Into the Vampire Den

I finished eating with Sage opposite me. I’d never actually talked to the hacker, only worked with him. I hated that the more I talked to him, the more I saw why Nox was his friend, and how they really had grown up together in a world where being different was shunned. I knew all about that too, but my experience was less dramatic than theirs because no one knew I was different.

Sage grew up a human in a wolf pack. Nox a human in the Venatori world I grew up a telepath in the human world. And yet the experiences we shared weren’t the same, but we got along. Made you wonder how the rest of the world survived. What if they’d known about the supernatural. Humans who could talk to computers, or read your mind. Men and women who could do magic. Vampires, werewolves. I wondered if there were zombies.

My phone pinged when Sage sent me the contacts. I grinned at him. “Happy doing business with you. I’ll call when I have details.”

Sage nodded, “Hey Alex?” I turned to look back at him after I’d gotten up. “If you see Nox in the dream, tell him we are all here waiting, we love him.”

I nodded. “Sure thing, Sage. I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that.” And for some odd reason I knew that was the truth. He hated being alone. I was learning that. He wanted to be held and touched because he was afraid of being alone. Or unloved, or something. He was such a basket case sometimes. I guess that made him my basket case.

I flipped through all the new contacts in my personal phone. I recognized some of them, but there were a ton I did not. It wasn’t a long list. I knew Nox went through some proper channels in some places, but I didn’t know them. I knew Ant, and I knew the name of the Lone Wolf Pack because I hated that name probably as much as I had thought I hated Ant’s. I hit the call button next to Adrian’s name, and I took a deep breath. What the fuck was I doing?

A very masculine voice answered, “Hello?”

“Hi. I’m a friend of Nox’s.”

“Alex?”

“Does everyone fucking know who I am?”

“You’ve met Nox? You know he doesn’t shut up. And you are his favorite topic.”

I sighed. “Yes, okay. Nox is in trouble, and I’m looking for help in getting him out of the AU building.”

“Really? What happened?”

I relayed the story. The nightmare, the demon possession, the jumping, and the information my hacker found. I didn’t know who knew the identity of The Wicked Truth, and I wasn’t about to out one of Nox’s best friends.

“What did you have in mind?” Adrian asked.

“I’m going to go wake up the son, the prince of fucking darkness, and I’ll explain it all when everyone gets there.”

Adrian interrupted me with laughter. “I bet he just loves that nickname.”

“I don’t think he knows it,” I said. “I’m going there now, I’m almost to the door.”

“You’re just going to waltz into the Night Life building unannounced?”

“Yeah? Why not? Nox does it all the time.”

You are not Mors Praetor either.”

I shrugged. “Whatever, I’m going to see Ant not his mother. I don’t want to meet that scary bitch.”

Adrian laughed. “If you survive, give me a call and I’ll meet you there. Inside the building is vamp territory and I’d rather not start a war my people can’t win, and without Nox to keep the peace that’s dangerous.”

“He’s really that important?” I asked – really hearing it for the first time from someone other than his friends. Though Adrian was still a friend.

“He really is. His own people don’t even know how critical he is. Fuck I’m sure he doesn’t even know. Mors Praetor’s favors have saved us on more than one occasion. Call me if you can get to Giovanni.”

“Understood.” I hung up. I was only a little worried as I pulled open the glass door of the Night Life building. It looked no different than any other mall I’d ever been in. Similar to the AU building with it’s straight up to the top empty space. A patch of wide sunlight streamed to the ground and several people stood in the middle basking in it’s warmth. I didn’t get it but as I walked past I felt nothing from the person. No leaking of thoughts. Wasn’t Venatori, had to be vampire.

“First time in the sun?” I asked as I hurried past the next one.

The man laughed but didn’t move. It was funny but not worth moving if any human had heard me. Maybe here reality was lost. Maybe here vampires really did exist.

