I tried not to tense up, but my muscles did it involuntarily as I was lightly pushed forward. His grip was soft...and yet firm at the same time. A commanding amount of pressure applied to hold me still. Only Cyrus had manipulated the balance between 'subtle suggestion' and 'menacing force' with as much grace. It was a hold on me that dared me to break loose. To insult the alpha that had given me the embrace. Once they had a hold of the back of your neck, you belonged to them, mind, body, and soul. I was beginning to see that a lot more clearly now.
We walked further away from the party, with Luke and Julien following closely behind. My pack never felt so distant. Not since I had officially become one of them. I had to admit that the feeling made me nervous. A worry that seemed to increase with every step that I took away from the others.
The whole world seemed to get darker, as we walked down the road a bit further. The partying teens and all their precious noise, now just a faint 'thumping' in the distance. The trees on either side of the road seemed to loom over me, almost as if they were slowly collapsing inward to devour me whole. But above all things...what I found most unsettling was Evren's silence. He didn't say a word the whole time we were walking. Neither did Luke or Julien. I heard nothing other than footsteps and late night crickets the whole way. I didn't even know where we were going. Or if we had any kind of real destination at all, for that matter. It was an unsettling march, and my own thoughts were driving me crazy while I tried to maintain the quiet hike with the others.
After about five minutes of this soundless hush, I looked to my right to see if Julien could maybe give me a clue as to what the hell this was all about. But he merely gave me a taunting grin in return, and ignored my questioning gaze. It didn't help matters that Luke was staring at me with such a hostile look in his eyes. It was almost as if he could barely contain himself, waiting on me to make one wrong move so he could proceed to pounce on my chest and bite my throat out. Was Evren doing this on purpose? Was it a test of some sorts...to see how long I would last? I could never be sure, with the games they all liked to play. But I kept my silence until I just couldn't take it any longer.
At that moment, I was JUST about to speak up, and had taken a breath to get the words out, when Evren beat me to the punch. "Are you a God fearing boy, Wesley?"
The question caught me off guard. "Am I a what?"
He looked over at me, his piercing blue eyes nearly knocking me over with their stare. "A God fearing boy. Are you one of them?"
"I don't...I don't understand..."
"I can sense an awful lot of deep suppression in you. It's more than just average 'table manners'. You've been trained to hold back. It's written in your imprint. I can smell it on you. That's why I asked."
I thought about it a moment. He didn't seem to be insulting me really, but I was surprised that he knew anything about me at all other than what Cyrus told him. "I wouldn't say 'God fearing' actually."
"No?" He asked. "Why not?"
"Well...I always figured that if you woke up in the morning with the intention to be a good person throughout the rest of your day...there really wasn't anything to be 'afraid' of."
Evren smiled. Much like Cyrus...there was something about the way he embraced you that made you feel as though you were the most amazing person walking the Earth. And it made you ache for further approval at every turn. "A very enlightening answer." He smirked. "And just how strong is your faith, 'preacher boy'?"
"As strong as it needs to be, I suppose." I told him.
"Curious. And unrehearsed. Wesley I am impressed, so far. You seem rather logical in your beliefs. Hardly the fire and brimstone, judgement spitting, fanatic that I expected." He said. "And I wonder where your faith would place the existence of creatures like us. Hmm?" He gave me a dark look, his grin widening slightly. "Possibly somewhere between religion and science, no doubt. Both sides gone horribly wrong of course."
"Possibly." I said. I then felt Luke purposely kick dirt and rocks on my shoes as he walked by. Still sneering at me from his position at his leader's side. I gave him a frown, but he didn't care, and promptly did it again when Evren gave him the signal to stop antagonizing his 'guest'.
"It's a comfortable place, you know? Standing between religion and science. Religion is all meaning with no proof. Science is all proof with no meaning. It is the ultimate struggle between fate and purpose...fine tuned to touch our emotions in the most tantalizing ways. A fierce battle between both sides of the brain. I've always found that conflict to be so fascinating. Don't you?"
"I dunno...I guess so." I said, giving him a weird look. I felt Luke kick another cloud of dust over the tops of my shoes, and it made me angry. "Knock it off!" I snarled through gritted teeth.
