The Fall of Gods and Men

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Writers Rift

I'm so sorry for the late update. Life's been pretty hectic and all, but I'll try to get my writing back on track. This chapter was quite hastily written. I'm sorry for any errors. Enjoy :)

~BB

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Niko

Submitted: July 28, 2016

Reads: 331

Comments: 7

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Submitted: July 28, 2016

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Bavaria, Germany

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Niko let his eyes wander to the needle as it pivoted hypnotically on the clock’s face. In three minutes, he’d be out to taste the pine-scented Bavarian air. In three minutes, his butt would be off the plastic chair he’d occupied for the last two hours. In three minutes, his landlord would kick him out for sure and he’d be homeless. Again.

At least, there’ll be good news to his misery. For one, he’d finally be free of the innocent faces of customers who’d involuntarily farted in the aisles. He’d rather have his old job back than inhaling methane air freshener all day.

An ex-assassin working as a cashier? Sure, why not?

The second the needle struck eleven, Niko began to gather up—his phone, bottle, and a bag of potato chips he’d stolen off the counter—all stuffed into his cobalt backpack. Not to forget to mention a pair of middle fingers to the security camera, of course. He slung his backpack and smirked at the camera one last time, Bye, suckers.

Niko’s throat was cool with the crisp midnight air. He had, and always will be, in love with Bavaria—the place where medieval architecture lined the cobbled streets; the place where humans and nature mingled together in undisturbed harmony…

But never the place he could call home.

He couldn’t quite fathom the feeling. For all the years of his long, miserable life, he’d been roaming Germany, trying to find the place he’d finally fit in. But he never could. No matter where he went, bad luck trailed close in his wake. People steered clear of him like a disease. He couldn’t blame them. His existence was only a curse, after all.

His landlord was waiting by the door when he arrived, Niko’s navy suitcase at his feet. He kicked the suitcase towards Niko with reluctance, tossing his dying cigarette with a swift flick of his wrist.

“Go on,” he said. “Get the hell outta here. Don’t expect me to see yer face again.”

He shut the door at Niko’s face.

Niko huffed through his nose. He grabbed his suitcase with his gloved hand and dragged it across the cobblestones, his mind too tired to even conjure a curse towards the old guy. He’ll just have to find a job—probably a street sweeper or a garbage guy—he’ll do something, just as long as the bench wouldn’t be his favorite bed of the day.

He pulled his black hoodie over his platinum blonde hair, his suitcase rattling in the muteness of midnight. Niko sensed a change in the air, just like how people could tell a coming storm. His gut was clenched tight. He crept towards a nearby alley, the muffled voices gaining clarity as he came closer.

“You just won’t stay still, will you?” a husky voice said.

“I hope you’ve got enough in your bag. You’ll be worth killing if you don’t,” a lighter-toned voice said.

Niko clenched his fists. Being a former assassin, he was all too familiar with these schemes. Armed bandits and a damsel in distress? Piece of cake.

He leaned his suitcase against the wall and crept closer towards the corner of the alley. His icy blue eyes adjusted to the darkness faster than any human could’ve been able to, penetrating through the gloom like a feline. He inched closer soundlessly, his muscles tense with anticipation. A woman was struggling against a bulky guy in black, one arm around her torso like a constrictor and the other around her mouth. Another guy stood with his back to Niko, rummaging through the woman’s purse.

“Oho, what’s this?” he held up what seemed like lipstick. “One thousand volts? Ain’t gonna work for us, lady.”

“Why can’t you find the freaking chloroform? She’d be available to our liking soon after,” the husky-voiced guy said.

“Yeah, yeah. Damn right.”

Bandit Two settled down the purse and turned around. Niko swiftly slipped behind a trash can as Bandit Two proceed to look for chloroform. As his dark figure passed by, Niko lashed out quicker than any viper, grabbing him by the collar and slamming him to the wall. Niko planted a punch on his temple before he could even muster a scream. Bandit Two collapsed to the dust-layered floor.

Bandit One snapped up. “What the hell was that?”

No answer.

“Derek, you better not be playing on me. Come on out, you dolt.”

Niko smirked. He’s got no idea what he’s getting himself into. “Nicht zu fassen.”

Bandit One squinted. “What the—”

Niko leapt against the brick wall, using it as a spring. He crashed on top of Bandit One and the woman, tumbling down in a pile of flailing limbs. He caught the woman’s fearful eyes, “Go!”

She scrambled to her feet weakly and grabbed her purse, sprinting out of the alley in her heels.

Bandit One cursed, his ribs sore from Niko’s weight. Niko pinned his arms behind his back in one swift motion, seizing Bandit One’s throat with his other hand. Bandit One choked against Niko’s fist. Niko smirked, knowing he’d won the upper hand. But all of a sudden, an acute pain traced across his hand, throwing him off guard.

Niko’s grip loosened. False move.

Bandit One threw Niko off his feet, slamming him to the unforgiving ground. He stood over Niko with a triumphant smile, his switchblade dripping with Niko’s blood. With one swift attempt, he aimed for Niko, but only managed to slash the air where he had been.

Too slow.

Niko reared up his legs, and the switchblade flew off Bandit One’s grip. Niko clenched his fist, aiming for his gut. Bandit One’s hand shot out, gripping Niko’s wrist and twisting it painfully with a crack. Niko howled, staggering back. His hand wasn’t supposed to be facing that way, was it?

Bandit One slammed Niko to the ground and pressed his arm heavily against Niko’s throat. “Who’s the hero, eh big boy?”

Niko flailed. He knew he shouldn’t be doing this, but he was still in too much pain to think straight. Waves of life force was rolling off Bandit One like cool water to his stale throat. It was tempting, especially this up close. No, he couldn’t do this. The last time it happened, he had taken someone’s life.