I didn’t exactly know where the prince of darkness slept at night. I vaguely remembered Nox saying it was up high, counter intuitive to what you’d think for a vampire that couldn’t bear the sunlight, but then there was that one down here. Another vague memory of the glass being different. Fuck! I should pay better attention to the things Nox’s says, they aren’t all completely useless.

I took the elevator up. The top few floors were locked down tight, so I would ride until I could make it to the right floor. Fuck! Maybe I should just call. At the first stop no one got on, there were people standing there but no one moved. I held the door but they all waved me on. It happened again at the next stop. It was troubling. There was no chatter around me as I rose another level and the door dinged open. I started for the door, and found the way barred by a tall blond with piercing green eyes and a fucking smirk I wanted to wipe off his face. “Alex, right?”

“Who’s asking?”

He stepped into the elevator with me punched a code into the elevator console. “My name is Ryan Elliot.”

“I know the name.”

“Now you know the pretty face,” he said. I couldn’t help but like him.

“So where are you taking me?” I asked.

“You came to see what was it you said, ‘the prince of darkness’.”

“Do all of you fucking talk?” I asked.

“Sheridan called Allison to make sure we didn’t kill you on sight.”

“You’d really kill me?”

Ryan shook his head. “Well no, but if you’d tried to punch in a code on the panel we’d have flooded the elevator with knock out gas.”

“And then you would have killed me.” We rode the rest of the way up until the 51st floor. Almost all the way up, but not quite. Ryan opened the door and we walked into the hall. He opened the first door on the right and waved for me to step inside.

The room was pretty much empty, it was marked off into a square in the middle. “You brought me to the dojo.”

“Ant’s office. He’ll be here as soon as he has a bite to eat.”

“A human?”

“His usual breakfast, the girl he brought home last night. She isn’t compelled if that’s what you are worried about,” Ryan said.

“I hope he fucked her before he feed on her.”

Ryan laughed. “That’s usually his MO. Not that I pay attention to that.”

The door opened and tall dark and handsome walked through it. “You could have called Alex, you didn’t have to wake me up.”

Poison and More

I was sitting in Nox’s favorite booth at Bonnie’s waiting on one of his best friends who had hacked his own friend for me. Made me wonder what kind of friend does that. Though I had paid a pretty penny for him to use his friend. So I guess he was better friend than it seemed.

Bonnie came over with a smile. “I haven’t seen you for a while. You and Nox have a falling out?”

I laughed. “We had a falling out, a falling in and then a fucking fall.”

Bonnie sighed. “I had heard he’d gotten himself hurt. I keep telling him this cult of his is going to get him killed, but he’s a strong kid, been through hell and back, he’ll get through this.”

“I hope so,” I said sadly.

“Sage, darling,” Bonnie chimed as the hacker walked into the room. “No little missus?”

“No she’s working. I sent her to go look in on Nox for me. I need to talk to Alex,” he said sitting down opposite me with a smile, but he didn’t say anything until after we had ordered our food. After Bonnie left he laughed, “Pancakes and icecream – Nox must love you for that.”

I smiled. “His pancakes are my favorite. What couldn’t you tell me over the phone?”

Sage slide a drive over the table. “Everything I’m about to tell you is on this, you can see for yourself. I didn’t start out looking into Nox. I swear you have to tell him I only did it because I was looking out for him. I’ve kept this from him too long, too many things, and he’ll be angry, so I need you to stand up for me. Please, Alex. Nox is ….”

“Sage, I got it. He’s like your brother, except you liked to watch him,” I growled a little at the latter bit.

Sage blushed. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. But know you won’t be doing that again. He’s mine. And I want you to give me every copy of everything you have. Don’t keep a single frame of it.”

Sage nodded. And I smiled. “So we are square. I get it – really but he’s mine.”

“Okay, but you aren’t going to like what I tell you,” Sage said.

“Did you do any of it?”

“No.”

I laughed. “Then nothing to be mad at you for.”

Sage took a deep breath. “Nox has a lot of redacted files and the farther I dug the more troubling things became. But all that aside, the Venatori are trying to …” Sage cut himself short when Bonnie brought over our drinks. The tall blue eyed boy gave her a wide smile that reminded me of Nox and waited until she put things down. “Thank you, Bonnie.”

