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Secrets of Darkness – Book 2


Where Will You Go Written By: Pen Name - Nevah-Ann (Real Name - T.S.) “You think that I can’t see right through your eyes Scared to death to face reality No one seems to hear your hidden cries You’re left to face yourself alone But Where Will You Go When no one left to save you from yourself You can’t escape the truth I realize you’re afraid But you can’t abandon everyone You can’t escape, You don’t want to escape” Where Will You Go – Lyrics by: Evanescence

Where Will You Go

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Prelude -

It was raining… That was the first thing I remembered about that day. With everything that happened, it was the rain that always came to mind first.

It was years ago, back before electricity, back before cell phones or cars, back before everything… or that’s what you’d think upon seeing this place. The houses were simple and plain, each built out of grey stone, in almost the same manner with only a few minor personal touches. They sat almost touching next to each other in a nice line as if placed there and fixed by a collector over and over again until perfectly straight and then never touched again. The doors on the houses were a dark mucky grey, some with black stars painted on them which seemed to add a small personal touch even though a few had them and not just one which seemed to mean there was something more about them. The roofs looked as if they were dark plywood and were laid just so on top of the perfect little houses. The front yards were all green and bright giving the saying, “Grass is always greener on the other side” no meaning in this town. Some houses had flowers under the two front windows and one house even had a basket of flowers hanging next to the door. White picket fences surround the front of each house. Both sides of the road were almost the same, as if someone came after painting the one side, folded the street and then dropped it back to get the other side. The road it’s self was dirt and looked as if horses walked on it, though none were in sight. The road seemed to branch off into other smaller side roads, but the main one went up a large hill and then down the other side, signaling more of the town was down that hill. There were people outside running around, they seemed to have no worries and there was nothing new or modern in sight. I stood looking around, wondering where I was. This wasn’t my bedroom; it wasn’t the light blue walls with the newly added, high tech M&M dispenser. This place felt warm and the sun was too bright. “Hey!” A little voice pulled me from my thoughts, and I looked over just in time to watch as a cute little girl came running toward me. She couldn’t have been much older than eight; her short brown hair flying wildly in the breeze as she ran over to my side. “Mom wants you.” She stopped in front of me and smiled; there was a gap in her smile where a tooth was missing. I knelt down next to the brown haired girl and looked her over. She looked a little like me… you know that feeling you get when you see someone and you just know they are somehow connected to you? “Hurry, mom wants you to go get dinner from the market.” “Dinner?” I asked her; it seemed like a simple request, but somewhere I had missed some information. Mom… I couldn’t picture my mother no matter how hard I tried, but I nodded at the girl as if it wasn’t really me controlling the movements. “Alright, I can go get dinner.” I wasn’t sure where the words came from, but they felt right saying them. As I’m about to stand up, the girl pulled herself onto my back. Again, though the actions seemed weird in my head, it felt right as well. I stood and started walking, somehow seeming to know the way. The girl grabbed a fist full of my hair. “Why do you always color your hair?” She asked with a giggle. “Don’t you like it?” I hadn’t remembered dying it. The day I woke up it was red and blue, which looked cool enough, so I kept it. “It’s burgundy” my mouth said. Again, the comment

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seemed to come from nowhere and I scolded my brain for coming up with such weird things to say. Though, come to think of it, I guess the shade of red I had was called burgundy. “But you still have some blue in it from last time you colored it.” She replied, not seeming to care about the trivial knowledge I had passed along to her with knowing the shade of red. “I liked the blue, and thought it looked good with the red, so I left it.” I replied almost instantly. It felt more and more like some other person was taking over my body and I was just watching. “Will you color mine some day?” She asked quietly as she laid her head on my shoulder. “Maybe when you’re older. If I do it now you know what mom would say to me, don’t you?” “Gaetan, why did you color your sister’s hair?” the girl sat up on my back and raised her voice into an almost perfect disciplining mother voice. “It’s a beautiful shade of brown, the same color as her eyes.” She dropped the voice and laid her head back on my shoulder. “You should color your hair green, just like your eyes.” She said quietly as if the fake impression had drained her voice. “I’d never be able to find the right shade.” I replied to her. My eyes were an uncommon shade of emerald green that didn’t seem to match any other shade of that color I found. I stopped outside of a house looking much like the others except this one felt different, more like… home. I put the girl down and patted her head, “Go play.” She kissed my cheek before running off down the road. I walked into the house and looked around. The living room was small with just a couch and a long table. Flashes of people sitting around playing games on the table appeared in front of me, the sound of voices and laughter followed before it all went away leaving just the table. The two adults, the man and the woman were obviously the parents. The two children, the girl and the boy, were me and the little girl from outside. “There you are” the woman’s voice pulled me from my thoughts and I looked up, coming face to face with the woman from the vision. She had long brown hair and a beautiful smile. Her eyes explained where the girl had gotten hers from. Something about her made my heart skip a beat. Mom, the little voice in my head said. This was mom. “I need you to run down and pick up dinner from the market. Sarah’s waiting for you and it’s going to rain soon so hurry back ok?” She held out some money and waited for me to take it, but all I could do was stare. Mom, the little voice kept repeating over and over again. I wanted to hug her and scream how much I missed her, but I couldn’t because though the voice was screaming mother, I had no clue who she was. “Are you alright, sweety?” the woman asked seeming to notice the hesitation. “Fine,” I replied softly as I took the money from her. “Market, get dinner, hurry back before it rains.” I nodded and then hurried back outside and down to the market I somehow seemed to know the location of. The dinner was waiting in a small café type place. The woman inside, Sarah, was pleased to see me and obviously knew me well. She handed over the already prepared meal and told me to hurry back before it started to rain. I smiled at her as I took the meal and headed back up Where Will You Go

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toward the town. Much like the houses the stores and restaurants were made out of grey stone. White or dark blue awnings hung over the doors with the business’s name written on them. Though they sat slightly further apart from each other than the houses, they still sat close. Unlike the houses though, they weren’t as neat and straight which gave the feel that this part of the town wasn’t part of the original town that was built. Just as I was getting to the bottom of the hill that you had to go up before getting to the residential part of town on the other side, the rain started to fall. I quicken my pace and hurried to the top, only to stop and stare at what I saw. The town… was not as I had just left it. Screams filled the air… smoke… smoke was everywhere, I couldn’t breathe…

“Mom!” I screamed. Oh god no! I wanted to see her again. I didn’t want to just leave without saying anything to her. I ran toward the house dropping the food on the ground, forgotten. People came running from the houses, vampires were chasing after them. There was destruction and chaos everywhere, and blood…. Blood everywhere. “Mom!” I yelled again hoping that somehow she would hear me. A hand grabbed my shoulder stopping me from continuing on to the house. I looked behind me to find the girl and the man from my vision. Father, the voice filled in, though I had never seen him before. “We have to leave,” he stated sternly. “We have to leave now.” He looked at the vampires hoping none had noticed us before tugging on my arm and leading me toward a wooden fence which surrounded the city. “But mom,” I complained, wanting to go the other way toward the house and the woman inside. “The city is under attack.” The man said as if that explained why we were not going back to find the woman. “But mom!” I demanded trying to force my feet to dig in the ground so I wouldn’t be pulled along by this man. “She’s not coming,” he replied to me. Though the answer shocked me, the way he said it shocked me more. He sounded as if he didn’t care. As if he was saying, ‘Look it’s raining’ instead of, ‘We’re leaving your mother in a city on fire with vampires around eating and killing all inside’. The girl managed to find a way to do what I was unable to do as she dug her feet in the ground and yanked back at her hand. “Daddy!” She cried and covered her eyes. The girl… she had a name, a name I should remember… I should remember her.

