The Gates, Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Luciano

I was a member of the Lucii. It was pronounced Lucy-eye.  It was pronounced like that for a reason. In Latin the term Luc meant Illumination. Just like in Lucifer, the son of the morning. The name Lucifer meant Morningstar.  He was the bringer of light when he was an angel.

The eye refers to the All seeing eye. My house was the Illumination of the eye. The eye goes back to the Garden of Eden In the Bible when the serpent deceived Eve, promising she and Adam would become “as gods” for disobeying God. When they ate the forbidden fruit, the eye of their understanding was opened concerning good and evil. They became “as gods” in the sense of now being able to make their own decisions concerning good and evil. What the serpent DIDN’T tell Eve was that there are severe consequences for choosing evil.

luc-y-eye: the light and the eye.

It was Lucifer himself that coined the idea of the “All-Seeing Eye when he spoke to Eve.

Genesis 3:5, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

The sign had always been there. The Luc. We were the Illumination of the Eye.

Lucifer had been defeated but not destroyed. He had only retreated. The conqueror Lafayette had won the battle but not the war.

I tell him the truth and it’s tough. I’m running my fingers through his fur.  It gets stiff though.  The soft, comforting eyes of the small werewolf turn almost frightened.  I should expect it.  It’s not every day you tell someone that you are the descendant of the devil himself.

“Please don’t run,” I state, “I can’t take it if you run.”

I feel so alone.  It’s unlike me to feel so fucking weak.   I was always poised and dignified.  I was raised to be that way.  Why did Rory have to show up now of all times?  I had specifically made sure no one was out and made my way out of my family’s estate and into Eden to the private pond that belonged to my family as well to cry.  I did it specifically so no one would see me.  Yet somehow Rory found his way towards me.  It was almost as though it was fate or something.

He doesn’t run.  Rory changes.  He changes back to a human.  Seeing him become a human is always remarkable.  He sheds his fur.  His muzzle becomes a soft, warm looking mouth.  His dark eyes become the beautiful innocent looking eyes I remember.   I stare at his small frame and I just want to pull him back into my arms with every part of me but he seems…afraid.

He turns.  He still looks like he wants to run.

“Say something,” I say to Rory.

I know he’s always been shy.  He’s always been quiet.  Maybe that’s why I liked him all this time.  Maybe that’s what has always kept me wanting to keep him near.  I need him to say something though.  Anything would do.

“Lucifer was that man that appeared at Aiden’s meeting?” he asks me.

I nod.

“Yes.”

“You’re related to him?”

“Yes.”

“Good god.”

He’s in shock.  I know he is.  I try to take a step forward.  He takes a step back at that moment.  I feel like shit.

“You can’t tell anyone,” I state, “You hear me?  No one. Rory, this is the biggest secret ever.  I was just told not too long ago.  It’s still emotional for me knowing exactly who I am.  Tonight is a ceremony.  A ceremony where I will be given his mark.”

“His mark?”

“The mark of the beast.  The 666,” I explain.

Rory looks disgusted, “You can’t do that.”

Rory didn’t get it.  I didn’t have a choice.

“You don’t understand.  This is who I am.  This is who I’ve always been.”

“You have a choice.”

Choice.   Hearing those words was something that I don’t really recall.  In my family, it was always about Pedigree.  It was always about tradition.  The Lucii had always put ourselves above everyone else and I never understood why until just a week ago the Patriarch Lucius came up to me and said that he felt like I was prepared.   He felt like I now had what it take to be a true Lucii man and he told me the story of Lucifer.  He told me how Lucifer fell in love with a vampire woman and the first Lucii man was born.

“If I had the choice, I would stay with you,” I explain to him, “If I had a choice I would take you away from here.  But the thing is I don’t.  You hear those bells?  Those bells are letting me know that my ceremony is about to start.  And I am going to wear the sign of the beast.”

“Please…wait…Luciano!”

It’s too late.

I walk away.  It starts off as a run at least but then it turns into me breaking out into an all-out run.  I have to run to get away from him.  It’s the only way I can do it.  It’s the only way I can manage to get away from Rory.  Tears are streaming down my face.