"Luke! Behave yourself." Evren told him, and the boy lowered his head slightly, obeying his pack leader's command. Evren smiled at me, "The young ones can be so very protective." We walked further off of the road, and I followed them into the wooded area surrounding the estate. Luke's little boy eyes began to glow bright enough to make his small spattering of freckles visible, even in the dark. But this time, Julien changed his original position to walk beside him and keep him from causing any more trouble. "It may be hard to believe, Wesley, but your leader, Cyrus, was much worse off when Cain first made him one of the chosen." Evren then turned to look me in the eye, speaking in a deep melodic tone. "Did Cyrus ever tell you about him? Cain?"
"Uhhh...no. No he didn't."
"It's quite an interesting story. You should ask him some time about how he came to be one of us. Quite fascinating really." Evren didn't offer much more on the subject. But he did tell me, "You know, that boy was one whipped puppy when he received his mark. Scared. Alone. Brainwashed, almost to the point of no return. Cyrus' father had just about drained all the freedom that he possibly could from him. A 'God fearing' man, he was. Quite the abuser on top of it. Trying to take his baby boy and have him join us...proved to be a bit of a problem. His father couldn't let go"
"Couldn't...let go?" I asked.
Evren shook his head slowly with an evil grin. "He fought with us tooth and nail, so to speak. Just to get his son back. Even killed one of our brothers in the process. Made a vow to come for the rest of us. EXPOSE us. He became a pesky little hunter, and had to be dealt with. It was a matter of survival. Cain could have done it himself, but we needed to use that opportunity to teach young Cyrus how to take matters into his own hands. He had to be prepared to free himself from the shackles that were holding him back. So we sent him out alone. And he...passed the test with flying colors. All of them 'red'."
"He...he killed his own father?"
"Sometimes liberation comes at a high price. But it's not a price that we are unwilling to pay...given the right circumstances. We gave him a simple task...and allowed him to 'enjoy' himself. He was ours from then on."
The idea of Cyrus being so heartless as to murder his own parent shouldn't come as a shock to me after all the things I've seen him do since I first spoke to him by that blazing fire on the beach of Rainbow's End. But for some odd reason...I found myself unpleasantly surprised. He really had no compassion when it came to killing. Not once he found a solid reason for it.
I shook off the feeling, and asked Evren, "You...you said something about telling me how to get home?" Hoping to get him back on the right subject
"It's not just a matter of going home, Wesley. If it were that easy, you could have left at any time." He said. "It is the connection that you must learn to break. As long as you are spiritually linked to Cyrus' bloodline, he will always be able to find you. He will always be able to control you. The bond that you share is much too strong to simply let you sneak off to a safe distance. He'll be able to hunt you down and drag you back long before you get out of his range."
A slight feeling of 'hope' rushed into my system, and for a moment or two..I almost felt like 'me' again. Memories became clearer, thoughts more distinct. "I could...I could run. I could get back to the camp, and they'll be able to keep me safe until I can find a way home..."
"Hahaha! Oh my dear boy...you are SADLY mistaken!" He bellowed. "Not only will Cyrus cut you AND your family into unrecognizable shreds of human flesh, but he'd feed you to the rest of the pack as an example of what happens to little pups who disobey their master. No, Wesley...I don't suggest you go with THAT particular plan at all." He continued to chuckle at my stupidity, and I felt an ice cold sensation run through me as I began to realize that...I might never see my family again.
Julien spoke next, "It wouldn't do you any good anyhow, mate. Even if you COULD get far enough away...you don't want to go losing your marbles, now do you?"
"Losing...my...wait, what?" I asked.
"There aren't many successful 'lone wolfs' out there. VERY few. And they live in total seclusion. No human contact whatsoever. I doubt you'd make it two weeks back in your real life without the rest of your pack."
"Why not?" I asked, and Evren began to explain.
"You need a 'union', Wesley. A pack of others with which you can share and balance your energies. It isn't merely a practice to keep all of your minds in sync...but a much needed equalizer that keeps you from losing control of the beast."
"The...the beast?" I said, feeling that frightening shiver expand even more quickly to every part of my body.
