Monday, 24 October 2011

Unforgiven (Short Story/Songfic)

'New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued'

He... never stood a chance, that kid. The deal was done, the contract signed, before he even breathed his first breath, before he was even born. That’s when his parents had agreed to give him away, and to take everything from him. The future would rely on him, but for him there would be no future.
Of course, they didn’t completely give him away. Not really, they were still around, when they weren’t busy. But they didn’t raise him. He called them mother and father but he felt nothing for them. From the moment he was born, from his earliest years, he was taught to follow orders. He barely knew the world before he knew that it was not his. No, it was his to take, for them. It was his destiny, his only purpose, to serve them.
He didn’t know in those days, just what that meant. But he knew he was an important part of their plans. He quickly learned not to question, just to follow. His earliest memory was pain.

'Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules'

The tears burned as they fell down the young boy’s cheeks, mixing with the blood there. It was hard to think that just a while ago, he had been so happy. The snow was cold beneath his hands. It was the first time he had seen any, and would be the last time for many years. It had been so wonderful... before the pure white was mixed with the red, before the cold air was scented with dead flesh.
“I... I just wanted to see what it was like... to be like them.” The child whimpered. “Just for a while.”
In front of him stood a tall man; or maybe he only appeared so big because the boy was so small and so scared. He glared down at the child angrily, before a cold smile came to his face.
“You will never be like them. You are not made to play, or to have friends, you are here only to fight.” He said in an emotionless tone. “Soon you’ll see, there is nothing great about them. We hold the power, and you will learn to follow us or you will die like one of them.”
The boy shivered as the man walked past. After a few moments he stood, tears now freezing against his skin. Then, he turned and followed, knowing more than anything, that he did not want to be there when the mothers found their dead children.

They were the only children he ever made contact with; after the punishment, he didn’t dare approach another. With time, he grew to resent them. They’re lives looked so happy, yet they were so weak. He soon gave up any hope of one day joining them. The punishments continued though, as one way or another he always displeased them. Their punishments were always cruel, and often humiliating. Even from a young age, they set out to break him down. He was to be their prized warrior, and he would grow strong and powerful, but he had to know who owned him.

'With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong'

Eventually, he learned. He knew that anything he did would never be good enough, so he always had to work harder. The hardest work, by far, was when they made him kill. They said he learned how to do it; to be violent and merciless, and to have no regrets. He would have to kill in the future, so they wanted him to practice on innocent humans. At first, he thought it was wrong. The idea of taking a life upset him greatly. Perhaps it had to do with the many massacres he had seen as a young boy. The first kill, was a girl. She was about his age, and he was twelve at the time. He hadn’t seen what they had done to her, though he could guess from where the blood stained what remained of her clothes. No, that wasn’t how he knew how badly they had tortured her. It was her eyes. She had the face of a child, but her eyes, they were far older. And there was a connection between the two, because he knew she could see the same in his own eyes. He had never met the girl, but he didn’t want to hurt her. But then he remembered everything that they had taught him, and he remembered everything they had done to him when he had failed or disobeyed. Then it was easy to slit her throat. And though she died, the connection stayed. He stared for moments after the life had left her eyes before he walked away. Nobody would see anything reflected in his eyes again, for now they were empty.

That had been long ago, many deaths ago, but he would remember it in clear detail forever. Something changed in him that night. After the killing, he was frightened. Then, he would sit in one space for hours refusing to move, he wouldn’t talk for months. He still had to work though, of course. Then, well, it was like he had been in a cocoon all those months. When that time was over, the young, fragile caterpillar had transformed. It was the day he realised that from that moment on, he would do whatever it took to protect himself, at the cost of anyone else.

'Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away'

After that, he followed them obediently. Anything they ordered, he did and did well. He became the student and soldier they had always wanted him to be. They even had him going on missions and it wasn’t long before he was accepted into their meetings and learnt what was really going on. He found out why they had wanted him in the first place, and what for...
And when they thought he wasn’t around, because as a scared child he had become so good at hiding, he heard the things they didn’t want him to know. He hated them for it, for everything they had took away from him. He wanted to leave them but knew it wasn’t that simple. Wherever he went, they would find him and punish him for running. He had nowhere to go, nobody to turn to, and most importantly he realised that he knew nothing of the world. Besides, what would be the point in leaving now? They had already taken away his entire childhood, probably his whole life too, if he didn’t complete the ‘destiny’ they had given him, everything would have been meaningless. His life would be meaningless. That thought scared him more than staying did, so he stayed.