As the man turned to see what the girl wanted a vampire came from in front of him and shoved him back. He let go of us and landed on the ground. The girl screamed and moved away from them as the vampire stalked toward the man. I watched unable to move, unable to force my body to fight. I screamed in my head trying to get my feet to listen to my brain. Nothing seemed to work though, nothing seemed to help. I stood unable to move as the vampire viscously attacked the man. The vampire attacked him… he broke his arm, the sound was… That sound was always echo in my ears… or so I thought…

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The vampire finally left the man alone once the girl started to throw things at the vampire. First was a tiny pebble, followed by a slightly larger one and than a shoe. Finally the vampire left the man’s side and went after the girl. Again I screamed only this time out loud as the vampire started to attack. Arms came up around me as the man pulled his bloody body up and picked me off the ground. He started to half run half limp toward the exit leaving the vampire and the girl behind. “No!” I shouted, I can help her! I wanted to scream but I couldn’t form the words in my mouth. “No! We can’t leave her!” “Hush,” the man barked at me as he pushed past everyone and limped past the city gates. “No! But we can’t leave Ca-“

Where Will You Go

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Chapter 1 Ace I woke up in a cold sweat, and looked over at the clock. It was only four in the morning. I hadn’t been sleeping very well as the same dream always seemed to come back to haunt me. I wasn’t sure what it meant or what it was suppose to lead me to, but I knew there had to be something important about it, something I was suppose to know… a day that was important. I didn’t know if it was something that I had to remember, a piece about my past which would help me remember the years before the two I had spent with Kadin. But all I ever remembered about that dream… was the rain. I climbed out of bed and walked over to the dresser. It was too early and the rough nights of tossing and turning with nightmares were going to be the end of me. I pulled out a clean shirt and pulled it on. I’d have to go shopping again. I think as I look at myself in the mirror. My clothes were getting too big. I was a year older but I was losing weight quickly. I couldn’t eat it just made me sick. I grabbed my cell off the nightstand and put it into my pocket, not that Kadin would call me anytime soon though it was way too early for that. I walked into the living room, making sure to flick on the lights as I walked by. I looked around at the empty walls and the silent television before deciding I should at least attempt to eat something and headed to the kitchen. I opened the fridge and checked the inventory, “Bottled water, bottled water, popsicles, or M&Ms…. Great choices” I muttered. I grabbed a bottle of water and kicked the fridge closed. “I should order pizza…” I muttered to myself though I didn’t know any pizza place open this early in the morning. I down the water in the first gulp and tossed the bottle into the trash. “Only six more hours to kill.” I said to the empty kitchen. Well… at least that proved I was bored, or crazy. I walked around the house trying to kill some time. I made note to fix the cooler in my pool which was something I should have done weeks ago but never seemed to do. “I should hunt, but it isn’t like that many vampires would be out this early.” I heard how stupid that comment was even before it completely left my mouth. I walked into the bedroom and grabbed a few knives before disappearing and reappearing above my house. I looked around. What would be crowded this early in the morning? I thought to myself. Crowded places with lots of victims to pick from and drunk people to drag away and feed from. I thought for a moment: nightclubs, strip clubs, and bars. I walked toward the nearest bar since it was a good place as any to start. As the wind blew I pulled the collar of my jacket up against the cold. Not that the cold bothered me. To be honest the cold was welcoming and it healed me, but already the blue and red hair as well as the fact I was fifteen and wondering around town at four in the morning was enough to draw attention and I didn’t need people to wonder why in the middle of October I wasn’t wearing a coat. Once I got outside of the bar I looked around. Even on a Thursday night this place was usually crowded, today though the line was short. I stepped into line and watched as the bouncer checked ID’s. Sometimes the fake ID worked and sometimes it didn’t but tonight I wasn’t trying to get in to drink. “Next” the bouncer called out. I stepped forward and held out my fake ID. “Slow night?” I asked him as he looked over my ID.

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“Yeah, there was a problem earlier.” He looked up at me, “This is fake” He stated as he held the card back out. I took it from him. If I had been there to drink I would have fought him about it, “Problem earlier?” I asked as I pocket the ID. “Some guy attacked a girl. She was screaming some crazy stuff about vampires and drinking her blood.” The bouncer looked at me is if suddenly noticing who he was speaking to. “Get lost kid, you should be at home in bed.” I narrowed my eyes, man I hated being called kid. I start to reply before remembering that I had the information I had wanted. I turned and headed toward the next club. Well, at least I knew the vampires were in town tonight.

Kadin – It was a beautiful day, the sun was covered by clouds and there were no birds to be heard. I walked into my office. “Morning, Kadin” the secretary said, “Kevin called and would like you to call him back after the morning meeting.” “Alright” I nodded at her as I walked back into the meeting room. Hiring humans for office staff was Kevin’s idea. They couldn’t be used if something happened and the cops showed up and they were easy to get rid of. Of course hiding some of the items that came in where a problem but mind control and making them believe they saw nothing was an easy practice for many of my men. I sat down at the head of the table and look at the clock. Team 347’s morning meeting would start in ten minutes. None of them were there of course, but that was nothing uncommon for this team. I looked over at the girl who was busy in the corner making up coffee. I cleared my throat. “Where’s my coffee?” I asked. Everyone knew my coffee was to be waiting for me fresh and hot when I sat down in the morning. The girl ran over to my side and set down a cup in front of me, “So sorry, sir. It’s my first day here.” She hurried back over to the coffee machine and started to do something over there. I hated irresponsible people. It was a poor excuse not to know how to do your job on the first day. If you couldn’t do the job on the first day you shouldn’t have been hired. “If you don’t straighten up it will be your last day as well.” I barked at her before taking a sip of the coffee, or perhaps be a meal for one of my workers. I thought to myself. I grinned at the thought. I’m sure a few would love the jester. The girl swallowed hard and then nodded quickly at me, “Yes, sir. Of course, sir” Well at least she got that part right. “Kadin” I look up upon hearing the voice in the doorway, “Don’t pick on the workers” I smiled as the vampire walked to the table and took his seat at my right. Vince, the muscle of the team, was only five seven and about one hundred ninety pounds but his vampire strength gave him an edge. He wore all black, and not because he was a vampire, as I’ve seen many vampires in some odd colors, but because Vince loved the color. His black hair was kept at medium length and he wore it so it covered part of his dark colored eyes. When out he wore a long black trench coat which hid the sword he wore on his back. Today though he only wore a black shirt and black jeans which allowed you to see the long sword strapped to his back.

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“You’re early as always, Vince” I said to him, “Did you sleep well?” It had taken a long time to get Vince on a morning schedule, as a vampire he preferred the night hours but from time to time I had to get him up early for a meeting, or an assignment he was needed on. There were some days his body would rebel and he’d spend all night awake and the next morning ready to crash. “Yeah,” He waved off the girl as she hurried over and offered him a cup of coffee. Another thing I’d have to keep track of, she didn’t know how to read notes. I made sure she knew how each worker liked their coffee and which didn’t take it. This would just be another thing to remember, another strike against her. “I took down a group of vampires, fed and then went to bed.” “Good Morning, Kadin. Vince.” I looked over as a girl with long black hair walked in. She sat down on my left and smiled at Vince before happily accepting the cup of coffee. “Thanks, dear.” She nodded at the girl before taking a sip. Angel was the witch of the group and the team’s brains. If there was a problem Angel was one of the first to come up with a solution. She was also trained in several forms of martial arts and had no problems keeping up with the rest of the group. Not only that, she was gorgeous. She was nineteen with long black hair which she kept flowing down her back. Today she had on a form fitting blue shirt and form fitting jeans which showed off her curves. She was one of my workers that could turn men’s heads, which she had no problem using against them while working. “I think we should get a raise today,” Angel’s voice pulled me from my thoughts as I realized that I had been staring at her. “Oh?” I asked her, wondering why today she would ask for a raise and hoping she hadn’t noticed me watching her. Though I was only twenty-five, I was still her boss and she was still my employee. “Just on the way here I took out four vampires and I almost had to cut open two cops.” The last part I hoped was a joke, though with Angel it was hard to tell sometimes. “Only two,” Vince laughed at her, “Come on now, before I went to bed I took out six vampires, killed a cop and put three in the hospital. They were so close to death they would have been begging me to kill them had I not broken their jaws.” The end of Vince’s comment bothered me slightly. Vince didn’t like to be told what to do. There had been many times I had to get Vince from jail and many more times we’ve had to cover his tracks to keep us in business. “This is not a competition you two,” I remind them, “both of you are good workers and our job is to assure the evil supernaturals of this world are off the streets and aren’t harming humans. Please do remember that cops ARE humans and the ones we are protecting please.” “Neither of you are as good as Ace” The three of us look over at the blonde girl in the door. She was grinning as always. “I bet he took out more than both of you together.” She took a seat next to Vince and glanced at the empty seat by Angel, “He’s…. not here yet?” the smile faded from her face. I shook my head, “No, Ace is either the first one here or…. very late. Today it seems he chooses to be late.” It didn’t surprise me that the girl asked about Ace. Bliss was the only human on this team. She was the same age as Angel, though that was about all they had in common. Unlike Angel, Bliss was happy and upbeat most of the time. She had short blonde hair and had soft blue eyes. When I first meet her I had no idea how she had learned about Where Will You Go

