Chapter 145 - M.


 

We took the main highway to New Orleans, I could look out the window and see everything that happened that night. I try to focus on Sampson’s taste in music, but it’s too fresh. A few weeks have gone by an I remember every detail of that night. The way she marched towards her death eagerly, only pausing to protect me. I never want to be in a situation where I need someone to protect me again. I thought spending time with her cult, family, would help me ease the pain of losing Destiny. It hasn’t, nothing has. I feel like I can at least function normally, but the pain hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still a dull stabbing in my heart. I wonder if Sampson feels the same way. He didn’t marry Destiny, but they were together and she left without ever contacting him. I guess I got the honor of saying goodbye, about a dozen times. She gave me her diary filled with all kinds of notes and a goodbye letter. She left me words, and items, but more than anything she left me with the pain. Every now and then I’m able to come back to reality as Isaac and Sampson argue.

It's a 95 SS Impala, fully custom interior and full of mechanical upgrades; Sampson keeps telling us, and remind Isaac of the rules. Isaac just wants to take his shoes off in the car so he’s comfortable. Sampson doesn’t want smelly feet smell in his car. Isaac asks me if his feet stink. I’ve never smelled his shoes or feet, I don’t know. The argument is cyclical and hasn’t stopped the entire time we’ve been on the road.

“Granny ain’t here, but the rules still apply on this trip. Don’t do anything to embarrass her name. More importantly, don’t embarrass me, because I’ll fuck you up,” Sampson starts giving more rules as we drive through the city. “Stick with the group, going solo is how you end up dead. Don’t let no pussycat in the dog house.”

“What,” Isaac and I ask in unison.

“Stay away from women, they might get you killed not thinking straight,” he answers with a sigh.

“So men are okay,” Isaac asks.

“Yeah, I don’t care,” Sampson answers to Isaac’s delight. “Wait, just keep your dick in your pants unless you’re pissing or washing,” Sampson corrects himself.

“What if I want to add someone else’s dick to my pants,” Isaac quickly responds.

“Get your friend,” Sampson looks at me.

“Be serious Isaac. We’re already set, you’re the one who wants to turn into a vampire,” I join in.

“Adze, become Adze. It’s like the V.I.P. of Club Vampire,” Sampson retorts.

“Where are we going,” I ask.

Even in the dark I can tell we’re entering a rough part of the city. Katrina was a while ago, and it looks like a few spots haven’t been touched since then. We pass by an abandoned project building and the people out loitering let me know things aren’t all legal around here. I try to avoid eye contact with people outside the car. They’re already watching us, we’re drawing attention. Sampson treats this car as his child, but it really is a nice car. Black with little silver flakes of glitter in the paint, some big rims that don’t look tacky and slightly higher than normal. What do they call it down here? Stunting, he’s basically stunting, daring someone to do something.

“For real, where are we,” Isaac asks in the calmest tone I’ve ever heard him ask.

“Home,” Sampson smiles as we pull past a park slowly.

“Yeah, I could see how you and Destiny were a couple. You both love those short answers that don’t answer anything,” I’m irritated, it’s like he’s looking for a fight with the people here. “What section of New Orleans are we in? Where is our final destination?”

“We’re uptown, Magnolia actually. I grew up in the projects, but they’re empty now. They wanted to tear them down and Katrina made sure they were finally empty.”

“Then why are we here?”

“I got some business here, and I need to get reacquainted with the territory.”

“Are you selling drugs,” Isaac asks, seemingly shocked.

“Not anymore. Why did you assume I was a drug dealer,” Sampson is equally shocked.

“You kind of carry yourself like a drug dealer.”

“What?”

“He’s right this time,” I add.

“I’m not here to sell drugs,” Sampson goes to smack the steering wheel but stops himself. “I’ll explain it to you tomorrow night. Actually, you’ll understand in the morning, let’s go to hotel.”

Chapter 144 - M.


 

“Get up,” Sampson keeps kicking at Isaac. “Wake the fuck up,” he finally tips the bed causing Isaac to roll onto the floor.