That was when the boy began to plan. He realised that while he was trained as one of the group, even though he was told what to do and say, nobody could force him to think or feel certain ways. He hated them for everything they had done to him. They had tortured him, and broken him down, and made him their slave. He decided that he wouldn’t let them brainwash him anymore, that no matter what they did, he’d never break for them again. He was going to follow through with their plan too, and do what they wanted him to, but then he would get revenge, destroy them and take everything for himself. He thought that was only fair.

'They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please then all
This bitter man he is'

That vow didn’t last nearly long enough. Before long, he was back to serving them. They had broken him down again and again. Sometimes, he didn’t think it mattered whether he died or not. A part of him almost wanted to, to die before they got the chance to use him for their real plan. But he did as he always had, anything they ordered him to do he would obey. Once in a while he would wonder why it was they treated him as a slave when he was supposed to be the one who would lead them to victory. They said it was all about training. He’d been training his whole life. Sometimes, he was afraid of the fight that would someday come of it; not because he could die, but because he could succeed. Just as he couldn’t leave now because he would have nothing else to do, what would be his job after the fight, when everything he had worked for his entire life had come and passed? Would they keep him around, or dispose of him? Would they treat him like a hero or would he be a slave again? But none of that mattered, because it was his life now, and no matter what the outcome – he would have nothing left either way – it had to be done.

His whole life he worked for them, trying to please them. He lived for every rare complement and feared them when he had done wrong. To them, he was almost perfect. To himself, he was a tool. And as he grew older and gained a better understanding of just how they were using him, he began to hate them, and himself, and everything. In everything he did, he was full of rage and hatred, and nothing could seem beautiful or give him joy again. It was at that point he realised, he had grown up.

'Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly'

It happened almost suddenly. He was lost when they told him the plan was about to go into action. He was now eighteen years old and had been preparing for this moment his entire life. To say he was shocked when he found out where he was going was an understatement. A school; when he was a foolish child, he had dreamed of going to a school with the normal children. That was a lifetime ago. Now all he saw was business. He tried to push what would happen next out of his mind, to focus on the matter at hand.

It was harder than he expected. He thought they were just going to go in and attack, but they wanted him to blend in with the students for a while. Among them, were the two sons of another vampire, one who in his time, had caused them a lot of problems. There were others too. And then there was the girl, the daughter of a wolf pack, his clan’s greatest enemies. They had to suffer.

Indeed, it was difficult. He found it difficult to befriend them; his lifetime of training had not taught him the necessary social skills. Manipulating them, however, was a different story. Still though, the wolf never trusted him, she fought him as often as she could get the chance. In a way, he supposed, she did know what would happen in the end. He had to admit she was clever. Then there were the others, always challenging. But the worst was yet to come.

'This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares'

They were his enemies and he had tried hard to remember his training, to remain emotionless, uncaring. But they had broken him down, the way his trainers used to break him down, but worse. It wasn’t the fights and the injuries that came from them. It was the kindness. He had never expected kindness, barely even remembered what it was like. But there it was. And they destroyed him, the wall he’d built between himself and society, back when he had vowed to never get close to anyone again. They showed him all the things he had missed as a child, and he hated them for it. He hated them because those things were wonderful, and he loved them and they made him feel a happiness he had never thought possible. He hated it because he finally knew what he had missed his entire life, and he would remember it when it was gone. It was so much easier when he had no knowledge of those things. Now he cared. And worse, he began to feel something for some of the people around him, friendship and some maybe even, love.

And then, he just stopped caring. And at the same time he cared too much. It was a strange, confusing feeling. Sometimes, he just didn’t care about the plan anymore or those involved with it. He wanted nothing to do with them. Occasionally, he thought, this was because he wanted to stay, but he wouldn’t allow himself to acknowledge these thoughts. He knew though, that when the time came, he would follow them without question, because he still thought his life would be meaningless otherwise.
And then, he didn’t care about the people there. They were just people, and he’d seen people before, seen them killed and he’d killed them before, and they died so easily yet there was always more. It wasn’t like a large number of them actually cared about him. He had gone in knowing they were enemies, aside from the few he persuaded to join him. He didn’t care about what would ultimately happen to them.
But then there were other times, times when he would worry about them, just one or two of them. He would worry about what would happen when they learnt the truth, of what would become of them when the plan went into action. Part of him wanted to protect them, but he knew it was pointless.

