9 - My Little Evil
Connor Furey sat with his legs pulled up to his chest, trying not to cry. How long had it been? An hour? Two hours? Three? He had no idea. He just wanted his mommy. And he wanted to know what was going on.
There was another boy in front of him—a boy who looked identical to him, only with shorter, lighter hair—who kept staring at him.
“I don’t get it,” The boy said, looking at the tall woman behind him. She wore a long, blood-colored dress and had her dark hair pinned up. Around her left eye was a perfectly drawn black heart. She held a wine bottle in her right hand, but the liquid inside looked too thick and too dark to be wine, and Connor could smell that it was blood. The woman held a wine glass in her left hand, which was adorned with an over-the-top wedding band. The glass was almost empty, but had obviously held blood, probably from the bottle itself.
“What do you not get, Hunter?” The woman asked, her voice too sing-songy for the situation and her hard—yet, admittedly beautiful—features.
“He doesn’t recognize us. He sits there, crying, hugging his legs like a—” The boy—Hunter—cut himself off, trying to think of the right word.
“Like a, what, Hunter?” The woman asked, pouring more blood into her glass.
“Like a human,” Hunter said, crinkling his nose in disgust.
“Yes I noticed that as well, but it’s no matter. He will learn to be one of us. His mind has been corrupted, do not forget,” The woman smiled at Hunter.
“Yes, Mother,” Hunter sighed. He knelt in front of Connor and looked into his dark eyes.
“Hunter, please do not scare him,” The woman said indifferently.
“I won’t, Mother,” Hunter said, obviously annoyed. He looked into Connor’s eyes again and Connor had to fight his will not to look away. Hunter blinked first.
“What’s your name?” Hunter asked innocently, as though he was making a new friend.
“C—Conner,” Connor told him. Hunter straightened a little and smacked him across the face.
“Wrong!” Hunter yelled at him. Connor grabbed his cheek and closed his eyes, holding back the tears. “Your name is not Connor. You should forget that stupid name. Your name is Evil. You are my twin brother and you’d better toughen up,” Hunter told him. He stood up and turned around. He walked to the woman’s side and accepted the glass she handed him. He emptied it in one huge swallow, and poured a second. He walked back to Connor and pushed it under his nose. “Drink,” He said.
“I’m not hungry,” Connor told him.
“I said drink,” Hunter said, pushing the glass closer to Connor.
“It’s not right.” Connor glared at Hunter.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Hunter asked sarcastically.
“It’s not the same as at home. At home it’s on Sunday nights, not Saturday. And even so, this isn’t from Angie. I can’t drink if it isn’t from Angie,” Connor answered.
“And just who on oceans is Angie?” Hunter asked.
“Mommy’s donor,” Connor answered, as though it were obvious.
“Well by everything dark, you are soft. I hadn’t realized that you would be such a disappointment. My name is Hunter Lockwood-Sidorio, and I thought you were supposed to be my twin brother, but I guess you got the softie genes. Must have taken after that stupid woman you call a mother. She’s your half-sister by the way,” Hunter smiled cruelly at Connor.
“She’s still the only mother I want,” Connor whispered.
“My dear Evil! What a thing to say! I am your mother, right here! I carried you and Hunter for nine months! While she tried to kill me!” The woman exclaimed, offended.
“Then you’re Lady Lola Lockwood-Sidorio,” Connor said, mostly to himself.
“Of course! But I would much prefer that you call me mother,” Lola smiled at Connor. Connor glared at her.
“Why am I here?” He asked.
“Because I miss you! A mother needs her family together, a boy needs his twin brother, and you need your real mother. I can teach you things that she has never even dreamed of!” Lola smiled, obviously pleased with this offer. Connor stood up for the first time since he’d been there, his legs stiff, but he walked to Lola anyway.
“You can’t teach me anything better or more than what my mommy has taught me!” He told her evenly, before promptly spitting on her. She started and looked down at him, about to smack him. Hunter beat her to it, grabbing Connor from behind and throwing him into the wall.
“Don’t you dare talk to my mother that way! Ever! Or it won’t be the wall I throw you into, it will be the sun!” Hunter yelled.
“You wouldn’t have the chance!” Connor yelled back.
“You wanna see? I could take you down in less than a minute!” Hunter yelled.
“Well then, give it your best try!” Connor said, smirking. He’d seen twice now how sloppy Hunter was. When he’d slapped him, he’d done so all from the wrist, instead of using his entire arm, and when he’d thrown him he’d used his arms only and had nearly tripped; he hadn’t supported himself with his legs or given himself leverage with his back. Connor knew he could take him.
Hunter thought otherwise. He lunged at Connor and tried to grab him by the neck, without first steadying himself. Connor simply pushed him and Hunter fell to the floor. Hunter tried to kick Connor, who jumped over his leg like they were playing a game.
