Faustin looked through the glass at Shark. He looked awful. His hair had started greying at the roots and his eyes were lighter than usual. His hair was longer than when he last saw him so it was no longer in its faux-hawk style. He had a small beard growing.
“How are you doing?” he asked to strike up pleasant conversation.
“How the bloody hell does it look like I’m doing?” Shark growled through the phone. Faustin frowned. He didn’t want to upset him more than he already knew he was.
“I was just asking,” Faustin said as Shark sighed.
“Sorry. I don’t like being caged up in here,” Shark said his voice full of fear. An agent stood watch as the different prisoners talked with their visitors. They had been stationed at all the exits to make sure that nobody escaped.
“I know you did nothing wrong,” Faustin said as Shark grew angry.
“Then why did you fire me? Why did you stand there and let them do it?” Shark asked as Faustin stared at him blankly.
“What was I supposed to do? Let them fire me too?” Faustin said as Shark shook his head.
“Oh yeah, because your job is more important than mine isn’t it?” Shark said as Faustin shook his head negatively.
“That’s not true,” Faustin said as Shark rolled his eyes. “If I lost my job, they would shut down the academy,” Faustin said as Shark sighed. “Those students need it as a safe environment. Think about your students. What would happen to them if they shut down East Gate? Shark you know as much as I that neither of us would want to do that to the students.”
“I don’t have time for this. Come talk to me when you aren’t so self-centered. I get that the students need that school, but that shouldn’t cloud your judgment about murder. The supposed time that they say this murder happened, is the same time we were preparing for the new school year. You were with me every moment of every day,” Shark said standing up. He hung the phone up and walked away. Faustin shouted at Shark knowing that he couldn’t hear him through the plexi-glass. He slammed his fists on the window. Shark didn’t look back. A few agents grabbed Faustin and removed him from the building.
Shark went to his cell and lay on the bed. He faced the wall. He thought about Xenon and their last moments together. Then he became enraged that he had been accused of such a ridiculous crime. An alarm went off as a few agents went running down the hall. Shark heard their feet slapping on the ground. He turned towards the plexi-glass door. There was a man struggling against them. He was screaming and clawing to break free. They had ripped off his shirt in the process of trying to subdue him. His back had a giant name tattooed on it across the top. The man had his fangs bared as he fought hard to not get thrown into the cell. The LVO officers opened the door to Shark’s cell and struggled to throw the man in. He hit the ground and immediately jumped up. He smacked his hands on the door.
“You let me out of here!” he screamed kicking the door. Shark sat up and watched the man fume. “I have mouths to feed!” he continued as an agent came up and shot electricity at the door he was holding on to. He didn’t let go of the bars and just let the electricity pulse through him. He finally let go and slumped to the ground. The agent walked up to him and knelt down.
“If you ever want to see those kids of yours or your girlfriend, you’ll behave,” He growled standing up and walking away from the door. He stood against the wall across from the door and watched them. Shark came down from the top bunk and slowly went up to the man. He could finally make out the tattoo. “AZERA” was written on his skin in very dark ink. The bottoms of the A’s were pointed to resemble vampire fangs. A giant leafless oak tree was etched underneath his last name. The branches ran off in five directions. The upper left branch read “Superior Carter” while the upper right read “Lauren.” The lower right read “Axel” and the lower left read “Taurus.” Towards the bottom of the trunk there was a blank space. He looked up at Shark.
“Taurus?” Shark asked as he shook his head.
“I’m Axel,” he said as Shark helped him up. Axel sat on the bottom bunk.
“What are you doing here?” Shark asked as Axel shook his head.
“I don’t know. I didn’t do anything. I was at home with my kids and they came and took me away,” Axel said as a woman ran up to the barred door.
“Axel!?” she screamed as he ran to the door. She put her arms through the bars.
“Julie!” he shouted kissing her. Three agents came by and grabbed her.
“Ma’am, you aren’t authorized to be in here,” they said as she held onto Axel. She had a tight grip on his biceps. Her nails dug into his arms.
“Mr. Axel!” Noah shouted putting his tiny hands through the bars. Axel grabbed him and gave him a hug through the bars. Noah’s big blue eyes filled with tears when he saw Axel behind bars where he couldn’t get to him. His navy blue beanie had fallen off when he and Julie rushed into the headquarters. He stood at the cell holding onto Axel’s wrist. His white graphic tee was stained with Axel’s blood from when Axel was hit by the agents when they took him from the house.
“You can’t be here!” the agents shouted as one grabbed Noah. They tried to pull him from Axel but his grip was strong. Noah was squeezing hard enough to turn Axel’s already white hand even paler. He felt like Noah was going to break his arm.
“No! Don’t take them!” Axel screamed as Julie drew blood from his arm. An agent came up behind Julie and hit her behind the neck with his gun. Her grip slacked and she went limp. Axel’s eyes widened as they carried her away. He saw them lift a gun to hit Noah when he shouted. He twisted his wrist out of Noah’s grip and slowly back away from the bars.
“Don’t hit him. Please don’t,” Axel pleaded putting his hands up defensively as the agent stopped. They picked up Noah by his khaki toddler skinny jeans and hoisted him over the shoulder. As he was kicking and screaming, one of his chucks fell off. Axel covered his ears to block out Noah screaming his name. Noah was only five so there was not a ton of magical energy in him for him to use any powers. But still, he became shrouded in flames. He burned the agents who held onto him. They got scolded but did not release. They threw him out along with Julie. She lay unconscious on the ground. Noah went to her and tapped her head with his tiny hands.
