Genesis had closed the store for a week. Micko was still missing. Mason was still locked up. We spent so much time combing the streets looking for Micko that it was all that I could really think about. It ate up all of our time and slowly I was starting to to give up on Micko. Maybe he wasn’t in Canada anymore. Even though it hurt to think about it maybe Rio did manage to kill him. I hadn’t seen Genesis since our night and I wasn’t sure why. I had bought a cellphone just so that I could contact him but when I text the number he gave me he was really short. I kept wondering if I had done something wrong. I kept wondering if the sex wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Maybe I should have let him nut. The idea was killing me.
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the job. It just felt kind of eerie being there with all of them.
“Good morning Tiana,”
She just looked at me when I walked into the room. Her eyes got wide a little bit. She was acting weird. She didn’t say anything smart specifically but she was just looking at me as if she knew something.
She forced a smile almost trembling when she did it. Where was the smart Tiana comment? She was acting…scared.
“I didn’t tell them anything,” she said.
“I didn’t tell the cops that I saw you walk in with those…people…at the club. I didn’t tell them anything ok. I just want to let you know that.”
She walked away at that moment. She was nervous. I didn’t blame her for being scared. It could have been easy to be scared. Micko was responsible for the death of 15 people and I was associated with him. He was actually a really good friend of mine. Death hadn’t been a big deal to me. I wished a part of me could even understand her fear but I couldn’t. The only thing that mattered was the coven.
I nodded, “I’d hope not…”
I had to admit I felt powerful. I had never really felt powerful but this girl was scared of me. She was terrified for some reason. Maybe it was my threat to her that her hair would fall out if she fucked with me. But I felt powerful.
“I didn’t mean what I said before,” she said shaking her head, “I think you and Genesis would look really good together.”
“You should tell him that,” I said but then changed my tone, “You better…”
She nodded, “Of course. You guys are amazing together I’ll have to let him know.”
“Did Corey call for me?”
“If he does hurry up and let me know. Now where is Genesis.”
“In the back…”
I looked at her for a moment. I was actually having fun with this. How far could I push her.
“I may need you to cover my shift tomorrow. I want to take Genesis out.”
“I have something to do—-”
I ran my fingers through my hair at that moment and all of a sudden she stopped talked talking. Her eyes got wide. It was NO doubt she thought I actually had something to do with the 15 people dying. If only she knew I never really used magic to seriously hurt someone in my life.
“I’m sure you’ll clear your time.”
“Yeah…I…I’ll make time…”
“I thought so.”
I walked away at that moment. Was this how Genesis felt when he used to control people? I could only imagine how it felt. I walked into the backroom and saw Genesis stocking. He looked so sexy as usual. He had on some tight jeans and a fitted vest. I could see his amazing ass sticking out. As I walked up to him I grabbed him from behind, holding him tight and smelling him.
He jumped as I did almost falling into the shelves in front of him.
“Whoa, calm down…it’s just me.”
He looked really shook when he looked back at me. He was breathing heavy and was finding it hard to calm down even when he saw that it was me.
“Don’t do that…”
I was confused, “Are you ok…is it me?”
My insecurities about Genesis were coming out again. I didn’t know what I was thinking just touching him and pretending like we had been dating.
“No of course its not you,” he explained, “I’ve just been through a lot lately with West dying. Then there’s…”
“I think I’m being followed.”
He shrugged, “I’m not sure there was this guy from the club. The pregnant guy I told you about. I think he’s following me.”
Micko. At first I was happy to hear that he was alive! However the happiness seemed to be replaced by something else.
Why the fuck was Micko stalking Genesis? Was he still trying to hurt him?
“No…it’s ok. Mio actually moved in with me for a while.”
He nodded and smiled, “Yeah. He asked me to bail him out of jail and of course I did. He told me he didn’t have a place to stay and he was having some major issues at home. So I decided that I would just have him stay with me.”
“What the fuck Genesis!”
