Death Has No Dominion

Death Has No Dominion

Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers

Summary

Hand to sword he serves his king. Brothers in blood and conquest they bend and shape the world to their collective will. From the ashes of a brutal civil war they built an empire, and their hand-picked tyrants, rule without mercy or pity. A kingdom with no borders, it exists within every continent, country, and city across the globe. Hand to sword he stands with his king. Once defenders and protectors, their disillusionment became disdain then hate. They embraced the predator and declared humanity a means to end, chattel to do with as they wish. At war with their ancient enemy they are unaware of the threat that lurks in the shadows. Loyal to the light, their brethren rose from the ashes and swore to defend humanity from the Thirty Tyrants and their world order. A rebellion, pitting evil against evil has raged for over two hundred years. On one fateful night three people are drawn into this world, one from the top, the other from the bottom, and the third as a means to an end. A soldier, a thief, and a librarian set on their paths to a collision with the Thirty Tyrants, their Hand, and his King.

Summary

Hand to sword he serves his king. Brothers in blood and conquest they bend and shape the world to their collective will. From the ashes of a brutal civil war they built an empire, and their hand-picked tyrants, rule without mercy or pity. A kingdom with no borders, it exists within every continent, country, and city across the globe.
Hand to sword he stands with his king. Once defenders and protectors, their disillusionment became disdain then hate. They embraced the predator and declared humanity a means to end, chattel to do with as they wish.
At war with their ancient enemy they are unaware of the threat that lurks in the shadows. Loyal to the light, their brethren rose from the ashes and swore to defend humanity from the Thirty Tyrants and their world order. A rebellion, pitting evil against evil has raged for over two hundred years.
On one fateful night three people are drawn into this world, one from the top, the other from the bottom, and the third as a means to an end. A soldier, a thief, and a librarian set on their paths to a collision with the Thirty Tyrants, their Hand, and his King.

Chapter9 (v.1) - Chapter Nine

Author Chapter Note

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”<br /> Mahatma Gandhi<br /> <br /> “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”<br /> Samuel Johnson <br />

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 09, 2016

Reads: 257

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 09, 2016

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 The light came on and her eyes flew open. David appeared, carrying two bottles of wine and the chair. In black pants and a partly unbuttoned tuxedo shirt with the sleeves rolled up, he placed the chair at the end of the mattress and looked at her, an amused expression on his face. Putting one of the bottles on the chair, he paced around the room drinking. She eased herself up into a seated position and watched. Every now and then he glanced her way, sometimes he’d shake his head, other times he’d chuckle. Serena didn’t say anything, she never initiated a conversation with him. He’d been coming to her prison more often, sometimes venting about people she knew nothing about, other times silently fuming. She got the impression he didn’t have many people to confide in.

David slowed his pacing and walked over to the chair focusing his gaze on her. Taking another long pull from the first bottle, he emptied it and set it on the floor. Picking up the second, he produced a bottle opener from his pocket, and tore the foil. He grinned at her then pulled the cork and took another long pull. Dropping onto the chair, he flung an arm over the back and stretched the opposite leg straight out in front of him. He studied her for some time, occasionally taking a drink.

“Why won’t you tell me your name?” he asked suddenly.

“What does it matter?”

“It doesn’t. More a point of reference really. I could make you tell me. Hell, I could make you tell me your name, your family member’s names, friends, acquaintances. By the time I was done you would be telling me every name you’ve ever heard.”

When she didn’t respond, he laughed and stood back up, pacing behind the chair. “I have to admit, I almost admire your resolve. What I haven’t figured out yet, is whether it demonstrates strength or stupidity. You know full well what I’m capable of, and yet you stubbornly refuse to tell me your name.”

Pointing a finger at her he said, “Backbone, that’s what so many of them lack. We don’t have the ilk to choose from like we used too. So we are left with many I find less than deserving of my praise, much less my attention. They’re all frightened of me, it’s pathetic. Tonight it actually grated on my nerves, all their nervous ticks and fearful glances. You though, you have the fortitude to mask your fear. You could teach them a thing or two. I should do that, show them you, I really should. Shame them into it. But while people can be shamed into acting brave, into committing brave acts, the fear is still there, in their eyes, in their hearts. Overcoming fear can be a noble thing, but conquering fear leads to greatness.”

“So you‘ve conquered all you fears?” she asked.

“When you’ve lived the life I have, you find fear only gets in the way. It will paralyze you, destroy you if you let it.”

