You are walking down the sidewalk and see something on the pavement. What is it and what does it mean to you.
It's rare I'll take a walk in the middle of the day. I'm not fond of swarming crowds. While it isn't fatal, that's merely folklore and movie makers, it is intrusive. There is no choice in what it illuminates, in how it exposes us. In light we announce ourselves to the world and I would rather remain a silent partner.
Sometimes, however, there is little choice in the matter. Humans don't enjoy creeping in the dark. For the most part. For them the exposure is comforting, the brightness reassuring. Meeting in the day makes for a more even playing field. It keeps their sense of security and occasionally we all have to pander to the fears and insecurities of others.
David requested my presence for purchasing another sword. A dull blade is worthless when a single strike is needed. A fake is even more worthless than that. Since he is unable to tell the genuine from the fake, it was not something that could be ignored. Perhaps he is simply lonely, but that is no concern of mine.
The street air is usually crammed with the inane chatter of trundling masses. The standard issues of the standard people. Obnoxious yelling of street vendors and howling children. The hard angles of buildings become more acute than in the dark, forms no longer blended together by shadow. It is all that more sharp to me.
I think perhaps I felt the comfort before I saw or heard it. If comfort is indeed the right word for it. More likely to be the almost pleasure of memory. The endless din of daily life deadened the sound at first but the violin case laid open on the sidewalk caught my attention. I'm tempted to say it was akin to a beacon but that would romanticise it far more than necessary.
In fact, it was the coins in the case that drew my eye towards it. The flash as the sun caught them. Then the case itself. The familiar black form I had once possessed myself. The sleek, protective curves. The instrument itself rested under the chin of a tall man, clad in ripped jeans with a shag of brown hair. He played a fair Mendelssohn. I had always much more preferred Brahms myself.
I watched him. I watched his fingers manipulate the strings, the strokes of the bow. I remembered the cut of the strings upon the pads of the fingers. How when I was a child I was presented with an instrument of my own and told I would learn to play it. The rap on my back from my instructor's cane when my poise was not to his liking. He would count the beats and I would attempt to keep up, to make rhythm and tempo instead of a meaningless series of notes.
Hours were spent with the violin propped on my shoulder, bow in hand, trying to capture the energy and expression the composors had intended. If it was not right, it would be stopped and repeated until it was. Never once did I resent the shrill commands of my instructor as that is what would make me great. The discipline. The dedication, be it somewhat forced or not. I longed to be the virtuoso as I longed for that violin now. He should have been in concert halls, as I should have been in concert halls.
I was six years old when I first picked up a violin and sixteen years old when I set it down for the last time. By that time it was too difficult for me to play it. The drive remained as persistent as it ever had but the human body is weak, fragile. It is susceptible and there is a point where mind over matter becomes nothing more than an exercise in futility.
As is shown by the power of memory. Through age and will, much of my mortal life is distant, the thoughts and sensations from it unattainable. To a degree. In remembering this I recalled the forgetting. I didn't wish to preoccupy myself with that which had gone. I would not be the virtuoso now, as I would not be many other things, and there is little point in keeping the memory alive when you are not. I did not want to mourn or long for the past, to desire the world I'd known before and all that I had left behind. In order to move forward we must embrace what we become, not what we became.
I would have a lifetime and more to replace old wants with new ones. Without the threat of mortality punctuating existence wanting starts to wane. Passions fade without the urgency and intensity. Despite the sound of it, it is easier to be without the compulsive human drives. It's of no matter if you have no interest in the world when you yourself aren't of the world. I came to resolution. Better than struggle with conflict that has no hope of being reconciled. Allbeit short, I had my time to experience humanity. I had known enough, and the longer you live the more the landmarks everyone waits to know seem unimportant.
Accept the hand you are dealt. It's the only one you're going to get.
I carried on to meet David.
Who are you?
To the faculty of the American school within the Yokota military compound, a Japanese schoolgirl.
To the government, a weapon in a salvation they will never reach.
To the creatures, the last thing they will ever know.
Not every story begins with once upon a time. Some stories begin at the end. Salting the earth with whatever came before it. Eradicating the memory of its past incarnation.
I began the same way as I ended. On the dusty floor of an African hut. The details are no longer important. All those concerned are long dead, now salting the ground in which they lay themselves. The two principal defintions of man - the way it enters the world and the way it leaves. The rest inbetween is first judged on what we are. Who we are then follows suit.
What am I? You wouldn't want to know.
An entity paraded before ignorant officials who like to believe they are in charge. That they understand what which they are only beginning to explain. Their hero with no want or need to save anybody.
A girl dressed to fool whichever social sect into thinking she is one of their number. Impossible to dispute with the right papers. Remaining distanced from the definition. As an actor is a vessel for a character, you shall be. Though there was little need to warn me against getting caught up in what I don't belong in.
I am the creation not greater than the sum of its parts. The nose that can detect the faintest drop of blood that's spilt. The eyes that don't miss the glimpse of shadow flitting over grass. The hand and blade that spill blood of their own. This is who I am.
