Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 8

With a bit of prompting from Declan, Gerard haltingly told him about the game. “And then…”

“Yes, grandfather?”

“And then that boy appeared, damn him, and the game was over.”

“Where is my father now?”

“They took him away because…” Gerard frowned. “He did something and they…I think they said he was insane. Yes. He went insane because he killed his brother. I had to have him caged up like a wild animal.” Suddenly Gerard looked at Declan, puzzled. “Who are you?”

“Bryant’s son,” he explained again. He stood, offering his hand. “I think I should take you home now, it’s getting cold, it’s going to rain.”

“Where do I live? I don’t remember where I live.” Gerard’s voice rose in panic.

Gently Declan asked, “Do you have your wallet?”

Gerard patted his pockets. “Here,” he said, handing it to Declan. “But it’s a secret,” he whispered. “I’m not supposed to have it.”

Declan opened it. It held only three things, a driver’s license belonging to his grandfather and two pictures. One was of a lovely woman, obviously taken many years ago. The other was of two men, one he instantly recognized as his father. He presumed the other was Crispin. He extracted the license and the picture with his father, leaving the woman’s, before giving the wallet back to his grandfather.

The address on the license was not local but in St. Cloud, a town he knew wasn’t too far away. He also had the idea it was not where his grandfather lived now. “We should get you back, before it rains,” he said again. “Do you know where to go?” As he talked he led Gerard toward the front gate of the cemetery.

The old man seemed baffled by the question. “I…somewhere…”

As they reached the gate a car pulled to a stop in front of them. A man jumped out, coming around onto the sidewalk. “There you are Mr. Hill. We were worried about you,” he said gently. He looked at Declan. “Was he at the grave again?”

“That’s where I met him. He seemed confused and lost. I was going to take him across the street to that restaurant,” he pointed, “and then call the police.”

“Thank you,” the man replied as he took hold of Gerard’s arm. “I don’t know how he managed to wander away. We’ve been looking for him and then I remembered he sometimes comes here because his son was buried here.”

“What’s wrong with him? Alzheimer’s?”

“Unfortunately, yes.” He turned his attention to Gerard, guiding him to the car and opening the door to let him in. “Thank you again,” he said to Declan before he walked back around the car. He got in, made a U-turn and drove off, but not before Declan saw the name of the nursing home on the driver’s side door.

It would probably be a waste of time to visit him there, but maybe, just maybe going to where he used to live will give me more information about father.

With that thought in mind he returned to his small apartment.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 7

‘Missing coed found dead, mutilated’ the headlines screamed three days later.

Declan avidly read the article and followed the story on TV. All the while he felt a sense of fulfillment well beyond anything he’d ever gotten while killing some small animal. He knew then he would never go back to the dogs and cats that had kept his rage at bay as a child.

Then something else happened, soon after the killing of Nicolette.

Declan returned to the cemetery. He wasn’t certain why; he knew he’d get no information from the custodians there. Perhaps it was just morbid curiosity, the need to look at the one real link he had to his father, the grave of Bryant’s brother.

The day was gray and gloomy, the cemetery virtually empty as he walked from the main gate to the gravesite. When he approached he saw a man standing there, leaning on a cane as he muttered to himself. He thought he recognized him as the one in the picture with Bryant.

Declan inched closer, listening.

“I visited your brother today,” the old man mumbled. “He misses you, Crispin. He wants to plan another game.” Resting one hand on the headstone he continued. “I played the game last night, or was it last week? I can’t remember.” He sounded upset about that.

The man sighed deeply. “There is so much I don’t remember now, like how I got here, where I live now.” He took a staggering step away from the grave.  

Declan was beside him in an instant, gripping his arm to keep him erect. “You’re Gerald Hill,” he said, a statement not a question.

Gerald nodded slowly, seeming puzzled. “Do I know you?”

For a moment Declan debated how to reply. Gerald was old, very old, or so it seemed from Declan’s viewpoint as a twenty-year-old. He seemed confused, as if he wasn’t quite certain where he was, and from what Declan had overheard he might not know.