"Yes." He said. "Right now, keeping this form seems easy. As long as you don't allow your emotions to run wild, you can maintain your form and keep the beast under close watch. Your balance is what keeps you from losing control." Then Evren stepped closer, to make sure the next part was clear to me. "However...without the balance of your pack alpha...and the combined energies of your brethren...that big bad wolf inside will become harder and harder to tame. It will take on a highly unpredictable personality all its own. Before you know it...you'll end up running the streets naked at night, howling at the moon and ripping innocent bystanders apart on a whim. And you don't want that. It's such a 'movie monster' cliché, and I'd like to think that our species has evolved since then."
"WHY???" I asked, hoping for a better answer than the one he was giving me. "Can't I just...control it another way? Or...or just...?"
"Wesley...you fail to understand exactly what you are. The beast isn't some 'disease' that you can cure with medicine. It's not a mental disorder, or a separate entity. The beast is 'you', Wesley. In its truest uncivilized form. It is the build up of your every frustration, your every passion and lust, your pain, your greed, your aggression. You can't simply dettach yourself from your own desires at will. It doesn't work like that." He told me. "What Cyrus has awakened in you isn't something that will peacefully go back to sleep whenever you tell it to. If you try to run without breaking your bond with the others, your deepest, most unrestricted, passions will eat you alive. Your needs for sex, power, violence...they will become insatiable. Your hunger will increase ten fold, but you won't be able to fill up on cooked food. You'll begin to crave the taste of raw meat. Your emotions will swing from one extreme to the other without warning, you'll begin to claim territories in your household and the surrounding areas. And you'll defend those territories with great anger if provoked. You will, very quickly, begin to lose your socially acceptable attitudes, and continue to lose them until the beast takes control and goes to seek out the sins it requires to be satisfied. The boy you were before will simply sink into the void of the calling...until the beast is all that remains."
"So...you're telling me..."
Julien said, "...Even if you were lucky enough to get outside of Cyrus' sensory range...there's no way you'd be able to outrun yourself. You'd go totally bonkers, mate." Then added, "Not to mention that in a few week's time, you'll be horny enough to shag your own mother if you catch her bending over to put a pie in the oven! Hehehe!"
Disheartened and afraid, I felt my calling crawl back into the shadows. Abandoning me to stand alone on shaky legs...unable to find an answer that would help me to get out of this. "How do I do it? How do I break the bond."
Evren smiled wickedly in my direction. "Are you sure that you're ready for this, Wesley? You really should ask yourself if you'd be ready to face the ultimate consequence for your betrayal. While Cyrus and I came up in the same pack I can guarantee you...he is FAR less forgiving than I am. Don't let his tender looks fool you. He is a creature far beyond what he appears to be. I knew that from the first time Cain brought him home. If you don't do this right, if you miss a single step and he catches it...you will be in for a very slow, very painful, demise. He will come for the ones you love...slaughter them and make you watch. Then he will save you for last...and you will never be seen or heard from again. I can guarantee you that you cannot even imagine the amount of suffering that boy can put you though. So make your decision wisely, new breed."
As I mulled over the danger this was putting me in, Julien stepped closer to Evren and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then he said, "Come now, Wes..it wouldn't be so bad, would it? Being one of us? Party all night, sleep all day, get to have all the sex you could ever ask for. It's a much better existence than the one you want to go running back to. It's a far better decision than mixing it up with a basher the likes of Cyrus, that's for sure."
It took a moment or two for me to think about it. And then I nodded in agreement. Not knowing what to expect from this. The second I made the decision to turn my back on my brothers...I began to feel their pull on me. It was as if my brothers had suddenly sensed my traitorous act, and were seeking me out to punish me severely for it. Was it all a trick? Was Cyrus watching me the whole time? Maybe he SENT Evren out here to tempt me. Maybe...I failed my test.
"They're 'calling' you, aren't they?" Evren asked. "You've made a small break in the link. A severed tie to your pack leader, however small, is enough to rally the troops. They'll come for you soon." I looked around us, the darkness of the woods surrounding us with a frightening vibe all its own. And my breathing began to pick up, my heartbeat racing, as I felt Cyrus' presence getting stronger. It was something I hadn't felt since the night he chased my down that dark road in the rain. The night he let me know that he would kill me before he ever let me go. "Quickly, Wesley...make your decision."
"I just want to go home..." I whimpered, feeling the presence of my pack getting even closer.
"Home is waiting for you. But you must commit to this action, or there will be no salvation. Not for you."
"What do I do???" Please...hurry! Give me an answer!
