The air was cold as the lone figure felt his way through the meadow, his arms reaching out blindly in front of him. He stumbled over a small rock, his pale caramel eyes turning silver in the sliver of moonlight that shone down from the crescent that hung amongst the stars. “Where is she?” his voice was hoarse and rough as he ran a callused hand through his hair.
A sharp, feminine cry pierced the still night, and the man was stumbling through the grass again. The damp soil oozed out from under his thick-soled boots as he stomped over the ground. His hands were stained over and over again as he slipped, dropping to his knees with a ‘thud’ that made him clench his teeth against the pain. “God,” he winced as he rose, rubbing at his kneecaps shortly before resuming his search.
The same cry filled the air again, but this time, it was higher in pitch and shriller that he’d ever heard it. Hearing the sound, the man forced himself to quicken his pace, his pupils dilating and his breaths turning into loud, uneven pants as he scampered through the grass that only hindered him. The blades seemed to transform from short, dry sticks that barely brushed his ankles, into tall, heavy leaves that whipped against his reddening skin with every small movement.
“John!” the voice cracked as the man neared the source of the noise. The scream was cut off with a sickeningly loud ‘smack’ that made John’s vision turn crimson as his canines sliced through his lower lip. The salty tang of flavour he associated with blood filled his mouth. Shifting silently, he spat the liquid out, his teeth staining crimson as his lips curled into a snarl.
Anger continued to fill him as he heard the faint sound of her captors shuffling around her silent figure. “We aren’t going to get our pay if she ain’t alive when we deliver her,” John snorted at the voice, his snarl turning into a smirk that would have made anyone’s blood run cold. “Just put a cloth on it, we’ll get the money as long as she’s breathing,”
The night wore on as John crouched behind the leaves, his eyes gleaming in the sliver of light that revealed the perfect blood-lust that filled his dark orbs. Finally, when the only thing audible was the silence, he moved, stepping over the fallen leaves quietly as he pushed his way through the reeds.
There was nothing.
The roar of pain he released then was more animal than human, but he didn’t realise it as he dropped to his knees, his hands clenching his hair by the roots. Only the slightest hint of tears were present in his eyes as he looked at the sky, the pale caramel turning into a shade of gold as physical pain ran through his body.
What were they doing to her? He forced himself to fall silent, his teeth clamped over his lips painfully, blood filling his mouth and running out of the sides and onto his shoulder as he rolled in the grass.
Why was there so much pain?
What was happening?
Where was everyone?
Didn’t anyone care?
Even with his mind in turmoil, he moved at the rustles he heard from the greenery around him. “Well, well, well,” a dark chuckle followed the bodiless voice. “What do we have here? Foolish Beschermer, don’t you know that your little girl is dead?” a myriad of laughter followed the voice.
The man’s words struck a chord deep within John’s heart, and in that single moment, all he could remember was the girl’s smile; the way her normally-dark eyes would lighten as she laughed, and at the way her platinum-coloured hair would turn murky every time she begged him to dance with her in the rain.
“You killed her?”
John hadn’t realised that he’d spoken until the words were out of him mouth. “Kill her? No, my foolish boy, we played with her, listened to her cries until she had none left … we did more than just kill her,” the voice was accompanied by a body this time, and John waited patiently until he was surrounded by a group of men that blocked any light from reaching him.
“You killed her …” the words weren’t a question this time, but a statement as John sighed and pulled a short blade out from the holster on his hip. The slight movement he made was met with the sound of metal on metal as the group drew their weapons; the odd variety that was presented to him ranging from short, stocky blades that could have easily ripped his intestines to shreds, to long, slim blades that could have run straight through him.
“What’re you going to do, boy? Even you wouldn’t be able to defeat us all,” the voice was snarky as John looked at almost serenely to the man, ignoring the spittle that struck him in the face as the man’s yells filled the air.
When the world reappeared to John, he could feel the damp stickiness that clung to his cheeks, and the rancid, pungent smell that filled his nostrils. He let out a groan as he shifted, throwing off the heavy limb that had weighed him down as he stood; his eyes blank as he scanned the once-clean meadow.
With his right hand still wrapped around the hilt of the blood-stained blade, his knuckles turning white as he clenched and relaxed his fist periodically, he looked at the glass-eyed men that littered the ground. “She isn’t dead,” John snorted as he nudged a bloody arm aside, his eyes narrowing into a sharp-eyed glare as he glanced at the man who’d spoken to him.
“You will learn not to stand in my way,” John said, his voice darkening as his eyes brightened, a whine ripping from his lips as a deep, sickening lust for blood sand through his veins. “Anyone who does …” the lone man chuckled as he pushed the blade into his pocket, and turning around as he made his way through the bodies that had fallen around him like flies.
“Y-you won’t … g-get …” John sighed as he struck the barely-alive man with the pocket-knife he’d plucked from another bloody victim.
“I’ll get what I want … when I want it …”