I was thrown–literally thrown–into a van. I just lay in a heap on the floor, shivering, trying not to cry. Sam’s confused stare filled my mind.
The doors opened and someone else was thrown in, a girl I didn’t recognize. Then another girl. And then Booker. He looked dead and had holes ripped through him. Blood soaked his clothes. His blood. Sam’s blood. I gave a feeble wail and curled up into a smaller ball.
The van doors closed and we began moving. The two girls clung to each other, babbling incoherently. Trying to figure out why we were the ones taken. I wanted to yell at them to shut up. I didn’t want to hear their voices, I didn’t want to hear anything. I just sort of wanted to die. Sam. My best friend. Shot. Dead. Probably dead. He couldn’t be dead though, I saw him in my visions in the future. They couldn’t–it couldn’t–
The one of you and Sam on the cliff changed, a voice in my head reminded me.
The one of him and me and Eli and Blake…
Was Sam really there? You remember Eli talking, and Blake talking. Was Sam actually there or were you subconsciously putting him there after you woke up?
I don’t know how long we traveled. Eventually the van stopped and we were all dragged out. Booker still looked dead. Maybe he was dead.
We were taken into a house and surprisingly cleaned off. And by cleaned off I mean they put me and Booker’s body in a small room and hosed us off before throwing clean clothes at me. I was told to dress Booker. Watcher.
Numbly I got dressed and then knelt down, carefully peeling the bloodied wet clothes off of Booker’s body. The bullet holes were starting to heal; in fact as I worked I saw one bullet being shoved out of his body. It looked disgusting.
The guys came back and took us to another room. I just followed silently. The girls were taken with us too, dressed in clothes now and not just pajamas. I couldn’t even feel that I wore regular clothes, that I actually had something on besides my dirty boxers. I still felt cold. Frozen.
We were herded into another small room and left there. The girls kept huddling together. I sat down, hugging my knees to my chest. A few tears squeezed out, dripping onto my pants. More time passed and finally Booker sat up.
“What the hell happened?”
He looked normal again, his usual tired self. I guess all the blood loss he suffered from the shots meant losing whatever my blood had given him. It had all been for nothing. I crawled over to sit next to him. “They took us somewhere. I d-don’t know where. They shot Sam, they shot Sam right in the stomach, I th-think he’s d-dead.”
There weren’t any windows in the room, no way of telling how much time passed before the door opened again. None of us even bothered to try and run or fight.
“So.” A man wearing fancy looking clothes strode into the room, flanked by a couple of guys with guns. “This is them.”
“Yes sir, the three that you felt would be best,” replied one of the guards. “And the one you wanted.”
The horrible looking man gave us a nasty smile. “Good. We may have lost everyone else but at least we still have these… er… kids.” He turned around, bravely–or stupidly–putting his back to us. I guess he trusted we’d be shot before we could try anything, not that any of us did. “We will make the announcement and inform the monster community to cease their attack on our main base. If they fail to obey, one of these will die.” Then he faced us again. “Who are they exactly? My little friend didn’t really give much of an explanation to me except for… the one.”
“That one is the daughter of the alpha and probable heir of one of the biggest wolf clans.” One of the guys indicated the werewolf girl. “And that one is the granddaughter and probable heir to the leader of one of the biggest elf groups. That guy is the definite heir to one of the oldest and richest vampire clans. And that one is Zaid Danevbie’s kid.” Fear spiked down through my body. “The most notable of all the kids that didn’t escape. The best hostages of who we had left.”
“Werewolves are nothing but monstrous dogs that deserve to be put down.” He walked back and forth in front of us. “Elves are worthless hippies who think they’re better than everyone else. Vampires? You murder innocents just to sustain your own, disgusting lives. And you.” He stopped in front of me. “Son of the infamous martyr. The man who died to save the supernatural world.” He bent forward, eyes flashing. “Yet how many people did he murder? Nothing but a pitiful wimp, if you ask me. I’ve never understood why society find dead people to be heroes. He couldn’t even save himself.”
“He died for mortals too,” I said, somehow managing to dredge up some courage. “Humans. Normal, non-magic people.”
