I awoke in a lavish bedroom with candles and delicate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling
My eyes quickly scanned the room searching for my missing child.
I stood from the bed and headed for the door. Before I could take my first step it opened. A woman with wings stepped out of the shadows of the hall and made her way towards the bed.
Her raven black hair cascaded around her shoulders, her cold gaze fixed on me. An evil grin crossed her lips and her talon like nails drew my attention as she brushed a strand of hair from her forehead.
“You must be Zoeee,” she said dragging the last letter in my name. Her voice was daunting and she spoke forcefully.
“And you must be Evelyn.”
“Ah so Drake did tell you about us?”
“He told me enough.”
She continued grinning as she took in my scent.
“And you’ll be keeping your claws off me and my family!”
“You’re what he was so eager to return to?” she looked me up and down and scoffed. “I can’t imagine why! I’ve seen better faces on blood imps.”
“You sound bitter, Evelyn. Bribing men seem to be your game, can’t get any otherwise?”
She stopped in front of me and smirked. “Did he tell you I had him screaming my name damn near every night?” she circled me as she took in my reaction. “The way his body moves! I can still feel him inside me. He’s like a treasure you’d want to keep locked inside a jewelry box and save for yourself.” She danced her hands up and down her body as she spoke.
“Evelyn, if you’re trying to make me kill you, keep talking.”
She laughed. “I’d love to see you try!”
“EVELYN!” Karver’s voice echoed in the narrow room. “Don’t you have something you should be doing right now?” he growled.
Her smug grin quickly disappeared and was replaced with a shocked look of fear as Karver dismissed her.
He turned to me, his eyes a piercing and glowing red. “I’m glad you’ve finally awakened.”
“Where’s my son?”
“WHERE IS MY SON?” I yelled growing more enraged by the minute.
“Are you forgetting your place? Your son is safe and if you expect him to remain that way you’d better change that tone.”
Just as Evelyn before me, I backed off. I was afraid of seeing that thing come out again.
I dropped my weight onto the ottoman at the foot of the bed and hung my head. “Why did you bring us here?”
“You are being hunted; I had to ensure Christopher’s safety.”
“What do you want with my child?” the question sounded more like a desperate plea than a search for answers.
He ignored me and placed a plasma juice in front of me. “Eat. I’ll send word to Drake where you are.” He turned to exit the room.
“What about Christopher? Give me my son!” I jumped up and rushed forward.
He slammed the door and I heard a deadbolt snap into place.
I hung my head and felt my hands moisten with the tears draining from my eyes. I slumped against the wall and pounded the floor with my fist.
Hours later I heard the lock unlatch and the door slowly creaked open. I watched Drake enter.
Without delay he had me in his arms. “Baby I was so worried. I thought one of those things…”
“Karver has CJ. He won’t let me see him.”
“CJ is fine baby, don’t worry. I’ve checked on him.” His lips pressed hard against mine and he held me tight against his chest.
“Come on,” he said grabbing my hand and leading me to the door.
Well if it isn’t the happy couple!”
“Evelyn…” Drake said stepping around her.
She smirked and blocked our exit. “Whoa! What’s the rush, lover? Why don’t you and I go some place for old times’ sake?”
“Get out of the way, Evelyn.”
“Oh come now, Drake. Don’t tell me this creature in your hand is going to stop you from taking what you want; I can smell your arousal.”
She glared at me. Drake shifted uncomfortably in his skin feeling my emotions.
“Back off Dodo bird or I’ll pluck those wings from your flesh feather by feather!”
Drake held my hand firmer in his and ran me from the room.
We came to a stop in front of Karver’s throne room. Without knocking, Drake pushed his way inside. I saw Chris sitting on the throne at the other end of the room and ran towards him.
His face lit up when he saw me and he jumped into my arms. I held him close and kissed his forehead.
“Safe and sound as promised,” Karver said stepping from behind the throne. “He looked right at home there wouldn’t you agree?”
