Chapter 128 - M.


“Nah, I’m having a good time.”

“My piece of crap car really made it that far,” Elias seem surprised.

“Nah, it didn’t make it past Tennessee.”

“You just left my baby?”

“I can get it towed back if you want.”

“Nah, I’m just messing with you. Where you at now?”

“Meridian Mississippi, or close to it. We’ve got a cabin in the woods with a view of a lake.”

“You know you can’t swim. Don’t fall in and make her save you on the honeymoon.”

“I can swim.”

“You can doggy paddle,” he burst out in laughter.

“See, this is that Gemini behavior Charlene is always mentioning.”

“Whatever, I got a date coming over. You aren’t the only one knocking the boots like H-Town.”

“Okay, love you bro.”

“Love you too, and text D’Andre for once. Call the twins, they think you ran away from home.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Talk to you later.”

I spend the next hour watching Destiny read some old books I probably wouldn’t understand while I speak to the rest of my family. Every now and then she’ll scribble something down, but won’t let me see. Mom is upset that I didn’t invite her to the wedding. She’s extra, she would have made it a whole ordeal if she knew. Dad is same as always, asked when Destiny is going to start popping out babies. I understand why he loves Charlene so much, that’s where he gets his foul mouth from. D’Andre was too busy to talk, said he’d text me later. Ivory and Sage are just glad some monster didn’t eat me.

I’m glad we got some time to relax, put some distance between us and everyone who wants to kill us. There’s nothing to do out here, but also nobody to come after us. Has she been on the run like this nonstop? Is that why she can read a map and I can’t? The three days we’ve been out here is probably the longest I’ve been without internet since we got dial up at the house.

“Hey, I want to show you something,” Destiny calls me to the back porch.

“What you got?”

She hands me a powder blue notebook, “this is my diary, or more of a journal.”

“Why are you giving it to me?”

“It’s got contacts in different cities I’ve been to, how to get a hunter’s license, tips and tricks I’ve learned through life. How to make money in a tight spot, best way to kill different things. It’s like a guide book.”

“But why are you giving it to me?”

“Never know when you might need it.”

“I’ll be good once we get the Marsons off our tail.”

“Yeah, but it’ll be hard for you to go back to a regular life afterwards,” she’s not looking at me.

“Hey, are you planning on leaving me here?”

“Nah, that’s stupid. I’m just saying, it’ll be good to have. You never know.”

“Destiny, look at me,” I take her hand. “I’m with you until the end. Doesn’t matter what we have to do. I told you, I’m not letting you go through life on your own anymore.”

“That’s sweet,” she’s still not looking at me. “Just put it in your little space pocket, magic portal, or whatever you call it.”

“Don’t do something stupid.”

“That’s your role not mine,” she forces a laugh.

I send the book to what I like to think of as my pocket dimension, before she gives me a satisfying nod. I don’t force the issue anymore, I just hug her, and don’t let go. She’s not resisting the hug, but I feel like if I let go, she’ll run away from me. I can keep up now, but I know her and I know I’d be chasing her forever.

“You’re so damn clingy,” she mumbles into my chest.

“But you’re holding me too.”

“You make me weak. So damn weak.”

“Nothing wrong with being weak. You just have to be strong in other categories.”

“Alright, let me go. I promise I won’t disappear.”

I don’t press the issue, I know somethings eating at her. I know she’s planning something. I’ve seen the look in her eyes before. I’ve been left behind before. She’s focused on a goal, and she’s going to accomplish it. I just need to make sure I’m right there when she does.

Chapter 127 - M.


We had to get out of Nashville fast. Nobody came after us that night, or the next day when we were still dropping off kids. We even had a day off spending money we looted from the dead. Destiny got a call from one of her contacts, she made the most wanted list. At least, the most wanted list for targets of vampire houses. I guess there was someone who saw what we did and decided not to try to save their friends, family, klansmen or whatever racist vampires are calling each other. Somehow, neither of us seems to care. We’re together, we’re unbeatable in my mind. All that terrible training, mall wars, getting destroyed by werewolves made me a great fighter, now I’m able to actually see what my opponents are doing, it’s a lot easier. I also don’t feel as bad about killing them, that might make me a bad person; but all of these are self defense kills. I’d be happy just shaking hands but prime vamps seem to have some kind of to the death mentality.

Once we got to Birmingham we tried to check out Hell’s Gate. We didn’t expect to actually find a way to Hell, but we were entirely let down. Our last two outings led to a vampire slave trade and a family of goat people. It was kind of nice knowing nothing crazy has happened in Birmingham. This is supposed to be our honeymoon, even if I never officially said that.