The guy’s hand lashed out, slapping my face. “You’ll be the first. How perfect. The martyr’s child first up for slaughter.” He spun back around. “Inform the monsters that if they don’t stop then we will kill the Danevbie kid. And if they don’t heed our demands we will kill him, and the others. We will get them to fall beneath our boots one way or another.”
We had no idea what might be going on outside the room. All we knew was that it had to be the middle of the night, maybe even close to dawn. The others slept, I couldn’t. I just sat uncomfortably on a chair and tried to drive the image of Sam from my mind. Please let him be okay, please, please.
Eventually my mind wandered to my father. I wondered what he would do if he were in this situation. Watcher. I realized with a stab of pain that he had seen his elf lover die before him and now I might have seen my elf best friend die. He would have fought, he did fight. How come I never learned to fight? My father had been a famous black belt sim fu master! And here I was, his son, hardly able to even punch through a paper bag. He was brave, I didn’t even try to fight at all. I freaking peed my pants. If Sam had died it was trying to protect me.
Totally pathetic, total failure. I was the pitiful wimp.
“Apollo?” Booker sat down next to me. He sounded very awake for someone who had been sleeping for quite a while. “I don’t know if they’ll kill us. If they do, they’ll have no leverage. And they’ll enrage some of the most powerful, influential families in our world.” His voice grew sharper, his eyes brighter. I realized he hadn’t lost all the power from blood. “When that villain-looking guy comes back in I am going for him. I’ll take him as my hostage. You three will need to stay behind me so they can’t shoot you. All right?”
“Yeah. Sounds–sounds good.” I tried not to betray my depression. How defeated I felt. “You still feel strong right? From earlier?”
“Oh. Oh yes.” He drew in a deep breath. “Going back to bottled blood is going to do hard. You taste delicious.”
“I’ll, uh, take that as a compliment.”
After the girls woke up Booker told them the plan. Then all we had to do was wait.
Of course things didn’t go as planned. When did it ever? Yasmyn (the elf) and I were brought food but only the guards were there, the villain didn’t show. We ate our food and offered to share with Lilibet (the werewolf) but she just shook her head, insisting she’d rather we have strength and that she felt fine. Booker paced around, giving little growls, and occasionally staring at my wrist. The bite mark had healed up very well though I still had two small, faint bumps. They still itched.
At least we had a small bathroom this time and not just hay. Okay so it was just a tiny cramped room, barely enough space for the toilet and sink, and if someone was in there they couldn’t entirely shut the door… but yeah–miles better than the hay.
“Just warning you, if they kill me, my family won’t care about trying to preserve your lives, they’ll just kill,” Lilibet said after a while.
“Same with my parents,” Booker said, still pacing.
Yasmyn and I exchanged looks and shrugged. I understood that because of my father I was some sort of important figure in the supernatural community but I didn’t have the ‘powerful family’ to get revenge. Maybe Uncle Max and Uncle Royce? Except they didn’t have the immortality thing anymore. Not that I really wanted anyone to try and get the revenge that would risk Booker and the girls. It just felt kinda empty that–
Oh. Oh wait, never mind.
“Well, uh, I don’t know if he would, but uh, my uncle is uh, well alpha, of a werewolf clan?” I screwed my face up. “He might. Try to get the revenge.”
“Who’s your uncle?” Lilibet asked then her eyes went huge. “Wait. Danevbie, duh, oh my Watcher, I didn’t even make that connection. Danevbie-Greyson?”
I nodded. “Yeah, my grandpas took that surname and my one aunt changed her last name to Greyson and my dad changed his to Danevbie. My other aunts and Uncle Vilkas kept the hyphenated name.”
“That makes us related,” Lilibet said. “By marriage. I’m a Lignum.” I just gave her a curious stare. “My aunt is Claire Danevbie-Greyson.”
“Oh. Oh! Aunt Claire. We’re cousins then.”
Lilibet and I just stared at one another then she gave a weird laugh and hugged me tightly. I began laughing too. How freaky was this? I had a cousin-by-marriage at the school all this time and now we only found out because we were both deemed important enough by some crazy asshole to be hostages.
“So, the Niveum clan is gonna want to protect you too,” I said.
Lilibet shrugged. “Aunt Claire gave up her clan when she married, she’s really technically a Niveus now and not a Lignum.”
