Full disclaimer may be viewed at https://jeffsfort.com
Chapter 23 – Escape
I need to get out of here so I can save Ethan, I thought to myself as I watched Dougie come out of the change. It had only been four days since I had bit him, but his heartbeat was already beginning to stutter in its march through time. It was only a matter of minutes before Dougie’s heart stopped completely, and he became one of my new offspring. I could somehow feel Tatum, Jenna, and Leonard; so, I knew that they were safe for the time being. Director Croft had not found the location of ‘Lulu’s Hideaway’. That was all that mattered to me. I needed to get back to the safe house with Dougie so I could march on the newborn army in Philadelphia with the Alliance at my back. I‘ll save you, baby brother. I swear to it.
Dougie was terrified when he first awoke from the change, and it took me nearly an hour to calm him down enough that I could approach him. The young man was shaking as I sat on the floor next to him. He flinched as I put my arm across his shoulders, but he didn’t pull away from me.
“I promise that I won’t leave you here, Dougie,” I told him quietly. I wasn’t certain where all of the hidden microphones were in the room, and I didn’t want any of our secrets to get out to Director Croft. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that you are prepared for your new life before I let you roam free in the world. I won’t let you become a monster.”
“I’m a monster?” Dougie asked fearfully. His red eyes turned to me and his mouth fell open slightly. I watched as his lip began to quiver. “Is that you did to me? You made me a monster?”
“No,” I told him sternly. “What I gave you is a gift, Dougie. I couldn’t let you be killed for a crime that you didn’t commit.”
Dougie’s eyes went wide in shock.
“How did you know?” He asked in disbelief.
“It’s part of my gift, Dougie,” I told him. “Yours could be completely different if you even manifest an ability.”
“Oh,” he said quietly as his eyes fell.
“Relax, Dougie,” I reassured him. “You’re not alone anymore. You’re part of my Coven.”
“You have a Coven?” The young blood asked me nervously.
“Yeah,” I replied. “You make the fifth member of my family – including me.”
Dougie’s eyes seemed to stare off into the distance for a moment as he considered everything that I had told him thus far. His skin was a pale tan, and there were the same light bruises beneath his eyes like he hadn’t gotten any sleep in a few days. His brown hair was curly, and it hung just to his ears. Dougie’s eyebrows were just a lighter shade of brown than the hair on his head, and they were scrunched together as he lost himself to his thoughts.
“Are you okay, Dougie?” I asked him softly. The corner of his pale pink lip turned upwards, and a dimple appeared on his left cheek.
“I think so, Evan,” He replied quietly. Then, he turned his face towards me. “Thank you for saving me from Death.”
“Thanks for not vaporizing me when you touched the fence!” I teased him with a chuckle. Then, an idea came to me as I remembered how the electricity had surged through his body. “It can’t be that fucking simple…”
“What did I do?” He asked in a fearful tone.
“What?” I asked before I realized that I had said what I wanted to think. “No, it’s not you, Dougie. That was supposed to be a thought, but my mouth got in the way.”
Dougie smiled and chuckled nervously.
“Would you be willing to try something for me?”
“I would do anything for you, Evan,” He told me honestly.
“Keep your voice low, Dougie.” I warned him quietly. “They’re always listening.”
“I think I know what your ability might be,” I informed my new child. Dougie looked at me curiously. “Do you feel any kind of tingling in your body?”
“Since the moment I opened my eyes,” Dougie said with a brief nod. “Wait a second. You don’t feel it do you?”
“No,” I informed him. “I think your ability has to do with electricity, my new friend.”
Dougie smiled at me.
“I actually like electricity, Father,” Dougie informed me shyly. He looked down at the palms of his hands and I watched as he seemed intent.
“What are you doing?”
“I can see it!” He replied in awe. “I can see the electricity coursing through my veins. I can even move it!”
I couldn’t help but smile.
“It seems as though you’ve found the final piece to your escape plan, Evan,” Marcel said with a light chuckle. “Just in time, too.”
“What do you mean?” I asked the older vampire.
“Arella is about to order the Alliance to march on this very building, Evan,” Marcel stated grimly. “It would destroy the fragile alliance between the government and the Underworld.”
“That’s why Director Croft wants an army!” I stated in disbelief. “He’s going to use them to start his own war! I have to warn my father!”
“It’s too late for that, Evan,” Marcel warned me. “You have to stop Arella from falling into Croft’s trap! Your family reunion can wait!”
