Authors: K. L. Burnham
an we go
home now?” Adam asked popping a Vicodin in his mouth and chasing it down with water.
Alex laughed. “You sound like a toddler. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I want to go home . . . .” Alex turned right onto a busy street in town. “Two more stops and then we’ll go home.”
Adam groaned and stared out the window.
“You knew full well the pharmacy was the first stop, son. Our next stop is the gun store.” Alex smirked. “I’m going hunting when we get home. I don’t care how long it takes to shoot that son of a bitch black hawk. I’ll sit out in the woods and wait for a chance to kill it forever if I have to.”
“Can’t you let it go?” Adam asked. “It happened and now it is what it is.”
Alex smacked his son’s face. “Watch your tongue. Respect me and you may get respected in return.”
Adam flinched and rubbed his face. His dad managed to miss the wound. Thank God for that.
“I’m thinking maybe I’ll skip the body shop today. I can always have the car fixed tomorrow.” Alex said.
Alex pulled the car in front of the gun shop, parked and jumped out. “Be right back.” He hollered and slammed the door.
Adam rolled his eyes. He didn’t care if his dictator dad ever came back. He could die for all he cared.
“Would you really want that now Adam?” A deep voice asked.
Chills ran up and down Adam’s spine. He held his hands in front of him and they were shaking. Maybe it was the Vicodin causing him to shake, hallucinate and hear voices.
A tap on his shoulder proved his theory wrong.
“Turn around, Adam. I want to look into the eyes of a killer.” Victor ordered. “I’ve been watching you for quite some time now and I must tell you that you and your father’s work is sloppy, to say the least. I am not impressed.”
Adam tried to scream but a forceful hand covered his mouth silencing him. He wiggled and fought but it did him no good. The man in the backseat was strong.
Victor leaned forward. “I will release you and uncover your mouth if you promise to be quiet.” Victor whispered in his ear. “If you so much as make a peep I won’t hesitate to snap your neck.” Victor pulled Adam’s head back by his hair hard with his free hand. “Nod if you understand.”
Adam nodded, swallowing hard. He remembered what he saw at the cemetery when they had left earlier. Could this man have anything to do with the stone angel seeming to come to life?
Victor released him and leaned back. “Now do as I say and face me.” He ordered his tone low and cruel.
Adam did as told. He was shocked at what he saw. This couldn’t be a man. He looked too powerful, too strong . . . too evil. He lowered his head and tried not to look at his face. “Who are you and what do you want?” He asked. “I have money if that’s what you want. Tell me how much and I’ll give it . . .”
“This isn’t about money, Adam.” Victor said cutting him off. “This is about justice.” Slicking his black hair back Victor said, “Has anyone ever told you that it’s impolite to avoid eye contact when you meet someone and carry on a conversation?”
Adam still didn’t look Victor in the eyes. “Yes, of course. It’s just that you look familiar. It’s your eyes. I’ve seen you somewhere. So who are you?” Adam gazed at the store entrance hoping his dad would walk out soon. It would be one of the few times he’d be relieved to see him.
“I am Victor, the Master of The Dark One’s and I’d prefer if you call me sir until we get better acquainted on my terms.” Victor smiled holding out his hand. “You are Adam, correct?” He asked cocking his head to the side.
Adam stammered and took Victor’s hand. “Y-y-yes Sir.” He knew he had to look at Victor’s face as much as he didn’t want to. “How do you know my name?” He asked.
Victor released Adam’s hand. It appalled him to touch a murderous human, let alone interact with him and try to appear friendly before unleashing the monster within. But, he knew if he didn’t befriend this stupid fool he’d be forced to chase him down in a busy area which would break one of the rules of The Dark Ones which was to never make a scene in public. The new vampires learned this immediately. Victor smiled, amused. Showtime was about to begin. Adam wasn’t the brightest and it would be easy to lure him away with him.
“I’ve been watching you for awhile, dear boy.” Victor said. “Look into my eyes and tell me where you’ve seen me before. I bet you’ll get it right with the first guess.”
Adam’s blood ran cold. Victor stared at him with the same red eyes the stone angel had at the cemetery. He shook his head in disbelief and said, “This can’t be real. Simone’s tombstone, the angel, it had the same red eyes.” He turned around and fumbled with the door handle trying to open it. “It’s my medication. This isn’t real.” He pounded the door with his fist. It was locked. “Let me go!” He screamed.
Victor smiled, his fangs protruding. “You’re a funny lad, you know that?” He asked. “This is as real as it gets. Look at me and tell me if the angel had the same sweet smile as mine?”
“You’re insane!” Adam hollered. Against his own wishes he glanced at Victor’s fangs. “You’ll pay for this.”
