Chapter 63 - M.



The sun wakes me, and my body can move again. I’m still in the hotel room, same spot, slightly more torn boxer briefs. The room is covered in blood, scales and what looks to be pieces of furniture. The TV is on and Destiny is watching reruns of The Wayans Brothers as if nothing is strange. Around the room are severed heads of what I assume to be more Succubus and an Incubus too, but only a single body. Jenny’s body, head attached and a fist sized hole through where her heart should be. I’d probably vomit if I hadn’t lived through last night.

“Put your clothes on,” Destiny flings a grocery bag at me with my actual clothes.

“Where were you,” I ask her without opening the bag.

“When?”

“Last night, you went silent and I got raped.”

“Oh, you didn’t get raped, but this would be sexual assault for sure.”

“Great I’ll only get half an episode of SVU, where were you?”

“Killing the gang. See one can only steal so much of your soul, that’s why the rest wait in hiding. Then they take turns until you’re drained. I got the others first. I figured you could handle yourself. If you couldn’t, I wouldn’t want to hang around you. You barely passed,” she shrugs and goes back to watching TV.

I sit on the edge of the bed and take in my surroundings again. I try to reconcile what just happened, and my brain just isn’t computing. If this was some computer program or video game, I’d figure it out. This, this doesn’t compute with me, yet here I am. I accept it and make my way to the bathroom to get changed. I need to go home.

“Don’t try to be all modest now,” Destiny says as I shut the door.

“What did you see,” I ask her.

“Only a teeny tiny little bit,” she laughs.

“What’s that mean?”

“It means I only saw, an itsy-bitsy bit,” she keeps laughing.

I slam the door to get dressed and realize these aren’t my clothes at all. She’s playing another joke on me. I’m thinking I don’t like Destiny as much as I thought I did. I can deal with her not laughing at my jokes. But she left me to fight off what I can only describe as a demon rapist by myself. Then she makes a small dick joke and brings me biker shorts, a hoody and flip flops to wear. There’re limits to how much a person can take and she seems to just keep pushing mine, hoping I break. But I’m not going to give her that satisfaction. She’s not going to get rid of me like that, at least not until we’ve had a date. If she’s still like this afterwards, I’m done. I’ll find someone else to fall in love with because love should never be like this, even if I don’t know a lot about love.

“You look great,” Destiny gets her final laugh in.

“Thank you. I’ll pick you up on Friday night,” I say heading for the door.

“Pick me up for what? We’re done here.”

“No, you still owe me a date.”

“I don’t owe you anything,” Destiny stands up to intimidate me. It almost works.

“Yeah, you do. You told me if I acted as bait, you’d go on a date with me. I think you owe me that after making me a sexual assault victim because you wanted to hide half the plan and put me in your ex-boyfriend's clothes,” I realize I’m yelling and stop talking.

“Listen nerd boy, I don’t appreciate you yelling at me or placing the blame on me because you’re weak.”

“I’m a human, you’re not. You left me to fight a succubus that drugged me, because you told me to take the drugs. The least you can do is go on a date with me.”

“Fine, see you Friday.”

“And another thing, what is this crap? Where are my clothes and shoes? This looks like I’m a crazy person.”

“I said I’ll go on the date with you.”

“For real?”

“Yeah.”

“No strings attached,” I ask with concern.

“None.”

“No practical jokes? Just a date.”

“Just a date,” she finally smiles.

“Great.”

“Don’t expect it to end in sex. I don’t put out on the first date.”

“I would never expect you to.”

“Good. Even if it did, there wasn’t much you could do with that anyway,” she bursts into laughter again.

“It gets bigger,” is the only thing I can say through the embarrassment.

“Not from what I saw,” she keeps going.

“Nobody told you to take a peek, pervert.”

“I didn’t, just didn’t see any print. Nothing, no hotdog, no tater tots. Just flat. Ken doll.”

“That’s not true,” I’m getting angry now.

“Hey, you’ve got what you got. Can’t change that.”

“It gets bigger, way bigger. You’ll see.”

“Sure, it does, let’s get out of here Ken Doll, I’ll make you breakfast.”

“I hate you so much right now.”

“No, you love to hate me. There’s a difference.”

Chapter 62 - M.



Check in doesn’t go well, I was just so stuck on Jenny that I could barely get checked in. I couldn’t remember the fake name Destiny gave me. She was so busy laughing she couldn’t get out Carlton Banks. Her laugh is so cute, doesn’t do her evilness justice. But, I made it through and we got to the elevator with no problem. Jenny is really understanding through all this. She says people aren’t usually hit like this their first time.

