Hi, I've recently started to write again after some time. I'm working on what I hope to be a finished book but i'd love to hear your opinions on the first chapter! I'm fairly new on this site and I've always had quite an on and off experience with writing. If you have any pointers, that'd be great :) Thank you x
The Angel and The Insomniac:
The Hunt List
CHAPTER ONE: SAVIOUR?
“Come back here, boy!”
Fear. Something so small. So fragile, yet it turned its tides upon him and rose a quarry of anger. Fear held him in its volatile nature, attempting to grasp the man that knelt before it, in order to kill. In order to hunt its prey. Darkness had a way of playing with one’s mind, from shapes contorting wildly in the dimmest corners to thoughts racing around unleashed. It beckoned pity, sorry and remorse. How could this happen to you? Why isn’t anyone helping? And of course, why me? It doesn’t care, death wasn’t kind. Aria knew that. It snatched where it could, taking people who were far too young, far too good. It didn’t even pretend to nurture. It didn’t pretend to distinguish between the poor, selfish or innocent. Death took what it could, and the young male feared it was his turn.
True fear wasn’t waiting for your saviour to come and kill what was haunting you. True fear is you, seconds away from curdling your bones into the flesh it was born with, piercing holes beneath the surface of your mind; mocking and laughing until It wringed you of every tear, thought and will to live you possessed within your vessel. It drives you to such a frenzy that in that very moment, only your life mattered and you’d do anything to live. To survive.
And now, with the siren calling, Aria felt like he withered where he stood.
His breath came in small spurts, hot and nervous. At his sides, calloused fingers curled into sweaty fists, swinging back and forth as if it would make him faster. Beneath the rain, the erratic beat of his heart swamped his senses until he could only see in brief, white flashes. But the air didn’t seem to be enough as he sprinted forward, panic trembling in his exhausted limbs with every gunshot he heard. If he could just make it a little further it’d be alright, he’d be safe. But by the way his legs threatened to give up on him, Aria knew that he had mere minutes before he collapsed.
“I’ll…I’ll tell them every-everything. I want to see you rot behind those bars,” He threatened, using what energy he had left to yell.
Part of him knew it was still the shock settling in, the shock the reaper brought. Visions of red clouded his sight every now and then, making his knees weak with grief and mania. Like a record player, he relived what had occurred within the past hour, watching crimson coat his white floors. The sound is what never left him; the cry of his own voice echoed within the caverns of his mind, hollowing out any sense of trepidation he once held. Aria didn’t fear for himself, he feared for him. He feared for the life he could’ve had. How happy he could’ve been without him.
Laughter bellowed behind him, bouncing off the walls of the abandoned church he found himself trapped in. All sense of hope drifted away when his gaze lifted to meet the wall in front of him, almost mocking him in a way. Did he really believe that he’d get away? The sound of footsteps echoed, each step whispering his fate to him, telling tales of how they’d done this before, and another body wouldn’t change anything. Slowly, he turned around, eyes wide and glazed over with tears threatening to spill. Sweat mixing with droplets of rain along his forehead, he found himself staring into the barrel of a gun. You were supposed to love me, he thought, not kill me.
Not kill him.
Trembling fingers rose to cover his mouth despite knowing that no amount of noise could hide him anymore. His lips parted to scream, hoping to alert someone. Anyone. He didn’t want to die. Yet, no words came out that weren’t apologies and once again, the young man felt helpless.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, let me go. I won’t ev- please fathe- “
“Oh, just shut it”
Sheer terror flared upon his face, tears welling up in his eyes as he stumbled, scraping his knees against the rubble once he fell. The heaviness in his chest only seemed to grow, weighing him down with every mouthful of air he attempted to grasp hold of. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't fucking breathe. The only thing that was keeping him alive now wrapped its cold hands around his throat and brought him to his knees. It sang such vile things to him that he felt like he could explode right this second. He was going to die.
And it wasn’t going to be some rose bud death where he lived a happy life and was brought a peaceful demise. No, it’d be bloody and violent and unforgiving. His body would be found in a couple of days after they paste his face on missing posters around town. His father would go home to his mother and cry, telling her how he went to visit his son only to find that his apartment had been broken into. Faking tears to the press at the funeral, saying how they wished they’d given him a second chance. How they had loved him and how he had always been the perfect son. And then, they’d bury him, letting his body rot beneath the ground, covering up the truth and moving on. Just like that he’d be forgotten, he’d be erased.