I can’t help but laugh as Isaac remains asleep as Simon gets more and more flustered. He resorts to holding Isaac’s nose until he’s coughing and fighting back. Not the best way to wake up but it gets him up. I’m sure Sampson holds his nose a little longer just to get back at him.

“What was all that for,” Isaac asks shielding his face from the sun shining in.

“I’ve been trying to wake you up for twenty minutes.”

“So what? It’s not like we’ve got anything to do.”

“Trial of connection, you missed the little chat sleeping in,” I add.

“What’s the deal?”

“Get your ass packed and downstairs,” Sampson says.

“Packed for what?”

“If you had been awake you’d know. Take a quick shower too. You smell like a fucking wino,” Sampson slams the door behind him.

I fill Isaac in on what I know so far. We’re going on a trip to New Orleans. I’m not excited to be heading back, I’m just hoping we take a different route. I’m going to use the chance to see if anyone is still looking for me. The actual trial, I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. I know we’re heading up there to do something with just Sampson. He’s going to be the one who judges us, so it’s best to stay on his good side. Well Isis said the trials don’t really mean anything for me, but I could help make sure Isaac passes.

I head downstairs and spot Sampson heading out with a duffel bag in each hand. I follow him, without speaking but walking heavy enough that he knows I’m following him. We make our way out to Michael’s garage. One of the huge doors is already open.

“Wait here,” Sampson tells me.

I hear the sound of him opening and slamming doors on a car before it starting it up. He comes back out and inspects me visually for some reason.

“You didn’t bring anything?”

“Magic,” I tap my head.

“That shit is convenient.”

“What kind of magic can you do?

“Originally, strength.”

“Like The Bible.”

“Yeah, like The Bible. Parents named me after Samson in The Bible, but they weren’t really religious. That’s why my name has a “p” in it.”

“What kind of magic you got now?”

“Step back,” he waves his hand for me to move.

“You don’t need to show me.”

“Nah, haven’t done it in while. This is good practice, might need it in the city,” he smiles and bites down on his tongue.

I watch as Samson takes deep breaths and swallows the air, choking it down. For a moment it looks like he’s choking, but waves me off when I approach. He smiles and leans back puffing out his cheeks with joy in his eyes. I can feel the air around us heating up before he does anything. Samson blows a small blue flame from his lips slowly it grows until there’s a massive pyre flowing from his mouth without stop. I’m amazed at his flame control when he starts to blow various shapes before finally stopping at a purple flame. As he spreads his arms waiting for applause I realize this is how Destiny lit the sword on fire. I’m guessing he taught her the trick, because she never did anything this impressive. They really were in love.

“Glad to see you’ve still got it. Was starting to think our dragon was just an empty cigarette lighter,” Michael comments having come out the garage to watch.

“Yeah, remind me to stop pissing you off,” Isaac comments from behind giant sunglasses.

“That was, amazing, no I don’t have a word to describe how cool it was,” is all I can piece together. I’m actually jealous he shared something like that with Destiny. I know I shouldn’t be jealous over something that has no real bearing on our relationship. Destiny isn’t even alive right now and I’m upset they shared something I didn’t know about. I never asked her how she learned to spit fire, and now that I know I’m upset as if I’m going to lose her to another guy, and I can’t even lose her. I find myself rubbing my wedding band as if I’m trying to remind myself I won the competition in my mind.

“Well, since we’re all showing tricks, what do you two do,” Michael points at Isaac and I.

“Magic storage, interdimensional pocket, haven’t settled on a name yet,” I answer. “Just watch.”

I start to pull a few things out, my laptop, a book, a first aid kid, then I put it all back. Nothing nearly as impressive as what Sampson had just done. I shrug when I’m done. Michael calls it practical, which is fair. That’s what is.

“I can turn into a cat,” Isaac says bluntly.

“You going to demonstrate,” I ask.

“I don’t feel like it.”

“Too hungover,” I joke.

“No, I can do it.”

