“Tomorrow we do this, let’s go over the plan one more time.”
“I pretend to pass out.” The second man replied
“No. First we make our presence as a young couple in love, enjoying a walk in the park. Then we sit at the bench on the opposite side of the playground facing away from the cameras.” Said the woman
“I pretend to pass out.” The second man replied
“No. First we make our presence as a young couple in love, enjoying a walk in the park. Then we sit at the bench on the opposite side of the playground facing away from the cameras.” Said the woman
“Ok then what?”
“Then, I pretend to pass out.” The second man again spoke
“I scream and all the parents come running over to us; that’s when you come in and snatch the little girl.”
“Right; you two slip away in the confusion and I’ll contact you two when to meet me at the warehouse.”
“You sure this is going to work.”
“Of course this is going to work, her parents own five different houses in Brisbane, they own that office building downtown, both have bran new cars in addition to the mini-van. You know they got money and not frontin because the private school they take her to, that place is fifty thousand a year.”
“That’s what I'm saying. The police and everybody will be on us, fast.” The second man frantically said.
“No they won’t, this is a black family. You know the police, special forces, the FBI, or whoever the hell they would think about calling wouldn’t give two shits about a missing little black kid, at the end of the day, no matter how much money they got, it’s still just a black kid and they don’t give a shit. And knowing this, the little fuckas parents will be more willing to cooperate with us than the police. All they will want is their little sweet spoiled bitch back, and if they give the money, that’s what they will get. Be, there, on, fucking, time, tomorrow, both of you. We can’t afford to fuck this up. It’s a lot on the line here.”
“We got it you aint gotta be all like that.”
“Whatever, don’t fuck this up. I’ll be waiting for you two tomorrow”
“Whatever, don’t fuck this up. I’ll be waiting for you two tomorrow”
The next day arrived and the pretend couple turned the corner that led them down the tree lined block to the park where their victim awaited. The woman pretended that the holding of her partner’s hand was more than show; she even feigned a smile and raised it to faux laughter. This all was done in an effort to calm the nerves of her partner. His hand was hot and moist but firm. It reminded her of childhood summers in the swamps. She would sit on the hot and moist stones and watch as all the creatures did the things that swamp creatures did. Internally, she did not have any negative convictions about doing what she was about to do because she had perfected the mantra on herself that she would repeat to the parents;
“Do what we say and nothing will happen to her.”
The park bench was empty, as it always was, as they had observed it being at this time for weeks now. He did not like her feeling and touching on him like this. Stephany was Winton’s woman, his brother’s girl, but this was all show. They had to make this all look good so nobody would suspect anything. He never could tell Winton that he did like her. He could never tell Stephany that he liked her, that was his brother’s girl and they were all that they ever had. After this though, Ernesto told himself, convinced himself that he would leave. He would take his share be out of their hair. They could start a family or whatever the hell they wanted to do and he could do the same. Stephany and his brother were ten years older than him so nothing would have ever happened any damn way.
Stephany kissed his lips, which threw him off momentarily but then he remembered that the kiss was the signal, letting him know that the family were here. They watched as the little girl with pink barrettes and a gold necklace with little paw charm on it ran about with her big innocent smile to the swing set. She sat in the seat and grasped her hands tight to the chains. She pumped her legs back and forth too fast and out of any rhythm that would have given her motion, still she tried. The father was a tall and muscular man with big hands. Hands that would have had no problem palming the entirety of her back in a great push forward as if she was some living ball that awaited to be flung into the sky. His beard was neat and trimmed as were his dreadlocks.
The mother was also taller than average woman. Her dreadlocks were not as long as his but were held in place by a black rubber band as well as partially cover with an African print head wrap. She was voluptuous and muscular; her thighs and breast were thick and taut but not from eat and meat. It was obvious that they were health conscious if not fitness fanatics. The son seemed no more than ten or twelve. His glasses did not quite fit him well so when he did take his eyes away from the book he was reading, he had to readjust them or push them back closer to his face. The daughter was almost as tall as the mother and you could see that she was nothing but a younger, slightly slimmer version of her mother. She did not resist the urge to text away. Daughter sat next to mother even though they did not speak, or rather daughter did not speak to mother. Mother looked at her daughter then at the youngest daughter. Mother watched as father pushed the little one higher and higher, while giving her instruction on how to kick her legs out as she came forward. The son found a nice shade tree to continue his book. Stephany shattered all of this with a loud scream and even louder shout;
"Somebody help him, somebody help!"
Winton could see them from the car. He saw Stephany kiss Ernesto. He saw them walk up and sit at the bench, right on time. He knew that the kiss was nothing, it was part of the plan, his plan; it was all part of the act. The way Stephany kissed Ernesto, Winton knew she did it that way knowing that would piss him off and it would be nothing he could do about it. Winton told her that today was not the day but she was always fucking around like that. This was serious and there was no room for this bullshit, Winton thought to himself as he his brow tighten and his teeth clenched. Winton calmed his mind with a few quick breaths. He reminded himself that this is what she wanted. She wanted him to be mad and all pissed off over nothing, over bullshit. He knew her, if he confronted her about the way she kissed him, she would just play dumb and say,
"Weren't you the one that told me to kiss him in the first place."
Winton thought to himself that he would show her and not even say anything at all. He would pretend as if the way Stephany kissed him was the way the plan was supposed to go.
