A Shameful Ballet
The following story was originally written in the summer of 2011, and posted on the same online collaborative writing and roleplaying site that Gabby and Tock originated in. The character here is Aamon Dukushu, a superpowered crime lord/terrorist who was the most feared man in the entire city. He is a killer, a monster, a drug lord, an anarchist, and the ruler of an entire underground city of rebels. He possesses supernatural senses that allow him to read movement without sight. He is known as “King of the Underground.”
The story below is the result of a strange train of thought I had. I’m not sure what first planted the initial seed in my mind, but I remember it growing. After multiple twists and turns, this train of thought led to the question: “Can I write a post where Aamon (killer, criminal, terrorist) is willingly performing at the ballet, while he is not on any drugs or being mentally influenced in any way? And have it be believable for him In Character?” The question rang with such uncertainty in my mind that I was compelled to challenge myself to attempt it. What follows is the result.
Aamon entered the New York City Ballet Hall by the back door, having easily picked the lock and disabled the alarm. He was depressingly sober today. That was something he’d have to remedy as soon as he got home. It had been a long few days. Too long. Too much time out of the Underground. Too much time away from his family. Such was the way of things, when business called.
The target of this evening’s venture was the young Miss Autumn Tortino, daughter of the late Antoine Tortino, who himself was once head of the Tortino Crime Family. Aamon had personally helped the man shuffle off this mortal coil just three days before. Several other high ranking members of the family had met the same fate, leaving Miss Autumn Tortino to become heir to the family’s legacy and business ventures. She was also heir to her family’s debts. Debts that were going to be paid.
Aamon walked casually through the back hall of the theatre. It didn’t take long for a member of the staff to find him here, nor was it hard to tell that the Underground King did not belong. Unfortunately for the man, Aamon was sober, and thus not in the mood to deal with him. Before he could even get a word out, Aamon swung a leather-gloved fist into the man’s face. His senses read the shifting of the man’s muscles as he staggered back from the blow, and Aamon used this to judge the man’s balance and center of gravity. He grabbed the man by his wrist, his other hand reached up for the shoulder, and he pulled the man down and forward with enough force to flip him over onto his back. Still holding the man’s wrist, Aamon twisted as the man fell and brought his foot up to the man’s face. He pressed his thick black boot under the man’s chin and pushed hard, locking the man in place. The man’s mouth was pinned shut by Aamon’s boot heel so that he couldn’t scream. He jerked the man’s body with a quick twist and a loud snap and the pressure on his face and neck from Aamon’s boots broke the spinal cord. The man went limp, and Aamon muttered, “Fucking hell, do I need a nice thick joint. Or some of Twiggy’s ‘sweet tarts’…” He dropped the man and walked away. Being sober was hell on his mind, but he hadn’t had time to stop home for ‘goods’ after the last few days of dealing with the Tortinos. He’d managed to run through the stash he’d brought with him by early this morning, and it was most irritating.
Autumn was a spoiled brat who had used her family’s connections to buy her way into the lead role of tonight’s production. Ballet was her passion, her obsession. In truth, she was quite good. Not good enough to have earned the lead on her own, but talented nonetheless. Tonight was the opening performance; Autumn’s pride and joy, the night she had awaited for months. The night she had lied, cheated, stolen, begged, and even killed to make happen. It was the ultimate culmination of all her hard work and dreams. And the King of the Underground was here to crash her party.
By the time Aamon reached the stage, a gun shoved in the Producer’s back had prevented any further problems from arising. Whispers quickly spread in a panic across the backstage area, as performers and stage hands wondered what was going on. They were determined not to stop the show, however, and Aamon didn’t see any reason why it couldn’t go on. Autumn was nearly finished her main solo: a dance of loneliness and heartache, for in the story her love was destined to be taken from her, and she was to be forced into a loveless marriage. The climax of the tale was soon approaching, as her love came for her to whisk her away, so they could abandon their old lives and start anew in some far off land.
The male lead, a pompous looking sap with a fake bulge stuffed down his tights, was about to go on stage. Aamon pointed his gun at the pansy, pulling back the hammer to show he meant business. The dancer held his hands up. He didn’t say a word— no doubt he didn’t want to ruin Autumn’s solo. Aamon silently gestured with the gun, and the man obligingly backed away.
Aamon had business to ‘discuss’ with Autumn, and he wasn’t about to let her ballet performance delay this urgent meeting.
Aamon took off his thick leather coat and gloves and handed them to a trembling stage hand. He locked eyes with the timid woman for a long moment. Fighting back frightened tears, she nodded. It was clear she knew better than to go anywhere, or molest Aamon’s things. She stood obediently, serving as coat rack for the night, as Aamon tucked his pistol away in his belt. He then stepped up to the edge of the stage, awaiting the ‘cue’. He was dressed rather oddly for a ballet performance: thick black boots that would likely scuff the polished stage, heavy leather pants, and a gun and knife at his belt. His shirt bore a touch of lace at the cuffs and a frill at the neck, so that almost helped him fit in.