By that point, he was done. He just wanted it to be over. Then, all too soon, it was.

'The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me'

He... I... I never realised before. I’d had my chance to change the future, to betray them. I could have told the others why I had been sent there, could have told them about the plan and stopped it before this happened. I never realised until now that... they were my friends, one or two of them. Things could have been different. If I wasn’t so stuck in my old ideas, I would have seen I had the chance to make up for everything I missed as a child; I had the chance to... to have a life.

I had been shocked when they told me it was time to go. A part of me wanted to stop it. But then I didn’t see how I could, and another part of me didn’t want to. I told myself that when it was over I could finally get rid of my foolish dreams. After everything, I always thought I’d win. I underestimated her strength.

I fell to the ground and looked up at her standing above me, her weapon dripping with my blood. Then she was gone, off to fight another. I guess I knew the wound she’d left me was fatal. Of course, it had sliced right through my body. A lot of things went through my mind, mostly shock and fear. And then, irony. Because it was snowing. It reminded me of that first time I’d seen snow, and like that time the white was stained with the red blood of bodies littering the courtyard. This time, I was one of them. It seemed like it was always meant to end like this. Still, I hate them for what they did to me. They made me care. They made me want to live. And I was... no, I am dying... for a plan. A course of action I’ve trained for my entire life, which I failed. It seems it was all for nothing. I can’t help but think of how things could have been different.

'What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been '

I had so much potential in life. I can see it now so clearly, how innocent and beautiful my thoughts used to be, even though I’d always been trained by them to think as one of them. I can remember clearly when I was not a part of them, when I dreamed of better things. I used to imagine such wonderful things. I used to feel and understand those feelings. They always say kids are innocent because they don’t understand but they’re wrong; it’s because they understand things the adults can no longer see. I can see it now; I wish I could have seen it before it was too late. How beautiful the world really is, how things could have changed.

What would have happened if I had not become one of them? Would I still be in this place? Would I have friends, someone to love me? Would I have a real relationship with my family? Would I have gone to school and done all the things the normal children do?

It seems so pointless now. I could have been something, but instead I was a monster, and then a loser and a failure. And here I lie now dying. I’ll never know what I could have been. I can only hate what I was.

'What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free
Never me...'

I was a prisoner my entire life and I was never allowed to be myself, or even to find out whom that was. I wish I could have known, I’m sure I could have been someone great, who did something meaningful with their life rather than waste it. I wish I could have another chance, but nobody would help me now or bring me back, and there’s no place in heaven for the likes of me.

'You labelled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee Unforgiven'

He’s standing above me, staring down at me. He grins, and then kneels down beside me.
“Looks like you’re dead kid, well too bad. But hey, you’ve done enough. It looks like we’ll still win after all.”
I smile back, and while I still have some strength left in me, I tell him what I’ve always needed to say.
“You took any chance I had for a life and stole it away from me. All this for something I never wanted to be a part of. Everything I’ve done, all that I’ve suffered was for you and you made it so that I could not belong anywhere. Because of you, I will always be... nothing.”
“Well I’m sorry kid, but that’s just the way things are.”
My fingers clasp my sword. “Yeah, it’s too bad. But I’ll never forgive you for what you’ve done.”
His eyes widen in shock, mouth open as he collapses beside me, my sword through his chest.

I collapse back onto the ground, out of energy. I can hardly breathe and know in a few minutes I’ll be dead. Perhaps it’s for the best. I was never made to fit into this world and they’ll probably be a lot better off without me around. Even if they somehow saved me, which I don’t see them even wanting to do, they’d never accept me knowing what I was a part of. One last minute betrayal to my former trainer won’t change that.

Just like him, I will always be... unforgiven.

[Written based on the song 'Unforgiven' by Metallica because I thought it suited Miles, one of my characters from something I do. He's his clan's chosen one to lead the vampires to victory over werewolves (and probably to take over the human race too). Yes, sorry for the cliche vampire/werewolf war thing.]

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