I frowned, but I understood completely. If I went in search of my father, there wouldn’t be anybody to keep Arella from attacking the Section-9 Headquarters. The alliance would crumble and Director Croft’s plan to take over the Underworld would succeed. He had Sonya wrapped around his little finger with vague promises of a seat on his council. Little did he know what she really had in store for him.
It was several hours after Dougie awoke that I heard the hum of the elevator’s motor kicking into gear as the car traveled down to the level of the building that our cell was located on. I only heard two heartbeats getting closer and I grinned. Croft was helping us escape without even knowing it. A bell dinged and the door across from the cell block opened slowly. Dougie and I stood next to each other as Director Croft and one of his lackeys stepped out of the elevator. Croft grinned smugly as he crossed his arms against his chest. The other Agent moved over to the panel on the wall. He opened the casing and began to enter a numeric code on the keypad.
“You’ve brought this on yourself, Evan,” Croft said in a sneering tone. “I tried to convince the higher-ups that I could get you to see the benefits of joining us in the war, but they refused to listen. Just like you refused to make any vampires for me.” The man turned and nodded at the other agent. “It’s time.”
“You should spare Dougie’s life,” I said in a pleading tone. “He had nothing to do with this.”
I wasn’t sure that I was being convincing enough until Croft held up his hand to keep the other man from hitting the last button on the keypad. I glanced at Dougie to make sure that he appeared to be just as scared as I hoped that I did.
“What?” Dougie demanded in a fearful tone of voice. “What’s going on?”
“It’ll be okay, Dougie,” I tried to reassure him.
“You haven’t told him?” Croft asked curiously.
“No,” I lied. “I’ve been trying to think of a way to save him.”
“Save me from what?” Dougie demanded with a growl.
“Do you see the seam in the ceiling above you, Mr. Meyer?” Director Croft pointed at the seam before he motioned to the Agent standing next to the keypad. “My friend here is going to open the ceiling and let you burn in the sunlight.”
“What? Why?” Dougie sounded like he was on the verge of tears, and I cringed at how real he sounded.
“Because your Sire refused to help me in creating my army,” Croft stated with such distaste that I growled. “You can thank him for this.”
With that, Croft turned and nodded at the man standing at the keypad. The Agent pressed a button and I heard a loud metallic clicking sound from somewhere within the wall to my left. That was the signal for Dougie and me to make our next move. We darted to the walls opposite of each other as the ceiling began to spread open, and sunlight streamed in through the growing crack. Dougie was next to the electrical outlet and I saw him put his palm flat against the wall. Croft didn’t even notice that the lights above his head were beginning to grow dim. Dougie slammed his eyes shut as his body tensed up. I could tell that he was channeling more of the electricity into his slender frame as his muscles twitched beneath his skin. We didn’t know how much of the energy he would be able to withstand before he overloaded, but I needed it to happen faster than what it was.
“Is there anything that you would like me to tell your father or brother, Evan?” Director Croft asked with a sneer.
I chuckled lightly as I noticed that the edges of the door were now about five feet away from the edges of the wall. The fat man looked taken aback by my reaction to his question until Dougie held up his right arm with his palm opened towards the control panel. The electricity began to flicker between his fingertips in tiny blue arcs before it gathered as a ball in the palm of his hand. Dougie opened his eyes and I gasped as the electricity had turned them from red to a bright blue color.
“What the fuck are you doing, Mr. Meyer?” Croft demanded. I heard his heart beginning to beat faster as the feeling of fear filled his entire body. “I demand that you stop that at once!”
“What are you going to do, Director Croft?” I asked him smugly. “Burn us in the sunlight?”
I glanced over at Dougie and nodded. It was time. The ball of electricity shot forward away from Dougie’s outstretched hand and struck the control panel. The control panel exploded in a fiery blue explosion that swallowed everything within ten feet of it. The man standing at the keypad was turned into a charred corpse almost instantly and Director Croft threw himself to the floor as the lights exploded above him. Dougie and I stepped to the center of the room as Croft looked up at us in disbelief.
“Thank you for helping us escape, Director Croft,” I said smugly. “You had better hope that we don’t ever meet again.”
I glanced at Dougie and smiled.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes!” The newborn vampire nodded excitedly. His blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight. “I’m ready for everything.”
Hand in hand, Dougie and I jumped upwards through the open ceiling and made our way back to ‘Lulu‘s Hideaway‘. We had to warn the Alliance before it was too late to stop them from attacking the Section-9 Headquarters.
