Tuesday, August 14, 2018

(25) Two vampires, a ghoul and a shifter.

Piers chewed his lip, having heard and understood all of what Helmut had said. "Still suffering and dying?" he asked quietly.

"Exactly. Roderick told you, I'm quite certain, that under no circumstances were you to explore the ruins of the castle. Am I right?"

Piers nodded. "I did, or tried to once. He caught me at it and—" he gave a small shiver. "I've never seen him that angry."

"And yet the minute he's gone you decide to try again and take Linden with you."

"It's just ruins. Dangerous maybe if parts of it are unstable but it seems to me that after hundreds of years whatever was going to fall already has." Linden stated defiantly. He wasn't about to give ground, if for no other reason than to show Helmut he wouldn't give in to him in any way, shape or form.

"That, boy, is not why Roderick wants the two of you to steer clear of the place."

"I suppose you're going to tell us there are ghoulies, and ghosties and things that go bump in the night down there."

Ignoring Linden's snide remark, Helmut asked Piers, "What do you know about the ruins?"

"That they were once a castle and, from what Rod told me, war and the resulting fire destroyed it. I got the idea that that happened before he became the owner of the estate."

"It did. What he hasn't told you, apparently, is to whom the castle belonged."

"I figured it was part of the estate, part of the holdings."

Helmut shook his head. "The estate's original owner, Roderick's father-in-law, bought the land soon after the war that destroyed the castle. He build the manor house, which was completed somewhere around 1520. He intended to raze the remains of the castle but that never happened."

"Obviously," Linden muttered under his breath.

"Why not?" Piers asked.

"Because the land the castle stands on may have been part of the estates' holdings, but the castle itself still belonged to its original owner, and the original agreement when Roderick's father-in-law purchased the land was that the castle must remain as it was until the original owner and his descendants, if he had any, had all died."

Linden snapped his fingers, grinning. "I can see where this is going."

"Can you?" Helmut cocked an eyebrow. "Then tell me."

"The castle belonged to a vampire and like Roderick he kept returning as his own child down through the ages."

"Close, but no cigar. He was, and still is, a revenant."

"Isn't that just another name for a vampire?" Piers asked, frowning.

"Yes and no. Both are undead but, generally, a revenant rises from his grave to extract revenge on those responsible for his death. Notice I said 'generally'. In the case of this particular revenant that's not what happened. While he was alive, he was an evil man. He died during the battle at the castle, cursing God as his life drained from him. Loyal followers took his body down to the dungeons in the hope that no one would realize that he was dead. When the castle was set to the torch by his foes, he was buried by the rubble."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

(24) Two vampires, a ghoul and a shifter.

"Get him back up here now, you young fool."

Piers was so startled he almost let go of the rope, just as a strong pair of hands grabbed it, hauling Linden to the surface with inhuman speed.

"Do you two have a death wish?" Helmut growled angrily after he'd set Linden on his feet. "Can't you feel the evil emanating from there?"

"We felt something earlier," Piers admitted.

"And still you continued. Children." Helmut sighed in frustration. "Come, I'll get the two of you home and then we'll talk."

He wrapped his arms around their waists, and seconds later they were in the library at the manor house.

"Get that foolish harness thing off of you," Helmut ordered Linden.

Linden was sorely tempted to say 'Make me', but quickly thought better of it when the shifter glared at him. Once he had, he asked rather petulantly, "Don't you ever sleep?"

"When I get a chance to." Helmut pointed to the two over-stuffed chairs between the desk and the library table. When the young men sat, he leaned back against the desk, looking at both of them with an upraised eyebrow. "Do you want to tell me just what you thought you were doing?"

"No," Linden said at the same time that Piers said, "Maybe, if you promise not to tell Rod."

Helmut pointed to Linden. "You, not a word." Before Linden could protest, Helmut added, "I mean it, and you," he turned to Piers, "Talk."

Piers fought the urge to pull rank because of his real age. He wasn't certain why Helmut was angry but he had the feeling he was going to find out quite soon and he didn't know if he wanted to.

Watching the emotions crossing Piers' face Helmut gave him a slight smile. "I've been alive a lot longer than you, so not only do I look older, I am by a good many years, almost one hundred to be precise. So if nothing else I have life experiences that you don't, especially since you've been fairly coddled by Roderick."

"I haven't," Piers protested.

"You've lived in the lap of luxury, and you," he shot a glance at Linden, "are not any better, boy. You may be his blood-bound servant but, to all intents and purposes, you're just as spoiled. Now, with that said, spill it, Piers."

"Roderick said there is, or was, a dungeon under the castle."

"So of course the two of you just had to go hunting for it. Did it ever occur to you that people suffered and died horribly there; and that they might still be suffering, and dying."

"Yeah, right," Linden spat out. "You're saying there are ghosts down there, bent on what? Revenge?"

"Don't discount the possibility, boy. However that's not what I'm trying to tell you."