“Hold off on that,” Sampson intervenes. “It’s a small show when he transforms. Takes a long time and he ends up naked.”

This sets off a chain of laughter, “fuck all of you,” Isaac yells. “Really, all of you can go to Hell.”

“Relax, shape shifting is cool. Just spare us the little show,” Sampson laughs.

“I’m perfectly average,” Isaac yells and gets flustered.

Isaac toss his bag down on the and starts to jump around as if he’s preparing for a fight. He stops, paces bag and forth. We all just laugh even harder. Next, he takes off his shirt and pounds on his chest. We stop laughing as Sampson motions for us to calm down. For a moment Isaac’s skin starts to turn to a reddish hue before hair starts to sprout. As he shrinks we lose sight of him in his pants. Soon a small black cat pops up licking at it’s paws. I guess he can turn into a cat. He paws at the pile of clothes and drags off his underwear to the garage.

“Fuck all of you,” Isaac says as he puts on the rest of his clothes.

“Michael, you’re last. What you got,” I ask causing Sampson to laugh even harder than he did at Isaac.

“I can levitate,” Michael says proudly.

“That boy floats a whole six inches off the ground. He don’t even float fast. We don’t need to see that shit.”

“Your car is ready,” Michael says clearly irritated.

“I know you weren’t laughing at me and all you do is float,” Isaac says with a twisted grin. “Like, I’m working on turning into other animals and all you got is floating?”

“Before we go, here are the rules. No eating in the car, no sleeping in the car, no farting in the car, if your breath stinks you can’t speak in the car. Don’t slam my doors and you can’t be in the car without me,” Sampson starts to list his rules. This is going to be a horrible trip.

Chapter 143 - M.


 

I follow Isis around curves and floral pieces without word. Finally, we reach a small clearing in the middle of the garden maze. A small gazebo covers a table and two chairs. An ancient looking tea kettle sits alongside two glasses in front of Isis when I catch up to her. I take a seat and she fills both glasses with tea, offering me sugar cubes without saying anything. She notices I’m hesitant to drink and drinks her tea first. I’ve never been a fan of tea so I grab four sugar cubes and stir them in before taking a sip. It’s not terrible, but the only hot drinks that should be served hot are spiced apple cider and hot chocolate. For now we sip silently staring at the shadows of flowers bouncing along the garden walls in the wind.

“Nice to meet you,” I break the silence.

“Is it,” she responds knowingly.

“I get the feeling you know something I don’t.”

“I’ve seen you reading the small journal. I’ve caught glimpses. I know it belongs to Destiny.”

“Does that concern you?”

“No. You wouldn’t be here if it did.”

“I’m sorry?”

“This spot, only Granny comes here and has tea with me.”

“Well, thank you for bringing me.”

“It wasn’t for a social call,” he demeanor shifts, back to the emotionless state she always has.

“Then what was the purpose.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m not sure what you mean.”

“There is no reason for you to be here. You’re already Adze. We have nothing for you.”

“I didn’t ask for anything.”

“But there is something you want. You participate in trials for no reason. You continue to drink with us. You follow Granny’s rules to a T. You don’t socialize with the women as you were told and you don’t question the elders like your friend Isaac. You are treating this as a game you can win. Why?”

I don’t know what she’s talking about, but I have a feeling I can’t leave until I give her an answer. I don’t trust Granny and I’m trying to stay on her good side. I can’t tell her that, I’ve read Destiny’s diary. She mentions Isis buying into Granny’s stories and persona more than anyone else. If I say I don’t trust Granny, then I’m screwed.

“Destiny was my wife, and we were going to come here together,” I start.

“Stop,” she brings an end to my story. “I’ve heard this before, we all have. Why are you here.”

“I wanted to know her family.”

“You know us, why are you still here?”

“I don’t know what you’re asking me.”

“Are you trying to take control of our family? I won’t allow that to happen.”

“Where are you even getting that idea,” I’m annoyed by her questions now.

