A/N: This story is one I've kept to myself for some time until I told it and my friends encouraged me to tell it through fanfiction. (Exaggerated and changed quite a bit) You don't have to be a fan of Dragon Ball Z or Type O Negative, but if you are this should sweeten the pot. Let me know if you caught my Easter eggs I placed all throughout this fic.
"Oh baby please, don't go crawling to that desolate space where you're not his goddess. Come and find me...
Get away from that hellish place... You'll see only my face, coming close, we'll embrace.
I'll kiss your lips, leave your black lipstick on my chest. Yess… let me caress your breasts.." A softly sung baritone's love song weaved in through the sound of rattling branches, traffic flying past as the dry fall leaves scattered across the concrete sidewalk. The blonde haired woman listening to the song through headphones crushed the leaves beneath the heel of her wolfskin boots, an ember glowing in the darkness as she took a drag from a clove cigarette.
Anger radiated from her aura as she made her way down the path illuminated by moonlight. She was a breathing, walking druidess in the flesh. All bright sunshine curls and smouldering emerald eyes with dark violet centers, circled with smoky black kohl eyeliner. She was Launch, who some called "Lacy" when she was feeling particularly sweet, and "Lyssa" on her bad days. Today was a pretty bad day, and on her calendar of all the bad days, today was one of the more unpleasant. It was All Hallow's Eve, the night before Hallow's Day, a day she eagerly anticipated each year, and loved to celebrate. In other words, Halloween.
But instead of spending it with her boyfriend at a fun Halloween party, letting loose and dancing, he'd told her: "You wouldn't like it. You just aren't social like everyone else. I'm sure it would just make you feel nervous." She was baffled by his claim, her , nervous? Shy? Since when?
Launch puffed on the black cigarette and enjoyed the sweet flavor that made her tongue tingle and felt soothing going into her lungs. Tien was against her smoking, against the way she dressed and didn't care for the music she listened to, either.
She was expected to be proper and prissy at the Halloween party, where no one would even be dressed for the event but her, surrounded by ignorant people who didn't even understand the true pagan roots of the holiday, or truly appreciate it for what it actually was.
Launch stubbed out her cigarette with her heel and stuffed her hands into her pockets, looking around herself curiously and noticing a small shop there that she hadn't noticed before. She turned her music off and removed her headphones playing her favorite esoteric metal band, A Fragmented Darkness to look. There was a sign in the window saying:
"Are you angry? Sad? Lonely? We have what you're looking for, no matter the time, day or night, we have the answers for you." Launch put her long, purple painted fingernail to her chin and scratched it gently, in thought.
"Why the hell not?" She muttered, and made her way across the street, towards the shop. She came up to the front of the tall building, lit up with one blinking lamp, a spider crawling across the dusty bulb. The sign on the door simply read
"The Nightingale ." Then there was a small placard reading "You shall find everything you never knew you needed here." Launch shrugged and opened the door with a high pitched creak, popping her head in to see the dimly lit shop's inside. It smelled rich like incense so thickly mixed with pot smoke that her eyes stung a little as she stepped in. People laid around on a couch, taking drags from a large hookah. It explained the skunky scent, and made her feel a little more relaxed walking inside knowing she wasn't alone in the shop. Strange tambourine music and chanting played from a crackling radio hidden somewhere beyond all the tapestries and crowded shelves that seemed to be like a maze.
There looked to be no greeter, which she welcomed anyways. Launch began to peruse the store, tracing her finger along a bookshelf caked with dust. She saw some tall candles on display, beside lit ones that flickered and gave off a sweet aroma. She smiled and was reminded of the lead singer of A Fragmented Darkness, Raditz Silver. He was someone she treasured deeply, though she had never met the man in real life. She found herself comforted by his music, and listened to it almost constantly. She knew because of his lyrics, blood red shirt, and dark red contacts that it was his favorite color.
