Chapter 103 - M.


I told Destiny about the attack and her response was that I needed to train more. Not just with my weapons, but with actual fists. I can’t recall ever being in a fist fight, at least a fair one when we’re on equal footing, or Elias hasn’t already beat the guy up. Now I’m out here in the middle of nowhere and I’m supposed to get into a fist fight with my girlfriend. This sounds like the plot to a horror movie. When does Candyman jump out of the trees, or I guess that would be a Jason Vorhees thing.

“Alright, make a fist,” Destiny commands. “That’s pathetic,” she laughs.

“What?”

“Give me your hand,” she reaches out.

“In marriage? It’s all so sudden.”

She punches me in the shoulder. “No, I’m going to teach you to make a fist.”

“I know how.”

“You know how to hurt yourself.” She grabs my hand. “Look you’ve got your thumb tucked under your fingers. You’ll dislocate it, maybe even break it. You want to strike with your knuckles, not the whole fist.”

When Destiny said we were coming out here to train I thought she was going to teach me some martial arts or something. Instead, we’re just fist fighting. We could have at least gone to a boxing ring. Instead, she’s got me learning to throw dirt in people’s eyes because there isn’t enough time to make me a real fighter. I’m not becoming a dirty fighter either. She’s been beating me long enough that the sun has started to set and the occasional lightning bug appears. She keeps complaining I’m sluggish but one of us isn’t gifted with vampire healing abilities and near unlimited stamina.

At this point I’m just trying not to fall over and die. She’s not giving me a chance to take a break or breathe. Her excuse is that there’s no breaks in fighting, but this isn’t a real fight. No matter how many fights I get into, weapons or fists, I can never prepare for some kind of mist being spat in my face. For the umpteenth time Destiny knocks me on my ass and stares at me with disappointment. She doesn’t offer a hand getting up, so I just stare at her from the ground.

“You’re not getting it. Fighting is like sex,” Destiny looks down at me.

“Fighting is nothing like sex. Fighting is between two people who have a disagreement and sex is between two people that love each other. Or have a monetary exchange, sometimes just bored. Whatever, they aren’t anything alike.”

“You’ve never had sex before so you don’t get it.”

“I know enough to know that if sex is anything like getting beat up, I don’t want any.”

She takes a seat in the grass next to me. “Sex and fighting require that you’ve chosen a good partner.”

“You usually don’t choose your partner in a fight.”

“Oh, but you totally do. See, with sex you should know you can’t just take it whenever, same way you can’t just start a fight whenever. You should also avoid having sex with most people, even if they offer it to you. Same with a fight, you don’t need to fight every person around you, even if you’re challenged. You have to match your opponent's passion and rhythm otherwise you come up short.”

“You’ve really thought about this a lot.”

“Of course.”

“How do I know I’ve found the right partner?”

“You don’t. You just have to open up and trust your heart. Even if everything else tells you to pull away, follow your heart. Sometimes you’ll lose, but f you trust your heart, you win more than you lose eventually. Then you come to the last fight that you ever want or need.”

“Just trust my heart?”

“That’s all you have to do.”

"This is so stupid,” I sigh.

“Do you have a better answer?”

“Yes, let’s drop all the metaphors and just go for it.”

I don’t give her a chance to respond, I close my eyes and lean in for a kiss. Her lips mee mine and for a moment all of the metaphors and fist fighting are finished. I like this, moments of peace and passion between the two of us. I wish it could be this way forever.

“You’re still not a good kisser, but you kiss better than you fight,” Destiny leans back and lies across the grass. “There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“If you kiss one set of lips, you better kiss the other too.”

“Right now?”

“Right now.”

“We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Perfect.”

“What if someone comes.”

“What if they do?”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I told you, follow through on your attacks. Stop pulling punches.”

“Drop the metaphors.”

“Alright,” Destiny shrugs.

