Chapter 8: Micko

"On her way to work one morning

down the path along the lake

A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake

His pretty colored skin has been all frosted with the dew

"Oh well," she cried, "I'll take you in and I'll take care of you"

"Take me in oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven's sake,

Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake"

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed him and held him tight

But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

"Take me in oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven's sake,

Take me in oh tender woman," sighed the snake

"I saved you," cried that woman

And you've bit me even, why?

You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die

"Oh shut up, silly woman," Said the reptile with a grin

"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in..."

As I speak to my son he just stares out. He doesn't move. He's in some type of catatonic state. He's just sitting in this chair in the middle of the room staring out. Innocent doesn't move. He just...sits there.

"He can't hear you," Vivienne says.

It's the same night that we saved Genesis from the vampires and helped him run off the wolves. You would think they'd be a little nicer to me. All I wanted was time alone with Innocent. He's so beautiful sitting here even without him speaking. I've missed my son. I miss his wit and his humor. I miss the fact that he can't stay out of trouble. He had to join this war. I should have known. And he was already the war's first casualty.

I turn to the witches. They are annoying to say the least. The one called the Weather Witch doesn't talk much at all. The other one talks named Vivienne talks too much.

Tears start coming down my face.

"What's wrong with him?"

The two witches stand for a minute in silence. I'm pissed off by the moment.

Vivienne stares down at the floor, "We aren't sure."

If she knew would she tell me? That was the real question. My son just stares out into the darkness. He doesn't move. He just breathes slowly. This isn't a regular condition. Magic did this to him. Something was wrong with Innocent. Something really fucking bad.

"Can I have a moment alone with my son?" I ask her.

"Genesis doesn't want him left alone with anyone," Vivienne explains.

"I'm his father."

"Genesis knows who you are..."

I'm getting more pissed off by the moment. What? Did he think I was going to hurt my own fucking son? I had come all this way to save him. After the vampires showed up on Moreen Island we had a warning. The image of my son appeared and warned us just in time. It was magic that I hadn't seen or heard of before.

But what cost?

I look over at Vivienne, "How long has he been like this?"

"Quite some time unfortunately," she tells me, "Genesis tells me us he will wake up though."

It seemed like every sentence that came out of her mouth included the name Genesis. I had no doubt that whoever this young witch was that she had drunk the Kool Aid. I look down at my son. Innocent needed to wake up and we needed to get the hell away from his war.

I squeeze my son's hand. He doesn't squeeze back. He doesn't blink. He doesn't even change his breathing pattern. Nothing. Absolutely nothing is there.

I take a few steps towards her. Tears are running down my face.

"I need an explanation."

The two witches look at one another.

Vivienne nods, "Genesis."

~

The warehouse that Genesis lives in cold, dark and dreary just like he is. It's the night we ran out the wolves that we approach him. He's sitting alone in a chair next to an old abandoned assembly line. Cobwebs and spiders are all over this place.

My coven approaches behind me. Mickson is to my right. All the others are close though. None of them fall too far behind.

Genesis looks at me even though Mason domes over me above all others in the coven.

"Thank you."

Genesis can at times seem kind. He can even seem sweet but I knew better. You don't trust a snake. It is in a snake's nature to bite.

"We didn't come here to save you," I tell Genesis, "We came here for Innocent. What's wrong with him?"

Genesis is outnumbered. I wonder if he is aware of it. Maybe he sees Mickson and Whyte have grown up a lot from when he last saw them. Then there is Angelica. She has become a force onto herself. I know Genesis is not too familiar with the newest witch in our coven, Asa but he was well aware of who Asa's dead parents were.

Then there was Mason. My husband.

Mason looks at Genesis. Genesis looks at Mason. I feel this shiver down my spine. It's been years since Mason has been intimate with Genesis but even now I hate the idea of them even looking at each other. It is driving me fucking crazy every second that passes.

"I'm not sure," Genesis states.

"You're fucking lying!"

The lights flicker. I'm angry. I take aggressive steps forward. Genesis is alone. He's left the Weather Witch to guard Innocent. There is no one left to keep him safe. We could take him down together if we chose to. I knew it. Maybe it was time to do something that I should have done a long time ago. Maybe it was time to really get rid of him.