“I’m your grandson,” Declan told him.

“I don’t have a grandson.”

“Yes you do, grandfather. You just…sometimes you have trouble remembering things.” Still holding his arm, Declan guided Gerald to a bench a few feet away. When they were seated he said, “I’m Bryant’s son.”

“I saw your father today.” Gerald looked at Declan. “You look so like him. Do you visit him too?”

“I…” Declan chewed his lip as if afraid to reply. “I’ve been away at school and…when I got back he’d moved.”

For a second Gerald glared at him. “Of course he did. He had to.” Then the light went out of his eyes again. “They wouldn’t let him stay with me. They took him away,” he said mournfully. “The game ended.”

“What game, grandfather?” Declan asked softly.

“The game of hunt and destroy the idiots that people find annoying.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 6

For the next three years Declan did his best to find out more about his father while playing the perfect son to his mother and stepfather. He made it through high-school with a 3.5 GPA and was accepted by the three universities he’d applied to. Much his mother’s dismay he chose the University of Minnesota’s offer, intending to major in business with a minor in restaurant management. The campus was in Minneapolis, where he’d been born.

His mother attempted to dissuade him, even to the point of telling his stepfather he was not to pay Declan’s tuition if he went there. For once Reginald had sided with him against her.

When he got to the University and began his classes he concentrated on his studies. During the first year there he also spent as much time as he could spare searching for more information about his father. The hospital records were no help, which he’d sort of figured would be the case if his mother had told the truth about his father walking away when he learned she was pregnant. The cemetery was no better in that the people who worked there were unwilling to give him any personal information about Gerald Hill, Crispin’s and presumably Bryant’s father. Finally he decided he was beating a dead horse and gave up.

Being a personable young man, and good looking as well, Declan easily made friends while he was at the University. He had his choice of women, and men, when he needed to seek some relief from the tensions of college life. He dated often and indiscriminately, sleeping with a few who caught his fancy momentarily.

Then he met Nicolette. She was tall, slender, and blonde. In some ways she reminded him of his mother with her attitude, which said she deserved the best and wouldn’t settle for less. And she considered him ‘less’.

At first he found her excuses for turning him down when he asked for a date amusing. Then, slowly but surely, the all too familiar rage began to build. How dare this woman who was no better than him treat him like some pesky kid who wasn’t worth the time of day? So he tried to relieve his anger as he had since he was a child, finding and mutilating a small animal. This time it did nothing for him.

It was then he understood he had to move on to something that would help. Something larger, like Nicolette. He planned it well, holding in his rage while seeming to have given up on her. He found another young woman to date, plying her with flowers and candy and trips to the movies. All the while he plotted.

Late one evening he stood outside the campus library. Nicolette came out just before closing, accompanied by two girlfriends. He followed them, waiting until they split up, each heading to their respective apartments off-campus. As Nicolette walked down the street he trailed behind, waiting for the perfect moment. It came when she took a shortcut down a dimly-lit area between two buildings. She walked faster; obviously aware she shouldn’t be there but unwilling to take the long way around.  

He was right behind her. Moving swiftly but silently, he caught her, one arm encircling her throat while he held his knife to her side. He tightened his choke-hold until she passed out. The rest was easy. He searched her bag for her keys before throwing her over his shoulder. After checking to make certain no one would see him, he carried her to her car which was parked in the lot behind her apartment building. Dumping her in the backseat, he got in and drove away.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 5

Declan’s computer skills, like those of any boy his age, were excellent. For the next week after discovering the information about his father he spent all his free time trying to find out more about him. He was able to access the records from the cemetery where Crispin Hill had been buried. It gave him a name. Gerald Hill was listed as Crispin’s father. There was no mention of Bryant Hill.

There was no mention of him anywhere that Declan could find, which puzzled him. His father had have held a job but if so his name didn’t come up on any site Declan knew how to access.