She leaned towards a lit pillar candle and took a deep inhale of its scent. It smelled of mahogany, with a rich bitter cherry undertone, until contrasting liquorice and wine came rushing out and softened the bite. Launch smiled as she took another deep inhale, her glossy wine red lipstick shining in the candle light. She picked up an unlit candle, and slid it into her open leather purse that was slung over her shoulder. She smirked and kept walking, knocking a few tea lights off the shelf and into her purse as she did. After leaving the scene of the crime she came across an assortment of makeup and hair color that took her interest, reading a small sign on the shelf.
"Embrace thy true inner beauty, fool those who think otherwise." It read, and she found the sentiment hit her deeply. She thought back to how Tien, her family and close friends had commented on her recent change to gothic fashion after discovering A Fragmented Darkness and joining their passionate online worshippers. They had a memorial page for "Raditz Silver" or as he was lesser known, Ryszard Kowalska - his real name being too difficult to pronounce and not catchy enough even for a Polish-Romanian celebrity. Raditz had died in a tragic motorcycle accident 13 years ago, preceded by a coke-fueled journey of self-destruction that had been years in the making. It was shocking that he lived as long as he did with his addiction, and his heart condition working against him, all to be brutally killed just after he had returned to the faith and decided to become celibate until marriage. It was a terrible tragedy.
People still listened to their music, and the passing of the influential leader made huge waves in the underground metal community, millions mourning and erecting memorials for him; his grave had even been nearly desecrated by crazed fans that took his song about necromancy seriously.
Launch had even joined in this passion, getting the tattoo of a large black heart with bloody red thorns squeezing and stabbing it above her own heart, right on her chest where it could be seen by anyone looking at her cleavage. The symbol represented Raditz's severe angina, though unintentionally; it had been a source of pain for him in the last years of his life. Launch gazed at a bottle of blue hair dye labeled Midnight Indigo, and gasped. It was straight out of a line from one of her favorite songs, "Indigo Lady." In the song, Raditz detailed his whirlwind romance with a blue haired woman that he'd never forget. Many of his groupies dyed their hair blue because of it, and though Launch was never one to follow the pack, she had to admit it was something she'd always wanted to try at least once.
Wouldn't that just be a big slap in Tien's face? Let's see him try and cart me around like arm candy now! She thought to herself giddily, and grabbed the bottle along with a bottle of sparkly burgundy nail polish. She tucked them away in her purse and looked around herself, seeing no shopkeeper yet. Launch headed towards the exit but was stopped by the sound of a woman cooing to her in a sing-song voice.
"Oh, look at you, pretty girl! Did you find what you needed?" She asked, opening up Launch's purse to glance inside, giggling. Launch backed away quickly, clenching her fist to brandish her spiked, sharp charm rings in the odd woman's direction.
"I didn't steal nothing! You got a fucking death wish?" She snapped, yanking her purse back.
"Take, take. You never get anything back, so it's my turn to take the burden. Go on, sweetie. Have fun tonight." She said, and ushered her out the door, her cold hand clutching her hard by her arm. Launch stumbled out in surprise, then once she was off the stairs, she began to run as quickly as her high heels would let her, feeling infected with the woman's giddiness. Her purse was filled with smuggled goodies that she couldn't wait to dive into the second she got home.
The moonlight began to bring with it a chill as Launch made her way home, her feet aching and beginning to swell in her shoes. She was really regretting leaping out of Tien's car after their argument, now that she had walked five miles home. She sneezed, wiping her nose. Children's laughter chimed from down the street where Trick Or Treaters had rang the doorbell and were now hiding in the bushes. Seeing the happy children, her mood grew mournful as she wiped her teary eyes with her sleeve. She had forgotten about how she and Tien parted until now, and she was regretting it dearly. Maybe I should call him once I get inside . Launch thought, and walked up the driveway towards her old, cottage style pink house with red brick on the lower level. She was still listening to her favorite band, AFD abbreviated. They had enough songs to go on over 50 hours, some only thirty seconds, others ten minutes or longer.
Currently she was listening to a somber song about how Raditz had been used and cheated on by his ex wife, that changed its tune to anger accented with chainsaws blaring with murderous intentions.