“I doubt that’d stop Uncle Vilkas.”
We began talking a bit and she told me some about being an heir to a werewolf clan. During this talk the door swung open so hard it banged into the wall. Guards came in, guns and silver swords raised. One gun pointed at me and the guard demanded I come with him. Now.
Booker did the leap-through-the-air thing and slammed into the nearest guard. Lilibet, Yasmyn, and I didn’t even wait. We rushed the guards. I took the one with a silver sword, hoping for the best. The sword flashed through the air and I ducked down, ramming into his middle, making sure my shoulder slammed into his nuts. He gave a pathetic sounding cry and nearly went down. In his confusion I took the sword but dropped it; it was so heavy. We both made a grab for it and he won, since someone seized my shoulder. Another guard yanked me out of the room and threw me into the far wall. I hit the wood painfully just as gunshots began ringing out in the room behind me. I didn’t hear any screams of pain so I assumed that none of my friends had been hit.
“Shit,” the guard with me hissed out. He took hold of my arm and began dragging me down the hall. “Stupid move, they’ll all be killed.”
“They are innocent kids!” I protested.
“Monsters, they’re all monsters.” Suddenly the guy stopped and gave me a look. “But you’re not. I heard them. You’re just like us, a regular human. Why go to that monster den? You’re just–human.”
I took a few seconds to think about what to say. “If I’m just human,” I said carefully, “why are you clutching that gun?”
He swallowed then shoved me forward. “I just don’t get it.”
“I’m a hostage because my father died to save both supernaturals and mortals. Basically your boss is saying I’m a target because my father died to ensure he and you and all your violent friends are alive right now.”
I could feel his hand shaking. Maybe I could convince him to let me go. “I’m just a kid. I can’t fight. You saw me in there, I just threw myself at someone as self defense. I don’t know how to fight. I can’t control magic.” I made sure to frame my sentences so they didn’t come out as technical lies. “I can’t turn into anything, I’m definitely not immortal. Look.” I pushed my hair back and he jerked at my movement. “I don’t have pointed ears. I’m just a kid and your boss hates me because of my father, because he saved supernaturals as well as mortals. Do you have any kids?”
“There was a woman who wanted to destroy almost all the world. Most the supernatural communities and all the human communities. My father died killing her. She would have killed you, your parents.”
“My father died saving you and now you’re taking me to be killed.”
The guy slapped me hard, sending a ringing noise through my ears. I had gone too far. Or so I thought. He gave a tiny cry of despair and then opened a nearby window.
“Get the fuck out, just go. Get out of here!”
But before I could even react someone down the hall screamed. One of the girls. I hesitated and in that second, two seconds, three seconds, another door opened and the Big Boss came out.
“There he is. Thank you for bringing him.” The villain took me and pushed me along. The guard gave me another look. The villain shut the door behind us.
We were now in an office. The villain pushed me into a seat then stood in front of me, arms crossed, face twisted into a scowl. I just kept my eyes on his, waiting.
Finally he said, “You’re causing me a lot of grief.”
“I’m causing you grief?!” I began laughing kinda insanely. “You murdered my best friend and yet I’m causing you grief.”
“Monsters should die.”
“Then how about you keel over right now?”
“You’re a feisty one aren’t you.” He leaned forward to put his hands on the armrests of my chair, his face inches from mine. “You’re not one of them. Yet, you’re the best hostage since your death will hurt the most of the community.”
I knew pleading about my father wouldn’t work on him. “Well, the thing is, I am one of them. I’m a psychic. I’ve seen the future, and guess what?” I dropped my voice to a hopefully threatening whisper. “I’m in it.”
He backed up, one eyebrow raised. Then slowly he began smirking. “I know. I meant you’re not one of the… big monsters. My spy told me. My spy told me quite a lot. When he told me about you…”
“Oh. Yes. How do you think we got there so easily? A spy. That I intend to kill, since all monsters need to die. Unfortunately I needed to work with one for a short while in order to get the school in my hands…” He pulled a knife from his desk and raised it up. “You see, my warnings were not heeded. My base has been taken over. Many of my people are captured. And from what I understand many monsters are on their way here.” He walked over to me, the metal flashing a bit as he moved. “I think plunging a knife into you will send the best message.” The tip grazed my forehead. “Should I try to pierce your skull?” He slid the knife tip down my face, grazing against my neck. “Slice open your throat?”