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supernaturals or why she even wanted the job, but she proved herself worthy enough to be given a try and now, a year later, she was a nice addition to the team. The team all seemed to like her and though she had no extra powers, she knew how to use a gun and a sword which kept her alive on the field at least. She was always concerned about the other members and was probably the only reason they didn’t kill each other at times. “Should I go find him?” Vince asked. He cracked his knuckles together and gave me an evil grin. I laughed at him. Ace and Vince couldn’t stand each other at all. Sending Vince out to get Ace would just mean that both would be late to the meeting, or someone would need to get them from the police station or hospital. “No, let him be.” He’d show up on his own sooner or later, “He’ll just be punished for being late, that’s all. Shall we start?” They nodded at me and leaned back into the chairs to get comfortable while they paid attention. “Someone takes notes so I don’t have to repeat this for Ace.” “Got it,” Bliss pulled out a small notepad and a pen. “Good.” I turned in my chair to face the white screen behind me. Grabbing the remote from the table I flicked on the screen. “Rumor has it a group of vampires are taking over this area.” I used the remote to bring up a map of a nearby city and clicked the button to bring up the red highlighter on the remote. Highlighting the area I continue, “There are said to be a few spots there where they are holding up in groups, each spot with its own “leader”. One of them is suppose to hold the head leader of this group. Your team and Team 198 will be sent out to get one of the vampires from each base and bring them back for questioning. I want to know who their main leader is and what they are planning. I want this group taken out, men.” Angel coughed, “and woman. This is an information gathering assignment only. I don’t want any of you to try and take out any of the bases right now. Understand?” A chorus of voices answered my question from behind me, “Yes, sir” “Good” I clicked off the large screen and turned around so I could face them. “I want you to go in groups of two so if something happens you have back up there. Nothing should come up, since you are just going in for information but in case.” I look at my men for a few moments before looking over at Angel, “You and Bliss go together. Vince and Ace can go together.” Even knowing Vince and Ace hate each other Vince had a way of keeping Ace in line when they weren’t trying to kill each other. I looked over when I heard Vince groan. “Kadin, you know we can’t stand each other.” “Yes, but you keep each other in line.” I explained to him, something I’ve done many times and he always seemed to question anyway. Bliss cleared her throat and I looked over at her. “Boss… if the bases are strong, shouldn’t you split up the stronger workers?” she asked quietly. Leave it to the peace maker to attempt to keep everyone in the team happy. “Very well, Bliss you can go with Vince. Angel you go with Ace.” At least then I wouldn’t worry about Bliss and Ace not getting the job finished. “Yes, sir,” they replied. “Go where?” I looked over to see Ace standing in the doorway. Ace was one of the youngest on my team. Two years ago I found him wondering around a city. His clothes were ash covered and he seemed confused about where he was. I brought him home and cleaned him Where Will You Go

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up. He couldn’t remember his name, where he was from, or even how he got into the city. He knew how to fight though. When I brought him into the base he picked up a sword like he had been born with it in his hand and fought. He wasn’t the best of the group but he knew what he was doing. Now at fifteen he was this team’s leader. “It’s nice of you to join us, Ace” I replied keeping my voice calm and cool. “I was tracking a group of vampires.” He replied as if he expected that to get him out of trouble. He walked over and sat down next to Bliss. He gave her a grin and from her grin back I’d imagine they were speaking to each other telepathically. “You couldn’t contact one of us to tell us?” I growled, “We could have sent backup, held off on the meeting until you got here.” Ace looked over at me and shrugged, “Maybe I didn’t think about it. Give me a break.” He leaned back in his chair and narrowed his eyes at me. It was never wise to fight with him. He was stubborn and though he had done this time and time again, I knew no matter the punishment he’d do it again next week as well. “Fine, Bliss can update you on what your assignment is. She took notes.” I replied to him. Ace looked at Bliss with a grin, “Where am I going today?” Bliss slide him the notes, “We’re going in teams to check out a few bases. We’ve suppose to find their leader and break them up but we have to get information first.” “Can’t just run in and kill them all?” Ace snarled at Vince as if he was part of the vampire group we were going after, “That sounds like a great plan to me.” Vince snarled back at him. For a reason I was unable to figure out, Ace hated vampires. Even the ones he worked with made him mad. “No,” I hit the table to get their attention, “Information only.” “So where am I going?” “Are we,” Angel corrected, “You and I are teamed together for this assignment, Bliss and Vince with each other.” “Why we?” Ace looked at me, “I can go alone, I don’t need someone holding me back.” “I’m pairing up the teams to assure no one is hurt or does something stupid that they shouldn’t do.” I growl at him, “This is to assure you aren’t hurt.” “Are you saying I can’t handle a bunch of vampires?” Ace stood up. “I know you can handle them Ace.” I could tell by the glare he was giving me that I had pissed him off. “You guys are going in pairs anyway. Do not fight with me on this or you can spend your day in the Red Room instead.” I threaten. Ace’s gaze grew even more heated before he stormed to the door, “Fine. Come get me when the meeting’s over, Angel.” He stormed out of the room, slamming the door shut behind him. Angel looked over at me. I should have called him back, or called one of the other teams to get him and drag him to the Red Room for punishment, any of the other workers would get time for defying me like that and storming out of a meeting, but Ace. They all knew Ace got special treatment. “Pass on any further information to him, Angel.” I turned back to the group, “And make sure he stays in line when you’re out. I don’t want him hurt.” “Yes, sir.” Angel nodded at me before glancing at Vince and Bliss. Yeah… they all knew he got special treatment. Where Will You Go