He supposed he could just face down his mother and try to force her to tell him about Bryant, now that he had a name and proof he was his father. Somehow though, knowing her, it wouldn’t work. She would just pull her cool and aloof ‘I am your mother’ attitude and put off his questions. How he hated her when she did that.

How he hated her now for keeping this a secret. So what if he abandoned you, he’s my father; I have the right to know about him.

The more he thought about it the more his anger grew. But he knew the solution to ease it. The same one he always used. He just needed to go searching.

Being new to the neighborhood, Declan understood he couldn’t do what he needed to there. It would be too obvious. New boy, missing pet, people weren’t stupid.

“Mr. Ferris,” he said, stopping the butler on his way down the hall. “Is there a good place around here where I can run?”

The butler’s nose wrinkled momentarily in disdain but he replied, “There is a park three blocks from here. Shall I let the chauffeur know you need him to drive you?”

Declan rolled his eyes. “I think, since the idea is to get some exercise, I can walk there on my own. I’ll be back in time for dinner.” He walked quickly towards the front door before Mr. Ferris could say or do anything to stop him.

He found the park easily enough and it was just as he’d expected, large, well cared for, and full of people with their children and/or their pets. As he ran along the paths, dodging around the slower people, he kept an eye open for what he needed. Then he spotted the older woman tugging the leash of a small, yapping dog as she tried to get it to follow her out of the park, away from the direction of his new home. When she finally succeeded Declan kept pace a few hundred yards behind them.

The rest was easy. The woman lived in a nice house with a fenced backyard. She released the dog there before going inside. The sun was almost down; all the families who lived close to her were apparently eating supper as he saw no one who might spot him. Cautiously he opened the back gate and knelt, calling softly to the dog. It came over to see what he wanted and he grabbed it, one hand around its jaws to keep it quiet. Then, smiling in anticipation, he returned by a safely circuitous to the park. There was a thick stand of trees at one edge of it which would hide him perfectly while he killed and eviscerated the dog.

He pictured his mother as he made each cut and slice, imagining it was her, the woman who had denied him the father he had so long longed to know. When he was finished he buried the bloody corpse by piling leaves over it. Then, making certain there was no blood on him, he wiped his pocket knife clean. After he put it back into his pocket he casually walked out of the park and returned to Reginald’s house. He felt renewed and refreshed, his anger gone. For now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 4

For the next two days fifteen-year-old Declan explored the house and grounds, meeting the servants who were, all told, as cold and aloof as the butler. Finally, at loose ends and bored with swimming in the large outdoor pool, watching television or playing video games in the huge recreation room in the basement, Declan took it into his head to see what was in the three boxes from their old home that were sitting untouched in one of the basement storage rooms.

Most of the other packing boxes had been put in his or his mother’s room, depending on their contents. One of the maids had unpacked his clothes for him, carefully putting them away in the closet or dresser. His books and other possessions he’d distributed on the shelves that lined one wall of his bedroom.

The storage room was at the back of the basement. He’d discovered it during one of his forays through the house and upon seeing the three boxes marked with his mother’s name and their old address he’d wondered why they were there and not with the rest upstairs.

He carefully opened the first one and found it was full of papers, old paid bills and such, which he knew immediately had come from her small filing cabinet. The second box held his old school books, the children’s books he’d grown up with and other miscellany from his childhood.

You are such a packrat, mother He smiled with amusement.

Then he got to the third box. Inside was a small wooden chest about the size of one of the large jewelry boxes his mother favored. He took it out only to find it was locked. Without a thought to the fact there might be a reason for that he went in search of something to use to pry it open, returning with a screwdriver and hammer. It took a few sharp blows but he finally succeeded in opening it.

The chest was filled with large envelopes and a few photographs. His first though was they were tokens from his mother’s childhood or maybe even love letters from some man, perhaps even his father.

He knew nothing about his father. It was a subject his mother refused to talk about other than to say the man had deserted her the moment he’d found out she was pregnant. Now, perhaps, he was about to discover who he was.