“Hey, there’s supposed to be a vampire that goes out and violently murders people on weekends. Want to check it out? Could be your first chance to see a Talamur vampire because it’s got to be one of them, or a Nachzeher.”

“How about we just go back to the hotel, and see each other. It’s almost midnight.”

“You know, Adze don’t need to sleep. That’s one of our bonuses,” Destiny laughs at me.

“I didn’t say anything about sleeping,” I give her a big smile. “But, I like dreaming anyway.”

Off in the distance I hear a woman screaming for help. “You planned for us to be out here didn’t you? Just sitting here doing nothing. It was a stakeout?”

“You got me, let’s go kill a vampire.”

“You’re a cannibal. A vampire that gets joy from killing other vampires.”

“Really it’s like a wolf fighting a dog. Also, I’m not eating them.”

“Why are you like this?”

“Think we can hit a vampire with a car?”

“What?”

“Decapitation, destruction of the heart, I’m feeling like switching it up.”

“Then get some holy water or silver bullets.”

“Seatbelts blue bird.”

I’m gripping onto the door handle and using my feet as a brake as she peels through the streets searching for the screams, we circle the block three times before we finally zero in on alleyway. She cuts off the car and we make our way down the long alley. The sounds of a dog lapping up water grows louder as we come closer to the end.

I’ve seen vampires drink blood, but I’ve never seen one chew through the flesh of a person. A vampire in a torn, bloodied white suit that seems to be faded and decades old is gnawing at pieces of a blond woman who has clearly died already. Occasionally he stops to lap at the blood, never truly getting enough to satiate the thirst. The whole scene disgusts me. Destiny and I just buy blood, it’s barely more expensive than gasoline for the amount we need. I know some vampires can’t do that, but that’s why there’s synthetic blood, willing donors, blood agreements and so on. He turns and looks at us, hisses and returns to his kill.

“I know this guy.”

“How?”

“I don’t personally know him, but he’s the head of a small vampire house. He’s been missing for a few weeks. He was always said to be eccentric, but it seems like he’s lost his mind in age.”

“Remember you theorized Nachzeher might be Primeval vamps that went insane? I think you might be right.”

“At least we don’t have to look forward to that.”

“What do we do with him?”

“We could turn him in for money, but they’d just put him back in control. I think we should kill him.”

“Go for it.”

Destiny quickly snaps his neck back and slits the throat. Not a full decapitation, but enough to kill him. The body falls over and his leg twitches for a few seconds. I was wondering if I stopped caring about killing, but here I am trying to control my shaking as Destiny pulls off. Is it the killing that bothers me or the idea that I may turn out like him?

“Are you good,” Destiny asks as we approach our hotel.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to be a vampire. Being Adze, isn’t bad at all. I drink a little blood every now and then, and I’m good. But, I’m still afraid I might end up like that guy.”

“As far as a I know, Adze haven’t been around long enough for any of us to go insane.”

“But it’s a possibility.”

“Not for tomorrow.”

Chapter 126 - M.



“You know, Andrew Jackson used to be my favorite president,” I tell Desitny as we drive towards his home.

“Really? Andrew Jackson?”

“Yeah, they made him sound so cool in school. The man was in a bunch of battles, and won. He was president, but also, he was in duels. That made him so bad ass.”

“What changed your mind? You thinking America will really let Obama be president?”

“No, a Black man, President of The United States, that’ll never happen,” we share a laugh over the idea. “I stopped liking Andrew Jackson when I learned what a piece of trash he was.”

“I just want to let you know you’re doing great as an Adze already. You’re a few years too late to lead a slave rebellion, but it’s in your heart, and that’s what matters,” she jokes.

As we get closer Andrew Jackson’s house looks exactly how I thought it would. Large, white, all the antebellum South vibes a man could wish for. This was a plantation for sure. If we went around back I’d be willing to bet there were log cabins for slaves, probably called workers, but they used to be slaves. We park towards the end of a heart shaped driveway and I can’t help but laugh to myself. The man who viewed himself as this ultimate cold and calculated machine had a heart shaped driveway.