Victor grabbed Adam’s head and jerked his head backward. “No, you’re wrong. You will pay for this. Remember the angel mouthed ‘you’ and it was directed towards you not me.” Pulling Adam’s hair he said, “I believe you’re the one with a debt to pay. Eye for an eye my dear friend.”
Adam winced. His head throbbed. “What are you talking about?”
Victor hated when the guilty played dumb and innocent. As if he was just going to let them go and forget about the debt they owed.
“You know I do sympathize with you in the fact that you were abused by your father your whole life and still are but unfortunately you played a role in the murder of an innocent woman leaving her fiancée mentally tortured and dead inside. For that you will pay.”
“I don’t understand. You’re trying to tell me something as evil as you is capable of sympathy?” Adam asked. “That’s what you just told me.”
Victor let go of Adam’s hair and yawned. “You’re boring me, Adam. Of course I have sympathy. Let me share with you where my heart lies.” He said making sure he had Adam’s full attention before continuing. “I love children. I love good people. I hate evil cruel people who abuse either of them, but especially children. Do you understand so far?”
Adam nodded. He didn’t dare say a word.
“Good,” Victor stated. “I am a vampire who is 491 years old and as a mortal child I was abused by my parents. The moral of the story is most of the abuser’s get away with what they do and the poor children continue to get abused in the most horrific ways. That’s where I come in. I find these people and kill them freeing the little ones to find true happiness.”
Adam stared at Victor, a cocky smile on his face. “Well then, I’m free to go because I’ve never hurt a child.”
“Wipe that grin off your face. You are not free to go anywhere. You are a murderer.”
Adam’s temper flared. He reached back and punched Victor’s face.
“That’s for the false accusation you crazy man, vampire or whatever you are. Now, let me go!” Adam screeched.
“Tsk, tsk. You are going to pay now.” Victor leaned forward grabbing Adams hand in his. Adam tried to wriggle his hand free but to no avail. Victor squeezed Adams hand hard until bones creaked. “Respect me or next time I will show no mercy and snap your wrist in two.” He said and shoved Adams hand away from himself. “It’s time to go.” Victor opened the car door and stepped out.
Adam opened the car door and stood beside Victor. He didn’t dare try and escape unless he wanted broken bones. He looked at the gun shop hoping his dad would see him and wonder what he was doing out of the car.
Victor answered his thoughts. “He won’t see you so lose the false illusion of hope. Your dad has one thing on his mind and that’s getting a special bullet to try and kill my hawk.” Victor held Adam’s arm and led him down the sidewalk.
Adam tried making eye contact with passer-bys but no one noticed Victor and him. “What’s going on? Can’t these people see us?” Adam asked walking faster to keep up with Victor. He looked back to see his father walk out of the store. “Hey, there’s my dad.”
Victor kept walking, eyes forward. “No one can see us. In a moment we are going to take flight.” He jerked Adam’s arm hard, pulled him under his arms like a football and ran. “Don’t worry, you will be reunited with your dad soon and believe me it won’t feel so good like the old popular song says.” Victor jumped and ascended toward the clouds and flew in the direction of Armani’s house. The wind was exhilarating. Such a freedom to feel it whip around you and feel one with the white billowy clouds.
Adam screamed. He watched as the people and buildings below him got smaller until everything looked like it was part of a Lego village built by a child. He wiggled and kicked trying to fight against Victor’s grip. He knew he was going to die either way but he’d prefer to die by falling instead of at the hands of this sadistic vampire.
Victor tightened his grip around Adams wrists. He wasn’t about to let this cowardly boy fall to his death. He wanted Armani to enjoy the revenge killing. He felt Adam go limp in his arms. Victor smiled wickedly. This was going to be more fun than he thought.
Alex opened the car door and threw the bag of bullets onto the seat next to him. Letting him self fall into the car he realized Adam wasn’t where he was told to stay.
“Now where did that boy go?” He asked aloud. “I tell him to stay in the car and do you think he has the mental ability to listen? No, he’s too stupid. Always has been.” Alex groaned.
A piece of white paper lying on the floor of the car caught his eye. Alex leaned over, grabbed it and unfolded it. “Someone has sloppy handwriting,” he said squinting to read it.
Alex cursed and threw the letter on the passenger seat. What kind of sick joke was this? How much more drama would he have to endure for his son? This was getting absurd.
“Master of The Dark Ones?” He questioned aloud, his brow furrowed. “What in God’s name was that? Some sort of devil worshipping cult?” He slammed his fists against the steering wheel and sounded the horn. Several people turned to stare at him.