There was no such thing as choice in my world.

~

“You’re late.”

My great, great grandfather Lucius meets me in the foyer where several of our servants shuffle around me almost immediately making a fuss.  As they do it I feel like a doll in a dollhouse with elaborate trim and bright colors, and a tilted roof. This mansion was a classic Victorian mansion which was a perfect replication of the one Lucius used to live in during the period between 1830 and 1910, during the reign of Queen Victoria. The house is large and rather imposing.  Most purebred vampires were sent outside of Eden for training in the human world until their teens or early 20s when they returned to Eden and given the immortal gift.  That wasn’t the case for the Lucii.  Lucii men were raised in Eden.  I remember running around these same halls and being confused on why the decorative trim was called gingerbread when it looked nothing like something I would want to eat.  I was told it’s because it was all as beautiful as a fairytale.  The stone exterior is beautiful and the complicated, asymmetrical shape lets you know the architect took his time.  It was only the best for the Lucii.

“I was just getting some air.”

“Hurry to your room and change.  Lucretia will assist you.”

“Lucretia.”

All of a sudden I’m excited.  Lucius could care less about my excitement, “She’s woken up from her Slumber.   You have 15 minutes to get to the ceremonial halls.”

I don’t waste the 15 minutes.  I’m so excited to see Lucretia.   When I open the door I see her standing there.  Lucretia is the only female Lucii.   There were just no other women except through marriage. I didn’t know why personally.   Did something happen to the female Lucii women or were we just cursed never to produce any females?

Lucretia wasn’t a true Lucii…not in the way I was.   She was the first…even before Lucius.

“Just as handsome as always,” she states when I open the door.

She runs into my arms.  Lucretia is pretty.  Her beautiful blonde hair folds like waves all the way down her back.  Her cheeks are this beautiful shade of pink.   I knew her history.  When she was a mortal, she was a noblewoman in ancient Rome whose rape by an Etruscan king’s son, was the cause of a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy and led to the transition of Roman government from a kingdom to a republic.  She was the reason behind the greatest republic the world had ever known.  Most had thought she was killed but she was made immortal instead.

“I had no idea you would be awake.”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world.  Are you nervous?”

“Frightened.”

“Then you know…the truth?”

I nod, “Lucius told me.”

Lucretia pauses, “Sit.”

She walks over to the chair in my bedroom and pushes it forward so that I can sit in it.  Lucretia is so much older than me but out of everyone she treats me with the most respect at times.   She normally treats me more like I’m a friend than a descendent.  Her sweetness is so much different from the cold nature of the Lucii men.

“He’s back.  I guess after he was defeated by Lafayette, he decided to come here…” I state.

We both knew who I was talking about.

“He’s not all that bad.”

“He’s the devil.  Literally, Lucretia.”

Lucretia laughs at the thought, “Lucifer was charming when I met him.  We fell in love.  He is the devil.  There is no doubt about that.  But Lucifer always knew his place.  This new devil.  This…Lafayette.  There will be no limits to his reach.   If we allow him to pass…there will be nothing left.  Nothing.”

Lucretia has more knowledge than I ever knew.  She was the vampire woman who had started my the Lucii lineage by having sex with Lucifer.  When she took his mark, she took his name as well becoming Lucretia.

“Do you still…love him?” I ask.

“I was never any comparison for to the others he loved, not even Lilith.   But look what happened.  She ended up betraying him and marrying Lafayette.  This war that Lucifer is fighting is more than just a war.  This is personal.  And tonight you will be given the power to help him take back hell.  Once and for all.”

This was for balance.  This was for the Lucii.

The Lucii has one goal. To serve Lucifer and regain the throne of hell no matter what.  A part of me always knew there was a dark side to my family.  All the whispers in the darkness in the middle of the night meant something.  The scheming and the betrayals throughout our history was all just a sign.   I never understood the motive.  I never understood it until now.

There was a reason that they brought Lucretia out of the vampire slumber.  Lucretia was an old noble serving under the Vampire King Arie himself.  She had gone into her eternal sleep with some of the other really old ones like Countess Livia and Count Ortero.   It was a sleep where vampires just got tired of living and decided to sleep the centuries away.  It was a rare one of the old ones were disturbed.  It had to be important.