“How goes the greatness?” she said, before she could stop herself.

Crouching down so their eyes were level, he said, “One of these days I will tire of your mouth. Right now I’m thinking sooner rather than later.” She met his gaze, and he took a long pull from the bottle. Suddenly he smiled and stood. “Backbone,” he said appreciatively. 

“Tonight?”

He shrugged noncommittally. “Same party, same people, it’s always the same. Sycophants, the lot of them, mewling every time I look their way. In my present condition I usually avoid leaving the house, which in certain cases can be a blessing. I must confess, I don’t enjoy spending as much time around these people as I used too. I’m not sure I ever did. I miss the people of science and reason, the philosophers, and scholars. The discussions that took place had meaning, they were thought provoking and intelligent. All these fools talk about is the kill. It feels superfluous after a while. Of course, then there’s the gossipmongers. For some reason immortality has made them all vapid and shallow, too spiritless to do anything other than blather about one another. Honestly they bore me. But while they are fools, they are obedient fools. For instance, none of them would ever consider withholding information from me.” 

She didn’t blink, and David crossed his arms, waiting. “You see my dear,” he said finally, “torture really is an art form. For so many, the threat, the implication of violence is enough. Imagination can do so much of the work for you, if that’s what you want. But I have found the majority of those who torture, enjoy the power inflicting pain on others gives them. It is thrilling to stand over someone and know, without a shred of doubt, that you are in that moment, God to that person.”

“That’s not being God,” she said annoyed. “So often that power, for lack of a better word, is misinterpreted as Godlike, but it’s not. The power over life and death is a very human notion of power.”

“Really?” he said softly, his eyes boring into hers. “Please continue.”

“Continue how?”

“What do you consider Godlike power?”

“Oh. I’m not sure,” she said. “But I think our notions about power have been so ingrained in us, that we see the wrong things as giving us power…” She trailed off shaking her head. “You know I really have to think about that one. Do you mind if I reserve my answer for a later date?”

“Reserve your answer for a later date?” Suddenly he laughed. “Why not? Although I wouldn’t count on that much later of a date.” Gesturing around the room he said, “This is a clear example of power over life and death. When you are still breathing after I leave the room, it’s because I chose not to kill you. Do you know how many pints of blood are in the human body? Ten. Do you know how much blood a human can safely loose without requiring a transfusion? Just under four, if you lose four, you need a transfusion or the odds are you’ll die. So when I’m taking blood from you, I have to decide if this is the time I take as much as I want, because I want it all.” 

Serena wondered if he was telling the truth. It made her think about all the times she’d lost consciousness while being fed on by him.

“Believe me,” he said, his eyes beginning to reflect the light. “I have come close on so many occasions to draining you of all I can. One day I will, and then I’ll rip you apart to find that last little bit lingering in your organs.”

She was horrified at the nonchalant way he talked about killing her. She really was nothing to him.

Laughing again he said, “Don’t make that face at me. I will kill you one day. I almost did that first night in the stairwell. You’re lucky I’m able to control myself or you wouldn‘t be alive now.”

“You and I have very different definitions of luck.”

“Well consider yourself lucky I‘m in a generous mood,” he said. “Otherwise I would feel compelled to demonstrate just how quickly your luck can turn.”

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent,” she said, under her breath.

“Isaac Asimov,” he said startled. “Let’s, for the moment, ignore the implication of what you just said. Tell me, what philosopher said: Man was born free, but is everywhere in chains?

She scoured her memory for the right name. “Rousseau.”

“Well done. So you know a few things about philosophy, and science fiction it seems. Of course, working in a library would give one the impression you enjoy reading.” Taking another drink he looked at her a half smile on his face. “I have one. All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire.”

Serena felt a rush of excitement, she knew that one too. But instead of telling him who said it, she decided to answer with another quote. “The gods too are fond of a joke.”

He smiled broadly and said, “All men by nature desire knowledge.”

“The soul never thinks without a picture.”

He laughed. “So you know your Aristotle.”

“While he missed the mark occasionally, women being the most obvious mistake, Aristotle is still one of my favorite philosophers,” Serena said smiling. “I have to make a small confession though, I did get the Aristotle quote of the day app on my phone.”

He laughed again, even louder than before. “The Aristotle quote of the day app.”

For a moment there was no threat of violence, no fear, no anger. Just two people sharing a common interest. He noticed the change as well, and turning away from her took another drink. Suddenly he walked over to the mattress and crouched down. “Bring your desire down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit,” he said pointedly.

