Hunting Shadows

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Chapter 31

Jayson had never been in so much pain, his entire body throbbed, and his computerized eye kept blinking at him, warning him of everything that was wrong or broken in his body. Ace and his Second in command Jeremy had taken turns beating him, electrocuting him, burning him with hot oil, and when everything else failed, Ace brought a mallet down across his right knee.

Jayson gritted his teeth against the water that was being slowly dripped on his head. This was Ace’s new round of tortures; water dripping, followed by a beating, followed by more water dripping; the cycle seemed endless and the past week Jayson had been here had been a hellish nightmare. He phased in and out of consciousness and every time the darkness claimed him, Ace brought brutally brought him back to waking.

“You have something I want; where is it?”

Jayson didn’t respond and Ace backhanded him across the face. Defiance seethed in his eyes and he spat at Ace. Ace snarled and punched him again in the solar plexus, leaving Jayson wheezing in pain.

“Has his lover gotten the message?”

“Yes Sir, but she hasn’t responded.”

“Let me know when she’s here. I have a gift for her.”

“Sir?”

Ace roared and grabbed Jayson’s mechanical eye; ripping it from the socket in a fit of pure, unadulterated rage; Jayson screamed then, high and inhuman and bone chilling. Everything went dark as the wires sparked and blood seeped from the wound onto Jayson’s bare chest. He coughed and more blood spattered onto his body. The interface was going berserk with the sudden shock, the intense pain ripping Jayson’s skull apart and the immediate loss of information.

His body shut down, and he began jerking wildly on the table he was strapped to.

“Get him stable, I need him alive.”

Ace; still clutching Jayson’s eye in his fist left Jack - Jayson’s half-brother; to deal with Jayson who going into cardiac arrest. He left the room, grinning viscously.

“Are we going the right way? We’ve been wandering for hours.”

“Yes, the prisoners are held in the sublevel of the castle and on the other side from where I found you. Come this way.”

“That’s what you’ve been saying for the past two hours we’ve been wandering through this hell-hole.”

“The prisoners are kept in B wing, in the sublevels of the castle.”

By the third time the conversation had become circular, Eryn growled, and swiped her massive black furred paw into the side of the maid’s head. The maid flew into the side of the wall, cracking the plaster and making a sizeable dent in the stone wall. Her head caved in and black blood seeped from the side of her mouth, her eyes were glazed over as her body lay in a broken heap.

“I’m sorry but I need to find Jayson and you’re not going to hinder me any further.”

She transformed fully into her panther’s form, and started running. She was done playing games and wasting time.

Sniffing her way to the basement she, picked up on Jayson’s scent and followed it to a dark stone room labeled as room 4D. Kat appeared at the mouth of the hallway, and stalked up to Eryn who was waiting. JB appeared from the shadows as well.

“What happened to Sebastian?”

“I told him I needed to find you, he wouldn’t let me wander the castle alone, so I knocked him out, tied him to his bed and came to find you; rescue my father, and get the hell out of this creepy place.”

“Fantastic, I tracked Jayson’s scent to this door… so whatever’s behind here prepare yourself. We have no idea what we’re walking into.”

Kat brandished her electrified whip with flourish, JB merely stood there; part shadow, part human holding a ball of black red power that crackled and sizzled. Eryn blew the lock off the door, and somersaulted in, checked the corners and every possible shadow for danger, then called for her companions to come in.

The room was barren except for a control panel with a red blinking light; there was nothing else but stone wall. Kat pressed the button next to the blinking light and a screen rose out the paneling and blinked to life. Ace appeared on the screen, calmly tossing what looked like a sparking ball the size of a ping pong ball up and down. He smiled the camera like he was a master artist about to reveal his greatest masterpiece.

“Hello; lover and daughter of the Great General Jayson Storm.”

He spoke Jayson’s rank with so much sarcasm and hatred that they were surprised his tongue didn’t burn up. Behind him, strapped to a table Jayson laid spread eagle staring up at the ceiling. They couldn’t tell how old the video feed was or if it was live.

“… if you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you. You’re just in time to watch me make the final ‘adjustments’ to the General.”

Ace was saying, and then he laughed, a demented maniacal sound that sent chills up the girl’s spines. They watched in horror as Ace went and casually plunged a knife into Jayson’s abdomen; Jayson jerked wildly, his body contorting around the knife.

There was so much blood they didn’t understand how he could still be alive.

“Dad….”

Kat’s choked whisper filled the room while Eryn and JB watched in stunned silence.

“I plan on making him my masterpiece, taking his powers once I’ve killed him. And you my darling little girls, will get to watch the entire spectacle.”

The camera zoomed in on a picture of Jayson’s face which was covered in blood and a black substance like oil but more compatible with flesh and blood. There was a gaping hole where his mechanical eye used to be and he looked as pale as a ghost. Kat snarled and struck the console; causing the video to skip backwards to when Ace forcibly removed Jayson’s mechanical eye.

Kat growled hatred and fury causing the air around her to sizzle like oil in a frying pan, white hot electricity pulsed around her body and her aura glowed with vengeance. That was when they realized that the ping pong ball Ace had been tossing up and down in the beginning of the video had been Jayson’s mechanical eye.