He waited until she was gone before he continued. “They are trying to kill Nox.” Sage did whatever Sage did in his head and he was accessing his phone’s memory.

He shoved it over to me and showed me a very marked up report. Most of it was marked out in black ink, so it was a public file with redacted information. But one word stared out at me ‘nepenthe’. I pointed to the word on the document and asked, “Do you know what this is?” Sage shook his head. “It’s the only drug that gets a Venatori high – it’s lethal to humans.”

Sage nodded. “Anything in the dosage and timing they are giving Nox could kill him. We have to get him out of there.”

I couldn’t have agreed more. “We can’t do this alone.”

“Who the fuck is going to help us against the Venatori?”

I laughed. “I have a few thoughts on that. Do you have full access to Nox’s phone?”

Sage nodded, “Yeah, what are you looking for?”

“Send all his contacts to my phone. I have a stop to make, I’ll call you with where to meet?”

Sage laughed, “Food, then help Nox. He’ll hurt you if you die from starvation.”

“I should do this first,” I said sliding out of my seat.

Sage rolled his eyes. “Well since you don’t have the contacts yet, sit down and eat and when I’m satisfied we can go save your boyfriend.”

“You are a fucking bastard you know that?” I growled but sat down. “Fine. I’ll eat.”

Sage was smiling happily. “You know Nox is happier with you. Even when you went awol on him. He was a mess, but he was happy.”

“So?”

Sage laughed again and I could see why Nox liked him. “You do know Nox right? Tall brooding guy who is a complete and utter fake until you get under the mask. Nox was usually only ever truly happy when he was curled up in a puppy pile at my house. On the nights of the full moon, when those of us who didn’t turn because we were too young (or me cause I can’t) he’d come sit with us, and it was the only time I ever got to feel the touch of the pack. I grew up never being a part of what it meant to be pack, and Nox would hold me close protect me from the hands and feet around us while they piled around him. He loved it. Even showing us his nightmares were worth that feeling.”

“So the puppy pile at his house the past few days is likely to be a thing?” I sighed. I was never going to have any alone time with him now. What the fuck was I getting into? Why did this pretty boy make me want to do it? That was what scared me most. I wanted to be here with him. Even in Vegas I knew it. I fought it. Every picture, every text he’d sent made me angry at myself.

Sage chuckled and nodded. “If his kids and brothers are anything like him, then yes, I imagine that there will be a lot of touching.”

Great!

Passing Time

We got to see Nox the next day. The little ones were with Ryan and the twins were with me. But it was only me they let in to see him. Ant had been asleep in the middle of the day. He looked horrible, his body was purple and blue and he looked tagged lying in the white bed covered in the white sheet to his waist.

I soon found out why they let me in. Both Dorian and Kai told the doctors I was the point of contact and I had to sign off on any treatment. And there was paper work signed by Nox stating so. I was surprised by the but if news.

A small slip of a girl sat down next to me and twirled a purple stand of hair around her finger. “Nox was a good kid even if he was a little weird. I treated him badly. Everyone did. Do you know how he got those scars on his back?”

“Yeah the asshole he saved did it to him.” I growled.

“Garrett?” she asked. “He says he doesn’t know. But it doesn’t matter.” She sighed. “He has a history of suicide and they want to move him to the psyche ward before he wakes up. You can’t stop us but you can put in a petition to get him out but he’s dangerous.”

“Is that the only reason I’m here?”

“And to see him of course.”

“Madison.” I plucked her name from her head and her relationship with Nox too… bitch, “I’ll be taking him as soon as he wakes up no matter where he is so take him wherever you want,” I said and left my pretty boy before I literally killed the messenger.


They moved Nox to another room, in another wing, in a much more secure facility behind an orange door even. I sat outside of it trying to sleep, and get into the dreams of my pretty boy. They wouldn’t let me inside the room. But Ant said he could get in later in the day when the shadows were deeper.