Inside everything looks old and dated, as if it hadn’t been moved since Andrew Jackson died. More so than that the place feels haunted. Almost as if we shouldn’t be here. The idea of a haunting removes itself from my mind for a much more familiar feeling. We’re the only Black faces, no different than one of the balls we attended in Chicago. I suppose, there’s active malice in the air, but we’ve been here before. I understand why Destiny felt so comfortable in those balls. There’s maybe twenty of them, and just two of us, but I think we could win. They look old, frail, confused and all around pitiful. We came here because Destiny heard there was a vampire gathering that took place here on the weekends, but she was never in Tennessee to partake.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I see we have some first-time faces,” a man in a tuxedo stares directly at us from a small stage. “The thrall auction works like any other. If you see an item you like, you bid on it. Tonight, we have a fine selection of twenty-three thralls. All young, and prepared for decades of servitude. They’re fresh, so they’ll need breaking, but they’ll serve your houses for decades to come and we’ve got enough for almost everyone to leave with a purchase, so be greedy. Don’t forget, no checks, no credit, just cash,” the audience laughs in unison.

I don’t know if I’m more shocked, disgusted or outraged as a I walk twenty-three Black teenagers, chained together at the ankles and wrist. A few still crying, others look enraged, none of them looking as if they belong in chains.

I thought when he said auction, this would be like a fundraiser. An auction where someone offers themselves up for a date. But this is not that. This is full blown depravity, the shame of a nation. Destiny had told me Primeval vamps could be racist, but to think the slave trade is alive and kicking here hadn’t crossed my mind. I’ve never felt rage like this in my life before.

“We’re killing everyone right,” I don’t recognize the words coming from my mouth.

“Except the babies.”

“Excuse me,” a woman next to Destiny sounds shocked.

She doesn’t get a chance to say more because Destiny has already moved to slice her throat open. I haven’t learned to turn my nails into claw, I settle using my nightmares to decapitate the man in front of me. I remember agonizing over the fact that I had killed before. I still remember the faces, and it still bothers me sometimes. In the catacombs, it felt like a life or death thing again, but I didn’t feel bad. This, this feels right. The vampires, don’t scream, but the wails of the teenagers break my heart a little. Their voices sound strained as if they had already been screaming. I expect an army of vampires to enter the room and join the commotion but no more than three do. It doesn’t take long before we’re staring at a group of teenagers, afraid of us. We’re the monsters that just killed the monsters that chained them.

I’m surprised at how easy it is for me to break the shackles with my hands. It doesn’t take long before Destiny and I have set them all free. Let them dine on the food and drinks set out to feed their captives. She searches the perimeter for more, but no reinforcements ever come.

“Are you all from Nashville,” they all nod silently to my question. “Anyone who doesn’t know their address?”

“They’re teenagers, they should know where they live,” Destiny interrupts my questioning.

“Hey, we’re going to get you all home to your families,” I try to assure them.

“They’re not going to trust us. We just came in and killed two dozen people,” Destiny whispers to me.

“We can’t just leave them here.”

“You want to chain them again? Force them in the van out back and drag them around the city until someone takes them?”

“No, but if we leave them here, the same thing is going to happen again.”

“You can take me home,” a girl with purple braid in her hair stops our argument.

“Me too,” a boy adds.

All it takes is one person to speak up before they’re all willing to trust us. There’s this idea that trauma is better at bringing people together than any other bonding factors. We traumatized these kids. We weren’t the worst of it, or the start of it, but we were the end, and that’s part of it. The least we can do is feed them, craft a story to tell their parents, explain any questions they have about vampires. Is this the kind of thing Destiny was doing every week before I came along?

Chapter 125 - M.


 

“So, you took a tracking job, out in the woods,” I ask trying to grasp the situation.

“There weren’t a lot of options, and I’m good at tracking.”

“Yeah, you’re great at tracking bounties, runaways, vampires and werewolves. If it’s in a city, you can find it.”

“Thank you.”

“But we’re in the woods, looking for a goat man. The legendary Pope Lick Monster.”

“Open that nose of yours, you can smell him.”

“I don’t know what a goat smells like.”

“But I bet you know what a motherdrive smells like.”

“Do you mean hard drive or motherboard? Is this you trying to learn about my interests? I’m not mad anymore.”

I’m still mad. She’s got us out in this swamp trying to hunt down some half-man, half-sheep, half-goat creature that runs around steeling animals from farmers. I didn’t see a single farm on the way out here. I didn’t even know Kentucky had farms. I could have just gotten some money from the ATM or a bank when we left Indianapolis, but she insisted we leave in a hurry. Now we’re broke, and taking jobs from the side of a barn in Kentucky. She said this was a major organization she got work from, not a farmer's paradise. You’d think mosquitos wouldn’t want vampire blood, but they love me. I even put on bug spray and wore long sleeves and jeans, during the summer. It means nothing to them; I don’t do the great outdoors. They aren’t so great at all. A small rock hits the side of my head and draws my attention. I don’t see anyone hiding, but I can hear footsteps moving around.