Guardian Angels – Ambivalent - 11

As good as his word—almost—Mike arrived twenty-five minutes later. Paddy introduced him to Vic, and vice versa. Then Mike sat in the only remaining chair by Vic's desk, looking questioningly at the two men.
"First off, we need a list of all your family members, with the last address you remember for them," Vic said, handing Mike a pad of paper and a pen.
"Oh boy. Names I can give you. Addresses, not for all of them. One aunt and her husband lived here in the city. I don't know if they still do.  My second aunt lives back east and my uncle is down south. I do know which cities, because Mandy and I spent one summer visiting them. But no way do I remember specific addresses. 
"Cities should be fine for now. Any cousins who wouldn't still be living at home?"
Mike nodded. "Five of them and they were all older than me so I'd guess they've moved out." He smiled ruefully. "I was the youngest member of the whole family."
"Grandparents?" Paddy asked.
"Last I know of, only Grandpa Bailey was still around. He was my mother's father." 
"Paddy said your mother's dead?"
"Yes." Mike sighed. "That's when things started going wrong between me and Father. He took it hard, and then he seemed to channel all his anger onto me. Okay, maybe anger isn't the right word. He had this vacant space in his life and he tried to fill it by turning me into the perfect son who would become the perfect adult. I would go to college, meet the right woman, marry, have kids and be a millionaire before I was thirty-five."  
"Grandiose dreams," Vic said.
Mike nodded. "The college bit I really had no problem with, although he did want to lay out what choices I had as far as majors went. Some of them were actually sort of interesting. As for the rest, the wife and kids, that wasn't going to happen."
"Did he know that, in the end?" Paddy asked.
"Meaning did I come out to him? No. That wasn't the reason I ran away though. I just couldn't take his trying to run every facet of my life. Hell, I even dated a couple of girls just to try to make him happy. Neither of them lived up to the standard he'd set for my future wife, which”—Mike chuckled wryly—"was probably just as well." 
Interesting. Paddy glanced at Vic.
"Did you know?" Vic mouthed since Mike wasn't looking his way.
Paddy barely shook his head 'no'. Then he returned his attention to Mike. "The list?"
"Oh. Yeah." Mike set to work, frowning at times. He looked up once to say, "I'm presuming Mandy's in Wellton. That's where they moved to, or at least Father did according to the obituary I found."
When Mike finished the list, he handed it to Vic. "I'm sorry, that's all I really know."
"At least we have names, which is a start. How old is your sister?"
"She'd be twenty-three now."
"Did the two of you get along?"
Mike waggled his hand. "She was older, she was a girl, and she was the apple of my father's eye because she did everything he wanted. What do you think?"
Paddy grinned. "A touch of sibling rivalry?"
"You could say that, but we still loved each other as much as a brother and sister can." There was a brief pause then Mike said, "Okay, that didn't come out the way I meant it."
Vic broke up. "I would hope not, but I think we got what you were saying."
When Paddy stopped laughing as well, he said, "Vic will do the research on your family. Right?"—he looked at Vic, who nodded in reply—"And I'll stick with you, Mike."
"Meaning you're coming to the shelter again as a volunteer?"
"Yep, since I am one. Mr. Jones didn't say there was a limit on how often I could be there."
"Good Lord, no. We need all the help we can get, when we can get it."
"And you're due there soon from what you said, so we might as well get moving." Paddy stood, quickly followed by Mike. "You'll call if you find out anything?" Paddy asked Vic.
"Of course. And you'll call if Mr. Keefe shows up there again?"
"You better believe it. You're the only one of us with a car. If he does show I'll do my best to keep him there long enough so you can get over there and follow him. He has to be staying somewhere in the city."
"Undoubtedly, but we know it's not under the name Keefe. At least not at any of the hotels or motels."
Mike frowned. "You already found that out?"
"He checked while we were waiting for you to get here," Paddy told him, which was the truth. Vic has used his considerable computer skills to hack into the various hotel and motel registration files, and had found nothing.
"Okay. You guys are fast."
"That's what you're paying me the big bucks for," Vic replied with a straight face.
Mike paled a little. "I thought… Paddy said…"
"He's pulling your leg," Paddy told him. He chuckled at the look of relief on Mike's face and then, after Mike thanked Vic, they left.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

It's release day for the 'Murderous Twins'!

Murderous Twins
GENRE: Gay Thriller Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 32,916 words
Blaine Ayers and Lloyd Thomas are identical twins -- separated at birth, reunited by accident, and serial killers by choice. Two men, posing as one.

Steve Cooke is a private investigator married to Gary Drake-Cooke, an interior decorator.

The four men's paths cross when Blaine and Lloyd move into a house across the street from Steve and Gary. What happens next has the potential to change their lives forever -- for better or for worse.

Warning: This story contains scenes of graphic violence.
"That woman," Blaine said, pointing to a middle-aged female, anger in his words. They were in downtown Chicago, heading back to the apartment.

"What about her?" Lloyd said. The woman in question looked like half the ones on the street. Well dressed in business attire, chatting with another woman as they walked.

"She's just like the ones Dad used to bring home. Snotty females whose only objective was to add to their ... their bucket list, by finding themselves a husband."