That elevator ride is when I realize, she didn’t take whatever I took. I’ve been overcome with all these gushy feelings for Jenny and Destiny, that I didn’t realize I’ve been drugged. I knew I took drugs; just thought I wasn’t alone and whatever I took wasn’t this strong. A list of all the street drugs I know start running through my mind. I can’t think of a single one that would do this, maybe a combination but I’m not sure why someone would go through the process of getting designer drugs just to put someone down. There’s plenty of things you can already get for cheap and if what Destiny says is true, you can get magic potions and there’s plenty of spells as well.

Inside the hotel room Jenny doesn’t waste any time. She leads me to the bed and insists on more wine and offers more drugs but I decline. I don’t care what Destiny says, wait, I don’t think Destiny has said anything for a while now. Where did she go? Did she just leave me hanging? Did we lose our radio signal? Am I going to puke? No.

In classic mythology, a succubus or even incubus would have sex with their victims. Driving them mad in the process. Some said they would wipe a piece of the persons mind, steal years from their life or even drain their soul each time. Yet, the sex was so great that the victim would willingly repeat the act over and over again, until there was nothing left. It was said they’d lure people in with a combination of hallucinogens and depressants. Some said they even had the power to cast hallucinations themselves. 

Jenny wasted no time, soon she was standing before me, having shed most of her clothing. She stood there, posing, in nothing but her heels, panties and matching bra. She was even more beautiful than before. I knew it had to be whatever she drugged me with trying to control me. The feelings of dread and panic would rush over me, and quickly be washed away by lust.

“I’m not feeling well right now,” I lie down on the bed and look away from her.

“Then I’ll do all the work, you just follow my lead.”

“I just don’t want to,” I argue.

“You’re not making this easy for anyone,” she says moving closer and stroking my head.

“It’s my first time, I’d like it to be something I could remember or didn’t vomit during.”

“It’s not your first time, someone like you, no. You could do it with your eyes closed.”

“I really can’t. I’ve never had sex,” I dry heave again.

“Look, we can do it the easy way, but we’re going to have sex tonight,” she turns threatening.

“No,” I roll out of the bed and onto the floor away from her.

The slam against the ground wakes me up a little, enough that I have my senses again. It isn’t long before she’s on top of me. She rips through my shirt and blazer, almost as if with claws instead of fingers. She’s strong, I can’t push free from her. I throw a few punches and they seem to hurt my wrist more than anything. I’ve only been in fights with my brothers, and I usually lose or Elias broke us up. I probably couldn’t beat my sisters. 

She leans forward, as beautiful as ever but her mouth seems to hold several rows of teeth and a straw shaped tongue now. All surrounded by perfect ruby red lipstick still. Instinct gives me the right move. I jam my fingers into her eyes like the old Three Stooges episodes dad used to watch. I’m able to break free of her and make a run for the door, almost. The drugs don’t let me get far before I start to fall over. I’m caught by Jenny, now looking more monstrous than before, green slanted eyes with a Brille, that’s what they call it on reptiles right? I don’t know but she easily tosses me back onto the bed. I try to fight but she rips my pants free in a single move. 

All the fighting and the drugs, have taken a toll on me, I can’t fight back as hard and all I’ve got left is torn boxer briefs and a few tattered pieces of shirt, it’s getting hard to breathe as she climbs up the bed. In that moment I see her naked body and what she really is. The body of a human woman, but scales and eyes like a reptile, teeth like a shark, she’s a monster. A fucking beast. I try to scream out for help, but nothing comes out and I can only flail my hands uselessly. My body is frozen and I can no longer fight back, I just close my eyes and hope the drugs can take me out before whatever she does next.

In the final moments before losing my virginity and soul to a succubus, I can’t help but wonder where Destiny is. She said she would protect me, make sure nothing bad happened to me, and here I am moments away from losing it all. She used me for bait, and I fell for it because I thought she was cute. I should have called it quits when she decided to dress me in her boyfriend’s clothes. I try to swing my fist again using the rage, but nothing happens. I close my eyes again and try to think of a happy place I’d rather be.

Chapter 61 - M.



“This isn’t really what I thought would happen when you said we’d get new clothes and hit the clubs. We robbed your ex, and you made a fake dating profile for me. I’ve been on sixteen dates and you’ve forced me to ruin every one of them,” I look strange arguing with nobody else in the club.