We are what we repeatedly do.”

“It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.”

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self,” she countered.

He raised his eyebrows at that and moved in a little closer. “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.”

She took a deep breath and said, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.”

“To perceive is to suffer,” he said, the underlying threat palpable.

Putting all her conviction into her voice she said, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals: separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

He nodded his head approvingly, and stood back up taking another drink. Upending the bottle, he finished it off and threw it across the room. It hit the door with so much force, half of it shattered into dust.

She kept calm and pictured the butterfly. Closing her eyes, she watched it fly from flower to flower in her father’s garden. Overhead, her hawk cried, strong, defiant, and free. She saw it all so clearly, and for the first time she really felt like she was there.

“Don‘t think you can disappear. I won’t allow it.”

She opened her eyes, and was looking directly into his. He had crouched back down, and was only inches from her face. She remained calm, and faced him without flinching.

“Now,” he said softly. “If I’m not mistaken, you implied I’m incompetent, not only that, but separated from law and justice I am also the worst.”

Every quote exchanged between them had meaning in regards to their present circumstances. She hadn’t missed the point of the quotes he’d thrown at her either.

“Yes, I am separated from human law and justice. Your laws mean nothing to me and your justice is, let’s face it, less than swift and rarely blind. But let’s get back to violence being the last refuge of the incompetent. Tell me why you said that.” When she looked at him doubtfully, he smiled. “Go ahead. At this point, how much more of a hole can you dig for yourself?”

Serena knew it was a trap, but taking a deep breath she said, “Violence comes from fear. Everything which breeds violence: envy, humiliation, resentment, are rooted in fear. They lead to anger then violence. When we give in to violence we embrace the weakest part of ourselves. It causes us to act selfishly and impulsively, to lash out. Like throwing a bottle across the room.”

Coming out of his crouch, he knelt on the mattress. “Now it‘s clear,” he said, his eyes black and shining. “It‘s not strength, it‘s stupidity.”

“Anybody can become angry, that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy,” she said. Her voice was soft, but her eyes were strong.

He stared at her for a moment, then laughed, all the rage disappearing. His eyes returned to normal and he sat back on his heels. “Alright whoever you are, I give. You out Aristotled me.”

Wiping his eyes, he grinned and stood up. He laughed a few more times, looking at the mess he’d made. Glancing at her, he grabbed the chair and the other bottle. The crunch of broken glass echoed off the walls as he walked across the room. Before leaving he turned back to her, still smiling. “I’d avoid this side of the room for the time being,” he said glancing at her bare feet. “The floor is quite cold, your feet have to be freezing.”

He shut the door, and his footsteps retreated up the stairs. She sat frozen staring at the door. The light was still on. She waited for him to come back and turn it off, but he didn’t.

 

______________________________

 

“I don’t know Leah,” Paul said, “maybe they can help us.”

He watched the men standing in front of the restaurant. They were wearing expensive coats and laughing as they smoked cigars. When a limo pulled up they stood taller. Another vampire got out, dripping wealth. They all shook hands in greeting and went inside.

“No Paul,” Leah said. “The only time I ever saw Kai look scared was when we were in L.A. and saw vampires like that. He called them toffs. He said they were extremely dangerous, that they would kill us if they saw us.”

“Why?”

“Something about being unapproved. I don’t think Kai is supposed to be making vampires whenever he feels like it. I think there are rules regarding who gets to make vampires, and who becomes one, and they,” she pointed at the restaurant, “enforce those rules, whether you’re aware of them or not.”

Paul pulled out his phone and looked at the message. Connor was looking for him, and his behavior was so bazaar, Gary was the third contact to let him know about it. It was frustrating because he was reaching out to people Connor should know nothing about. Leah shivered, and looked at one of the many restaurants up and down street.

“Do you think we should stay so close to them?” he asked.

“Probably not.”

“I’ve got an idea,” he said brightly. “Let’s get take out.”

Fishing out their cash, he realized it was time to make money. Leah had insisted on contributing to their cash flow, and had stolen her first car a few cities ago. She wasn’t bad either. Seeing her grinning ear to ear as she pulled up revving the engine, was well worth the time it took to teach her. For a moment she forgot her tragedy, and the car, coupled with his steal, made them quite a lot of money.

“What would you like to eat for dinner?” he asked.

She smiled and led him to a Chinese restaurant. After getting their food, Paul drove toward the edge of town to a luxury condominium development they’d passed earlier. Pulling up to the security gate, he smiled and got out of the car. Breaking the lock, he pulled the gate aside and drove in.