"Stop."

I turn back and notice the hand stopping me from getting at Genesis. It's Mason. I should have known. I could feel the anger building up in me all over again.

"You're protecting him," I state.

Mason sighs, "I'm not protecting him. I understand you are upset about Innocent. We all are. We all want him back but if it wasn't for Innocent...with the help of Genesis...we'd all be dead right now. You have to remember that Innocent saved us."

"At what cost?" I ask.

I look over at Genesis. He silent, letting us talk among ourselves. He's probably eating up the fact that Mason and I are disagreeing right now. I can't read his face but I could swear I see a little smirk on the side of his face. I fucking hate it.

"Genesis, I speak for the coven when I say we are not leaving without Innocent," Angelica states.

I'm glad at that moment that someone has my back. I look back at my coven. Angelica and the others all seem in agreement. If they are afraid of Genesis they aren't showing it right now. There is something that we are worried about more than our fear of Genesis. We are worried about Innocent and right now we'd do anything to get him back.

"Innocent made a sacrifice..." Genesis states, "Sacrifices are the source of our power. You all know that more than anyone."

"He's a child."

"I WAS A CHILD WHEN I MADE MY FIRST SACRIFICE!" Genesis raises his voice getting up at that moment out of nowhere, "Where was my coven to help save me? No. I gave Innocent the tools to make his decision and he made it. I'm not responsible for his current state."

That just wasn't good enough. I give a nod to Angelica. She holds Mickson's hand. Mickson holds Whyte's hand. Whyte holds Asa's hand. Asa reaches over and grabs my hand.

"You give us no choice," I state.

I pull out a knife. Genesis wanted to know something about sacrifice we were going to show him.

"You are going to use blood magic against me?" Genesis asks rolling his eyes, "Again?"

Mason breaks the chain we are forming to stop the spell. He pulls me away from the others. Mason gives me a firm shake.

"Everyone stop! We are all witch doctors. We are all part of the same coven. We need to be united."

Mason would be the one to protect Genesis. The idea that he thinks Genesis gives to fucks about this coven is ridiculous. We hadn't seen Genesis for years. He disappeared and comes back only when he needs help with his war. He was a selfish con artist and the sad thing is that he could work his con on Mason any time that he wanted. I didn't get it. Genesis had some kind of hold on Mason even after all these fucking years.

Just when things are about to get worse Vivienne runs into the room. She runs into the room and goes to Genesis. She seems frantic.

"Vampires are coming..."

Fuck.

Vivienne seems sure about it as if she saw the vision when comes in the room. Mickson gives me a hard stare. I know what my brother is thinking. My heart races. They'd found us. The ones that had come to Moreen Island had found us.

Mason looks over at me, "Those are the enemies..."

It's as though Mason was trying to prove something to me. Of course I knew that Genesis wasn't my enemy, but that didn't make him a friend of mine either. Genesis only cared about one thing. Power. He was hungry for it. He could never get enough of it.

My little brother Mickson slides next to me, "Mason might have a point bro. Maybe we should stand with Genesis. At least this one time..."

I hesitate. I'm annoyed as fuck. I can't believe that the Moreen coven was being his pawns once again. None-the-less we don't have a choice. We surround Genesis. We stare at the doors. All of us are pacing ourselves for what we believe to be a major attack.

In the next few minutes the doors open. No one is guarding the doors. The guard that Genesis had was dead and gone.

I can hear heavy breathing.

I can almost feel Asa's shivering or Whyte's frantic movements. They were afraid. I knew why. These vampires were scary as all fuck.

When the door opens it's only one vampire that walks in. I haven't seen him before. He has really light skin and pretty eyes. When he comes into the room he seems really polished. You could tell he was probably raised wealthy just by his clothes and how he carries himself. He's not some island boy like the rest of us. He's a rich boy with class and you could spot that class a mile away.

As he approaches it's clear that he doesn't have anyone else with him. We are all relatively confused.

"Prince Justice," Genesis states, "I wasn't expecting you..."

"I come in peace."