There was motion next to me and I felt the bench shift. I didn’t open my eyes I didn’t care who was joining me. sat there trying to reach my boy.

It was a while before they spoke. “How is he?” his father asked.

“Broken, battered and still asleep. He looks like like he’s healing, but they don’t know why he won’t wake up and they won’t let me inside.”

“How are you?”

“I’m in need of a shower. I probably should eat, I’m sure there are a thousand other things I should be doing. But I can’t leave him.”

Kai chuckled, “Well, you can either leave at my suggestion, or I can let Dorian do his magic and drag you out even if you are kicking and screaming.”

“He wouldn’t really do it would he?”

Kai laughed, “Yes, he would. He deals with arrogant teenagers and he will man handle you himself”

“I think I’ll sit here a while longer,” I said.

“I figured you’d say that,” Kai said and then there was a long pause between us which I was fine with but apparently Nox’s estranged father wasn’t. “Nox tells me he hurt you because of something that happened to me.”

“What of it?” I didn’t turn to look at the older man. I just wanted my pretty boy to wake up.

“Do you doubt him?”

“Doubt he told the truth, that he really saved you?” I sighed and looked at him. “Nox is not a liar.”

“I know. But he is. He lies everyday about what he is, what he does. But that’s also why he doesn’t lie.”

“Look Kai, sir, I’m a fucking con man, the fact that he’s forgiven me for what I did to him I think we are on the same page. Nox and I are good – really really good – if he can wake the fuck up.”

Kai sighed. “I’m sorry I mentioned it. But I wanted to tell you I’m grateful for the sacrifice he made for my life. I got to see my son grow into a great man, I get to see him raise even better children and to meet the one person who’s been with him his whole horrible life.”

“Maybe I will go home, take a nap.”

Kai nodded. “I’d love the chance to sit down and talk to you, if you’ll allow it, one day after this has all settled down.”

I nodded. “Yeah, sure.” I just wanted to get away right now.


I thought about going back to my place. To be alone, but then I thought about the kids. Fucking kids. Nox kept saying ours when he talked about the kids. Our kids, like we were already married. I looked down at the ring on my finger and wondered if that was all he needed, just proof that I loved him. The whole idea of a wedding wasn’t important anymore, just him being here with me. Ant was lucky he got to feel that connection, he knew Nox was alive. I didn’t want to be but I was jealous.

I opened the door to Nox’s apartment and I wasn’t surprised to see the three little ones sitting on the laps of the other three boys watching a movie. Laker and Matt were leaning against each other holding one of the boys each, and Rider and Cass were sitting at the other end of the couch. That was my family – minus Nox.

Cass was the first one to notice me but I was already walking away into Nox’s bedroom – our bed room according to him. It wasn’t home though. I did lay down on the bed, and Fee scattered to the window to rest in the sun there. I closed my eyes and just wanted to find Nox in my dreams.

The bed shifted and I felt little hands on mine and she made herself at home curled up to me. “I want my Dad.”

I pulled her close. “Me too, Cass. Me too.”

She giggled. “I want Daddy too, but can’t you stay with us?” My eyes popped open at the realization she had just called me her dad. How the fuck did we get to this. She pressed her body against me. “Hunter says Daddy will be okay.”

There was a third shift in the bed and I glanced at the disturbance to find Hunter climbing up and I held out an arm and he came to the other side, Drake followed him and he curled up next to Cass. Rider was in the doorway. “I was going to tell them to leave you alone, but seems you got it under control.”

He opened his mouth and then hesitated and I knew what he wanted. “The three of you can join us, it’s what you’d do with Nox isn’t it?”

Laker spoke from behind his brother. “We’ve all been sleeping in his bed, your bed at night.”

“Come on. I don’t bite.”

That was all the invitation they needed, the three teenage boys climbed up on to the other side of Drake – Rider, Laker then Matt. That made me worry, that they were so young.

“What do you two know about wolf packs?” I asked the twins.

Rider shrugged, “Not much.”