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Vince – I watched as Ace stormed out of the room and Kadin watched him go. I knew the moment he walked in he wasn’t going to stay long. For some reason he managed to get away with just about everything. It didn’t matter what he was doing, he’d get away with it. The kid was fifteen and skinny as hell. He bruised easily and could just barely hold his own in a fight. He wasn’t overly bright and most of the time he didn’t follow directions at all. He held a hatred toward vampires I knew the reason behind but he didn’t. When Kadin showed up with him two years ago I was shocked to see him. The warning I was given that night in the Red Room about not saying anything to him kept me silent about the past he seemed to have forgotten. For the first couple months he was here he followed Kadin’s orders to the tee. He never back talked, never gave him a hard time about anything and then slowly he pushed his limit just a little more each time he did something wrong until finally he saw how much Kadin favored him. All the other teams saw it as well and most even knew he was given the leadership job because he was Kadin’s favorite. What we couldn’t understand was why he was Kadin’s favorite. I looked over as Kadin started talking again. He went over the week’s assignments and his plans for the new base he was purchasing to expand the Gantos. I never understand the name of Kadin’s men or what the Gantos even meant. I heard from Zeal once that Kadin’s father was the true start of this group and was the one to come up with the name but he wasn’t overly sure what it meant. The Gantos was a large group scattered around the United States of people who tracked, hunted, killed, or sometimes captured vampires and other supernaturals. Rumors have it when the group started it was only humans who worked here, but after many of them started dying they started to hire other supernaturals. The job sucked even if the pay and the benefits were great. Most of the people that I knew working here had their own reasons for wanting to hunt and kill their own kind or others like them. Me… I was here because I feared the trade. Years back I was caught by one of Kadin’s men and brought to the slave trade. I spent years there before Kadin himself finally bought me. My choices were to work for him, or return to the trade. And if you’ve ever been to the trade, you’d understand why I’m working for Kadin now. Ace stayed because Kadin took him in and he couldn’t remember anything about his past or his life. Kadin was the one who gave him the name Ace and Kadin clothed and fed him. I’d imagine Ace now stays because he feels he has to, though he did try running away once. Bliss, one of the few remaining humans on the team was here because… well, I wasn’t truly sure why she was here. She talked very little about her own life and often switched the topic if her personal life is brought up. Angel was there because her brother was here. Though everyone knows her brother, Dima, was easily the best worker on this team, she still had a past that made her want to be near him. She too had left Kadin’s men before returning once Dima joined. Though Kadin always tells his men they are free to quit at anytime and nothing was stopping them, all of us knew the truth. Once you were in you were in. The few people who left got threatened to return or were killed. The ones who ran away were placed on the hunting list and dragged into the trade or spent the rest of their lives checking their back or the backs of their loved ones. I watched Kadin finish up the meeting and slowly stood up. If we could leave… I smiled at the thought.

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Angel – It took another two hours after Ace left for Kadin to finish with his meeting. Vince seemed lost in thought during the last of it and left with a far off look on his face. I wondered what it was he was thinking about. As I walked out of the room I spotted Ace in the hall watching Vince who was heading to the dorms. Ace probably spent the last two hours in the hall listening to what Kadin had to say, more than likely he just didn’t want to put up with Kadin. I walked over to him. “Hey Ace,” I held out the piece of paper with the address for the bases we were assigned to go to. “We’re suppose to collect one vampire from each base and bring them back to the Ganto’s base for questioning. “ I watched as he read them, “There are six bases there. I’m hoping it’ll only take maybe half hour a base. So three hours?” Ace looked over the paper and then ripped it in half and held out half to me. “Here, you do these three and I’ll get these three.” He held the paper out like it was a simple solution. “Three bases, half hour each, we’ll be done in an hour and a half. Plenty of time to get the rest of the work done for today.” “I’m glad you can do math Ace, but Kadin told us to go together.” I pushed his hand away, “I don’t think he meant it was, ‘Pretend to follow orders so you get done sooner’ when he said that” “I’m saying otherwise.” He put his hand out again. “Kadin out ranks you, Ace” I put my hand on my hips. “It won’t kill you to work with me. Hell, you were suppose to be teamed up with Vince but we got you off so you didn’t have to. Just be thankful for that ok?” Ace growled at me and dropped the paper on the ground, “I can handle this on my own. If you three need help then feel free to find help. I don’t need it, and I don’t want it” “We’re following orders Ace. This wasn’t a suggestion.” God this kid was so stubborn sometimes. He didn’t seem to like following directions at all. “I don’t remember him using our numbers.” He snarled before turning and heading toward the front door. I sighed as I watched him go. I couldn’t understand this at all. He understood the orders, he knew that Kadin was in charge and still he always seemed to fight him. Part of me thought it was because he hated being bossed around. The stronger the order the more he seemed to fight it, and Kadin never seemed to put up a fight when Ace acted out unless it was serious. I sighed and hurried after him, if we didn’t go together and someone told Kadin I’d be the one spending the day in the Red Room and I didn’t want that. “Ace come on” I slowed down once I caught up with him and started walking next to him. “It’s only six spots, than you can go on and do everything else on your own.” I moved to get in front of him and to stop him. “Or,” he stopped and glared at me, “I’ll go to these three,” he held up the paper as if I couldn’t remember what he was talking about, “And you” He pointed to the paper in my hand, “Go to those three and we get done in half the time.” “Ace” I tried to think of something to say that’d convince him to go with me, “I don’t want to spend the day in the Red Room. Do you?” It was a chance. On bad days Ace’s answer would be something along the lines of, ‘Kadin never sends me to the Red Room and I don’t care if you’re in there.’ On good days he would feel bad for putting me in danger and risking me in

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the Red Room. I had to hope that today was a good day so I’d win this fight. I waited watching as he weighted the choices in his head. “I never want to spend time in the Red Room.” He finally sighed. I forced myself not to smile for I knew I had won this fight. “Then we’ll work together on this, alright?” His eyes narrowed at me and for a moment I second guessed my thoughts. Maybe he wouldn’t work with me on this, maybe I hadn’t won. Damn it, he was going to fight me. “Fine,” he growled after a few moments. He pushed past me and walked out of the base, “Just try and keep up will you?”

Bliss – “How do you think the other two are doing, Vince?” I switched position and watched as the four vampires patrolled outside of the building. It was starting to get late and none of them seemed to be any closer to going inside. The first four places turned out to be easy as there were only two guards on the outside of each spot. So while Vince knocked out one, I grabbed the other, darted him and brought him back to the base. Now, with four outside we had decided to wait to see if we could get two of them alone. Attacking four vampires at once would probably cause attention. If played wrong one of them would have a chance to warn the others long before we were able to grab a hostage and go. “I’m sure everything is fine,” Vince looked bored as he sat crouched behind the fallen tree and watched the vampires pace back and forth. “I’m sure Ace has everything under control.” He growled the word Ace and I had to laugh at him for it. He turned and looked at me. “I don’t understand your problem with Ace.” I said, as if that explained why I had laughed at the way he said the name.”You always seem…” I searched my brain for the right word but none would come to mind, “mean to him” mean wasn’t the word I wanted to use, I was thinking of something else, more… cold, distant maybe, I knew he would understand even if I couldn’t come up with the right word. “He’s a stubborn little brat.” Vince paused as one of the vampires went inside. He shifted preparing to go in and fight off the three if needed but seconds after going in the vampire guard returned back outside and continued with what he was doing. Vince cursed softly before going on, “He makes everyone think they should fear him. When he does something against the rules or he doesn’t follow orders he doesn’t even get punished for it.” “He gets punished just as much as we do Vince.” I replied quickly. He glanced my way knowing full well I was lying, “Come on. Ace has gotten you out of trouble before and served your time in the Red Room.” “I never asked him to.” Vince snarled and looked back at the guards, “If he did it was his own fault for doing so.” “Doesn’t change the fact that he did it,” I informed him, “He hates you but he also knows how much you hate being in the Red Room.” “I can do my time in the Red Room if it’s for things I’ve done.” Vince stated, though his voice dropped slightly and I noticed the hint of fear tucked behind his brave words. “I know Vince.” I said softly. I didn’t want to upset him. I knew how hard he tried to prove to everyone how unafraid of the Red Room he was. All of us knew it had nothing to do Where Will You Go

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with the room itself. Though the once white room had gotten its name because of how red the walls, floor, ceiling and door were due to the dried blood which was on there from the many hours and people that were tortured in there as punishment for not following orders. Vince was more afraid of the whips which were often used in the Red Room as well as in the trade from which Vince had came from and had spent many years prior to being in the Gantos. “The last time you ended up in the Red Room you had bruises, cuts, and a broken arm.” I said softly, “Ace took the time after that for you, covering for something you did.” Vince muttered curses at me for a few moments, a sign that he was getting frustrated. “Let’s just get this finished with.” He turned back to the vampires guarding the door, “They had better leave soon.” He snarled, “I still have a lot of work to do before tomorrow.” He looked at his watch, “Ten more minutes.” He looked over at me, “If two of them haven’t gone inside within ten minutes we’re going after the four.” “Alright,” I nodded at him.