“Was it really necessary to lock me up?”
Karver stretched himself across his throne and smirked.
He let forth a sharp whistle and a wolf came to lay before him. “How are we on the hunt for Zavier, Drake?”
“Where we were when I came back. I haven’t looked. I have no time to, at least I didn’t. Your making me hide the truth from Zoe hindered my efforts.”
“But now she’s in the loop, so I should see results soon?”
He stood and approached me. “Would you like a tour?”
“No. I’ve heard enough about this place, I don’t need to see it.”
“It wasn’t an offer. Let’s move.”
He guided Drake and me to the swamp. The fog was just as thick as Drake had described and the stench was every bit as awful. I peered down at the muck and swore I saw a face with a frozen look of horror floating just below the surface.
“Damned souls,” Karver answered noticing my stare.
I looked over at Drake and he shrugged but nonverbally shook off any more of my questions.
Karver walked us through the bog. He seemed to float across the murky waters and he reached a small island in the center of the swamp.
“How rude of me,” he smiled as he raised the ground to allow Drake and I to cross.
We entered into a door hidden in a row of trees and descended a flight of stairs.
“Give me the child,” he ordered grabbing Chris from my arms. He walked him into a room and shut the door.
“I don’t like this, Drake. Whatever this connection he has to Chris…it’s disturbing.”
He came back moments later and Chris was smiling.
“Zoe…,” Karver warned.
I took Chris back and he led us to the bar. Inside were tons of creatures that all had different looks and were all very frightening to see.
“You want to ask don’t you?” Karver smirked.
I saw demons similar to the ones that attacked us and I held Chris closer as we took a seat at a table near the back.
“Sit tight; I have business with your husband.”
Drake and Karver walked off to the other end of the bar and were greeted by a silver haired demon.
A slimy, green creature came to my table and blocked my view of their conversation.
“That’s a cute baby you’re holding there.” He licked his lips as he continued staring at CJ. “How old is he? 9? 10 months?”
I shifted in my seat. Drake noticed him standing in front of me and came over. “Bob! I’d like for you to meet my wife and son.”
The demons’ eyes bulged out of his socket as he realized his mistake. “I wasn’t…I’m sorry…sir…you…cute kid!” he said as he retreated in the direction from which he came.
“What was that about?”
“Bob’s an Amoebic Creeper. They eat babies.”
“And the fear?”
“The torture room.”
“How much longer are we going to be here?”
“Not much, I have someone to speak to but after that we can head home.”
He rejoined Karver at the bar. The silver haired demon kept touching his arm as she spoke.
I started feeling more uncomfortable the longer I sat at the table. I felt as though the entire bar was staring at me. I looked around and met the gaze of a man that appeared human seated near the door. He smiled and showed his true colors, horns and a tail before transforming back to human form.
Hurry up Drake.
Thirty minutes later Drake came back to me and we prepared to leave.
The foul stench of rotten eggs permeated the entire house. “It smells like…”
“The swamp? Sulfur; it trails demons. It’s how you can tell they’ve been around.”
I walked up the stairs and stopped in my tracks. “Drake? Honey you left bodies up here.” The body of a demon with his head smashed in was rotting on our upstairs floor.
He joined me on the landing and began dragging the bodies down the stairs to the backyard to burn.
The sun was coming up and Christopher was snoring on my shoulder. Drake came back up and took him from my arms to lay him in his crib.
“Go rest, Zoe. I’ll take watch again.”
“The lights, did you ever fix them?”
He groaned remembering the way the events all began. “I’ll get to them later. Go to bed.”
I slept for a few hours and when I awoke, Christopher was sitting in the bed next to me smiling.
“Hey Handsome,” I said glancing at his crib; Drake was nowhere to be seen. “How did you get over here?”
He giggled and grabbed his toes.
I sat up with him. His hands and feet were hot but he showed no signs of distress.
“Let’s go find Daddy!”
I picked him up and walked down the stairs.