I tried not to wriggle. My balls felt like they were trying to migrate up through my body and I knew if I hadn’t peed not long ago I’d probably be pissing myself again.
“Or… yes.” The knife rested over my heart. “I know just where to dig it in through your rib cage and burst into your heart.” He pressed the knife and it pushed through the fabric of my shirt. I could feel the sharp tip against my skin. “I want to burn your world, crush every last bug beneath my boot. This world is too lenient, allowing monsters to walk beside humans. Monsters,” he whispered, almost as a caress in my ear. “I want to crush you.”
He put a little more weight behind the knife. “I want to kill you. I’ve wanted to kill you for a long time.” The knife slid and left a thin scratch. “As soon as my spy told me about you… I knew that we had to attack the school. All the big fighting going on gave us a perfect excuse. And now I have you here.” The knife dug deeper. “Your father killed my family. I’ve been wanting revenge for a very long time.”
“Wh–what are you talking about?” I asked, trying not to breathe heavily, trying to keep my chest from rising against the knife.
“Uncle Carl. Aunt Lorinda. Cousin Maisy. Your father murdered them all in cold blood. And nobody even knew, their deaths were chalked up as a suicide pact. I saw them… I went to their house. I was twelve. I walked in and saw the gore…” The knife followed along the scratch, making the wound a bit deeper. “Hacked. Sliced. Just like I am going to do to you. All my life… and now I’ve got that monster’s child under my blade. My cousin was fifteen. Fifteen! And your father just… killed her… for no reason…”
“P–please I don’t know what you’re t-talking about!”
“Maisy told me, she told me.” His eyes darkened. “‘Zaid Danevbie-Greyson is coming over tonight and then everything will be better’, she told me when I called that day. And look what happened. Dead, they were all killed. I’ve vowed revenge since. Revenge on the supernatural world, and revenge on that… bastard.”
I gasped as the knife pressed harder against me. “My f-father is dead, this isn’t revenge, this is–this is just–craziness–“
“I’M NOT CRAZY!” he yelled and I flinched back. “ZAID DANEVBIE MURDERED THEM! And now I will murder you.”
The sound of the door opening, hard, like someone burst through. The asshole jerked back and left another scratch against my skin. “How did you get in here?”
I twisted in my seat–having the freedom to do so now–and stared in shock at my dad, holding a gun.
“Let him go right now,” my father said, his voice scarier than ever before. “I will fucking shoot you.”
The asshole gave a breathy laugh and held his hands up. “No need for that. Obviously you’re a regular human, otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to get past the barriers we had set up around this place. I’m sure we can talk this out. The likelihood of you becoming a victim of these monsters are very high, did you know that?”
Dad walked forward until he stood in front of me. “Drop the knife.”
“I’m not sure why you’re so upset.”
“Drop the knife.”
He shrugged and set the knife down on the desk. “There, see? Now, we can discuss–“
Whatever he wanted to discuss, he didn’t get to say. Dad dropped his gun and punched the asshole right in the face. I heard a crunchy sound and the asshole went down, gasping for air. Dad kicked him hard in the stomach then bent down, grabbing him by the hair to jerk his head upward.
“Nothing to discuss when you’re holding my son at knife point.” Dad slammed the guy’s head down so it cracked against the floor, and the guy slumped down. “Fucking hell.”
I flew out of my chair and Dad caught me, hugging me in a crushing hug. He began crying. “Apollo, Watcher, you’re okay, are you okay? Oh Watcher, Watcher.”
“He only scratched me, I wasn’t stabbed or shot,” I cried back, burying my face into his neck. “How did you get here? How did you?”
He just cried. His fingers dug into my back and his face pressed against me and he wept more than I ever saw him cry before.
“Noah, did you–Apollo!” I heard Uncle Max’s voice and then Uncle Vilkas’s voice shouting orders down the hall. There were more voices, so many people shouting and talking. Police sirens outside.
Dad just kept held me and continued sobbing.