Connor dropped onto hunter with his elbow and hit him exactly where he had meant to—Hunter’s wind pipe. Hunter gasped and started coughing and spluttering.
“You’re a sloppy fighter. You have no technique. Anyone could beat you in a fight. Fighting is something I’m great at, but then again, I had the best teacher in the world, my father. But wait, you don’t have one of those, do you? Right there are two perfect examples of what my family can give me that yours can’t give you,” Connor told Hunter, holding his head high.
The sound of a shattering glass made him turn around. Lola had crushed both the bottle and the glass with her bare hands—out of frustration, of course.
“You are going to be impossible!” Lola told Connor.
“Yes. Until you take me home,” Connor told her. Her expression softened and she knelt to his level.
“This is your home, Evil! I am your mother! The woman who raised you simply pretends to be your mother! Don’t you see? I gave birth to you! I fed you from my nipples for days! I carried you in my stomach for nine months! I went through hours of torturous pain to bring you and Hunter into this world! Me! Because I am your mother! I am your family!” Lola told him, holding his hands in hers, tears in her eyes, a hint of pleading in her voice.
“You didn’t have to kidnap me,” Connor said softly. He didn’t want to feel sorry for his birth mother, but the way she pleaded with him to want her, he couldn’t ignore that.
“Do you really think that I would have been allowed a conversation by simply knocking on the door and asking?” Lola asked. Connor shook his head and Lola looked at him as if to say well there you have it.
“Okay, well, we’ve talked now, so, can I go home?” Connor asked hopefully. Lola’s eyes darkened again and she pushed him away.“You will be my son again. I will not let this corruption claim you. I have all of eternity to make you see that you are mine and mine alone,” Lola said. She turned and started walking out of the room. Hunter scurried after her billowing gown. She opened the door and the moonlight enveloped them. “Have fun alone with the unconscious human,” Lola smirked, “I’m sure you’ll have a drink when you’re hungry enough.” She stepped out into the moonlight after Hunter and closed the door. The dim light in the room was enough for Connor to see that Kaiya was there with him, unconscious, and bleeding.
It took three hours for Kaiya to wake up. She sat up slowly and held her head, where her blood was now dry. She looked around slowly, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim light, and saw Connor, huddled in a corner, his head tucked into his knees.
“Connor?” She asked, not entirely sure it was him. He looked up, and she gasped. His eyes were darker than anything she had ever seen, with a flame dancing in them. His face seemed sunken and his veins black.
“Connor, what’s wrong?” She asked, trying not to cry.
“It’s been almost a week since the last feast night,” He whispered, but his voice carried to her anyways.
“What does that mean?” She asked, a tear rolling down her cheek.
“I’m starving,” He whispered, and put his head back down. Kaiya crawled to the other side of the room and huddled in the corner. She sat there, without ever once taking her eyes off of him.
“Where are we?” She asked after a few long, silent minutes.
“Lady Lola Lockwood-Sidorio’s ship, I would imagine,” Connor answered. Kaiya noticed that he only breathed every two-to-three minutes.
“What does that mean?” She whispered.
“We’ve been kidnapped,” Connor answered. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
“By, Lady Lola Lockwood-Sidorio?” Kaiya asked.
“Yes,” Connor said. He seemed like he was about to say something else, but the door opened.
“Well if I ain’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed it,” Said a heavy accent. Connor and Kaiya both studied the newcomer. He wore brown pants and pointed boots. His coat was a rusty brown color and his shirt was white, but stained so bad that it looked brown. His skin was dark and shiny. His eyes were big and brown. His brown hair fell in a messy scruff to his neck, and was adorned with a brown cowboy hat. “Name’s Johnny,” He said, “Johnny Desperado, and I must say, I had hoped you’d never be back here.” He pursed his lips and studied Connor.
“I’m starving,” Connor told him.
“I figured ya would be. Here’s the thing, I’m technically not s’posed ta be here. I brought you a bottle, but drink it fast, ‘cause I gotta go,” Johnny told Connor, handing him a wine bottle, filled with blood. Connor ripped the top off and started chugging away at the blood inside. Johnny Desperado watched him the entire time. The bottle was empty in less than a minute.
“Who are you?” Connor asked, wiping his mouth.
“I said it, name’s Johnny Desperado,” Johnny smiled a perfect white smile at him.
“I think he means why you are so nice,” Kaiya said softly. Johnny turned towards her and fixed her with that drop-dead gorgeous smile.
“I was—and still am—in love with his mother. I’m the one who went into the cabin and brought ya outa yer cradle. I brought ya ta Grace Tempest, and I will do everything in my very small amount of power to see that ya return ta her,” Johnny promised. He smiled at Connor, but footsteps on the other side of the door sent him running towards it. He stood in the shadows, ready to smack whoever it was, but he grinned when the door opened.