“Drake?” I called for him. He didn’t respond.
I looked out the front window and saw his car was parked in its normal place in the yard. I walked into the kitchen and sat a bottle in the warmer before continuing my search.
“Where is he Chris?”
Chris quickly turned his head to the backyard, “Mah mah.”
I frowned hearing those words thinking perhaps Drake was who he called the first time. “No that’s Dah dah.”
He giggled and pressed his open mouth against my cheek in a sloppy kiss and we walked towards the backyard.
Drake was pacing the length of the yard talking to himself.
He didn’t look up or notice as I approached him. I grabbed his shoulder and as he turned I saw his eyes flash and he threw a fire ball at me.
I ducked and moved with Chris tucked under my chest. “What the hell? Stop that!”
He tossed more at my direction. Christopher slid himself out of my arms and began stopping the blazing spheres from reaching us.
His body became all flames again and he began levitating. The heat from his ascension scorched the ground beneath him, wilted the rows of flowers and set the bushes on fire.
I quickly grabbed Christopher and tossed Drake to the other side of the yard. He came back at me with lightning speed.
“Drake stop please! I don’t want to hurt you!”
He kept charging. I threw him again to the other corner hoping to jolt him back to reality. He jumped up in a rush and came at me once more.
I started casting on him.
“Bind his movement, bind his will.
Make him powerless, make him still,
Bind his actions, bind his feet
Encase his fury, encase his heat.”
He kept wrenching and wriggling until he broke through my binding spell. He smirked at me and began walking slowly towards us.
He didn’t answer.
“Baby it’s me, what’s wrong with you?”
He was within a few yards before his hands formed another, larger ball of fire.
“Zo!” Vincent yelled charging towards us and tackling me to the ground.
He held me down as the large flame passed over us.
“What the hell is going on?”
“Drake’s gone crazy! He’s trying to kill us.”
He was closing in on us. I threw him one last time and he landed in the pool. Vincent snatched my hand and rushed Chris and me from the backyard.
We reached his car and he hurriedly unlocked the doors. “Get in.”
I hopped inside and held Chris in my lap as Vincent sped from the yard.
“How long has he been like that?”
“I don’t know. We came back from a meeting with Karver and he seemed fine. I took a nap and when I woke up he was in the backyard in that frenzied state. Vincent I can’t leave him. I have to know he’s ok.”
“I’m not taking you back there, Zo! Forget it!”
“Zo, listen to the seriousness in my tone. That man back there is trying to kill you. I am not feeding you to the fucking sharks, do you understand me?”
He sped until we were at a penthouse downtown. He took Christopher from me and escorted us inside to the top floor.
“Another new place?”
“You know me, Zo. I’m a wandering spirit.”
The elevator opened to an elegantly decorated penthouse suite. There were lush velvets, gorgeous chandeliers, Persian rugs and gold trimmings everywhere.
“You like it?”
“It’s simple yet elegant! It suits you.”
“Thank you,” he smiled. He walked Chris into the living room. “Do you want anything? Has Chris eaten yet?”
I gasped remembering the bottle I’d left in the warmer. “No. I was about to feed him but I think instead I’ve set the kitchen on fire.”
“There’s fresh packs in the fridge, help yourself. Please make yourself at home. I’m going to go change and then head back to your place and check on Drake.”
He disappeared into a room down the hall and I walked into the kitchen to fix CJ a bottle.
“Stay here, Zo, keep Chris safe.” He handed me one of his shirts and sweatpants to cover up.
I pulled on the clothes and he smiled at me, “That’s better. I’ll be back soon.”
He took me in his arms and squeezed me tight. “Drake will be ok.”
His face buried into my neck and he took in my scent as he held me. “Vincent?”
“I’m sorry, old habit. You look great by the way.”
He smiled tenderly as he headed for the door.
I handed CJ one of Ness’s bottles and watched as he enjoyed the O positive. My thoughts were on Drake and what in the world had gotten into him.