Not a moment later she’s tossed me back and is straddling my chest. I don’t know why I’m so afraid all of a sudden. I’m anxious even if I’ve thought about this moment so many times before. It’s played out in my head thousands of different ways, and none of them were like this. This time her kiss doesn’t calm me, it makes my heart beat faster. I know what’s to come, I’m not ready. No, I’m ready. I trust my heart. I want this.

“Well, I guess it does get bigger,” Destiny smirks before planting a kiss on my neck this time.

Chapter 102 - M.


I’ve been checking out shops I found online all day. I’m looking for a nice gift for Destiny, but I don’t really know what she likes, besides shoes and fashion. I know what kind of music she likes, but we can go to a concert whenever. I’d like to get her something to use on the regular basis, that way she’d always think of me when she used it. So far, I’ve only managed to get things for me.

An animated book that has information on different magical creatures and beings so I can stop guessing and being accidentally racist to Orcs. I got a mirror that will give me compliments every day. A mood ring, that can actually make me happy if I’m feeling sad. And, a wallet that won’t open for anyone except the owner. A great day of shopping. Still, I got nothing for Destiny. Then again, they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and there’s a jewelry store people talk about often.

The Lunar Favor, a small jewelry store tucked into the corner spot of a strip mall. Inside looks more like they sell trinkets than jewelry. The Dark Elf at the counter waves gleefully as I make my way inside and star to look around. Whatever he’s eating smells of chicken and some kind of strong spices that are probably packing a lot of heat. A square shaped pendent catches my eye after some browsing. It seems to be made of some kind of black stone with pieces of gold shining through and a cloudy diamond in the center.

“Ahh, that is a good choice. Do you have an unfaithful lady in your life,” he asks?

“No,” I answer as I twirl the pendent in my hands.

“Well you don’t need that,” he laughs.

“Why? What does it do?”

“Whoever you gift it to will fall madly in love with you, as long as they don’t take it off.”

“That’s kind of creepy.”

“Tell me about it.”

Two more men enter and he greats them. I recognize these men. I saw them a few different times today in each store I visited. This area has a lot of magic stores, and they could be touring the shops, the same way I am. Except, they’re hitting every shop at the same time. I even tried to switch up my route earlier, but they followed. I’ve been ignoring them. Pretending I didn’t see them. I’m not sure who they are, or why they’re following me, but I can’t help but feel I need to shake them.

“What do you suggest I get,” I ask the shopkeeper, trying not to act strange.

“Well, who are you shopping for?”

“My girlfriend,” it still feels good being able to say that.

“Really? Just give her the money. Women be shopping, women be shopping,” he jokes.

“I see you’re a fan of Chris Rock too,” I laugh.

“No Reggie, but he hasn’t been the same since Buddy Love,” he laughs harder.

“Alright, alright. Enough pop culture references. What do you suggest?”

“Give me just a moment,” he steps from behind the counter and makes his way behind a curtain.

He hands me a gold necklace with a jagged rainbow-colored stone wrapped in gold. I notice some runes etched into the gold parts that hold the stone into the pendant and it lets me know that the pendent is indeed magical, but that’s why I came to the shop in the first place. They aren’t as detailed or as many as the ones on the echoes Destiny gifted me.

“What does it do,” I ask.

“It’s a very simple enchantment. It simply allows the wearer to stop second guessing themselves. They follow their heart. If this girlfriend truly loves you, don’t worry. But, if she has eyes for another perhaps I can sell you a ring that fends off temptation,” he raises and eyebrow.

“No, I think this will be perfect. Do you have a case for it?”

“Of course.”

The price is pretty fair considering the reviews said he over charged for items. I’m thinking he charges whatever he wants depending on the vibe he gets from a person. There’re no price tags on anything so he can do whatever he wants I guess.

Outside I place the necklace in my car, then keep walking. I’m curious if the men will follow me, and they do. I would be running from these guys not to longer ago. A little while less, and I would have been terrified that I might kill another person again. Now I recognize I’ve been put into a world where sometimes people die, and it’s okay to feel bad, but if you don’t kill you might die.