He seemed confused. I didn’t want to blow up but I couldn’t help it. I knew it would have been smart to just deal with this calmly but I was beyond mad. How should I feel? The guy I loved was now having the guy he fucked in the past live with him? I couldn’t shake the feeling. It sent shivers down my spine.
“Why does he have to stay with you?” I asked shaking my head confused at this whole entire thing, “He isn’t your responsibility.”
“I don’t know. I have this strange feeling that he is.”
“You attracted to him?”
I know I was jumping the gun but I couldn’t shake the feeling. I knew that Mason loved Micko or whatever the case is but they had sex in the past. Whether Mason thought it was a huge mistake and Genesis didn’t remember it didn’t matter. They fucked in the past. It still hurt when I remembered how I felt when I walked in on Genesis bent over with Mason behind him.
“I didn’t mean like that,” Genesis stated, “You wouldn’t understand. I just have this feeling of responsibility over him.”
He was our coven leader. The fact that he was remembering this surprised me. I wondered though if he could remember anything else.
“Do you guys have chemistry?” I asked.
“What are we talking about here? Are you jealous or something? It’s way too soon for that.”
“It’s not jealousy. I just. You are saying you remember something. I want you to tell me what it is. What do you remember about him?”
“I don’t know. Look. Let’s make this simple. He’s a friend and we confide in each other lately around the store. He is my employee. We are already down one. If I can help him stay afloat then why wouldn’t I?”
I found myself more pissed walking in here then I did walking out. Before I knew it I was knocking things off the shelf and storming out of the room.
I instantly regretted reacting like that but I couldn’t help it. Mason left the coven and decided to run to Genesis. It pissed me off really. I just wanted to get even. I found myself not even being able to work.
“I need you to work a double today too. I can’t stay here,” I told Tiana one my way out.
“I’ve already worked for 6 hours today.”
I was pissed. I didn’t know who else to take it out on. Before I knew it I was taking a pen from the front counter and stabbing myself with it. I watched Tiana scream the blood ran out of my hand. The lights in the store began to flicker. Tiana was panicking looking around. When I pulled the pen out of my hand I held it out to her. The pen disentegrated right in my hand into dust. I blew the dust in her face and watched her faint. She had to sit down to keep from fainting.
A part of me felt bad for scaring Tiana but then I remembered all the times that she acted like a little bitch in the store.
I started, “I’m going to say this once. From now on you do what I say when I say it. You hear me?”
She didn’t speak. She just nodded.
I made my way home. It was awkward walking into the house. The search for Micko had taken up most of our time. The house seemed so goddam empty. I had been so used to being around a bunch of people but our numbers were dwindling. It wasn’t a good feeling.
“You guys are getting awfully close,” I said smiling at Melody and Rio.
They had always flirted back and forth with one another but it never really went anywhere from my knowledge. Rio had confided in me a few times saying that he had a little crush on Melody.
“We should double date with you and Genesis,” Rio smiled.
Melody seemed awkward when I walked in. It was a weird couple. Rio was very attractive. He had those good Wright brother genes. Melody was attractive but in a different way. Not everyone would find her attractive. Her head was a little small and her eyes a little too narrow. She had that model type beauty that not everyone would understand. It wasn’t until Rio stood up to Mason in that hospital room and spit on him that Melody seemed to be giving him the time of day.
Angelica walked into the room at that moment, “That’s actually a great idea. It may help Genesis remember.”
“I doubt Genesis is going to remember anything Angelica. Don’t be stupid,” Melody said.
She was talking down to Angelica. It was really nothing new though. The Atwoods always had a strange relationship that the rest of us didn’t understand.
“Well I have news for you guys,” I announced, “Our dear friend Mason is out of jail. He is staying with Genesis.”
Rio shook his head. I could almost tell what he was thinking. I knew he was going to say it. Ever since he found out what they did he made it his business to remind me that it could happen again.
After a few seconds of awkwardness Rio finally said, “They’re probably fucking.”