Lloyd glanced at him, seeing rage in his expression, which passed almost as soon as it had come. Murderous rage, if he didn't miss his guess. It gave him pause, not because it bothered him, but because he felt the same thing when he saw a man who resembled the photos Blaine had shown him of their father. A man he would gladly have killed, as a proxy for the now dead bastard who had dropped him off at the Safe Haven fire department as if he were a piece of trash.

He didn't say anything at the moment, but when they were home, and had eaten dinner, he broached the subject.

"You hate women like the one you pointed out this afternoon, don't you?" Lloyd said.

"You better believe I do," Blaine snarled in reply. "The predators looking for someone to keep them in the style they want. Someone to prove they can catch a husband, even at their age. The ones Dad would hook-up with, for a month or a year, who treated me like I didn't exist while taking all of his attention for themselves."

"You know," Lloyd replied softly, "you should do something about them."

"I wish I could."

"Why can't you?" Lloyd looked slyly at his twin. "How hard would it be to eliminate them? You know you want to. The same way I'd love to kill our father, except that isn't possible anymore."

"What are you suggesting?" Blaine replied. "That I attack a strange woman in some ... some dark alley that they'd never go into in the first place?"

"Would it make you feel better if you could?"

"I ..." Blaine frowned for a long moment then nodded slowly. "Bitches like them deserve whatever I could do to them. Slice their sagging bodies. Destroy their Botoxed faces. Turn them into what they really are. Worthless pieces of shit." With each word, Blaine's expression grew more ecstatic. "I can almost feel the rush I'd get when I've finished and look down at what I've done. Created dead meat only fit for dog food."

Lloyd tapped his fingers together, his smile turning wicked. "Do it."

"You're serious, aren't you?"

"As serious as a heart attack."

Leaning back, Blaine gazed at him. "Only if you find a man, or men, who remind you of our bastard father and take them out."

"They might only look like him. They might not be like him."

"Does it matter? It's not them you'd be killing. Well, it would be them, but it would be Dad, too, each time you did. Just like I'd be killing his bitches."

Lloyd took a deep breath. "Can we do this?"

"We can damned well try. If we fail, we haven't lost anything."

"We need to plan every step, especially our alibis."

"Lloyd, we are our alibis. While I'm busy doing it, you're off somewhere very public, being me, and vice versa. 'But, detective, it couldn't have been me the witness thinks they saw. I was at the club with a dozen other people. They'll all swear to it.'"

"They'll all swear you have a twin brother, you mean."

Blaine puffed out a breath. "Good point. So we do it somewhere other than here in the city, to see if we have the guts to go through with it. We, well one of us, can rent a motel room. Whichever one of us it is, we find our target and get rid of them, while the other one is very visible somewhere else." He looked dead at his twin. "Are you game?"

"It was my idea to begin with."

They'd done as Blaine suggested. Blaine admitted, later, that he'd almost frozen when it came down to torturing and killing the woman -- until he pictured her as one of their father's live-in girlfriends. "That's all it took. The feeling? Damn, Lloyd. Why haven't I done this long before now? It was better than the best sex."

Lloyd had found out what his twin meant when they went to another town so he could practice, as he thought of it at the time.

Then Blaine had gotten the job offer from an insurance firm in Denver. After a great deal of thought, and planning how they would set up there, he'd accepted it. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

(23) Two vampires, a ghoul and a shifter.

Piers put a finger to his lips as he and Linden moved across the ruble-strewn center of the castle grounds.

Roderick had left earlier in the evening, called back by the King. Piers spent the next half hour looking as if he'd break into tears, or alternatively start destroying things. Linden gave him time and then told him, forcefully enough that he'd listen, that they could get back to exploring the castle now. After wiping away incipient tears, Piers had agreed.

They gathered up what they thought they'd need, including ropes this time to make digging out the hole easier, then set out across the grounds and through the trees. They were almost to the castle when they both had the creepy feeling that someone was watching them.

Piers widened his senses before giving a shake of his head. "Nothing," he whispered. "Or, I suppose if there is someone or some thing, they're blocking."

Linden shivered at that thought but insisted they press on.

Now, he looked at Piers when he cautioned silence, lifting an eyebrow in question.

"Nerves, probably," Piers had mouthed in reply.

They made it to the 'kitchen' corner with no further feelings that someone was observing them, and soon had the large stone moved away from the steps. After they rigged one rope around Linden's chest to act as a harness, Piers lowered him into the hole.

Slowly but surely, between them, they cleared another six feet of rubble off the stairway. In the process they discovered that more steps were broken than remained whole.

With half the night gone, Piers and Linden stopped, both needing to give tired muscles a chance to unknot and relax.

"I bet we reach the bottom before it's time to go home," Linden said, stretching and then bending to touch his toes several times.

"Do you have any idea if there's a room or a hall at the bottom?"

"No, not yet, and if it’s a hall I'm betting it's not in any better shape than the stairs, unfortunately."

"Only one way to find out." Piers jumped off the stone he'd been sitting on, heading back to the stairway.

"Slave driver," Linden muttered as he joined him, waiting for Piers to reattach the rope harness.

Piers laughed. "Of course, I'm the vampire, you're the ghoul, it's the nature of our relationship."

Linden flipped him off as Piers lowered him back down into the hole.