It took Dougie and me two entire days to make it to ‘Lulu‘s Hideaway‘ on foot. Jon always drove with the accelerator pushed to the floorboard, and though it always unnerved me a bit, it made me appreciate the distance he was able to cover in such a short time. Dougie faithfully kept to my side the entire journey, and we even stopped so he could hunt the first night out. He took down three people, and I drained two just to make sure that my strength was up if we ran into any trouble. We would stop occasionally to listen for any signs of movement that might signify Arella’s forces marching towards Section-9. I knew that they wouldn’t be able to move as fast as we could, so that gave us the upper hand in stopping them before the war began. Sometimes, it paid to be able to walk in the sunlight.
It was the middle of the night when we finally arrived at the safe house to find it full of vampires, werewolves, and witches. I noticed Mr. Hunter’s truck sitting out front and I couldn’t help but smile at being able to talk to him again. I wanted David to meet my family. For some reason, I wanted him to be proud of what I had accomplished so far. Three vampires patrolled the outer perimeter of the motel, but none of them had noticed us on the other side of the road. I grabbed Dougie’s hand with a sigh before we stepped out of the bushes together. We crossed the road quickly and stopped once our feet touched the gravel of the parking lot. The three guards were moving towards us with swords drawn.
“Stop!” One of the burly men called out as he approached us. “If you move, I will kill you.”
“Who are you?” A smaller man that appeared closer to my age asked curiously.
“I’m Evan Bentley,” I told them with a brief nod. “Let us through.”
“Yes, sir!” The skinny man said as his eyes went wide, and he bowed his head. The burly guard looked confused, but he paid me the same respect.
Dougie and I pushed past the guards and were suddenly stopped by the remainder of my family. Tatum threw himself into my arms and sobbed happily as I barely managed to maintain my balance. Dougie growled protectively until Jenna and Leonard stepped out of the motel with Lulu on their heels. Lulu gasped when she saw me and quickly ducked back into the motel.
“Evan’s back!” I heard her shout out before she came back outside. Tatum continued to cling tightly to me as I took in Jenna and Leonard. I removed Tatum from my chest and handed him over to Dougie who appeared surprised until Tatum hugged him tightly.
“Welcome to the family, brother,” Tatum whispered. “I knew Evan would make the right choice.”
I gave Lulu a quick hug as she stared at me in disbelief.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to get back,” I told her calmly. “I ran into a bit of trouble.”
“I heard,” Lulu replied just as calmly. “I’m glad to see that you’re okay, Evan.”
“I have much to tell you, Lulu,” I whispered. “It’s going to be enlightening.”
“Later,” I said with a smug grin at her reaction. “I need to get to know my Children, first.”
Lulu smiled and nodded as she stepped back from me.
“Don’t be too long, Evan,” She said with a wry smile. “There’s a lot of people here that want to meet you.”
“I’ll be just a moment,” I replied. “I promise.”
Lulu nodded again before she went back into the motel lobby and left me alone with my family. I took a glance at each of them as they stood with each other and faced me.
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you when you awoke from your changes,” I told Leonard and Jenna. “I know that it’s generally custom for a Maker to be present at their progeny’s awakening, but I found myself to be caught up in unforeseen circumstances that were beyond my control. I won’t let myself get taken like that again, trust me. Jenna. Leonard. Tatum. This is Dougie, someone that had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He would have died for a crime he didn’t commit if I didn’t manage to bite him before he decided to electrocute the both of us.”
Dougie glanced down towards the ground as if he was blushing, but his cheeks remained pale. It was only his body manner that changed to reflect his mood.
“I’m sorry, Master,” Dougie said sheepishly.
“Relax, Dougie,” I told him with a smile. “I’m far from being mad about the incident.” I directed my smile at all of them. “I really do look forward to us growing together as a family, and I hope you guys welcome Dougie as I have.”
“We’ll love him like a brother, Father,” Tatum said with a dreamy grin as he glanced over at the newest vampire in my coven. For a moment, I sort of felt bad for Dougie since my cousin had set his eyes upon him.
I reached out and pulled Jenna closer to me and pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. Her skin was flawless as I took in her beauty. Her eyes were the same red as mine and had the same silver streaks in them. I glanced closer and I could see a hint of green and gold flakes mixed into the red. She blinked and it immediately drew my attention downwards to her pale pink lips. I brushed my thumb along the bottom lip before I kissed Jenna gently. She didn’t refuse and kissed me back almost eagerly. I hugged her tightly before I stepped back and took in her beauty once again.