It’s what I figured. “I think there are a lot of conversations we need to have but I want to sleep, try to reach Nox.”


For the next three days I went to sit outside Nox’s door. But every night I came home to the family Nox had built for us. I hadn’t really thought about sleeping arrangements each night, but they always ended up in bed with me. And every night I felt him calling me but there was this fog I had to climb through. But he called me like he used to.

Every evening before I came home, I met with Ant for dinner and we talked. He avoided the AU building but said that he was trying to find a way inside. The rooms were warded from shadowwalking, which was the only reason Nox was still in the stupid building.

Three fucking days of misery. But everyone was helping out. Dorothy Vega stopped by the apartment with lunch for the kids. Rider and Laker had breakfast. Matt was there in the afternoons to help, and I brought dinner home, we at as a family, I didn’t eat much, but mostly because I’d eaten with Ant before making it home to them.

I tried to find Nox every night but I couldn’t get through the fog. I even called Kish, but that didn’t help anything either, only worried her, she and Kay were working to take off time to come help even though I told them not to come. Nox needed to get better.

My phone ringing surprised me as I sat outside the orange door. From a number that I didn’t recognize. I answered it cautiously. “Hello?”

“Alex, are you with Nox?”

“Wicked? You never call me.”

The Wicked Truth laughed on the other side of the line. “Well I’m not exactly calling as The Wicked Truth. It’s just Sage right now, you know that connection you had me make to get Venatori information from? About Nox I assume.”

“Yeah, what of it?”

“I know you gave it to your boss, but I kept the back door myself and I’ve been digging around. I have a lot of information and I really need to talk to you about it. Not over the phone, can you meet me?”

“Of course. Now? We can meet at Bonnie’s. I probably should eat.”

“Yeah, sounds good Alex. See you in a few.”

Oh Hell No

The next few are between The Dream and What Happened.

Oh Hell No (Alex)

Everything happened so quickly once we got to the Garrett’s apartment. Nox was nervous, and defiant and the supplicant and it was all so very fast and I swore I saw the fucking thing form before it flew at me. Nox was struggling but I felt the bastard trying to manipulate him, It’s all in your head. I told Nox. But, I didn’t have time to worry about anything other than getting away from the fucking fireball. But we were close range and when it smashed into my chest and threw me against the wall I screamed. I felt the heat, it licked my skin like a lover and I screamed again and tried to put the fire out.

I didn’t know what was going on, I wasn’t burning. I wasn’t hurt. What the fuck? But I was burning clearly. Nox’s mind was fragmenting. I’m fine. I told him again I couldn’t breathe right, it hurt to inhale.

“You are not fine,” Nox shouted I could see myself through his eyes. He was panicking but that bastard was getting away. And the prince of darkness lay limp against the wall dead it looked.

I am. I promise. I got this. It just looks bad. I don’t know what the fuck it is but go.

He looked at me still struggling. With a deep breath he said, “Fuck! I’ll be back. Ant should wake up soon.” And then was gone.

I didn’t really have this. I didn’t know what the fuck to do, nothing you learned from your childhood fire classes worked. Stop, Drop, Roll. Yeah I did that.

I don’t know how long I tried not to panic. Panic made it hard to breathe. And I needed to breathe. The fire wasn’t hurting me. Anthony Giovanni stood over me and the fire vanished, he was crooking his head to the side like he was fixing a broken neck or simply cracking.

“Ouch,” he said. “Where’s Nox?” He didn’t look frantic. “You okay?”

“He went this way.” I ran after my pretty boy with the fucking vampire prince following me.


I pushed open the door to the roof and Ant took jumped three steps back when the sunlight streamed into the door. “I’m no good out there.” But it was too late as I watched Nox dive over the fucking edge of the building.

“Nox,” I shouted but it didn’t matter he was over the edge. I race to the edge to see the aftermath. “Fuck! Fuck!” I kept muttering as I watched my pretty boy nose dive into the man and slow the fuck down. He flipped the asshole over so his back was to the ground instead of the bastard who had hurt him. Fucking idiot. But it took longer to hit the ground than I thought it would, I couldn’t watch. I stepped away and walked to the door where a smoking vampire stood.