"You have to give yourself over to the calling completely, Wes. All the way. Let it win."
"WHAT???" I asked, frantically looking around and keeping my ears open. Oh PLEASE don't let them find me! Not yet!
"You have to trust me. Otherwise you will not be able to pull this off. You must fully submerge yourself in the calling. Embrace it. Let it take over. And build strength through the union of your brothers. You already have the advantage."
Evren looked me directly in the eye and said, "You're an alpha, Wesley. Like Cyrus. Like me. As an alpha, you are equipped with the power to build a pack of your own someday. Therefore, you will be able to break your bond once you are strong enough. But you must work quickly. Once the calling has a hold of you, it won't let go easily. It will seep into every part of you, and dominate everything that made you human. Don't wallow in the void for too long, or you won't be able to make it back."
Almost PANICKED now, I could feel my entire pack approaching our location I could feel Cyrus' invisible leash tightening ever so slowly around my neck, and my loyalties to him were beginning to rise up against my better self. "How do I do that??? Tell me, please! Hurry!"
"You must concentrate on the strongest feelings you have concerning your life. The ones that give you peace. There is strength in certain vulnerabilities...find them and use them whenever you can."
"Strength in vulnerability....that doesn't make any sense..."
"It will." Evren told me, his voice now lowering to a whisper as my pack was no doubt reaching its destination. "Just remember...YOU can break your bond....the others cannot. You CAN'T trust any of them! Even the ones who appear to be your friends. Their loyalty is to Cyrus, and Cyrus alone." He stepped closer to me, giving me a final warning. "Make sure to conceal your practices. Try breaking your connection when the others are asleep. If they catch you trying to break free of their control during the waking hours, they'll kill you for certain. Do you understand?"
"I...I don't know if I can..."
"Listen to me, and listen closely...do NOT challenge Cyrus. You can't win The other members of your pack feed him all the energy he will ever need. In order to have even a SLIM chance of defeating of him, you would have to dispatch ALL of the others one by one. You're not ready for that yet, believe me." He said, and I saw Luke and Julien begin moving into closer proximity to their master as my pack was undoubtedly getting closer to finding us. "I can help you more at a later date, but for now, it is best to remain at your alpha's side and to keep your thoughts hidden as deeply as you possibly can. Maintain your union with the others. Share their energies, learn their strengths and weaknesses. Give in to the calling, and you just may have a chance at an escape."
I wiped a stray tear from my eye, and looked over to see Julien and Luke standing together watching us. For a moment, I had almost forgotten that he was supposed to be the 'enemy'. "Why are you doing this?"
Evren smiled. "I am doing this because what serves your purposes and what serves mine are temporarily in sync with one another. As long as your interests conflict with Cyrus' current goals...you and I will continue to share a fragile truce between us." Then, Evren firmly took his hands and placed them on both of my cheeks...squeezing until it was uncomfortable. Almost painful. "But make no mistake, boy...we are NOT brethren. And the second I feel that you've gone against me or forfeited your role in this little game of ours...I'll slice your belly open, and let your guts spill out at my feet." He said. "Please tell me you understand?"
I nodded, and then he stepped back from me. And that is when I saw John Boy step forth out of the darkness, blindly leading the others to that very spot. None of them looked happy.
I was quick to let the calling pour over me again like a thick black syrup, hopefully concealing my growing hysteria over being caught like this. Sebastian and Kristin stepped out from behind John Boy, the twins in the back, Dexter in the middle...eyes aglow. Then from the back of their formation, Kriegar escorted Cyrus to the front of the pack, and he stopped just a few steps from where Evren and I were standing. The look in his eyes increased the tension in the air to the point where it was almost hard to breathe. Silently, Julien and Luke moved to stand in front of their leader...but if it came down to a sudden attack on Evren...they wouldn't stand a chance. Their guarded stance was a bit shakier than it was before. And that only succeeded in making me even more nervous.
Cyrus' eyes seemed to burn hot with an inner rage that could rival the fires of hell itself. But the rest of his face remained deceptively calm. He looked at me first, his cold stare forcing me to turn away. Partly from shame. Then he looked back at Evren, who never once lost his crooked grin. "Is there a reason that my newest member was approached, not once, but TWICE, in the same evening?" Cyrus asked.