Winton refocused his attention away from his calming thoughts and plans to what he saw as an obvious ploy to antagonize him, to the already laid plan. Winton was dressed in a blue dresshirt he brought from Ross as well as a pair of khakis. He pressed them both till every edge was razor sharp and cemented them with starch. He complemented the outfit with a twenty dollar pair of shoes from payless. The crown of the outfit was the empty baby carrier. This outfit gave him the perfect costume. When he grabbed the girl and if she started to scream it would not look like a kidnapping. It would look as a little girl walking with her father and she was having a tantrum. She could kick, scream, cry, whatever anyone around would only see, and assume, father and daughter.
While everyone was fawning and panicking over Stephany and Ernesto, the little girl was running around on the other side of the playground, away from all of the commotion, away from all the turmoil, away from anyone that might help her. Winton got out the car keeping one eye on the girl and one eye on the group of people huddled around Ernesto and Stephany. Winton focused his vision like a hawk swooping down upon a mouse in the middle of an open plain, yet making sure he kept his stride tamed to the mood of area. He reached out his hand and grabbed her.
"If you scream I will kill your family."
Winton said to her. For a moment it looked as if she considered it then in that same moment she took a deep inhale. Before she could exhale Winton injected her with the tranquilizer. He did not know what, exactly, it was but he had seen it knock out a six foot five, three hundred and twenty pound football player that owed money to the people that cared for him when he was younger. She was out cold and the breath that was intended for a scream was freed as a simple and silent breath. He put her over his shoulder and held her comfortingly as if he was caring for his sleeping daughter, not as the kidnapper he was. His heart still pounding and focusing on not looking as if anything out of the norm was happening he made it back to the car and put her in the car seat. Winton exhaled and from the track phone he sent a single text "done." He then took the phone and dropped it in the 32-ounce cup of water. The text was to let Stephany and Ernesto that he had her and they could finish.
Ernesto felt the phone vibrate in the sewn pocket in his underwear, Stephany felt hers vibrate in her bra. Ernesto began to pretend to come around and jubilation filled the on lookers. The ambulance, under the order of Stephany, had not been called so when Ernesto feigned his weakened walk away from the park with one arm around Stephany, there was no attempt made to follow. They entered the bartstation not noticing that the family had been sniffing the air. They had all congregated looking down the street Winton had driven away.
"You smell her son."
"Looks like you and your sister's first hunt will be an interesting one."
The man turned to his wife and spoke,
"Don’t worry baby, he can’t hurt her. She can handle him if need be.
"I know, it’s just she has never had to before; she is going to be scared and I won’t be there to tell her that its ok."
"Baby worse come to worse she will be able to track us and make it home. Anyway we will be on our way to her before any of that even happens"
"I know baby"
"Dad!" the daughter spoke, calling him and the family over to the spot where Stephany and Ernesto had performed their part. "They both have the same scent on them that is on her when her trail goes off in that direction."
"Ok, good baby, look at my young Queen, what else."
"It’s a man, he is the leader of the group, his adrenaline and testosterone levels are extremely high. They stink like the football player's during a game. He had a shot before he came here."
The family returned to the street letting the air that was in the wind pass over them. The husband put his hands on his wife's shoulders and began to message them. The son took off his glasses and cleaned each lens with his shirt. He placed them on his head and gave them a grimace then took them off and put them in his shirt pocket.
"what’s the matter son?"
"I put them on and things look worse."
"I figured as much. When we hunt, our senses heighten, become sharper than what they were in our human form. You might not need them after. When my grandfather took me on my first hunt, things were so much different than they are now. Hunts now are orchestrated, lavish events, some are even catered parties were children chase caged raised rabbits with no natural instinct, just as lost in the wild as the children hunting them. I don’t even remember the last time a human was justly hunted. This is very rare, something that you and your sister may never experience, at least not for another hundred years maybe."
"Baby" the mother said cutting off her husband's glorious parade down memory lane.
“Let’s just focus getting our daughter back.”
Winton did not see any need to tie her up, locking her in the backroom should be enough. There was no way of her to get out. Even if she did find a way to get out, they were still in an abandon warehouse in West Oakland; the little bitch has probably never known anything other than Morgan Hill so she would be lost out here. The obvious thing would be for Ernesto and Stephany to not to be seen together for the next couple of days and they were not to contact each other for the next couple of days either. This is what Ernesto and Stephany saw as logical but Winton showed them how that would lead the police and anybody else investigating the situation to make them suspects numbers one and two. Ernesto told them to make up some story that was simple enough for them to remember and go to the police and co-operate. Give them the fake story and be helpful and even volunteer for search efforts. This would make them able to file under the radar. It would also, for a time, let them know how far along the police were.
The odd thing was after the first day, there was nothing. There was a story of the kidnapping on the news, once, and that was it. They said no one ever questioned them. They went in to the station and gave a statement and that was that, no on called for a follow up or anything. This threw Winton a bit off because he knew how rich these fuckers were and he knew this should make some waves, but there was none. Winton resolved that they may have actually been onto Ernesto and Stephany so he did contact them and told them to continue to play the role but to never to come to the warehouse just in case they were being followed. He thought maybe now these rich fucks would be reminded of how the system treats black folks. They had been born into money, now they would see what it’s like when to be black when your money and power can’t do shit for you. Seeing how they story only aired on one channel, one time, the media was showing the fuckers how a kidnapped little black girl means nothing compared to some hipsters chaining themselves to a tree or anarchists jumping up and down at a protest and diverting attention away from the purpose of the protest. He knew once he made contact for ransom things would become interesting.