He opened the envelope on the top of the pile, removing an official looking document. It took only a second for him to realize it was a birth certificate. His birth certificate. He read it slowly. It listed his mother’s maiden name, Delores Marie Ryder, his own name, Declan Bryant Ryder, and the name of the man she had told the hospital was his father, Bryant Hill.

You named me after my father? You lying bitch. You always said Bryant was a family name. He ran a finger over his father’s name. Who are you? Where are you?

He knew he’d been born back east, in Minnesota was all his mother had told him. She had taken him and moved to Nevada before he was a year old, and then when he was five to New Mexico. Now he had the name of the city. Not that he could do anything about it. He was hardly in a position at his age to pack up and go there in search of his father.

After putting the birth certificate back in the envelope he set it aside. Next he looked at the two photographs. They were blurry, as if someone, probably his mother, had taken them without the subject being aware. They showed a dark-haired man sitting at a table on what looked like a restaurant patio, talking with an older, white-haired man. Declan squinted, trying to discern more clearly what the younger man looked like. He thought he could see a vague resemblance to himself in his features. With a small shrug he set them aside as well.

The next envelope held two newspaper articles. They were very brief, one about a murder/suicide pact involving two men, Crispin Hill and Kent Tyler. The bodies of the presumed lovers had been found by Crispin Hill’s brother, who wasn’t named in the article.

But it was my father, I know it was.

The other article was a short notice about the funeral service for Crispin Hill and where he was to be interred. No family was mentioned. Declan put then articles back in their envelope and placed it on top of the small pile he was keeping for himself.

Why did you save this stuff, mother? Did you plan on telling me someday or was it just a morbid desire to hang on to the memory of the man who fathered me?

The rest of the papers in the chest held nothing more of interest. He’d been right in thinking there were love letters, most of them from when his mother was in high school and college. None of them were from his father.

Stuffing everything except what he was keeping back into the chest he closed it and returned it to the packing box, which he slid into a dark corner under a shelf at the back of the storeroom. Perhaps she wouldn’t notice it there, if she came looking for it, and would think it had gotten lost by the shipping company. Not that it really mattered. He had what he wanted, the first link to his real father.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 3

“It’s about time you returned my calls,” Delores Kensington said with some asperity.

Declan sighed to himself. “I’m sorry mother but I was busy from the moment I got to the office.”

“That is no excuse young man. If it weren’t for me and your father you wouldn’t have that job.”

Been there, head that, a thousand times.

“I know mother. So why the call?”

“To make certain you don’t forget we’re meeting at the club tonight.”

“Mother, I am twenty-three years old, I hold down a good job. I think I can mark and then check my calendar and not miss an event like that.”

“Do not get smart with me, Declan. I’m just trying to help.”

“Sorry. I’ll be there, on time and dressed to the nines. Now if there’s nothing else you need to talk about I do have a job I have to get back to.”

“Very well. You’re father and I will see you this evening.”

“Step-father,” he muttered.

“Only because you won’t take his name,” she pointed out before hanging up.

“I have a last name, my real father’s name,” he spat out, slamming the receiver down in the cradle. Just because you want to deny his existence doesn’t mean I do.

He leaned back in his chair, staring blankly at the open file on computer screen with its rows of numbers, and remembered........

“Declan,” his mother shouted up the stairs at the top of her voice.

Fifteen year old Declan Hill sighed as he took one more glance in the mirror. “Coming,” he called back. He’d just as soon stayed home but today it wasn’t an option. His mother was getting married, to financier Reginald Kensington.

He walked slowly down to the living room where she stood, tapping her toe impatiently. “It’s about time. Turn around so I can look at you.” She twirled her finger to demonstrate.

With an exaggerated eye roll he did as she ordered. She deemed him ‘satisfactory’ with the exception of his tie which she straightened.

“The car is waiting,” she told him as she walked to the front door.

Taking one last look around, he wondered if he’d ever see the place again. Probably only driving by, if that. The house was in a lower-middle class part of the city, a place his mother was more than happy to escape. As soon as the wedding was over they would be living into Reginald’s large home on a cul-de-sac in a gated community across town.  