“You’re beautiful, Jenna,” I told her with a smile. I kissed her cheek before I moved on to the apprehensive looking Leonard. I stood in front of the brown-haired man and pulled him into my arms in a tight embrace. He growled stiffly before his entire body relaxed into mine.
“You’re just as beautiful as Jenna is, Leonard,” I told him shyly.
“Thank you, Master,” Leonard replied quietly. I heard him take in a deep breath of my scent and his entire body shivered with delight as he let it out slowly. I slid my hand under the back of his shirt and ran my hand along the smooth skin. I felt another urge beginning to take control of my own newborn instincts, and I quickly stepped back from Leonard’s enticing embrace before I lost control. He looked hurt. “Master?”
“I have a few things to take care of before I can spend any alone time with you guys,” I explained with a nervous grin. I wanted all four of them with very part of my being, and it was growing difficult for me to control myself. “Why don’t you guys go introduce yourselves to Dougie?” I suggested with a quick smile at my new offspring.
“Yes, Master,” Jenna replied for all of them as Tatum took Dougie’s hand and pulled him towards one of the motel rooms. Leonard surprised me by stepping forward and pressing his lips against my own. I gasped as our arms automatically wrapped around each other’s body and we seemed to melt into one another. Leonard stepped back suddenly and was panting as he struggled to control his own urges.
“Sorry, Master,” He said sheepishly. “I- I-”
“I know,” I told him gently. “You can do that whenever you want.”
“Thank you for saving my life, Evan,” Leonard whispered.
“I’d do it all over again if I had too,” I said before I kissed him on the cheek.
Leonard smiled before he turned to follow the remainder of my coven. I made my way into the lobby where I was assaulted by a variety of smells. Nearly fifteen vampires stood in the lobby of the motel with Arella right at the center of them. This wasn’t all of the vampires in the motel, though. I could hear others moving around in the lower levels beneath us.
“It would seem that your family has an uncanny ability to make it just in time, Evan,” Arella told me with a mock scowl. She giggled lightly and stepped around the counter to embrace me. “I’m glad to see that you’re well, Evan. You had all of us worried.”
“You have my sincerest apologies, Lady Arella,” I told the woman with a brief nod. I glanced around to see that Jon was missing from the group. “Where’s Jon? He needs to hear this.”
“Jon had to go get his father,” Arella explained. “Our intel states that Sonya has continued to grow the size of her army. Our intel confirms that she’s got werewolves guarding the newborns, as well.”
I frowned in obvious confusion.
“Come along, Evan,” Arella said as she put her arm through mine and led me towards the basement door. “We have muchto discuss before the others arrive.”
I didn’t think that it would be possible for me to be put into the position of retiring the former Director of the Northeastern District of Section-9, but I figured that the Director of the CIA knew what he was doing. Retiring Croft would be easy for me. I had nothing to live for anyways. Ethan and Evan’s destiny had been written long before man had first set foot on the North American Continent. Even the death of my beloved wife had been spoken of in the prophecies.
“Prophecies!” I scoffed in disgust as I glanced over the file in front of me. The instructions were clear. Al Croft needed to die for his transgressions. He had taken it upon himself to try and force Evan into creating a vampire army. In the process, he had managed to nearly start a war with the entirety of the Underworld simply because he had taken their future leader. Now, the only hope that the CIA had of preventing an all-out war was Evan being able to reach Arella before the Alliance began their march to battle. Everybody knew that there was a war coming, nobody wanted it to happen until it was time, though.
I stood from behind my desk and made my way to the elevator. Agent Croft was supposed to be waiting for me down by the cages where my son had been held hostage by the rogue agent. The CIA didn’t take well to men who took it upon themselves to act outside of their prime directive. My brother met me by the elevator. He had gray hair at his temples, and his blue eyes looked tired.
“Are you ready for this, Mason?” I asked the man as we waited for the elevator to arrive.
“I don’t really have a choice in the matter, Director Bentley,” The doctor replied with a brief shrug. “Are you ready for this?”
“I don’t think I had a choice in the matter, either,” I stated as the elevator doors opened with the chime of a bell. We both got in and Mason pushed the button for the third floor. I felt my stomach drop slightly as the elevator dropped downwards. “Would you rather somebody else be taking over?”
“I was told to replace Croft’s entire command structure, Doctor Bentley,” I admitted to my brother quietly. “I convinced Director Thomas that you had too much knowledge regarding the entire situation.”
“Thank you,” Mason replied nervously. “I think.”
“It kind of bothers me to know that my life is hanging on by a thread, Eugene,” Mason replied honestly.