Like every picture-perfect plastic household, they’d continue with their lives. They didn’t deserve it, to live or to die. They deserved to suffer, and Aria demanded retribution.
“What the hell are you doing? Has the old bastard finally gone insane huh? You weren’t even supposed to be there,” He snapped, anger and fear coursing through his veins in bursts of pure adrenaline.
The dull ache of the gun hitting his cheek cut him off. Blood pooled in his mouth as he spat it out, his gaze only hardening at the figure in front of him. For a second he just stared, venom in his glare, waiting, watching every movement as if the merest punch could kill him. And then, his fingers started to twitch by his sides, eyebrows arching to allow the look in his eyes to deepen. The look of fury which rapidly consumed him whole, contorting within his flesh covered canvas until a rage fuelled growl rang low in his throat. However, he wasn’t the only one who was angry. Whilst his anger came from the birth of a series of unfortunate events, his father’s anger had always been uncontrolled. It was manic, fluid with the intent to murder, to ravage. To end it all.
“I’ll admit, it was all a mistake. It was a mistake when I walked into your house and opened your goddamn door to find you, my fucking son, lying in bed with that, that thing!”
Before he knew it, Aria charged towards the man weaponless. He would’ve been called foolish if anyone had been watching. But in the moment, he didn’t care. No, anger surged through him, coursing through his veins and fuelling his movement. Red hot and vile, something that only wanted to make the other feel what he was.
“Oh, really? That thing was the only person who cared to listen, the only person who cared about me. The only person I’ve ever loved” He yelled, screaming his voice hoarse.
For a moment they struggled, gun pointed toward the air as he attempted to take the weapon from him. His hand curled into a fist as he swung forward, hitting the bridge of his father’s nose. The sound of bone crunching mixed with their heavy pants for breath in the air. Aria’s nostril’s flared with the constant rise and fall of his chest.
“And you, you vile piece of shit. You did the only thing you knew how to do. You killed him. Just like-”
From the corner of his eye, he watched the blur of a fist approach him. He felt the impact before it had even landed, delivering a sharp sting to his left eye. Before he could even register the punch, the other’s fist collided with his ribs, knocking the air out of him. A fresh ripple of pain seared through his torso as he bent over, arms curling around his stomach, forming a barrier of protection.
“Just like how you kill everyone” He rasped, weakly tilting his chin up to glare daggers into the man before him.
Click. The sound of Aria’s upper and lower rows of teeth making unplanned contact sickened him. He staggered back, hitting what was left of the pulpit behind him. A wave of dizziness washed over him and for a second, he thought that this would be the end. Beaten and bruised, the anger he felt moments ago subsided into a sense of weakness. His body slumped down onto the floor in defeat, hand pressed against his right side in an attempt to stop the stinging of his ribs.
“He was just another body. Every parent wants their child to go to heaven, not sin on earth. And I, was placed here on this earth to make sure that you atone for your sins,” Leered the burly male as he crouched down to get level with his son.
“But just like every fucking mistake we make; we must get rid of it,” Aria watched as his father cocked the gun, the grim sound acting as a bad omen, forewarning his coming death. The cold steel of the gun pressed against his temple, digging into it in an unforgiving manner. Aria felt a shortness of breath as his lips parted, anxiety leaving its final marks once he met his father’s gaze, dread clouding his own.
“Now, son, let us pray,” Came a whisper, soft and gentle unlike anything his father had ever said.
In the brief onset of silence, there was unease. In fact, the air felt like as if a weighted blanket had been placed over his body, wrapping around him tighter and tighter as every second passed. Still, Aria did not pray.
“Pray for fucking forgiveness!” His father’s face mottled crimson, eyes popping from their sockets as every vein in his neck strained. His words exploded with such unrestrained fury that they felt like shards of glass to his skin.
And for the first time in a long time, he prayed.
Lowering his face, he raised his trembling hands and interlocked them, pressing his lips to the marked flesh just as his eyes shut. His father began to speak, something about how he hopes that God can forgive him for allowing his son to live bathed in sin. However, Aria drowned out the voice he came to hate and instead, focused on the heavy drumming of his heart, signalling to him that he was still alive. And like a fool, in what would be his final seconds on earth, he begged to be saved.
A shrill whistle filled the silence, demanding his attention as his eyes snapped open. Turning to face the direction from where the sound had come from, nothing could have prepared him for what was to happen. Behind him, his father grabbed hold of Aria’s arm, roughly tugging the male toward him with the gun resting against the back of his head. A silent promise, that someone would get hurt before the night was over.