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Kadin –

Chapter Two

I was just finishing up paperwork for Team 198 when the other team returned. Vince was humming to himself, which usually meant something good. Ace was cleaning off one of his knives, which usually meant something bad.”Well, how did it go?” I asked before noticing the blood on Ace’s shirt and arm. Yeah, something bad. “Didn’t I say this was an information gathering assignment only, Ace?” I should have known one of them wasn’t going to listen and not at all surprisingly it was Ace. “Of course sir, but we ran into some problems along the way.” Ace gave me a smirk which easily gave away the lie that he just told me. “Did you?” I look over at Angel, more to see what she had to say about this then to find out for sure. It was obvious that Ace was lying. He wasn’t very good at it and if there really was a problem he would probably being complaining instead of smiling about it. “Ace made a lot of noise” Angel sat down at the table and glared at Ace. Angel was use to following my orders and I doubt she liked that Ace was about to get them in trouble for causing problems. “The vampires at the last location spotted us and attacked. We had to fight to get out of there.” She said with a frown. I turned to Ace, ready to ask what his side of the story was, but he spoke up before I could say anything, his overly happy smile on his face, “I had to get their attention somehow so I could kill them.” I growl at him, “That was stupid and reckless. What if they would have caught you two?” The teams had been taught how to react to any situation and being caught was one of their first lessons, whether it is caught by the authorities, or by other supernaturals. “We would kill ourselves” Ace snapped. He stood up and sheathed his knife. “Don’t get an attitude with me, Ace. What you did was uncalled for. You not only put yourself in danger by Angel was well.” I unhook the whip that I kept strapped at my side and snapped it across the table. The group jumps back and Vince, Bliss and Angel all put their hands behind their back and stand straight their eyes on me. Instant attention. Ace stared at me, his eyes showing none of the emotions he must be feeling. Unlike the rest of my men, Ace is the only one of the Gantos to never have been in Basic Training, so the sound of my whip cracking did nothing. “Why did you do it, Ace? Why did you put Angel and yourself in danger?” “She wasn’t in danger” he stated clearly, matter of fact, “It was four men and we easily took care of them. She didn’t even need any help from me for her two.” “Then why even get their attention in the first place?” “They were vampires, sir.” Ace glared over at Vince, his eyes flashing hate, after a moment he looked back at me his eyes still showing that hate, “They shouldn’t be alive to begin with.” He snarled. Vince growled and I quickly snapped the whip at his feet. Unlike Ace, Vince had spent a lot of time in training and the whip did what it was suppose to with him. “Hush, Vince. I don’t remember asking for you to comment on anything.” “Sorry, sir” Vince’s eyes lowered quickly, his voice now holding a faint hint of terror. I turn my attention back to Ace, now that the rest of the group was back in attention, “Just because they are vampires and you don’t like vampires that give you no right to kill them.”

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I crack the whip on the table. “I expect to see you in the Red Room after you have finished your daily tasks. It that understood?” Ace’s eyes glare into mine, but I didn’t back down. Though Ace got a lot with more than most of the men, there were times when he had to be put in his place and taught a lesson. This was one of those times. After a few minutes his eyes lowered. “Yes, sir,” he replied quietly, defeated. “Good. You’re all excused” The group turned and headed out of the room. Ace slowly followed them. “Ace,” I called out just as the last of the team left the room. He looked back at me. “You are strong Ace, and by far the favorite of my men. Do not put yourself or any of your team into danger just because of some stupid hate that you feel. I understand that hate, and I know you want to rid the world of the evils, as do I. But, do not disobey me again, or you will be spending more than one day in the Red Room. Is that clear, 562?” Ace’s eyes narrowed slightly before he nodded at me, “Yes, sir.” He turned and walked out of the room, “I understand” he said as the door closed behind him.

Ace – I growled and paced the living room. God I hated that, hated my number. The numbers… I dropped onto the couch and closed my eyes the activities of the day finally catching up. The numbers were a way to keep us in line. Each of Kadin’s men, The Gantos as he called them, had an ID number. A number used if Kadin had important assignments, or if he was just that pissed he felt like using them. Each group also had a team number, so when they were together Kadin didn’t have to say each of their individual ID numbers. But I was against the ID numbers. Kadin had named me… So why did I need a number? I growled again and stood up. My body was sore and I needed a good long swim. I got up and walked into the pool area. The water wouldn’t be as cold as it normally was so the healing wouldn’t be as great, but even the feel of the room temperature water would be a nice change. I turned on the pool lights and then pulled the cell phones and wallet from my pocket. I laid them on the table before pulling off my shirt and jumping in to start my afternoon laps. The feel of the water had helped greatly and it wasn’t until the thirtieth lap that I noticed the light above the pool started to flash. I paused in the middle of my lap and looked at it. The alarm for the house, since the whole thing was built underground there were no doors or windows. The only people who could get in had to teleport in and with the strong barriers only very few people could teleport in or even out of the house. Of course the bad thing with the barriers was the fact that those who could teleport past them… were probably people who could kick my butt. That of course, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to defend my house. I pulled myself from the pool and grabbed a knife from the wall before quietly making my way toward the living room. I could hear someone moving around in the living room and as the person approached the door I got ready to attack. Just as the door opened, I lunged forward, preparing to push them to the ground. But before I can reach them a hand grabbed my wrist and twisted it behind my back. I howled in surprised, pissed I wasn’t even going to be able to get in one hit before I was taken down. I was shoved to the ground as the person spoke, “Aucune maniere de saluer un ami,” the person said in French with a perfect accent. Where Will You Go

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I blinked, translating in my head, No way to great a friend… I smiled as it clicked in my head who had gotten into my house. “You shouldn’t be sneaking up on me then,” I laughed as I relaxed my body, showing the person they had won this round. The person let go of my wrist and moved off. I pulled myself up before turning and facing the man who had attacked me. As always their black hair was covering his light green eyes. Though I hadn’t seen my almost adopted father in a few months he hadn’t changed much. Though Jas had spent most of his life in Paris, I don’t think he was French, and though I had only spent a year with him, and he was probably only ten years, tops, older than me, he was like a father to me. And of course, though he wasn’t laughing, he still gave off that look like he was laughing at me inside, “Bonjour, Ace” “Bonjour, Jas” I smiled at him, I loved seeing him and I never tired of having him near. “What brings you to the house? I thought you had to work all week long.” I didn’t bother asking how he knew I was going to be here. He had a habit of knowing when I was home and part of me figured, since him and I were the ones who built this house, he had put in a few cameras to keep tabs on me. The other part of me just thought maybe he was truly that good. “I got off early today. Lilth was coming in to the office for checks and she cleared me to leave before she arrived.” Jas leaned back against the wall and smiled. Jas worked at Equality, the European branch of ECS. ECS were like the supernatural police. Lilth, the owner and founder of both ECS and Equality, often checked in on the work that Equality did. Though she had handed over the Equality office to a former employer of ECS, she often checked in on a monthly bases to assure nothing was going wrong. Jas, though one of the lower ranking Equality officers, kept all of his work, files, and papers in order and usually had no problems he couldn’t handle on his own, so when Lilth came for her monthly visits he was usually given the option of leaving. “Desiree wanted me to bring you something to eat.” He motioned to a plate of food that was on the couch. I’m not sure how I hadn’t noticed it before but I smiled upon seeing it. “She said you might be hungry.” There wasn’t much that I ate. Besides ice cream, M&Ms, and the occasional pizza every now and then, Desiree’s cooking was the only thing that I was willing to sneak. Desiree was Jas’s wife and her cooking was… the best I had eaten in my whole life, or… what part of my life I could remember. Kadin had told me that I couldn’t eat a lot because my body couldn’t process the food the way normal people’s body did. It probably explained why I was so skinny, but the few times I had tried to eat food like a normal person I had gotten sick to my stomach and just couldn’t handle it. With Desiree’s food I ate a little at a time and hoped for the best. Of course, if Kadin knew that I was eating Desiree’s food and putting myself in danger of being sick, I’d probably be sent to the Red Room for sure. “Tell her I said thank you.” I walked over and lifted the foil from the plate. “Oh, she made Pommes dauphine.” I licked my lips already wanting a taste of it, “If she starts cooking like this every day, tell her I’m going to be moving back in.” I recovered the plate so it stayed warm hoping I’d get a chance to eat some of it soon. I looked up at Jas. “She misses you,” Jas took a step toward me, his voice growing serious. “I miss you, too. Why don’t you come back with us?” He watched me, a hopeful look on his face. Where Will You Go