He stepped back once I had the door and he said something but I didn’t hear him. I was lost in my head. Once we were at the next landing the vampire grabbed my shoulder and shouted, “He’s not dead.” And he stepped into the shadows and we were in the shadows looking at the mass of people who had gathered.

The crowd parted just as I hurled my guts out in the alley. And Nox travelled like this. No fucking way, I thought to myself. Ant put his hand on my shoulder, “I’ll tell you how to make it better but go check on him. He’s not dead. I’d know it if he were. Please hurry he needs a life line Alex.”

That was all I needed to push past the crowd and roll the asshole off the top of Nox. Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy but the fucking Venatori was groaning as he lay on his back. Nox was left in the ground. It felt like mud but it hadn’t rained in weeks. I put my hand on his throat and there was still a pulse. “You better not die on me now you bastard. You fucking fucking idiot.”

I was pushed out of the way as the paramedics from inside the building pushed into the crowd. They hurriedly took him into the building and I followed afterwards but they wouldn’t let me inside the building. “Fuck you!” I shouted after them. Ant stood in the shadows and I could have sword I saw blood sliding from his eye before he wiped it away.

“Can you get us inside?” I asked the vampire.

“Yeah. Trust me Alex. Close your eyes, and fucking trust me.”

“I don’t know if I can do that.”

“I liked to see Nox weak. It made me feel good to see him hurling after a shadow walk. You have to trust me Alex.”

I growled, “I fucking trust you.”

And we stepped into the shadows and we were in Nox’s old bedroom. It was still the same just not furnished. No one had moved in yet.

Ant lead the way and we hurried to what he said was the Infirmary.


We didn’t get past the Infirmary front entrance. We’d been trying for hours. I couldn’t reach Nox by dream and and powers were useless in this building except in a few places and none of them worked to get us inside. No one was letting us in; that was until Dorian Vega strolled through in a hurry. “Alex!” He looked at the vampire standing with me, “Anthony.”

“It’s Ant.” He frowned. “How is he?”

“Alive. Barely.” Dorian nodded quickly. “My mother is at the apartment to sit with the kids. Matt and the twins are in the waiting room. Let me take you to them. It’s as far as I can get you.” Dorian didn’t even look at the receptionist who was glaring at us. “I will see that you two have eternal passes into the building, never really thought it would be needed. But there we have it.”

Ant asked, “Why didn’t you think we’d need it?”

Dorian frowned, “Mostly because if he ever did anything like this again, he’d be dead. His luck has to run out sometime.”

“I don’t think it’s luck. Just like I don’t think it’s luck Alex had that book.”

“What book?” Dorian and I both said at the same time.

Ant patted the backpack. “This one.”

Dorian raised an eyebrow and Ant added, “I’ll let the wonder boy tell you about it when he’s better.”

“What about me?” I asked.

“We’ll chat. But I think you need to hold on to this.” He handed me the bag. “Your boyfriend will kill me if you die on my watch.”

“I’ll kill you if he dies on your watch,” I threatened.

“You can try,” Ant said. “I might beat you to it.”

“You’d kill yourself?”

Ant shook his head as we were ushered into a room where Matt, Rider and Laker sat. The twins were up and wrapping their arms around me like I was their brother. They weren’t crying but it was sombre. He sat down and I followed suit, the boys sat back down.

Ant spoke in my head, If he dies, I might die with him. It’s always a fear with these bonds – we know nothing of it.

Why would anyone do that? I asked

It’s more about the power, and trust, and really believing in that bond. Ryan and Mia truly are dedicated to my mother. They both live because of her, and they’d die if she ever died and they lived. It made sense for them. And my dad, well he loves her and she loves him. Even though they don’t exactly agree on things. Mother is hard to love. I trust Nox with my life, he knew what he was doing jumping off that building. He knew he might die, but he knew he had to save him, even if he was the bastard who tormented him. That’s just Nox. You can’t get mad at him. He can’t change who he is anymore than you can.