It was almost time for another injection, it was easier to keep her sedated. He didn’t have listen to her talk or cry. The craziness of it was that he had to dose her as if she was a grown man. The amount that should have worked on her did nothing. He ended up giving her more and more each time just to keep her knocked out. Stephany would have bitched and moaned about being, “careful” and how, “we” shouldn’t drug her at all, good that she wasn’t here.
“Momma, Where is momma”
“Shut the fuck up”
“He just texted me.”
“Its about time, its been almost a week now.”
“I would have thought that we would have heard something from him the day after he sent the ransom.”
“Well, Winton was worried about that too, he said that he wanted to get the ransom to them before they had enough time to get the Feds involved. He says its all part of the plan.”
“Yeah, he says.” Stephany said lowering her voice and raising her eyebrow. “I hope so, I'm not trying to go to jail over this shit.”
“We won’t, you know Winton’s plans always work out even if they don’t go according to plan.”
“Yeah but we’ve never done any shit like this. A gas station, the 7/11, that bank, that was all bullshit compared to this, and we barely got away with those. And look how long the money from all of those lasted.”
“Ok but Ernie, that was in the desert of bumfuck nowhere, the girl’s family is rich. I mean rich rich, not like somebody won the lotto rich or we own a restaurant rich. These people are the type of people that donate for political favor rich. They own malls and office buildings plural, rich. And they have been rich. Hell I bet they give the maid more money to spend on groceries for a day than what that bank sees in a week.”
“You starting to sound like Winton now.”
“Shut up” She said as she picked up the closest thing to her and playfully threw it at him, which was a pack of cigarettes. She then plopped down on the couch next to Ernesto and put her arm around him and resumed speaking
“I'm sorry. I just feel bad for her, you know. She’s all alone and away from her family and she is probably scared out of her little mind."
"Steph you know how Winton is but he is a good guy. When we were kids he was more than a brother to me, at times he was more like my dad. When the time comes, you can count on him to be whatever is needed of him."
"I know, im just thinking after this is all over, not if we will be normal but can we. Can we be all like the Huxtables and shit or will we just be another messed couple trying to mix and match our problems and make it work somehow."
"I dont think you guys will ever be the Huxtables but you guys can be like a ballin Martin and Gina"
“But what about kids; I do eventually want them someday and someday I want them with him.”
“What, you don’t think he will like the kids?”
“I don’t know I mean they will be his so I know that he will treat them different from how he is treating her but also too, what are we going to do for money.”
“What do you mean?”
"You know your brother, he’s never been a 9-5 type of dude, Instead of getting a job he decides to do this shit. I'm cool and all with that but how is that going to work with kids. How is that going to work when we’re old and shit.”
"But im saying, Its part of a plan, you know that. Hes going to take your guys share and open a hair shop for you and a BBQ resturant for him."
"Thats what he says, and I know that is the plan but i just dont know sometimes Ernie. I love him so much and I just want to run off with him and live, have a bunch of kids, and be happy. I dont know if he wants that sometimes."
“Look” Ernesto said turning her face to him to show her the promise of his smile. “If you two ever have kids he will love them. And you know my brother, he has to be in charge, he has to be the boss, a 9-5 never has and never will work for him because there was always someone telling him: who, what, when, where, why, and how. You know he can’t deal with that. He can’t function like that. I think if he had been given different opportunities in life, born with some money, privilege, or a different skin color, he might have been a leader of industry but we can’t change what might have been. We can only work on what’s here and now.”
Stephany looked at her phone lighting up, vibrating with a blank message from an unavailable number.
“Come on” Stephany said getting up as she put on her Jacket.
“It’s time to go”
“Dad, did you ever get to hunt humans?” The son asked from the backseat of the black SUV with tinted windows and no license plates.
The once happy and joyful family were now parked two blocks away down from another abandoned alley way and from another abandon warehouse from where their missing family member was being held captive.
“I did, once, When I was about sixty. It is similar to hunting other large game but completely different as well. Humans see themselves as separate from nature so at first they become confused. Then, when they realize what is going on, they either become predator or prey. You never really know which one they will believe themselves to be.”
“Their flight or fight kicks in.”
“Yes son. Most of them will fight if in a group, but most all of them will run if they are alone.”
“The scent was stronger than most other animals.”
“And that is partially why we do not purposely hunt humans anymore.” The mother chimed in “Humans are intoxicating. Everything about a human is almost a thousand fold stronger to us than any other prey. One human hunt is good because it connects us to our core, our primal and natural instincts and lets us feel what our ancestors felt. Any more than one human hunt however and. . .”
“We can lose ourselves.” The daughter finished.
“Look at my young queen, you have been reading the texts.” The father said through a smile
“The daughter looked into her fathers eyes smiling while the son rolled his eyes .
“You two come from a long line that spans all the way back to the early days of The Clan of Lemech. Once you two begin to become men and women you two will gain control over the change like no other clan.”
“Mom!” the boy said in disgust while the father laughed.
“What, becoming a man, puberty, is a natural thing and when you are born of The Clan of Lemech things are far different if you were merely turned or from any of the other clans. Imagine being the age you are now and feeling all of the things you have felt your entire life only feeling them right now, for the very first time, and without anyone to tell you that it is ok and not being able to talk to anyone about it. That’s what it’s like to be turned. I would not wish that on anyone. Then the unnatural, turned ones have to learn to balance and control everything that you’ve had your entire lives to deal with. Its takes the strongest of them a hundred years just to get to where you two are now and that’s even if they live that long. That is why there are so few old unnaturals, the temptation to hunt humans is too strong, and eventually the humans hunt them down. Some don’t even know what’s going on when changed, they are complete beast. Our ancestors learned this long ago and this is why, if we ever do hunt humans it is only for a just cause in which we can invoke vengeance. And it’s only when we have reached the age you two are now.”
