Dulac is the ugliest town I’ve ever been to. Homes straddling muddy waters, others built twenty feet in the air on thin poles, more that look as if they could double as boats and every so often a large plantation. Each complete with delicately trimmed grass. The people are nice, nobody has heard of Desitny or even her grandmother, but they’re helpful. I got a free meal even if I didn’t get any answers. I made my way to one of the hotels the locals mentioned and checked in for the night.

The first real shower I've had in days and it’s hot enough to burn my skin, but I don’t turn it down, I just need the reminder that I’m alive. I can’t help but laugh at myself, acting like some lead singer in an emo punk band when I think about how silly I look standing here. Feeling more scorched than refreshed I towel off and put on a pair of shorts. The steam from the shower doesn’t help cool off the room any more than the air conditioner puttering along. I lie on the bed just beneath the air conditioner, staring at the ceiling, trying not to think about what I could have done different. Ignoring imaginary worlds where everything worked out. I only close my eyes when the air begins to dry them out.

I know I’ve fallen asleep, and I’m awake now, but I don’t open my eyes. I have the feeling something is watching me. I can smell someone else in the room. There’s weed in the air, a really overpowering smell, but not as much of an assault as what Elias smokes. My plan is to summon a blade to my hand and open my eyes, gutting anything that doesn’t belong.

“Wake up little bitch,” I feel hands around my throat

My eyes shoot open, a man in a ski mask has his hands wrapped around my neck. I try to fight through but I can’t seem to break his grip or reach anything to hit him with. All I can see are his eyes and a mouth of gold teeth smiling at me. I can’t think about anything but how massive his hands are.

“Tried to play sleep, now you’re going to sleep for real,” my attacker laughs as he finishes his sentence.




I wake up tied to a chair, again. I’m getting tired of this cliché crap. Does everyone do this? The décor is different this time around. Old green wallpaper with brown flowers, hidden behind seemingly endless photos. Well, I’m not going to sit here and get tortured again. For a moment I consider my options, then I remember what I am. It’s easy to break my left wrist from the chair, even easier to rip the ropes from my right. From there, I can just tear the ropes from my torso; the claw thing Destiny did would be nice but I haven’t learned how to do that yet. I take a minute to stretch before I start moving through the place. I can tell it’s an old plantation, well taken care of. There’s one thing that stands out more than anything, all the pictures and paintings, they’re Black people. That’s not normal for a plantation, not that I’ve been to a bunch, but history lessons. I’m just trying to get out so I can ignore the investigation. I find an exit from the dining room to the backyard. My eyes adjust to the sunlight as I step outside.

“How the fuck did you get free,” I recognize the voice.

Standing before me is a dark skinned man with a bald head who looks as if he could be the best center the NBA ever had. He’s wearing nothing but shorts, sneakers and muscles I didn’t know the human body had. More than anything I recognize the massive hands and gold teeth.

“How about you tell me how to get out of here, and we’re even,” I can hear my voice, but the words are Destiny’s. I’ve never had a thing for talking tough, still don’t but I can imitate her.

“Get back in that house, before I break my foot off in your ass,” this guy is going to make me mad.

“What do you want?”

“I don’t want shit from you, because you ain’t got shit that I want.”

“Do you know how to speak without cuss words?”

“Oh, you one of them smarty smart brothers. I got something for that,” he starts to walk towards me.

I haven’t had a fight since Destiny died, but I suppose this is as a good a time as ever. I shouldn’t have a problem with this guy. I put throw a heavy punch at his gut, the same way Destiny taught me. I expect him to drop to the ground and this thing to be over, but he doesn’t. He just smiles and laughs. I don’t have time to be confused before a big overhand punch comes down at me. I manage to move so it only hits my shoulder. I feel something pop, but my shoulder isn’t done. If that had hit me in the head, I’d be finished. Fights in action movies always take a while, but this is a fast beating. He’s breaking me down, and nothing I can do is hurting him. I wasn’t going to use a lot of my vampire strength, I didn’t want to hurt this guy but this is the third time he’s tossed me on the ground and I’m getting mad. It’ll need to be an uppercut. I get in close and dodge one of his punches, too close. One more dodge, now I put a little extra on this one and connect with the bottom of his jaw.

He backs off and for a moment we’re just staring at each other. I’m tired, but I can keep fighting. I don’t think he’s used to being hit. He just keeps touching his face. He reaches into his mouth and makes some yanking motions. He pulls out a strip of bloody gold, wipes it on his shorts and puts it in his pockets. He gives me a big bloody smile, showing I did some damage.

“You fucked up my grill, now I’m gonna fuck you up. No more play,” he starts to walk towards me like I haven’t even hurt him.

My brain must be scrambled because all I’m thinking about is how grills started in New York, then the South became home for them, but the Midwest prefers gold caps. I’m going to have to stab this man, Destiny never shied away from escalating a fight, now that she’s gone, I can’t.

“Sampson, stop playing with our guest and come on inside,” a voice calls from the house behind me.

“Nah, this one wants to fight granny,” the man responds, he must be Sampson.

“I got some ice cold sweet tea,” she responds.

“Bring your ass on,” Sampson grabs my by the arm and leads me to the house.

“Welcome to Turnerville the woman says,” I only spot her back as she heads inside.


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