"Approached? Why Cyrus, you make it sound as though we 'kidnapped' the boy." Evren replied.
"Not far from it, I'd assume."
"And yet, here he stands. Willingly. No rope or chain to bind him." When Evren said it, Cyrus looked back at me, and beckoned me to stand at his side. An order that I obeyed instantly, for fear that he would sense the trembling sensation in my chest. I wished for the calling to rush in and make it all go away. Erase the fear, the weakness, the guilt. Make me one of them. Please. QUICK before they find me out!
I stood at Sebastian's side, and he gave me a stern look. I tried to ignore it at first, but he continued to stare a hole right through me. I knew that he could feel my momentary break from the pack. He was more sensitive to the energies running through us than any of the others. I know that I promised him to try harder to keep my energies flowing naturally...but now that I had made a complete 'break' in the chain, I was sure that he'd be watching me a lot closer from now on.
Cyrus and Evren stood toe to toe, eye to eye. "I'd appreciate some common courtesy concerning my new recruit, Evren. He's going through a transitional phase. He needs the guidance of ONE alpha, not two."
"I was merely adding to the teachings, I'm sure, you had already brought to the table, dear Cyrus." Evren said with a taunting grin. One that Cyrus did NOT take take kindly to.
"What I bring to the table isn't any of your concern. Now perhaps, during our last conversation, I left room for a misinterpretation of my wishes. So let me make myself clear so that there are no further mistakes..." Cyrus said, practically in Evren's face with a scowl that made ALL of us nervous. "...The new breed is MINE! Back off!"
Evren looked down on Cyrus for a moment, and while the rest of us trembled in the wake of what was sure to be a scuffle the likes that we had never seen...Evren showed no fear at all. In fact, his look alone was practically instigating our father further. "Are you sure you're ready to start tossing around commands like that...baby brother." I had NEVER seen anyone treat Cyrus with such blatant disrespect. Not without paying a heavy cost. "You keep making grand statements like that one, and I'm going to assume that you and your rat pack are here on 'unfriendly' terms."
Neither titan budged, their eyes locked fiercely on one another. It was almost as if they were both waiting for the tiniest declaration of war. They teetered over the edge...knowing that one wrong word, one sudden movement...if so much as a mosquito were to fly between them...and it would set off a rumble that would rival the battle of Armageddon itself. The very feel of it had an ancient vibration to it. An age old battle between two fallen angels. I think it was the epic nature of the conflict to come that kept their savage instincts at bay. Despite their anger and heated discussion...they kept their arms down at their sides. Neither willing to bow their head any lower than the other. They refused to claim or deny a sense of dominance between them. And as the calling began to crawl over my shoulders and into my mental state, I found my fists readying themselves to fight at my father's side. No matter the consequence.
Then Evren spoke again, "I'm going to do you a big favor, Cyrus."
"Is that right?"
Evren nodded. "I'm going to call the dogs off, and welcome you back to the party with open arms. After all...young Wesley here has a lot to learn about...embracing his gift." He glanced at me briefly, but quickly redirected his gaze back at Cyrus. "I want to see you succeed, brother. Perhaps you've found the way to do what Father Cain could not. It is an achievement I would very much like to see."
Cyrus leaned in a bit closer to his bond mate, and in a low, guttural tone, he replied, "We will succeed. You can count on that. And when we do...I'll come back here personally to make sure that you're one of the first to know...brother."
Evren stared deep into his eyes, his smirk displayed in insult...and he quoted an old scripture. One I remember my Dad using once or twice in his Sunday morning sermons. "Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength." Cyrus' eyes narrowed slightly at the reference. "Did 'Daddy' teach you that one, Cyrus? Or had you already gone 'missing' by then?" With that, Evren signaled for Julien and Luke to ease their stance, and follow him back to the party "It's fear that makes the wolf seem bigger than he is. Right boys?" The rest of us remained still until he and his guardians were gone.
Cyrus turned to look at me with disgust, and I lowered my head until my chin touched my chest. He walked towards me, and I began to speak nervously. "I'm sorry, Father. I didn't mean to..." But before I could finish my sentence, Cyrus backhanded me so hard that I was sent spinning to the ground! I started to cough, spitting up blood, as my tongue felt the loose 'wiggle' of a few of my front teeth. My face had instantly gone numb from the blow, but the pain was swiftly working its way into the spotlight. "You DARE to shame me!" He hissed. "Pick him up!!!"