He rolled down the window and yelled, “What are you staring at? Mind your own God damn business!” He turned the key in the ignition, shoved it in drive, did a U-turn and sped toward the bank, leaving people staring after him with shocked expressions.
Alex laughed. He watched their expressions in the rear view mirror. “Well, Victor I will see you at nine o’clock with two things for you. The money and my gun loaded with special gold plated bullets.” He stated smiling like he had just won the lottery. “I never lose.”
rmani paced the
living room floor pausing every couple minutes to glare at Donovan and Rex. “Is someone going to tell me just what the hell is going on here?” Armani asked. “Why is Gabe cooped up like a dog in my kennel? What the hell did I do to myself by crossing over?” He rubbed his face and continued pacing.
Rex spoke first. “Gabe was one of the men responsible for killing Simone and torturing you . . .” He blurted out only to be cut off by Donovan.
“Please Rex. There is a proper way to say these things.” Donovan stated glaring at Rex. In the blink of an eye he was beside Armani restraining him.
“Let me go!” Armani ordered. “I’m going to kill him!”
Rex shivered. Armani’s eyes were bright red, his face a mask of anger. He watched Armani lift his head and stare at the ceiling his fangs long and sharp ready to tear Gabe to shreds.
Donovan held him. “Armani,” He ordered. “Calm yourself down.”
Armani took a few deep breaths trying to relax. “I can’t. I want to kill him now.” He balled his fists tight, digging his sharp nails into his hands and blood dripped down his arms.
Donovan released Armani and led him to the sofa and forced him to take a seat. “Get a hold of yourself and your emotions. First of all, Gabe isn’t the only one responsible. There are two other men.” Donovan stated matter of fact.
A shocked expression on his face, Armani asked, “How do you know? Why have you done nothing to end their lives?” He was angrier than a thousand bees when their hive is disrupted. Thoughts of strangling Donovan entered his mind but left just as quickly. He forced himself to think logically. He knew if he tried to harm Donovan he wouldn’t stand a chance against him. He saw the blood dripping down his arms and asked Rex to get him a box of tissues. “God knows I don’t dare stand up for fear that Master Donovan will restrain me.” He snickered and glared at Donovan.
“Very funny, Armani,” Donovan retorted. “Please keep your smart ass comments and humor to yourself when Victor is present. He is not as patient as I.”
Rex threw him the box of tissues and walked to the window. “I heard something.” He said and pulled the curtains back and gazed out at the snow covered earth.
Donovan rushed beside Rex and peered out. “Armani, stay seated.” He ordered. “It’s Victor and he brought a guest with him.”
Donovan shuffled nervously and splayed his fingers over and over in the same motion.
“Man Donovan for being a vampire I didn’t think you got nervous.” Rex said shocked.
Armani watched Rex and Donovan stare out the window like two little boys waiting for Santa Claus to bring gifts on Christmas morning.
“Do you recognize him?” Donovan asked Rex pointing to the man in Victor’s grasp.
“Rex squinted shading his eyes from the sun with his hand. After a long pause he said, “No, I don’t have any idea who that is. I’ve never seen him in my life.”
Donovan knew it was one of two people. Either one of Gabe’s associates in the killing of Simone or it could be a man Victor picked up that was slipping through the cracks of the justice system and Victor had brought him here as an example of how The Dark One’s reacquainted guilty people with the law. He hoped it was the first. He didn’t want Victor setting an example for Armani and showing him the ropes. Donovan shuddered. Victor let the torturing get out of hand and more blood was shed than necessary when ending the lives of the guilty.
Donovan and Rex watched Victor descend from the sky his black cape swirling behind him. Victor’s feet touched the ground gracefully like a swans landing on water. He released his grip and threw Adam.
“Recognize this place, Adam?” Victor asked making a circle around the area with his arms. “I know you’ve been here a couple times with your dear daddy. Am I right?”
Adam gazed around the large property. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He said quietly and lowered his head.
Victor picked him up and shook him. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. Fess up, son or I will kill you right here and now.” He set him down, folded his arms and waited for a response.
Rex’s jaw dropped. “What is he doing? You have to help that young kid.” He waited a minute and walked toward the door. “If you’re just going to stand there and let that monster you call the Master beat on some innocent boy then I’ll go out and take matters into my own hands.”
“You will do no such thing if you value your own life.” Donovan ordered. “Victor would not bring him here if he wasn’t guilty of something.”
Victor uncrossed his arms and tapped his foot giving Adam one more chance to tell the truth. ‘Coward,’ he thought. “I’m going to count to five and if you don’t tell me the truth I will snap your neck faster than you can blink.” He stated holding up five fingers. He started the count. “One,” he said pulling one finger down. “Two.”