I make my way into a random alleyway and duck behind a dumpster, sure enough my new friends head down the alley as well. I wait until they pass me to step out behind them and catch them by surprise.

“Why are you stalking me,” my question startles them forcing them to turn around.

I expect an answer, I just didn’t expect it to be a roundhouse kick to my face. I’ve been hit in the face before, but never kicked before, and a kick hurts more, new lessons. I drop to a knee just to recover but they don’t waste any time. Doesn’t take long before I’m on the ground in fetal position being punched and kicked.

Elias isn’t coming to save me like when we were kids. There’s no wererats around to lend me a hand either. I can yell Destiny’s name all I want, and it won’t mean a thing. For the first time ever, I think I have to save myself. The echoes come to me almost immediately, like they were meant for me. I swing out my arms hoping to hit anything and clip something, enough to let me stand.

“I don’t know karate or anything, but I do know how to use these,” I try to sound cool.

They say a fight is over in decided in the first thirty seconds, well this is the second round. I swing with precision trying to keep them back. I make contact and the echo in my left hand doesn’t stick into the man’s flesh. It cuts through his shirt and leaves and blood quickly appears on his torso. Not enough to disembowel him but enough cuts like that, and he won’t last long. Destiny was right, these are better for me. They aren’t as heavy and I can counter almost every time I get hit. Each swing seems to cut it’s perfect. One of the men pauses, that’s it the nightmares. I take the moment to take some big swings at his chest putting him down. The second spits some kind of blue mist in my face and grabs his fallen partner.

When I open my eyes, the sun has set and the men are gone. Did that blue mist put me to sleep?

Chapter 101 - M.


 

“I got you a gift,” Destiny reaches behind her couch.

“You don’t usually buy me gifts unless I’m about to do something dangerous.”

“Well, we’re trying to be better right?”

She hands me a leather bag, that feels heavy, yet light at the same time. Inside the bag I hear metal pieces rubbing together, so there’s multiple parts. I weight the thoughts of what might be inside but Destiny watching me like an eager child cuts the guessing short. I pull the drawstrings opening the bag. Inside is a pair blades, similar to the Hachoir de guerre I’ve been using, but different. Slightly more curved, the metal is dark with various etchings of shapes. The handles are much more decorative with a blue crystal at the bottom of each. The crystal seems to be swirling with some kind of energy inside.

“These are beautiful,” is all I can say.

“I thought you should have some blades of your own. I’ve watched your style, and these seemed like they’d fit it better. You’re more of a speed guy than a power guy. The ones you’re using are more for deep cuts, maybe breaking bone, like a butcher’s knife. These are more slashing and dashing,” she put a lot of thought into this.

“What about these strange markings and engravings?”

“Well, the official name of these is Terror’s Echo. You see those are runes, which give the weapon a little something extra. Remember that sword I lit on fire? Well, I noticed it had runes, but I needed to get some magic into it. I just used some of my blood because it would be faster. With these, you don’t have to worry. The sapphires at the bottom store magic energy from the user, taking a little at a time. I already gave you some to start with,” she smiles.

“So why Terror’s Echo? That sounds, grim.”

“Well, the runes for this one means that occasionally people cut by one of them will have a vision of a past nightmare. Only for a few seconds, and not all the time, but enough to swing a fight in your favorite.”

“This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.”

I lean over for a kiss, not too long ago she would have looked at me like I was crazy. I suppose we are making progress after all. There’s still a lot I don’t know about her, but she’ll open up eventually. She’s harder to crack than a coconut. I can’t even ask her friends about her, because as far as I know, she doesn’t have any. Then again, Elias seems to be my only friend, and we’re related.

“I need to tell you something,” Destiny scoots further down the couch.

“You were buttering me up?”

“Kind of, I had the echoes ready to go a while ago. I figured now was a good time.”

“Alright, what big secret do you have?”

