Shadow of the Valley: The Modern Midnight Reaper

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Shouji lives in a small town outside the greater city. The only family he has is his sister. His career path is dismal and troubled with arrests despite his passion for art. He understands his hobbies aren't well liked by his sister but he's determined to make some worth out of what he enjoys. What he didn't expect was to get tangled up in an mysterious woman with strawberry blonde hair. She was exciting, strong-willed and he was determined to find out what made her so alluring. Maybe it was the fire of her anger or that glow in her eyes when she stared at him longingly. It wasn't his fault, though. Getting tangled up with her seemed harmless at first. He just wanted to love her. Was that so wrong? Endless nights of feverish escapades through the night. Kisses and the heat of her lips on his neck till blood drew. He didn't know this type of thing was usually arranged for people like herself. He also didn't understand how a human matched up to a supernatural being such as her but he couldn't resist. He had to have her. Even if he didn't have any outstanding useful traits.... Like that of scientists and musicians. He wasn't a tactical fighter, trained as deadly bodyguards. Unlike the rest, he wasn't picked for his talents but only pure unadulterated love. He was a victim of circumstance, caught in a web of love that led him down a dark path of death and agony. A path so s

Age Rating:

A Chance Encounter

Semi-long wavy hair parted down her back. It spilled messily over her shoulders as the fabric pulled down with the weight of her hands. Her gaze, sharply centered on a young man cowering beneath her, was cold. When Megura kicked her sneaker against the wall, her bright shoulder-length hair fell back over her hoodie. Curls of soft oranges and pinks splashed through her dirty blonde hair, and she tensed up as her mind mulled over her reaction carefully.

Finally, she licked her bottom lip while adjusting the lollipop stick in her mouth before letting her front teeth clack on it as if she was contemplating her words carefully. “What the fuck, Ken? You’re bailing out on me?” She saw him stiffen, as if reminded of the task he had forgotten. In that instant, a part of her felt sorry. That was only if she disregarded how sick to her stomach she felt for what he had done moments ago. “My father promised me you’d be a worthy friend, an ally to our family, and yet at the first sight of blood... Here you are, on the ground cowering, and you’re already ready to run home?” She jabbed at him angrily.

The young man looked up at her and shivered at her words. His eyes slowly drew up her legs before he met her gaze and he froze, like a deer before headlights. Almost as if he knew his reaction hardly seemed to trigger the illicit response she was hoping for. His senses rattled him, telling him he was done for. Still, he tried to regain himself. Slowly standing up, he crouched against the wall of the alley for support. His voice came out hoarse, revealing how dry his mouth was and how hard his heart was pounding in his chest. Fear irradiated off of him.

Megura’s face soured at his response, her brows knitting together. Her patience gone, she bit the stick in half unintentionally, but everything he did only provoked her more.

Curling a lip, her nose wrinkled when she kicked him in the shin - not too hard - but hard enough to drop him. “You fuckin’ gotta be kidding me. You’re such a wuss!” He cowered under her, putting his arms over his head. This only infuriated her more. “Your brothers will take your place, obviously, regardless of how much older you are than them! If you can’t even hang out with me when I’m not even hurting anyone- God!” She grit her teeth before picking up her foot to kick him harder and he fell to the ground. He struggled to get up quickly, but she put her foot on his back. Her expression wavered between anger and disappointment. Her tears betrayed her anger, but she wouldn’t let them fall just yet.

“You make me feel like a freak! If my father kills you, I wouldn’t bat at eye!” When he didn’t respond, she stomped down on his back again. Feeling him resist just made her want to kick the hell out of him. “You make me feel so.... E-u-urrg!” She felt her frustration rise again. She turned on him. Those sweet, brightly colored locks of hair swayed fluidly as she pivoted with one foot quickly and kicked a trash can nearby, sending it flying down the ally. Finally, her hands came out of her sweater pockets as she mused over her messy bright strawberry blonde hair. She tried to refrain from screaming, but her voice trembled as she struggled to remain in control.

“I can’t believe this shit!” Tears formed in her eyes again as she blinked quickly, attempting to make them to go away. “Go home, Kentarou Rugami! GO HOME!” She screamed again, kicking another can, sending it flying down the alley into the other. The noise was startling, and a cat rustled out from one of the kicked cans. The metal scraped the alleyway as it jumped over another and into the busy street. Silence followed and from the ground, he could only gaze at her as she stared after the cat with her back to him.

