No Grace from which to Fall

BY : Oneiromancer
Category: M through R > Nightbreed
Dragon prints: 1583
Disclaimer: I do not own Nightbreed, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.





 

No Grace from which to
Fall

 

 

A work of fan fiction based
upon “Nightbreed”, as masterfully written and directed by Clive Barker.

 

 

Author’s note:  No real messy sex here, just serious
violence – and I mean that, dear reader. You’ve seen the movie? Ain’t seen
nothing yet. Be careful with this.

 

 

 

 

Whisper our names - we hear, we hear

Beloved monsters all

And if your gods would damn us, if your gods would damn us

That's alright - we have

No grace from which to fall

 

Talis Kimberley / Tribes of the Moon

 

 

 

They had shotguns, plenty
of those, long deadly rods of shining metal gripped firmly in each hand, as if
they were any protection at all against the night. They flaunted them often and
loudly, sending rogue bullets into the undergrowth, shooting blindly in the
thick, primal forest. None of the shots found its target, but the rustling of
bushes grew louder sometimes, as if something was moving within, startled by
the noise and smoke. In the air hovered raw fear clouding and choking.

 

Hours had passed already on
the hunt, and the moon was high in the starry heavens, still a good while away
from dawn. In the night the things that made humanity hide under its bed, or
take up a shotgun and hunt them down, had an edge. The dark loved them, and
they loved it in return, unafraid and unwavering, proud.

 

But the truth was, that at
this point, Peloquin no longer cared if he lived or died.

 

The bushes made faint
sounds as he ducked beneath them, grasping frantically for the chance to catch
his laboring breath. Hours on the hunt, running, helpless, fire, guns behind
him, men crazier, crueler than the Beast, the waning night. All the while he
could smell them, minutes behind him always, and it drove him mad, that and the
sound of footfalls, and the bullets.

 

He closed his eyes and
curled up in the scarce hiding place, sufficient only for moments before they
would be on him again. A sharp pain leaped up from his gut and up his spine –
ravaging, gnawing hunger, after two weeks of forced fasting turned from a dim
memory to a crippling need.

 

Blood pounded in his ears,
and he tried not to think about blood.

 

Blood, warm, salty blood, meat
to calm the Beast, and then run, because it would be dawn soon…

 

He was not supposed to be
the one hunted.

 

He thrashed under the cover
of the leafs in a sudden motion of pain and frustration, and at once the
rushing feet stopped, oil lanterns raised, horrible light out to get him.
Hunted for all his life, scarce thirty years, but every moment, hunted like an
animal.

 

Would that he could hunt on
them – but he could never, because he was not an animal after all.

 

But gods, he was hungry…

 

With an agile leap, he was
on his feet and sprinting away, seeking cover in the night. The night was
always a cover to his kind, always a shield, always a comfort. Not tonight.
They were after him. He never harmed them. He never went anywhere near them. He
hid from them, from the day he was born, in ruined buildings, in empty woods,
wherever was possible, because that was the life of the Nightbreed, because
they would not have him among them, and he would not force them to.

 

Not an animal, starving and
hunted in the night…

 

< sty style='font-size:10.0pt'>The Beast laughed in its
mighty throne within Peloquin’s skull, and the sound echoed and shattered over
the fragile walls of his mind.

 

No, not an animal –
thinking, knowing, understanding. The Naturals were close, they had shotguns,
they had fire, they had the dawn. He heard they drew comfort and hope from the
dawn, and found it more frightening than all their weapons.

 

They were always there, and
they dug him out, and called him a monster and an animal, and now he was
running.

 

He didn’t have to
run, the Beast reminded him quietly, pounding the insistent hunger against his
crumbling resolve. He could stop, turn around, fight them tooth and claw until
the dawn, even half starved he could probably take some of them to the night
with him.

 

No, not an animal, not a
monster, not what they hated and hunted. Run.

 

Run. Away from the town,
lights in the distance, away into the thick woods, bushes, undergrowth,
comforting darkness, sheltering shadows. The sounds of the night hovered in the
air, driving his senses to predatory keenness, his mind to a primal state,
blind feeling, hunger, fear and rage. Footfalls, men shouting, the high, round
moon, cursed light. Shotguns! A bullet shrieked inches away from his shoulder
and he jumped aside, startled and panting. He glanced back; guns could not harm
him, but the thundering noise, and the cursed light, why did they have to bring
light with them everywhere?