“Don’t worry once he’s dead, I can let you join him next.”

Ace laughed again.

“JB; can you take us to there?”

“Yes, come on.”

JB opened a doorway to the middle realm and the girls disappeared into its smoky grey swirls. Eryn dropped a live grenade into the room and they could feel the muffled explosion as JB flashed them to the room below where Jayson and Ace were.

Everything in the room was a tilted mess of stone and tools that had gotten twisted in the blast. There was a gaping hole in the side of the wall on the left-hand side and everything close to that wall had been pushed against the far wall. Ace stood in the center, having recovered from the blast quicker than the other two vampires in the room. His silver eyes glowed with a murderous insane passion; his face was a rictus mask of rage and anger.

“Eryn; I hope you have a plan, because shit just hit the fan.”

JB stepped in front of the girls, his scythe materializing in his hands and his eyes glowing with wrath and fury of hell. Silver Black armour with curling red runes of death, power, protection, guardianship and the passing of life appeared on his body.

“I’ll take care of the want to-be vampire; you girls get Jayson and his men out of here.”

They didn’t hesitate; the girls ran to the operating table that was lying on its side with Jayson still strapped firmly in place. There was blood everywhere and it hung heavy in the air, mingling with the thick dust from the explosion. Eryn ducked in behind, and pushed the table away from the wall. They managed to unbuckle the straps holding Jayson, and Kat grabbed his arms hauling him out of the broken laboratory into the hallway.

Eryn was just heading out after her, when a massive black shape dropped down from the ceiling swinging a sword at her head. She ducked out the way, and flipped neatly backwards landing in a crouch on the fallen table. She grinned an entirely feral maniacal grin and beckoned her opponent forward.

“You know he used to be one of us before he started siding with the humans. Wanting to protect them; it made him weak.”

Jack sneered as he slashed down at Eryn with his broad sword. She kept ducking out of the way, dodging and weaving around the rocks and boulders in the room. Jacks sword reverberated and rang off the rock as it collided again and again.

“Your wrong; it’s not weakness to want to protect something, it takes someone strong to stand up for those who can’t are aren’t strong enough.”

Eryn was part human part panther, lost in her own battle of pain, fear, strength and determination; she hadn’t even drawn her sword yet. JB and Ace were locked in their own battle as well, raging on the other side of the room. Jack continued to slash at Eryn, who was still dodging but this time she was watching his movements. He lifted his arm, and there sure enough on the underside of his shoulder was a tattoo in the shape of a crown.

Lunging toward Jack, she sprang off the wall at his chest. She stabbed him through the mark on the inside of his shoulder, her claws dug into his flesh and he screamed an unnatural sound of pure pain and terror. Eryn grinned viscously her eyes taking on feral kind of darkness as she twisted the blade and popped his arm from its socket.

Jack continued to scream, and she socked him with a straight punch, knocking him out. “God your annoying; unfortunately, I think Jayson would prefer to kill you, your a gigantic pain in the ass.”

She knew he couldn’t hear her, but saying it made her feel better. She sat on his lower abdomen, making sure he was still bleeding, and cleaned her blade while she waited for JB to finish up with his fight.


JB had Ace on the ropes; it was like watching a cat play with a mouse it had cornered. His powers surged and he blasted Ace with black red lightning causing the unusually strong vampire to stumble back. His sword skills were incredible and it was like watching two expert swordsmen cross blades. A fight like no other, they danced and clashed though JB rarely stayed on the ground.

Kat struggled with her dad slung over her shoulders as she walked down the dark hallway looking for his men. She could still hear the chaotic fighting in the laboratory and with her hand on the wall guiding her she made her way down to the other cells where the rest of the prisoners were.

“Kat? Kat is that you?”

“And look, it’s the General.”

“Damn girl, is it ever great to see you, but what are you doing here?”

“How did you get in?”

Katrina had found the Generals lieutenants in a cell about halfway down the hallway. She shouldered her father’s dead weight onto the ground, leaning him against the wall while she blew the lock off the door.

Scotty was the first one out; he picked up the General in a fireman’s carry and motioned for the rest to follow and for Katrina to lead.

“Where’s Bryan?”

The group looked around the dark hallway; Bryan had slipped into the shadows as soon as the door had opened. Larry shrugged; Kat frowned and moved to the front. Bryan appeared shortly after disappearing loaded to the teeth with the lieutenant’s individual weapons. His own katana and rifle strapped to his back, he handed Larry his dual short swords, dual SMG .38 revolver; working his way up to the front Bryan gave Kevin his modified spiked knuckles, and .44 magnum. Scotty still had Jayson tucked around his shoulders.

“Mind holding onto that for a minute?”

Bryan just laughed. Kat led them up through the basement levels to the main floor of the castle. Eryn and JB were nowhere to be seen, but she messaged them letting them know the boys and the General were heading out. The main floor was nothing like it was when they first got there. Every Blade in the castle was waiting for them, Sebastian stood at the head of the horde running a nail file along the tips of his fingers.

“Well, shit just got interesting.”

The boys started laughing. Bryan had disappeared again. Scotty set the general against the wall; picked up his claymore, .50 caliber machine gun and desert eagle, he turned around grinning.

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