Friday, January 19, 2018

End of the Beginning, Part 1: The Depressor

Key: MC, MD, Plot, Rant

    My name is Xander Knave and I am an incubus, a type of immortal energy draining, hypnotic, dream inducing, sexually minded demon. And it's time my story took a new turn. For several years I had been living in the same city, one that was as diverse as you could imagine. Creatures of all walks of life lived here and science was given free reign without care. It was like a paradise. There was even a scientist, a professor who, with the help of his grandson, had managed to hypnotize a group of young women all to live together under the same roof. Several humans including a starlet and a mage, an Elvish princess, a Genie, an Angel, a Cyborg, even a Succubus.

    I first encountered this group at a nightclub, called Spirals.  I was busy doing what I do, looking for young women to drain of their precious energy, only to leave them completely unconscious with nothing but a vague memory of an erotic dream. And then something in this night club caught my attention; it was full of hypnotic energy, technology, skilled hypnotists, if it could put a person into a trance it was in there.  I witnessed the girls I mentioned above and several others all band together to defeat an evil hypnotist I would later come to know as Nadia. 

    I searched for them for days, weeks even, until I found them on Christmas Eve and broke into their house, draining them all, including the succubus and a very cute elf. But I was driven away by a superhero with a weird fashion sense. I was able to escape with the cute elf, not the princess the other one, and tried to create a harem.  I was defeated by the superhero and a cyborg police officer.

    But oddly enough, I didn't stay incarcerated for long. The professor had purchased the Spirals nightclub and asked me to work there as an assistant manager. Think about it, an incubus in a nightclub filled with things that can put a person into a trance in a variety of ways. Filled to the brim every night of the week with young attractive women. It was like letting a kid loose in a candy store. I wasn't even restricted on what I could do. I was allowed to hypnotize or drain anyone I wanted as long as I didn't hide that I was doing it from the monitoring equipment. Something about documenting experiments, I didn't really pay it any attention.  The only down side of the job was that the manager was the hypnotist I mentioned before, Nadia. She and I don't get along and we were constantly at each other’s throats; it was frustrating and stimulating at the same time.

    But, I got greedy. One day while picking up a hot chocolate I bumped into the succubus from the professor’s house in the middle of a sloppy attempt to seduce and probably drain the bouncer from Spiral's, named Celene.  Now it wasn't hard to incapacitate Celene, it almost seemed like a running gag that she would end up knocked out, hypnotized, frozen, or in some other way helpless every time I saw her, but the succubus's attempt was sloppy. So I stepped in, and made a comment to her and her sister. One thing led to another and we had a bet to see who could incapacitate and capture the most victims in a day. We both cheated of course, I have no reservations about admitting that, and in the end I used my ace in the hole, my angel, Veo.  Of course once I had won the bet, and captured the succubus herself, then put the whammy on the angel I figured I had it made. 

    Boy was I wrong.

    Apparently one of the girls that had been captured by the succubus, a young starlet that she knew, had a GPS tracker on to help keep tabs on her. And another was the cyborg cop that helped take me down before.  It didn't matter that the succubus had captured those two, I was the one caught in the room, with more than ten kidnapped and helpless young women.... and it wasn't the first time.

    Given that the succubus was found drained and unconscious they didn't believe my story that it was both of us, and any charges that would have been leveled against her were dropped because she had immunity as a test subject of the professor. I figured I would get the same privilege; I did not.

    I was brought before a judge who was familiar with my kind, and my own personal antics over the years.  He made some comment about me being a menace to society.  It wasn't the first time I had heard the speech. Over the centuries I had been arrested, imprisoned, even executed a few times. Something about the word 'immortal' that people have a hard time grasping, I guess. I figured I would be put in prison again and either wait it out like I had before, or simply escape, like I also had before.

    But this time was different, this time I was not going to be imprisoned, I was going to be set free assuming I let them put some kind of hybrid elvish / mage device on my arm called a Depressor. I figured “what the hell, go for it!” And they did. The device was attached to my wrist and I was walked out of the courtroom and set free. That was the easiest sentence I had ever done, or so I thought.

    I soon discovered that the magically enhanced elvish creation was pretty much immune to just about all forms of physical abuse. Even Veo's angelic swords couldn't hurt it, mainly because it was not evil, but designed to contain evil.  After many attempts to get the device off, even severing my own hand, the device would not leave.  I even took my own arm off at the elbow, being an incubus it would grow back within seconds... although still hurt like hell. But to my surprise the Depressor simply vanished off my old arm and reappeared on the new one. Maybe this wasn't the best idea.