“I just need you to know some background. Not everything but enough.”

“Spill.”

“I wasn’t always like this.”

“Vampire or mean?”

“Both,” we share a laugh. “But, in all seriousness. Hurricane Katrina changed me, and everything that happened afterwards.”

“I didn’t know you survived Katrina. That must have been terrible. All those people stranded on rooftops, dead bodies in the street.”

“The starvation, people doing anything for food. That’s what happened to me. I needed help and I was reaching the boundaries of what I would do for help. That’s when I met Big Momma Niecy. She took me in. She saved my life,” she pauses for a moment and looks at the ceiling.

“Take your time,” I don’t want to force her to keep going, but I need more after all this time.

“She saved me, but in return she took my life from me. She made me Adze,” she balls her fist tight as she speaks the words. “She took options off the table from me. Made me a monster.”

“You’re not a monster,” I place my hand over her fist.

“Maybe not now, but I was. When Big Momma and I started clashing I had to go. That’s when the city was recovering. That’s when I met Chloe and got involved with the Marson house. At the time they were small, but using the hurricane as a way to quickly expand.”

Destiny takes a moment to walk over to the kitchen and pour herself a glass of blood wine. She quickly drinks it down and takes a deep breath. She begins to pour another glass before taking a few big gulps from the bottle. I pretend I’m looking out the window and don’t notice. She returns the bottle to its place and finishes the glass. She returns to the couch, this time a little closer.

“Chloe, that bitch. She led me on, I thought we were friends. I thought we were more than friends. Eternal partners in the night. She completed the transformation. I had stolen before, I had sold illegal things. But I never killed a person until I met Chloe. To her, killing was as easy as 1,2,3. She didn’t think about it all. She couldn’t drink from a person with out draining them of every last drop. She didn’t have a problem wiping out the whole staff to rob a jewelry store. The first time I killed was to protect her. I’ve killed since then, but I still think of every face. It doesn’t get easier, you just get better at dealing with it. It’s natural for humans to feel something after killing one another. But she had already bought into that bullshit about superior creatures eating the weak. I could never join the Marson house because I was Adze, not one of their kind. As she slept her way up, she left me behind. I would have been fine if she said she didn’t want me around. I would have been fine if she had tried to kill me. But no, she set me up to get killed by another vampire house. Why? Because the old decrepit vamp she was fucking at the time thought it would be hilarious,” she’s getting fired up again.

“Stop,” I grab her hands. “Just stop. This is painful. I don’t need any more details right now. I’ve got enough. If you never tell me more, I’m okay. But for now, that’s enough.”

“Thank you,” she turns from me.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen Destiny cry. I’m sure she’s seen me cry plenty before. I’m sensitive like that, but she’s never cried in front of me. I don’t know how to deal with this, so I do what I would want. I just hug her, and don’t let go.

Keeping It 100 - A Note From The Author


Yo, this isn't related to the story at all. I hope you're enjoying it and not just clicking to make me feel better. Shoot me a comment every now and then. Don't let Twitter be the only place providing feedback. Anyway, Exsanguinate just passed 100 chapters, which is super crazy to me. Most web serials don't last that long or go that far. Even if it technically is two books in the same universe. They'll all meet one day and have dinner or some beers.

When I started writing Exsanguinate it was a short story called God Killer. Essentially, Jason from book or saga 1, would be trying to kill a night club owner who had declared himself God and taken control of the city. Magic, vampires, werewolves and all that stuff would have been common knowledge. Somehow I got the idea that it would have been cooler if there was some kind of veil keeping them separate.

I'm 100 chapters in, but there's already a spinoff called Blood of Brothers I did on a whim in October. Cut me some slack for the typos, I finished it all in a month and 12AMFiction.com is mostly my poorly written ideas that come in the middle of the night. I enjoy world building, so the whole thing just keeps growing. 