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I lowered my head. I had to admit… I did miss living with them. Two years so much had happened that I just couldn’t handle it anymore and I up and left. I wasn’t sure were to go but somehow ended up in Paris. To be honest I had reasons for going there… One, I had always wanted to see Paris but hadn’t ever had the time to, and two, Kadin wouldn’t ever think to look for me in Paris. On my first day there though I had meet Desiree… I walked around the park and looked at the benches. I was starting to think, now that the sun was setting and it was growing darker, that I may have wanted to think this out more. The hotels were full for some… thing, and I didn’t have a place to sleep for the night. My first night in Paris and already I was doing worse than when I was in the Gantos. The thought to return and just take the punishment in the Red Room filled my mind before I shoved it back. I had made it this far, pulled out both trackers and ditched the phones, I wasn’t going back now. “HELP!” the almost shrill cry came from behind me and I jumped at the sound. Well what the hell I thought to myself as I turned around and was almost kicked down by the woman running past. Her green eyes were beautiful and for the brief moment that I saw them they held a look of sheer terror. The man that was behind her had another look in his eyes and as he charged past me I saw a look I had seen often in psychos who had lost all touch with sanity. Both kept running and it took a moment before it clicked that even though I was smaller than the man, I carried weapons, knew how to fight, and could help this woman. I turned and followed the man. I waited until I was almost on them before tossing a knife at the man’s leg. It didn’t go in, but the edge hit the side of his leg which was more than enough to catch his attention. He slowed, looked back, and then stopped, probably surprised as hell to see a teenager throwing weapons. After a moment the woman stopped to, a distance away from the man still. “You weren’t taught to be nice to woman?” I asked, showing more confidence than I felt, now that I was closer he was larger than I first thought. “Stay out of this kid,” the man snarled, obviously not buying the confidence I was trying to show, “Forget you saw this and go home to your mommy.” He laughed at the joke before turning back toward the woman. Wrong thing to say. I pulled a second knife and threw it, this time hitting my mark and getting the blade about two inches into his shoulder. He howled in pain and spun around to once again face me. This time there wasn’t a word of warning. Only a fierce snarl as he lunged toward me, his knife swinging. I probably should have moved. My training taught me when large opponents came at you like that, in full rage with no real thought out plan, to move out of the way and let them lose balance to get the edge. Somehow though it didn’t feel right, but as the man’s knife sliced cleanly into my shoulder, drawing a thick line of blood, I didn’t flinch, or even make a sound from it. That too, I had learned from training. The man stopped in front of me, obviously expecting more than what I gave him when he cut into me. He blinked in surprise as if unsure what else to do since I didn’t seem fazed by the attack. Not waiting for him to come back to his senses I pulled a third knife, and shoved it deep into his chest. His eyes widen in shock and for a second I thought he’d scream, but when he opened his mouth only blood came out and after a second I removed the knife and shoved the dead body away from me. I knew killing in public was stupid, even more so since I was out in the open. The man was obviously human so that only made the situation worse. Something in me said he would have killed the woman if I hadn’t killed him first, so I wasn’t about to second guess my already finished action now. I wiped off the blade in the grass before looking up. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to the woman now that she just watched me kill someone. I was hoping she would see things my way as well when it came to the, kill him before he killed her, thing. What I didn’t expect was to find she was already near me, her eyes seeming to hold some sort of understanding of the whole situation.

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“We need to move the body” She looked up at me, “Or call someone to clean it.” I must have had a confused look on my face because she clarified more, “I’ll call Equality.” Oh, that got my attention. Equality were the France police, just what I needed was to explain to the police that I, a just recently formal member of the best know slayer team, the Gantos, had just killed a human. “I can move it,” I jumped in quickly, wanting to get out of here fast, so much for staying low and hidden while in Paris. “You’re hurt,” she gently touched my shoulder. “Let’s go back to my place. I have some stuff we’ll clean that up and bandage it for you.” She took the hand that wasn’t attached to the bleeding shoulder and led me the way they had ran from. I went, mostly because her grip was strong and I couldn’t seem to pull away, plus, the promise of a roof, at least for a bit, was too much to turn down given the situation I was in. She led me to a small blue car at which she finally let go of my hand. As she walked around to the driver’s side I wondered if maybe I was putting too much trust into this woman. She was already in and buckled before the need of a place to go out weighted my fears and I climbed into the passenger seat. She started driving as soon as my seat belt clicked and it accorded to me that she didn’t call for someone to kill up just as I saw her dial her phone. “Bonjour, Jas.” From the brief interactions with French people I knew enough to know she said hello, and probably a name following. What she said after was all foreign though as she spoke quickly in French to the other person, Jas I was guessing, on the other end. The only solid word I heard was Equality, which I took to mean the person she called was supernatural like she was, unless she was a human who knew about the supernaturals… My thoughts wondered on that and I considered the best approach to how to ask her. After a bit she hung up and gave me a smile. “We should be at the house soon.” She didn’t lie, after about five minutes of driving she pulled into a long well kept driveway, which lead to a large, well kept, house. Damn… this woman had some money. She pulled up, stopping just in front of the garage, and turned off the car. “We’ll clean you up inside.” She got out and walked up to the front porch. Following, I was about to ask what she meant by “we” when a man came out of the front door and hurried over to her. He pulled her into his arms and then talked back in forth to each other in French. It felt weird being outside someone’s house who you just meet listening to a conversation obviously not directed toward you. I wasn’t sure what to do and it was like the woman had forgotten I was there, I didn’t even think the man had noticed me at all. Finally the man looked over at me, which turned out to be far worse than being ignored. His eyes were dark blue and the saying, “had fire in his eyes” meant nothing here for I was sure his eyes, no matter how they looked, had sparks of ice in them. The woman looked over and smiled. “Jas, this is the teen I was telling you about, the one who saved me.” She reached out and took my hand. He gently tugged me forward. “My name’s Desiree, and this is my husband, Jas.” She looked back at the man, “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be alive.” Jas eyed me and it really felt if he was looking into my soul. It took a moment but I finally figured out why he was looking at me like that. He knew… somehow he knew I was a slayer. I felt like running. Everything in my body told me to run and it took even longer before I figured out why I felt that way. Jas worked for Equality. All the signs were there; Desiree calling him and speaking in French, the quick discussion in French when we arrived, the knowing look he gave me as if trying to decide if I was a threat or not, and the spark of ice that his eyes held when I was near his wife, even though I had just saved her life. The urge to run hit harder and I almost darted, damn what a crappy why to start my first day in Paris. I was just about to turn when something in his eyes shifted and he smiled, “Thank you, for saving my wife.” He reached out and patted my good shoulder. “Anyone willing to save my wife is welcome. Let’s go inside and clean your shoulder.” He turned and walked back onto the porch. Desiree kept hold of my hand and smiled as she followed, and I, had to go with as she once again had a grip on my hand. She led me inside and let me go once I was past the door, and barriers. I felt them as I entered and a spark of