“So how do we know if the one will act as predator or prey?”
“You tell me.” the father said in rebuttal.
“He is a predator.” The son said. “He will fight until he cant fight anymore. Its was in his scent, I don’t know how to describe it. Why I know it, but from his scent, I could feel his emotions, I could smell the type of personality he.”
“The smell, was is like fire, sweat, musk, and blood all mixed together?” the mother asked
“That is often what leaders of packs smell like.”
“That is what great grandpa smells like.” The daughter spoke.
“Very good my young queen” The father responded “Your great grandfather is the grand leader of our pack and is one of the elder members of The Clan of Lemech and is the head elder of The Clan of Lemech in this region.”
“Bae” the wife said turning back to her husband. “You think she will be ok.”
“Honey, the only way I think he has survived so far is that I think he has her locked up and chained.”
“Oh my poor little baby.”
“Don’t worry yourself lovely,” The father said kissing his wife’s forehead. “We will have her back in your arms before long, I promise it. This is something that they need to experience while they have the opportunity to do so.”
“I know, you are right. I just miss my baby”
“Where is she?”
“She’s in the back.”
“Please tell me you don’t have her tied up.”
“No. I gave her a trank.”
“You drugged up a little girl.”
“Fuck that little bitch. She aint nothing but a spoiled little rich bitch and I did not want to deal with her.”
“But she’s a little girl”
“I used enough on her to knock out a grown man and her little punk ass still is waking up or coming to in an hour or so, asking for her fucking momma.”
“Let me go see about the child before you kill her.”
“Don’t open the door, just look through the window, if she’s awake I don’t want her to see your face.”
“She saw yours”
“I can deal with that.”
Stephany walked by him, giving him her most fearsome side eye, making her way to the makeshift sliding window in the door. She gazed up the little girl sleeping soundly, her hair still in pink barrettes and, like the last time she saw her, the gold necklace with what she believed to be the most adorable paw charm was still around her neck.
“So what’s the plan?” Ernesto asked, pulling Winton to the side, out of earshot of Stephany.
“I’ve told them to leave the money in a red backpack at the park across the street from Santa Fe at three a.m.”
“Why so early?”
“To throw them off, and that way, it will be easier to see any cops trying to be undercover. I know that park, and that area, no homeless people sleep there and there are no randoms running around just out and about at that time so if anyone is there, they are cops.”
“So once we give them the girl, what’s to stop them from getting us right then?”
“That’s simple, She wont be with us. She will be with Steph at the Embarcadero.”
“In the city.”
“Yup, that way when we get the money I’ll leave a note saying where to find her. It will fuck them up too because they are expecting the girl to be with me but I told them no cops. So if a cop does rush me I tell them that if I don’t make it back with in a hour then the little bitch is dead.”
“That will piss them off.”
“So what, fuck them. And what the fuck are they going to do about it anyway. If they try something I told Steph to shoot the little rich bitch.”
“I don’t think she be able to do that to a kid.”
“I know. That’s why I'm counting on you if she cant.”
“Ok, but how will we know if everything worked.”
“Fuck!” Winton exclaimed in frustration. “Listen ok, I get there at one, scout the area and hang about and see who drops off the money and see if any cops set up shop. At three I pick up the money and by three-thirty I’ll text you guys. If I haven’t texted or contacted either one of you by three-fortyfive then Steph or you know what to do and get out of the state. If you can, get out of the country and try to get to Cuba.” Winton paused his speech, pulled out his wallet and handed Ernesto a key. “Remember back when I was working with Rony and them.”
“I found out he was ripping me and the crew off and we did set him up.”
“Yeah it was me.”
“I cant fucking believe you, you looked me in the eye and said it was not you. I told everybody it was not you. Even the police believed me when I said it wasn’t you.”
“I cant fucking believe you, you looked me in the eye and said it was not you. I told everybody it was not you. Even the police believed me when I said it wasn’t you.”
“And that’s why I told you I didn’t do it. You cant lie for shit and I knew you would be the first place those fuckas would come to. I knew if you believed the truth was that I did not do it then you when they pressured you, there would be nothing for them to find because you did not know anything.”
“But Mina went to jail for that shit.”
“Fuck Mina. Tony was going to kill her anyway, he found out about the abortion. Anyway, before we did him, we made him tell us where the money was. This dumb ass still living in the eighties had stashed a safe full of money in the floor board of his momma’s house and had another one stashed under the dog house in the back yard. Long story short, there is a storage place in Daly City. If shit goes bad get there, there is a trunk with Jordan boxes in them. There is money in the boxes.”
“Shut up, let me finish. Don’t let Steph end up with some dumbass, and you go figure you out.”
“Shut up, I know this will all work out but just incase it doesn’t and shit goes bad, you need to know what to do.”
Winton paused the heartfelt speech to look at Ernesto then he spoke again
“You hear something?
“You think they will be ok?”
“No.” the father said. “I know they will be ok. They are our children, they come from the clan of. . .”