    I went to see the judge and asked how long I would be stuck with this thing, I didn't' agree to wear it forever you know. I should have looked into his response a lot more than I did. He simply told me that “it will stay on your arm, until you are no longer a threat to society.” Well that was cryptic.

    It didn't take long for me to learn what the device was designed to do. The name was a clue but it wasn't designed to depress my powers. It was designed to depress me. I started to find myself having thoughts, weird ones, in my own inner voice telling me things that I wouldn't normally hear. “You can't do that”, when I was planning out a way to hypnotize a young blonde at the bar. “That will never work”, another time when I was trying to trick a young raccoon girl into looking into a fan with a spiral on it. I knew it was the depressor, but I wasn't going to let it win. 

    I continued to fight it, and in the beginning I was doing really well. But, it had other effects I didn't realize. I was getting slower, I was getting weaker, and my energy level was dropping, albeit very slowly.  But after a few years I would find that I didn't want to do things with other people, I didn't want to be around the crowds.  The voices started to take on other peoples’ voices. I would look at a girl and see her look at me and smile and then turn away, and hear in a female voice in my head “eww, hopefully he'll go away....” It dragged on like that for years, the more I thought I was winning the more I was simply slipping away.  

    Then things got really bad. Spirals was shut down. I don't know what happened, I don't know the reason. All I know is that the professor who owned it decided to close the project and sell the property. The club was converted into a warehouse, and I lost one of the best hunting grounds I had ever seen. Not that I had been hunting much lately. 

    Unfortunately things started to compound. The Depressor was working over time, even when I was sleeping, and I started to become more withdrawn, more shy.  I even found myself shying away from easy targets. Ones I had put under before, friends, even girls I had dated. The idea of putting myself out there, the risk of being laughed at and ridiculed was just too great. Even though no one had ever laughed at me and my success rate was actually pretty good, the fear just crept into my body.

    I didn't realize it at the time, but I spent weeks just laying on the couch watching TV. Weeks turned to months, and months turned to years. It was like a living hell. So much so that I had even forgotten about the depressor, forgotten about my friends. 

    Ultimately I'm not sure what snapped me out of it. Probably a series of things, a lonely feeling, a feeling of need, maybe the last bit of will power deep in my heart. I'll never know for sure. But I decided it was time to get up and live again.  So I did what anyone would do. And I started to contact my old friends, ex-girlfriends, all people who had been important to me. 

    There is nothing the Depressor could ever do to me, nothing any torture device in the realms could do, that hurts more then calling an old friend, texting them, emailing them, even writing them a letter, and hearing nothing back but silence.  Some did reply, but they all seemed distant, like they didn't know what to say or how to react. Most had moved on, gotten boyfriends or girlfriends, several were engaged. They hadn't even bothered to tell me they were seeing anyone.

    But I decided that this wasn't going to be how I ended up. I wasn't going to be like this anymore, I was going to fight this!  So I went out to hunt. I hadn't done that in months, maybe longer, and my heart was racing faster and harder then it had raced in years. It always beat this fast when I hunted, but now it wasn't beating with excitement, instead it was beating with fear. Pure unrestricted terror. It took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other... but I did it nonetheless.

    I found myself sitting on a rooftop overlooking a small apartment complex. I was... familiar... with many of the young women inside, and one I had even been close too. She was the last person I could try to contact, and she was the last person that I hadn't tried. And I was in luck! For as I was sitting there on the rooftop, I could see her leaving her apartment, and starting to walk down
the street.

    I could only see her from behind, but that view was more than enough for me to know it was her. It was time I had a little fun.  I raised my hand and aimed it at her... nothing happened.  I looked at my hand and focused, concentrated. The energy that was supposed to create a hypnotic orb was blocked.  Like it was somehow locked away.  In the end it took every ounce of will power I had to flicker a small pathetic orb into existence. I wasn't going to waste it! And hopefully it would be more than enough.

    I aimed it at my old flame and let it loose. The best part about an orb is that once it's fired it has a mind of it's own, a will of its own. But as it left my hand I felt myself grow weaker,  I nearly fell to one knee as it flew out towards the young woman.  The orb hit it's mark perfectly. Right in the back of her head. Her arms slumped to her sides and her head wobbled forward, asleep on her feet. She always was an easy target. 

    I climbed down the fire escape, and moved towards her nervously. My heart was racing a mile a minute, fight or flight was all I could think about. Mostly flight. But I needed this, I needed a victory. Before the last part of my soul curled up and died.