“Since you’ve come Isaac has stuck to you like a dog, Sampson is more rebellious, Michael seems to believe you’re good company and even Old Ben sees promise in you. The men seem to be taken by you, could be pledging allegiance to you in the shadows.”

“You forgot James, he threatens to kill me once a day.”

“Making jokes to divert from the actual conversation is a tactic that will work on those of lesser intelligence. It won’t work on me. Are you planning a coup?”

“I have no plans of a coup.”

I should plan a coup, this is really a cult. I’m being interrogated right now. I think I’m going to stick around until the trials are done, then I’m going to go home. There’s nothing here for me and nobody has come looking for me. This archaic idea of keeping the men and women separate for some reason is odd. I don’t even know if Adze can have kids so why are they separate. Does Granny think love will make people leave? Is this because of Destiny and Sampson.

“I will not let you break this family apart,” Isis crushes he tea glass in her hand.

She doesn’t wince in pain as she opens her hand and begins to pull bloody shards of glass free from her hand. This is the moment where a film makes some symbolic point, but I can’t find any in the shards she drops on the tray. I just finish my tea as she squeezes the last shard from her hand and licks the blood away from her hand.

“Are you okay,” I ask her.

“It’s nothing. I’m just clumsy, nothing that hasn’t happened before and nothing that won’t heal.”

“What happened to you,” I can’t help but ask.

“Nothing.”

“No, I’ve read what Destiny wrote about you. Something happened to you. You’re not the sister that she wrote about.”

“Your mind games mean nothing to me.”

“I’m just asking, I thought we were asking questions.”

“Have a good evening,” she stands and runs off at full speed.

She left me stranded in the middle of this garden maze as the sun is setting. I guess I can’t plan a coup if I’m lost in the maze. Then again, I think she’s just flustered. She knows I’m a vampire, I could probably jump my way out of here, I’m fast enough that I could just run and find a way out in ten minutes at the most. I could just smell her scent to find my way out; no, the flowers over power her scent. She’s smart, but she’s brainwashed and I’ve made her panic. She’ll tell granny what happened here tonight. Things may not be as easy for me from here on out.

Chapter 142 - M.



“Why we doing this,” Sampson leaning against a wall.

“Because it is tradition boy,” Old Ben responds sitting in front of Sampson.

“But he’s already Adze, this is a waste of our time, we can move on to the others.”

“You have no respect for your ancestors and how they judge people to be worthy.”

“Wake up, he’s already worthy.”

“You’re forgetting your place. You got some hair on your lip, you’re a big man and you can have any woman you want but you aren’t half the man I was when I was 12. She ain’t here to save you boy, I’ll give your ass a one way ticket out of here.”

I don’t intervene as Sampson and Old Ben argue. I’m already halfway through the test so there’s no point in stopping now. The trial of magic is supposed to test how much magic power we have within us. It’s a three part test. The first is to demonstrate we have some magic abilities already. For me, I just showed them my pocket. They already knew about it, Sampson saw me use it when he kidnapped me. They already knew and they wanted to see like it was some parlor trick, as if I didn’t spend weeks trying to learn it. The second test, they show you how to put up a magic shield, and you have 30 minutes to learn it. Lastly, you put your hands in a tank of black water. If you drop your shield, the water cuts through your flesh. I dropped my shield two or three times. I’m sure Sampson and Old Ben can tell, they just want to see if I’ll yell. I manage to bring it back up, and let my hands heal for a moment while they argue.

“Remove your hands,” Old Ben commands and I oblige. “Could be better, but you pass.”

“I knew you had it in you little bro,” Sampson says as he claps sarcastically.

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” I respond.

Old Ben is not amused by the sudden comradery “send in the next person before I cut your hands off myself.”