The boy seems confident enough. I'm not surprised that he is a prince. My brother clears his throat. The boy is flawless. He is uncomfortably beautiful. It doesn't seem natural really. The vampire has beautiful skin. It's more flawless than the rest of us. Here I was aging. I was getting wrinkles and grey hair. I wasn't nearly as attractive as what I once was. I was getting old. Mason maintained his beauty somehow but you still could even notice the fine lines of aging on his face. The rest of us were aging a lot worse. Seeing this young boy was just a reminder of just how mortal I really was.

"Last time you were here you were in chains."

"It wasn't all that bad. Where's the cutie? What's his name? Innocent?" Justice asks, "I was kind of hoping to see him again."

There is an awkwardness. The mention of my son puts me back into a strange mood. The tension of what was going on with Innocent fills the room all over again. All of us seem completely confused at that moment.

Genesis clearly seems to sense the tension because he tries to end is, "Innocent isn't available. I'm assuming you didn't put yourself in danger just because you thought someone was cute. So, how can we help you Prince Justice?"

"My father sent me. He wanted me to give you this."

The prince walks over. I'm surprised when he walks over to Genesis and he hands him a letter. Genesis grabs the letter out of his hands. Justice takes a few steps back at that moment after he hands Genesis this strange letter.

It was sealed with something red. It was sealed with blood.

"A letter? That's all?"

"That's all. I should get going but if you guys do see that cutie Innocent, let him know that I'd love to chat with him sometime."

I grunt a little bit. Mason might have been cool with it because he treated Innocent a little grown but I didn't like the idea of my son being the object of someone's attention in that way. I especially didn't like the fact that this was some male vampire prince whose people had attacked our home. That definitely was not going to work in anyway.

When Innocent leaves Genesis looks down at the note.

"King Nero is inviting us to Eden...for peace negotiations."

"Us?" Angelica asks.

The coven looks at one another. We were all thinking the same thing. Why the fuck was Genesis including us in this. We had nothing to do with this.

Genesis seems vulnerable at that moment. For the first time in forever it seems like he isn't really as comfortable. Something had changed. Had he experienced something with the vampires that had shaken his confidence with them a little bit?

"I'd appreciate if you all came with me to Eden?"

Angelica's mouth drops open. Whyte and Mickson exchange looks. I can't help but to break out into laughter at that moment. I honestly can't help myself.

"You've got to be kidding me," I state, "Why the fuck would we go to the land of vampires, surrounded by bloodsuckers because of you?"

"To help Innocent."

"How so?"

"The person Innocent spoke with was a very old spirit. She was the one who granted him the power to help you all."

"So?"

We spoke with spirits all the time. That was how blood magic worked. You sacrificed something to spirits of the past. Those spirits granted you things. The idea that Innocent was able to help us because of a sacrifice he made to an old spirit didn't really matter.

"It wasn't any old spirit. She is the oldest woman. The first wife of Adam. Lilith."

"The first vampire?" Angelica asks.

Genesis nods.

I am shaken to my core, "What the fuck did you get my son involved in?"

Genesis looks at Mason instead of me, "If we want answers to why Lilith has Innocent like a vegetable then the first place we should start is Eden."

Genesis knew what game he was playing. He walks out of the room without giving us much other explanation. Genesis knows us. He knows that we'd go to any length to get Innocent back. He knows that the rest of us wouldn't stand a chance. I hated it. I hated every part of this but I knew that I didn't have a choice.

My son was in a catatonic state.

I'd do anything to get him back.

Even negotiate with monsters...

~

The gateway to Eden is in Harlem. The sky in Eden is a consistent red sky. The first thing we see is grass. Grass everywhere. It's beautiful. An eternally green garden surrounds the city. The place was magical. I'm standing around watching Asa as she runs off a little bit. She's the youngest out of us and it's clear that this kind of thing excites her. I can tell she is feeling a little bit on edge.

"Asa stay close," I warn.

"It's OK," Genesis responds, "Let her explore. She's a grown woman now. This is Eden, after all. There has never been a place so beautiful."

I'm annoyed. I'm even more annoyed when Asa listens to Genesis instead of me. I have to admit that Genesis is right when he says how beautiful this place is. The green planes look almost like a painting. In the distance at the end of the long road through the garden is the city. The city stands tall looking like a replica of Rome. It is the most shocking thing I've ever seen.