“Stukeley!” He cried. He punched the newcomer and laughed. “Ya scared me outa ma boots!” Johnny smiled as though reuniting with a long-lost friend.
“Man when I heard she got him back I had to come see, especially when I heard that she had snagged Connor’s gal in the process,” Stukeley explained.
“Man you’ve not been ‘round these parts in, what, five years?” Johnny asked, looking at the newcomer, who was obviously a good friend of his.
“Lola wanted us as far away as possible, checking in with our allies. Don’t ask me why, mostly just making sure that we were still allies. She doesn’t know that we’re back yet,” Stukeley explained.
“Then get us out of here while she doesn’t know you’re here,” Kaiya suggested kindly. Stukeley and Johnny exchanged a silent exchange that went something like;
Johnny: We don’t want them held here.
Stukeley: But I don’t want to find myself in oblivion.
Johnny: You would do it seven years ago.
Stukeley: Fine, but only because I want to be able to be friends with Connor again.
“Fine,” Stukeley finally said aloud. Johnny smiled inwardly. “I’m warnin’ you though, if we get caught I’m throwing you in the line of fire. And be quiet.” Stukeley turned and walked out of the room.
“Let’s go,” Johnny said, following him. Stukeley turned to the port side, but Johnny went straight, towards the only crewman on deck. He put his hand on the crewman’s shoulder and led him to the starboard side, away from Stukeley, Connor and Kaiya.
The night was beautiful, but there was a chill in the air, and Kaiya couldn’t stop shivering.
“Stop chattering your teeth. Extra-strength hearing, remember? Someone will catch us,” Stukeley hissed after a minute.
“S—Sorry,” Kaiya whispered. She pressed her teeth together to keep them from clicking together, but her bare arms and legs were still full of Goosebumps, and she thought she might turn into a Popsicle. She followed without complaint, though, until they reached the side of Lola’s ship.
“It’s not a hard jump,” Stukeley said. He stepped onto the ship rails and in one graceful bound left Lola’s ship and landed on the deck of his own. He said something to a crewman who immediately ran below decks.
“I can’t make that jump,” Kaiya said, looking over the side of the ship.
“It’s not hard, you just push off and,” Connor looked at her and remembered that she was a human, who didn’t even have any training of any sort. “I’ll throw you,” Connor said.
“That’s okay,” Kaiya protested. Connor ignored her and grabbed her by the waist.
“Get them! Do not let them leave!” Lola’s voice yelled from behind them. Connor turned and saw four fully-grown Vampirate males running at them. He threw Kaiya over the side of the ship and saw Stukeley catch her safely. Johnny motioned for Connor to hurry up, but the boy wasn’t tall enough to step onto the rail. He tried to climb, but one of the Vampirates grabbed him from behind.
“Get off!” Connor yelled. The Vampirate tried to cover his mouth, but Connor bit off a chunk of his hand. The man screamed and dropped Connor, but his three friends had caught up.
“Just go! She won’t hurt me!” Connor yelled at Kaiya, who was crying.
“Get us moving!” Stukeley yelled to his crew. Fortunately for him, Lola didn’t notice this exchange. As far as she was concerned it was probably one of the Tempest twins, and she would deal with them later.
The ship turned away from Lola’s and started off. Lola walked to Connor, who had chosen simply to sit on the deck and wait.
“Why? What was the point of trying to escape?” Lola asked him bitterly.
“I don’t like being locked up with my uncle’s bride as my only source of food. Actually, I don’t like being locked up at all,” Connor answered.
“Evil—” Lola said, but Connor cut her off.
“Connor. It’s Connor. My name is Connor Dexter Furey. Don’t call me Evil. I am not evil and it isn’t my name,” Connor said calmly.
“It is your name though!” Lola said, exasperation evident in her voice.
“No, it isn’t. It may have been my name for a week, at most. My name is Connor Dexter Furey, and I won’t answer to anything else,” Connor told her.
“You are going to make this very difficult,” Lola said bitterly.
“Yep. Maybe you should just let me go home?” Connor smiled smugly. Johnny laughed from the other side of Lola, who turned an icy glare on him. He promptly started fake coughing.
“No. You will know your place as my son. Would you prefer to share a cabin with your brother? Mimma will show you the way,” Lola said. A woman walked to Lola’s side and smiled. She had the same heart around her left eye as Lola.
“Come on,” Mimma smiled at Connor as though he were a nephew or a younger cousin. She started walking away, but Connor stayed put.
“Why must you be difficult?” Lola asked. Connor shrugged. Mimma turned around and looked at him. She pressed her lips into a thin line.