Autumn’s delicate steps took her to the edge of the stage, where she was supposed to meet her love in joyful surprise. Instead she found Aamon, and a gasp of shock escaped her lips. Aamon stepped onto the stage, his thick black boots thudding on the wood of the dance floor. Autumn began backing away, her steps uncertain and tense. A murmer began in the audience. This strangely dressed man clearly seemed out of place. Autumn licked her lips, her eyes seeking out the director offstage. He had no guidance to offer her.
As Autumn backed away, Aamon pursued, his steps light, though hardly filled with grace. The show’s choreography called for a lover’s pursuit, with Autumn playfully dancing across the stage, forcing her lover to follow. It was meant to be a game, a dance of seduction. Instead, Aamon brought a more deadly tone to the pursuit. His senses read the fear in Autumn’s heart, and the hesitation in her steps. Reflex led her feet to follow the long-practiced choreography without conscious thought. Aamon didn’t know the steps, but his senses read Autumn’s every move before she made it. He was able to follow her lead with ease, anticipating where she would move, judging any sudden shifts by the vibrations in the floorboards as she shifted her weight. She fled. He pursued. A deadly dance of tension and grace had begun.
The lover’s pursuit would lead to a playful dance, running around trees and rocks like young ones at play. Following the steps, Autumn tried to run behind a tree, but in flight from the one she feared. Aamon moved faster, reading her movements and intercepting her, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her close. He dipped her, leaning over her intimately, tension bleeding off of them and into the crowd. Her body trembled, her eyes were wide and unblinking, and the deep fear he sensed in her rapid heartbeat set Aamon’s senses afire. He smiled, showing her just how much he was now in control. Realizing her fate, Autumn’s posture became submissive, her muscles loosening as she accepted his lead. He pulled her out of the dip and back to her feet, their faces pressed close, her eyes wide and startled, a light sheen of sweat upon her brow.
Next would come the dance of true seduction, as Autumn’s lover would drop to one knee, professing his love, then slowly rise, bending his form near her body provocatively, sparking a deep desire within her. Aamon didn’t kneel to anyone. His hand lashed out, stopping just short of her face, palm forward and fingers splayed wide. She flinched, then his hand moved lower, never quite touching her, but always just a breath away from her skin. He traced a would-be caress down her neck and chest, hovering over areas only a lover might touch. She leaned back with his movements, following the gesture and lowering herself before him. Kneeling, she looked up at him with wide eyes as his hand rose again, tracing a line just before her face, then pushing forward so that she was forced to lean back. She knelt and leaned backwards so far she was forced to brace her hands against the stage. Aamon’s other hand slipped around her waist, lifting her to meet him. It was the dance of seduction, the dance of control. She was clearly under Aamon’s power.
They wove a lover’s dance next, their bodies close, the tension thick in the air. Their forms wove across the stage in what was meant to be a dance of freedom, love, and forbidden passion. Yet laced through it now was a tense forcefulness and the dirty tinge of shame. Autumn’s graceful beauty was now lent towards a dark dance, but it was one that she accepted willingly, with the submission of one who accepted who and what she was. Aamon led, and she followed, never far from his body as they danced of dark secrets and the choices one made out of desperation. The crowd watched with a dark fascination, too shameful to call for the dance to stop, too enraptured to look away.
The tension built to a head as Aamon twirled the girl’s form around him, weaving a rhythm of passion that always kept him in control. More than once her eyes, her posture seemed to lead her away, seeking the freedom off the stage, just out of reach. But each time, she turned willingly back to her partner, knowing and accepting her role. Her body danced the dance her heart could not, and she allowed her beauty and her form to be taken with passion, but without love. Deep shame etched her features as the dance drew near its close, and she leapt through the air to be caught by her lover on stage. Aamon snatched her from the air, then brought her roughly down to the ground, rather than carrying her off into the night as should have been. She bowed low before him, her eyes locked on the ground, as he looked down at her with the eyes of a man who had taken what he needed, and had no more use for her. Then, a gesture of mercy; he leaned down and lifted her chin with his fingers, and she rose to her delicate feet once more. Heart thumping in her chest, she bowed deeply, the danced on her toes back away from the King, dismissed from his presence. Without a glance at the crowd, Aamon followed, and the curtain fell behind them.
Off the stage, Aamon didn’t even look at the girl who had just allowed him to dance the intimate dance with her. Autumn lowered her eyes, unable to look at anyone, least of all Aamon. She whispered to him, “You’ll have your money by tomorrow…” Aamon smirked, and retrieved his coat and gloves from the frightened stage girl, who had stood silently through it all. He then walked away without a word, leaving Autumn to her shame.