 

Fear and hunger, escalating
into deep, boundless hatred…

 

No, not the Beast. He lunged
at a slight movement in the bushes as the pursuit was broken one blessed
moment, silent as he had never been, claws closing on something shuddering,
soft and alive. Peloquin tore off its head without stopping to see what it was.
Blood filled his mouth and dripped down on his hands and the ground, salty and
wonderful. He could eat it, bones and all, right there, right now. This felt
right; this was how the hunt was supposed to go.

 

With supreme effort, he
caged the Beast for the while, consumed the small creature without glee,
without treasuring the scent and feel of a living body crushed in his hands. It
only made him hungrier.

 

A low growl turned into a
whimper in his throat and he rose shakily, mournful eyes darting to brave the
darkness. Gods, he was hungry, he was sick of being the prey. He had done
nothing to them to deserve death, nothing at all. He played with them in his
way, had his fun, his dark Nightbreed games, but nothing to earn death, not if
he had been human…

 

But if he had been
human…

 

Abruptly he lurched up,
stumbled backwards and fell heavily into the depth of the undergrowth, startled
and raging. More light! More voices! New voices! Was there no end to these
humans, these insane Naturals with their guns, their lamps, their hunt?

 

He held his breath and
desperately listened, trying to mingle away with the night, to not existt
tt
think nor feel nor even be, until it was over.

 

Their voices, so many…

 

“We chased it into the
forest. We reckon it can’t find shelter until sunrise.”

 

“Murderous beast… hate that
kind…”

 

“It never even tried to
attack us. Think it’s scared, boys?”

 

“Probably a young one…
doesn’t know what it’s capable of yet.”

 

“Oh, fancy that, a young
one, a sweet little monster-pup…”

 

Cruel, harsh laughter.

 

Peloquin gritted his teeth
and fought the Beast tooth and claw.

 

Too frightened to fight…
too worn out to run.

 

Trapped.

 

No, not an animal;
thinking, rationalizing. The newcomers had to have arrived from one of the
nearby farms, which meant one of them lay empty of men, guns and lights, and
will remain so for a while. And nobody – none of these men who hunted him like
a monster – would credit him with enough intelligence to hide right under their
noses.

 

He thought of the dawn, the
terrible, bright dawn, and it gave him all the courage and energy he needed.

 

It seemed like hours, but
at last the brilliant beams of oil lamps turned away, piercing another corner
of the forest, and the heavy footfalls followed them. Peloquin rose and moved
with the silence of a predator, feeling the foul taste of the irony all too
well. He could see another kind of light in the distance, and taking a deep
breath discovered the thick smell of cattle and horses. Large, warm sacks of
blood, unaware… another wave of pain exploded in his gut, and he bitterly
silenced his eager instincts. Could not risk being found out, though the dawn
seemed less a threat now and more a promise of freedom.

 

He skulked between the
leafs, battling the overpowering urge to run. His breath was still heavy and
his head still spinning with adrenaline, but he could not miss the distant
lights. Not that far away. He managed to lose the hunting party for the time,
it could not be that bad, it could not be. A wind tore through the clustered
treetops and he stopped one moment, breathing in the aroma of the night. Not
that bad, really…

 

He made it to the gates.

 

They were not large, but
they were locked. A metal sign hanged loose from one side; he recognized the
marks on it as letters, but his knowledge ended there. Behind it was a short
trail, and then large houses forming a square. One was a barn. Good. All doors
and windows were shut tight, locked against the darkness, the night, the
monsters.

 

Peloquin slammed himself
against the bars, and only got pain for his trouble. This was no wooden door he
could knock down with his weight alone. Rage filled him suddenly, hatred at the
lock, at the barring gates, the unknowing gates. He clasped two thick rods of
metal, and with a roar of frustration, pulled them with all his dwindled
strength.

 

The gate came away from the
walls with a terrible sound of yielding metal, and he found himself sprawled on
the ground under it. The muscles in his arms felt sore and taxed, but he could
still throw the useless metal scrap ten feet away.

 

Doesn’t know what he is
capable of, the men said.

 

A small rush of thrill ran
down his spine, and he stood up and ran into the farm, every few steps testing
the air. Livestock, crops, the thin-spread smell of hay and wooden walls, but
no men, no trace of nearby men, and no smell of guns.