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fear hit me. Equality workers probably had strong barriers to keep people from escaping. Looking around the front area though the thought dropped away. This was no Equality base, this was a home. A well kept, expensive, gorgeous home. Jas appeared next to me a moment later and started to clean off my shoulder. I flinched back and stared at him. “Sorry,” he replied softly, though he really sounded sincere. “I just wanted to wipe off the blood.” “It’s alright,” only ice and cold were affected methods of healing and though my shoulder was starting to sting, cleaning it and putting a bandage on it wouldn’t do a lot of help. “My body heals,” I wasn’t sure what information I should give to this worker, “differently” I finished lamely. He eyed me, obviously seeing the lameness of my remark. “How differently?” he grinned at me, “Should I be using milk? Cow brains? Chinese firecrackers?” I hissed at the last, fire, yuck. “Ice… usually” I said, worried he might really get milk or… could you find cow brains in Paris this late at night? “Ice? Ice heals you?” He didn’t seem surprised, or even upset, just… curious. I nodded. Ice cured, fire hurt like hell and was a quick way to die. “Alright,” he stepped forward and places his hand onto my shoulder. Even with my training I almost yelled. Damn that hurt. I was just about to curse him out, or maybe try to take a swing, when my shoulder grew cold. I paused, as the cold feeling ran into my shoulder and into my blood. My skin welcomed the cold and the wound started to close. An ice witch… this worker was an ice witch. I grinned, thrilled and in awe at the fact I ran into an ice witch after all of this. A few moments later he removed his arm and only a thick red mark remained. With how poorly my body healed that mark would probably stay a few days if not a week, but hell, at least the cut was gone and the bleeding stopped. He smiled at me before motioning toward the kitchen. “Are you hungry?” Though I couldn’t eat a lot my stomach was growling for something, probably whatever that smell was my nose had just picked up. God whatever it was it smelled good as hell, “I… should probably get going,” I looked at the door, wondering where I was going since I still had no place to stay. “It’s late. We have a guest room. You’re welcome to stay the night in there. No reason to go back out now.” The offer sounded… well sound. It didn’t sound like he planned an ambush to toss me into the cell and when I looked at him he didn’t seem like he was going to turn me in at all. Allowing a known slayer to stay in your house seemed risky, even more when you’re a member of Equality. None of this seemed to bother him. His eyes held only concern and worry which were new to me. Staying in the house of an Equality worker wasn’t my first choice. Sadly it wasn’t even on my top 100, but at that moment I didn’t have many other choices and I really didn’t want to go out again tonight to find a place. One night I suppose wouldn’t hurt me. I’d eat, sleep, and head out first thing in the morning to look for a new place. No harm could come out of it, right? “Sure,” I heard myself saying, “I guess I can stay one night.” It seemed safe, one night. … but somehow it didn’t turn out to be only one night. Somehow it turned out to be a little over a year. I grew attached to them and could never seem to pull myself away. Just something about them made me feel like I had found parents that I couldn’t remember. This made things almost seem… normal for once. Neither of them asked a lot of questions, which I was glad for, and though they knew I was once a slayer, neither commented. I found myself relaxing around them and even going out of my way to seek their approval or attention, and not in a bad way either. I wanted to help them. Desiree taught me how to cook and Jas taught me how to build. Though he worked for Equality on the side he built houses and on weekends and days off spent his time working as a volunteer. For the first time that I could remember, I was doing good instead of bad. After three months there I started Where Will You Go

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eating more and gaining weight. I went back to school and even enjoyed being there and learning. After six months I stopped carrying weapons and I found myself allowing my guard to drop more and more. Around Christmas time Jas and Desiree volunteered at a hospital. I went along with them and oddly, found myself loving being able to help the people who were helpless. It became a regular thing for me. This became my life. They were my family and they meant the world to me. Which is why, a year after being there… it almost killed me to leave them. “Did you finish helping Katie?” the nurse smiled at me. “Yeah, we walked around the hall four times before she had to sit down again,” I smiled back. Nurse Halman was one of my favorite nurses on this ward. “She wants to know if she’s going to be able to have a cheeseburger soon.” Nurse Halman laughed before picking up a chart, “I’m sure it’ll be soon, her treatment is almost over.” I laughed, “Do you mind if I leave early? It’s Desiree’s birthday and Jas wanted to take us out to eat.” It was disappointing really, I would much rather have Desiree’s cooking, but Jas told me she needed a day off for her birthday and someone should cook for her. Since neither of us knew how to cook much… we were going out. “Of course,” Nurse Halman held out the chart, “Can you go see if Matt needs help with his lunch before you go?” I took the chart happily. Matt was around my age and had broken his right arm in a skateboarding accident, as well as his left leg and a rib or two. Since he was right handed he was quickly learning how to eat with his left hand, but some of the food still required some extra help. I walked to his room, “Afternoon,” I said happily, “I hear we’re eating anti-left hand foods today. Came to lend you my right one” Matt laughed at my completely unfunny joke, which made me smile. “More people in this place need to see how funny I am.” I sat down in the chair by his bed and surveyed his food. “Oh,” I look at him and smile, “I’m pretty sure I can help with this.” I get up and walk to the sink. Turning on the hot water I glance back over at him, “Is your mom coming tonight to visit?” I wash my hands, makes sure to get between each finger as taught when I went to the volunteer conference. “Tonight around six when she finishes work” Matt smiled, “She’s going to bring John with her.” John was his buddy who was with him when he went skateboarding. They went to school together and John often tried to make visits in to see him. Since he wasn’t old enough to drive though Matt’s mom usually took him. I just finished washing my hands and was drying them when one of the other volunteers walked in. “Ace, there’s someone in the waiting room asking for you.” “Oh, Alright” I smiled, “Can you start helping Matt please? I’ll be back.” I walked into the hall and headed down toward the waiting room. I was half way there when it occurred to me that no one knew I was here except Jas and Desiree, and all of the workers knew them and would have said it was Jas or Desiree here to see me, not just, someone. I slowed considering whom it was that was asking about me. Maybe just a higher up? One of the doctor’s bosses or something. I wasn’t sure what they would have wanted, but I knew some of the higher ups might not know all of the volunteers, or all of the volunteers might not know them. I had convinced myself that was probably what it was when I entered the room, but those thoughts left instantly as I stared at the blond hair witch in front of me. “Hello, 562. We should go outside and talk.” He made a fireball in his hand, “Hate for something to happen to these people.” His grin told me he didn’t care one way or the other what happened to them, and the look in his eyes told me he wanted me

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to put up a fight so he could use the fire on me. Using as much restraint as I had I turned and walked outside. He made the fireball disappeared and then followed. I picked an alley way away from the cameras and the crowd of people who came in and out of the hospital, in case this went poorly. I knew why he was here, I didn’t know what all he was ordered to do or not do. Once inside I turned to face him, “Well?” “No hello, happy to see you? How have you been?” The witch gave an evil smirk, “No, how did you find me? Please don’t burn down the hospital with these “innocent” people inside? Just well, huh?” “You aren’t really much into ideal chit chat, Revelin. Honestly, you aren’t into much talking at all. But to answer, I’m not happy to see you, I don’t care how you’ve been, I knew sooner or later Kadin would find me, and if you burn down the hospital you’re going to be in a lot of pain when I come over there and kill you. Now, with that out of the way.” I crossed my arms, hoping I was sounding more confident than scared, since I sure as hell was scared. Revelin was known for pushing the laws and limits. I wouldn’t put him past burning down the hospital even after he got what he came to get, just because he could, and in a fight… he’d win with his fire. “Kadin sent a message” My threats seemed to have done nothing at all to him. So much for acting scary, “He said you have half hour to pack up and meet back up with me. It’s time to go home.” “I’m not going with you,” that was seriously it? Kadin thought I’d come back just because he found where I worked? Yeah right. I worked too hard to give it up over that. “You can go with me, 562, or I can send two groups to kill anyone and everyone you have had contact with. Everyone in the hospital, everyone in your school,” I flinched, alright so they knew about the school, they must have followed me from there to here. “Your family,” Revelin finished. “That witch, his wife…” his eyes grew cold, “would suck for them to suffer.” Damn, they had been watching me for awhile. Now, I was furious, this wasn’t just about them threatening me they were now pulling Jas and Desiree into this. I snarled and reached for a knife, determined to do some damage before Revelin hit me with a fireball, only to find… “No weapon, 562?” Revelin laughed as he formed another fireball in his hand. “Such a shame.” I’d never win in a one on one if I was unarmed, More so if he was planning on using fire, but I wouldn’t allow him to threaten my family. “You’re dead, Revelin.” I moved a few steps forward. “Come now, 562.” He rolled the fireball between his hands, “If you come with me in half hour they get to live.” I noticed the slight movement of his hand, the only warning I got before the fireball came flying at my head. I dropped quickly, feeling the sting of it as it singed my shoulder. “Thirty Minutes, 562. Meet me, and they don’t die. Thirty-One minutes, and they all go up in flames.” He rattled off a hotel name and room number before disappearing. I hurried into the house a few minutes later. I had left work from the alley way not bothering to say anything to anyone. It would be harder to leave if I wasted time on good-byes, not only that… I wasn’t sure what I’d say to any of them anyway. Though I knew I was putting them out a volunteer, this was better for them. By the time I made it into my room I had only fifteen minutes left. I started grabbing clothes and tossing them into my bag. Luckily I still had it and hadn’t tossed it after putting my clothes in the drawers. It took longer than it would have in the past to pack since my supplies of clothes had gone up. By the time those were in I only have eight minutes left to grab my weapons and get to the address. I was prying the floor board up when Desiree walked in.