We aren't expecting it but sure enough carriages come to pick us up. There are three big carriages that come to pick us up. They are pulled by horses. It's almost like we stepped back in time. Where the fuck were the cars? These vampires had horse drawn carriages!

"I'm glad you could make it," Prince Justice says, "I've been sent to escort you to Eden."

Guards come out of the carriages. They are vampires. They have the same youthful look at Justice. I swear none of them look a day over the age of 21. I feel so insecure seeing how beautiful and young they all look. The vampires bow to us. They are so elegant. They seem to float across the fields to help us into the chariots.

"I can get used to this," Mickson whispers to me, as a muscular young guards approach him.

"Don't," Whyte says with a hint of jealousy.

Whyte and Mason go into one carriage and almost immediately I watch as Genesis hops his ass in that carriage. Before closing the door Genesis turns back to us and lets us know, "This carriage is full..."

I look at Mason. He's doing it on purpose. None-the-less Asa and Angelica go in the second carriage with Prince Justice. That leaves Mickson and I in the last carriage.

"We're making a mistake being here," I tell my brother.

My brother is shaking his head, "You think?"

The carriage goes over the smooth roads to Eden. I can't help but to notice Mickson's smile. He's looking out the window. He has that same excited look that Asa has. It's annoying. He was so amused at the fact that greens here were so green and the trees were so healthy. He was looking at all the fruit growing off the trees. All of them looked ripe. This place looked like living art. None of us had ever seen anything so beautiful but I didn't want to get carried away.

"This isn't Disney World, Mickson," I warn my brother, "You do realize Genesis is leading us into a city full of vampires right?"

Mickson sighs, "Damn Micko, you really know how to cramp the mood don't you?"

"Be on your guard," I warn my little brother, "Genesis is always up to something."

"You think I trust Genesis?"

"Honestly I don't know. You guys seem really excited all of a sudden," I notice.

Mickson sighs, "I'm not dumb. I know you're worried about Mason and Genesis."

My heart stops. Even the idea of Genesis and Mason in the same sentence is enough to make me forget about the beautiful garden we were going through to get to the city. I'm just all of a sudden thinking a little too hard. We are pulling into the city walls of Eden and I could honestly care less. The idea of Genesis being around Mason was getting under my skin.

"Genesis is going to try something, isn't he?" I ask.

"I don't trust Genesis. How do you think I feel? Genesis has a way with men. Period. Mason isn't the only one who has a soft spot for him. Whyte does too...remember?"

Two carriages ahead of us Genesis was in a carriage with both of our men. The idea is making me sick to my stomach. Genesis was a man stealer. That was what he was. That was what he was good at. I shake my head.

"We don't stand a chance," I state, "Genesis hasn't aged. Just like the vampires..."

I don't get how that is possible. I don't understand it. I look over at Mickson. All of a sudden he isn't smiling too. If I'm worried about Genesis with Mason, then he had to be worried about Genesis with Whyte. The annoyance of the situation is getting to me.

"Listen, Mason doesn't care if you are getting older. He doesn't care if you have gray hair. Mason loves you," my brother explains to me, "If he wanted a young boy who probably has amazing sex and is unpredictable he'd be with Genesis."

I roll my eyes, "Mickson you aren't helping bro."

"I'm trying to say that Mason loves you because you are sweet. You are kind. You are loyal. You are a good father to the son the two of you share. He loves you because you are the good witchdoctor..."

"I wouldn't say that."

My brother leans over. He pulls me close, "I would. There has to be a moral goodness in this group. That's who you are. If he wanted Genesis, he would have been with Genesis. You won bro. Don't ever forget that Micko."

He gives me a hug.

I needed it. Mickson had a point. I was the one with the ring. I was the one with the family. Genesis didn't have any of those things. Sure, he had this hold on Mason but that was such a long time ago. That was ancient history. Things had changed.

The carriage stops. All of a sudden we hear screams. The screams are from all around us.

"Something's wrong..." I state.

"Look."

We look outside the carriage. The streets of Eden are paved with bricks. The old fashioned buildings have a mix of ancient times with slight edges of modern things such as posters and modern signs. Some things in the city looked real old and some things looked really new. I am being mesmerized by the city again but I realize something is distracting me. That's when we see it. A swarm of what looks like protesters are headed over our way. The crowd is growing massive in the streets. The massive crowds are headed over to the three carriages we are in.