"Gonna kill you whore, the second you come in my door, I'm gonna slice you in half from your slit to your ugly mitt! Kill the whore! He's a killer! Kill her! UX-ori-cide!"
The battery on her iPhone began to blink and warn her it was seconds from dying as she fished out her keys and went to unlock the door. With the key in hand, she felt a strange spark of intuition that turned her stomach and guided her to look back.
Launch thought maybe some Trick Or Treaters had followed her home, but she saw none. There, in the moving shadows of trees, she saw yellow glowing eyes illuminated by flashes of moonlight. They blinked once, a low growl sending fear radiating throughout her.
She quickly unlocked the door and rushed inside, slamming it behind herself as she heard a loud thud. Launch's heart hammered in her chest as she dead bolted it with a shaky hand. There was another heavy thump, then the sound of claws scraping the door, so much so they poked right through the rotten wood and splintered it. She placed her hand on the door above the claws and pushed with all of her strength, from her head to her toes.
"Go away!" She cried, and felt the pressure on the door give, leaving a dent where her hand had been. There was a high-pitched whine, and she sensed that it had scurried away as if in fright.
"What was that?" A masculine voice answered, and Launch turned around quickly, hiding her purse behind her back.
"Nothing, daddy!" She said innocently, and the large man rubbed his goatee in thought.
"Nothing, hm? When you say nothing, how is it I always think you're up to something?" He said with a warm baritone voice, then smiled, opening up his arms for his daughter. Launch sighed and ran into Nappa's arms, letting him wrap them around her. She felt comforted for only a moment before he sniffed the smoke in her hair and grabbed her purse too quickly for her to snatch it back.
"You were smoking again, weren't you? Do you know how long you were gone, and you didn't even call?" Nappa began to scold her, holding the purse up over her head as Launch put her hands on her hips. He sniffed her hair again.
"What is that? Weed? Are you high?"
"Of course not! Give me back my purse, please!" She begged, feeling mortified that he was still treating her like a child.
"Only if you promise me one thing." He said, holding it up even higher, so high there was no way she could reach it.
"Ok, what is it?" She asked irritably, and watched angrily as he shook her purse, a tea light falling out.
"You have to promise you're going to try and quit. For me, princess?" He said, lowering his arm so she could take it back.
Launch nodded, "Alright. I promise." She responded in a deadpan, and he chuckled.
"That's my girl. There's dinner on the stove. I'm headed out to go pick out some candy for the kids." He said, and leaned down to kiss her on the cheek.
"Dad, wait!" She cried, grabbing him hard by the back of his coat. Nappa stumbled a little and sputtered a response.
"What is it? You never act scared of a thing!" He grumbled, then turned back to listen to her.
"Please, dad. I'm serious. There's a wolf… or coyote out there. I think it followed me home." She said in a trembling voice, and Nappa growled.
"You walked home?! Your little boyfriend couldn't spare $5 to drive you home?!" He shouted, the sheer volume of his voice making her flinch. Launch rubbed the last of the sniffles from her nose and yelled back.
"LISTEN TO ME!"
Nappa huffed and turned around quickly to open the door and flick the lights. "Hey, mutt! Come on, getcha steak!" He shouted, waiting a moment and seeing nothing outside, before walking out towards his car.
"See, there's nothing out here."
Launch followed behind him, clinging to his sleeve.
"Daddy!" She cried, then Nappa turned, and gave her a quick hug.
"Wanna come along? You can help pick things out, I know that's...your thing." He said as he slid into the seat, and Launch thought about it for a moment before shaking her head.
"That's ok. I'm tired, I just want to take a bath." She said, then waved goodbye to him as he drove out of the driveway. She watched his red tail lights until they faded down the road, then shuddered and walked back to the house. When she went to grab the door handle, she saw the marks still there and took a sharp intake of breath. Whatever it was, it had really been there. She wasn't imagining it.
Launch got that odd, tingling sensation again, and slowly turned her head. At first, she saw nothing. Then, after a long moment, she saw movement in the darkness. A black creature was sitting beneath the large willow tree, watching her. It was larger than a dog, but too small to be a bear. It was a black wolf, licking its large paw and whimpering softly. Launch placed her hand over her heart tattoo and sympathy flooded through her.
