Chapter 155 – Piecing it all Together


 

Isaac and I, haven’t talked much since the trip. We’re not avoiding each other but there isn’t much to say. Tonight, he asked me where I was going and I told him he couldn’t come. Still, he’s been following me through the woods for almost an hour, pretending I can’t hear him or maybe he thinks I can’t hear him. I keep hoping he’ll get tired and stop following me, but he’s probably lost and I’d rather nothing happen to him in the next few days.

Destiny’s journal mentioned an shed that Granny and Old Ben didn’t let anyone go near. I spent the last few days looking around the property and from the rooftop, I could just barely catch a glimpse of something through the woods. I decided that I’d try to check it out when nobody was paying attention; but that’s hard to do when you live on a plantation with a bunch of vampires that rarely ever sleep. I think I’m the only one who actually tries to sleep every night. I figured at night, at least the few humans around here wouldn’t notice me sneaking out. I was wrong, I made sure I was out of the room all day so Isaac wouldn’t know when I was leaving. I guess he was looking out of a window or something when he saw me leave.

The old shack is just that, an old shack. But the door and the lock are new. There’re bars on the windows and someone has gone through a lot of trouble to repair spots that were damaged. The new wood stands out in places, a much lighter shade than the original wood. It isn’t long before Isaac joins me, lurking in the shadows.

“You can come out now,” I call out to Isaac who scurries up.

“Why are you out here visiting a creepy old shack?”

“Because Destiny said it held the secret to what Granny and Old Ben were doing.”

“You realize you sound crazy when you word it like that. It makes it sound like you talked to her yesterday and we both know that wasn’t possible.”

“Her journal, her journal said it.”

“So you came all the way to the middle of nowhere, a place called Dulac that nobody ever heard of until they tripped, fell and landed here. Just so you can solve a mystery she left you in a journal?”

“That’s not why we came here. It’s coincidence she mentioned it in her journal. I wasn’t feeling right about this place for a while.”

“So, are we going to go in?”

I step up and grip the lock, it’s nothing but a regular padlock. It’s not meant to keep us out, it’s meant to keep something in. The lock snaps easily when I tug at it. I push the door open and there’s complete darkness. Isaac feels around on the walls until he finds a light switch. The shack is as expected, dust and dirt cover every inch of the place, the windows are frosted with dust and impossible to see through. A single toilet and sink, no fridge or bed. But the part that sets off my danger sense is the cages. Not just regular cages, but cages large enough for humans. I saw enough Marson workings to know that this place caged humans. With the lock being so new, probably recently. Sometime during my stay there were people being held captive in this building and I had no clue about it at all. Destiny was here for years and couldn’t figure it out. They didn’t even hide it, you just had to know where to look.

“What do you think was in these cages,” Isaac asks.

“People. They’re human traffickers.”

“How do you know?”

“I’ve seen it before. The cages, the locks, but only on the outside. Terrible living conditions. Space heaters but no actual heat, and there’s probably a small generator providing the light out back.”

“You’re serious,” Isaac takes a different tone. “Who do you think is behind it.”

“Granny and Old Ben. The others might know too.”

“What if it’s like, a hideout for The Underground Railroad?”

“They were never slaves and this was never a hideout. Look at it, modern plumbing and electricity, those cages are worn, but not slavery worn. It’s all for show, just a damn cult.”

“I don’t know yet, burn it all down. Kill everyone here, I don’t know.”

“Well, wait until the ceremony.”

“That’s what you’re thinking about?”

“Yeah, you’re already Adze. I’ve put up with shit before you came along. James made us drink blood, and eat leaches. All kinds of shit. My goal is in sight. I’ve compromised a lot of who I am for this. Give me a couple of days before you start building bombs.”

“Fine, but when the time comes you help me.”

“Alright,” Isaac extends his hand. “I’ve got your back.”

The walk back is silent. There’s nothing to talk about, both of our minds have been made up. I’ll let him turn, and he’ll keep quiet about my plans. For a moment, I swear I spot Isis looking at us from the house as we approach. It might just be my imagination, or paranoia. The mystery of how the Marson family knew about killing Adze is solved. They probably met Granny and Old Ben at some trafficking convention. I’ll deal with them too eventually.

“You coming in,” Isaac asks as he opens the back door.

“Nah, I’m going to stay out here and think for a moment.”

“Okay, nighty night.”