“Well, they aren’t the right girl for you. You need the soul sucking kind. The kind that’ll suck your soul right out of your body,” Destiny responds through the ear piece.

“Like you?”

“I’m a vampire, not a succubus and I won’t be doing any sucking with you,” I can never tell if Destiny likes my jokes or not.

For now, I just sit quietly and wait, as quietly as you can sit in a night club. I’ve gone on four dates in my life. A coffee date, but I don’t drink coffee so I had a horrible look on my face the whole time. A dinner date, she brought a friend with her, I had to pay for both. A movie date, we didn’t talk at all, because we were watching a movie. A walk in the park, it was nice, then there was a surprise thunderstorm. I didn’t call any of those women back, I was too embarrassed. I wouldn’t have called the dinner duo back anyway. I would have never thought to go on a date at a night club, then again, this is a really fancy night club. I wouldn’t even call it a night club. They’ve got a dance floor, and all the night club requirements but they’ve got live music and not just the DJ. The clothing is a lot more upscale too, it’s not a bad place. None of the singers really have any emotion, but it’s not bad. I guess more of a cross between a jazz and hip-hop club. I wonder what kind of profit they have or how they decide who gets more time between musicians and the DJs. The easiest way to do it would probably be creating an algorithm comparing the cost of the performer to the alcohol purchased during their set. That might be why all of these singer suck. People want to drink the pain away.

“She’s here. Stand up and wave,” Destiny gives me more instructions. Wonder how this one will go.

I just wave like an idiot until one of the people walking through the door recognizes me. A tall, pale white woman with brunette hair, a champagne colored dress, and flowing brown hair. If there was a look for classic Hollywood celebrities, she would fit it. I could picture her being rescued by classic detective Ace Harlem and then he says something like, I can’t love you dame I got a woman, before driving away. She’s not ugly, but it’s just off-putting how she appears to have walked out of a 1940s or 50s film.

“Hey, I’m Jenny, are you Carlton,” she makes her way over after spotting me.

“Yeah, nice to meet you,” I shake her hand and pull out a chair at the table as Destiny giggles in my ear. The joke is funny to her, every time.

“Ask if she likes sucking souls, I bet she loves sucking souls. Suck your soul right out of your body” Destiny says in my ear.

“Did you find the place okay,” I ignore her.

“Yeah, I’ve driven by a few times, but I’ve never been here. It’s really nice, a lot more upscale than I thought it would be. You’ve got good taste,” Jenny compliments me.

“Stick your hand up, order some drinks,” Destiny chimes in

“How about some drinks,” I wave my hand.

“That sounds lovely, it’ll lighten up the mood.”

“So what do you do for a living,” I ask after ordering a merlot.

A long pause, “I’m a stylist,” she finally answers.

“I could have used you this evening when I was getting dressed,” I joke.

“Don’t make jokes, you aren’t that funny,” Destiny understood I was making fun of her ex.

“Maybe, I’ll help you get undressed later, and we’ll try on something more, exciting. Maybe a birthday suit,” Jenny stares into my eyes, not so much joking.

“Say you wouldn’t mind,” Destiny notices my pause.

“I wouldn’t mind that at all,” I nervously respond to the question.

We drink and eat some great fish as we chat, she’s heavy on the inuendo and Destiny has me playing along. This is one of the Succubusess...succubi, the gang we’re after. I don’t need Destiny to tell me, I just pick up on it. Nothing wrong with a woman who knows she wants sex, but she’s way too aggressive here. Enough that she’s making me uncomfortable, I just know I’m heading for a bad situation here. I just have to trust that Destiny doesn’t let me end up dead despite all her jokes.

“Have you ever done drugs,” Jenny asked.

“I smoked some pot,” I shrug.

“But you’ve never had anything else,” she pressed me.

“No.”

“Would you like to liven up the mood a little,” she asks.

“Say yes, you won’t die. She can’t get your soul if you’re dead,” Destiny urges me.

“Sure,” I hesitate.

“Take this,” she hands me a small pill.

I wash it down with some wine and nothing happens right away. We finish up the meal and pay, before making our way to my waiting limo, that I didn’t know I had. Destiny is waiting, dressed like a driver, and holding a sign with my name in big bold letters. Jenny is impressed and rushes to the limo as Destiny opens the door for her. Destiny is even prettier than I remember. Maybe it’s because she’s a vampire and she’s out at night, but she’s so pretty. Why couldn’t I be on a date with her? Inside the limo smells great, like Destiny.