“Genesis says no. He says Mason just needs help.”
“Oh my…” Angelica stated, “Is he ok?”
Angelica had such strange personality. She was very quiet and actually very loyal. She was smart though. I wondered why she would ask such a stupid question in the presence of Rio.
“FUCK Mason!” Rio said.
He seemed like he was going to flip his shit. It had been a week since their fight and Rio’s face still hadn’t healed up completely. It was amazing how hard they fought when they were mad at one another.
“Rio’s right,” Melody said, “Mason not coming back to the house means that he’s left the coven for good.”
“Well actually he’s still with the coven if he’s staying with Genesis,” Angelica stated.
“Don’t be stupid…without magic Genesis is nothing in this coven.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. We weren’t for sure that Genesis had no more magic. We just knew that he didn’t have his memory.
“Genesis is our leader,” I stated.
Melody looked over at Rio. Rio looked over at her. Had I missed something? It was clear from their expressions that they had something on their minds.
It was Melody who started, “Rio go ahead…tell them…”
Rio hesitated. Melody was urging him on almost PUSHING him forward at that moment. Rio stood at that moment across from Angelica and I.
“I think it’s about time we have a new leader in the coven. It’s been long enough that Genesis could not perform his role as our leader,” Rio started out, “Things fall apart when the center cannot hold.”
I looked at Rio’s eyes. Where was this coming from?
“What are you saying?” I asked.
Rio was nervous. I could see he was nervous. This didn’t actually even sound like Rio. When the fuck did Rio care about who was the leader of something.
It was Melody who spoke, “Rio believes that it’s time we made a new leader in this coven to make the hard decisions. He thinks that he should be the leader.”
Angelica shook her head at that moment.
Angelica spoke, “We should be worrying about finding Micko, helping Genesis get his memory back and making amends with Mason.”
“Shut up Angelica. You don’t think we know what our priorities are!” Melody asked.
Angelica hushed up. I knew she would. She always hushed up when Melody started screaming at her. I looked over at Rio. He didn’t seem like his heart was really even into this in the first place. He was just staring out into space.
“Rio do you really want to be leader?” I asked.
“Of course he does,” Melody said.
“I”m not talking to you,” I told her and turned back over to Rio, “Rio…”
He shook his head, “I get along with everyone in the coven now that Mason is gone. With Mason being gone it is just natural that I take the place of Genesis. We believe that going forward I should be making all the decisions…”
All the decisions?
I looked over at Melody. Was it Mason making all the decisions or her?
“I think we should focus on finding Micko first at least,” I stated, “That is our top priority. Then we can worry about the other stuff.”
I walked away at that moment even though I heard Melody start with her rebuttal. I was getting really suspicious of her. I didn’t know what she was doing.
I kept thinking about the whole idea of Rio being the leader of the coven. Back in the day that was a huge deal. It was a big moment of pride to your coven to be the leader. The Bah family had ruled over our coven for a few generations. Before the Bah family I believed someone from the Wright family was actually the leader. I had no doubt that the Wrights had natural leaders in their coven. I just didn’t believe Rio was one of them.
A knock came on my door.
I walked to the door to open it to see Angelica. It was rare that Angelica interacted much. She was extremely shy and quiet. She as the most quiet in the coven by far. Her knocking on my door I knew had to be serious.
“Hey,” she said, “Can you take a walk with me?”
“Um…ok sure I guess…”
I was surprised. This was very unlike her. I put on my coat and followed Angelica out of the house and we just started walking down the street. At first we were walking in silence. It wasn’t awkward though. I was kind of used to Angelica not having very much to say. She was a very agreeable person and really sweet but just so happened to be anti-social at times.
“Angelica,” I said as we were walking, “You are probably the smartest one in the coven. Am I right?”
She shrugged, “Genesis may have me beat. Thanks for the compliment though.”
