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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This is Vincent- the Keeper with theworst gift of all

Vincent moved along the misty pathway that he knew would bring him closer to Sara and what he needed to do. For the first time since he had found out what his gift, or curse, was he felt a renewed hope that his role in this whole situation would bring him what he had been searching for a long time, peace. Vague memories of happy moments had haunted him since he was twelve; always he was with someone that made him feel wonderful. A person that he couldn’t see or name, had been so close to him that they shared each other’s thoughts and until his twelfth year of life had been his constant companion. Always together, they had fit into the world so well; he had belonged with someone and it was a great feeling. Then, without warning, it was all taken away from him and it was almost as if the person that haunted his dreams had never existed; memories had been erased with one cruel action; all that was left was that elusive feeling of loss.

His other had disappeared and he was left in the care of total strangers. Short, squatty men with rough looking faces barely grunted at him in response to his panicked cries for help as they dragged him along a misty path to goodness knows where. After traveling for two days through some pretty strange places, in which he caught glimpses of people and places that did not resemble anything he had ever seen before, they moved through a black doorway and brought him to a rundown section of some town, set him up in an old ramshackle house and left. He was given the basic necessities, food and shelter, an education of sorts; was allowed to read books and test on all the standard school subjects on the computer. Their way of making sure he learned something, he guessed; though why they would even care if he learned something he didn’t know and wasn’t going to ask.

Too afraid at first to do anything but hide when they arrived, Vincent stayed in a back bedroom, the only communication given to him was by writing, indicating that he was to stay here and learn, behave himself and he would be alright. No outright threat was made but he got the impression that leaving this place would be a problem, for him. The ugly little fellows checked on him about once a week, but pretty much left him alone otherwise, which was fine for him because they gave him the creeps the way they looked at him with a slight smirk on their faces as if enjoying a joke at his expense. He spent his days alone without any idea why he was there, and why the person he had loved so much was gone, a hazy recollection at best. Those coarse foul men talked in hushed voices but he heard them quite well at times, they argued occasionally about why they were babysitting this boy. One or two of the bolder ones even mentioned taking him to someone named Braccus and letting him take of the boy if he wanted him kept alive so badly. There was a short scuffle in the front room as he listened, when he finally got the courage to enter the front room hours later, he found a trail of blood smears from the center of the room to the door and there were a few new faces present next time they came to deliver supplies.

He went through a year of isolation, allowed to watch television in the evening and look out on the neighborhood around him filled with people conducting their lives as if they had no concern about the mysterious occupant of the home in their midst. Gunshots rang out here on a regular basis; neighbors robbed and attacked neighbors daily. The police occasionally braved the hostile residents and showed up attempting to provide assistance, but no one seemed to concern themselves with the house he was in. In fact, oddly enough, his was the only house that no one seemed to anxious to approach. His neighbors, a tough looking crowd of all races glanced nervously at the small residence painted a bright orange color with crumbling steps and moved past as quickly as possible. The house was hardly intimidating looking, with porch supports that bent beneath the weight of a sagging roof barely covered by shingles falling off like leaves on a dying tree and a front door that would fall off if you breathed on it too hard; but for some reason, they treated it like a fortified castle. Whatever powers the little men had, they were able to use them to frighten away even the most hardened criminals when they were not around. Their influence lingered, letting it be known this place was untouchable, but why, what was this all about?

Vincent stayed in the house at first, afraid to risk the wrath of these unnamed men, until one day it occurred to him that it might be a good idea to try and get away while they were gone. It was as if a message sounded clearly in his head that it was time to move on. Not sure why he felt compelled to listen, he just did, it was as if the notion was placed by someone in authority and it was his duty to obey. This was the day that he discovered what he could do and why his abductors were not afraid to leave him alone.

Moving carefully and cautiously, the young boy walked out the front door and stepped out into the street. It was nighttime and the moon shown down on the strangely silent neighborhood. The whole block was littered with what could best be described as a collection of bug eaten boards put together to resemble living places for those who weren’t too picky about where they stayed. Peeling paint and cracked concrete driveways completed the look of a refuge for lost and corrupt people. No children ran around here, softening the rough atmosphere with their clean presence and laughter. This place was occupied by adults who looked as if they had been imported from every rotten section of the world to live together in permanent disharmony.

The few people that were moving about stared at each other suspiciously from unlit doorways, waiting for the first opportunity to get out and see what they could do to each other. Hushed voices mumbled together in small groups gathered out of a need for company and back up when the inevitable trouble started. Their alliances were shaky at best; Vincent had seen them turn on each other without warning when it suited their purposes and that was often enough to cause many small wars each week or so until they were forced to regroup into another band for mutual support.