“Night.”

Chapter 154 - The Book of Adze


 

On the way back to Dulac Sampson stopped and gave Isaac and myself our cut of the money that had been taken. It was a fair amount of money. About $200,000 for each Isaac and myself. I threw mine in my pocket dimension and thought nothing more of it. Isaac is insane, and had us stop at several Western Union’s to wire the money to his bank account in various disguises. Sampson didn’t try to hide his cut, the largest share, but insisted we hide ours. Beyond that, he didn’t say much to us the rest of the way back besides asking what we wanted to eat. It was a long trip back, a scenic route with plenty of stops and days to rest. When we pulled into Dulac, he turned the rest of the money over to Old Ben, about $730,000 from what I heard. I haven’t seen much of him since then, I skipped most of the dinners and it seemed like he’s been doing the same.

I’ve been spending most of my time in the ancient little library, reading Destiny’s journal, learning. Trying to figure out more about what’s going on here; how to expand my understanding of magic and what it means to really be Adze have been at the front of my mind. Most of the books in this library are covered with dust, but never opened. Mostly classic literature, things I’ve got no interest in. I do manage to find one book that interests me. It’s a big black book with a hardcover and pages lined with gold. Almost like a Bible, but there’s no text on the cover, on none of the pages. I flip through it and sit it aside a dozen times, but I can’t seem to leave it alone, something is drawing me to it.

I run my hand along the edges again, feeling the smooth, gold sides. Ouch, I gave myself a papercut. I place the book down and look for a paper towel, napkin, or anything to wipe away the blood. I settle on some toilet paper from the bathroom across the hall.

When I return the book is different, filled with words, diagrams. The cover reads, The Book of Adze in gold lettering, actual gold maybe. As I skim through the pages, it’s filled with information about Adze, stuff I knew, stuff I didn’t know. It’s all there. The trials, how to kill and Adze.

The trials they’re going through aren’t legit, trials aren’t even needed to become Adze. It’s three experiences a person needs to have to truly be Adze, and open their mind, body and soul to the full abilities. You can still be turned without them, but if you want to reach your full potential they’re required. Granny was just lying to everyone. It’s a cult, a greedy cult looking for ways to make more money.

Darkness, blood and humanity, those are the experiences required to be Adze according to the book. Darkness requires your mind to remain sane in the darkest moments. Some say they are visited by either Anansi or Ekwensu, trickster gods attempting to drive someone insane. Blood is all about the connection to your ancestors, do you really care about their history, their messages, can you feel their magic flowing through you being passed down through generations. Humanity just tests if you’re a good person, this is the only one required. It’s a near death experience, if you’re good, you’ll come back, if not, you’ll just die. The only other required part is the ritual to actually become Adze.

There’s one question I’m eager to know, how did Marson Family kill Destiny? I flip through the pages eagerly, searching for an answer. It’s been on every page, the answer is gold. Werewolves have silver, and Adze have gold. A stake, holy water or whatever else kills regular vampires wouldn’t work on us. Injuries that are inflicted by gold are treated the same way they would on a human. That’s why the bullet wounds didn’t heal quickly. It’s why they could decapitate her, the golden bullets and swords are just more modern than gold tipped stakes. The fact that Granny hid all this information is why she thought Adze were invincible. She just didn’t know any better. But, how did the Marson family know? Had they dealt with Adze before, or had someone tipped them off?

They’ve lied to Destiny about everything, they were never her family. They never wanted anyone to have access to whatever the full abilities are, I’ll have to keep reading to know what they are. Destiny didn’t trust them, and she was right. I need to start planning my exit from this place. For now, I probably don’t want to leave this in the open. There’s so much more read, so much more to learn. If I pair this with Destiny’s journal I can figure out what really goes on here.

Chapter 153 - Bluebird of Chicago


Sampson gloats as we leave New Orleans, Isaac kisses his ass over the whole ordeal. I’m not as eager to celebrate. We could have wiped out a bloodline, we held an old lady hostage, torched some historic buildings while hurting and maybe killing dozens of others. Why? So he can make sure nobody sells drugs to the neighborhood he sold drugs to for years. To make sure nobody took over his turf, that he doesn’t occupy. Forget that.

“I know you’re not getting sensitive back there,” Sampson jokes.

“We just wiped out a small village worth of people, so yeah, I’m a little sensitive.”

