This week features a snippet from the background of a Monsterhearts character I recently created.
For those who don’t know, Monsterhearts is game in which players are (usually) teenage monsters struggling to come to terms with their nature, their body and their sexuality, typically whilst at school. For things with a similar feel, think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight.
I can’t really do it justice with a brief summary here but it deals with important issues and themes and just oozes style. To me, at least.
My character, Ash Forest-Williams, is one of the Fae. In MH, the Fae are all about gaining the promises of others, and getting vengeance through faery magic when those promises are broken.
Ash doesn’t identify with one particular gender so in the following vignette, I switch between the male/female pronouns to reflect this.
In terms of character chronology, the following fiction occurs during Year 13 of the United Kingdom’s education system, the last year before university. Ash is 17 and the what happens here starts a chain of events that lead to her being sent to university in Boston (the setting of the game he is being used for).
If you have any comments, questions or criticisms, feel free to leave them below.
Ash’s suit chafed as he ran towards the circle of laughing children pressed up against the rear wall of the school. Flashes of light blinked as one or two of the onlookers immortalised Vincent’s shame with their phone cameras. She heard a meaty thud as another of Garth Howard’s blows landed solidly.
“Still picking on easy targets?” He called, prompting a few of the students to turn around. “Who are you trying to impress this time?” Garth’s head appeared above the crowd, the boy was easily a good six inches taller than anyone else there, and swivelled to look at Ash. “It’s not Elizabeth, is it?” Garth’s eyes narrowed and darted to one side before resuming their malevolent, uncomprehending stare.
“I’ll deal with you when I’ve knocked Cassie’s teeth out.” He grunted, raising a fist and bending down. Vincent Cassel, a small boy with protruding teeth, whimpered audibly.
“Promise?” Ash said, snaking her way gracefully through the crowd.
“Sure. Why not?” Garth muttered. Ash smiled as the familiar rush of power bound him to Garth with an ethereal thread. He could sense these lines stretching to a few others in the crowd.
They were nothing new. Ash had been able to create these links with the oaths of others for years now, but he had only just discovered how to manipulate them. A few of her father’s staff had quickly learned to stay away from the strange child and her thoughtful eyes after minor misfortunes began happening to them after breaking their word.
“Only, I’d rather you didn’t hurt Vincent any more.” Ash’s voice was low, husky. It wrapped itself around the ears of those present and grabbed their attention. A few of the girls in the crowd looked at Ash as if seeing her for the first time, as did a few of the boys. Garth straightened and turned to look at him.
As their eyes met, Ash cocked his head slightly, almost coquettishly, and Garth’s cheeks reddened.
“I don’t care what you want.” He growled, absently kicking Vincent’s hand away from his shoe. Ash smiled, her teeth white in the afternoon sun.
“Mmmm. No. You probably don’t. But why should I care what you want?” Ash took a few graceful steps forwards. Since he had started Year 12, Ash had found it increasingly easy to attract the attention of her classmates through physicality alone. Even now, angry and intent on violence, Garth found his eyes drawn to Ash’s hips. “Do you care what she wants?”
Ash got even closer and gestured to Elizabeth Cooper with a dancer’s fluid grace. Garth growled and swung for him, forgetting Vincent in a hearbeat.
The ethereal lines connecting them went from silk to steel instantly.
Ash gasped as Garth’s fist slammed into his stomach.
“At least promise to not damage my tie.” He groaned, straightening slowly. She’d been in trouble already this week for ‘improper attire’ after getting a slight stain on the school tie during a science lesson.
“I promise.” Garth said, grinning and grabbing for the tie. Another silk line, invisible to everyone else, lashed them together. He caught it and yanked, pulling Ash off-balance. “I’ll also promise to leave your face alone, pretty boy.” He growled, punching Ash square in his right eye as another bond between them formed.
Again, it strengthened and pulled tight. Garth laughed, planted a foot on Ash’s chest as she staggered slightly, and kicked her backwards, holding onto her tie as he did so. The tie tore, the noise carrying on the now quiet air.
Ash staggered into the wall behind him as she felt the bond turn metallic.
“Promise you aren’t enjoying this and that you’re just trying to prove yourself worthy of Elizabeth?” He gasped as the stars began receding. Garth looked at Elizabeth and smiled.
“Yes.” He said quietly. It was well known that he took a rather direct method to prove his worth but as his father ran the school, no-one did anything to stop him. Ash also suspected that he enjoyed hurting others.
The bond between them formed as a length of chain as Garth’s word was broken immediately, wrapping together with the other three steel threads. Ash laughed and winked at Elizabeth. Garth bellowed in rage and swung wildly.
Time seemed to slow for Ash. She willed the chain to break and stepped sideways slightly as time snapped back into sync.
Garth’s fist slammed into the solid wall and he groaned as several bones in his hand and fist broke with a dry snap. Ash pushed him gently and he staggered backwards in shock, tripping over a small stone as he did so and cracking his head solidly against another.
A howl went up as he bit his tongue and blood began to leak from his mouth. He got slowly to his feet, wiping the blood away with his cuff and noticed the mobile phones now trained on him, a few ‘recording lights’ blinking slowly.
He roared in rage and pain, shambling forwards towards Ash, his left hand swinging wildly. Ash smoothly stepped backwards, avoiding one blow, and then stepped to the side as Garth overbalanced and bashed his head into the rough brick wall. There was another crack as his nose broke and he fell bonelessly to the floor, moaning in shock.
“You really should keep your promises.” Ash said, looking sadly at his tie. “You really should.”