He seemed to hesitate. His breathing paused as his legs shook. The two were very much aware of each other as she heard his shoes scrape the ground. Megura stiffened, listening to him scrambling up from the ground. Scraping his knee across the ground, he grabbed a bin that toppled over to regain his balance.

With his next breath, she heard him stiffen before he exhaled. Her hair rustled as she felt the breeze of wind from him as he broke into a run. Sloppily, he ran down the ally past her only to head for the left the corner of the ally. His shoes splashed up the water, scattering the muddied slop against the concrete pavement as he left. The only thing behind her now was the three bodies in the low lit alley.

After a minute, she shifted her weight as she turned her head to look back behind her. Megura finally turned to view her work once more. Looking back at the three men, she surmised they were all half dead, if not in critical condition.

She grit her teeth, looking down at them before her breathing let loose a high-pitched noise resemblant of a tense scream. Her hand covered her face partially as she tried to take in a deep breath. All she could think about though was that he should have protected her. That way she wouldn’t have to fight and show her strength. Instead, here she was... a monster. She bit down on her lip, chewing at it vigorously. “Why is it only me?” She winced. Her hand gripped the edge of her pockets as she stared at them.

A low light illuminated a neighborhood not too far from the bustling city. Even the dog that barked had its voice echo down the quiet neighborhood where a few houses’s lights illuminated the low-lit street. Not more than a few blocks in, there was a light lit on a small baby blue house. It seemed quiet, but the closer anyone got, the more they could hear the noise coming from it. A noise most neighbors said was hardly irregular.

Shouji sighed. “Sora enough. You’re nagging hasn’t changed my mind yet.” He looked at his sister. She was a few inches shorter than him, but almost ten years older. She looked up through her glasses at him. Her mouth twisted in a frown as her brows drew tightly together. It was her usual pouting face, and he rolled his eyes. Here it comes...

“Nagging!” she screeched. “Nagging! Shou I swear I will shove your head-” She stumbled on her words, unable to complete a clear thought. “And I’ll send you to the yakuza myself if you don’t straighten up! What would mom think if she knew you wanted to be a-a tattoo artist?” she went there. The low blow of bringing up their late mother.

Shouji winced. Their mother had died when he was only twelve years old. Hearing her words was depressing and Shouji frowned, feeling himself withdraw from the conversation. He wanted to say she’d be happy for him, that it didn’t matter what he did, but that was not true. Not now, anyway. Sora worked so hard to take care of him and go to university, and he repays her by getting arrested every couple of months. “Sora...” he said looking at her now.

His red contacts scared her a little, so she backed up a little. He didn’t know what to say. He shrugged his jacket the rest of the way on and turned to leave. Sora called after him, but he ignored her and put his headphones in and started off down the street. It wasn’t like he wasn’t already questioning his life choices, anyway. He just wanted to be himself. Why was that so bad? She was right though, there was no Bachelor’s degree for someone like him if he didn’t start dressing like a normal person.

It almost seemed like fate, but life had felt like a repeating track. The only thing that changed was the scenery. Turning away from the alley, Megura stalked out of the alley, her nose to the ground and tears in her eyes as she slammed her sneakers onto the pavement. She hardly noticed the blocks she had transcended, it only seemed like a few steps before slamming her entire body into someone else. Her forehead probably collided with his and as she tried to bring her head up, where she probably (she did) double-dipped for another clip of this guy’s face. Hot damn! She was a mess.

Stumbling back, her balance off, Megura’s ass slammed into the ground before her hands caught her. Her hands came up to her face quickly, grabbing her nose all-the-while trying to clear her vision. “Can you fuckin’ watch it?!” she screamed, wiping her tears frantically as she tried to keep herself from breaking into a sob. Gods, what next?!

Shouji’s eye’s widened as he looked at her now on the ground and crying. He didn’t hear her cuss at him before he pulled his head phones out and held a hand out to help her up. “Excuse me...” he said.