I would have written it anyway because I'm what's called a Vain Vanity Author, which means I realize there's no real money in most writing. It's never been a secret, my goals in writing were:

1. Be prolific, I need at least one hundred books before I'm done. Alexandre Dumas is one of my favorite authors and he wrote almost three hundred novels. (Including the first Werewolf novel Wolf Queen as well as popularizing serials.)

2. Write the books I wanted to read when I was younger. No offense to white people, I love majority of you. However, the books I was forced to read throughout my education were incredibly white. The libraries were incredibly white. The comic books, incredibly white. Things are better now, especially with comic books. However, I enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi most of all, but guess what? Still, incredibly white, even the movies. 

Those were my goals and I'm working on them, even if the bibliography is a little sparse at the moment. I'd like to thank those who hung around this long, bought books and just supported my work. I've been told I've got great stories to tell, but I suck at everything else. It means a lot when a few thousand people visit this site every month, tweet me, a few hundred check it on Royal Road. Thanks for sticking with my sledgehammer writing style. There's more to come.

Chapter 100 - M.


I thought I looked ridiculous in this suit, almost feels like I’m half stock broker half pimp. Do stock brokers and pimps even wear suits anymore? I feel less ridiculous with Destiny standing beside me, a dress that begins black and slowly begins to morph at the knee, until finally a bright yellow at the fringes. The best part, she got us matching sneakers. Standing outside this massive office building reaching into the sky, we probably still look ridiculous. Everyone passing us is in business casual and we’re dressed in what I can only describe as adult prom. I should have brought a corsage for her.

“What floor are we going to when we get in,” I ask.

“Oh, I don’t know. We’re just supposed to speak with the receptionist.”

“Okay, maybe I should take the lead until we get into the actual meeting.”

“Why?”

“Well, these corporate types can be kind of snobby and arrogant. You don’t deal with that well.”

She takes a deep breath and thinks on it for a moment before giving me an answer. “Fine, let’s go.”

“Hold on,” I grab her hand, “why are they having the meeting now?”

“The sun is setting. These are normal working hours for them. The building is probably crawling with thralls just now beginning their shifts. Vampires will be here later, no different than any other business world.”

“What do they do here?”

“How the hell should I know? Weren’t you leading the way?”

Inside doesn’t seem too different from any of the many office buildings I’ve been to in the past. We pass through a metal detector, the post September 11th normalcy. The security guard returns my keys and her purse. Nothing strange except the fact that he’s an Orc with a Superman haircut. The little curl is sitting right in the middle of his face. Orc hairstyles are very simple from what I’ve noticed. Ponytails for the women, low cuts for the men. The exception being both genders tend to wear some kind of makeshift dreadlocks with items entwined in the hair. I’ve also never met an Orc with a real job before, all the ones I’ve met have been on the criminal side. Then again there had to be at least a few good ones. Wait, if someone called me one of the good ones, that’d be racist. Am I racist against Orcs?

“We’ve got a meeting with Lady Chloe and Lord Justin of the House Marson,” I hear Destiny explain to the receptionist.

“Take the elevator to floor 72. You’ll be guided to the meeting room from there,” she smiles.

“I’m gonna lead the way on this one,” Destiny mocks me in a deep voice as the elevator door closes.

“Me man, me lead frail woman,” I play along. “I zoned out, didn’t I?”

“Oh yeah, what were you thinking about?”

“That Orc’s hair. Was it a wig?”

“I don’t know, but I was thinking the same thing.”

We laugh at the idea of an Orc wearing a wig until we hear a slight chime, the elevator has arrived at our floor. Stepping out we’re greeted by two humans in matching suits, no doubt thralls. Silently they lead us past several offices, as the last of the sunlight vanishes from the sky. We’re finally left alone in the last office, three of the walls are made up of glass. I’ve been in nice offices before, but there’s a bar in this one lined with fancy liquors, beyond that there’s no real decoration. I suppose the night sky is supposed to be enough.

“Greetings,” a man makes his way in.

“Hello,” I respond.