“Leave,” an unfamiliar voice calls out.

“Alright, jokes over Destiny. “Let’s get out of here.”

“That wasn’t me,” the look on her face was pure confusion.

“Follow it?”

“Hell yeah we follow it,” she responds.

My hearing is just as good as hers now, but trying to find one specific sound is hard. It’s entirely overwhelming to me. For her, it’s nothing. She takes after the sound and I just follow. We’re not running full speed, just avoiding the thicker brush. We could easily catch whatever it is, but she’s trying to tire it out or see where it’s leading us. I’m content hanging back and learning. I get my first glimpse of the creature as we run across a shaky old train bridge. I’ve never seen a goat man before, but that is a goat man. More man than goat, but furry. I expected hooves, more Mr. Tumnus than barefoot man covered in fur with horns. He’s even got a pair of ragged pants.

“I’m going to grab him, you take the horns.”

I don’t get a chance to agree with her before she takes off. When reach the end of the bridge she’s got the creature by the waist. It takes only a few seconds before I’ve got it by the horns. Again, a mostly human face, the eyes are a little large, and the ears are floppy, like a goats. Destiny wants to restrain it so we can turn it in, but I don’t think it’s dangerous. I think it’s scared. She zip ties the creature’s arms behind it’s back and studies it over, but I’m suddenly feeling bad about all this.

“Do you speak English,” I ask.

“Of course I do,” Destiny responds.

“Not you,” I point at our captive. “You, do you speak English.”

“Yes sir,” it responds in a rough, yet young masculine voice.

“What is going on,” Destiny responds.

“Why did you do for them to call you The Monster of Pope Lick,” I ask.

“We’re not monsters sir,” it responds.

“We,” Destiny asks.

“We.”

“How many of you are there?”

“Me, mom, dad, Nancy, Teresa, and Junebug,” the goat man answers.

“So you have a family,” I ask.

“Doesn’t everyone?”

“You’re right. How long have you been out here?”

“All my life, but mom says she’s going to me a potion like she did for Lisa Ann, then I’ll be able to look normal and go to the city. Meet a nice girl, get hitched and have some kids,” he seems almost excited.

“This is crazy,” Destiny throws her hands in the air.

“How old are you,” I ask.

“I’m sixteen,” he responds.

I turn to Destiny and force myself to look into her eyes. “We have to let him go.”

“If we don’t go back with him, or a body, we aren’t going to get paid. If we don’t get paid, we can’t leave. If we can’t leave, they’ll catch us and kill us in Hillbilly, Kentucky. I don’t want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky. The goat boy doesn’t want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky. Do you want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky?”

Our prisoner giggles to himself as I just stare at her. She mumbles to herself, words I wouldn’t have been able to hear a few weeks ago. For now I just tell her she’s got a dirty mouth as she breaks the zipties holding our catch.

“Thank you, ma’am,” he smiles big.

“You got any family members you want dead,” she asks with a straight face.

“Grandma,” he starts.

“We’re not killing your grandmother,” In interrupt.

“No, she’s dead already. You can take her body.”

“Deal,” Destiny answers.

Phil is the name of our teenage goat man. His family as a hereditary deformity that causes them to grow some goat-like features. The family has been this way since the late 1800s. Some say it’s just genetics, others blame it on a curse. They live in the woods to hide from society. Occasionally, one person will get a potion or spell, that lets them join the world at large. Destiny theorized that they might be covered by the veil, as it probably wasn’t as strong in the 1800s. A few minutes ago she was upset at the idea of letting him go free. Now that we’re working on adding grave robbing to our resumes she has a lot of nice things to say. She has a contact who specializes in things like the veil and transfiguration magic that she wants to send. Maybe let the whole family lead a normal life, because the next set of hunters might not be as nice.

Chapter 124 - M.


I’m surprised The Pacers pulled out the win tonight. Derrick Rose has been putting up way better number than Danny Granger and a few other players combined. Statistically, The Bulls should have won in a blowout. Perhaps things would have been different if they adjusted their rotations. Destiny swears the game is about luck just as much as skill, but I don’t see it. Statistics can lead to more wins than just going with whoever has the hot hand at the time. Destiny seems like she’s in a hurry to get out of here before everyone else. The final buzzer hasn’t actually rung yet before she’s leading me out.