"What the fuck?" I ask.

Just at that moment the carriage door swings open. It's Prince Justice.

"We have to make a run for the palace," he states.

"Excuse me?" Mickson asks, "Why the fuck would we be running? We are guests here..."

"The vampires in Eden don't agree with my father. They don't want to negotiate peace. They want war. They want you dead. They want to taste witch blood. So if I were you I'd get the hell out of that carriage and run for your lives."

This wasn't happening. I knew this was a bad fucking idea. I knew this was a horrible idea to come here!

We start running at that moment. In the distance I can see Mason wave over at me. It warms my heart to see that he is worried about me. Mason comes back to me and grabs my hand.

"Stay close to me, OK?" Mason tell me, "I got you baby."

All of a sudden I'm reminded why I fell in love with Mason. I'm reminded why I have been with him for so long. Sure he was flirt. Sure he had his past. But Mason loved me. He put me over everything and he protected me no matter what. He holds my hand tightly securing it.

I watch Genesis. He sees how Mason goes back for me. For some reason this motherfucker seems more concerned about Mason holding my hand than the huge crowd that was coming towards us.

"This way!" Prince Justice screams out.

We run down the stone pavement to the huge palace walls. The palace is enclosed with walls. We run past Iron gates towards the complex. The huge walls seem to be built out of limestone and marble of high quality. We make it past the huge columns.

"They are monsters..." Asa states.

Asa is freaking out. I look back and I see why. All you see is fangs. These isn't a regular crowd. This was a crowd full of vampires who were foaming at the mouth. Saliva is dripping from their incisors. I watch shocked and appalled as they get closer and closer. All of them ready to kill us and have us for dinner.

That's when we see that they are catching up to us! They are fucking catching up to us!

Genesis trips.

He falls over hitting the pavement hard. He lays there like some fucking victim as the angry crowd runs to get him. At first I'm so confused. I didn't even see anything for Genesis to trip over. Even if he did trip why the fuck was he just lying there acting so helpless.

"I got him!" I see Whyte say.

"No. GET to the palace. I got him!" Mason responds.

It's all clear at that moment why Genesis did what he did. Mason releases my hand, pushes me forward to give me momentum and heads back for Genesis.

I watch as he grabs Genesis in his arms cradling him like a fucking baby. It makes me sick at that moment. I can't even be mad at Mason but know that Genesis did this on purpose. I know that he is doing this to get underneath my skin.

The palace guards come out of the castle when we are close enough. They block off the crowd. They are being led by someone. It's a woman. She is standing taller than the others.

"My name is Countess Livia," she states, "Welcome to Eden..."

~

This was Eden.

The halls of the palace are huge. None of us have calmed down completely from the attack. We are walking through the halls. Well, not all of us are walking. Genesis had given up walking. He's being carried by Mason. I would talk to Mickson about it but at least his fiancÚ was giving him attention still holding his hand. My husband was catering to the helpless Genesis. He was being that knight in shining armor. It's what I loved him and it's the same thing that made him so fucking annoying.

"Up these stairs to the right we have prepared apartments for your stay while negotiations take place," Prince Justice tells us.

He's giving us a slight tour of the palace grounds. He keeps warning us not to leave. It is very clear that we are not welcome here and the more I think about it the more I feel like it was a mistake for us to come here in the first place.

"This place is huge," Asa states.

I look around. She is right. We are getting weird looks even from the palace staff. They pretend as though they don't have a problem with us being here but I can see the slick stares when we aren't watching. They may be more disciplined then the mob outside but the resentment seems to be shared by everyone we've met in Eden so far.

"I'm a little confused," Angelica states, "If the vampires of Eden don't want us here then why are we here?"

"My father will explain everything when the time is right," Justice promises.

Justice continues the tour. I think we all see how he has avoided her question. We all see how weird Justice is acting but right now we are just happy that we are safe in these walls. We could worry about the weird behavior of the vampire prince at a later time. The others keep walking but I lag behind a little bit. Something has caught my eye.

Better yet someone.