He’s not exactly good looking, pale, almost sickly skin, thin blonde hair, and sunken eyes. Although I suppose the blue eyes and perfect jawline would kick him up a few notches by some standards. The thing he exudes is power. I’m not sure if this is some vampire magic trick or not, but he certainly wouldn’t seem out of place standing next to some politicians.  

“Where’s Chloe,” Desitny gets to the point.

“Ah, she mentioned you’d be brash.”

“Didn’t answer my question, Justin.”

“Lord Justin, but I’ll allow your lack of manners due to never being officially part of our family.”

“Hey, let’s all calm down for a second,” I interject.

“Please inform your thrall not to speak to me directly, or look into my eyes,” Justin looks past me to Destiny.

“I’m not a thrall, I can think for myself."

“If you could think for yourself, you wouldn’t address me with that tone.”

“I told you, we shouldn’t have come here,” I stand up to leave.

“Wait, he called us here for something other than being disrespectful. We have something he wants,” Destiny doesn’t budge, so I sit.

We sit in silence for a moment while Justin develops his thoughts. I make sure to stare deeply into his eyes, not with love but hate. His face is perfect. Perfect for me to shove my fist through over and over and over and over again. Then one more time for good measure. I’ve found my fighting spirit Destiny always talks about, because I want to fight him. Justin claps his hands and the two men from earlier arrive carrying a briefcase. They place it on the desk between us and exit. Justin opens the case slowly, revealing money.

“You and my soon to be wife have had this vicious cycle going for a few years now. There is no need to make this a blood feud. Return the chalice, take the payment and we never cross paths agin. Simple,” Justin pushes the money closer to Destiny.

“Here’s the chalice,” Destiny digs in her purse.

The gold and silver of the chalice has been melted down into the shape of a gingerbread man. The jewels that once circled it, are now making up a face and buttons. I start plotting a way out and mentally preparing to fight because I don’t expect this to go over well.

“You are nothing but a common thief with no respect or honor,” the rage is peaking through Justin’s fa├žade.

“You should have sent Chloe. You don’t me, you don’t know our history. If I am a thief, she made me into that.”

“Fourteen minutes,” Justin picks up the gingerbread as he leaves the desk. “A word of advice, do not cross us again.”

“A word of advice for you,” Destiny stands. “Don’t trust a bitch that _____ because she’ll ____ you.”

It doesn’t take us fifteen minutes to get out of the building. It also doesn’t take any talking, just a silent ride back down in the elevator. There’s so much to the story, and I didn’t learn anything other than vampires are all kind of dramatic for no real reason. There was never going to be any attempt at reconciliation. Justin and the missing Chloe just wanted to wave some money in Destiny’s face and she wanted to show that no matter the price, she could still be petty. It was a pissing contest between them, and somehow, I’m the only one who got pissed on. I guess It's a good thing I’m wearing yellow already.

Chapter 99 - M.


“Can’t we just go to Men’s Warehouse or something,” the tailor scoffs at my suggestion.

“That stuff is cheap, ready to wear off the shelf. You’re going to need something that makes you look important,” Destiny explains.

“Couldn’t I just rent a tuxedo again?”

“Rent, a tuxedo? Someone isn’t used to class. You should thank the lady,” the tailor jots some numbers down on his notepad.

“We’re not going to a tuxedo event. This is more of a business meeting than a rich people party.”

“So, who are we going to meet with?”

“The heads of the Morson House,” Destiny says calmly.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that.”

“Local heads of the Morson House.”

“Didn’t we just rob them, kill a bunch of their people, and that’s where your sworn enemy Chloe is sworn to?”

“That’s exactly them,” she shrugs.

“Why are you so calm about this?”

“Chloe is getting married to one of the sons of the Marson family. She’s obligated to squash any beefs before she officially marries into the family. I’m a beef she needs to settled.”

“Sir, there’s no need to worry about the suit,” I call out to the tailor.