The poor thing.
Poor thing? It nearly killed me.
Oh, it's so beautiful.
Yeah, while it's licking blood off its paw.
She thought, then shook her head. It was almost as if she had two different personalities conflicting in her head, and it drove her nuts sometimes. She saw that the wolf didn't intend to cause her any harm, and left the door open a crack to go see what her father had cooked.
Nappa had left two steaks, thick and bloody in a pan for her to eat. She grimaced and picked one up by her fingernails, tiptoeing back down the stairs to see the wolf sitting in the doorway, licking its chops. She made a high pitched yelp, which caused its ears to flatten, then tossed the steak at it. It snatched it from mid-air, then turned tail out the door as fast as it could. She ran and closed the door behind it, then let out a huge sigh of relief.
That was close.
I bet he was just hungry.
She thought, then turned and picked her purse up off the floor. She smiled and felt a thrill go through her as she kicked off her boots then hurried up the stairs. She may have been scared at first, but now that she thought about it, that was pretty cool! She fended off a wolf all by herself! Of course, her dad would never believe it. He was a good father, he really was. His parenting methods were a little old fashioned, and they butted heads often. But, Launch had come to expect that by now. Afterall, she was twenty five and still living with her parents.
"Ma?" She yelled, tossing her purse on the table as she picked up the pan and used a fork as her only utensil, biting into the juicy steak and purring. She came and saw her mother where she always found her, sitting on the recliner knitting, while watching some soap opera or reading her tabloid magazines. Bunny turned her head of fluffy blonde curls and smiled blissfully at her.
"Oh, hello dear. Did you have a good day at school?" She asked, tilting her head. Launch frowned and hesitated, pondering her answer. Bunny was experiencing early signs of Alzheimer's disease, which left it up to Nappa and Launch to deal with most of the more important house matters. Even though cooking was once her passion, they were hesitant to let her near the stove after one too many grease fires and burnt casseroles.
"I'm not in school anymore, remember?" Launch said finally, and watched to see if there was a reaction from Bunny. She didn't seem very surprised, and giggled.
"Of course you aren't, Beth. Silly! Is it Halloween?" She asked - Beth was her sister's name.
"Yeah, it is!" She said brightly, hoping maybe Bunny had remembered something correct.
"Oh, that's why you're dressed up as a witch! Dear, you know it's not very ladylike to not use a steaknife." She said, and stood up to find her a plate and a knife.
"No, no, I'm doing just fine! See, one more bite!" Launch stalled her, taking a huge bite of steak to keep her from rummaging in the knife drawer and cutting herself.
"Here, isn't your show on?" Launch said and found the remote for Bunny. Like clockwork, Bunny ran over and sat down eagerly.
"You're right! Hurry up, I'm going to miss it!" She said urgently, and Launch sighed as she turned on the videotape that played her soap opera that was no longer on the air. This was probably her 100th consecutive time watching the same episode, and her reaction was the same every time.
"In this episode we find out who murdered Mrs. Woodsworth!" She exclaimed excitedly, clapping her hands. Launch nodded and slowly crept out of the room, placing the empty pan gently in the sink and retreating to her room as quietly as possible.
Her leather jacket landed on the armchair in front of the window as Launch walked into her room and locked the door behind her, stripping away items of clothing as she went. Her windows were blocked out by blinds and black curtains, so it didn't matter if she was bare ass naked, not that she cared. Their house was set far enough in the woods that no neighbors could see anyways unless they climbed a tree. Launch opened up her bag and pulled out the pillar candle she took from the shop, placing it on her dresser as the centerpiece to a small shrine of sorts she'd made, with a large framed photograph of Raditz at the center, holding a bouquet of black calla lilies while blood dripped from the corners of his mouth. She made a wreath of dried flowers and crystals around the base, then wrote his name on a small piece of paper and placed it around the candle with the scent that represented him. She lit the candle with a match and watched as the flames flickered on the glass encased photograph, her gaze lingering on his for a long moment as the wick popped and smoked from being lit for the first time. The sensation of her cat Petie rubbing up against her leg took her out of the trance. Launch shrugged off the oddity, leaning down to scratch Petie behind the ears. He was a sleek black cat with green eyes and a white spot on his chin. Petie purred and curled up on the rug, taking a nap.