On the way to whatever fancy hotel Destiny has acquired without me knowing, I realize she’s so smart and capable. The pill has kicked in. I realized the pill has kicked in. I need to focus. The pill was probably supposed to make Jenny irresistible to me. Maybe whoever I looked at first. The wine might have slowed the reaction so it was Destiny instead of Jenny. Either way, I think Jenny may have noticed the pill is kicking in.

She wraps both her arms around my arm. She’s so warm, warmer than anyone I’ve ever touched. Not that I’ve touched a lot of people, but she’s really warm. Fall asleep warm. I could stay like this forever. No, that’s whatever she gave me talking. Jenny isn’t so bad; she laughs at my jokes. Destiny doesn’t. I lean over to kiss Jenny and the limo lurches forward flinging me to the ground. The window separating us from the driver rolls down.

“Sorry, a kid ran in front of the car. Had to slam the breaks. Hope I didn’t ruin anything.”

Chapter 60 - M.



I tip the doorman thirty dollars and he lets me through the front door despite the fact that I don’t live here. I feel like that should probably be illegal. I’m basically a stalker right now and he just let me walk in. Didn’t ask about weapons or anything. Told him where I was going and he just rolled with it. I get more scrutiny than that when I go grocery shopping. I knock on the door and get no answer, but I hear movement inside. I knock again and wait, for an answer. I knock harder, causing someone in a neighboring apartment to peak out. I wave and smile to the old lady, she goes back inside. She’s calling the police.

“Hey Destiny, it’s me. I think the old lady is calling the police on me,” I whisper through the door.

“I don’t care,” she calls back. She really does have vampire hearing.

“Please, I just want to talk. I’ve got some questions about last week.”

“I’m busy.”

“I won’t take long.”

“Hurry up,” the door flies open.

I step inside, almost nothing has changed. There’s a poster board with printed out photos of various women. Some circled in blue, some crossed out in red. Various notes under each one, height, weight, hobbies and addresses I thought I was a stalker, but she has everything about these girls written down from hair color to shoe size.

“So, what’s with the stalker database,” I take a seat on the couch and try to play it cool.

“Persons of interest. What did you want to talk about?”

“Us,” I adjust myself on the couch.

“There is no...us,” she seems disgusted.

“Wow, you killed that idea quick. Am I really that bad looking?”

“No, but you’re scrawny, your fashion sense is terrible, other than your shoes. Someone probably dressed you for the club that night. Your hair cut is outdated... and well, you’re weird. Also, I don’t have time for relationships at the moment. Oh, and you’re a stalker. How did you get in the building?”

“You’re stalking those women,” the only come back I have. She could have spared my feelings.

“I’m not stalking them. I’m working a case around them,” she doesn’t acknowledge her coldness.

“Might be easier to do in PowerPoint,” I know computers, I’ll pivot that way.

“Add nerd to the list. Who suggests using PowerPoint outside of an office?”

“It’s been around nearly 17 years at this point,” I argue.

“Remember when I told you that you smelled like nerd? I take it back. You smell like Super Nerd,” she jots something down about one of the women.

“What are you working on anyway,” I pivot away from me again. This is becoming a habit.

“A case.”

“Are you a detective?”

“Something like that.”

“Something like that,” I mimic her.

“Oh wow, you’re childish too. That goes on the list,” she’s unphased.

“Well, what’s the case?”

“Succubus gang.”

“Succubus? Like mythological creatures,” I can’t believe this.

“You sound shocked. Just last week you learned vampires were real. There’s a lot you don’t know. Wait until you find out about Orcs and Elves, Dwarves and Goblins, just pay attention to the world around you,” she says it as if this isn’t shocking.

I’ve been playing video games my entire life, even some tabletop games. To think, all the creatures in those games were right around me. Vampires, Elves, Orcs, she has to be screwing with me. Then again, she’s a vampire. Are there werewolves too? Can an Elf be a vampire? What about an Orc werewolf? Well, isn’t Lycanthropy, or vampirism for that matter, technically a disease? Could it be contracted by non humans? Would it manifest differently? Well she doesn’t look like a vampire I’ve seen anywhere else. 

“Earth to super nerd,” she waves a hand in front of my face.

“I’m sorry, you just blew me. I mean, blew my mind,” I stumble over my words.

“Well, do you want to hear about the case or what?”

“Yes, tell me everything.”