Genesis was smart in a completely different way. Genesis was more street smart where Angelica was more book smart. One came from a honestly shady place and the other came from a moral center. Genesis was the kind of smart that knew how to steal the most value out of any situation while Angelica was the kind to make the most of any situation. It was a slight difference but also the biggest difference.
“What is Melody doing?” I asked.
Angelica was extremely loyal even when it came to Melody. I had never asked her much about her relationship with Melody but I knew that she knew what Melody was up to.
“My cousin knows that she has no shot of leading the coven,” Angelica stated, “The Atwood family has been disgraced a few times because of the weaker members. No one would follow an Atwood. So she is going through the Wright family.”
It was crazy that politics were still playing a role in the family dynamic here. Our family was under attack and the active coven was falling apart. Angelica was right though. The Atwood family was sort of like the whipping boys of the coven and it had been like that for generations. They were usually very weak when it came to magic even though they swore inbreeding would make them stronger. Melody had to be the strongest witchdoctor ever from the Atwood family.
The inbreeding in the Atwood family seemed to make them a little weird too. A lot had deformities and they stayed to themselves so much that they really weren’t good at dealing with other people. I remember my dad used to make so many jokes at the expense of the Atwood family. Was Melody trying to make up for all of that now?
I had to admit, “She’s smart.”
“She’ll do it too. If you don’t stop her.”
“Who else is going to do it? I’m an Atwood too. Mason doesn’t want to be a part of the coven. Micko has way more concerns than leading anyone. Genesis can’t remember who he is. You are the one who can challenge her.”
Leader of the coven?
I shook my head, “Nah…if Rio wants it so bad. He can have it.”
“That’s the thing. Rio doesn’t want it. Melody does. Let me tell you this. The last thing we want is Melody making decisions for us. You have to do it.”
“I’ll think about it.”
Angelica smiled, “I’m sure you’ll make the right decision.”
It was weird having her believe in me. The idea of me being the leader just seemed to blow me a little bit. My father would have killed me if he thought I was hesitating. I could almost see him now getting with the other older guys in the families and bragging about how his son was leader now. Everyone had to look up to his son. Why was I hesitating then?
Maybe it was because a part of me felt like accepting the position would be giving up on Genesis getting his memory back.
Did I want Genesis to really get his memory back though? Maybe he’s remember that he never paid me the time of day.
“Where are we?” I asked Angelica.
I hadn’t even noticed that I was being led somewhere. The idea of being leader had taken over my mind completely. It was a motel room or something. It was one of those regular basic ones with two floors that you could get for a really cheap rate. Angelica led me into the hotel room and up to one of the rooms. She knocked a few times in a sequenced pattern.
When the door opened I was shocked.
“Hey Brandon,” Micko stated.
I ran into his arms completely forgetting about his pregnancy. I was so happy to see him that I just squeezed him. It felt so good seeing him again.
I looked inside of the room. It was a mess. There were empty boxes of pizza and food everywhere. It looked like a scene from hoarders or something. What the fuck? I wondered if that was normal. Micko’s baby definitely had a healthy diet.
Micko noticed I was looking, “Let’s go to the park across the street. No ones over there in this kind of weather.”
Micko wasn’t his usual self. He didn’t seem really that happy to see me. He seemed like he had something on his mind. Angelica came with us and we made our way across the street to a park. He was right. No one was really around. It was pretty empty.
“How have you been? Are you ok? Why didn’t you come home?”
We were in an empty playground. There was snow all over but we saw some empty swings. Micko sat on the swing. I sat next to him. Angelica stood on the pole of the swing just watching Micko. When I noticed he wasn’t going anywhere I decided to get on the back of his swing and began to push him. It felt good just hanging out with them. It felt like maybe our coven wasn’t falling apart so badly.
Micko shook his head, “I just wanted to make sure everyone was ok with me coming back before I came. I approached Angelica first because well I knew she’d be ok with it.”
“Micko I don’t know what happened,” I stated shaking my head, “I know that wasn’t you though.”