Eight hours later, the wedding and reception over, Declan was being led through the front door of his new home by one of his stepfather’s employees. His mother and Reginald were already on their way to the airport, bound for their honeymoon in the Caribbean, leaving Declan behind to fend for himself under the watchful eyes of Reginald’s servants.

His stepfather’s employee introduced Declan to Mr. Ferris, the butler, and immediately disappeared down the sidewalk.

Mr. Ferris beckoned for Declan to follow him. “Your room is this way,” he told him without so much as a smile in his direction as they headed up the sweeping staircase to the second floor.

Declan trailed after him, checking out as much of the place as he could see. It was ornately but tastefully decorated, like something out of one of the magazines his mother sometimes brought home from her job at a high-end furniture shop. That was how she had met Reginald. He had come in to purchase a new desk for his study, they’d gotten to talking and he’d invited her out to dinner.

Now, six months later, they were married. And I’m stuck in snob central,’Declan thought as the butler opened the door to what would be his room for the foreseeable future.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 2

The moment he walked through the door the receptionist beckoned to Declan.

“Your mother called, twice,” she said, commiseration in her voice as she handed him the messages she’d taken.

“Thanks, Judy.” He folded them neatly in half and put them in his pocket to deal with later. “Any other calls?”

“Mr. Reed wants to set up an appointment, Mr. Tennyson’s going to be late and Ms Nichols wants to see you in her office at your earliest convenience.”

“Another typical Friday,” he said with a smile before he walked down the long, carpeted hall to his office. He took off his topcoat, hanging it in the small closet at one side of the room. Next he checked to see if his plants needed watering. Satisfied they didn’t he sat down at his desk, booting up his computer. Once he’d checked his email and dealt with it, he turned to the overnight reports from the various restaurants the company owned. What he saw pleased him which meant Ms. Nichols should be happy as well. He’d know soon enough.

“Declan, have a seat please,” Ms Nichols said as he entered her office a few minutes later. When he was settled she smiled at him. “In the past three months you’ve done an excellent job of turning things around and raising the profits for the company. Mr. Watson is very pleased. In fact, he’s seriously considering putting you in charge of his newest venture.”

He tapped his fingers together while considering what she had said. “Here in the city?” he asked.

“One is. The other one will be in Santa Fe.”

Declan nodded. “A manageable distance. When is construction supposed to start?”

“That will be up to you, if you decide to take his offer.”

“If he makes it.”

“I think he will. He’s been following your progress with interest.” She smiled, although he noted it didn’t reach her eyes, as she added, “I think you have your mother to thank for that.”

Thank you mother dearest. Another tie binding me to you.

Of course he didn’t say that aloud. Instead he chuckled, softly. “I suppose if I get the assignment I’ll owe her dinner at one of our top restaurants. Her and my stepfather.”

“She’ll undoubtedly take you up on it.” Ms Nichols picked up a thick file, handing it to him. “All the basic information is in here. I suggest you study it well so you know exactly what you’re getting into.”

Declan took that as his cue to leave so he stood, thanked her then headed back to his office.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Like Father, Like Son - 1

Declan Hill watched silently from the edge of the trees, his lips curling up in slight amusement when he saw a squirrel doing the same thing. It sat on its hind legs, head swiveling, nose twitching, ready to vanish at the least sign it had been noticed.

I’m with you on that one squirrel, only I can’t streak up a tree to safety.

Not that he really intended to turn tail and run. His hand stroked the knife sheathed at his waist. He had an agenda and he planned to complete it.


The woman came out onto the back veranda of the large house, turning to say something to whoever was inside. She closed the door a moment later and walked on fashionably high heels down the stone path to the garage. Tight jeans sheathed her long legs. A shimmering, long-sleeved, low-cut blouse accented her full, high breasts.

He made his move, reaching the back entrance to the garage just as she stepped inside. He inched the door open to watch her cross to her car, one of the three housed there. She didn’t make it that far. He was beside her, the knife’s blade pressed to her throat, his arm around her waist.