“What’s the hurry?”

“They followed us.”

“Where are we going?”

“The Catacombs.”

“The what?”

“You didn’t read your tour book,” Destiny pulls me right on Market Street.

“Shouldn’t we have taken the car.”

“Would have got caught in traffic.”

“Then why go to catacombs?”

“Because we can fight there.”

“Around the dead bodies?”

“There are no dead bodies, read your tour book next time. It’s basically a burned down building.”

Destiny breaks through a locked gate and drags me down some stairs into some massive tunnels. There’s nothing to light the way but my eyes don’t even need to adjust, I can see just fine down here. I can tell that the whole place is pitch black, but I’m not bothered at all. I can hear footsteps following us. Destiny was right, we’re being followed.

“Split up.”

“What?”

“Go different directions, split their group. Kill something meet back up top.”

“That’s a terrible plan.”

“You’ll be fine. Go that way and kill something,” she takes off down a different corridor.

This isn’t the way I would have chosen to them off their trail. It certainly isn’t the best way to spend what could be considered our honeymoon. Running from footsteps, getting lost in catacombs. It’s been a wild few weeks. Held hostage, murdered, revived as a vampire, getting married, and now there’s a group of vampires planning to murder me. I hear the footsteps getting closer, but it seems like most have followed Destiny.

I duck behind a column in what seems like an old lobby and try to hide as the footsteps get closer. It suddenly dawns on me that if I’m having no issues seeing in the dark, they aren’t either. Nightmares materialize in my hands and I prepare for the fight that’s inevitable now. I’ve got two people in my little room, it doesn’t seem like anyone else cam here. They call out, to me and I just step out, there’s no putting this off now.

“Any chance we can work this out,” I ask.

“Nope,” one answers.

They rush at me, claws out. I’m suddenly wondering why I don’t have claws, or Destiny. I guess that’s a difference between vampire types. I thought Vampires were these expert fighters and as they rush me, I’m realizing that’s not true. They were just too fast for me to keep up with before, I had always caught them standing still. Trying to keep up was near impossible. I can tell they aren’t moving slower than other vampires, but I can see them, easily. Vampires aren’t just naturally great fighters, they’re just fast. These two are terrible. Their claw swipes are wide, almost like they’re just expecting me to panic and move into them.

This is a real confidence booster, I thought I was a terrible fighter, and I was just outclassed. It’s like I was Krillin from Dragon Ball Z, he didn’t have any reason to be fighting aliens, androids or demons. He still tried and got beat up every time, but when it comes to humans, nobody could beat him. Being excited about being Krillin, or even Yamcha isn’t a reason to be excited. One of the vampires grips his neck and stumbles backwards before falling as I slash across his neck. The other turns to look and I stab at her heart. She digs her claws into my arm preventing me from reaching the heart, but it’s too late. I expect her to crumble, but instead she starts to turn into ash. I guess that’s what Destiny meant by vampires all dying different. I wonder if the ones who turn to dust are stronger or weaker. Is there a strength scale for vampires?

Finding a way out is harder than the fight. I can hear footsteps, but they echo, so I can never figure out which direction they’re coming from. This whole thing is a maze and I wasn’t exactly moving slowly earlier. I manage to find some arrows that line the tour path and backtrack my way outside where Destiny is already waiting.

“What took you so long?”

“Oh, you know, had to keep the, I don’t have a joke for this.”

“You? Speechless? Where’s the man I married?”


Chapter 123 - M


“Are you sure your brother won’t mind that we took his car.”

“I left a note, and I left him my car.”

“But people can get sentimental about their things.”

“His car is a piece of crap.”

“But it’s his piece of crap.”

I halfway consider it. I didn’t ask Elijah if we could take his car. I just assumed he’d be happier with mine. I probably should have left more than a letter saying we were going to be gone for a while. I was really inconsiderate to him throughout the whole situation. My thoughts are interrupted when Destiny bursts into laughter. For most people the constant teasing would be a turn off, but she knows when to stop, and I love it. That makes this whole thing easier to do in my mind.

Downtown Indianapolis, isn’t much different than Downtown Chicago. It isn’t as decorative, there are no waterfront views, no L, less buskers and it’s nothing like Chicago. I mean the architecture is somewhat similar. I can’t believe I’ve actually never been here. Destiny said we should go to Louisianna where we can link up with her so called family that exiled her. I said I’d give it a shot if we got to turn it into a real road trip. She’s been all over the country, but I haven’t been many places outside of Illinois. Indianapolis is three maybe four hours away, and I’d never been. It probably isn’t the most romantic city in the world, or even United States, but it’ll do for what I have planned.  

