Chapter 1: Hello, my name is Van.
They say when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. ...Hehehe... that rhymes... My name is Van. I'm not a Vampire, I am a simple human. Living in the tragedy of this post apocalyptic future. I am afflicted with AM—Advanced Monochromacy. I have been since birth. I have never seen the true beauty of things... stuck with these eyes, there is none. In fact, I was born into this version of the world. Ignorant to the beautiful planet it once was. My parents were killed after I was born. I was saved by my brother. People continue to hunt Vampires... Calling us monsters. Both my parents and brother developed AM. My brother was very young when WWIII happened, but he still had some memories of our past world. Needless to say, what you're watching is the past. Currently,... I am dying. My life is flashing before my eyes... I guess this is where it starts. The REAL story of my life... Right at the time I met her. The time I made friends. The time, I stopped wandering...
One year prior to his death, approaching a ruined town called Calous in a broken down stage coach, is a young Van, unaware of how much this one trip will change everything he's ever known about “living”.
“Goddamn it...” I thought, as I look out at the driver as he carelessly hits ALL the bumps he possibly could. Not that this road helps. ...If you can even call it a road. Seems more like a dirt path.
“Can you go a little more gently up there?” I yell, as I hang out the window, holding my fedora to cover my eyes.
“I can only go as gently as the horses go, sir.” He says back, drunk off his ass, no doubt...
“But you're CONTROLLING the damn horses, you jackass.” I thought, aggravated, “Well, there can't be too much more to this road.”
I sighed and sat back at the realization that once again... I don't know where I'm going. Or what I'll do once I get there. ...The minute I attempt to settle down, I'm pushed out, or worse... You know, assassination attempts on your life are flattering at first, but they can become a real pain in the ass later. Before I knew it, we arrived. Calous, the city of... town of... well, there's gotta be something here. I stepped out of the stage coach and looked at the driver, who seemed to have this smirk on his face like he did a good job.
“That'll be $8. 50, sir.” He said with his grin only getting bigger.
I handed him the money, keeping my head down as usual. “Here”, I said. “it's all there.”
He took the money and started pulling away, I noticed I left my sword in the coach and, panicking, grabbed the sword and he started speeding off. I even had the courtesy to shut his door. He couldn't have the courtesy to wait for me to get my stuff out the back? No. He speeds off, almost taking my damn arm with him. ...Maybe he knew?
I paused for a second, it was a little like time stopping in my head. I just got here, I don't wanna have to leave already. After a long, drawn out silence in my mind, I came back to reality. I noticed the people here all looked weary and dehydrated. All with ragged clothes and dirty faces... but worst off, I noticed they were all staring at me, shit! I started walking a bit quickly and nervously. Realizing, for someone like me who doesn't like being noticed, standing in the middle of the fucking road isn't such a smart move. I could hear them already... Their speculations, opinions—and it's only been five minutes. I looked up slightly and saw an elderly woman sitting in a chair outside. In front of what appeared to be a rundown fruit shop.
“Who is that man? Why is he wearing such a heavy black trench coat? It's 90 degrees. Poor dear's gonna burn.” I heard one nice old lady say. I could tell already she was a caring older woman. ...Such a warm blue color.
But then, there were others. A skinny man, with a wife beater and a bandana covering his bald head. “Long, bushy brown hair? A black fedora? Who the hell is this? Like we need more trouble in this damn place. We've already got the Marino family to deal with.” Despite hearing his insults, the thing that caught my attention was the “Marino family”. I had heard about them. A mobster family trying to collect as much of the remaining food and water as possible from small, unprotected towns. Not much fire power, just brute force. As long as I don't get involved, I won't draw attention to myself and I can stay low-key.
“Crap,” I thought, “one of the most annoying things about these eyes—always being thirsty. There's gotta be something to drink in this desert.” I looked around for a while, saw a lot of unpleasant things. A little boy who seemed to be starving, stole a loaf of bread. Got beat for it by someone wearing a suit. Not a cheap one either, mined you. Button down, Italian leather. Had those white strips on them. Red tie. I'll remember him. It's a hard face to forget, jelled back hair, scar on his cheek and smoking a cigar. Oh yeah... I'll remember you. But in the meantime, I gotta find something to drink. This sun's been blazing down on this town since I got here, and it hasn't let up at-fucking-all.