Launch let the cat sleep and turned on her laptop. Plopping promptly on the bed in just her lacy black chemise and red panties, laying on her stomach she started up her daily AFD ritual right away. She clicked away on the A Fragmented Darkness blog for a while, responding to comments and posting new music videos and pictures of Raditz and his band. She wasn't just a fan of Raditz alone, though. She appreciated the entire band. There was the guitar player, Vegeta Galicky, on drums Bardock Smith and Beets Black on the keyboard.
Some girls preferred Vegeta or Bardock, and sometimes even fought over who was the most handsome of the still living members. Beets "Black" (no one knows his real name) seemed to be the most upset after Raditz's death, and was quoted as saying "There is no other 'A Fragmented Darkness,' there can be no other, there will be no other Raditz Silver, ever ," Before disappearing and possibly changing his name. She had been scrolling down the blog for awhile, even clicking on the secret girls only blog aptly named "Raditz's Harem" and drooling over sexy photos and videos of him. He was nothing like Tien, who was bald and extroverted. Raditz had long, beautiful black spiky hair, his red eyes radiated an intense aura and his smile was almost vampiric with how long and pointed his canines were.
Launch sighed and neglected to remember how she promised to call Tien, her phone left dead in her purse on the floor. In truth, even if it was on, Tien hadn't called her anyways. She scrolled down the page as a large photo loaded of Raditz in nothing but a small black pair of underwear and a red thigh garter, pulling them down partially with one hand in a teasing motion so it revealed some of his groin. Launch rolled over onto her back and gazed longingly at the photo as an almost gospel-like music blared from the laptop, which quickly turned to a metal dirge.
"I thought that you were my one and only, my never-ending love story, darling you are my sweetest memory. Oooh...
My wrists are still bleeding as I write this love letter to you. Bleeding...
Soon I'll be dead, will you join me in death? With me forever, we can always linger on, there are no consequences in hell, why not kill yourself...?"
She sobbed softly to herself, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes as she stroked her chest, and pushed up her chemise, revealing her pierced belly button with a crawling spider dangling from it, encrusted with mock rubies.
"Raditz, you darling man.." She crooned lowly as he stared back at her with a still gaze, his mouth in his trademark sideways smirk. "Why couldn't I have been older then? I would have made you mine, and treated you right. Dammit."
"Darling…" The voice almost seemed to answer her and she paused what she was about to do, blinking. "That was...freaky."
The song went back to its normal lyrics and she shook her head, leaving the laptop there to play music endlessly as she took off her chemise and flung it to the floor, then rummaged around in her dresser for an old shirt she didn't care about, giggling mischievously to herself.
She pulled on a tattered old black shirt that came to about mid thigh, then rummaged through her bag to find the blue hair dye. Launch hummed thoughtfully and looked at her hair, stroking her blonde curls. She did like her blonde hair, and she had never changed the color before. But, she needed to spice things up a bit. Launch followed the directions and shook up the mixture, then began applying it to the ends of her hair with a black pair of gloves.
Hot water created billowy clouds of steam and candles flickered around the tub as Launch stepped into the water and took her time sitting down. Her hair was kept up in the back with multiple clips while it processed, the front section left blonde. Launch planned to use the time the color took to develop to relax. The lights had been dimmed, along with the music, the volume now softened to fit the setting.
"Once I knew an indigo haired lady, yeah I tell you she was quite extraordinary; drove me crazy, indigo lady, beautiful, strange, exotic!" Indigo Lady played as Launch let herself unwind, resting her head on the edge of the tub while her body sank under the bubbles.