“Hey, you sure you want to do this,” Destiny turns down the music to ask.

“Do what,” is she on to me?

“Leave your family behind. They’re great people. I don’t want you leaving them behind just for me.”

“I’m not leaving them behind. I can still call them, write letters, emails, texts and even visit.”

“But you’re not going to be with them, you were all so close. I don’t want to break that up.”

“Didn’t you say Adze mate for life?”

“Yeah, but I also told you got kicked out for sleeping with a guy.”

“Okay, good point.”

“They’re not after you. You can live a normal life.”

“I’m a vampire now.”

“A mostly normal life, with your family.”

“Destiny, you are my family and even if you ran, they’d still come after me looking for you. We might as well run together.”

“No, they’re your family. I’m just your girlfriend. You can find a new one.”

“I’m too nerdy and awkward, it might be hard. You’ve already made the mistake of taking me in.”

“I just don’t know if this is the right call.”

I don’t answer her, I’m too focused on trying to fit Elias’ car into a tight parking spot. She’s telling me how all this is a bad idea and I’m not really worried about it. I’ve made up my mind to go through with this already. She’s called the shots so far in our relationship, with this one I’m taking the lead. Then I’ll happily defer to her again. I hop out of the car while she’s still talking and open her door on the other side. If I don’t move fast, I might get scared and not go through with it.  My heart is sinking into my chest and the words won’t come out.

“Where are we? What are you trying to say,” she puts her hand on my shoulder?

“Do you want to get married? Mate for life,” I drop to one knee, got the order wrong.

“What?”

“I forgot to get an engagement ring, but do you want to get married?”

“What the fuck?”

“I know it’s sudden but we’ve been on a speed run,” I point to the pink and yellow sign behind me.

“Two hour weddings,” she reads the sign out loud. “What the fuck,” she keeps repeating.

“Is that a yes?”

“Yes motherfucker,” she grabs me on the verge of tears.

They weren’t joking when they said two hour weddings. I didn’t have a tuxedo and she didn’t have wedding dress but we did take pictures on Monument Circle that came out pretty nice. I think this is actually the first time we’ve taken a photo together. The photographer seemed to think it was funny, she’s naturally beautiful and I’m just a goofball, but it works. There was no Elvis Presley minister, just an older gentleman in a tuxedo with shorts to run through the ceremony. The moment came for us to say the vows we had ten minutes to write and we couldn’t decide who would go first, so we flipped a coin. I got to go first.

“I never really thought I’d fall in love. It just never happened, no high school sweethearts, no college whirlwind romance. I just thought I’d live an okay life, and die alone. No kids, no wife, maybe a dog. More than a few nieces and nephews. You’ve seen how Elias moves,” she just smirks. “But then you came along and caught my eye. At first it was just your looks. Everyone already knows you’re out of my league,” I shrug as the witnesses laugh. “Still, every time we’d get closer, I’d learn more and more about you. You’re so much more than just a pretty face. Elias once told me you were God’s gift to me, a reward for how I’ve lived. He was high, you know how he is,” she buries her face in her palm to avoid laughing. “I still don’t know if there is a divine plan, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we act; that we do what’s right when confronted with evil, or love. What you did was save me, not just metaphorically, but literally and any other way possible. It was you that made me realize how amazing the world could truly be. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you learning more.”

“First and foremost, fuck you for making me do this bluebird,” a few gasps as she begins. “Sorry, I’m just really caught up in the emotions of all this. Look, you know my story. I haven’t had any luck in love. But, if I’m going to have some, I’ll put it behind for you. Nobody has ever loved me as hard or as gentle as you. Nobody has ever loved me after I screwed things up or loved me without asking for anything in return but you just keep on loving me and I love your stupid nerdy comments that I don’t get, the way you communicate with computers better than people, the way you’re always so stupidly optimistic. I hate you so much for making me love you."

The rings I bought both have black bands with blue stones. Hers with tiny stones circling the entire band, mine with two stones on opposite sides and a blue ring linking them. They’re both men's rings, but I know her style, and career. She wouldn’t want something with a big stone that could get knocked off. Then again, I think you’re supposed to have three rings, an engagement ring, a wedding ring, and then a band for daily wear I messed up. It doesn’t matter because I get to spend my life with her now.

