Nearer and Nearer

The slate grey 2000 Nissan Altima gave a pathetic wheeze as Anthony urged it to go faster, the weight of his foot pressing down on the accelerator until it couldn't go any further.  But rather than speed up, he noticed the car was actually slowing down.

With another sputtering cough, thick black smoke poured out from underneath the Nissan's hood and washed over his windshield, seeping inside through the open windows to fill the car.  

Where there's smoke, he thought, gripping the steering wheel of the Nissan a little tighter with his left hand, there's probably fire.. 

A trickle of fear raced through his being, but he struggled against it, struggled against leaping out of the car without even bothering to turn it off and slowly, almost methodically steered the vehicle to the side of the road and coasted to a rolling stop.  The second the car stopped moving, he threw open the drivers side door and slid out, coming to stand before the car with his arms crossed over his chest.  

The car was fucked.  He knew it before even bothering to pull open the hood and seeing the burnt out innards. Yet he yanked open the hood and peered down at the blackened atrocity that had once passed for an engine, a grimace unknowingly forming on his handsome face at the sight of flames; licking at the engine from underneath.  Yeah.. no.

The Beast screeched in a terror filled fury deep within his soul, and he honestly had to struggle to keep his fangs from sliding out of his gums in order to screech along with it.

His jaw was aching.  He slammed the hood shut.  His head was staring to hurt.

The Gangrel paced a few feet away from his car, coming to stand upon the edge of the road, where it turned into gravel and tumbled away into a grass filled ditch.  On the other side of that ditch spanned a massive wheat field, although it was currently barren.

Closing his eyes, he willed the Blood into his ear drums in order to focus his hearing on the distant field.  The wind howled softly over hard, packed Earth, sending motes of dirt scattering across the ground like the soft pitter patter of rain.

Suddenly, a loud popping noise.  He snapped back into his body and opened his eyes, turning to focus a narrowed deep blue glare upon.. the car, of course.  Those tiny flames had grown immensely in the span of but a few moments, now gushing from the gaps in the hood and churning into the air like dragons breath.

Again, the Beast screamed at the flames.  Again, he fought against the primal fear, the tensing of muscles in his calves and thighs, locked to spring.  The burning sensation in his gums, as his fangs threatened to break loose. 

Too often a Kindred was willing to use the Beast within them as an excuse for their actions, a medium for which the blame can fall and harm none.  Anthony strived to be better, though being a Gangrel did give him a bit of an advantage.  The Beast, after all, was a Kindreds animal nature.  And none but the Garou can claim to be closer bound to the animals of the natural world than the Outlanders.  Some might say the Beast is a demon, but does that not make the Kindred themselves demons?

The Beast was right about one thing though.  Fire bad.  Anthony didn't know if a car would actually explode, but he wasn't going to wait around in order to find out.

He turned on his heel and started walking down the road when a buzzing in his pocket made him quirk a brow.  He plucked out the wafer thin device and quickly typed in the password.  Immediately, a message popped on screen, just a few words and a video attachment.

Think I got him.  Hard to be sure.

After downloading the video file, he couldn't press play fast enough.

But his deep blue eyes focused intently on the screen when it started moving--whoever was recording was walking through a long tunnel, cast in the bright green glow of night vision.  There didn't seem to be any sound on the video, no matter how much Anthony messed with it.

And then, at the end of the tunnel it came into view; a hulking beast, nearly ten feet tall with arms and legs the size of tree trunks.  It's skin the color of old parchment, seemed to constrict and slither across its being, like the skin didn't quite fit the body.  A furless lion's head with pitch black eyes swung towards the camera, brandishing long and jagged horns atop its head similar to an Elks.

The creatures lips began to part in what Anthony assumed was a roar, but just as whoever was recording the video started to swing away, it ended.

Anthony stopped walking, staring down at the phone in his hand.  Then he glanced up towards the glowing lights shining into the night sky from the distant horizon.  

There was no doubt in his mind that that was him--it.  That was the Satyral of legend, a shapeshifting monstrosity who just so happened to be Anthony's Sire.  He'd been hunting it for the better part of a year now, but this was the closest he's ever gotten.  So close, he could almost feel the Blood drawing him towards his Sire.  Though for what, he didn't want to find out.  The only thing that mattered was the truth of their shared past, no more, no less.

Flicking the jagged black hair from his eyes, he ran his fingers through his hair, turning his phone over in the other hand.  He pulled its back off, pulled out the battery, yanked out the SIM card, and crushed it in the palm of his hand.  Then he whipped his phone into the ditch, watching it with no small amount of grief as it exploded into pieces of plastic and screen.  He'd done it a hundred times, but it was still disappointing.  Now he had to go without until he made it into the city.

But he found it was easy to shrug off, shoving a hand into his pants pocket as he walked away from it, following the glowing beacon of the next city on the horizon, almost bright enough to fool him into thinking it was the reflection of a miniature sun on the night sky.

Thoughts of his Sire, of the Camarilla, of the strange occurence called the Beckoning that has drawn most of the Elders from this side of the world into the East, and finally of the Blood- all swirl around his head, forming a bloody and grandiose puzzle the likes of which he wondered if he would ever solve.

At least he was close to getting the answers he so desperately craved, he could feel it in his Blood.  Every step; bringing him nearer and nearer.





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