In many the mission consumes, in others fills a void. It is the reason for all deeds and each sacrifice. The forward momentum that powers every action. It swells in the lungs, sets in the stomach and courses through the veins.
For some the mission is simply a statement of the task in hand.
What does "karma" mean to you?
Yokota Air Force Base
The creature lay broken on the ground. Limbs sprawled and bloodied by my hand. It appeared to be so disconnected from myself. Even in its human guise, its face so similar to my own, it seemed so much like something other. Though all creatures in the world seem other when you are yourself.
This mutilated thing may have been the closest thing to myself. In terms of biology. Ironically, I, the one that resembles all the other sacks of meat and bone wandering the planet, am the primordial soup and this tattered creation is the dinosaur. The first mammal to sprout fur and legs. The first man to stretch and blink in the sun.
Well, the shade.
It's almost akin to the adage about parents outliving their children. I'm not sure if there is a maxim about a mother cutting down her child with a sword.
I had never looked at them in these terms before. They meant the same to me as they did to the people who hired me. A problem to be eliminated. A pestilence. I thought little of them, both figuratively and literally. Like most other things in this world, they meant nothing to me. There was no stirring as I watched my blade slice through them, sending jets of sticky warmth shooting into the night. Warmth both belonging to themselves and ingested from their victims. I saw them as the gruesome creatures tearing gobbets of flesh from fathers, daughters, grandparents. Saliva dripping from their jaws the way tears dripped from the eyes of the families, friends.
It is easy to think of anything that appears foreign as being so. The human characteristic of picking out the different not the similar. Even the supposed dead retain some of their former qualities.
I saw it twitch. The way I have seen people twitch the seconds before they become a corpse.
The creature had expression in its eyes. I couldn't tell you what but it was something other than a blood lust. A feeling somewhere near a look of peace and loss.
Its mottled skin had developed a clammy sheen. The breathing became ragged and laboured. If I had closed my eyes, it could have been anything. It could have been David, if not for the scent.
I stood and watched it in its final, pitiful throes.
I had never felt anything about the job I do before. I did not lay awake at night burdened by the knowledge that I had taken life. That though this creature may have not been deemed to live by some, who were they to decide the fate of anything? Humans will not stop a wolf tearing a rabbit to pieces because it's the natural balance of things. It is the very axis upon which the world spins. Yet anything that compromises their position at the top of the food chain must be terminated immeadiately as a menace. Perhaps it is the natural order that they themselves become prey.
I thought of them as lives I had taken. The way I had been taken too.
Acts of the greater good.
My own hand was bleeding. It fell to the ground, salted the earth.
I held it out to the mouth of my victim. Somewhere between spasms and thirst, it drank down part of my life as its own ebbed away.
We all come full circle in the end.
What is the thing you regret most NOT saying?
The air is black and thick as molasses as dancers swim in this night sky. Fire rages almost in time with their frantic tribal beat. Painted faces throw back their heads and howl at the moon. Sparks fly like fierce stars and burn out just as quickly.
The air in her lungs is thick with disease. She has her own sparks every time she coughs. Rich red droplets that sit so innocent and violent on a crisp white hankerchief or the back of a hand. Marks of the human body's fraility. How something so small can render it so defenceless.
The tuberculin, that magical glycerine, did not live up to the wild speculation.
Desperate people do desperate things.
Papa watched the fire with a steady gaze. Focused and intent. Not batting an eyelid even once at the barbaric costumes of animal skins, teeth and bones. The skull necklace swinging wildly as its owner leaped and twirled like a madman.
Never had the title 'missionary' seemed more appropriate. Papa had his mission. Little to do with God or medicine. Not unless spitting in the faces of both counts.
The large man looks as though he's been dipped in tar, moonlight and firelight whispering at his skin. Announcing the presence that needs no introduction.
Desperate people cling to desperate things. Papa gives her shoulder a squeeze.
Words in tongue are exchanged. Papa explains that miracles can cure her of this consumption. Some people would call it an act of the devil, even if surely it was the devil himself who struck her with this terrible affliction.
"Are you ready?" Papa asks, a world of hope in his eyes.
She simply nods. He has promised it will all be over soon.
What are you like in the morning?
People hastily grab coffee on the way to the subway. Some unlucky souls spill it on the suit they've so carefully had dry cleaned for the day's big presentation. They worry if their boss has found out that they were the one that accidently infected the network with a virus while trying to delete emails about penis enhancement. If the new temp has noticed the way they've been looking at them, subtle but enough to drop a hint. If someone, God love them, will have started to buy the good coffee again instead of that dried and granulated monkey turd. And the nice cookies. The ones with the decent sized chocolate chips, not the ones that scrimp. If some obnoxious brat will sit next to them after a long, hard day with their iPod blasting tinny vulgarities and heavy beats.
Saya does none of these things. The mornings blend into the nights, the days hours melting together into a sequence with little meaning or bearing. Clock hands lack urgency and importance when time is an infinite structure.
You have to be here at four.
Your train will leave at seven.
You have one day to find them.