    As I moved closer to my prey, I could smell her shampoo and slid my hand along her hair, brushing it out of her face. I had forgotten how lovely she looked, eyes closed and shoulders slumped, chin almost resting on her breasts.  And oh her breasts... it had been a while since I had seen a lovely pair as nice as these. Although they seemed bigger then I remembered, more the fun. But there was something else that seemed off... I took a moment to examine her a bit more closely.

    … You've got to be fucking kidding me!

    She was pregnant. Very, very, pregnant. I examined her left hand and sure enough, plain as day, a ring on her finger. I hadn't even known that she was seeing anyone, no less had settled down and was now... holy shit she's having a baby?! 

    My heart sank at this realization, and at the realization that the people I had called friends had all moved on, all drifted away, and not even thought to include me in their lives. I wasn't sure why, and no one seemed to want to give me an answer. But here I stood, in front of the last of them, as she stood there with her head slumped over, completely unaware I was there with a child growing inside of her.

    I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I knelt down in front of her, my face pretty much in front of her belly, as I gently ran my hand along her baby bump.  As I did I felt the tiny life inside of her. I could feel its heartbeat, hear its thoughts slowly forming in the vast void. It was amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

    I'm not sure what it was that made me do what I did next. But as I sat there I closed my eyes, took a breath, and summoned all the energy I had to form an orb. For some reason this one formed so much more easily than the last, but was not made of hypnotic energy like the one in my old friends head keeping her hypnotized. No, this orb was made of pure life energy, the lives of several people actually. And it shined brightly in my hands as I gently slid it into my friends belly, into her infant son.

    The energy moved through his tiny body and merged with him, into his body and his very being. He would carry it with him throughout his life. It would make him strong and confident, like an incubus. It would make his body resilient, he would never get sick, he would never suffer illness, and if he could be injured at all those injuries would heal far more quickly than a normal human's ever would. He would not be immortal, not even I could give a person that, but he would live a long long life.

    As the energy drained from me into her unborn infant son, I stood up and looked at my entranced friend. “This is all I have to give, I have nothing else” I said with a tear sliding my face, “except maybe one thing I can do instead is take something away...” 

    I stepped behind her and held out my hand, connecting to the orb inside of her mind. A quick flash of what energy it had left and my friend suddenly woke up and continued down the street, she never turned around, she never knew I was there. Not that it would have matter, I had taken the one thing from her that I felt could cause her the most pain. Her memory of me.

    I stood there and watched her continue down the street. And then she turned the corner, like so many others she literally just walked away. But, with her leaving I symbolically let her go, I let them all go. That's what they say you should do... isn't it? Let things go.  I didn't feel any better.  I stood there on the dark street corner, tears running down my face, as I realized that I had never felt more alone... but through it all I managed a small smile. I had managed to give my friend a gift every parent would want, a strong, healthy child. I hoped he would make her proud.

    And then I felt something. I wasn't sure at first what it was, and then it finally dawned on me. That was pain, a lot of pain. I grabbed my arm and screamed. The Depressor that I had completely forgotten about was glowing a deep red and slowly turning white.  It was burning in ways I had never known... and most definitely did not like!  I started to scream a bit more loudly as large metallic sparks, like the ones you get when a blacksmith hits a piece of white hot metal, started to fly off of the device. And then there was a loud, bright pop! The force was strong enough to throw me back a bit. As I watched, the Depressor hit the ground and sparked like a fourth-of-July firecracker. And then it vanished. The only sign it was ever there was a small burn mark on the sidewalk.

    As I looked down at the ashes of the device I had forgotten I was burdened with years before, I felt something. I felt different inside, maybe not so much that I was different just now, but I was aware that I was different. I looked around and noticed that many things were different. The buildings had changed, some looked better, some looked worse. Shops and stores that I used to know had changed, some had new graphics and layouts, some were completely gone, some were replaced, others sat empty. I couldn't understand how all of these changes could have happened so quickly? I was just here last... last month.. no that's not right... it was last year, or was it several years? 

    My mind was a blur, I was aware for the first time that I had had the Depressor on my arm for years... 10 years. It seemed like a blink of an eye, and yet felt so so much longer. I looked in shock at how the world had changed right around me and I had not even noticed. And then I realized, I needed to go home... and fast!

Continued in Part 2: A Fresh Start

Characters: Xander, Veo,

(Thanks to SleepyGirl for doing the editing for me. English is hard!)

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