Please, I don’t want to die, he pleaded, I want to live.
The noise became piercing loud and before long, a blanket of white flashed before his eyes, momentarily blinding him. An ear-splitting sound cascaded over them, causing Aria to immediately double over in pain, hands grasping the sides of his head as he yelled out. Their bodies were blown back from gush of air that escaped once the object crashed. Heat pooled up against his skin, almost uncomfortably so as if he was moments away from plunging his hands into a furnace. A thin trickle of liquid leaked out from his ear which he would soon learn to be blood. The sharp ringing in his left ear didn’t leave even after his right side had settled, making him wince from the constant ache.
The Pulpit ignited in a fiery ball of yellow flame, billowing outwards, filling the church with an explosion of wooden chips and pieces of stone. Aria moved to immediately shield his eyes, coughing up a storm from the particles of dust that now caked the building. Peeking through fine slits between his fingers, he could only stand and watch as varicoloured flames belched upward, forming a ring of fire around what had crashed. Despite the wreckage, Aria was washed over with a sudden feeling of euphoria. As if the crash would be the perfect distraction for him to escape. However, that soon turned into a concoction of confusion and uncertainty. Because from within the flames, rose a man.
“God won’t save you. He…well, funny story, he gave up on us all,” Muttered the foreign being.
Flames licked the others’ body, curling off from his arms as the male took a step forward, parting the circle. The ground sizzled beneath his feet, leaving footprints in the stone with every step. Smoke rose from where the flames had simmered, creating intricate patterns in the air, mere distractions from the main event. Aria stood there, frozen in shock as his hand slowly fell to his side, mouth agape in silence and eyes wide.
“But I fucking will” Declared the other with such certainty that it ignited a flicker of hope within the Cuban male.
And with that, the stranger rose his flame covered arm, pupils blinding white with rage as his expression contorted into one of both anger and frustration. From his back, extended a set of wings, feathers smeared with red, dripping the liquid in an orderly row behind the man. Bruises and cuts littered the male’s body, agony settling onto his face as he crossed the distance between them. Light crackled within the angel’s palm, white warping into red almost as if it was glitching. Aria slowly turned to face his father, the one who sat slumped on the floor, moments away from being at the receiving end of the angel’s wrath. He watched as it was now the older man’s turn to fear, taking note of how his shocked expression slowly formed a more acceptable one. One of sheer terror.
“Do...do not kill him,” Aria splurted out, stumbling over his own words before composing himself. As much as one could be composed in a situation like this.
He noticed how his father relaxed a little, shoulders now slumping down in relief. However, the angel could only stare at the male with a puzzled expression, as if he couldn’t fathom why he would do such a thing.
“But he hurt you,” Stated the other, orb still crackling within his hand, pointed towards the accused.
“I know, that’s why-”
Aria moved from where he had been standing, cautiously at first when he neared the strange being. His gaze fell to the floor and he darted towards what he had been looking for. Lifting the gun which had been buried beneath the rubble, he stared at it as he spoke.
“I must do it”
From the silence that fell over the three, came a voice. One that was quiet at first but grew to become almost threatening. One that demanded an answer that would make sense to only it’s owner.
“You’ll d-do that? Kill your own father? Kill me?!” Rasped his father in a way that made it seem like he thought he couldn’t be killed. As if no one would even dare to think such a thought.
And he watched how the old man seethed in his seat, knowing that there’d be no escape from his demise. Because if Aria didn’t do it, the glowing ball of hell with wings would in an instance. Making his way over to the other, Aria cocked his head, eyebrows knotting together as an amused look settled on his face. Raising the gun, he pointed it towards the man, ignoring the trembling of his own fingers as he did so.
“And you, your own son?” He questioned, glancing down at the other with nothing but resentment in his gaze.
“Ha, you were never my son” On the ground, his father’s expression morphed from disbelief to sheer enjoyment. The man leant forward, chuckling outload as he locked eyes with Aria “I enjoyed every second of it. Killing him” He flashed him his crooked smile, stained teeth resurfacing from beneath crackled lips, before lunging towards him in desperation. Beside him, the angel waited no longer and rushed towards the man to stop him.
“For David,” Aria whispered to himself, like it was now his little secret, only for him to ever know.
And within moments of chaos erupting around them all, a single shot rang through the air.
One that ended it all.