Shank and Razor each took an arm, and forced me to stand back on my feet. With tears in my eyes, I began to beg Cyrus for forgiveness. "I'm SORRY, Father! I'm sorry! I was led astray..."
"LED ASTRAY???" He snarled, and marched towards me, grabbing me by the throat and SLAMMING me hard against the bark of a nearby tree. With little effort, he lifted me off of my feet, putting intense pressure on both sides of my windpipe until I was left gasping for air!
"F-F-Father....Father, PLEASE..." I sobbed. Cyrus' eyes began to glow bright gold, and I saw his teeth become sharp and jagged. His face began to change right in front of me. A vision of unadulterated rage! A pure HORROR for anyone who was to gaze upon it, even for a moment!
"Why did you break your link??? ANSWER ME!!!" He said.
"I didn't know...I don't know what I'm doing..."
"No!!! I swear! I would NEVER lie to you! I would never....ULCKK...!!!" He squeezed harder on my throat, cutting me off. And after he made me suffer a while longer, he savagely threw me to the ground, some ten feet away! I looked back to see Cyrus squat down onto his haunches, his breathing changing...become deeper...stronger. His body looked as though it was beginning to swell to nearly twice his normal size. And his eyes...his eyes burned like the fires of hell itself, long strings of saliva dripping from the corner of his lips...now pried open with a collection of extra teeth. I didn't make any attempt to stand. I crawled...on my hands and knees..surrendering to him completely. Praying that he would show me some mercy. Cyrus watched in anger...doing all he could to keep his transformation from going all the way. And with a monstrous growl that vibrated in the pit of his stomach...he took a moment to contemplate my fate. "Father? Father, please...." I whispered, afraid to move too fast, but still crawling forward in the dirt. My eyes flooded with tears, my neck bruised and sore. He waited for me to get closer, and I pleaded with him to forgive. PLEASE, Father....forgive. "Cyrus...it was an accident. That's all it was. Please...Cyrus? I...I love you." I said, and then looked out at the rest of my pack. "I love ALL of you! I swear! Please....forgive!" Not a single one of them offered me any comfort. Not even Dex, who looked as though he was ready to cut my frail body in HALF at the first opportunity. All of their eyes were aglow with the same hostile coloring. They were all on the brink of transformation themselves...and the first in line...was Kriegar.
Standing in front. Bold. Powerful. He could tear me limb from limb without even a full metamorphosis. He stood ready for the signal. Ready to enforce Father's law without question.
Cyrus gazed at me for a few moments longer, and then...he made his judgement. In a flash, he CHARGED me at top speed! Before I could even react, his menacing clawed hand lashed out, and scratched me across the FACE! The deep gashes sprayed the forest floor with gushing blood, and my face burned in agony as I was sent flying backwards into the dirt! He had cut through muscle, tendon, BONE...my eye was only inches from having been cut out completely! And when I landed, I felt Cyrus' weight bear down on me as he sat on my chest, and thrust his face into the side of my neck.
I thought for SURE that I was going to be brutally slaughtered for my betrayal...but instead of the harsh ripping, tearing, and chewing of flesh that I expected to feel next...instead...I felt a merciful kiss.
It took me a moment or two before I was brave enough to open my eyes again. Cyrus leaned back, still pinning me down, but with a brotherly smile and a sensual look in his eyes...he withdrew the power of the beast within, and spoke to me in a normal tone of voice. "You know...we can't have you running around and breaking your link with the rest of us, Wesley. It's just not how things are done with our kind. How else are we going to keep you safe? Hmmm?" It was a completely schizophrenic switch of personalities that left me off balance and uneasy. But it was a blessing in comparison to the fate that awaited me before his sudden mood swing came to rescue me. "Do you remember what I told you, Wesley? About tolerating your constant disobedience. Already, I have given you more chances than all others. That alone should express how utterly important you are to me." Then he leaned forward again, lightly touching the deep gashes he had cut into my face as a heated fever came to start healing them up for me. "But this behavior cannot continue. You can officially consider your little basket of 'fair warnings'...completely empty. I would strongly advise you to learn your duties to the rest of the pack...and quickly. My patience is wearing extremely thin. And the LAST place you ever want to be, Wesley...is a place where me and my patience can't coexist." He stared at me, allowing me to absorb his warning fully...never once decreasing the angle of his demonic smirk. "Such a pretty face. A pretty, young, face." He said, and lightly dug his fingers into one of my wounds, causing me to almost grunt from the pain of it as the skin began to heal around the small digit. "Now then...what was it that you and Evren were talking about? Hmmm? And DON'T lie...or I'll know. And I'll pick up right where we left off."