“Ok baby, I know all that and get all that, you don’t have to sell it to me, I know it, I’m the one that teaches Clan history, but they are our children. They have never hunted humans before. I was older than you before I hunted my first human. Lonnie and Tina are still young. They still have change pains. I'm just worried that human prey, this soon, they might not be able to handle it.”
“Bae, they have always been ahead, I did not stop having change pains till I was fifty. Tina in changed form is as advanced as someone twice her age and Lonnie barely show any signs that he has change pains and he’s showing signs that he might be able to change at will, at his age. I wasn’t able to have control over the change until I was forty-five. Just think of it, by the time he is either of our ages he might be able to actually shift.”
“And if they are able to shift, what then” The mother said breaking through the father’s boastful retort. “They will be recruited. I don’t want that for them right now.”
“It will be up to them.”
“No it wont and you know it. Everyone that is of your grandfather’s direct line gets recruited.”
“And what’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing is wrong with that, but I would like them to have a life first, see the world, meet someone, have children of their own, I would like to be a grandmother someday.”
“They will be able to do all that if they are recruited.”
“They will be recruited because, like you said, they are showing signs of control and the possibility of being able to shift at their young age. Your grandfather was the only one in the last three hundred years that could control and will the change and he was younger them and he was way younger than us when he was able to shift. You and I are well over one hundred years old and we just recently started being able to shift.”
As if it was a blow to his pride, the father adjusted himself in the car seat, turning away from his wife and looked out the windshield upon his children.
“What’s your point.”
Reaching over to stroke his dreadlocks and reaffirm his ego. “My point is that I want our children to be children. I want them to grow and be happy adults, before they are forced to serve.”
“But. . .”
“I know, I know, being in the service of the pack or the clan is a privilege and a great honor that not everyone gets. If they are recruited, I’ll be very proud of them, hell my mother and great grandmother served pack and the clan proudly so I get it, and I get that it could lead them to having a life that most do not have. All that we have we owe to the pack and the clan; I even get that they could end up having a pack of their own one day, like your grandfather. Because of him being able to do the things that he was able to do he had already made and established his own pack and been named an elder even before he was our age. I understand that something like that hasn’t happen since times of old. I just worry that, if they are recruited and serve now, at their age, when they are our age, will they look back and be mad at us for pushing them into the service of the pack? Will they resent us for not fighting for their right to be children.”
The father turned back to his wife and readjusted himself to once again face her.
“Service to the pack might not even be their path; Lonnie has so much potential, he might want to become a balance instructor.”
The father’s face turned to a frown that he weakly attempted to hide.
“What’s wrong with being and balance instructor?” The wife and mother questioned in that probing and accusatory tone.
“As far back as I can remember, as far back as I’ve been told, my ancestors tell the tales of my line either being leaders of packs, in the service of a pack or clan, or they were a legendary lone one.”
“Being a balance instructor is serving the pack.”
The father frowned his face once again, this time he made no attempts to try and hid his contempt.
“Where would any of us be without our balance instructors? None of us would know how to shift and if we did figure it out we would not know how to come out of the shift.” The mother and wife smiled playfully and continued. “Or did I marry and old dog that believes balance teaching is woman’s work.”
The husband and father smiled and kissed his wife.
“No, no you didn’t. I am not my father or my uncles. I just want everything for them and for them to have every opportunity but it is their lives” the father paused reluctantly but contently. “and it will be their choice.”
“Look bae, they are starting to change.” The wife said looking out at their children.
Lonnie, the son, Tina, the daughter, had already took off all their clothes. Tina folded hers in a neat pile and put them in a bag by a random shopping chart that was missing two of its four wheels and was rusted from years of neglect. Lonnie stuffed his in a duffel bag as would any typical male child in that prepubescent stage would have done. Lonnie sat in the lotus position and began to breathe deeply. He had learned when he was younger that the opposite of what everyone his age said was true, instead of pretending like the change did not hurt or trying to focus on something else one should embrace the pain. He found that instead of fighting the change, if he just let it happen and acknowledged it, the change not only happen faster but what pain there was, did not present as an issue anymore. It became almost like a headache that if he focused hard enough he could will away. What he had been trying lately was to will the change. It was something that they all said would not even be possible until he was much older. His balance instructor encouraged him to still try none the less. She warned him that the pain of willing a change is a thousand times worse than a normal change and that it one must have reached a solid state of mental balance to achieve a full willed change. She told him that one must be aware of thought and emotions and yet be able to transcend them as well to will the change. Lonnie figured if his parents and relatives could do it then he should be able to do it as well. It was a matter of moving the thoughts and emotions from their internal place to the external body in a fluid motion. A willful change should be easy as placing one foot in front of the other. In his meditations he could will his ears to change and even his claws to grow. The closer to the full moon he could will other parts of his body to change. During a full moon two months ago he was able to will his teeth to change. This, however was not satisfactory to him, he wanted to be able to do and be more, He wanted to be like his great-grandfather. Lonnie not only wanted to be able to will the change but he wanted to be able to shift as well. He always thought to himself, mom and dad are somewhere in their hundreds and they can barely shift, he wanted to be better than that.
