Spectra Diabolus leaned heavily on the hard grey splotched Formica surface of the counter in her washroom. Her crimson tiger-striped arms remained tensed as they bore the majority of the leaning female’s weight. She’d been about to change the bloodied bandages that swathed her chest when a reflection in the mirror had caught her attention. She’d leaned in close and stared at it blankly. Not wanting to accept that this figure that she saw was herself. Not wanting to admit that she had become this diminutive thing. This weak, pathetic, sorry excuse for a creature that she saw staring just as blankly back at her.

In a flash, the blank expression in her amber eyes changed. Suddenly becoming fiery and filled with hatred. Not at herself. No. She couldn’t hate herself. She considered herself to be above the pettiness that was self-loathing. No, this hatred was directed, focused rather, on a single individual. Yet it wasn’t even pure hatred. Though she wished it could have been. Pure hatred would have been so much easier to cope with and channel. Regrettably, this hate that Spectra had manufactured was intermingled and plagued with a gut wrenching confusion.

She’d given away her heart, as silly as that sounded. And the recipient of her heart had been… well, she wasn’t sure. This was where the confusion began to settle in.

She felt deep down that her trust had been thwarted. That she had been taken for a fool. That someone, somewhere, was laughing at her misfortune and blindness. Or perhaps they weren’t laughing. Perhaps they were curled up, a heavy weight of sickness in their stomach as regret and shame ate away at their innards, corrupting them just as it was she. Or perhaps even, this individual, the very object of Spectra’s hate and confusion, was dead. If they were dead, and Spectra had proof of said creature’s end of existence, maybe then she’d be able to move on. To forgive, but never forget. To continue on. Maybe even cherish those few past memories.

Unfortunately, she had no proof. No means of knowing whether this individual was alive or dead, fact or fiction, and no way to find out. It was this uncertainty that ailed her. That sapped away at her strength, her very being, and it was this mental instability among other things that had been causing all of her physical wounds as of late.

The lupine’s gaze softened - but not by much. Her quick-to-snarl nature, the curl of her black-lined lips, the sarcastic sting of her voice, and her cold hating eyes were all part of who she was. The proud. The Purposeful.

Spectra was not quite your average wolf. Not much can be said about her earlier years, for Spectra’s real life began with the Pack. All time before then was unimportant. Spectra’s pack had been called Bloodwolf Bay. A medium sized group of midnight terrors and raiders whose sole purpose in life happened to be wreaking havoc and raining down misfortune on those weaker than themselves.

It was through Bloodwolf Bay that Spectra’s appearance had been altered dramatically. Daily pack life, specially when shared among those who were quick to bare fangs and fight, quickly took it’s toll upon the young female. Within no time at all, her silver ears were reduced to tatters. The spiky crimson mane the travelled from the base of her tail, all the way up the length of her back to spill over between her ears was also reduced to a mangy mess. Large chunks of crimson hair vanished as they were clipped away by tooth or claw in one fight or another. Scars began to appear and mark up the skin underneath her fur. Some the result of long, bloody battles, others caused by stupid mistakes or other superficial events. It can be said, right from the beginning, that Spectra was used to being hurt. Used to bleeding and sharp stabbing pains. Perhaps that she was even mildly masochistic. That she enjoyed getting bruises and having fresh wounds that flowed freely. And that she also enjoyed hurting others.

The most notable change in Spectra’s appearance had to be her stripes. Bloodwolves used stripes as a means to tell apart different ranks. The more stripes, or Terror Markings as they were often called, an individual had, the higher up in the ranking system they were. Spectra had four stripes running around the upper portion of each of her arms, and six stripes curving around her back, which made for a grand total of 14 stripes.14 was a considerable number, and as a result, Spectra’s ranking position was quite high. That was all part of Spectra’s distant past. Yet the facts remained the same: she was a bloodwolf, and therefore still retained the stubborn and fiery nature of one.