He was quiet for a minute. He let his feet drag on the snow beneath him to stop the swing. He just sat there almost in a daze and looked out into the snow. He looked almost ghostly. We watched him with concern. Even though he was clearly eating he seemed so…fatigued.
“The baby didn’t like Genesis around Mason. It took control. I didn’t do any of it.”
It was creepy how Micko said that.
“Micko…it’s just a baby. You do understand that right?”
He nodded, “Of course. The baby lost control. It didn’t mean to kill those people. It knows that you are concerned about it.”
“Me?” I asked.
He looked at me with these eyes. It freaked me out honestly. There were dark rings under his eyes and he was looking at me as though he could see into my soul. It sent a shiver up my spine. I had to turn away and stare into the distance.
“Look we just want you home. Those people that died were tragic but that doesn’t change how we feel about you.”
Angelica added, “Never turn your back on coven.”
“No matter what I do?” Micko stated.
There was a pause. What the hell did he mean.
“Micko you know this can’t happen again right?” I asked.
Micko smiled. His smile was crooked. There was something sick there. What had this baby done to Micko? This wasn’t the Micko that I knew. The Micko that I knew would have been the main one who probably would have wanted to go to the cops about the deaths of innocent people. He wouldn’t have been able to live with himself. This Micko was just shaking.
“You’re scared of the baby,” Micko said, “He can tell…he says you look so silly when you are trying not to be afraid. He says you should be happy. He’ll kill your enemies for you.”
“Look this can’t happen again Micko,” I said shaking his head, “Tell your baby that. Ok. People fucking died.”
“Brandon calm down,” Angelica said.
I wasn’t getting loud but I was getting defensive. She was right. Micko was just staring at me as though studying me. It was so fucking creepy and unsettling. I felt like the little girl from the Ring had just climbed out the well and was waiting for me or something. What had Genesis brought back from that Black Gate? What the fuck was in Micko?
“The baby misses Mason. He wants the whole family back together,” Micko stated, “Where’s Mason.”
“I don’t know.”
I lost my breath. It was just for a quick second but that moment after someone punched you hard in your chest and you lose your breath by force. I held onto my chest grasping it being very careful before I continued. I was fucking scared as fuck. I had to admit.
There was something dark all around Micko.
“He’s in jail.”
“He can tell you’re lying,” Micko stated shaking his head, “He says he knows that his other Daddy is with that homewrecker. He read my thoughts. He knows that they slept together before. He’ll kill Genesis before he lets that happen again.”
“He won’t fucking touch Genesis,” I said.
“Are you so sure about that?”
My heart was beating fast. There was no way in hell I was going to let whatever the fuck was in Micko anywhere near Genesis. I thought it was Micko in a jealous rant but that wasn’t the case. It was Mason’s baby acting jealous that Genesis was getting attention from his father.
“He met Genesis. Before he was reincarnated he met Genesis on the other side. He lived in the darkness for so long.”
“Who is he? Your baby?”
He ignored my question.
“He thought Genesis was very cocky. Genesis was so sure he would come back from the darkness. He’d never met someone so full of himself. He demanded Genesis bring him back to our world but Genesis disagreed. So he had to trick Genesis. He had to…”
“Finish the story….”
“Shh…we aren’t alone.”
I turned around. Micko or Micko’s baby was right. We weren’t alone. Somehow there were people running towards us. They were running faster than humans would. They weren’t humans. They must have been enchanted in some sort of way because they moved so quickly almost gliding across the snow in the park. They were using the snow to propel them forward. We hadn’t even had the chance to run. There was only one coven that I knew that could I could manipulate.
As they got close I realized they were aggressive. There were seven of them that surrounded us. Three females were there and four men. They were all dressed in black.
The oldest female had a wand, “Under the command of King Eli, the Moreen Island Coven is sentenced to death.”
No that was impossible. I jumped to my feet not understanding. How had they found us? How the fuck had they found us!
It was Angelica who noticed almost immediately what they were, “Castors…”