“Why are we here?” Leah asked.

“While the upper levels are still under construction, the first ten floors are completed, and the floor models are, as the sign says, open for viewing. Meaning, they’re fully furnished.”

“Luxuriously?”

“That is what the sign says. It will be like staying in a hotel for the night. Maybe there’s even a king size bed.”

She laughed and said, “You have a one track mind.”

He grinned and they got out of the car. This side of the building had a parking lot, already surrounded by trees and shrubbery. All the construction machinery was on the other side, which was still bare earth. Breaking into the building was easy, and they followed the welcome signs to the models on the fourth floor. Picking the center one, they opened the door, confronted immediately with all the best money could buy. Leah dropped her duffle by the dining room table, and started unpacking the food. Paul watched her, and he couldn’t help it, he got aroused.

She stopped what she was doing and turned around, a small smile on her face. “One track mind.”

He laughed and pulled her into his arms kissing her hungrily. Picking her up, he walked down the hall. She wrapped her legs around him and nipped at his neck.

He kicked open the door to the master bedroom and smiled. “King size bed,” he said, and she laughed.

***************

 

They were finishing their dinner, and Paul was telling her about the first time he stole a car. She was laughing at what he called, his rookie mistakes, and he loved it. He loved her laugh. Suddenly they both heard vehicles right outside the building. Car doors opened and shut, then there was silence. He walked over to the window and looked out, but from the fourth floor he couldn’t see the cars. He was about to say they should leave, but glancing at Leah, the words died on his lips. Her eyes were giant saucers, and she was stiff as a board. Her heart was pounding faster and faster, and he could smell the fear and anxiety.

“What?” he asked alarmed.

“It’s them,” she whispered, beginning to shake. “It’s Kai.”

Instantly he went to his bag and pulled out the gun. When he’d gotten control of himself in the motel room that first night, he’d found the drunk’s gun in his jacket pocket. He’d been completely unaware of taking it. Now he was glad he kept it. There were only four bullets left. One for each of them.

Leah was rigid with terror, and Paul took her face in his hands. “We’ll be fine. I will not let him hurt you, I swear. We look out for each other, remember?”

She stared into his eyes and nodded her head slightly, trying to get control of herself.

“You’re strong Leah, you’ve got power all your own, I’ve felt it. You can do this.”

She nodded, and he grabbed their duffle bags. Opening the door, he listened. While he knew they were in the building, he couldn’t hear a sound. They were hunting them. Taking Leah’s hand, he started down the hall. As they reached the stairs, she squeezed his hand. When he glanced at her she shook her head; one of them was in the stairwell. They started heading for the elevators, when they heard the brake as one arrived. Leah jumped. Gripping her hand even tighter, he pulled her into one of the other floor models. Two sets of shoes walked out of the elevator. Glancing at Leah, he saw her whole demeanor had changed. She didn’t look scared anymore, she looked stoic, and the smell of fear was gone, in fact he could barely smell her at all. She was hiding. Paul did the same, calming his heart, and focusing his mind on his prey. The stairwell door opened and he heard footsteps pass by the condo. Three of them were heading straight for the model they’d been in, and Paul waited until he heard the door shut, before poking his head into the hall. It was empty. Taking Leah’s hand, he ran silently for the stairwell. They pulled the door shut, and started down the stairs. 

“They’re running!”

Connor. He’d been left at the bottom to cut off escape. They heard the other three racing for them, and Connor pounded up the stairs. No one was bothering to be quiet anymore. Leah pulled him upward, and he threw their bags over his shoulder, hoping to slow them down.

“Leah!” Kai yelled. “Stop now and maybe I’ll take it easy on you!”

She ran faster, and they burst out the door onto the top floor. It was all bare cement, plywood, and equipment. They were halfway to the construction lift, when Kai and the others ran out of the door.

“Where do you think you’re going Leah?” Kai called. “I made you. You belong to me.”

They ran for the other stairwell, but Kai and Corey blocked their escape. Leon and Connor rushed them from behind, and Leah grabbed a pipe and swung, knocking Leon’s legs out from under him. Connor grabbed the pipe, jerking it out of her hands, but Paul punched him in the face before he could swing. He smacked into the wall, the pipe clattering to the floor. The two of them backed away, while Kai strolled casually through the equipment, his eyes focused on Leah. “Running from me,” he said shaking his head. “After all I gave you. Ungrateful slut.”