I send Ashley in and head out to the garden. I still haven’t gotten a chance to speak with Isis, it’s almost as if she avoids people. The garden and the maze look amazing, very relaxing. I’ve been coming here to read Destiny’s diary. That’s part of the reason I’ve gotten along with Sampson so well lately. They were together, a real couple. But Granny was trying to break them apart. Destiny wanted to leave, but Sampson couldn’t bring himself to do it so they kept putting it off. It’s about that time Isis started changing her attitude towards Destiny, spending more time with Granny. She described it as almost brain washing. Isis told Granny they were planning to leave, this led to Destiny being kicked out, for being too radical. She did everything but call it a cult, they didn’t save me so I can see it as a cult. They damn near worship Granny and talk about all the great things she’s done, while never providing examples. Why are we calling this woman Granny? I bet her name is Maude or something.

“Hey,” Isaac stands in front of me, blocking my view.

“Hey back.”

“Just wanted to make sure we were good,” Isaac asks offering a beer.

“I’ll pass,” I hold up a glass of water, and the sun isn’t even down yet.

“Makes sense,” he waits for my answer but I don’t have one. “I just wanted to check on us.”

“We’re not a couple. There is no us.”

“But we’re roommates and you didn’t come back to the room last night.”

“Don’t really need to sleep.”

“I know you’re mad at me, and I really am sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said.”

“You already said you’re sorry. I apologized for pushing you off the roof. There’s nothing else.”

Isaac quickly chugs the rest of his beer and opens the can he brought for me. “Look, I fucked up and I’m sorry I said I said what I said, but I meant it. I really think we could work together.”

“What don’t you get? I’m not trying to be consumed with revenge right now. I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life. I might still have a price on my head. I just need to figure out what comes next.”

“Can we at least be friends again?”

“Were we ever friends? I don’t recall us agreeing on that.”

“I get the feeling you don’t have many friends. You rarely say you’re friends, you just are. But, if you don’t want to be friends, that’s cool,” Isaac storms off.

I spot Isis watching our conversation, pretending to water her flowers. She looks away when she spots my eyes, but I’ve got her. I stand up and walk towards her, she walks away. It’s less that she’s walking away, and more than she’s leading me somewhere. She doesn’t look back as if I’m going to hurt her. Instead she looks to her left and right, scouting for someone. When I’m close enough to touch her she doesn’t even look back, just leads me deeper into the garden.

Chapter 141 - M.



“The moon is falling,” I yell out.

“Shut up,” James calls from a window down below.

“The moon isn’t falling, you’re just drunk,” Isaac laughs.

“Yeah, good point.”

The family celebrated after passing the first task. We slept, and when we woke up, there was a cookout, and drinking. There was more drinking than ever before. More drinking than all of the drinking before. I didn’t have much choice, and when I thought I was done, they gave me more. Then Isaac dragged me onto the roof because the moon. Is he a werewolf? He better not turn into a werewolf. I’ve got a whole lot of PTSD.

“Hey, are you a werewolf?”

“What?”

“You wanted to see the moon. You’re not going to turn into a wolf right?”

“Boy, you are drunk. Like drunk, drunk.”

“Yeah, and I don’t like werewolves.”

“Okay, well there aren’t any around here so you got nothing to worry about.”

“Better not be.”

“I like you, you remind me of Keon. You’re funny, and a little weird but you’re a good guy.”

“Who is Keon?”

“My boyfriend,” Isaac draws a heart in the air with his finger.

“I don’t envy him.”

“That’s good, because he’s dead.”

“Oh, my bad. Sorry about that.”

“It’s not like you knew.”

I was hoping we could enjoy the silence, but his sighs tell me he wants to talk about it. I was hoping he didn’t want to talk about it. Feelings are not my strength, especially when I’m sweating through my clothes in this heat. Maybe it’s the liquor that has me sweating, or the heat. I’m Midwest to the heart, bring the snow. Wait, what was going on? Oh.

“Do you want to talk about,” I ask not looking at Isaac.

“Not really,” he wants to be coaxed.

“Might make you feel better.”

“I guess.”

“So, tell me about Keon.”

“Well, he preferred Key, about 5’11 looked like Gee Money from New Jack city if he spent a little more time in the oven. Incredible abs, and he had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Then to top it all off he was a caring lover with the most perfect di-,” I cut Isaac off.