Megura looked up, glaring at him, but instead of taking his hand she turned her head the other way. “Honestly?! You can’t even tell what you’re doing? First you walk out of nowhere and now you’re trying to say excuse me. Did you even hear anything I said?” She pushed herself off the ground, dusting off her skinny jeans, before swiftly jerking her head to look back at him. Her bright eyes thin between her lashes, “Who do you think you are?! Do you know who I am?!” she yelled, more tears welling up in her eyes as her anger subsided into sadness. More tears kept coming. She just couldn’t get a grip. She was so done with this night.

“You can’t even apologize, all you have is an excuse me?! Excuse me?! You should say I’m sorry!” She crossed her arms as she tried to keep her hands from cupping her face. She sniffed, wiping her eyes frantically. “Fuckin’ idiot. I swear. I can’t believe this shit. First that little wuss and now this idiot who can’t even see past his blaring headphones.” She yammered on to herself, a hiccup following behind each breath as she stepped away. “Damn it.”

He smirked and watched her throw her tantrum. “I didn’t walk out of nowhere. I believe I have just as much a right to walk this way as you..” Obviously something else was bothering her. “I bet I’m not the one you’re really angry at, but can I make it up to you?” He asked.

She stopped talking and looked at the ground; her face red with embarrassment. “Yes,” she managed to say as the tears continued and she crossed her arm indefinitely. She couldn’t believe she was going off with some stranger, but it was better than him laughing at her while she yelled. Besides, it was nice that he offered and better than going home because she was damn sure-! Her body tensed and she bit her lip, her green eyes glossy with tears. Her shoulders shook as the adrenaline coursed through her at the thought of him laughing at her again.“If you laugh at me again... I’ll-I’ll make you wish you hadn’t.” She sulked, not looking him in the eye. “Now, where are we going?” She pouted, looking up at him with the best angry - more like pouty - face she could put on.

She looked kind of like Sora when she did that. He smiled. “This way,” he said as he led her to where he was going to begin with. He led her to an old abandoned house on the outskirts of town. Sure, it looked like hell on the outside, but on the inside he had taken over the place. All the broken and worn down wall had splashes of brilliant color and designs.

Despite the heat in her cheeks and the blood that flowed hotly through her, Megura obliged his offer. At first it was easy, following him, but as they walked out of busy neighborhood streets and into the musty suburbs, almost on the outskirts of town. Where was this going? This path? Did he think he’d have his way with her to cheer her up? Her face flushed at the thought, not because she was a virgin - she wasn’t - but because a human was walking her wherever he pleased.

Finally, near the end, as they walked to the abandoned house, Megura snatch her hand back, looking at him. “Where are we?” She asked quickly. She went to look back, but the walls caught her eyes and soon she was looking at the rest of the walls. The whole place was dressed up with designs like some junky’s artistic hideout. “What is this?” She asked vaguely, not trying to be rude for once, but it still came out somewhat harsh.

She could have left if she really felt that uncomfortable. It’s not like his original plan involved her, anyway. He smiled at her reaction. “My canvas, I guess you could say.” he said, watching her look around.

Her gaze softened slightly in the low light and she walked over to a wall, her fingers lightly tracing over the air between the wall and her hand. “It’s not shabby...” She commented, trying to say something nice. “I’m sure if you have a huge canvass and a ton of materials, it would be even more grand than this.... N-not that it’s bad or anything.” she mumbled the rest, unsure if he’d even hear her. She slowly looked back at him, “It works... You know, the thing... How you brought me here to make up for your blunder. It works.” She huffed, looking around. “It’s not bad....Is that what you do most of the day?”

He heard her compliment. He knew she was trying. “Yes. I mostly just come here to clear my head.” He said. And to get away from his nagging sister.

“It’s... neat.” She breathed, looking down as she gripped the sleeves of her sweater. “I kind...a... wish-” she cut off and looked to the doorway. “Well... yeah. That’s fine.” Megura looked back at him, then smiled slightly before she headed for the door. “You charmed me, punk boy. I’ll give you that.” She hummed, stepping out. “Feel good, you charmed a lady with your work. You’re not so bad... For a headphones guy.” She looked back down, kind of unsure what reason she had more to linger now that she’d seen it all.

He laughed then. It was a breathy half laugh, but it caught her attention. “This is also the only place I’ve found can see the stars.” He said as he walked into a room not quite finished. It was getting dark. He pushed the button on a lantern, then to light up a corner of the room he was working on. There was a large hole in the ceiling that revealed the purple and red sky above.