 

His breath was becoming
easier.

 

He sneaked into the barn,
an easy entrance. Soft, golden hay was spread all over the floor; stepping in,
he almost drowned right into it, and the heavy smell made him sneeze and cough.
But it was warm, it was silent, and there were rats running about. If he stayed
there until the next night, the farmer would end up very grateful. It might
have discouraged him if he was less hungry.

 

But he was not, and the blood
on the hay looked very beautiful, especially in the moonlight.

 

He managed to catch three
and ate them whole, barely even bothering with the fur and bones. It was barely
enough to keep him from going crazy, but enough to keep him alive. The blood
calmed him and eased the clinging tension, making the night what it should be,
the feeling of the warm flesh trembling in his grip feeding and adding to the
strange feeling of newfound power. It was not that he had not tried living on
other things, but he always went back to the hunt and the kill, and by now he
already stopped making excuses.

 

He was strangely calm now,
but still unbelievably hungry. No smells lasted or penetrated the thick scent
of the hay, but his keen eyes spotted a slow movement just by the door, a
flicker and shifting of shadows. He advanced slowly, intent of lunging and
capturing the creature with both hands, but when rising, he instead collided
with a start against another body, and with an icy flood of fear leaped
backwards, staring.

 

Then he gave a quiet
chuckle. It was a young woman.

 

Very young indeed, no more
than eighteen years old, but shapely already. She was probably left alone in
the farm while her family joined in the hunt for him. Now she had him at a
gunpoint, but the long barrel was shaking in her hands, and she was as pale as
the moonlight. Horror shone in her eyes as a subtle flame, and she studied him
up and down, mesmerized.

 

Peloquin silently delighted
in her fear, free now of his own. A pained and weary delight it was, clouded by
exhaustion and hunger, but comforting nonetheless. He looked at her in the
faint light, the curves of her body were pronounced by shadow, breasts, hips
and round face, smooth young skin and bright eyes framed by dark hair. She was
a simple beauty, and that was quite enough. A rising whisper of desire braved
itself into his mind, in mockery of the hunters. Forgetting the hunger for just
a moment, he moved forward to touch her.

 

Gasping, she raised the gun
and thrust its edge below his collarbone, just strongly enough to keep him
away. The fear – heavy, visible, dark – made her tragically beautiful, and
helped her very little.

Swiftly driven to anger,
his hands shot to her face again.

 

She stumbled back, and
fired.

 

A curse tore from him at
the noise. He could feel the bullet pierce his flesh, crushing a rib before it
flew out. It hurt terribly for one instant – just one before the wound was
already mending.

 

Doesn’t know what he is
capable of…

 

Pushed by pure anger, he
grabbed the gun, and he crushed it in his bare hands without thinking one
moment.

 

The girl shrieked and tried
to turn, to run, but Peloquin didn’t waste his time. Rage overwhelmed him now,
rage and forbidden need, pain, defiance and hunger, storming within his mind
and empowering him; he lunged at her, caught her waist with one arm and clasped
a hand over her mouth. She trembled feebly in his grip, like a small bird
grounded, her breath erratic, tears flowing down her face and onto his hand.
Her skin was amazingly warm.

 

Forcefully he made her turn
around, forced her eyes onto his freakish face. He caught her long hair, felt
its texture in his hands, slipping between the claws. Her heart was pounding
like a distant drum and the sound was surrounding him until he could not think.
Her skin was soft and eyes were wide open, and he slipped a finger over the
front of her dress and the claw cut it wide open.



Gods, but he was hungry...


She was shivering in his
grip, terrible knowledge in her eyes, that she knew what he was going to do.
Despite the gnawing in his gut, driven to an explosive pain by the smell of
flesh and breath, he smiled savagely as his gaze caught hers. He slipped a claw
delicately over her exposed breasts, grinning wider yet as her nipples
stiffened, delighting in the feel of his own erection. Her mind might claim
that she was being raped, but her senses will soon tell her otherwise...


A small whimper echoed as
he forced her hard against his body, studying with wide eyes her delicate face.
The skin was vulnerable and smelled wonderfully, her flesh was gentle. Blood
was trickling from a cut in her cheek, and it sent him tumbling back to a more
primal need. The Beast roared and banged on the bars of fear and taboo, and
with the faint quivering and the feeling of life, it swept him away completely,
leaving only itself its wake.