When he emerged, no one moved, surprised that they had been afraid of going into this house where a boy had been staying, they waited a few minutes for those little scary men to follow but no one else came out. He was alone; they watched him step onto the broken sidewalk in front of the house and start his walk on shaky legs. Anxious to get out of this place, he moved past some very scary looking people sitting on the porch of the house next door. One of them, seeing he was outside the property, what they considered the off limits zone; tested his luck by approaching him and asking for some money. The stocky little man, just a few feet taller than the thirteen year old, had a pitted ashen face and stood so close that Vincent could smell the booze on his breath.

“Hey little buddy,” he said, his eyes watery from too much alcohol, a confident sneer on his face as he glanced back at his cronies behind him on his rundown porch. His audience watched eagerly from a distance; leaning forward to catch every word, see every entertaining moment. “How about you give me your allowance and I’ll let you pass me,” He moved closer as he spoke, hoping to intimidate the shorter boy with his small height advantage.

Vincent remained silent, not having the slightest clue what to do next. The man, encouraged by the look of fear on Vincent’s face reached out and grabbed his arm, pulling him roughly the last few inches till they were nose to nose. It was the last thing that man ever did. As soon as his fingers touched the boy’s arm, he fell to the ground, a shocked look frozen on his dead face. He had actually felt the man’s life-force leave, felt his own body absorb whatever the essence was that called itself life, and knew that he was the cause of this man’s demise. The terrified young man stared at the dead body in front of him and ran so far that the neighborhood was behind him and out of sight long before he slowed down. He found himself wandering alone through several towns avoiding the residents, always hanging out on the outskirts, scavenging whatever he could from dumpsters and empty houses. He didn’t wish to experience the death of another person at his hands ever again, he experienced a few unfortunate incidents in which he fell asleep in an alley and found some dead rats lying next to him, apparently having been unfortunate enough to crawl on him when he was sleeping. A poor starving kitty he had been feeding for several days tried to rub against his leg and he was forced to shoo it away for fear even that innocent contact would cost the animal its life. But the cat came back looking for food and affection, finally getting close to the exhausted boy, touching his nose to unmoving fingers and fell dead at his feet. When he roused himself out of the stupor of half sleep, he found the little thing lying next to him, eyes open and motionless. Heartbroken, he quickly moved on, avoiding even these little acts of kindness for they only bought bad results.

For several years he was oh so careful never, ever to come close to another person, having to watch humanity from a distance, depending on their leftovers to survive. Always looking behind him for any sign of the men that had abducted him, strangely enough, he never saw them again, they hadn’t followed him. What had been the whole purpose of kidnapping him and hiding him for a whole year, only to let him get away so easily, and who was the nameless person that had urged him to leave that place. He felt that he was supposed to learn what he could do that day but other than that scant bit of knowledge, he was clueless as to what having the ability to kill with a mere touch could be beneficial to his life. Then he began to see things, it was as if a switch had been flipped and he was being shown what his destiny was.

At night he would dream and a lot of things were revealed to him; he saw Sara, became aware of what was expected of him, and that he would soon have to do exactly what he had been avoiding for several years, kill. His years as a homeless loner were ended when he turned twenty and the quiet voice that often addressed him in his sleep told him what he needed to do. He learned about traveling between the worlds by using the portals; forced himself to use his gift by killing those that he knew to be followers of Braccus, the man he was allowed to see for what he was. It had been Braccus’ people that had originally taken him prisoner, but the other one had been the one to set him free, his name was Iam. It seemed that both sides in an ongoing struggle for power had chosen him to carry out a task that would bring each closer to getting what they wanted.

Using his power was emotionally painful at times, yet also disturbingly stimulating when he felt their energy join with his for a short time; he had to fight the urge to let this feeling overcome him. He was doing all this to work his way to her, to do what needed to be done to save the worlds. Now that he was so close, he felt a sense of peace, knowing that maybe he would be allowed to leave this miserable existence with her. Maybe she was the one he had been missing all these years, it would be so nice to not be alone anymore. He saw a portal shimmer into view a short distance in front of him and picked up the pace, eager to find out what was waiting on the other side.

Warm air rushed at his face as he passed into the portal with a glance back to make sure that the others were following. They were of course, just like he knew they would be, like they were supposed to be; he allowed them to get a little bit closer before moving through. What awaited him on the other side was more than he had been expecting and that changed his plans just a little bit.

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