She was here for a reason.

“I’m ready,” I tell her.

I try to sound confident and thankfully my voice doesn’t shake.  I was ready.

~

I’m taken to the room at that moment.  I’m in a black robe.  It’s Lucretia herself that walks me into the room.  When I enter the dark dungeon like hall I see the other Lucii men all wearing robes.  They all have a candle in their hand.

There is only one person who seems to break the cold stoic stare that the others have.  It’s Lucius.  A smile spreads across his face.  Was he pleased?  Was he feeling relieved than me…the troublesome Lucii man wasn’t causing any more trouble and had decided to come along willingly into the fold.

“Forward,” Lucretia states.

I take a few steps into the row of Lucii men.  That’s when I see him.  He is standing there at the front of the room.  My ancestor.

Lucifer.

He has a handsome chiseled face.  His eyes are somewhat easy to look at.  Lucretia was right.  He was charming looking.  He was beautiful.  We looked similar but then again all Lucii men looked somewhat similar.  His nose is more pointed than mine.   His torso is slightly more lean than mine.   He opens up his robe and I see a falling star tattooed across his chest.  It’s not tattooed with ink.  No.  This is more like a carving that has been cut into his chest.

“Luciano of the Lucii,” he states, “Have you come here to be given the sign of the beast?  Have you come here to swear your allegiance to me?  Have you come here to be a true member of House Lucii…the eternal house.”

I’m afraid.  My heart is beating.

“Yes.”

All of a sudden I hear whispers amongst the Lucii men.  They are inserting the names.  There is a wild ceremonial chant that fills the room.

“Satan.  Satan.  Satan.  Satan.”

Lucifer raises his hand.  His nude body is over me.

“Open your mouth and receive the sign of the beast,” he tells me.

I open my mouth.  That’s when he shoves his manhood in me.  The others watch chanting as he long dick gets hard in my mouth.  He moves it back and forth and I have no choice but to sit there and take it as he begins to fuck my mouth.  I take his dick to the back of my esophagus.  I take his essence into me.

The chanting gets louder.  He fucks me harder!

“Lightbringer…”

“Prince of the East”

I’m shocked at this moment.  I can’t breathe as his long dick hits parts of my throat that I don’t think it should be going down.  I fall on my back and he continues to mount my face.  All around me I see the Lucii men crowd around.  They are all jacking their dicks at that moment.

“The Adversary…”

“Mephistopheles.”

One after another they begin to shoot their loads.  They shoot their load all over my chest.

“Prince of Darkness.”

I look up at Lucifer gagging as my entire body is covered in cum.  He’s fucking my mouth.  His eyes have become red.  I turn at that moment and notice the other naked Lucii.  They have gotten wings.  I can see it even more clearly as Lucretia herself is naked before me.  She pours her own juices on me, squirting so hard that it blinds me in my eye.   These are not angel wings.  These are bat wings.

“Morningstar…”

“Lucifer, son of the morning.”

All of a sudden our blonde hair makes sense.  We were sons of the morning.  Our golden hair reflected that.   This was who we were.

Lucretia shrieks high above everyone else, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!  O Morning Star!  O Star of the Dawn!”

And through her shrieks, I hear a deep moan.

And I feel his cum fill my mouth.  It feels me whole and I swallow it.  I swallow every part of him.  I take him deep inside of me.  I am filled with his essence.

I come up from under him.  I’m covered in semen of my ancestors and I have Lucifer’s seed himself buried deep in my stomach after I swallowed.  I feel different almost immediately.  It’s a burning feeling.  My back aches.  It feels like something is ripping out of my back.  And that’s when I feel it.

I feel the tear.

And I stand there with bat wings.

I realize at that moment what I am.  I am Lucius of the Lucii.  A Son of the Morning.

~

To say I feel different the next day is an understatement.  I’m in the gym in the middle of Eden.  It was a small gym that Aiden has prepared for us to ‘prepare’ for the demons of Lafayette.  Something was coming and Aiden wanted to make sure that we knew everything that there was as far as working together.