This boy is leaning up against a stone pillar. He stares back at me. He's a distance away in a central area of the palace. This place is huge with domed roofs and columns everywhere. At first I think I'm seeing things but the more I look the more I realize who this person is.

"Innocent?"

There was no way in hell I could be seeing my son here. How is that possible?

"Innocent?" Asa asks turning to me.

"Yeah right over there," I state.

I point trying to show her where I saw Innocent. Sure enough the person who was standing there a minute ago wasn't standing there now. Innocent was gone. I could have sworn I saw him.

"Innocent isn't here Uncle Micko," Asa tells me, "We left him back in Harlem. Remember? The Weather Witch is protecting him."

Innocent was still in his vegetable state. Asa was right. Still...

I could have sworn...

"You're probably right," I respond shaking my head, "You're probably right..."

~

The room that was given to Mason and I was nice to say to least. It wasn't the most up to date. I was so confused with the time of Eden like everything else here. There was an old fashioned bed with columns and even a small fountain in the room, but then there was also a fucking flat screen television. It seemed like these people couldn't make up their minds if they wanted to be in ancient times or current.

Mason goes to take Genesis back to his room. I get ready for bed. It's been a long day and tomorrow we would be meeting with the Nero, the King of Eden.

Two hours pass.

Five hours pass.

It takes so long that I find myself watching this television show in Eden called Bat Chat. It was basically a news channel and sure enough our arrival was on there. There were riots in the streets of Eden due to our arrival it seemed like. People were turning against the king. Now more than ever Angelica's question made sense. Why the hell were we in Eden if no one wanted us here? Why did the King invite us?

I realize that we are surrounded by enemies. I don't trust the vampires. I don't trust King Nero. I don't trust Prince Justice. And I damn sure don't trust Genesis.

Did I trust Mason?

Where the hell was Mason?

It's the middle of the night when Mason finally shows up. He walks in. He smells like alcohol. I feel the bed move as he lays next to me. I want to say something. I want to question him but right now I'm just not in the mood for all of that.

As Mason lays down I grab him by the dick.

Mason is so...sexy. Even now. Sure he isn't the young guy that I had fallen in love with but I damn sure wasn't either. Mason had aged to be a sexy mature man. His hair had a little bit of a salt and pepper feel to it. He still had that body that would make any young man envious. I can't help but to touch his broad chest. I rub on his hard biceps. I get lower and lower grabbing onto his dick. He's hard already by the time I grab his dick. It must be the alcohol.

Mason's dick is so thick and juicy. I feel the entire shaft of it. I run it up and down. I feel it through his pants stroking it a bit. Then I start to pull it out of his pants.

Instead of letting me he pushes my hand away.

"No..." he says.

I don't know what gets over me. I sit up on the bed at that moment, "What the fuck?"

"Baby. I'm just not in the mood," he responds.

Not in the mood?

"You're always in the mood Mason."

"I'm a little tired baby. That's all. Damn..."

"Tired?" I ask shaking my head, "This wouldn't have to do with Genesis huh?"

Mason gives me a hard stare. He looks at me with this fatigued look. I don't think he wants to talk about this right now. This definitely hadn't been the first time Genesis had caused issues in our relationship but it wasn't my fault.

"What are you even fucking talking about?" Mason asks.

"You went to take him to his room and you don't show up hours later," I state shaking my head.

"The vampires had some wine that they brought Genesis. I had a drink with him," Mason responds.

"You got to be fucking kidding me."

"It wasn't even just me and Genesis alone. Whyte came in the room with us too..."

"That's supposed to make me feel better?" I ask him, "As far as I'm concerned you and Whyte are both infatuated with him."

Mason jumps off the bed at that moment. It's clear that he's annoyed with me. The look on his face seems to say it all. Mason is pretty pissed.

"Are you joking right now?" Mason asks, "Since when do you become the jealous husband? I flirt all the time. The one time I'm actually just chilling you want to act jealous?"

"This is different."

"Because it's Genesis?" Mason asks.

"Exactly," I admit, "He's young. He's still looks the same age as he did when you cheated on me with him..."

Mason looks beyond annoyed.