“One sound and I slit your throat where we stand. Now we’re going to leave, out the back. Understand?”

She mewled in fear, barely nodding her head.

He walked backwards to the door, keeping a firm grip on her. When they were outside, shielded from the faint moonlight by the dark shadows behind the garage, he quickly sheathed the knife, choked her into unconsciousness and then took a black hood from his pocket and pulled it down over her head. Seconds later he was tying her hands behind her back before he hefted her over his shoulder and returned to the trees, amused to hear a slight scuffling above them. The squirrel was now perched on a high tree branch, beady eyes glittering for a second as it turned its head to follow his movement deep into the woods.

* * * *

Father would have approved.

Declan looked at his victim, hanging lifeless by her ankles from the rafters. Her long blonde hair, now caked with blood, acted as a conduit for the dark red liquid dripping onto the dirt floor. She had screamed often in agonized terror as he’d played with her. Not that anyone could have heard her. He’d chosen the site of her death with care, a deserted, mineshaft that had once led into a now abandoned mine deep in the mountains, miles from the nearest habitation.

He turned and smiled. The light from the LED lantern standing in the center of the space cast eerie shadows on the walls; shadows of the other bodies which hung from the rafters in varying stages of decay.

Yes, his father would have approved, if he knew. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option and hadn’t been for twenty years. His father lived deep in the recesses of his own, insane, mind now. Well cared for in a private asylum.

Grandfather would approve too.

Of course his grandfather probably didn’t recall he existed. The old man who had trained his own sons in the art of murder now lived out the last of his life in rest home, a victim of Alzheimer’s. Probably reliving his kills, wishing he had the strength to continue his reign of death, if he even remembers.  

Declan stretched then bent to touch his palms to the dirt floor, easing the tense muscles in his shoulders and back. Feeling better, he glanced at his clothes which lay neatly folded on one of the two old crates against the wall, then walked the hundred yards or so to the entrance and stepped outside. The early morning sun cast long shadows across the small patch of rock-strewn ground in front of the opening to the shaft, giving him just enough light to make his way to the stream a few hundred yards away. Taking a deep breath he stepped into it. Quickly he made his way to the middle and squatted down until he was immersed in the swiftly running icy water which washed the blood from his body. Teeth chattering, he dunked his head under and ran his hands through his dark hair, a legacy from his father. His mother was a natural blonde with blue-green eyes. The same color as his eyes.

He was shivering from the cold as he stepped back onto the ground at the edge of the stream. Racing back into the shaft, he quickly donned his clothes, all but his boots and socks and the dark jumpsuit he’d worn when he captured his latest victim. Then he retrieved the tools he’d left by the woman’s body and went back to the stream to let it clean them. Most would remain at the mineshaft, only the knife staying with him, but he hated working on a new victim if the tools still carried the blood of a previous one.

After rinsing his feet again he went back inside, laying the tools neatly out on the second crate. Putting on his boots and socks, he returned his knife in its sheath, packed the jumpsuit into a small backpack along with the hood he’d worn and the one he’d used on the woman, and after turning off the lantern he left.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The family that preys together…- 58

“Visiting hours are almost over Mr. Hill,” the nurse said softly, putting a hand on Gerard’s shoulder.

Gerard nodded and reached out to touch Bryant’s cheek.

Bryant didn’t react as he rocked back and forth, his arms wrapped around himself, his eyes staring blankly ahead while he watched something no one else could see.

Standing, Gerard followed the nurse out of the room. “Is Dr. Warren still here?” he asked quietly after the nurse had locked the door behind them.

“Yes, he’s in his office. I’ll let him know you want to talk to him.”

Gerard followed her down the hall, waiting while she went into an office at the end. Moments later she beckoned to him.

Dr. Warren stood, offering his hand when Gerard came in. “It’s good to see you again,” he said once they both were seated. “I’m afraid I have no good news for you. Nothing has changed since the day he came here. He won’t talk, he eats only when forced to and barely sleeps. When he does he has nightmares.”