“Man, I thought this was going to be a story about your long-lost love, not a preview of the new Zane novel.”

“It’s just two people having sex.”

“Let’s trade sex stories another time,” or not. I’m okay if we don’t.

“Fine, but I’ve got some good ones.” 

“I’m sure you do.”

“Anyway, Key was great, but here’s the thing. He came from a family of magicians, wizards, warlocks, witches, all that magic stuff. He showed me a whole new world. I loved him for that. His family made money enchanting weapons for folks. Well, one day he did some side work that paid well. A Werewolf had his little cult killed and wanted revenge. Killed the hunter, and the guy who sold him the weapon. Any guess who sold him the weapon?”

“Key sold him the weapon.”

“Yeah, do you know why?”

“You told him to?”

“I fucking told him to,” Isaac yells. “I wanted him to get his own shop and out from under his father’s control. I wanted us to live a happy life where we didn’t have to hide, and it got him killed.”

“Shut up,” James call from his window.

“Eat a dick,” Isaac calls back to him.

“Chill out,” I take Isaac’s hand. “You don’t want to fall off the roof.”

“I could care less,” he snatches his from me. “I killed the love of my life. I didn’t carve open his chest and rip out his heart, but I did it. I killed him and I couldn’t even show my face at the funeral. I don’t care if I fall off the roof,” Isaac stands off balance on the roof.

“You really need to calm down.”

“You think I want to be a vampire for my health? No, I want revenge. I know you want it. The way you cry about Destiny in your sleep every night.”

“Don’t bring Destiny into this.” 

“Revenge is all we’ve got left. We got the people we love killed, there’s nothing left but revenge. You want it as bad as I do. We can kill them all together. For Key, for Destiny.”

“Stop saying her name.”

“Stop acting scared. I’m going to do whatever I have to turn, and I’m going to get revenge. We can help each other.”

“I’m going in,” I stand.

“Do it for Destiny.”

“I told you stop saying her name.”

“But her name is Destiny, that’s what we should be chasing because their destinies were more than dying.”

I realize Isaac is falling off the roof before I realize I’m the one that pushed him. I didn’t know I had that kind of temper in me. Maybe it was the drink, maybe it was how he kept mentioning Destiny. Linking her name to nothing but a quest for revenge. That’s what I had been doing, but I don’t like when someone else does it. I run full speed and reach the ground before he does. I manage to catch him but fall in the process. He’s lying on top of me and for the first time we really look each other in the eyes.

“I’m sorry,” his breath smells more like vomit than liquor. He puked and swallowed it.

“Me too, now get off me. You pissed yourself.”

Chapter 140 - M.


 

“What the fuck is this,” James looks at the items we brought back.

“Antiques,” Isaac provides an answer as Michael snickers in the back.

“From a plantation, most of these are from the 1800s or hold some place in history of sugar production in the South. While they may not be valuable immediately, they can be sold to collectors for high value,” I try to run through my logic.

“We need money now motherfucker and you want to run a show and tell in social studies class,” James picks up where he left off.

“No, the goal was to bring something of value. We brought something of monetary value, historical value, and even emotional value. You want value, I brought value in more ways than one.”

“You brought a history class.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“It is a bad thing you nerd.”

“It’s only bad thing for a backward hillbilly high school dropout.”

“I’ll show you hillbilly asshole,” James steps close until we’re chest to chest.

“James, you’re not a fighter and I get the feeling the scrawny nerd from up north has a little more blood on his hand than he shows,” Sampson steps between us. “Seriously, back down James, he’s not afraid of you at all.”

“We can’t let this shit slide, it’s worthless,” James keeps yelling.

“That’s for Granny and Old Ben to decide. Know your role,” Sampson is much more intimidating than I’ve ever seen him look before, and I’ve fought him.