"That was a lifetime ago. We weren't even the same people. Why do you constantly bring that up?" Mason asks but before I answer my questions he shakes his head, "You know what? Never mind. I don't need to defend myself over this shit. I didn't do anything. Nothing. I got chased by an angry mob of vampires if you haven't noticed. Maybe I needed a drink. Maybe my nerves are still shot. Maybe I didn't want to have sex because I'm nervous as fuck in a city full of vampires. Maybe I'm worried about our FUCKING son and the last thing I want to do is have sex. But then again you wouldn't fucking care about that right? How fucking insecure can you be?"

I want to argue with Mason. I want to go back on him but before I can he walks out of the room slamming the door behind him. God knows where he's going but I feel sick to my stomach when he leaves.

I go to the bathroom connected to our room. I feel like shit. What the fuck just fucking happened here?

I look in the mirror.

I was getting old. How could I keep someone like Mason? I wasn't nearly as attractive as I used to be and the truth was I was never that attractive compared to Mason. He could do better. He could do better in a more powerful witchdoctor who had the ability to always find a way to look youthful.

"Dad."

I'm shocked when I hear Innocent's voice out of nowhere.

"Innocent..."

"Dad, I'm here."

I turn at that moment. Innocent is standing right behind me. I'm so confused. He's standing right behind me and I don't get it

"Why the fuck are you here?"

"I'm not really here. I'm in your head dad," Innocent states, "Dad...I'm so scared."

I feel dumb all of a sudden. Here I was worrying about my own image when my son was in a catatonic stage. It seemed like my life was falling apart and it all had to do with Genesis. Genesis was trying to take away all the men in my life one at a time. I wasn't going to let him. I was going to get Innocent back even if sooner or later Genesis won Mason.

"Innocent baby. I'm here. I'm so worried about you son. Where are you really if you aren't here?"

"Back in Harlem. I'm lost in my own mind Dad. She is...holding me..."

"She?"

He shakes his head, "It doesn't matter. I need your help Daddy. Will you help me?"

"How?"

"Follow me Dad...I'll show you."

I walk through the hall. I'm so confused but I just follow Innocent. As we walk past a mirror I notice that I'm the only reflection in the mirror. Sure enough Innocent is just in my head. He isn't really here. He has no footsteps. He has no shadow. He has no presence. I keep following him and the longer we walk the more confused I am.

Doors open by themselves and lights turn on to clear the path. As we walk through the lights turn back off. I can feel magic all around me.

Could this be coming from Innocent?

No. Innocent knew no magic.

"Baby. Where are we going. Talk to me."

"I need help waking up Daddy," Innocent states, "I need you to do something."

"I want to help you. Tell me what to do."

"You just have to do what you always do. It will require blood. Pure blood. The blood you need is right behind that door."

The door creeps open without me even touching it. I walk in the room. The lights remain off. As I walk into the room I notice that there are guards in the room but they've been knocked out...somehow. I don't get it. How the fuck was that possible? I hadn't done it.

As I walk closer I hear something. It's tears. Crying.

All of a sudden I see the image of Innocent.

"There it is?"

"There what is, Innocent?"

"The blood sacrifice you are going to make," Innocent says.

I look at what he's talking about.

"Innocent. This isn't right."

"If you love me we have no choice. If you love me and you want me to wake up, then you have no choice. This is what she requires."

I'm so confused.

My son is right. I had no choice. These vampires should have never invited me here in the first place. I was a father. I would do anything to protect my son. I was a witchdoctor. My brother Mickson was wrong when he said I was the good witchdoctor. Being the good witchdoctor had never gotten Mason not to get excited by the thought of Genesis. Sometimes being good was overrated.

I grab the baby out of crib. The name of the baby is inscribed on the wooden crib. The baby's name is Promise.

"Ok," I tell my son, "I'll take him. I'll do whatever it takes to save you Innocent. Just let me know what I need to do..."

Being good and being a witchdoctor was a metaphysical dilemma that I just couldn't square. There was no such thing as a good witchdoctor. King Nero wanted peace but right now the only thing that could bring me peace was my son waking up. If Nero's infant son was the sacrifice, then so be it. I had no choice. They should have never trusted a witchdoctor.

They should have never brought me in.

"Oh shut up, silly woman," Said the reptile with a grin

"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in..."

To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com