“Well, this group has adapted to the new world. They can’t just go luring in lonely warriors like the old days. Instead they lure in rich men through dating sites. Suck them dry and claim make off with anything they can. Watches, rings, cash, credit cards. They don’t have to do get married and rob people the old-fashioned way. I’ve been trying to spot a pattern, but no luck so far.”

“But you’re not a cop?”

“No, I take cases offered through the network and solve them for money.”

“So you’re a hunter.”

“What?”

“Like Hunter x Hunter. The hunters take cases or hunt creatures offered through the network for money. Sometimes they take other jobs like bodyguard and trasnport.”

“I have no idea what Hunter x Hunter is,” her face is devoid of emotion. “But, something like that. Some people call themselves occult detectives, some people prefer mercenary, I’ve even met a guy who calls himself samurai. As far as The Shadow Syndicate is concerned as long as you get a supernatural license, you’re an independent contractor. So you can call yourself whatever.”

“Shadow Syndicate sounds really evil.”

“They’re not. There’s a lot of origin stories. As far as I know it was a bunch of information brokers who got together and built the network. Never heard of them doing anything out of line, good folks as far as I’m concerned.”

“Sounds like you think nerds are good people,” I smile at her.

“Shutup.”

“Ok, but how do you plan to get the succubus, succubai, succubi, what is the plural of succubus?”

“Doesn’t matter. I need bait. Someone willing to go undercover as a rich guy. Date one of them, and take them home for the night.”

“Sounds dangerous,” for once I want nothing to do with her.

“It is, but we’ll need to get you some new clothes,” she closes the notebook she had been writing in.

“I didn’t agree to do this.”

“Alright, I’ll give you a fourth of the payoff since I’m doing all the work. I’m only being generous because you might die.”

“What? No. I don’t need your money,” I’m actually offended. Do I look broke to her too?

“So what do you need to be my bait?”

I think on it hard for a moment, I know what I want. “Dinner,” I call out.

She cuts me off, “that’s all, my cooking isn’t great, but I can make a good meatloaf, great cornbread and okay sweet potatoes.”

“No, I want a date. Dinner and a movie,” that’s my offer.

“You’re kidding,” she starts to laugh at me. I begin to talk she laughs harder.

“I’m serious,” is all I can say once she stops laughing at me.

“Oh, you really want to date a vampire. Is this some kind of kink?”

“No. I just, I like you,” Elias always said being honest was the best way to go.

“Wow, okay. Not sure what there is for you to like. You don’t know me.”

“I know your name is Destiny. You have great taste in sneakers. You cook a great meatloaf. You’re a vampire. You’re a spirit detective. You think I’m scrawny and dress bad, but didn’t say I was ugly. You let me in your home without inviting me over and spent the last hour talking with me. That’s what I know, I’d like to know more,” I rattle off a list.

“Fine, I’ll go on a date with you. But, we need to get you some new clothes. They won’t ever believe you’re rich.”

“Great, I’ll pick you up tonight around nine,” I hop off the couch.

“No, case comes first. Can’t date a coward. We’re going to get you some rich guy clothes. Meet me at this address tomorrow,” she rips a piece of paper and hands it to me.

“Okay, see you there, I leave the front door,” no magic locks this time.

“Wait,” she calls to me. She’s going to give me a kiss, I know it.

She takes a photo of me with a small camera when I turn around before slamming the door in my face. I can’t believe I have a date. A real date, I have to ask Elias for help. I don’t know what I’d wear, or even what I’d say. Dinner and a movie? That’s two different attires. Maybe we should go to a drive through film. What do I wear? My clothes are ugly. I can’t wait.

Chapter 59 - M.



[Present Day]
I can smell it, the blood. I can smell the blood on everyone walking by. I can even hear it, pumping through their bodies, like it was calling out to me. I’m just so hungry, I don’t think I’ve gone this long without drinking. I could just grab someone, run off with them and bite into an artery before anyone has a chance to stop me. I just need one, a single person. That’ll be enough to fight my thirst for a while. Just do it.

“Hey buddy, you look like you’re in a rough spot,” a man who smells like onions and old chili, wearing a tattered Hawaiin shirt approaches me.

“Yeah, I’m really hungry, so please, get away from me,” a fair warning.

“Don’t worry,” he scutters out of the alley and away from my view.

I just ball up into a ball on the ground and clutch my stomach. The tiny steps of rats can be heard inside the walls of the building I sit next too. It isn’t the most comforting thing. Nothing will comfort me right now, except blood. I’m so damn hungry. I slam my fist into the wall, it cracks and I hear the rats scurry, leaving just the sounds of the city around me.