“Stop acting like a bitch, we just did something awesome,” Isaac laughs.

“What was awesome? Making a woman watch her son be chased down in the middle of the night? Burning down historic buildings? We didn’t actually get any drugs off the street. Did you see a stash of drugs? I didn’t see any drugs. What about money? They still got money?”

“We’ve got your cut of the money in the trunk,” Isaac smiles in the rearview mirror, “big trash bags full of money. I did some exploring after you knocked me out.”

“You could have died.”

“But he didn’t, and you didn’t die so what’s the problem,” Sampson asks.

“I just told you what the problem was,” I can feel my voice raising.

“Take some of that bass out of your voice when you talk to me,” Sampson raises his own voice.

“Or what?”

“Or what? You think I’m some kind of playground bully? Don’t forget I already laid you out twice now. Hotel and big house. This ain’t what you want little buddy.”

“Pull over,” the words seem odd coming from my own mouth.

“What,” Sampson laughs.

“Pull over.”

“Oh, now you want to fight,” Sampson asks sarcastically.

“Yeah, I want to fight now,” do I want to fight? Yeah, I want to fight.

“Alright, I’ll knock you around a little.”

“Alright, let’s just get home,” Isaac tries to play peacemaker.

“That’s not my home, I’m a guest,” I respond. “You are too.”

“See, he thinks he’s the Big Adze now because he came from up north. They’re always looking down on us. They think we’re slow just because we’re Southern.”

“We don’t think Southern people are slow. Maybe crazy, but not slow. I think you’re slow, because you’re an idiot who would rather start a gang war than deal with his issues like an adult.”

“Alright, we can do this, but when I beat your ass out here, I’m leaving you here,” Sampson loses his joking tone.

I don’t need to strategize as he looks for a place to pull off the highway. I’ve seen him fight enough to know how he’s going to play this. He snuck up on me the first time and on the plantation, I wasn’t in the right headspace. Right now, I just need to calm down. I know how he fights, he just overpowers people and if I stay calm I won’t be in that kind of situation. He’s stronger, but I’m faster and I’ve actually got skills beyond just being a muscle head vampire.

I’m the first one out of the car when he pulls over next to some abandoned field. I start to stretch after the long car ride. Isaac gets out the car next, trying to talk me out of this but I’m not hearing it. Suddenly he’s concerned when he realizes just how far I’m willing to take this. Sampson gets out the car and is acting like this is all a big joke, making a big show of removing his shirt and flexing his muscles.

“Until KO, or give up,” Isaac tries to lay some ground rules.

“If I don’t kill him first,” Sampson still thinks I’m joking.

“Yeah, that’s with me.”

“Alright, let’s go,” Sampson starts to rush at me.

Yeah, he’s doing what I thought he would. It would be easy to run away, but I don’t budge until he’s close. I drop down low and slide to the side. I move my hand towards the back of his knee and a blade materializes in my hand, stabbing him and causing him to drop to a knee. I retreat to a safe distance as he swings wildly while trying to stand. He rattles off some cursing about how that was unfair. I don’t care, I’m going to take his other knee when I get he chance to do it. I watch Sampson inhale and know the flames are coming. I launch a nightmare at his head forcing him to dive out of the way. He can’t react before I’ve slammed my knee into his face. He manages to grab me, looking for a grappling match on the ground. I take the opportunity to land more blows to his face but he’s smiling, displaying bloodied gold teeth and taking it like it’s nothing, still trying to grab me. He manages to lock me in a bear hold, but he’s started to inhale, he’s going to try burning my face away here on the ground. His neck is too big for me to wrap both my hands around but I squeeze as tight as I can, pushing back towards the ground for leverage. It’s all about which of us will fade first.

I wake up to Isaac pulling me away from Sampson. I guess I couldn’t hold up after all, surprised they didn’t just leave me on the side of the road. I stumble as my brain adjusts to having fresh oxygen again, and my organs express satisfaction in not being strangled anymore. I notice Sampson is still on the ground, passed out.

“Did I win?”

“Sort of, you both passed out. I was thinking, you’re right. What we did was wrong. I’m not going to apologize for doing what I felt like I needed to in order to get my revenge. But, I am going to try thinking with a clearer head.”

“Is that why you woke me up first?”

“Yeah.”

“Good enough for me. Save all the other shit for when I’m not on the verge of passing out again.”