The tealights she'd chosen from the shop were placed around the tub, one at each corner, besides the center one which sat on the shower shelf at the head of the tub, making the hazy shape of a star over her body. They had a vibrant purple color, and the rich aroma of hibiscus flowers. She lathered up a sponge and began scrubbing the dye splatters off her arms and chest, humming along to the song as she did.
"Still I miss her lips, the taste of poisoned blueberries. My mistress of the midnight blue twilight…So erotic, hypnotic, kitschy kitty.."
A soft tapping interrupted Launch's rest, making her stir. She'd fallen asleep after her bath, her hair still wrapped in a towel. A tree branch was tapping on the half-opened window, letting in the chill. She shut the window and made her way towards the candlelit shrine of Raditz, allowing her robe to drop from her shoulders and reveal her sumptuous curves. She blew out the candle and waved coyly at it as the room darkened. "Nighty night, big boy." She whispered, picking up the framed photo to give it a kiss. She was too tired to worry about finding clothes to wear to bed, or brushing her hair. Launch pulled back the covers and slipped the photo underneath her pillow. She wasn't sure where she remembered hearing the superstition, but Launch wasn't particularly a skeptic. She'd heard if you placed a photo of someone under your pillow, you'd have a dream of them that night. If she saw it, she believed it, and if this tale was indeed true then she would take full advantage of it. Launch snuggled back into the warmth of her bed, vaguely wishing she had a big, toasty man to keep her cozy at night in his arms. She drifted off to sleep quickly, exhausted by her long, disappointing day.
Launch opened her eyes and was in a place she'd never been before but seemed to recall every detail of, from the wine red curtains draped over the backdrop of the stage to the imposing colosseum of bodies giving off heat, shouting towards the stage. She looked around herself but realized the faces in the crowd were all blurred. She turned her gaze back to the stage looming over her and saw shadows moving around as they approached their respective places. The most massive shadow came to the center and grasped the microphone, the stage lights flickering on to bathe them in red.
"This is A Fragmented Darkness. We will now perform From Death, with Love, off our newest album, Augustus Crust…"
The bass guitar began to slowly twang, the synthesizer joining in gradually as Raditz began to sing, Launch's eyes widening as she took in everything she was now seeing. She was witnessing a concert that she'd never been present at, had never seen beyond a screen. The music grew louder and shook her to her core as the volume increased, washing over her in waves that left her gasping. Was this what it was like to witness A Fragmented Darkness live? Launch made her way through the crowds of faceless people, pushing past them easily so that she could reach out and touch the stage. It vibrated under her fingers as Raditz sang a long, drawn out tune, the music harmonizing then falling and panning out into a solo.
"Ahhhh… Ahhhh….Ahaha… I'll always love you, love you through… death…. Through death…"
Launch looked up and saw Raditz move closer to the edge of the stage, everything seeming real down to even the specks of dirt falling off his boot as he pumped the pedal board to draw out the bass tones matching his baritone voice in a dramatic overtone.
"Aren't you coming with me?" He said, and Launch gasped, watching how Raditz looked down at her and smirked, revealing a glinting white canine. Launch didn't know what came over her but all she could think to do was scream to make her voice rise up above all the others vying for his attention; singing with him was such an intimate thing, but in this setting it was nothing to the man who gripped the microphone and made the stage shake with his every move, gyration and stomp of his boots. The drums pounded, cymbals smashing and the guitar grinding in a fantastic crescendo, joining the cries and moans, the crowd breathless as the volume reached, and reached even further until it was almost deafening before dropping completely all at once.
"Let me love you… through deaaath…" Raditz finished, then the lights went dim momentarily. Launch was still gasping for her breath, her heart racing as she watched Raditz slug back red wine then tune his bass. This was real . There was no second guessing it, she could smell the sweat of the mosh pit, feel the heat, squish the muddy ground beneath her feet. How could something so intense not be real?
Launch stepped back and for a moment it was like she stepped outside of herself. She could see everything, people were like a sea of ants surrounding the stage lit up by fog lights for miles around. She looked down and then gasped upon seeing the banners draped over the stage reading Shredfest '96. It was then the fourth wall slightly cracked. This is not 1996! Last I knew, it was October 31st, 2021!