I just need to focus, and be calm. I don’t need to go on a killing spree. Especially not in some city I don’t recognize. Deep breaths, relax, don’t think. Breathe in, and breathe out. I try to coach myself through the hunger like I’ve done in the past. For a moment it works, but the calmness never comes and the feeling doesn’t get any easier.

Sensory overload, it happens to a lot of vampires, at least once to each. Just when we need to drink, or feed. Our senses all get kicked up to thirteen, trying to force us to hunt. Making it easy. We can damn near see through walls, hear a pin drop three buildings away, smell and almost taste the air. I can’t remember the last time I went through this. Some vampires are supposedly born and live in this state. Some force it on themselves to be at peak hunting condition. I can’t do that, I hate it.

The sun has started to worsen my headache so I close my eyes. Depriving myself of at least once sense seems to help a little. I can’t leave myself blind and deaf so the footsteps approaching sound like gunshots next to my ears. 

“Hey buddy, I brought you something to eat,” the voice from earlier.

“I don’t want your food, just go,” I try to get rid of them.

“C’mon now, Ricardo makes the best chili dogs this side of Detroit,” the voice argues.

“Did you say Detroit?”

“Yeah, where did you think you were?”

“Chicago.”

“Sorry to disappoint you. Now eat up.”

“I don’t want your damn chili dog,” I open my eyes and yell at him.

He takes off in fear, I can’t blame him. If the normal looking person I was talking to suddenly showed glowing red eyes and flashed fangs I’d run. Doesn’t help that I focused all of my negative emotion on him at that moment. If he hadn’t of ran, I’d probably have drained him of blood before he could scream for help. I close my eyes and ball up on the ground again.

The rats are back in their nest. I hear them. No less than eight. I focus my eyes on the wall, and can almost see them. I see where it appears that parts of the wall are warping with movement, swimming through the bricks. Those are the rats. I wait until they’re all huddled closely together.

I jam my fist through the wall gripping one. I break the neck and grab another. The others figure this is an attack, and they’re right. Before I’m done, I have six dead rats sitting before me. I Jam my teeth into the rat and drain it of blood in under a minute. Sloppy technique, a lot of the blood misses my mouth. I lick the remaining blood from my hands and face desperate for every drop. I spit the fur from my mouth and sink into the next rat. I repeat the process for more time, once for each rat.

I can still feel the need to drink. But my head has cleared enough that I can think. My first thought is about how disgusting what I just did was. My second, I need to get out of here because I’m not paying for this wall. I wander out onto the streets and find chili dog guy crying and eating the chili dog.

“Hey, really sorry about that,” I walk way trying to not traumatize him anymore than I already have.

I don’t know how I got to Detroit, and I’m not sure how I’m going to get back, but for now, my priorities are all focused on getting more blood. That might be why I can’t seem to remember anything but the basics. I still can’t remember my own name. What happened to me?

Chapter 58 - M.



I wake up on a couch, and stretch against the leather. It’s cold, Elias really has the AC kicking today. No, this isn’t our apartment. This place isn’t as expensive, or maybe it is. Pieces of art on red brick walls, hard wood floors. A view to downtown Chicago below us. A single bedroom, modern appliances in the kitchen. Great decorating taste, but this isn’t my apartment. I don’t know where I am.

I’ll add my missing jacket, shirt and shoes to the list of things I don’t know. My stomach growls, I’m hungry, whoever brought me here didn’t have the decency to feed me after they stripped me of most of my clothes. The fridge is empty except for takeout containers that look like they’re ready to start growing mold at any moment and bottles of some red juice. I skip past the takeout and go for the juice; the cap comes off and the smell hits me. Some strange metallic smell, is the only thing coming from the bottle, no fruits, no vegetables. I pour a few drops into the sink and it moves slowly down the drain and quickly mixes with the water. I replace the cap and sit it back in the fridge.

I spot my cell phone and wallet sitting on a small table and rush for them. Barely any power left and about twenty missed calls, another ten texts. All from Elias. If I get out and figure out where I am, I can call him for help. The door is locked, I remove the chain and unlock the deadbolt, even the switch on the knob. I still can’t get the door open. It’s too high up for me to jump out the window and I don’t see a fire escape. What kind of 1800s H.H. Holmes deathtrap am I stuck in? I grab a knife and rush to the bathroom so I can hide. Whoever trapped me here is going to have a fight on their hands with me.