Chapter 122 - M.


Destiny’s place was a wreck. We took the essentials, and she started staying with Elias and I. He’s brought plenty of women to the apartment before, but I think he’s a little jealous. She doesn’t just hang around and eat things. She’s bought things for the place too, and she isn’t afraid to have conversations with Elias the way his, acquittances, are with me. She also doesn’t confine herself to my bedroom while I wander the apart trying to find a way to make her leave. Even now she’s sitting on the couch as I rest my head in her lap.  

“You two are really in love? Like, love, love, lalala love,” Elias jokes as he’s crosses the room.

“Yeah, it’s love” she continues to play in my hair, twisting and untwisting strands.

“You should try it,” I joke.

“Do I look like Joe,” Elias laughs to himself.

“I don’t get it,” Destiny chimes in.

“I don’t wanna be a playa no more,” Elias sings off key as he closes the door behind him.

“I wish I had a brother like him,” Destiny laughs.

“Do you have any brothers?”

“Sort of.”

“What’s that mean?”

“They’re not really family. I mean, they’re family, but not family. It’s hard to explain.”

“Then just explain, you’ve never told me anything about your past.”

“You don’t want to hear that.”

“Hey, I didn’t want to be a vampire yet, but here we are,” that was low. “What I mean is. I don’t know what I mean. I was trying to say I wanted to learn more about your family.”

“Where do we start?”

“Your childhood.”

“Okay. I’m telling you, this isn’t enjoyable.”

“I beat Oblivion with a rusty iron dagger. I don’t know what enjoyable means.”

“I don’t know what that sentence means.”

“We need to play some games together, but don’t change the topic.”

She ponders where to start for a moment. She doesn’t look like this is a painful memory but something tells me to hold her hand. Even now, it surprises me that she isn’t cold as I wrap my . Are Adze even vampires? I mean, there’s vampire stuff, but the other stuff I’m supposed to be able to do now, wild. I suppose I have centuries to work on that topic.

“So, I don’t know my parents. My real parents anyway. I was adopted by a couple, really wonderful on the outside. Kind of wealthy, but inside the house, things were bad. I won’t lie to you, they used to beat the crap out of me and the other kids.”

“I can tell you aren’t talking about a belt or whatever mom had handy at the time.”

“No, they were terrible.”

“Let’s leave it at that.”

“College was my escape. I barely got in, and I was so happy. I thought I would be free from all of it, but I was just really depressed and I didn’t know how to connect with people. All I knew was violence and abandonment. I would just hide from people the moment they said something that set me off or always be prepared to run from a fight.”

“You’re a real fighter now.”

“Well, I wasn’t then. After college I was just working jobs to get by. I was doing anything I could to stay away from going back to the people that raised me. I used to have scars, that I would touch to remind me why I couldn’t go back.”

“What happened to the scars,” I’ve never seen any on her body.

“When you become a vampire, the only permanent scars are usually magic in nature. That’s why you’re not split from your navel to neck anymore.”

“Was it that bad?”

“Yeah, you looked like a poorly gutted fish.”

“But I’m better now,” I force a smile. “Thanks to you.”

“Whatever.”

“Alright, you dropped out. What happened after that?”

“I worked some bad jobs, trying to find a way to keep the money coming in. I heard about this old lady way out in the swamps doing rituals that could help.”

“You didn’t go, did you?”

“I did. That’s when I met Granny, I don’t know what her real name is. Anyway, I found out they were vampires and I became obsessed with them, or one guy in particular.”

“He turn you?”

“Nah, Adze have to go through trials, study and can only turn after they’re 25. I had to study for two years before I knew enough to go through with it.”

“Can you not turn if you don't go through trials?”

“No, the ritual is the only part that matters. Blood, magic, pain and death, all that good stuff.”

“Then why go through the trials?”

“Old fashioned. I’m not sure the trials mean anything. In the past it was supposed to be like guardians reaching out to you or something. They’re supposed to be your guides in the new life.”

“Maybe gods,” I interrupt.

“I don’t see why it couldn’t be,” she shrugs. “Anyway, I become Adze, and start living on their compound.”  

She’s telling me about all the things they got up to. Robbing, running scams based on magic and all of that. Now I’m wondering if I did go through the three trials. I did the whole find a way back home thing, the debate then the trial. Are those supposed to be my guardians? She mentioned the shared consciousness, are they my way in? I don’t know how to ask her without sounding stupid. I remember her mentioning a shared conciseness of Adze who had died that she could tap into for information. I wonder if I’d be able to tap into that and speak with the gods who guided me. I feel like I sound crazy, glad I’m not saying any of this out loud.  