Megura’s ears twinged, sensitive to the sound, and she turned towards him slowly before walking back further into the old dilapidated house. Hesitant, she drew in her breath before she followed him into the room and looked up into the gaping hole above their heads. Her eyes couldn’t help but trace up the lines to the sky and something in her changed, something made her mind think this was so serene. She felt the tears well up in her eyes and fall again and she frowned, making her chest feel tight.

All this time... Her entire life and she hadn’t even bothered to look at the sky in over a millennium because she was so lonely. Because it felt like she was lost in a sea of dark, never ending living. Her breath caught, and she closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath. “I’m doing a number to myself tonight.” She breathed, looking at him with slow realization. “I can’t believe it.... It’s been a long time since I bothered to even look at the night sky. Would you mind if?...”

She shook her head and laughed, “Ahh-ah, I keep letting these tears fall, it’s like I’m turning into a sappy bag of blood if I keep going like this.” She pulled a small card from her pocket and handed it to him. “You’re not bad, punk boy.” She couldn’t help the smile that pulled at the edge of her lips. “Find me tomorrow. If you’re up for it. And I’ll take you somewhere neat.”

He smiled at her. He guessed this was her nickname for him. “Name’s Shouji,” he told her. “And I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.”

A small smile flickered across her face, “Punk boy.” She laughed, her first laugh all night. “Punk boy Shouji.” She snorted, rolling her eyes.“You can call me Megura. Not Meg, but Megura.” She told him, closing her eyes. She looked up at the ceiling again, “Yeah... Maybe you won’t catch me on a bad time next time. Maybe you’ll catch me on my good side. We’ll see.”

He smiled. At least she didn’t say it with a condescending tone like all the others. “Well, even if I do, I know at least one way to make it better, Megura.”

She smiled, well, more like smirked at the compliment. It wasn’t so bad. Turning away, she walked out the door, giving him a short wave off. “Bye. For now, then.” Before he could get a second glance at the door, she had left. It didn’t take her long to reappear a few blocks down. She kept her pace quick so she could get home in time before the sun rose.

It wasn’t any later after her leave that Lau had sniffed her out, putting down his foot over the sidewalk as he crossed the street to the other side. For a human, it looked odd how he had his nose to the ground, before his head turned and he smelled the air. Lifting one hand against a nearby lamp to touch it, he took in a deep breath, getting a good whiff of the air. He rubbed the dust between his fingers and closed his eyes, breathing in deeply before taking in the smell of it.

“It’s faint, but... I think there’s a vampire near.” He rumbled softly, Gwen in short tow behind him.

Roku turned his head back to Lau, he had purposely lagged. He could smell the vampire too, but he would only hurt it in self defense. His pathetic strive for nobleness got him into trouble with the LGS a lot and Gwen was already suspicious of him.

Because of his behavior, Nephylym never wanted him because they knew he would never listen to them, even if it often ended in his handler getting hurt. Roku looked down, deep in thought. He understood a bit about why humans fought the vampires, but they never just defended themselves. Considering the circumstances, it seemed justified, especially since sometimes they would even bring just half dead vampires back to the labs, though they hardly ever lasted.

He could see it in his head, more clearly than anything else, the image of that creepy ear to ear grin the lab director got when he was about to do experiments. More like torture. His chest squeezed painfully, but he was glad he would not be on the receiving end of that. The vampires were going to die anyway, so what did it matter having to help round them up? Roku broke from his thoughts to focus on the task at hand at the sound of Gwen’s whistle.

Lau huffed, snorting a laugh when he eyed Gwen and stopped short to nod in the direction the scent trailed off to.

It took a moment for her to notice before Gwen stumbled into him, her eyes flicking up from her surrounding. “Lau,” she growled, her hand tight in a fist, but she had been paying attention to Roku, almost tempted to grab him by the collar and shake some sense into him.

“The trail’s cold,” he persisted, rolling his eyes as he veered off the direction towards Roku. “Huh? We should check the city, it’s more prevalent, huh Roku?” He snorted, tired of the chase already. He knew she was far. He could tell by how her scent trickled away.