Tina laid down on the ground and attempted to relax. It, the change, hurt but she had grown use to it. It would happen and it would get easier every time but it still hurt. The worst part for her was the teeth. That always bothered her the most. Her mouth would still be sore the next day. Lonnie use to call her baby Tina but he stopped after the last fight they got into. When she was in changed form she was far more powerful than he was. Her senses were stronger and instincts more keen. Mom told her that it comes from her side of the family. Mom told her that there are stories that some of her ancestors were Ze’evian. Since Ze’evian women lead the packs, if they have one and the women are usually stronger than the males in changed form since their natural form is the changed form and not human. It made sense to Tina, she always felt more herself in changed form. She would yell, she would scream, and when the change was complete she would howl. She felt alive and an more intouch with everything around her. She loved being in her changed state and wished she could be in it all the time but she knew the stories and the dangers. Lonnie though he was special because change in silence. She did not care because he wasn’t half of what she was when changed. She knew that she saw better, ran faster, and jumped higher, so what he was heighten when human, who wants to be human any way. What mattered was what one could do, could be, when one was changed. After all we are not really humans anyway. What good was it to be a good or even exceptional human while being sub-par when changed. So what he did not feel the pain of the changed or could even will some of his change. What mattered was what they were when changed.
“You ready Lonnie”
“Shhh. I'm centering my emotions and thoughts”
“It’s probably just some dogs fighting.”
“I don’t know man, that sounds like some big ass dogs then.”
“Well we are in the middle of nowhere.”
“You trippin Ernie. Its just late night noises, animals being animals in the night.”
“Ok Winton, but this isn’t the woods and shit, this is West Oakland, the animals around here don’t make noises like that.”
“So what, what is it then, you wanna go outside looking for some weird shit like a dumbass in a movie only to see that its somebody’s half dead lost pit? Go right ahead.”
“Fuck you Winton.”
“Naw, come on.” Winton said picking up his gun and a flashlight. “Ill go pray over this cup of water just in case its some vampires or demons and shit, like that one damn show you watch. We’ll go investigate and see the demon opossum fighting the ghost cat.”
“Don’t be a dick Winton.” Stephany said, reappearing and kissing Winton’s cheek while putting her hand across his chest.
Winton kissed Stephany once, then once more, this time more passionately, more deliberately. A third kiss and Ernesto faded from the immediate recollection of Winton and Stephany. They were brought back by a loud crashing sound coming from outside the warehouse
“See, now tell me that was some dogs or raccoons and shit.”
“That does sound like something.” Stephany said, agreeing with Ernesto, pulling away from the moment that she and Winton had approached but did not enter.
“I told yall its just some dogs, or an opossum, or even a raccoon, shit. Why is yall fucking trippin.”
“Imma go look.” Ernesto said, evening and deepening the tone of his voice and making the timber more enriched in testosterone.
“You do that.” Winton replied mockingly. “If you see something, shoot it.”
Ernesto grabbed his guy resting on the table and headed outside with it tightly grasped in his and his flashlight in the other.
Winton turned to Stephany as she was already approaching him. Stephany reached for his belt and unfurled it with one hand. Winton busied himself by pulling off Stephany’s Jacket and T-shirt after she had taken off her pants. He smiled when he found that she was not wearing a bra. He cupped one of her breasts as she jumped upon him and wrapped her legs around his waist. Winton exchanged more passionate kisses with her as she balanced and he held her close to him. His pants now around his ankles he skillfully made his way to the wall still cupping Stephany’s breast, still balancing her, still kissing her. Against the wall he pressed her back firmly and with the leverage he gained, hastily uncupped her breast and pulled down his underwear releasing his fully engorged, rigidly erect manhood. Moving Stephany’s panties to one side, he broke with the passion of the moment and slowly placed himself inside of her causing her eyes to roll in the back of her head, as they did every time he did in such a manner. He continued the unhurried gentle thrusts, slowly turning them into hard and pounding stabs that quickened. They exchanged mild bites in between rough kisses. She digging her nails into his back, he knowing himself and her timing made sure that he balanced what he knew to be pleasurably painful with what he knew he could truthfully give, thrust deeper and faster yet not out of rhythm with her. This ultimately, as it always had, caused them to both climax at the same time.
When it was over, Winton pulled up his underwear and pants, sat on the couch and lit a blunt, took a two hits and passed it to Stephany as she also plopped down on the couch. She laid her head in his lap and exhaled the smoke into his face laughing. They passed the blunt back and forth between them till that was done as well. The both of them fully quenched in carnal desires Stephany began to drift off to sleep. Winton, not wanting to fall asleep first held off until he saw that Stephany was gone. Seeing that she was, and his eyelids pressing upon him to join her his mind shifted when and spoke his thought.
“Bae, did Ernie come back yet?”
“He prolly just went to the car. You know, it amazes me that after good sex and good weed your first thoughts are of your brother.” Stephany said playfully with her eyes still closed.
“Shut up.” Winton responded in the same playful manner. He then stood up forcing Stephany off of him and onto her stomach. In a childish spiteful act of retaliation.
“You are so cute and sexy when you are all angry and serious.”
Winton did not respond except by walking to the converted sink area of the room where his cigarettes lay on the table. He turned and gave her an manly flattered looked took one out, lit it, and put the pack back on the table. He walked past the door and opened the window. She was still sleeping and he considered putting the trank in her food next time. She not only took more than what she should have but she ate way more than what a little girl of her size should eat.
“How is she doing?”
“You know we could let her wake up, You don’t have to keep her knocked out.”
Sharply Winton said “If she is not conscious then the chances of her being able to see and then later recognize our faces or our voices is reduced. Shit I don’t want her to even be able to recognize this room let along know where she is and get some sort of bearing and try to run away. If by the off chance we run into her in the future, after this is all over, I don’t want her to be able to I D us. You gotta think about shit like that Steph.”