“Is there...?” Gerard shook his head, knowing the answer before he asked. “Two years and still…”

The doctor nodded. “I’m sorry. I wish I could offer you some hope but quite honestly I can’t.”

“I understand. At least here he’s getting the best care possible unlike when he was in MSH.” With a sigh Gerard got up. “Again, thank you.”

A few minutes later he was on the road heading back home. As he always did after seeing Bryant, he would stop at the cemetery to visit Crispin’s grave. Then he would return to his lonely mansion and plan his next hunt. 

Even with both his boys gone, dead and as good as dead, he carried on with the game. He had promised his wife and never had he broken a promise to her, in life or in death. 

The End

* * * * * * * * * * *

Stay tuned for 'Like Father, Like Son' beginning on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The family that preys together…- 57

Kent couldn’t stop shaking. He didn’t know what was going on; he just knew that if he didn’t get out of here soon he could be dead by Bryant’s hand. He had no illusions that the man planned on setting him free. He also wasn’t that sure that Crispin would either but he’d rather take his chances with him. So he closed his eyes and prayed that Crispin would return before his brother came back. He had no idea how long he’d been in the attic as the only light there was came through dusty windows at either end of the huge space. He vaguely remembered seeing several sets of the dormer windows from the outside and figured that the attic was probably broken up into separate rooms. He supposed he should be glad that Bryant had deposited him where he had, rather than taking him into one of the other ones, or Crispin would never have found him.

When he heard footsteps his shaking intensified. If they belonged to Bryant then he was done for and he knew it. He couldn’t see Crispin defending him against his brother despite any feeling he might still have for him.

So when Crispin came around the boxed to kneel beside him he sighed in relief. Crispin unlocked the cuffs and then helped him sit up properly, gently rubbing his chafed wrists.

“Do you think you can walk?” Crispin asked quietly.

“If it gets me away from here then damned straight I can.”

Crispin helped him up and then put an arm around his waist when he staggered. “We have to be quiet and quick. There’s no telling when Bryant will be back to get you.”

“Now, actually,” Bryant said as he stepped into view. “So you found your pretty little boy. Too bad and too late, Spin.”

“No. It’s not, Bry! Let me talk to him, convince him,” Crispin replied as he turned to put himself between his brother and Kent.

“Convince him of what? That he won’t go to the police?” Bryant laughed as he lifted the gun that he’d been holding at his side. “Do you really think he’ll keep quiet just because he happens to like you? Tell me, Spin, do you think he would he like you half as much if he knew what you were, what we are? If he knew about the game?”

“The game?” Kent whispered.

“Yes the game you foolish boy.” Bryant moved to look at him and Crispin countered, still keeping Kent close and behind him. “Our game of search for and destroy the inconsiderate fools of this world.”

“I don’t understand.” But then, suddenly he did. “The woman from the health club,” he said, staring in horror at the brothers.

“Precisely. And so many others too.” Bryant took a fast step to the side, pulling the trigger the moment he had Kent fully in his sight.

But even as he did Crispin moved as well. The bullet spat from the muzzle of the gun, striking Crispin in the chest. His cried out as he fell backwards. Kent caught him, wrapping his arm around him while he pressed his hand to the wound, feeling the blood flowing out, trying to stop it.

Bryant froze when he realized what he’d done, looking in horror at the two men, his brother dying in Kent’s arms as the young man holding him tightly to his chest. “This is your fault,” he cried out, glaring at Kent. “If you’d stayed away, left him alone…” He fired again, the bullet piercing Kent between the eyes.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Discover 'Between Good and Evil' by L.M. Brown

Heavenly Sins Book 2 Between Good & Evil by L.M. Brown
A m/m/m paranormal romance novel
Coming: 13th July 2013 from Silver Publishing


Tristan, Machidiel and Alastor are bound together by love, but their lives are running far from smoothly thanks to Tristan's demonic bargain with an incubus. Tristan has two choices, remain with the incubus as his trainee, or find a mortal to take his place. Neither choice is appealing.
The three lovers struggle to release Tristan from his bargain, only to find bigger problems on the horizon when a human caught up in the mess is taken prisoner by the Demon King himself, with repercussions that could tear their ménage apart forever.