Gwen huffed, puffing her chest out. “So you can run to one of your little food stands? I’m not buying you anything. Besides, we’re wasting good time. They prefer open areas like this.”

“Pffft, ahah.... Ah. Prefer open areas?!” He snorted, rolling his eyes, “Prefer open areas. How primitive do you think these people are?”

Gwen glared at him, ready to pull her shotgun out and pistol whip him with it, but he swung out of reach and the thought was too late by the time it crossed her mind. “Move it, or I’ll have you back in bars, whelp. You’re the only one who gives me hell. You can’t just be like Roku? Silent. Do your job.”

“My job? This is slave work. I thought I’ve told you that enough, sweet Gwen. I do not..... Repeat. Do. Not. I do not do ‘dog’ work. I’m not a dog. Not a wolf. Not a pup. Nor a whelp. You bring my ass to an empty park and you’re gonna hear something. Are you really that afraid of going to the city? Of finding another nest you can’t handle so the government dogs can tell you to go home, you’ve done enough?”

Her grip tightened, and she dug her teeth in. Her jaw clenched before she reached into her pocket and pulled out the remote. “You’re on probation still. You wanna keep fuckin’ with me, Lau? Don’t want to work? I’ll click this remote and it’s a one-way signal to the office to dispose of your ass.”

He laughed, “What? So I can tell them you brought us out to nowhere under NO pretense? Get a life. I’m going to the city. Click the fuckin’ button. I dare ya’, but I’m telling you right now. There’s nothing here.” He shot, placing his hands behind his head. He knew she wouldn’t do it. She was too soft. To innocent for the job because he knew she’d know the death of his sister would be on her hands and he played her for it every time, gauging how far he could really go.

Obviously Gwen had witnessed firsthand what they did to ‘disposables.’ After all, her first partner wasn’t alive anymore after her little escapade into a den without aid. The poor whelp got torn up defending her only for them to put him down when he turned for the worse... They would never be seen again, even if they somehow survived, but hardly anyone could live through the change into becoming a hybrid.

Roku nodded and started for town when he heard Gwen start in. He sighed. “-” He couldn’t get a word in. Not like he had anything to say, really. Vampires preferred to be alive, so they would be anywhere they felt safe. The city usually provided more cover for them. He thought about it a bit, when Gwen mentioned him and his attention snapped back. He looked up at her and his gaze soured.

He didn’t enjoy doing this anymore than Lau, he just didn’t voice his opinion so openly. He didn’t like how Gwen jumped to that level of punishment just because she didn’t agree this time. “I think we’d have better luck in the city.” He spoke finally, shifting his weight to his other foot. They had been standing here at this junction for a while and he was becoming impatient from standing around.

Gwen’s lips pursed, and she seemed to redden in the face, almost like her head might explode. Instead, she expelled a heavy sigh that hinted a growl at the end. “Fine,” she sounded exasperated, irritably throwing up her hands as she rolled her eyes. “Lead the way,” she drawled, but Lau had already left. The moment her hands flung up, he was like a dog off his leash, and several blocks down tracing his way back into town.

Roku meandered into town instead. He wasn’t in much of a hurry. He’d know if Lau found something.

By the time Shouji got home, it was already late, and he closed the door quietly when he noticed Sora asleep on the couch, her books all about her. He slipped off his shoes as he turned to lock the deadbolt. She’s got a good job already, and she still studies... His mind wandered a bit before he stepped into the living room. He looked at some stuff she had lying around.

First there was a note on anatomy of humans and then... Shouji craned his neck a little to get a good look at it. He made a look of surprise and stepped back. He didn’t understand the notes on other things, but whatever it was, it wasn’t human anatomy. Walking towards the hall, Shouji quietly crept to the wall to flick off the lights. He flicked the switch on the side table lamp before easing the books from her lap and set them on the coffee table. Trying not to wake his sister, Shouji picked her up gently and carried her to her room.

She was lighter. She probably hadn’t been eating properly. A pang of guilt washed over him. Maybe it was because of him, maybe her work. Shouji tried to reason with himself a bit as he laid her down and covered her up. As straightened his back, standing up, he glanced out into the night sky through the window of her room. A moment passed before he looked down at the floor and stepped back out of the room, closing the door behind him before finally walking to his room. A small part of his mind wondered if he’d really see Megura the next day. He hoped so.

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