“Nonsense, I have the perfect color for you. This beautiful, golden-poppy yellow matches exceptionally well with your umber skin tone,” he flips through several pieces of cloth in his hand.

“Sorry, I like blue,” I reject his suggestion.

“I think you’d look nice in yellow,” Destiny suggests.

“Then I’ll get a yellow T-Shirt on our way home,” I argue.

“Tacky. Black suit, yellow highlights, black shirt and yellow tie, slight checker pattern. Yes, that’ll do. Be back soon,”  

“Why do you want to get involved with them again? I thought we were done with all of this,” I switch the topic back to Mosons.

“We never said we were officially done with them. Also, they invited us this time,” she shrugs.

“Why would they invite us? Do they even know me?”

“They invited me, because I’m a beef, like I said. You’re my canary yellow plus one.”

“Here is your suit sir,” the tailor returns with a black suit featuring yellow along the pockets and seems.

“How did you do that so fast,” I ask in confusion. “Did you just have this ready.”

“Not everyone who uses magic is content with blasting holes in buildings. It does have practical use for us normal folks too,” I get the feeling he doesn’t care for me.

“We’ll take it,” Destiny stands and begins to stretch.

“Great, the total will be $7,499.36. Will you be paying cash or credit?”

“Debit,” she smiles and hands her card to him.

“How can you afford this,” I ask.

“Oh, money bags doesn’t like it when I spend money on him? Feeling insecure,” she mocks me.

“No, just, that’s a lot for a suit.”

“This meeting means a lot.”

“But that’s a lot of money.”

“You can make a lot of money doing bounties. I’ve got great senses, and I know criminals. Not a lot of folks want to fight a vampire even if they have a weapon or magic. Quick work. Try to do one a day. You should get registered and quit your job. You’ve got heist experience now and not all the work is fighting.”  

“I’ll take computers over creatures any day of the week.”

I don’t bother fighting her anymore on the suit topic or even attending the event. I know her mind is made up. Even if I didn’t go, she would go in there alone. That puts her in danger. I know she can handle herself, way better than me. I watched her kill a troll, or a half troll anyway. I need her to show me that sword on fire trick. Is blood flammable or was that some kind of spell? Maybe worrying about her when I know I don’t have to is proof that I’m in love with her. I just wish she could let her past go, because I don’t want it to be our future.

“Hey, what’s the full story behind you, Chloe, Marsons and all of this,” I can’t help but ask.

“It’s long. You don’t have to worry about it.”

“If we’re walking into a trap, I need to worry about it.”

“Told you, it won’t be a trap. They wouldn’t break their customs like that. These people stick to their traditions even if it means their breed of vampire might die out.”

“Then tell me because I want to know more about you.”

“You don’t want to know that much,” she shakes her head as if she’s disappointed in me.

“Why are you always trying to keep secrets from me?”  

“Because you couldn’t handle it if you knew everything about me.”

I hate that. She swears she’s trying to protect me as if she hasn’t already dragged me into a dozen life or death situations. I’ve gone with her to chase bounties. I was there when a mall got destroyed because some vampires decided to have an all-out war with a thief’s guild. This crap is straight out of a video game. She thinks she’s protecting me by not telling me the truth. Maybe it would be a good idea if I knew what kind of crap storm she was going to have me walking into this time around.

“I’m sorry,” words I didn’t expect from Destiny.

“What?”

“I’m sorry. You’re not a child, and I want this to work out. If you go to this meeting with me, I’m sure all your questions will be answered. You might have more afterwards but that’s okay too.”

“Can I wear sneakers?”

“What do you mean?”

“Can I wear sneakers with the suit? Can’t run away in dress shoes. They’ve got no traction. Just slide straight to your death. That’s why I never got any Easter eggs. Just sliding through the grass.”

“Does this mean you’re coming,” she sounds hopeful.

“If I can wear sneakers.”

“Fine, you can wear sneakers.”

“Alright, so where we meeting these George Washington wig wearing lunatics?”