Inside the bathroom I find my missing clothing. My jacket hung to dry across the shower rod, my sneakers drying on the sink and my shirt in a basket of clothes fresh out the dryer. With me clothes on I feel a lot less vulnerable and head back out to see what else I can find.

A bunch of strange books on occult stuff. Demons, magic, werewolves and mostly vampires fill most of the books. A few, erotic, novels scattered here and there, a very diverse reader. No TV or computer, I can’t get a read on this person. Bedroom door is locked as well. I feel like a trapped animal in here. Even if I tried to jump out the window to my death, I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t break either, just my luck.

The door opens and I leap back in shock. I get a good look at the woman, and I remember it all. Everything from last night at the club. I saw her, followed her trying to talk with her. Worst decision of my life. We went through a sex dungeon and came up outside. She got into a fight with two guys. One ran into me, if I was a car, I would have been totaled. She cut the other guy's head off and dragged me out the alley.

“Stay away from me,” I point the knife at her.

“All I got is some food. You saw me last night. That knife wouldn’t do you any good,” she walks closer to me unbothered.

“What are you?”

“I am an Adze,” she shifts her tone. “Long ago, Adze were said to be fireflies that would drink the blood of humans and make them ill. Some would even claim the Adze to possess the bodies of those in the tribe. Here we are now, no need for possessing bodies and being fireflies in the night,” she smiles as if keeping the best joke for herself.

“So what are you?”

“You aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of various races,” she drops the serious tone and asks in a confused manner.

“I’m a Black man in America. I know plenty about race.”

“I’m a Black woman in America, but I’m also a vampire in America, and you know nothing of the vampiric races,” the serious tone is back.

“I’m sorry, did you say ‘vampiric’ as in vampire?”

“Yes.”

“Oh God,” I take a seat at the table leaving the knife.

“What did you think happened last night?”

“I thought I was dreaming. I forgot it all until I saw you,” why am I chatting instead of running.

“Likely a concussion, healing magic can only do so much.”

“Did you heal me?”

“And washed your clothes. I’m a regular Martha Stewart. Wouldn’t want such nice shoes being ruined by blood and vomit.”

“This isn’t some elaborate prank? You’re a vampire, you shouldn’t be able to walk around in the middle of the day,” I point out the takeout in her hand and the fact that the sun is up.

“Like I said, different races of vampires. Adze can walk around outside unbothered.”

“This is crazy.”

“I know, which is why I have to give you a choice. You can eat the pancakes I brought, find your way home and everything goes back to normal. Option two, keep asking questions, or start running your mouth and you get to be a snack.”

“I’ll eat the pancakes.”

We chat about shoes as we eat. I always thought vampires couldn’t eat food. Apparently, that’s only some kinds of vampires. She’s trying to act like I’m not a hostage right now. Is she just going to eat me later? I don’t think I’ll be free to go when I’m done with all this, but to my surprise she opens the door for me, using magic of course.

“What’s your name,” I ask before she closes the door.

“Destiny,” she waves her hand to shut the door.

“Maybe we can go shoe shopping sometimes,” the door closes in my face.

I get outside and take a picture of the apartment building and place a call to Elias as soon as I get outside. It isn’t long before he pulls up in his old Toyota. I hop in the backseat because the passenger side door doesn’t open up front. I’m not sure if he’s happy to see me or upset, because he’s not his talkative self.

“Where were you last night,” he asks, definitely upset.

“I got knocked out, a vampire saved me. She took me home,” the honest truth.

“Look, it’s usually charming when you’re being all weird but right now, just tell the truth. Say you met a girl, you went home and hooked up with her. I think that’s great. But you shouldn’t just disappear in the middle of the night and not tell anyone. I spent hours wandering around looking for you. There’s no need to make up a story,” I don’t think I’ve ever seen Elias this pissed off. He never gets mad.

“I’m sorry. I just...I’m sorry,” it’s all I can get out.

“Thank you. If you ever decide to pull a disappearing act again, let me know. If not, I’m going to punch you in the face as soon as I find you.”

“You know you can’t throw a punch any better than I can. A nerd and an artist fighting, we’d look ridiculous,” I joke.

“I’m for real.”

“I know, it won’t happen again. Big, little brother,” I smile so he can see me in the rear view mirror.

“I can throw a punch,” he smiles back and that lets me know we’re good.

Chapter 57 - M.