"It...it was nothing, Father..."
"Oooh, bad answer." He said, and with a single extended nail, he placed the tip of his sharp pointed finger at the extremely soft spot directly behind my right earlobe...and pressed until it tip slowly punctured the skin. "Let me ask you again. What...were you and Evren talking about?"
What little calling I had surging through my veins told me to release a full confession. It nearly pried my jaws open and forced me to obey. But the fear of what the consequences would be, certain death being a very real possibility...allowed me to refrain from doing so. "I followed Julien..he was talking to me about...talking to boys. About...being one of us...AAHHHHHH!!!" I shouted, as he pushed a little harder on the same spot behind my ear. I could feel a warm fluid running down the back of my throat from the pain, and my whole body began to tremble from a mild form of shock.
"I didn't ASK you about Julien." He said, an angry look slowly building on his face. "I asked you about Evren. Tell me what happened."
"I didn't even know he was going to be out here!!! He just appeared out of nowhere!" I whimpered helplessly while the others watched. "We barely said anything at all! Hardly ANYTHING!"
Cyrus sniffed the air. "Mmmm...you seem awfully frightened to me, young one. Are you sure you're not lying to me?" He pressed in again, and the excruciating taunting of that single spot was driving me insane with agony! But after I grunted a 'yes' as an answer, he merely held the finger in place for a moment or two longer...and then he pulled out. He got off of my chest, and my hand instantly went to grab the back of my hear. As if me holding it could do anything more than stop the generous trickle of blood from running down my neck. I swallowed hard a few times, trying to deal with the wound as best as I could, and I felt my fever burn even hotter as it started to seal itself closed as well. Cyrus looked me over, and a sweet smile came to his face. "You have to understand, we only want what's best for our 'baby'." He put his hands on my shoulders, and looked me in the eye. "I keep you close because I love you. Because I care for you like no one else ever has. You know that, don't you?" I was too scared to say no. I simply nodded, afraid to take my eyes off of him, even for a second. "It was your father that turned you away, Wesley. It was the bullies that took advantage of you. Your society who judged you and forced you into hiding. Not us. All we want is to make you a permanent part of our family. To contribute...as we have contributed to you. I know your conflicts are great. It takes time. But soon, you will be seated at the head of our table. You will learn to take pride in our union, and your rewards will be great. Make good use of this opportunity. Ok?" Again, I nodded.
There was a brief silence as he examined my eyes for any sign of deception. And then Kriegar spoke. "Do you want me to take action, Father?" He asked with a grumble. "Territory or no territory...this is clearly a violation!"
Cyrus held his eye contact with me for a moment longer, and then leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek. "No. We return to the festivities...and we allow our pup here to enjoy himself."
"But Cyrus..." Kriegar began, but was cut off by Cyrus' look alone.
"Rest easy, Kriegar. We will be keeping a much closer eye on things from here on out. If anything else goes astray...I don't want you involved. Instead...I believe a much 'messier' display of retaliation will be in order." He said, and then, I watched as Cyrus' intimidating gaze slowly moved to land on Dexter. "How are we feeling, Dex?"
A deep, monstrous, growl came from the pit of his belly, and his eyes began to glow brightly. "Bad....moon..." He mumbled to himself. And that made Cyrus smile.
"Good boy. Be ready. Father may need your talents later." With that said, Cyrus carefully laid his hand on the back of my neck, and lightly pushed me back in the direction of the party.
As I passed Dex, I noticed the murderous look in his eyes. Dark. Cold. Even more frightening than the stare Cyrus gave me just moments ago. But as his eyes connected to mine, a cold shiver went through...as that sinister glare was set off balance with the addition of a very 'playful' smile. Whatever it is Father wanted Dex to 'do'...he was more than happy to do it.
God forbid if it ever comes to that.