Chapter 98 - M.



[Present Day]

“Are you a vampire,” a disheveled looking teenager with wispy chin hairs, and nappy high top fade asks me.  

“That’s a stupid question,” I make my way past him.

“Well, you did break into a blood bank in the middle of the night, you didn’t take anything and you’ve got a red stain on your shirt. That’s if you call it a shirt still. What is that? The new Kanye West line?”

“Go away,” I pick up speed walking away but stop when I hear a camera snap. “Did you just take a picture of me?”

“Yeah,” he stares down at his phone, “pretty good one too. Flash didn’t wash it out.”

“Why,” he’s got my attention now.

“Because you’re a vampire and I wanted to see if you’d show up in a photo.”

“So now you know I’m not a vampire. Beat it,” he doesn’t know anything about Adze.

“Well, you’re not a vampire, but you’re some kind of cryptid, so you’ll go in my files to figure out later.”

“Your files?”

“Yes, I’m planning to study cryptozoology when I finish high school so I’ve already started keeping files.”

“There are no schools for that you damned nerd.”

“No schools that a normie would know about. Maybe you aren’t a cryptid. In that case, do you need help getting your meds?”

“Get away from me you nerd,” I’m starting to sound like Destiny.

I just start power walking; the sun is starting to rise and I need to break into a clothing store before then. I can’t keep wandering around like a deranged homeless man. He’s ranting about how I’m trying to avoid the sun and failing to keep up without doing a light jog. I’ll lose him eventually; he won’t be able to keep up long.

“Where are you going, I can drive you,” he makes an offer finally starting to run out of steam.

“I need to find a clothing store, anywhere will work,” where’s your car.

“I didn’t tell you the cost yet, but you’ll pay it. There really aren’t any other choices for you,” why does this kid talk like he has everything figured out.

“Well, I don’t have any money so you’re out of luck. Where’s the car?”

“Oh, you’re planning to steal. How about I just buy you something at the local thrift shop?”

“What’s the catch?”

“You just need to tell me, who and what you are,” he smiles as if he’s got me.

“I’ll tell you who I am after the ride, and what after you buy the clothes.”

“Deal.”

His car would have been a raggedy, beat up and barely usable piece of crap even back in 2007. Despite that, it was a surprisingly smooth ride. The kid’s name is Jabari, and repaired the car himself. Some kind of merger of magic and technology, although he can’t fix the cosmetics. He eagerly talks about magic as if he just knows that I’m in the loop, he can get a big fine otherwise. I’m not sure why I hadn’t considered magic and technology being integrated, then again, a caveman would think a stove was magic. I’ll have to do some research on this after I find my name, get set up in the city, find Destiny and my siblings. I’ve got a lot to do, but I’ll put it on my list.

“So, what’s your name,” he parks outside of a shop with no sign.

“M,” I hand him my melted driver’s license.

“That’s cheating, what’s your real name?”

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be asking a teenager to buy me clothes.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a thrift store, if so, I probably wouldn’t remember anyway. All of the clothes are hung on racks, tops to the left, bottoms to the right. No men’s or women’s departments either, just organized by the color. My memory still isn’t firing on all cylinders, but I remember blue is my favorite color and that’s where I head first.

I end up with a checkered flannel, some black jeans and a black shirt with some kind of band I’ve never heard of. The whole ensemble is less than twenty and Jabari eagerly pays because he thinks his world is about to be blown wide open with whatever I say.  

“So, what are you,” he wastes no time once we get outside.

“I’m a tortured soul, but you would call that human,” a lie, but honestly all I’ve got.

“You’re a liar, I know you’re something so let’s get it out of the way without going through a montage or flashback,” the kid talks as if we’re in a movie, and he’s already seen it.

“Kid, my memory is fried, I couldn’t give you exact details on what I was if I wanted to. All I know is that I should be dead, but I’m not. So, there’s you’re answer, I’m the living dead.”