Tensions are high with everyone here except Michael and Isaac. The rest of exchange glances while we wait for Granny and Old Bill to make their way out for the appraisals. We get a moment of relief when the girls fly up the driveway leaving dust behind them and blasting music. Attention is immediately taken off of us as we check out what they brought. They broke into a pawnshop and stole a bunch of jewelry. It’s less than what we brought, a lot less, but it looks more impressive. Still, all it is jewelry. Maybe I’m overconfident, maybe James is right. They might just care about the money, but if I’ve been reading Granny correctly, she’ll make a grand show about it. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop with her, and I’ll play along for now. We’ll both look great and she’ll be willing to train me on everything that I’d need to know until I can get out of here. This doesn’t seem like a long-term place to be, it feels more like a cult than a family. I still don’t know what Granny’s real name is and it seems to be the only thing anyone calls her.

Speak of the devil herself. She makes her way out with Isis by her side. She takes a great deal of effort opening a small wooden box. Inside she pulls out a magnifying glass, some kind of machine and gloves. Making a big show, like I thought she would.

“Well, lets see what you all brought back.”

She’s instantly impressed by the gold and jewels, I take it the girls passed with flying colors. James continues to shoot me dirty looks and talk about how smart the girls were. It’s clear his praises are less for the girls and more to trash us. I just take it and smile. I’m sure I’ve played my cards right tonight.

“You know, gold and diamonds they are plentiful in Africa. That’s where we’re all from. I’ll spare you the lecture tonight. I know you ladies are tired. Well, congratulations, you’re one step closer to not having to sleep every night.”

She takes her time going through everything we’ve laid out across the lawn. The paintings get the most interest. There’s a chuckle from the sewing machine. James keeps whispering how worthless this stuff is, as if I can’t hear him. I’m just as much vampire as he is, but he seems to forget that, maybe that’s why Sampson warned him. Isis holds up certain garments or paintings to be inspected. There’s some jewelry as well, I don’t remember grabbing that stuff so maybe Isaac did. I watch as she stares down the scope of the gun and runs her hands across it as if were bringing up old memories for her. It takes time for her to go over everything, never saying much to us. She didn’t say anything to the girls, but it was a much quicker check.

“James tells me that all of this is worthless,” she finally speaks.

“I disagree,” I speak up without hesitation.

“Why is that?”

“All of these items can be sold for money, but they have more than just monetary value.”

“I agree with you. This was surprising, comical, but you understood the true purpose of the trial and didn’t place all your bets on monetary value. Still, you have an impressive monetary value here.”

“Thank you.”

“How do you expect me to sell this stuff,” James angrily intervenes.

“I understand that it is late, but watch your tone James. Were I someone else, that could have gone badly for you.”

“I apologize Granny.”

“I accept. As for what to do with it, this was your trial, you chose it. It is your job to decide what to do with it.”

“So we pass,” Isaac finally speaks up, causing Michael and Granny to laugh.

“Yes, you pass. Go get some rest boys,” Granny says with a smile.

“Thank you,” I continue to play her game.

I give Isaac a nudge in his side, “yes, thank you very much Granny,” he caught the hint.

“You boys are real charmers. Reminds me of Old Ben back in the day.”

Chapter 139 - M.


 

Even on the brink of midnight the big pink and green plantation looks gaudy, I’d hate to see it during the day. I chose this location because it’s a museum, I walked past it on my way to Dulac and vaguely remembered people walking around the grounds, shopping and playing games. I thought Destiny would like the idea of robbing a plantation, especially one that’s so gaudy.

“Are we robbing am 1800s gay bar? What is this tacky place,” Isaac asks through laughter.

“It’s a museum that used to be plantation.”

“Did they let the gays own plantations?”

“C’mon, take this seriously.”

“Fine, fine, give me a second,” Isaac takes a few deep breaths, “Alright, what’s the plan here?”

“Help me find something to access the alarm through. There should be a box, usually near a fuse box or something. It’ll stand out. After that, we’re going to take anything worth money.”