I’m punching a punching bag when I realize just how different I am.  As I hit it, my fist goes damn near through the punching bag without barely even touching it.  I pull back my fist and watch as sand pours out.

“Holy shit,” I hear Pietro state.

He’s not the only one who notices.  Pietro is training with the witch Mickson on the other side of the training floor.  He’s teaching Mickson how to punch.  When they see me shatter the bag of sand they both stop what they are doing and are watching me.

“Luciano.  Come here,” a voice summons from the other side of the gym.

The Lucii are there.  Even though Aiden instructed us to train, the other members of my family haven’t even changed into gym clothes.  They are still wearing their uptight uniform and gathered around the water found having light conversation.  It’s Lucius himself who calls me over.  I walk over reluctantly.

Lucan and Lucitus are the closest to my age.   They barely ever leave the shadow of Lucius.  Most of the Lucii don’t but these ones were so far up his ass that they had real estate in his prostate.  Every time Lucius looks at me as he was looking at me now I expected him to ask why I’m not more like Lucan or Lucitus.   Lucan, for instance, was so close to my age and had managed to arrange a monopoly on the blood supply for vampires in Eden.  Lucan was my peer and I hadn’t accomplished anything of that matter.   That’s not saying much that he’s near my age because I believe Lucan is at least three decades older than I am.   That doesn’t stop me from being the laughing stock. They both seem highly amused by the reaction to my newfound strength.

“You trying to impress the sexy witchdoctor?” Lucitus asks raising an eyebrow.

He’s looking over at Mickson who is training with Pietro.  I hadn’t even thought about Mickson in that way.  Besides, it seemed like there was some major chemistry between him and Pietro.  If we were all going to work on the same team, the last thing I needed was some drama with a guy who I was trusting with my life.

Lucan, who was the favorite of Lucius tosses his long blond hair out of his eyes and over his shoulder before sneering, “Come on Lucitus.  You know Luciano prefers to roll around in wolf shit…”

“You want to say that again?” I ask.

I grab Lucan by his collar.  Any other person would probably be offended by how I grab them but Lucan just smirks as though highly amused by this.  Maybe he knows that Lucius is going to tap me on my shoulder and pull me back.

“Leave him,” Lucius orders me, “You’ve been around these lowlife beasts too long.  Lucii doesn’t fight amongst ourselves.  Luciano.  You need to control your anger.  Even more…you need to control your new strength.”

He is referring to the bag of sand nearby.

“I didn’t know I could do that,” I admit.

I don’t know whether to be excited or scared.

“If you let the demon out there is little you can’t do,” Lucius states, “But now isn’t the time.  Moving forward you are forbidden to show brute strength until I let you know.”

“But—”

“Lucius gave an order,” Lucan grunts.

I shut up.  It’s not because of Lucan.  It’s because I don’t want to be any more disrespectful.

“You didn’t tell anyone about your newfound identity, did you?” Lucius asks me.

“Of course not.”

Lucius looks at me.  It causes Lucan and Lucitus to sneer amongst themselves when I feel the heaviness of Lucius on top of me.  Lucius was the kind that just poured wealth.  Most of the noble families in Eden were billionaires by human standards.  They had centuries to grow their wealth.  Lucius was the richest.  He’d spent centuries being a businessman and making deals.  He could sense a bluff a mile away.

Maybe that’s why his eyes get deep and his tone gets cynical, “Luciano…have you spoken to your Mongrel?”

“My mongrel.”

“He’s talking about the dog Luciano,” Lucan states, “You know damn well who he’s referring to.  We won’t degrade ourselves to speak its name.”

I didn’t know to say someone’s name was degrading yourself.  Then again these were the fucking Lucii.  It piss me off that they are talking about Rory like this.  Rory did nothing to them.  Rory literally was the sweetest person I ever knew in my entire fucking life but you would think he had cursed our entire family by the way they talk down to him.  It was just because he was a werewolf.   They didn’t have an issue in the past when werewolves benefited them but I knew deep inside my family hated everyone that was not us.

Just at that moment as though he knew we were talking about him, Rory enters the room.  He looks a little down.  I can’t help but see how upset he looks.  He is alone.  Usually, he’s with Yuma but Yuma is nowhere to be found.