Outside the strange metallic smell is replaced with a combination of garbage and laundry. We come outside in a fenced off area filled with vents and garbage bins. I can’t say for sure where we’re at but if I had to guess we’re about a block away from the club. There’s a laundromat and strip mall there, this is probably behind it.

“I told you, stop fucking following me,” She yells out at the rooftops.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you. I would have stopped if I had. I just wanted to talk, I thought you had cool sneakers,” I push the words through my exhausted lungs to no response.

The cold night air rushes past me before I spot two black human-like streaks speeding into my vision and out in front of the woman. They come to a stop and it takes a moment before I realized they’re actually people. Two really pale men, identical haircuts, identical suits, the only difference being their faces and hair colors. One blonde, one silver, almost like they stepped out of some kind of anime. She doesn’t seem at all concerned about the speed they moved at. The weed and alcohol can’t have hit me that hard. It should have worn off by now.

I actually feel sick to my stomach as they stare each other down, almost like I want to pass out. I’m actually getting dizzy and feel the vomit making its way up my throat. They don’t look bothered by any of this and I’m on the verge of dropping to my knees or picking my favorite dumpster to throw up in.

“I don’t have anything for you,” she tells the men.

“We didn’t ask you for anything,” Blue responds to her.

“She’s got a guilty conscience. Maybe we should rip it out of her,” Silver responds.

“Are we doing this before the sun comes up? I know you guys have a curfew,” she asks.

“Your move bed wench,” Blue smiles.

“Fuck you,” she moves so fast she vanishes for a second.

The three are moving so fast I can’t seem to keep up with them. The nausea only seems to have gotten worse since they’ve started fighting. I’m not even sure if punches and kicks are landing when they’re thrown or being dodged entirely. A few times it looks like a person is thrown but they’re back into the mix so quick I might be mistaken. She seems to be fighting both without any problem. Am I dreaming? People don’t move like this. This is a scene right out an anime. Soon they’re back in their starting positions. Plenty of scratches and torn clothing.

“We’ll finish this later,” Silver says, obviously looking worst of all.

“Tell your boss to kiss my black ass,” she laughs.

“Destiny is a fitting name, because you can’t avoid it,” Blue says with a smile.

The two rush off behind her, the same way they came, she doesn’t even watch. They pass by me in a blur again, slightly slower. Maybe they’re tired. Being a Super Saiyan must take a toll on you. I wouldn’t know. I turn to watch where they’re heading and they actually seem to run up the walls. What am I looking at. One turns around and seems to rush back at Destiny, I feel the same feeling as before. I know he’s about to do hurt her, and she won’t even see it coming. She can take it, I’ve seen her fight these guys two on one, but I feel like I have to do something. I know I can’t move faster than he is, and I probably can’t knock him over either.

I do the next best thing; I step in his line. He’s following the same path as before; he’s moving too fast to turn on a dime. I don’t care what he is. The air is knocked out of my body so quickly I don’t have a chance to scream. The vomit finally comes out mixed with blood in a puddle next to me on the concrete. The pain in chest tells me this is far from a dream as I start to vomit more. I can’t tell if my ribs are broken, but the back of my head is bleeding through my hair. I have a concussion for sure.

“The fuck is wrong with you juice box,” Blue asks me looking down at me.

Am I juice box? Why am I juice box? Even if I could get the words out, I wouldn’t get the chance to ask him. Destiny, if that is her name, uses her hand to run right through his neck. I close my eyes as droplets of blood fly towards me. The warm drops land on my face like sticky rain. I hear the commotion of more fighting and open my eyes. Blue is staring at me eyes wide gripping at his neck trying to stop the bleeding but the puddle of blood has already covered me. Up above Silver is fighting with Destiny and doesn’t look to be doing so well when he doesn’t have backup. It isn’t long before she’s taken him out as well.

“Well, you’re all fucked up juice box. But I owe you one,” she pulls me up to my feet and wraps an arm around her neck. “I don’t know why you thought it was a good idea to jump in front of him.”

“You’ve got nice shoes,” is all I can get out.

“Yours are pretty nice too, the blood adds to the value,” is she making a joke.

“Can you take me back to the club?”

“In this shape? No, we need to get you fixed up otherwise people are going to start asking questions.”

“You left bodies in the alley. There’s going to be questions.”

“If they don’t bleed out, the sun will finish them off. No bodies.”

“What?”

“Wow, you smell like a nerd, but you’re so dumb.”