I hate plantations, I think I hate The South in general. So much of it always feels haunted, almost as if it has the highest number of ghosts per capita. I’ve never seen a ghost but at this point, I’m willing to bet they’re out there. I’ve seen vampires and lycans of multiple varieties, a thieves guild, little magic bubble worlds, and now I’m living with some vampires who claim to be former slaves. Destiny left contacts in her diary, I’m sure there’s some ghost hunters in there.

“Hey, I didn’t find a box for an alarm, but if this is a museum, I’m sure they’ve got one,” Isaac says as we pass for the third time.

“Then we just need to cut the power.”

“Oh, I can take care of that,” he waves for me to follow.

“What’s your plan?”

“I don’t have any tools so you’re going to need to pop the case for me, but electric meters have a power cut off switch on them. You can cut the power before it reaches the house.”

“That’s smart, I was going to knock over a power line. How did you learn that?”

“Worked as a meter reader in one of my many former jobs.”

Sure enough, I ripped the top of the meter off and Isaac had turned off the power in a matter of seconds. We decided to wait a few minutes for any remaining power to run out. Isaac filled me in on more of his former jobs; forklift driver, EMT, bar tender, and magic shop cashier. That is something I want to know more about.

Inside the number of display cases are sparse. Plenty of paintings, mannequins and dishes. There’s a gift shop; a plantation, with a gift shop. I see why Destiny left The South. I couldn’t imagine if I was surrounded by constant grand reminders that my ancestors were treated as property. Yeah, I picked the right place. Alone, most of this stuff isn’t worth a few hundred dollars at most, outside of the artwork. But together, it’s a massive haul.

“So are what we going to take? You must have had something big in mind to request a trailer,” Isaac asks feeling the texture of a vintage suit jacket.

“We’re taking everything, or as much as we can.”

“Do we have time for that?”

“You just strip the mannequins, I’ll put everything else in the truck and trailer.”

“Well, I can get the men undressed pretty fast, but I’ve never undressed a woman before.”

“They’re probably not wearing bra straps, that’s the hard part.”

Vampiric speed, a real blessing, my favorite thing so far. I could live without the strength and night vision, but the speed, it’s my favorite. I haven’t gotten a chance to use it a lot, but I’ve loved every second I get to use it. I sit down and take off my sneakers, because I don’t want to mess them up. Maybe that’s why Destiny didn’t use it often, she didn’t want to mess up her shoes. I chuckle to myself as I sit my shoes on a table. I stretch for just a moment to loosen up.

I rush through looking for the largest paintings first, snatching them off the wall and loading up the small trailer attached to the truck, small paintings next. It doesn’t take long before the walls are bare of anything valuable, I move on to the so-called artifacts. I snatch what I can fit from the exhibits, a typewriter, an ornate sewing machine, a model car, hand carved clocks and some ornate silver dishes. I skip past the brightly colored fake voodoo dolls and move onto the Indigenous Peoples exhibit. I’d prefer if we could just drop these off somewhere with the people they came from, but I’m sure James will find a way to sell them. I redress two of the mannequins while Isaac is outside, just to screw with him. I move on to the workers housing as they’re now called, but it’s the slave quarters. Inside there’s a gun mounted on one wall, a faded picture of a white Jesus with a poorly carved cross beneath it. The gun is probably the only thing worth money in here. I take another pass of the house, and jam a few more displays to fill up the trucks. As Isaac finishes up I run into the modern kitchen they use to feed guests and cater events. I turn the gas on and wait for him to leave, even with no power gas will get in. I light a few candles, grab my shoes and meet him outside. I know it won’t blow up like the movies, but maybe it’ll burn. Destiny would like that.

“You’re fast,” Isaac says as he enters the truck.

“Yeah, but my feet hurt.”

“I’d rub them for you, but I don’t have a foot fetish.”

“I thank you for that.”

“Do you think we’ve got enough stuff to win?”

“We should win on volume alone.”

“Then lets hit the highway, we can still get a good night’s sleep. I’m tired,” Isaac starts the car and pulls out gently.

“All you did is undress some mannequins,” I laugh at him.

“Mannequins you kept redressing.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”