“Don’t talk to me like that. I'm not a fucking dumbass Winton.”
“I'm sorry Bae, I'm just saying we have to think long term, especially with the money we’re going to get from this. If we do this right, we wont ever have to work for anyone else but ourselves for the rest of our lives. We can open our own business.”
“What about kids.”
Winton pored himself a shot of Jack Daniel’s that was on the table in front of the couch.
“What about kids Steph.”
“Are they in our future? What if I don’t want a business. What if all I want is to pop out fifteen kids and watch tv all day.”
“Is that what you want?”
“I don’t know, but the point I'm making is that it’s a choice, a plan we have to plan and talk about together.”
“Alright Bae.” A still shirtless Winton said siting back down next to Stephany watching as she took the cigarette out of his mouth, placing it in hers and taking a long hit.
“Where the fuck is Ernie?”
“You want me to go check?” Stephany said, finishing the cigarette without passing it back to Winton.
“Naw, he probably is in the car like you said. Jacking off”
“I did not say he was Jacking off.”
“He probably is though. He need him a woman or something.”
“You know Ernie is not like you, he is sensitive.”
“I think you mean gay.”
“He’s not gay.” Stephany said sharply “And if he was, what would be wrong with that?”
“Nothing, shit at least then I could find him a dude. At least then I would know that he is getting his dicked sucked or whatever you know.”
“So what you are really saying is because he is not a clone of you then something is wrong. He cant have his own thoughts, feelings, and desires hmm. His actions all have to make sense to your reasoning.” Stephany said in a more irritated tone than before.
“What are you talking about.”
“There are over six billion other people on this earth that are not you and your brother is one of the. He has a right to be him the way he is without changing to please or make you comfortable.”
“so what the fuck does that mean.”
“It means” Stephany said as she rose from the couch putting her bra t-shirt and pants back on. “that I'm going to check on Ernie. You really get o my nerves sometimes.”
“What the fuck did I do?”
“And that’s the fucking problem. You so full of you and your own shit you cant see anything the fuck else. The earth doesn’t spin on an axis named Winton nor is Winton the center of perfection or the core of the universe.”
“You mean center of the universe.”
“Oh my gawd, that shit. That shit right there.” Stephany said lividly
“Ok, what the fuck ever just shut the fuck up and leave, or stay. I don’t care just shut up talking.” Winton responded not looking in her direction.
Stephany grabbed a few cigarettes out of the pack and threw them back at the sink area. She rolled up the gate instead of using the door and tried to slam it down with emphasis but her intent was lost in her lack of physical strength. So to compensate she screamed
Fuck you, lil bitch!
Stephany went around to the back of the warehouse. There was no dumpster on this side but there was no end to the abandoned trash. Old mattresses, wet and stained, giving shelter to rats and roaches. Tattered sofas missing cushions completed the set of debris. This and the two adjacent warehouses had been abandoned for so many years that the gate locks had rusted in place. These warehouses were in a part of West Oakland that had been abandoned for so long that the street lights either did not work or where stuck on red. You could stand in the middle of the street and scream at the top of your lungs, no one would hear you, no one would notice you but you.
Stephany finished her cigarette and walked to where she saw Ernie had parked. Just like she thought, he was a sleep, with his mouth wide open just like a little kid’s. The closer she got to the car her large smile began to wane as she saw and heard he was not snoring. Her smile was completely erased as she saw that his chest was not moving up or down. She would not let her mind process what that meant, at least for right now. Stephany slowly drew close enough to see that Ernie’s tongue was gone and there was a cavern where his throat should have been. She then took in that all of his clothes were covered in blood. She inhaled to scream and as she did a blurred shadow from the corner of her eye hit her so hard that she fell to the ground, knocking the wind out of her. Another shadow came from the other direction and passed over her. Stephany tried to get up but her body would not respond. She tried to call out Winton’s name but her voice had no sound. She tried to scream again but her mouth was filling up with spit and she did not understand why the spit tasted like a moldy wet penny. She spit but shocking her more was the fact that the spit was blood. She went into full panic mode and tried to scream again but this time her throat felt cold on the inside. She processed now that somehow her throat had been cut and she was paralyzed. Stephany’s panic began to heighten as everything around her began to darken. Her eyelids were becoming too heavy and she just wanted to close them but she knew she could not do that, she knew she could not let that happen. She felt herself growing weaker as things grew darker. She then saw two giant dogs, bigger than grate Danes, almost the size of bears but looking more like wolves, jump in a single spring onto the roof. The second dog bear thing jumped on to the car then the roof. The darkness continued to grow from the corner of her eyes, claiming more and more of her sight but she kept her eyes open. With the last of her energy she again tried to call out to Winton but only more blood came out and the darkness finally claimed all of her sight
Winton walked by the room again, peaking through the window, looking to confirm that she was still sleeping. It was a good thing he thought. If she wasn’t sleep, he might have to give her more. He had to dose her more today than any other day. He was worried that he might have given her too much today, but she seemed ok. Leaning against the wall he took another swig from the Jack Daniel’s bottle having abandoned the shot glass for a heavy based whiskey glass with ice. Later, after the little inhibition that he did have retreated, so did the need to follow any of societies conventions and he drank straight from the bottle being where he is now.