Not long after looking around, I found a local bar. “ 'The Drinking Well',” I thought, “what a quaint name.” I walked in and sat on a stool. Looking up I saw “Please wait to be served”. “How odd,” I said quietly, “why would a bar need a waitress?”
“We all gotta make money.” I heard a woman’s voice say as I practically jumped out of my seat.
“Oh,” She said, nervously and startled, “I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you! Please forgive me!”
There was something wrong... I can understand being sorry you startled someone but she seemed... scared.
“Oh,” I forced out some laughter to relax her, “it's alright. You just kinda snuck up on me there. No reason to be sorry.”
She let out a sigh of relief. She was young, couldn't have been older than seventeen. Long hair. I've been color blind for quite some time, every color has its own shade of gray. Her shade of hair color matched mine, basically. Her hair must be brown. Eyes lowered... like mine. She seemed to be in some kind of maid dress. Which, again, is weird for a waitress. Her arms... they're bruised. Like someone held her too tightly. ...I don't like the feeling of this. As I stared at her, she looked up. Her eyes obviously weren't the same. Any Vampire can see the red eyes of another. It's like a calling card. But at the same time... they seemed lonely. Like she was in pain, and... ashamed of herself. The same broken eyes as mine. Her aura... what the hell? It's... white. That's a rare color. But the feeling I get from it is... no feeling. Like she's empty.
“Your eyes...,” She said. I realized she had seen my eyes so I pulled my head back down, covering my eyes with my fedora once more. My only thought at that moment was … “shit”. “They're... red.”
“No, they're not,” I said quickly, “you... you must be seeing things.”
“No,... they're definitely re--” “Hey, can I get a whiskey?” I interrupted her as quickly as I could.
“Oh—oh of course! I'm so sorry! I'll get it right away.” Again, I get this feeling of fear from her. Is it because of my eyes? No, I had it before she even saw my eyes. So what is it?
“Here you go, sir.” She handed me the drink, but her hands were shaking.
“Thanks, but, you can call me Van.” She smiled... ever so slightly. “Can I ask your name Miss...?” She looked a little surprised that I cared to know. “Oh, call me Emma. Emma Rose.” She smiled a little, she sounded a little dignified when she said her last name.
“That's a beautiful name,” I said, “You sound proud of it.”
“Oh, I am sir--” “Van.” I interrupted her again, there's no reason for her to talk up to me. “Van, right, sorry,” she went on. “You see, a few years ago, my family founded this town. My daddy even became the mayor.”
The mayor? “If you don't mind me asking, how'd you wined up here?” I asked, curiously.
“Well...,” Her smile faded, “The Marino family runs it now, so...”
Suddenly, the same guy from before who beat the kid, burst into the room and sat down at one of the long tables. His goons shortly followed. Sitting around him like he was a god in a suit. They'd follow him and obey his every command. Nothing more than insects following swine if you ask me...
“Hey, bitch!” He yelled. Emma jumped and had this expression of dread on her face.
“Yes, coming Mister Marino, I'm sorry!” She ran over to him as he placed in his order. “And get it right this time!” he threatened.
She ran over and got him his drink. She poured Absinthe and Bailey's Irish Cream into a full glass. The drink's called the Dirty Fuck, but it's normally done in a shot glass, not a full glass.
She nervously approached him handing him his drink. As I watched, my heart started pounding. It was anticipation. As if I was waiting for something. For him to just make the wrong move. Something about this girl... the pain in her eyes. The feeling of emptiness and that broken feeling. Makes me... want to protect her. I don't know why. Then... it happened.
He jumped up and slapped the drink out of her hands. “It goes in a shot glass you dumb bitch!” he yelled, so loud that everyone else in the bar watched. Even the bar keep finally came out from the door behind the counter, but quickly ran back in after he saw who was yelling.
“You know, I was trying to be a nice guy. I was gonna let you off today. But no, I can't count on you to do anything right!” He continued to make an ass out of himself. My fists clenched, as I tried to calm myself. Reminding myself that I was trying to remain low-key.
Emma was crying as he grabbed her by the throat. “I'm sorry! I'm sorry!” She cried. He now had a giant grin on his face... one I imagined turning into a Glasgow smile. “Yeah, we'll see how sorry you are. It won't just be me this time, I'll let my friends here have a turn too.” She continued to cry “sorry” and “no”. But then he reached under her dress and ripped off the underwear she was wearing.
So much for staying low-key...