Tecumseh was an industrial city. There wasn’t much noise but there was the constant hum of machinery and the smell of coal and oil always filled the air. An old factory sat in the middle of the city emitting ugly black smoke from the stacks. Most of the houses looked the same with big windows and either brick or cinder block construction along with flat wavy tin roofs. The houses that were close to the border of the city had more of an aluminum roof that was rusted due to rain. It seemed like the sun never shined on the quiet city but it did, the smoke was just too heavy. The mayor of Tecumseh was always warned by the other mayors of Tempos to lessen the amount of pollution but he never listened.
Terrence brought the truck to a stop in front of the house. Blair had gone to a friend’s house to return what they used for the escape. Terrence and Russell got out and opened the back door. The sun was down behind the mountain.
“We’re home,” Russell said reaching for the sleeping Noah. Axel moved slightly and Noah jolted awake. He frantically moved his arms around Axel thinking that they were still at the headquarters.
“It’s OK, it’s OK, I’m right here,” Axel said grabbing Noah and turning him around. His eyes were full of tears as he hugged Axel tightly and started crying hysterically. “It’s OK Noah. Noah calm down,” Axel said rubbing Noah’s back. Noah started calming down and sniffling a lot as Axel carried him inside. Shark had called Faustin who couldn’t come down at the time.
“Shark do you know what they’re gonna do when they find you? Are you mad?” Faustin shouted over the phone. Shark rolled his eyes.
“You act like I asked them to break in,” Shark said as Faustin sighed.
“Shark you are in dangerous territory,” Faustin warned as Shark put his hand on his hip.
“Faustin stop lecturing me and just listen,” Shark snapped. Faustin remained silent over the phone. “That Azera boy, the one that I want to beat the hell out of...,” Shark said as Taurus stood by the truck. He gave Shark that same smiled he hated so much.
“As if you could beat me professor,” Taurus started, but Shark put up his index finger.
“I’m with them in Tecumseh. I don’t know how we got out, but we did,” Shark said. “For now, I’m going to stay here until I can find a way home, but come here as soon as possible,” he continued hanging up the phone. He walked into the house and looked around. There was a stairway that led to a loft from the right side. The stairs were rusty and most of the windows were broken. The set of windows on the bottom floor had wooden boards over them whereas the upper ones were left busted or cracked. Some of the bricks on the outside were falling out but the building was “structurally sound” in Axel’s opinion. Shark’s phone rang again as Faustin’s picture showed up.
“Don’t hang up on me, I wasn’t done talking,” Faustin said sternly.
“Faustin look, I don’t know anything, you don’t know anything, you know just about as much as I do which is nothing,” Shark snapped.
“Professor,” Faustin said out of habit. He was used to teachers talking to him in such a tone and it slipped out.
“Don’t treat me like I’m one of your employees!” Shark snarled as Faustin sighed.
“Sorry. It was an accident,” Faustin said as Shark hung up again. Faustin called him once more and Shark put his phone on silent.
“Axel what are we going to do about the LVO?” Taurus asked as Axel shrugged.
“I don’t know. But we need to keep our guard up, this is not the time to be screwing around,” he said handing a cup to Noah. It was filled with chocolate milk. Axel looked at Shark as he came in the room. Noah slowly walked up the stairs trying not to spill the milk all over the floor.
“The director will send for me shortly,” Shark said as Axel nodded. Shark watched Axel pop red chips into his mouth. “You guys are vampires right?” Shark asked as Axel went ‘uh huh’ between swallows. “How old are you?” Shark asked as Axel retracted his fangs.
“21,” he replied.
“How long have you been 21?” Shark pried.
“About 8,000 years,” Axel said as Noah started screaming. He had taken his chocolate milk to his room and Axel thought he had spilled it. Axel volexed out of the kitchen and up the stairs. He went into Noah’s room. “TAURUS!” Axel shouted and in a few seconds, Taurus was by Axel’s side mouth wide open. A man was standing with Noah in his grips. He had Noah’s mouth covered to stop him from screaming. His golden hair was matted with blood.
“Now now, no need to be alarmed,” he said keeping his voice calm. Although it was calm, his voice was deep and intimidating. “My master has sent me here to Tecumseh to request the appearance of the one called Axel Azera. Do you know by chance where I can find him?” he asked politely. Noah’s tears ran down the man’s fingers as he stared at Axel. Russell moved into view behind them.
“Please, let my son go,” Axel said putting his hand up calmly. The man chuckled. Russell quickly shot his hands up and put a green light on Noah’s ears.
“This isn’t your son. There is no blood connection whatsoever,” he said. The pressure on Noah’s ears muffled the man’s voice as Axel let out a slow breath. Shark had finally come to the scene and stared at the situation.
“Shark boy?” the man asked as Shark clenched his fists. The only person who had called him that was...
“Bartholomew Dunn,” Shark grumbled as Bartholomew laughed. “What are you doing here Bart?” Sharked asked angrily as Taurus hit Axel’s arm.
“You were right, Bartholomew does sound gay. Glad we didn’t name Noah that,” Taurus said as Axel glared at him. This was no time to be joking around.
“I’m surprised to see you not in jail. With your temper it should only be a matter of time,” he smiled lifting up his shirt with his other hand. “I still have the bite you gave me in high school. You know it’s a pain that I can’t go to a beach shirtless because of you,” Bart continued as Shark scoffed.
“Had you not been a bloody asshole none of that would have happened. You could still be shirtless but you had to go and be a jerk. But enough of our childhood quarrel. Why are you here?” Shark questioned.
“I work for King Julian and he has requested the presence of Axel Azera. The king currently resides in Vacoma’s underground sewer system. Go see the king and I will release the child,” Bartholomew explained as Axel scoffed at him.
“As if I would leave my child with you,” Axel said as Shark grabbed his arm.
“Have that girl come up and get him,” Shark suggested as Axel nodded. Axel turned his attention to Bart.
“I will visit King Julian, if you let me take him to my girlfriend,” Axel bargained as Bart smiled.
“Oh little vampire, that’s not how it works,” he laughed.
“Bart...You’ve always been a man of your word, correct?” Shark asked as Bart stared at him.
“Well of course. I never go back on my word and I said I wouldn’t hurt the child if you go to the king,” Bart explained as Axel sighed. There was no way that he could convince this man to let Noah go.
“Let me get my girlfriend. I trust her with him more than I trust you,” Axel said calling to Julie who was downstairs. Julie came into view and Noah’s blue, teary eyes turned to her.
“I’ll stay with him, while you do your thing,” Julie said stepping into the room. Shark had stepped into the hallway to call Faustin who was already on his way with Charlie.
“I’m coming. I’m following the tracker on your phone,” Faustin said. About 10 minutes later, he pulled up to the warehouse. Shark went down followed by Axel, Taurus, and Russell.
“Russell stay here and make sure nothing happens to Noah,” Axel said as Russell nodded and went back in the house. “I thought I’d never say this, but, let’s go see this bastard king,” Axel said.