The lights flickered momentarily which his mind registered but his drunken body did not care enough about to respond to. Winton walked back to the couch and reflexively turned on the television. He was too drunk to realize or even care that the television did not come on. The sound of glass shattering woke him from the sleep he had not known he had slipped into. He was still drunk so it did not register as being a big threat. Through his blurred vision he saw his cigarettes on the floor by the sink. He was too drunk to remember how they had got there. He was too drunk at this point to care and the fact he did acknowledge was that he did not care how they got there. What concerned him most was could he manage the walk to go get them without falling. Winton gathered enough sobriety to move his heavy corpse like body off the and collected enough of his fading senses to focus on the pack of cigarettes on the floor across the room. It did not take long before he had made his way to them and with his senses still loosely collected he managed to ignite one. The first inhale and subsequent exhale gave validation to what was seemed like an extreme mental and physical effort. This is when he noticed that the little girl was not moving. He looked in the window and prayed that it was just him being drunk and that she was not dead and still breathing because that would fuck up everything. In the event of her accidental death, he had a plan but that was one he did not want to have to go over, he had not told Steph or Ernie of that plan because things had seemed to be going so well with this one.
Winton unlocked all the locks and rushed into the room, he threw off the covers and discovered that the little girl was not in the bed at all and was replaced by bits of broken glass from the window above. This had to be some bullshit he thought, that window was reinforced five inch thick glass and that window was same size of a two by four, there was no way she could have gotten out through it, and yet she was gone. Winton tore up the room looking for her then went back out tossing things everywhere. The brief flash that Steph might even do this as a joke only infuriated him more. She knew better than to do some petty shit like this, no matter how pissed she was, this was not funny. Winton saw that it had been an hour or so since Steph had left and even more since Ernie. This realization began to sober him even further, why hadn’t they come back, where were they. They would never betray him because they had just as much to lose as he did so something must have happen to them. Winton fully sober grabbed his gun and put a full clip in and released the safety. Maybe the family had hired someone and had given up on the police. If it was the FBI then they would have just killed him and there would be feds everywhere, this was private work.
Winton slowly lifted the gate, letting his gun proceed him into the cold soundless night. If it had not been for the large full moon lording the night sky there would have been no light. The rustling of trash in the wind was the only sounds he heard. Winton went around the slowly approached the corner that lead to the alley letting his gun again lead. As he approached he though he saw a shadow behind him move and pointed his gun that way franticly, almost letting loose a shot or two. He didn’t because there was nothing there. When he fully turned around to the dark alley partially illuminated he saw Stephaney laying in a pool of blood.
Winton dropped his gun and rushed to her.
“Stephany! Stephany! come on baby. Stephany!”
Winton slapped her face and pumped her chest attempting to revive her. He did a few rounds of cpr, breathing into her lungs and attempting to take her pulse but she was, and had been dead, what was left for him of her was the realization of it and her empty flesh. Shedding tears, and sniffling he knelt by her body momentarily then rose up and saw the Ernie in the car. He ran over to it only to see the same horrific sight that Stephany once beheld. The realization that his brother and his fiancé were dead was only allowed to hold court in his mind momentarily before Winton felt the wind behind him shift and before he could turn and see, he felt a pain on the back of his head and he faded out.
Winton eyes painfully opened to slowly take in the warehouse ceiling. As this message from his eyes began to register in his brain so too did the dull pain radiating from the back of his head to the front.
“You’re a bit smarter than what I initially assumed.”
Winton’s head instinctively directed its self to the direction of the voice. It was then he realized that he was also tied to a chair.
“You had my baby drugged this whole time.” The father smiled balefully.” It crossed my mind, momentarily, that you knew whom, or rather what, you were dealing with and took proper precautions and had her chained down and locked somewhere reinforced. Then we get here and I see none of that. You simply would rather drug a kid than deal with one. Very clever and effective way dealing with a human, and very lucky for you.”
Winton tried to formulate words but his mind was still in a fog.
“It’s what saved you, or kept you alive this long, she was not conscious therefore she could not change.”
Winton senses still attempting to fathom what was happening to him, what had happen to Stephany and Ernie, could not comprehend what he was seeing. The little bitch’s father sat in a chair, saying these things to him. It did not make any sense, why was he saying these words to him, why hadn’t he just killed me and get it over with. As his eyes and mind came to better cohesion, he saw the girl’s mother standing behind him and on either side of here with two creatures that looked like monsters. They both were covered in tooth, nail, muscle and hair standing at least seven or eight feet tall. Winton eyes widened and his sense focused on them.
“You remember my wife and children, The kids had the pleasure of the other two but you my friend; I say my friend because you’re giving my children an opportunity that is extremely rare these days and for that I thank you. You, we all agreed shall be for my baby.”
The father then rose from his chair and walked to the door along with his wife and the two beasts that Winton had to believe were some sort of werewolves, there was no other explanation. The wife placed a gun in his lap and they all exited the building. When they did the electronic handcuffs binding Winton to the chair came a loose. He responded by grabbing the gun without thought. Winton then heard a growl coming from the shadowy corner on the opposite of the room. Winton quickly jumped from his chair with the gun and fired a shot in that direction.
Stepping out of the shadow was another creature again covered in tooth, muscle, hair, and nail. This one was smaller than the others and was on four legs, it was the size of a large mastiff. It walked slowly to the left growling, forcing Winton to walk away from the door to the room where he kept the little girl locked up. Winton finally at the door to the room stopped when this new beast stopped. He then realized he was going to die. His eye beheld in horror, around this beasts neck was a gold necklace with a small paw. He fired the gun again and again emptying the clip but it did nothing. When the clip was empty the little one pounced.
©Christopher F. Brown 2015