“Miss Julie?” he asked as she stirred. “Miss Julie wake up,” he pleaded laying his head on her chest. He listened to her gentle heartbeat the way he saw Axel do. Tears filled his eyes as she lay underneath him. He sniffled and she gasped. She sat up quickly and held Noah in her arms. He couldn’t hold back the tears and they gushed out.
“It’s OK. We’ll get him back,” she said as Noah cried.
“Daddy!” he wailed as she slowly stood up and took him away from the headquarters. They just had to get Axel out of that place.
Axel paced the floor as Shark’s eyes followed him.
“Don’t do that. They’ll think your scheming and come get you,” he advised as Axel looked up to him with pain filled eyes.
“What else am I supposed to do? I’ve been locked up before and I can’t take it. I’m going mad,” he said as an officer came to the door. He stopped and watched Axel pace. Axel stopped and stared at the man. An agent with all white on and a surgical mask approached the door. Shark jumped off the bed and pulled Axel back.
“Did I hear someone say that they are going mad?” he asked his voice deep and intimidating. He looked from Shark to Axel as they both stood there. “Well?” he said as Shark shook his head.
“I didn’t say anything like that,” he said looking at Axel. He hit Axel’s arm with his elbow.
“Neither did I,” Axel choked out the words. His arms had healed but he felt like Noah and Julie were still clutching him. Axel tried to look calm when the man looked at him and his eyes grew squinted. He motioned to the guards with him.
“Take the little one. Bring him to the lab,” he said as they opened the door. Axel took this opportunity to run at them. His fangs were bared as they shot him multiple times with their spark guns but that didn’t faze him. Axel broke through them and ran out of the room. The officers took off after him. “He thinks he can actually escape from here? I’d love to see him try,” the man chuckled as the agents dragged Axel kicking and screaming.
Two agents held him by his arms as he kicked a few that he passed. How in the hell were they so strong? He was a vampire damn it! They took him past the cell and down the hall. Two guards grabbed Axel’s swinging legs until just his torso was moving up and down. A few of the prisoners stuck their heads as far as they would go into the bars and watched. The masked agent took out a long white stick the width of a small CVC pipe and slammed it against the barred doors forcing the people back. They took Axel to the stockades and tied an electric rope around his hands. They put a harness on his neck and tied it to a metal pole.
“Sir we are all set up,” one of the officers said as Axel glared at them.
“Take off his clothes,” he said as they took off his pants, shoes, and socks leaving him in his boxers. “No blood for five days,” he commented as the officer tapped into a transparent hi-tech tablet. “Cut his visitation hours in half,” he continued as the officer tapped. “No light contact,” he said as the agent slid a bar down turning off the lights in the room. “Keep a record of his behavior. If he decides to act like an idiot, give him the FID (fairy-igniter) lights,” He ordered leaving the room.
The FID lights were custom made by fairy and igniter light making it brighter than a regular LED light and to some extents it was brighter than the sun. Axel stood in the center of the room not knowing what to do. He sat on the floor and listened to his grumbling stomach. He should have fed before they took him away but he wasn’t expecting it. He vigorously pulled on the wire hoping to break it. After about 10 minutes of trying, Axel gave up and set his back against the post. Shark waited and waited for Axel to come back and when he didn’t show up that night, he thought the worst.
“Lake! You have a visitor!” shouted one of the officers as he opened the door. Shark climbed down from the bunk and waited until he was told to come out. They walked him back down to the visitation room. This time it was a different room. There were people hugging. They were actually touching. Shark looked around and saw Xenon standing there. He hugged her through the cuffs on his hands. She kissed him and held his face in her hands. He looked so scruffy and she didn’t like it.
“How are you holding up?” she asked as Shark looked at her sadly.
“Fine. I miss sleeping next to you,” he said as she smiled at him. “I need you to get ahold of Phenton for me,” He said as she looked at him.
“What’s the matter?” she asked as he sighed.
“Something’s not right. When we saw him the day they arrested me, he looked horrible. Faustin said his thoughts were all jumbled and that he wasn’t the man we knew ten years ago. I want to know what’s going on. Why are the LVO popping up all over the place now? I’m not allowed to request visitation so I need you to find him for me,” Shark explained as Xenon nodded.
“OK. I don’t like saying this but I can’t come up here on a daily basis. Chase is almost a three hour drive from Pierce Saline,” she said as he nodded.
“I know. You don’t have to come up here every day. If you came just once a week, like on the weekend or something, that’d be just fine. I wish I could... I just want to...,” he said as she looked away from him. “Why didn’t you come down with Faustin?” he asked steering away from his previous question as she looked back at him.
“We aren’t talking right now,” She said simply as Shark smiled.
“You and my brother... aren’t talking? That’s hilarious. Why not?” he laughed as she looked at him with all seriousness.
“The day you were arrested, we got into a fight and he pushed me down in a chair,” she said as Shark stood up.
“He did WHAT?” Shark shouted. A few of the guards became uneasy with the outburst. Xenon looked around and then grabbed his arm pulling him back to his seat.
“Keep your voice down,” she hissed as Shark glared at her.
“He knows better than to put his hands on my wife. I keep my hands off his,” he said angrily as Xenon nodded.
“It’s OK, he was upset and confused. I was able to defend myself it’s not like I willingly let him get the best of me,” she said defending her brother-in-law.
“That gives him no right to put his hands on you,” Shark growled as Xenon shifted in her seat.
“When I find Phenton, I’ll let him know to come see you,” she said trying to change the subject. Shark took the hint and let the previous matter go. He stood up and kissed her before she left. An officer led Shark back to his cell.