Paul growled and raised the gun, pointing it between Kai’s eyes. Corey and Leon exchanged glances, while Connor picked up the pipe.

“Leah,” Paul said quietly. “Go. Take the keys out of my pocket, go to the car and get away from here.”

“I’m not leaving without you,” she replied.

“How sweet,” Kai sneered. “Stealing my woman and calling the cops on your maker. You cost us a lot of money. I think we’ll take it out of your ass.”

Kai moved, and Paul fired twice. One of the bullets grazed his shoulder and he stopped. Paul had Kai, Leon, and Corey cornered, but Connor was on his own. He could see him out of the corner of his eye, holding the pipe, watching.

“Leah please go,” Paul said, trying to keep them all in view.

He heard her backing toward the lift, and she said, “Paul I can’t, I can’t leave you.”

Paul shifted slightly so he could keep Connor in view, but his eyes were focused on Kai. He only had two bullets left, if he could kill two of them, he was certain he could take the other two down. Kai and Leon were the biggest threats, he couldn’t miss.

“Teach the disloyal whore a lesson Connor,” Kai said. “Not the face. Break a few limbs. That will get the point across, for now.”

“You touch her and I’ll fucking kill you,” Paul growled.

“Try asshole.” Connor smirked, and started towards Leah.

“He’s going to make her scream,” Kai said, smiling. “Later, I’ll be making her scream. She’ll never again forget who she belongs too.”

“Wait Connor,” Leah said softly as he got closer. “This isn’t you. You’re not like Kai. You’re better than he is.”

His step faltered, but he continued toward her gripping the pipe.

“You were nice to me Connor,” Leah said, her voice soothing and gentle. “Even after Kai turned you, there were still moments when I saw the nice guy you used to be. Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to hurt me for Kai?”

Paul couldn’t get to her. If he moved, even a little, the others would get past him. “Listen to her Connor!” he yelled. “Kai doesn’t deserve your loyalty!”

“I know its confusing Connor,” she said. “I know how tough it is. We were both made by Kai. Who understands better than me?”

Connor was standing in front of her disoriented. He made no move to hit her, but his hand periodically squeezed the pipe. Leah stepped closer and gently rested a hand on his wrist. Smiling she said, “We’re family Connor, brother and sister. Both made by a man who tried to turn us into something we’re not. You are so smart, too smart for him.”

Sliding her fingers down his hand, she carefully she took the pipe. Connor looked confused, and shaking his head, he came out of the trance. Focusing his gaze on her, his eyes lost all color. Before he could move Leah swung, smashing the pipe into the side of his head. He fell to the ground and Leah glanced at Paul, then swung the pipe again. “All that you did,” she muttered, beating his head into a bloody pulp. “I hope you burn in hell.”

Kai’s eyes were shining, and he was actually smiling as he watched her kill Connor. Suddenly Corey lunged. Paul pulled the trigger, hitting him in the shoulder. He stumbled back yelling in pain, and Paul was grabbed from behind by Kai. Nailing him in the gut, Paul broke his grasp and turned to fire, but Leon ripped the gun from his hand and pointed it at him, grinning.

“Look what have we here.”

They all froze as four men emerged from the shadows near the lift, moving with a stealth reminiscent of lions stalking prey. All four were impeccably dressed in the finest suits and cashmere coats. Their well-polished shoes didn’t make a sound as they glided into the room, coming to a stop a short distance from Leah. The miasma was thick, and the leader tsk’d a couple of times. Tall, with black wavy hair, that was slicked back over head, he glanced at Leah, his nostrils flaring slightly. His complexion and facial features made Paul think he may be of Indian descent, and the power in his dark brown eyes was staggering. “These are the ones your hounds have been tracking Vaughn?” he asked, the equally tall, blond haired man to his right.

“Yes Mr. Royce,” Vaughn replied, with a sly smile.

“You’ve been busy,” Royce said methodically removing his gloves. Holding them in his left hand, he casually put his right in the pocket of his coat, and looked at each of them in turn. When he fixed his gaze on Paul, his heartbeat quickened, and the instinct to run was overwhelming. Royce looked at Leah, and then at Connor at her feet, and he shook his head. Paul wanted pull her away from them, but he was rooted in place, too afraid to move.

“Quite a mess you left in your wake,” Royce said softly. “Foolish.”