I sighed. I know.

The Black Blur

Between Inducing Nightmares and What Happened?

Leaving Nox was probably the hardest thing I had to do. His confession was rattling my head, all I wanted to was to protect him. And whatever the fuck this thing was had to go. He took it all with ease, like it was no big deal. It bothered the fuck out of me.

The walk to the main house was longer than I remembered. Kish was sitting in her rocker outside. “Hey Little Z.”

“I can’t believe Karma told Nox I used to sleep all the time. I hate that nick name, but I think he likes it.”

“So tell him you don’t like it.”

“I need a cup of coffee.”

Kish followed me inside. “Did he go for it?” she asked.

“He’s being all brave. One more nightmare, for a life of freedom.” I laughed nervously. Nox had added more than that to his words but I didn’t need to tell that to Kish.

“And that’s the problem is in’t?” she observed.

“He told me, in order to get the dream to come faster he has to think of me. That thinking of me hurt him.” I stomped the coffee into the filter and started brewing a new pot. “He’s fucking letting his demon’s attack him, because I asked him to on the barest thinnest of hopes I can see this thing and kill it. On. Hope,” I growled. “He’s putting all his hope on me.”

Kish put her arm protectively around my shoulders as I waited for coffee. “Oh Z you know that it comes every night regardless right? He believes in you, he’s an optimist, how ever did you end up with a Venatori boy? Of all the men in this world, your soul mate had to be him.”

She was right, but he was who he had always been. I shouldn’t have been so naive, he was always so obvious about it, but I couldn’t see it, blinded by the completeness of everything. And now he was putting his faith in me. Even after I ran away, even after I told him I was spying on him, paid to do so by someone. And he never asked their name. He fucking never asked anything. Nothing.

I was making myself angry. But I wasn’t angry with the pretty boy trying to sleep in my childhood bed. I was angry with myself. “Fuck Kish, if I told you he drove me crazy in the worst and best ways would you be angry with me?”

“No, I could never be mad with you Alex. And I can tell you love him. And he loves you.” I have Kish a quick hug, poured a cup of coffee and moved to get back to my pretty boy. As crazy as he made me, I didn’t want to leave him long.

“I need to get back to him.” Kish nodded.

I walked back a little faster than I had left. I felt guilty enough staying too long. The air was getting colder. The sun had set and the mountain air was always colder than the cities below. I wanted to go inside but I didn’t want to wake him. I was a fucking mess. I pushed the door open.

And there it was sitting on his chest. A thing of black. I dropped my coffee mug and it shattered on the floor. It startled me, my reaction wasn’t expected. It turned and hissed at me with glowing red eyes. “Mine!” it growled. Its back feet were dug into his chest. There was nothing but trial and error so I did the one thing the book said to do. I grabbed the blue tube of salt and I poured a pile in my hand and threw it at the thing.

It screeched as the salt landed on it. At least that worked. There was an iron pick used to stock the fire and I had it in hand. Iron and salt it said. I should have consulted with Nox about this, see what he thought about the plan. He trusted me. I had to do this right.

I threw another handful of salt at it and it lunged for me as I poked it with a stick. I wondered if fire might help. But it didn’t matter, it squealed and dodge my attack. I wished I was better at this.

The door to the room burst open and Kish and Kay were standing in the door way. They were chanting something. I didn’t wait to figure it out. This hadn’t been part of my plan, but it was working. I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I threw another handful of salt and stabbed into the ink black flesh and it howled. Blood flowed from underneath Nox and he cried out in pain, sitting up, the bedding was bloody. Nox was covered in blood I wasn’t sure if it was his or the things.

The thing was howling in pain but it turned to on the skewer and pushed its body closer to me howling. It slashed at me with three inch claws. It caught my hand and I jerked away in pain. I didn’t remember making a sound, but I must have for Nox’s eyes to snap to me as I tumbled backwards the black thing launching itself at me. All four feet with three inch claws were pointed at me and I tried to scrabble backwards away from it as it flew at me like the black blur that whisked Nox away every night as a boy.