He sunk his teeth deep into
her exposed neck.



She made no sound as one
fang punctured the veins in her throat, sputtering his face with blood until he
could see nothing but a red veil. With a low growl he pulled away, shocked at
the feeling of something warm and bloody in his mouth. He swallowed it whole
before he had the chance to realize what it was.



She crumpled, pulling him
down with her, tumbling to the ground like a rag doll. Her eyes were still open
and her chest rose and fell against his, quickly, trembling, hot air, the wound
radiating warmth into the cold night. He could not stay upright if he wanted
to.



He fell, and cried out as
his head bashed against a rock. The pain lit within him a match of pure fury,
sending fire pulsing in his muscles, mingling with the hunger, the distant and
terrible realization, and the smell of blood... what was he holding back for?


He flashed bright white
fangs, sharp and deadly in the moonlight, and he sunk them deep into one breast
and tore until there was nothing left to consume. Flesh scattered, salty,
wonderful, dark red flow the color of wine, a smell sweeter yet. She looked at
him all the while, and her eyes drove him long past insanity.


Hunger and darkness,
roaring in his head, in his chest with the racing pulse, the sharpening of all
senses. The night was heavy, everywhere, the bright blazing stars, claws and
teeth tore into the soft surface of a vulnerable abdomen, licking the blood off
warm entrails. Inflamed, unable to stop, needing and fearing, ripped away one
hand, caught the stump in his mouth, sucking on the blood, tracing his tongue
against the shattered bone, pulling out the flesh and ligaments. Fangs along
the empty, frozen image of an unreal face, drinking one eye dry, claiming lips
in a tainted kiss. And she looked at him, looked at him still, empty eyes,
gaping mouth in a silent plea, rushing blood in her veins. And he could not
bear it, not even the Beast could bear it. He bent over her, caressed her chest
gently, caved in her ribs. He pulled out the still beating heart, and her eyes
remained open and gazing up until the second he bit it in half.


Peloquin collapsed, lost in
a bloody delirium.

 

Dawn was near when he woke at
last, dizzy and wonderfully warm, at first not remembering what happened. He
stared with quiet amazement at the decimated body of the woman, her ribs
shattered, her guts scattered and spilt, her breasts a mess of blood, bits of
flesh and deep bite marks. Swallowing hard, he felt the taste of blood in his
mouth.

 

And he knew.

 

In the first few seconds, he
started coughing and choking, the muscles in his stomach and throat resisting
the air heavy with the smell of death. He thought he’d vomit, lose
consciousness or die, he expected nothing else, deserved nothing else, but did
neither.

 

Meat, just a heap of red,
trashed meat, cold now, but he could remember it well, steaming, bloody,
convulsing, living… meat for the Beast, little more.

 

And living eyes, staring living
eyes, knowing, accusing. No, not an animal…

 

He dragged himself feebly
away, then rose up in disgust.

 

He had his way with the body,
brutally, viciously, as almost an act of cleansing. There was a passion he
could understand, could claim and live by, the ever present, ever consuming
need to take and taste and devour… he shuddered in a violent seizure. One
moment he was dazed by the scent of the blood, and a welcome sick feeling
washed over him. He felt a distant longing to retch out the cursed meat, to rid
himself of its taint, but no such grace came for the Beast.

 

Shivering, he rose up from
the tortured, naked remains of the human, the meat. A sick feeling? He felt
healthy and satiated at last, more so than ever he could remember. Satisfied,
in all ways. Strong, in an almost electrifying way, the buzzing course of
power, and hungry.

 

He touched a hand to his
face – sleek blood, sweat, foam, saliva – swept it over his eyes, as if the
feeling of power was a moment’s weakness he could banish. Something was changed
in him and he knew it, felt it, physically and deep in his mind. With a choked
mutter, he kicked the ravaged flesh, which gleamed red and beautiful under the
moonlight. Through a haze of mad desire, he struggled to look away, clinging to
sanity. The smell of blood and death was threatening to overwhelm him
completely, drag him with its tantalizing beauty into the darkness along with
his kill.