Paul noticed that Kai, Leon, and Corey were staring at the vampires just as terrified as he was. The only one unaffected by the predacious power rolling off the men was Leah. She was still holding onto the pipe, regarding them with suspicion, and a touch of hope. She glanced at him, and said, “Please, it wasn’t us. Paul and I were just trying to get away from them.”

“She belongs to me,” Kai said harshly. “I made her, she’s mine!”

“No I don’t!” Leah yelled over her shoulder, her eyes shining. Looking back to the leader, she said, “He killed my family, kidnapped me, and turned me into a vampire so he could rape me whenever he felt like it. I didn’t ask for this. I’m not a slave, I won’t be owned. That can’t be how it really is. Please, it just can’t.”

“I know,” Royce said sympathetically. “It isn’t fair is it? Yet, our society is how it is for a reason child. It’s a pity, you are such a pretty thing. If only we’d gotten here sooner.”

Sensing the danger she was in, Leah backed up a few steps, and turned to him. Finally able to move, Paul started toward her, and watched in horror as Royce stepped forward and drove a blade into her back. It slid through her heart, and out her chest. Her eyes were focused on Paul, full of shock, and he reached out, his heart breaking. Royce pulled the blade free, and she fell to the ground in a heap, her beautiful brown hair covering her face. Paul looked at Royce, as he stepped over her body, fury flowing through his veins.

“Children,” Royce said, wiping his blade clean on Connor’s shirt, “never let a woman discover her capabilities, it will be your undoing. As your friend here found out.”

Kai, Leon and Corey ran, with two vampires in pursuit. Leon fired the gun over his shoulder, hitting no one, and when he realized one bullet was all he had, he threw it at the vampires.

Paul stood his ground. Rage over Leah’s murder, was the only thing overruling his instinct to run. The two men regarded him with a mixture of contempt and amusement. Look at this one,” Royce said. “He must be Paul. Vaughn.”

Vaughn smiled viciously, and Paul flew through the air. He hit the concrete wall hard, and crashed to the floor. Vaughn was on him instantly. Picking him up, he slammed him into the wall, and punched him hard in the stomach: once, twice, three times. Paul felt two of his ribs break, and managed to block a fourth punch, while trying desperately to land blows of his own. But Vaughn was too quick and too strong. Smiling broadly, he punched him in the face and threw him across the room.

“I hate to ruin your fun Vaughn,” Royce said, putting his gloves back on, “but I have plans. Finish him.”

Paul was trying to climb to his feet, when Vaughn stepped on his hand, grinding his bones into the floor. He yelled in pain, and grabbing Vaughn’s ankle, latched onto his calf with all his fangs extended. Vaughn punched him the face, again and again trying to dislodge him. Suddenly he was ripped away by Royce, and thrown. This time he sailed through a window and fell, crashing into construction equipment on the way down. Landing with resounding thud, Paul managed to get his arms up around his head, as concrete and wood rained down on him.

From up above, Kai screamed in agony, and for a brief moment he was overjoyed; if anyone deserved to suffer it was Kai. Getting to his feet, Paul looked around and noticed a black muscle car and two motor cycles parked nearby. Favoring his left leg, he made his way to the car. Grasping the handle, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He looked toward the loading dock, and saw the shadows shift. Yellow eyes materialized, and he jumped. Too freaked out to move, he waited. But when the eyes made no attempt to come any closer, he opened the car door, and slid onto the seat. 

From the cigarette cartons and the liquor bottles, to the duffle bag filled with cash, he knew it was Kai’s car. He felt a certain satisfaction in taking it. He was the reason Leah was murdered. Paul couldn’t get the sight of the blade sliding through her chest out of his head. The look of shock that passed over her face, and the pain, made him want to break down, but he couldn’t. He knew he couldn’t have saved her, but that did nothing to assuage his guilt. They were supposed to look out for one other.

Paul winced in pain, putting too much pressure on his broken ribs, as he got the car started. Looking up, he noticed the yellow eyes were still fixed on him, but whoever it was, was keeping to the loading dock. Wondering what manner of creature had yellow eyes, he turned the car around. Vaughn was standing there smiling. The driver’s side door was ripped off the car, and he slammed his foot on the gas. A hand brushed his shoulder, but he was going too fast for Royce to get a hold of him. Vaughn’s smile never faltered. As the car reached him he jumped, landing with a thud on the roof. Paul slammed on the brakes, and spun the wheel, sending the car spinning. Vaughn’s fist smashed into the windshield, shattering it, but he lost his grip and toppled from the car. Paul floored it. He could see the two men in the mirror, but they didn’t gave chase. 

 


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