It will take three weeks for this to get out of control.
The urgency of men imposed on the inhuman. The saving grace of a demon and the burden of the champion.
The run like the proverbial rats and it's in these simple, every day acts that she feels more and more distanced from humanity. Or devoid of it. Either is possible and both just as probable. In the world but not of the world and a thousand other cliches.
It doesn't sting to watch the scene of the streets in the early hours. It doesn't fill her with a sense of longing, cause an ache deep inside. The yearning for what was and used to be that she wonders if there should be. This is no wistful creature plagued by memories and tormented by their deeds. Nor is she a wild, reckless hellion revelling in what she could do.
She simply is.
And it could be the middle of the night or a bright and clear afternoon for all the difference it makes.
No doubt most people aren't familiar with the movie, and it's a little different from the garlic and stakes vampires, so I thought a little Guide to Saya would be helpful. :)
Blood: The Last Vampire takes place in the fall of 1966. The Vietnam War is underway and the U.S. military machine is being supplied out of the Yokota Air Force Base - a plot of U.S. land within Japan. Within the compound, the atmosphere is charged with violent intensity as F4 combat planes take off hastily one after the next.
Meanwhile, a series of suspicious suicides are reported in town. A team of top-secret undercover agents is dispatched to investigate.
On the Ginza subway line -- the last train heading toward Asakusa, a girl sits quietly in a dreary subway car. Her name is Saya. With a piercing gaze that would force even an adult into submission and lips tightly drawn with determination, she is the savior sent by the 'organization' to vanquish the blood-sucking chiropterans that have concealed themselves among their human hosts.
Clad in a Japanese school uniform, and wielding an ancient Samurai sword, Saya must infiltrate
the American school within the Yokota military compound, uncover the source of the
pestilence, and eliminate it.
A loner expelled from human society as well as the domain of beasts, paying heed to no one, beholden to no one - this beautiful nocturnal creature simply roams the darkness, bringing about a cruel destiny to all those who cross her path. Only undying legends will forever capture the tale of this accursed creature.
Saya kills vampiric demons known as the Chiroptera for the US government. Makes the Roswell incident look a little tame, really. Her prey is rather bloodily struck down with a katana. Assisted by her faithful sidekick David [work with me here], she slices and dices her way through schoolgirls that are really deadly demons. Got to love Japan.
She is referred to as 'the last remaining original'. Due to the short running length of the feature, Saya's history and Blood's vampire lore isn't delved into much. I'm basing most of the lore on other Japanese sources and Saya's past on pure speculation. Oooh!
The only real clue to who Saya might have been and her age is a photo with two labels attached, 'vampire' and '1892'. I'm having her as born in 1875 and 1892 being the year she became a vampire, making her outwardly seventeen. Because she can pass for a schoolgirl.
There is a manga floating about but apparently it still doesn't delve much into Saya's origins and that which does get explained is a little... hmmm. We're left to assume what the movie hints at. That Saya is the last 'true' vampire and the Chiroptera are next generation and/or half breeds.
I'm taking the 'last remaining original' to mean that Saya is a Shinso vampire, or near enough. Unlike the traditional vampire, they are not vulnerable to certain weaknesses. Saya can walk around in the daylight with no problems and trying to stake her is probably just going to really, really tick her off. She doesn't need to drink blood and I'd imagine she rarely does. It is the best form of nourishment for the Shinso but once they've got a taste of it, it's hard to go back. Controlling their bloodlust becomes a near enough impossible task.
She is vulnerable to holy objects and powers and can be destroyed by having her head uncerimonously [or with ceremony, if you prefer] chopped off. She does have superhuman strength and senses but can't read minds, change form or do any other fancy tricks.
Are great big ugly demon things that can sprout wings. More disturbingly, they can assume the form of schoolgirls or drag queen bartenders. And now for the science bit. They, apparently, have hollow bones and skin that can expand and shrink at will and change form by distention of their blood vessels. They can only be killed by losing a massive amount of blood in one strike. NC-17 warnings now, kiddies. Though setting them on fire doesn't do them much good either.
The Three Steps of the Chiroptera Change
Sweet Jezzy Chrizzy on a crutch!
It is said that vampire mythology came from sightings of the creatures in their true form. In 1806, a book listed in the inheritance inventory of a prominent family was discovered. While the book suggests plans for creating a being possessing eternal life through combining human and vampire blood, it is not known whether or not this plan was indeed carried out. Some claim that this book contains a list of chiropterans, and others claim that the chiropterans are the result of the project to create beings of mixed human and vampire blood. At the present time, anything is possible.
The Government, The Rich and the Fanatical
It is reported that various 'organizations' that have ferreted out the existence of the chiropterans, such as powerful European families, religious states, and special intelligence agencies, have their own particular interests in pursuing them. Some seek to protect and take advantage of them, others seek to purge them...One can catch glimpses of these organizations in the backdrop of these blood-stained, eerie incidents, but their goals and overall perspective remain shrouded in mystery.
Majority of this has been yoinked from the B:TLV Offical Site.