Adam stared at Victor and said, “O.K., O.K, I’ll tell you the truth.”
Victor grabbed Adam by the throat and held his face inches from his own and sneered. “Good boy. I knew you’d see things my way.” He set him on his feet and added, “Honestly, you have nothing to lose now.”
Adam wasn’t sure what this Victor thing meant by that. It meant he would either live or die for telling the truth. In a shaky voice, Adam told Victor everything.
Gabe hollered from the dog kennel. “Shut your mouth, you coward!”
Victor rolled his eyes. “The only coward here is you, Gabe. You know you’re going to die and can’t even die like a real man. Maybe if you would’ve been honest, I’d be more kind to you.” He took Adam’s hand, leading him to the house. He stared at Adam and said, “For your honesty I am going to lock you up in the house, not this dog kennel.”
“Why can’t I just go home?” Adam asked. “I did what you said. I told you the truth with God as my witness.” He held his free hand over his heart. “Please.”
Victor knew Adam’s heart was empty, ruthless and angry. The way he killed Simone and the pride he felt in having her stare into his eyes when she took her last breath. This boy was pushing Victor’s patience and he was on the brink of exploding. “Yes, you told me the truth and no, you are not free to go. Think about what you did to Simone and the reason why. That, my friend, is why you’re going to die.”
Adam dragged his heels in the dirt. “No. I’m not going to die. Damn it! I told you the truth. Didn’t you hear me?” He asked, desperate.
Victor tugged Adam hard making him yelp. “Adam in life every man needs to learn a lesson and the lesson here for you is that the truth will not set you free this time.”
Gabe laughed. “We’re going to die, little man. The only person missing is your old man . . . .” He trailed off.
Victor turned and stared at Gabe. “Shut your filthy mouth or I’ll gut you like a deer right here and now.”
Tears streamed down Adam’s lion shaped face. “Oh God, what have I done? Just kill me now.”
“That would be too easy.” Victor replied. “Come along, let’s get moving. I’m going to store you in the garage for your crocodile tears.”
From inside the house Donovan and Rex watched in silence. Armani stood and stretched. This whole thing was more than he could bear.
“I’m going to take a shower and relax for a while. I need some time alone.” He said and walked to the stairwell. “Please respect my wishes for complete solitude and privacy at this time.”
“It is done.” Donovan said and smiled sympathetically at Armani. “Be on your way.” He watched Armani walk to the stairs with a pain swelling in his heart. Armani would never be the same. Happiness was but a dream for him that would never come true.
“He’ll never be happy, will he?” Rex asked searching Donovan’s face for any sign of hope.
Donovan wished he could lie to Rex and tell him everything would be OK, but he knew it would not. Avoiding eye contact he responded, “I will do everything in my power to make Armani happy.” He slipped his cloak on motioning for Rex to come by his side. “Victor will be coming inside soon. Stand close to me for the introductions.”
Rex didn’t budge.
“Please.” Donovan said. “It’s for your own safety. I will not let any harm come to you.”
Slow and steady footsteps approached the front door forcing Rex to obey Donovan. The handle twisted and the door slowly creaked open. Rex’s face paled. He gripped a handful of Donovan’s cloak in his palm squeezing hard. Beads of sweat perspired on his forehead.
Victor walked in with an aura that demanded respect. He eyed Rex with an evil gleam in his cold eyes and licked his lips.
“Victor,” Donovan stated, “This is Rex, Armani’s best friend and former band mate.” He placed his arm around Rex’s shoulder and scooted him towards Victor. “I’ve become quite fond of Rex as well, I might add.” He smiled. “He is a wonderful and courageous man.”
Victor took Rex’s hand. “Nice to finally meet you face to face, Rex. Any friend of Donovan’s is a friend of mine.” He smiled warmly. “I trust his judgment of mortals and vampire’s with all of my being.”
Rex breathed, relieved. He was standing in a room with two very powerful vampires who could kill him in a second if they wished. What kind of mess has Armani gotten himself into? How did these two vampires find Armani and convince him to cross over? So many questions he knew might never get answered. Victor released his hand. Rex rubbed his hand on his side trying to warm it. Victor’s touch was cold.
“Where’s Armani?” Victor asked scanning the room. “We need to celebrate his transformation and give him a proper welcome into the family of The Dark Ones.”
Donovan cleared his throat and replied, “He needed some time alone. He’s upstairs relaxing.”
“I shall go and speak to him myself then.” Victor stated his tone bitter. “This is no way to celebrate new life.”
“Wait . . .” Donovan said. But it was too late. Victor was halfway up the stairs and silenced Donovan with a wave of his hand.
Donovan and Rex stood staring as Victor’s tall dark shadow dimmed into nothingness.