Once everyone had taken their seats and grabbed what food and drinks they wanted, Michael called the informal meeting to order.

"For the benefit of Machidiel and Astra, a short explanation is in order."

Mac looked across the room to the other apparent newcomer, who appeared to be even more nervous than him. Astra tugged at her hair and chewed her lip, her eyes darting around the room as though searching for the emergency exit.

"You're all here because you have one thing in common. Each of you is in a committed relationship with a demon."

Astra squeaked and looked as though she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her. Mac felt a little disconcerted. Of course Michael knew of his relationship. As an archangel he had been present when Mac had been summoned to deal with the issues surrounding his relationship with Alastor and Tristan. Mac hadn't considered other angels might be in the same position, though he felt a little foolish for his mistaken assumption now he faced the reality.

"As it directly affects you, it is my duty to inform you that Raguel has petitioned the rest of the archangels to vote on whether to forbid relationships between angels and demons."

"Bloody hell," Pel muttered. "I hoped he'd have given up by now. And why so soon? There's normally a hundred years between his wretched petitions. He made the last one just twenty years ago."

Michael raised his hand to forestall the other outraged and disgruntled comments. "Raguel can make the same petition as frequently as he wishes. The reason he has petitioned now, though, is because he believes he has additional support for his request."

"He thought that last time," Lailah said. "Can't he just leave this alone and let us get on with our lives? We're not doing any harm."

Mac felt uneasy as the others voiced their discontent. He didn't believe in coincidences. This petition had been made soon after his relationship with Tristan and Alastor had become the focus of the archangels. Was Raphael the one offering Raguel additional support? He had made no secret of his disdain for demons—and Alastor in particular.

Eventually the grumbles subsided and Michael spoke again. "I'm not at liberty to say how each of the archangels voted on the petitions in the past, nor to speculate on how they might vote this time. I am merely giving you all forewarning that the petition is in the forum again and each of you needs to consider what you will do if it passes."

"What do you mean?" said Astra, speaking for the first time since the meeting had begun.

Michael gave her a kind smile. "If the petition passes, each of you must choose between your lovers or your wings."

Mac had expected as much. He didn't know about the others, but his choice was an easy one. He valued his lovers far more than his wings and immortality.

Michael caught his eye as the others continued to talk about the unfairness of the situation and the cruelty of Raguel and his supporters in general. "You appear unsurprised." Michael's voice whispered into Mac's mind, unheard by the rest of the guests.

"A little surprised, but mostly resigned. I knew Raguel was against such relationships. I just hadn't realised he had the power to end them."

"Not alone, he doesn't. The majority must rule in his favour for relationships with demons to be forbidden."

"Do you think the petition will pass?"

"I don't know. Although it isn't common knowledge, and I'd appreciate you keeping it to yourself, Raphael has always voted against the petition in the past."

"But not now?"

"He's angry, and Raguel's petition may appear to be the solution for what he perceives to be a problem."

"He's going to change his vote because of me, isn't he?"

"I don't know for sure, but it's a distinct possibility."

"So, all the angels you've summoned here today will suffer because of my actions."

"Don't think like that. Never regret loving someone, no matter who they are."

"You approve of relationships between angels and demons?"

"I believe true love is rare and beautiful and should not be discarded because of the prejudices of another."

"You vote against the petition, don't you?"

Michael waited for several long seconds before replying, causing Mac to wonder if he had overstepped the mark with his question. "I abstain from voting."


Michael smiled from his seat across the room. "My vote is always the last one. It has never made a difference to the outcome of the petition."

"And if your vote did make the difference?"

"I would have to make my choice and follow my conscience."

Did you miss Between Heaven & Hell, Heavenly Sins Book 1?
You can find it here and at many other online retailers.