Bandit One’s arm pressed harder against Niko’s throat. “Such fake bravado. Think you can take me down? Look at you now.” He chuckled.

Niko’s mind was void of anything but pain. His good hand unconsciously crept to Bandit One’s throat, gripping it weakly. A rush of energy surged through his body. Unlike food, this energy fueled Niko up to the point where he could run a marathon, climb the Appalachians, and do parkour for two days straight afterwards. For once in the last six years, Niko had never felt more…alive.

His pain subsided as he absorbed Bandit One’s life force like a ravenous animal. He lost control of himself. He could only watch Bandit One’s pale face, scrunched up with horror as he stared into Niko’s glowing eyes. The rush stopped. Bandit One’s massive body slumped on top of Niko, but he tossed it away as if it weighed no more than a feather. Only then he realized…

What the hell have I done?

Niko gasped, seizing Bandit One’s wrist for a pulse. There was none. His skin was ice cold to the touch and his lifeless eyes glazed over, wide with the expression of horror still plastered on his face.

No!

With his newfound strength, Niko grabbed his suitcase and sprinted faster than any human could’ve been able to. He understood why he was born a mere orphan, raised by life’s own hand on the streets and steered clear of society. He understood why he could never belong.

He was a monster. A killer. A heartless menace.

His legs took him to the woods. Even in almost solid darkness, not a branch caressed his shoulders. He came to a stop at a spacious clearing. The grass swayed in the moonlit air. The view would have been one to appreciate for, but he was far too guilt-stricken to think of anything but the face of the man he had killed, an oath he had broken. Again.

Niko sat down hard on the earth, clutching his head with his hands. Blood trickled out of his cut, but he took no notice of it. He finally let his tears fall, dotting the grass like dew. He had failed again. If only hope hadn’t entered his life; if only he had ended it two years ago, none of this would’ve happened.

It was all his fault.

“Hey, are you okay?” a gentle voice lifted his head. A girl seemingly in her early twenties stared back at him, her blue eyes gleaming in the night like turquoise gemstones. Her sleek blonde hair was crowned by a golden diadem, cascading down to her feet. Her face was innocent with a dainty nose and bow-shaped lips. Her translucent silver wings shimmer like stars behind her back.

Wait a second, wings? Maybe his guilt over the years had made him insane. He wouldn’t be surprised if he’s hallucinating.

Her silky white dress rippled soundlessly as she sat down in front of Niko. She reached out and brushed a stray tear out of Niko’s cheek. “Why are you crying?” she asked with an accent Niko couldn’t quite identify.

Niko shook his head. “Nothing major, really.”

The girl tilted her head, obviously unsatisfied with Niko’s lie. Her eyes traveled to his blood soaked glove. “What happened here?”

“Ah well, I sort of got into a fight…”

The girl pouted. “You should’ve been more careful next time.”

“Yeah but you ain’t my mama or anything.”

The girl ignored his remark and gently rubbed his hand. “Your wrist is dislocated. Hang on, this is going to hurt a bit.”

“Hey, what are—”

She adjusted his wrist back with a crack. Niko held back a scream, his chest heaving with effort. He looked down at his hand, pointing at the angle where it should be.

“All done,” the girl said triumphantly. “Now, for the blood.”

She began taking off his glove.

Niko wasn’t eager to repeat the same mistake again. “Nonono, please don’t. You’ll die—”

But the girl ignored him and gently touched Niko’s cut and closed her eyes. His hand was instantaneously warm. The sensation was soothing, like a comfy fireplace before Christmas Eve; a field of sunflowers bathed in butterscotch light; a romantic night in the field of fireflies.

The girl removed her hand, but the warmth lingered for a moment longer. Niko hadn’t even realized his cut was gone.

The girl heaved a sigh and wiped the sweat off her eyebrows, smiling with pride. “Feeling all better?”

“Y—yeah,” Niko stammered. “Thanks.”

The girl wobbled, nearly falling flat on her face if Niko hadn’t caught her by her shoulders. “Whoa there, feeling alright?”

“Yeah, just tired,” she said. That wasn’t a good sign.

Niko immediately released his grip, afraid he might’ve taken a sip of her life force. “I—is it because of me?”

“What? No, silly. I’ve been flying the whole afternoon. Flying is just so much fun!”

“Flying, huh?” Niko mumbled. “You mean, those wings on your back are actually real?”

“Of course! What makes you think they’re not?” She gave them a flap to prove her point.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m definitely going insane.

“I just hate it when people get hurt,” she pouted. “I hate it when they’re in pain. I want them to smile and enjoy life while it lasts.”

She squinted at Niko’s face. “There’s a bruise on your jaw.”

“Oh, a bruise? Bah, it’s no problem.”

But she reached out and touched Niko’s jaw quicker than he would’ve expected. He jumped back, alert at her fingers that caressed his skin a second ago. “Please don’t touch me. I’m begging you.”

The girl’s eyebrows creased. “Why? Does it hurt when I touch it?”

“I…” Niko took a deep breath. “People die when I touch them. Literally. I don’t know why but I can sort of absorb their life force and—”

Her hand shot out and cupped the side of his face. Niko’s eyes went wide. He knew he should move, but he seemed to be paralyzed to the earth.

Niko’s bruise was healed within seconds. “See, nothing happened. You’re perfectly fine with me.”

Niko was left speechless. “I’ll repay you. Anything.”

“You can repay me with nothing,” she smiled gently. “That is my duty after all.”

“You have my deepest honor,” Niko said. “I’m Niko. What’s your name?”

The girl shifted shyly on her feet, their blue eyes converging in a gaze. “I’m Danae, fairy of Luminoria City.”



© Copyright 2019 BigBang. All rights reserved.

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