There was fire, and screaming and I don’t know if it was me or the thing about to land on top of me.

It floated and burned but never landed. And then I saw – really saw. Kish and Kay had fallen silent. Nox was kneeling on the edge of the bed his hand was out stretched and he was calm. Ever so calm. And there between us was the black thing, the blur. It screamed. It burned. The room smelled like burning hair and sulphur and all the worse things in the world all put together. It floated in nothing and it collapsed in on itself, still burning, screaming until there was a small pop and the thing fell silent.

And then Nox collapsed and fell off the edge of the bed and crumpled on the floor.

Nightmares

Between Dream Recreation and Not So Morning Bliss

Seeing Nox again had me all over the map – figuratively and literally. What was I doing? I kept asking myself. I knew I’d seen him at the bar, but ignored it. I ignored the fact that Nox was in Vegas, I heard him the moment he stepped off the plane. Benji had been acting all sorts of weird. I was still dazed. But even after all this time seeing Nox, my pretty boy chased me across the country. And not because he had wanted to yell at me like everyone kept saying, he just wanted closure to know it was over. But neither of us wanted that. So I laid in bed with Nox draped over me like a hot blanket. He was asleep, I felt that tingle that meant he was calling me. I could slip into the dream. Could be with him, but I was having a hard time breathing. I felt off my game, yet Nox knew me even when he didn’t.

How had I been so wrong all this time?

I couldn’t lay there anymore, even with Nox curled around me so soft and tenderly. He hadn’t even gotten dressed after cleaning up. Which was unusual to say the least. He was acting more and more unlike himself and he was hiding from me. Well not hiding, I wasn’t seeing all the thoughts in his head – that was my own fault. I was out of his head. It was me who was off their game, not him. He was just Nox. Always the same guy. He was happier when I wasn’t in his head. His smile was infectious. His demeanor always bright. But I knew the moment I went into his head I’d see the tumbling, the rambling, the pain of his existence. He hid it so well. Why did he hide it from me?

There was a small voice in my head as I slipped out from underneath the man who kept telling me he loved him in off the wall ways. Never quite saying those three little words but saying them none the less. The voice told me because you’d pity him if you saw the truth. And it was right. I didn’t know how he survived day in and day out. Some days he was drowning inside. The moment I was no longer touching Nox, the familiar tingle vanished and I no longer had to fight the urge not to go to my pretty boy in the dream.

I pulled on a pair of jeans and stepped outside into the cool darkness of the night. I left the door open a crack so I didn’t need my key to get back in. Serenity was parked in front of the room in all her sleek gorgeousness. “Why aren’t guys like you baby,” I said out loud to my favorite possession. Well … I looked at the ring on my finger and smiled. Maybe not anymore. It was a simple gift but it had more meaning than anything else. I took it off and slipped it on my left hand. I knew when it fit my right, that it was made for my left. He’d known somehow. All his talk of patterns and whatevers he just knew.

I heard the sheets rustle behind me and I saw Nox flinch. Fuck! I pushed open the door and stopped the moment the lamp light hit his body. I had expected to see his naked body curled around the pillow, instead a black mound of something sat on his chest and Nox whimpered in his sleep. What the hell?

I took a step forward and the floor boards creaked and it’s fiery red eyes turned to look at me like an owl on a tree limb, a full fucking 180. It hissed at me then looked back at Nox and then back to me. It dug a claw into his chest with one of its back feet and Nox spasmed but no blood flowed from what looked like a painful wound. It hissed at me again, “Mine!”

There was nothing between me and it but when I grabbed it to fling it from Nox’s body it was gone, a puff of black smoke left in its wake. Gone like it never existed. Nox lay in bed peacefully curled around my pillow like nothing happened. I shook him gently and he looked at me through sleep crusted eyes, “Hmmm?”

I shook my head, “Nothing. Go back to bed.”

What the fuck was that?