“What do you mean?” I asked him.
Mason chuckled darkly before he answered.
“All it takes to end my career is a word from Director Thomas, Eugene.”
“Oh,” I said as I realized what he was saying. “Don’t worry about it, Mason. I convinced them that you’re more of an asset alive.”
“I hope so,” Mason stated as the elevator lurched to a stop and the doors slid open. My brother pushed his glasses up on his nose with his index finger before we both stepped out into the waiting room where Croft stood.
“Agent Bentley,” Croft greeted me with a nervous smile.
“It’s Director Bentley, now,” I told the man as I gazed at the open ceiling behind him. The wall around the control panel to my right was black as of it had been on fire.
“Oh?” Croft’s smile slowly faded. I ignored him and carried on with the reason I had showed up to the facility in the first place.
“Did you know that your actions caused a prisoner riot in several of the cell blocks of the prison?” I asked him.
“It was an unfortunate side effect of the newborn’s abilities that your son created,” Croft replied. He shifted nervously and I could see the sweat upon his brow.
“I’ve seen the footage, Agent Croft.”
“Director Croft!” He snapped at me.
“If that’s what you want to believe,” I told him with a shrug. Croft’s expression turned to one of disbelief.
“Why are you here, Director Bentley?” Croft demanded in a shaking voice.
I heard Mason chuckle darkly to my left. I ignored both of them.
“Your actions put this establishment on the brink of war with the Underworld, Agent Croft,” He remained silent this time at my use of the informal title. “Even if you had managed to convince Evan to create you an army, they would never have been enough to be able to stop the army that’s on their way here now to kill you. I’m half tempted to tie you to the front gate and let them have their way with you, Agent Croft,” I managed to keep myself from laughing as his face paled considerably. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
I waited as the man slowly steeled himself and stood up straight. He fixed his suit jacket and scowled at me.
Al Croft was dead with a swift flip of my wrist and a squeeze of my finger. My service pistol barely recoiled as it fired with a loud popping sound. Croft took one stunned glance at the hole in his chest before his body crumpled to the floor.
“Get somebody down here to clean this up,” I told my brother before I returned to the elevator. “I’ll be in my office.”
“Yes, Director Bentley,” Mason stated before the doors closed behind me.
I got off the elevator and made my way to my office where I found my mother waiting for me. She was dressed in a long-hooded jacket and a thick dress that reached her ankles. Her white hair was pulled back in a bun on the back of her head, and she had a black umbrella leaning against the wall to her left.
“Hello, mother,” I greeted her with a kiss on her cheek before I sat behind my desk. “I thought you would be marching with Arella right now.”
“I came to warn you, Eugene,” My mother’s tone was serious, and her blue eyes looked worried. “Arella is very angry. Short of Evan appearing in front of her, I don’t think that there will be anything you can do to mend this truce.”
“It’s not Arella that I need to make truce with, mother,” I told her bluntly. “It’s my son. He’s the only one who can guarantee that the world won’t be destroyed in the future. Why would I worry about anybody else?”
“He’s not a leader,” My mother tried to say.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Lady Patricia,” I explained dutifully. “I’ve been grooming Evan to be a leader since the day Ethan was born.” I couldn’t help but smile at all the times I had witnessed Evan take care of his little brother. “Evan is the one meant to lead the Alliance into the future. It’s in his blood.”
“Where is he?”
“Evan escaped from Croft’s grasp and is now on his way to stop Arella from attacking this facility,” I told her with a nervous nod. “I just hope he makes it in time.”
“Me too,” my mother stated quietly. “I hope you’re right about Evan being a leader, as well, Eugene.”
“I know I am, mother,” I told her defiantly. “He’s the only one who can.”
My mother nodded before she stood from her chair and grabbed her umbrella.
“Are you leaving, already?” I asked her curiously.
“I need to,” she said with a nod. “As soon as Evan returns, Arella wants to leave for Philadelphia.”
I nodded in acknowledgement.
“Make sure you stop by and say hi to Mason. He should be back in his lab by now.”
My mother smiled.
“I will,” she replied before she left me alone in the small room.
After my mother left, it gave me time to think about Evan and Ethan’s situation. There wouldn’t be much that Section-9 could do besides police the area afterwards and clean up the mess. No, I would have to leave Ethan’s rescue up to Evan and his new family.
I can‘t believe my son is a day-walker, I thought proudly before I set to work undoing everything that Agent Croft had done to set the government at war with the Underworld.