I can’t help but to literally want to take a step towards him to see if he’s OK.   I stop when I realize that Lucius is studying me.  This entire time he’s studying me.

“You shouldn’t have done that…” Lucius states.

“Wait…Lucius.”

“You shouldn’t have done that…”

~

“Spend as much time training as you can,” General Aiden announces towards the end of the day, “The demons will be no joke.  Go home for the night though.  Go home and be back tomorrow.  Tomorrow your training gets harder.”

It had to be serious the way that Aiden was talking.  I knew that he was preparing us all for something but what?  The Elite team nods.  The Lucii family members walk away.  My eyes are following none other than Lucius.  The way he had spoken earlier makes me feel a little awkward, to say the least.  I follow my family out the front door but before they head towards the individual horse-drawn carriages I sneak off to find Rory.

“You’re a hard guy to track down.”

It takes me almost an hour to find Rory.  He’s in the slums of Eden.  We didn’t always have slums, not until the werewolves moved into the city.  They brought with them a lot of crime.  The crime was never a big thing in Eden but now it seemed to be huge.  Maybe it was because people were scared of the demons and giving up or maybe it was just because everyone was in a lot closer quarters with no room to expand.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

“I had to check up on you.  My family may…or may not suspect I told you about our little secret.  Knowing them I had to check up on you and make sure you were safe.”

“You shouldn’t be around here…” he states.

“Why are you standing outside?” I ask.

It seems like he’s spying on someone.  I hear two people screaming in the house that he’s standing next to.  They are definitely getting into a heated argument.  I watch as things are being thrown around at that moment.  That’s when I see someone come out of the house.

As soon as the guy walks outside of the house, Rory grabs me and pulls me back around the corner so that the guy can’t see us.  When he does, he whispers to me, “It’s Yuma’s lover…Basil.”

That is even more clear when Yuma runs out after Basil.

“You cheating piece of shit.  Don’t run now!”  Yuma is screaming, “I hate you.  I swear to god I fucking HATE YOUR GUTS!”

“You don’t mean it.  I’m going to give you a chance to calm down and we can discuss this later,” Basil responds.

Basil is trying to calm his lover down but Yuma is furious.  I didn’t know much about werewolf culture but I knew enough to know that usually, the smaller wolf didn’t really fuck with the bigger wolf.  Wolves didn’t seem like complicated creatures.  With vampires, it was all about pedigree and age.  That was where the respect came.  With werewolves usually the big guy got the respect.  That didn’t seem to be the case right now.

“If you leave right now you better stay gone?  You hear me?  You better fucking stay gone!  I fucking hate you!  I should have fucked Walid.”

Yuma was all emotion and outrage.  He throws something else at Basil.  Basil dodges it and I see Basil rip off his clothes.  There is all this rage.  The street is full of werewolves and I swear I think they are making a scene but then again this is werewolf country so arguments like this happen all the time.

I’m not surprised when Basil roars out a passionate, “FUCK YOU!  I hate YOU too!”

It’s all passion.  It’s all pain.   I watch Basil turn into a werewolf right there in the middle of the street.   Of course, we are in the werewolf district so no one blinks twice about the naked guy turning into a wolf in the middle of the street or even seem to bother caring about the loud, angry arguing that seems to be heard blocks away.

I watch Rory as he watches Yuma.  Yuma goes back into the house and he’s all tears.  I look at Rory’s face and I can tell that he has this deep guilt in his eyes.

I can’t help but laugh, “They are going to have some amazing makeup sex.”

The passion in that relationship was real, to say the least.  I laugh and expect Rory to laugh as well but that doesn’t happen.  Rory seems to be just as emotionally invested in the argument between the couple as they were.  For some reason, he was taking this really personal.

“They’re arguing over me,” he states, “They took me in when I ran away from Rhinegold.  After the demons attacked I was scared Rhinegold would come looking for me.  So I hid out with them.  I knew Rhinegold wouldn’t come to another Alpha’s home.  I was so grateful to Basil…but I made a mistake.”