 

His kill… he felt so good,
satisfied, refreshed and powerful, and he gazed down on his bloodstained hands
and closed his eyes, unable to look…

 

The sound of footsteps, men
rushing from the nearby buildings, talks and shouts, roused him from the
delightful agony. His head snapped to one side, keen eyes narrowing to pierce
the darkness. The sentient, thinking and feeling being that wrestled with
passion was gone in an instant, surrendering to the comforting instincts of the
Beast. They were back, too early, lured he she smell of death. He could hear
them, smell them coming, and soon they would be upon him. They had knives and
guns, and dawn would come soon, but he knew that he could fight them all and
shed not a drop of blood, and still find shelter when the sun came. He could
kill them all.

 

A brilliant beam of light
pierced the darkness, but the men who came found nothing but what they could
only guess was once a human being. Peloquin fled into the night, and it
welcomed him with an eager embrace.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Dawn. Dawn was coming.

 

In between thick clouds,
the sky was colored a faint red shade, reminiscent of that of dried blood. The
cruel touch of the sun viciously roused Peloquin from the haze of swirling
thoughts combating ravenous desires. He desperately glanced around for cover,
but the old graveyard he found himself in provided none.

 

And all around were open
fields, distant woods, and hunters.

 

In thirty minutes it became
burning agony, the sky slowly going from red to white to blue, the huge orb of
fire in it casting down an endless barrage of rays. He buried himself as best
he could under bushes, behind tombstones, but it still felt like the life was
sucked out of him bit by bit. Which was, of course, exactly what was happening.

 

He knew it could not be
long. Perhaps an hour. Probably less.

 

It might have been shorter
if he had not eaten hours before. It might then have been a lot less proper. He
might have tried to run anyway.

 

Different deaths, that was
all, in the end.

 

He just never knew the dawn
would be so beautiful.

 

He was already
semi-conscious when a great sound startled him awake and aware. Raising his
head with an effort, he saw that a stony wall was gone from under one tall
arch, revealing a hole like a gaping mouth in the construct. Blessed shadows
were inside, and against them stood stark and tall the figure of a man.

 

No, not a man. Not if the
strange, grotesque slits on each side of the elderly face were any indication,
if the eyes…

 

Peloquin lurched. Another
Nightbreed?

 

“You look like one of
ours,” the older man said. He did not step into the sun.

 

Peloquin found that he
could not speak, not even nod, and that it had nothing to do with the burning
light, not really.

 

The older man looked at him
a long while, nailing him with wise eyes that saw everything, knew everything,
did not even have to ask. Now he moved forward, and his eyes narrowed slightly
in the light. He bent down a bit.

 

“Blood,” he said, calmly,
without as much as worry or contempt. “Is it not? Your own?” Peloquin still
could not answer, though he tried. He swallowed hard and found the taste of the
night still lingered in his mouth, mockingly. He forced air out, trying to
speak, and choked.

 

 “No?”  The older
man visibly blinked, and now there was something else in his gaze. Peloquin
looked away. “And you are so young…”

 

He took another step
forward, yet stayed at an arm’s length, not in fear but in quiet confidence. He
moved to kneel, studying the young freak intently.

 

“You don’t look very well,
boy. The sun?” his voice was amazingly soft. At last Peloquin managed a feeble
nod in reply, and shrunk away from the careful hand trying to touch.

 

“I see,” the older man
said, and he stood up. “I think I understand.”

 

He retreated back into the
shadows of the arc, but did not look away for an instant. In the shadows he
looked at home, his dark eyes coming alive with deeply buried embers. He was
clad in tattered rags and looked more than a bit starved, and he was as one
with the darkness, in a way Peloquin could appreciate all too well.

 

At length he spoke.

 

“Among the Tribes of the
Moon, there is forgiveness,” he said. “No one would begrudge you whom this
world had turned you into. But within these walls, things are different. This
is our world, and in our worlds, we have laws, we have oaths and legacies,
which sometimes force us to change, but we abide by them nonetheless. They are
the reason we are not the monsters we are made to be.”

 

He looked down on Peloquin,
without pity, without judgment, without fear, and he held out his hand.

 

“Now choose,” he said.

 

And Peloquin looked at the
hand, and upward, to the face of that man, that freak, who lived underground
with his rules, and would take in a monster and a killer. That Nightbreed who
sought to make light in his beloved darkness, to cage the Beast, to be all that
was hallowed as human.

 

The reason we are not the
monsters we are made to be.

 

He rose up in defiance of
the sun, and stumbling caught the hand, allowed himself to be pulled up and
helped to his feet. And together they descended into Midian.

 

 

~~End~~

 

 

 



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