She gave up staring into the mirror and slowly looked around. Gradually letting the dull reality of her cramped washroom invade her senses. The walls were an off-white colour, the floor, an unrecognizable blend of grey and rusty pink tile. The stinging smell of chlorine was in the air. Apparently someone had felt that the water system could use a good flush. Below the counter that housed the sink was a small cupboard. It was this that Spectra slowly bent down to open. Her furred hands rested on the cheap plastic knobs for a few seconds before she swung the doors open. Inside was a meagre selection of towels and other toiletries. She fished out a fresh non-stick bandage roll then stood back up, closing the cupboard doors with a bump from her knee as she did so. Through gritted teeth, Spectra carefully unhooked the toothed clasps that held her current bandage together. Once those were securely placed on the counter, she began the task of unravelling the bandage. It came off easily enough, although it was soiled all the way through with blood. Underneath, Spectra’s grey-black fur of her sides and the white fur of her belly was severely matted. The fur that was supposed to be white, for the most part, was more pink and red due to the staining of blood.

The wounds themselves were quite ghastly. It looked as if a three-clawed monster had slashed her up. The first blow had been horizontal across her middle. Three long, gaping cuts, about two inches apart, that even now continued to ooze blood. These slashes themselves should have been enough to successfully disembowel her. Yet, they hadn’t. They’d been created through some foreign form of magic. Stitches couldn’t keep their gaping mouths shut, they only dissolved, so Spectra had to try and do her best with bandages. The next blow had been diagonal, tearing apart the skin from her left shoulder to just above her belly button. This one wasn’t as deep as the first, yet it still trickled crimson fluid faithfully. The third blow had struck just above her heart. Unlike the others, this one wasn’t made up of long deep slashes. No, this one appeared to be more like a strange ragged puncture wound. And out of all the wounds, this one was the one that bled the fiercest - and was also the one that Spectra worried about the most.

Spectra stood there, looking at the carnage that was now her chest. Without the bandages in place, the blood flowed more freely. It had begun to spatter and pool on the tile floor. Mumbling something unintelligible, Spectra tossed the bloodied bandages at the trashcan in the far corner in the room. She missed. Mumbling something else now, she proceeded to re-wrap her wounds. Even as she was doing so, the blood seeped through the fresh coverings. She knew it was hopeless, to try and stop this continuous river of blood, yet she had to try. Once she’d layered herself (feeling rather like a mummy now), she put the hooked bandage clasps back in place. Washing her hands now to free herself from her own blood, Spectra again surveyed her washroom. Her bloodied bandages lay beside the trashcan, and now the floor underneath her was smeared and her feet were tracking the sticky fluid. She dried her hands on her sides and wiped her feet on an already rather soiled and sad looking bath mat (it was once green with a nice golden floral print, but had over time been reduced to an ugly ruddy brown).

She knew that she should have died long ago. There was no way that her body could have the capacity to hold this much blood. It was illogical. She should have died from blood loss months ago. She should have lost conscience and faded out of existence long before now. Yet, here she was. Still “alive”. She had her suspicions as to why she was still living. Perhaps it was because she was the Purpose. Perhaps she still had to fulfill whatever crippled destiny lay before her. Perhaps it also had to do with her partial devilwolf heritage, which is another story altogether. All she knew was that she was Spectra Diabolus, the Purpose, and for the time being, she could not die. She could only be hurt.

Spectra exited the dingy washroom, leaving the mess she’d made of it as it was. Maybe she’d clean it up later. Maybe she wouldn’t.

The clock in her bedroom read 5:02 PM in glowing red digital numbers. Time was a Random thing here. It slipped around, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, and sometimes even looping around itself. Why she even bothered to keep a clock, she didn’t know. A long time ago, knowing the exact minute of each day had been a comfort. Now it only caused anxiety as each precious moment skittered by. Now that time had become Random, Spectra couldn’t even be sure of the current day anymore.

A washroom, a small kitchen, and an equally as small living room/bedroom created her apartment. Spectra wasn’t exactly living the high life. The quarters were cramped. The view from her curtain-less windows wasn’t anything to get wild about. Half the time the power in the building failed for one reason or another. Spectra didn’t care though. The only thing she used this place for was sleeping. Her pull out couch was comfortable enough. It was covered in plastic garbage bags now. Spectra had lain them on it in order to prevent her blood from seeping into the upholstery and taking root. It crinkled whenever she happened to move on it and made her feel like a preschooler who had still not learnt how not to wet the bed… however, the precaution continued to keep her pull out relatively blood stain free.