warm despite the panic that quickened his heart beat.

Lips parted as he switched to breathing through his mouth, his knees shaking beneath his weight, before turning to brace his weight against his back and the bark. It cut into his skin, but it was a welcome feeling that tethered him to reality. Blood was all over he naked body, but it was not his own. A foul taste still lingered in his mouth further distorting his ability to use his senses.

The sound of someone else started him, causing him to jerk away from the tree and cover himself from the lingering eye of a stranger. It made no difference, knowing that he looked guilty from the sight of him. Still, he didn’t know if it was true. Perhaps it was a dream spun with so many webs of reality that it simply felt real.

You know that’s a lie, he thought to himself.

It took a moment, but his line of sight eventually settling on the human that was there. Her stomach dropped further, knowing that this was not good. Brows creased as his leopard stirred beneath his skin, tired from the night before but unwilling to go without a fight. "She attacked me first. Was I to let it happen?" he said, her voice weak but lingering with the growl of his animal. The sound of survival. So it was true. The fact this group existed. He had heard rumors, but assumed it was merely to keep them in check like all governmental entities.

Grice hated this shit.

Hated the tedium of dialogue.

Of empathy.

Despite the mental tally marks, the apathy he purposed never managed to seep in quite as deeply as he hoped. Normally, it was fault he could control...just stuff whatever spilled over into an empty Patron bottle, and chuck that fucker into the proverbial that dick, Jafar.

He would dream about them, but time didn't usually allow for conversation.

Why had he allowed for conversation?

Fucking idiot.

A trigger would have been kinder. More eloquent.

She attacked me first. Was I to let it happen?

His hand curled until his hand cramped, jaw tensing until the muscles stopped seizing, eyes never leaving the male. "Doesn't fucking matter." He answered plainly, not missing the tinge of the animalistic, able to see the shifter bristle beside his disheveled host. "What mattered was the where, and, unfortunately, there's no taking back what a hundred cellphones captured."

There wasn't a way to contain this.

"Shit hand, I know," he offered, regarding the man quietly before continuing, "you didn't have a choice. I don't either." Even if he could scheme a way to spare the shifter, and he could, Carmine wouldn't quiet until they had their pound of flesh. Society wouldn't quiet. Control was the illusion they all needed, and that control demanded a rhetoric that included concrete results.

"I know its hard to square, but it is what it is," he breathed lamely, hand pulling the pistol from its holster with too much ease, eager finger gluttonously pressing itself against the trigger.

"I'm sorry, kid."

A simple burst of gunpowder and the hollow echo that followed.

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