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“I thought I heard something from this room.” She smiled at me, before noticing the bag on the bed, “… Ace, what’s going on?” She walked into the room and looked around at the open, empty drawers. “Are you… going somewhere?” “Yeah,” I yanked the board up and grabbed the small bag inside which held my weapons. “I’m leaving.” I stood up and tossed the weapons into my bag. I had everything I’d need. I zipped it shut and pulled it over my shoulder. I didn’t want to talk to her. I knew how hard it would be for me to say good-bye to those at the hospital. Saying good-bye to Jas and Desiree would be a million times harder. “Leaving?!” Desiree’s eyes widen, “Leaving where?” She reached for my arm. “Ace?” I looked at her and almost started to cry. I didn’t want to harm her… but I didn’t want her to follow me either. “Leaving,” I yanked my arm away and walked into the hall as I fought back my tears. She followed quickly, “Why are you leaving?” She grabbed my arm again, “Wait, please,” I turned on her, about to growl and order her to let me go, but the tears falling down her face and the look in her eyes made me pause, “please,” she begged, “please Ace… what’s going on?” Jas came out of the master bedroom, from the look I could tell Desiree had told him what was going on using telepathy. “Ace?” he walked over his eyes searching for something that would explain all of this. I looked up at the clock and hissed. I had only three minutes left. Three minutes to get away and make them see it was best not to follow me. Three minutes to ruin the life I had spent so hard to build. “Ace?” his voice was pleading, I knew he must be hurting seeing Desiree like that. I swallowed my pride, swallowed my tears, and forced myself to do the hardest thing I had done in my life. “I’m leaving because I can’t stay with people like you.” I yanked my arm away almost pushing Desiree into the wall behind me. It took more will power than I knew I had to not to ask if she was ok. “The only reason I stayed here was to get information to pass along for Kadin.” I started too turned away, two minutes left, “I got all I need, so now I’m going back.” Jas’s eyes narrowed and he moved to put himself between Desiree and I. His eyes held so much hate, more than I’ve ever seen before from him, and it was all directed at me. He put an arm around Desiree. “Get out,” he snarled at me and for a second I thought he’d grab one of his knives and lunge at me. I moved back a step. If only I had time… if I knew Jas wouldn’t try to stop me from going and put himself and Desiree in danger… If only… I looked at the clock, time was up, no more if only, no more what ifs. With one final look I turned and darted down the stairs. Somehow I made it outside and to the address in time. Even more surprisingly, I made it back to the dorms and was alone before the tears finally won, and I broke down and cried. It took me months to get up the courage to go back to see Jas. I knew I shouldn’t put him through that again, or put his family in danger. I knew he was probably made at me and I feared he wouldn’t talk to me again or worse yet, would kill me when I saw him, but I couldn’t leave them like that, I couldn’t allow them to think everything they did for me was for nothing. So finally after a few months, I returned to their house. I stared at the door unable to move my hand up to knock. I wanted to see them again, wanted to explain to them, but the fear of what was waiting for me when they answered kept me from moving. After several long minutes I finally knocked on the door, and waited. It didn’t take too long for me to hear footsteps and shortly after that the front door opened. “Bonjo-“ Jas stopped his greeting when he saw me. His eyes narrowed into tight slits. “What do you want?” it was an animalistic growl.

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“I just…” that look brought back so much pain and so much hurt. “Jas…” I whimpered before moving and throwing my arms around him. If he had a knife and was planning on shoving it into me, now would have been the perfect time. “I’m so sorry, for everything. For what I said to Desiree, what I said to you.” I started to cry, “Oh god, I miss you. I miss Desiree.” I waited. Waited for him to shove me away, and tell me to get off his steps, waited for him to put a knife into me and end it, waited for – Jas’s arms wrapped around me, enclosing me in a seal of protection like nothing magic could make. He tugged me closer. “Stupid boy” he rubbed my back a bit, “What made you think we’d believe anything you said to us?” He took my shoulders and pushed me back a bit to look me straight in the eyes. I was surprised to see tears well up in his eyes. “We’re not stupid, Ace. I work for Equality, I’ve spent a year with you.” He pulled me back into a hug and rubbed my back, his mouth next to my ear. “Besides,” he added softly, “Desiree is a mind reader” They had forgiven me with no more questions asked and once more opened their home, and their hearts to me. Ever since I came back though, Jas had been trying to get me away from Kadin. I wanted to. I wanted nothing more than to return to the life I was living a year ago, but I wasn’t going to put them in that situation, and Kadin knew now where to go to find me, and who to kill to get me to return. “You know I can’t” I carried the plate to the kitchen and Jas followed me. “You’re safe if you stay here. They’ll never find you, never get in. I built this place well and only a few people can get in, him and his men aren’t any of them.” Jas took my arm and turned me around to face him. “We don’t want anything to happen to you.” “But they know where you live, and I can’t just live here for the rest of my life.” I sighed sadly, wishing things were different so I could return, “I’m sorry, Jas. I never meant to hurt you or Desiree” I was putting them and myself in danger by seeing him now, if anyone found out they could easily go after Jas and Desiree. “We aren’t sorry we meet you, and I’m not sure you saved her life.” Jas let go of me and leaned against the doorframe. “We’ll figure something out. Alright?” I wanted to believe him that there was some way out. That I could go back to my life. “Yea-“ I started to reply, but the shrill of my phone cut me off. I pulled it out of my pocket and looked at it. “Kadin…” I frowned and flipped open the phone, “Yes, sir?” Maybe he was calling me about being late to the Red Room. “I need you to go to this store.” He rattled off an address which I quickly repeated in my head twice so I’d remember. “One of the workers there has a flash drive which holds information about the vampires we’re after. I need you to go get it.” He paused before finally deciding to add something, “Make this quiet, in and out, no noise from the others. I need this done quietly, 562. There is still much we need to do before the attack.” The phone went dead as Kadin hung up on me. I pulled the phone away and looked at it. The name of the person I was looking for and what the flash drive looked like would be texted to me. With a sigh I pocketed the phone and looked at Jas. “Work calls…” I wasn’t sure what else to say. Let me stay, figure out what to do… don’t make me go back. I knew it wasn’t fair to him… wasn’t fair that I’d tear apart his life for mine. “Tell Desiree thank you for the food.” I finally added quietly. Jas nodded, “I will.” He paused and for a moment I thought he’d tell me not to go. “Be careful, Ace.”

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I lowered my head. I wanted to stay… I wanted to put the Gantos behind me. “I’ll try,” I reply quietly, and then disappear before he can say anything else.

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Where Will You Go