When he admits it, he bends over as though the idea was making his stomach hurt or something.  I don’t know what to do to comfort him so I rub on his back.   I can tell something is on his mind and I want to give him the chance to explain the kiss without probing but he seems to not want to.  He walks about two blocks away from Yuma’s house before stopping finally to just think about the arguing he caused.

“So is that your type?” I ask.

“Who?  Basil?”

“Yeah…”

“He’s amazing, but no.  It’s not that I want Basil.  Not in the way you’re thinking.  I just want the idea of Basil.  I want what Yuma has.”

“An Alpha?” I ask.

I was taking a wild guess with even using the term.  When he looks at me I can tell that I got it completely wrong.   I knew five languages, I had eight Masters degrees and I could play ten instruments but werewolves were not my forte.  And that was just weird because I ended up being crazy about a werewolf.

“No.  I want that kind of love,” he explains.

Hearing Rory say that makes my heart melt.  We get quiet.  Real Quiet.    The fact that he was jealous about the love that someone else had when I was standing right here just didn’t make sense.  None of this made sense.

“What’s stopping you?” I ask.

“Where would I find it?”

“Maybe it’s right in front of your eyes.”

I don’t know how to be any more obvious.

“Oh please.”

It hurts when he dismisses me.  It hurts because every part of me just wants to pour my heart out to him.  If he wanted what Basil and Yuma had he could easily have that.  He could have something that meant everything to both of us.

“From the first moment I met you, I knew that you were special,” I explain, “I knew you were the type of person that…”

Just then as we’re talking something disturbs us.

“You.”

We both turn at that moment and we see a figure standing there.  I turn and see someone from his past.   I watch as Rory hits the floor.  He hits the floor hard.  I am not expecting it.   It’s as though his knees give out.  I know why as well.  Right across from us is someone standing there that I don’t expect.  Someone that has him shook.

“Rhinegold…” his voice grunts.

Rory’s ex is standing there across from us.  He looks the same that I remember from all that time ago.  I wonder where he’d been all this time.  He has this look in his eyes when he sees us together.  I think it’s jealousy.  No, I’m certain it’s jealousy.  He looks angry.  The large overpowering figure just stares at Rory and Rory seems to not really be aware of it.

“How’d you find him?”

“One of your people…” Rhinegold responds smiling.

My people.  Lucius.  Lucius tracked Rhinegold down and told him that Rory had been hanging around Yuma.  He had done that specifically to have Rhinegold go after him.  And now Rhinegold was here.  Rhinegold has this sick look on his face at that moment too.  It’s the look of a man who clearly has a bone to pick.

“I won’t let you close to him,” I state.

“What could you possibly do to stop me?” Rhinegold challenges me.

I watch as Rhinegold starts laughing.  Within his laughing, he begins to change.  Fur sprouts all over his body into a long matte black coat.   His small hands change next. So bones begin to snap, lengthen, and pop through the skin and back into place. They are replaced with the large, hairy, dangerously clawed hands of a beast.  His jaw dislodges to make room for a massive, deadly grill.  The yellow, glowing orbs of a predator radiate from his eye sockets and the pupils dilate like a wolf’s. The eyes are now stripped of all humanity and replaced with the eyes of a hunter.

“Run! You can’t defeat him,” Rory states.

I want to stand.  I want to fight.  I had something in me too.  Something that I could fight against.  I don’t get the chance though because Rory grabs my hand.  There is a frantic look in his eyes.

We barely get anywhere near him when I feel Rhinegold jump onto my back.  He begins to dig into my back hard.  The pain is excruciating as his claws almost rip out chunks of flesh from my backside.  He starts tearing harder and harder into me.  I elbow him in the back of the neck trying to shake his attack but that doesn’t matter!

Rhinegold is relentless!

He comes at me again.  This time harder.  This time fiercer.   Just when he is about to maul me with his flesh tearing fangs I see a smaller figure headbutt him.  I turn and realize that it’s none other than Rory’s wolf.

Rory managed to block the attack.  He is trying to protect me!  In return, I watch as Rhinegold’s large wolf grabs Rory by the neck and flings him across the alley slamming him into some nearby garbage pale.

Rory and I look at one another.

Our eyes grimace.