“Why do you always say Adze instead of vampire,” I interrupt her.  

“Because there’s six types of vampire, but I don’t really think we’re all vampires. Adze were supposed to be shape shifters, we don’t have stories about the first vampire. Strigoi and Nachazeher,” she stumbles on the word still and I giggle. “I don’t hear you trying to pronounce it.”

“And you won’t,” I smile at her.

“Anyway, I think they’re more spirits of vengeance, maybe even demon than vampire. The Dhampir, are hybrids. We’re all vampires because we drink blood, but we're all kind of different. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, I got it. So what happened with Granny,” I turn us back towards the story.

“She kicked me out, or I left. I had sex with one of her other family members. Keep in mind this isn’t incest, we’re not really family.”

“Same guy that brought you in?”

“Yeah, same guy.”

“So you moved to Chicago?”

“No, I met Chloe and started working for her family. Small jobs here and there. Steal this, kill that. Nothing I wasn’t already doing. I actually was able to survive Katrina because of their air tight bunkers and supplies. Still, I overheard some of the higher ups. They said there was no Southern hospitality for niggas, magical or otherwise. I don’t know why I was surprised. Many of them had been confederate soldiers. I guess I thought Chloe had made them turn over a new leaf by bringing me around. Clearly a feud started, I killed a few of them, they tried to kill me. I vanished with some of their heirlooms, tossed them in the Grand Canyon before I finally made it here to Chicago.”

“So when did you start taking up bounty hunting and other jobs.”

“While I was on the run, I needed cash. An old Elf asked for help, paid nicely, told me how to get more work.”

“One more question,” I have to know.

“Where you and Chloe a couple?”

“Can you handle the truth?”

“I can handle it,” I put on my tough voice.

“We dated, I was curious. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t my thing. On the other hand, it was totally her thing. Sure, the sex was great in a technical sense, but there just wasn’t any connection there. Do you know what I mean?”

“I’ve only had sex with you.”

“But there’s a connection. We just, know each other. It’s almost like you’re part of me.”

“I think I get what you’re saying.”

“Right, there wasn’t any of that with her. It was just going through the motions. But for her, this was everything. I put some distance between us, and that’s what started the feud.”

“So, her marriage was probably a surprise.”

“Yeah, but like I said. Those primeval vamps are old, really old. Everyone should try it once for a decade or century, but you better not stick with it, that’s their logic. They’ll have an assistant for 200 years, share beds and be closer than couples. But, if someone finds out they’re gay, it’s a duel,” she jokes.

“You have a sick sense of humor.”

“I’m planting the seeds for me watching you get that work down the line.”

“I’ll pass.”

“That’s not what your family said,” she jokes.

“Whatever,” I roll my eyes and she plants a kiss on my forehead. “You think The Marson family will come after you.”

“Hell yeah,” I’m noticing she’s been a lot more relaxed and loose with her speech now. “I caused too much trouble. I hired some help for your rescue mission. Had to loot the mansion to cover the bill. They’re going to be super mad,” she laughs.

“Why is that funny.”

“Because you’re Adze now, and that means I can be a little more reckless.”

“Why does that mean you can be more reckless?”

“Because I don’t have to worry about you dying in a fight now.”

“I’m okay if you still worry about me, but we can totally just move and not fight anymore.”

“You really think they’ll just leave us alone? I’ve waged war on them, full out war, twice. First with the Wererats, now with the twenty vampire hunters I hired. I’ve destroyed dozens of their operations, robbed them of money and artifacts. They won’t take it lying down.”

“They don’t have to take it lying down, but we down. But we don’t need to bring war to our front door either.”

“You think they’ll just let us go?”

“Eventually.”

“Your optimism and stupidity are contagious,” this time she kisses my lips.  


***

I don't usually do supplemental content, but in this case, I wanted to give a slim outline of Destiny's life up until now.

1995 - Destiny finishes high school (18yo)

1997 - Destiny drops out of college (20)

1999 - Destiny meets Granny (21)

2000 - Destiny Dead Parents (22)

2001 - Destiny meets Granny (23)

2002 - Destiny Vamp (25)

2004 - Ousted by Granny (27)

2005 - Katrina survives with Chloe (destiny is 28)

2006 - Splits with Chloe throws stone in Lake Lanier moves to Chicago

2007 - Retrograde (Destiny is 30)