“You’ll regret that,” I promise Rhinegold.

I didn’t care what he did to me, but the fact that he attacked Rory was another thing.  I’d make sure he paid for that if that was the last thing I did.

He wasn’t the only one who could change.  He doesn’t realize that as he walks closer to me.  He’s taking his time as though I was the fucking prey.  That’s not what was going to happen.  I realize just at that moment that my back is contorting.  My back is changing.

I roar in pain causing Rhinegold to slow to a stop.

That’s when I scream out!

“ARGH!”

My body is changing.  In a matter of seconds, I can feel the wings coming out of my back.  I think that he can see it too.  Rhinegold looks at me with those yellow eyes and he looks like he realizes I’m something…different.  He realizes that I’m something that he’s never quite seen before.

Bat wings are growing out of my back.

Then there is barking.

It’s Rory.

He’s trying to warn me of something.  Just as there is barking I see gunshots at that moment.  The gunshots break out near us and they are scaring off Rhinegold who takes off within a matter of seconds.  I roll over just in time when I realize that backup has appeared in the distance.

Rory warns me just in time when we see the Elite Guard.   At first, I think they are normal patrols but then I see Aiden himself running down the street.  Behind him are Pietro and Mickson close by.

The gunshots scare Rhinegold off who disappears into the darkness as quickly as he came.

“You boys OK?” Aiden asks.

I look over at Rory.  He makes his way over to me and the dog stops right below my feet.  He was definitely a lot braver than I gave him courage for.  But what if he hadn’t warned me?   What if Aiden had seen what I was changing into?  I needed to be more careful with my identity.  I needed to keep it hidden better.

“I’m not complaining, but what are you guys doing here—-”

“You didn’t know about the distress call?  Isn’t that why you are here?”

“Distress call?”

Rory and I look at one another.  Neither Rory nor I had time to send a distress call.

“It came from Yuma.  We were on his way to his place and heard fighting.  Thought it was related,” Pietro adds in.

We were a few blocks from Yuma’s place.   There was a strange smell in the air.  It’s a smell that I had not realized during the fight with Rhinestone.  I had been far too distracted.

Something didn’t smell right.  I wasn’t a werewolf but when I look at Rory I can tell he notices something as well.

We all look at one another.  That definitely wasn’t the case.  All of a sudden, my mouth gets dry.  It’s Rory who takes off first but I’m following closely behind.  I can feel Rory’s pain.  I literally can almost feel his fear.

We get to Yuma’s house.  There is blood.  Blood everywhere outside.

Everyone on the block had been slaughtered.  Everyone.  Not too long ago this block was booming with werewolves.  Now it looked like one big crime scene seconds after the crime had been committed.  The werewolf blood was so fresh!  It was so potent that it stings my fucking nose.   Who could have done this?

No.  The question was more WHAT could have done this?

I see Rory running to Yuma first.  Rory changes back into his human form.  He’s crying.  Who did this?

“INNOCENT!”  Mickson screams off.

There is a boy who is standing there at the end of the block, “This is a warning…” the boy says, “We know about your little resistance group and we don’t like it.”

The boy had a smile on his face.  It’s the most devious smile I’ve ever seen in my life.  When he sees us everything goes black as though there is no light left in the world and when my vision returns the boy is gone.

When he disappears Mickson is halfway down the block as though he knows the boy.  It’s as though he fucking recognized the boy.

“Is he…”  Aiden asks looking down at Rory.

Rory’s tears are the answer as he looks down at Yuma.  All I can think about is how we were going to tell Basil what happened to Yuma.  How the hell were we going to tell Basil that the last words he had said to his lover were that he hated him?

“It’s real…” Mickson states.

Mickson says it in a haunting way.  Everyone else is quiet. Pietro is studying his face looking at his expression.  He is there for Pietro.  Every part of me wishes I could lean over and be there for Rory at that moment but I can’t.  Even when I think of leaning down and putting my hand on him, something stops me.

Nothing I could say could take away the pain he was feeling right now.

“What’s real?” Pietro asks Mickson.

Mickson pulls out a piece of paper, “I thought it was bullshit…but it’s real.  The list.  Yuma was on the death list…”