“Come, it’s almost morning,” Mimma repeated, a little firmer than at first.
Connor stayed put, even though he was inwardly terrified.“Well then, carry him to his room. I will not just have him sit here,” Lola told Mimma, waving her hand in dismissal of the party. Mimma pursed her lips but walked the three steps towards Connor and grabbed him under the armpits. She hoisted him up and turned to walk to what would be his own cabin—shared with the idiot boy, Hunter. Connor stayed still, trying to be as heavy as possible, but Mimma was strong, and he eventually gave up and fell asleep in her arms.
When they got to the cabin Mimma dropped Connor on the bed and left, as Hunter was already sound asleep, and she didn’t want to wake him up.
Hunter didn’t stay asleep for long, though. It wasn’t yet noon when the boy woke up and saw Connor asleep and the next bed. Hunter smiled to himself and got out of his own bed. He walked over to where Connor was asleep and kicked him in the stomach. The boy yelped and grabbed his stomach, squeezing his eyes shut tighter than they already were.
“What was that for?” Connor asked sitting up in bed and looking at Hunter. Hunter laughed and sat down on his own bed three feet away.
“Because I felt like it,” Hunter said, smiling cruelly at Connor.
“It wasn’t very nice. And it hurt,” Connor said, glaring at the boy who claimed to be his brother.
“That was the point, Genius,” Hunter said, rolling his eyes.
“Why are you so mean?” Connor asked looking at the boy curiously.
“Because it’s fun,” Hunter answered, smiling again. His fangs were a lot sharper than Connor had first realized.
“Well I don’t think it’s fun,” Connor said crossing his arms on his chest.
“That’s because you were raised wrong,” Hunter said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“You’re wrong,” Connor said standing up quickly. “I was raised properly, you were raised evil!”
“No, you’re Evil, I’m Hunter. I was raised to be able to hunt.” Hunter jumped off the bed and mimed ripping someone’s head off. “Mom taught me young so that when I’m older I’ll be the best there is!”
“I don’t think that that’s a very good thing to learn so young,” Connor said, the look in his eyes daring Hunter it to object. The two boys faced off for a good minute before Hunter stuck his tongue out at Connor and jumped back onto his own bed.
“You’re just jealous that you weren’t taught the right way when you were growing up,” Hunter said. He laid down and folded his arms behind his head, obviously comfortable.
“I seem to remember beating you in a fight earlier,” Connor said, looking pointedly at Hunter, who looked up angrily from his comfortable resting position.
“That was all luck!” hunter said, obviously upset. “You surprised me! I didn’t know that you’d have any skill at all! It wasn’t fair! It was practically a setup!” hunter glared at Connor for a good minute before Connor burst out laughing.
“None of it was luck, actually,” Connor answered, “what it was, was my parents teaching me how to fight, and win, since I was about a year old.” Hunter glared at Connor for a long while, before sitting on the edge of his bed and putting his head in his hands.
“You know, I was really hoping that you wouldn’t be good at anything. And that you wouldn’t be smart. And that you would basically not be anything interesting,” Hunter said sadly. Connor noticed that he sounded more hurt than angry.
“Why? What do you mean?” Connor asked, sitting on his bed across from Hunter.
Hunter lifted his head out of his hands just enough to look at Connor. He seemed to be trying to decide something. “Because,” he said, “Mom has always been obsessed with you. For as long as I can remember, all she’s spoken about is how she would get you back and destroy the Tempests lives. I mean, she never really cared about me. All she ever cared about was you and your family! She never wanted me! She never says anything nice about me! It’s always about you, or dad, or your parents, or your uncle, or about her plans, or the fleet, or anything except me!” Hunter was yelling by the time he finished his rant. He looked like he was about to cry, and Connor realized that he wasn’t as happy with his life as he pretended to be.
“Well, you must have some good things to say about your past, right?” Connor asked, searching for the right thing to say to make Hunter feel better, although he wasn’t sure how. Hunter looked at him expectantly and shook his head.
“Not really,” Hunter said, “I mean, even when she was talking me, she’s always just been talking about you. She never talks about me or my accomplishments or what I’ve done or anything like that. She’s always been one-hundred percent focused on you.” Hunter hung his head again, and rubbed his eyes forcefully.
“Then help me go home!” Connor said, trying not to sound desperate, “my mom and dad would love to meet you, would love to have you!”
“I, I don’t know,” Hunter said. He sighed and looked Connor in the eyes. Their eyes were identical; almond-shaped and dark brown. “I mean, I won’t lie, as wanted to leave for a while, but if been too afraid that no one would accept me.” Hunter looked at Connor imploringly.
“Well my parents would accept you!” Connor said excitedly, “I mean, as long as you nice and you don’t eat all the humans on the nocturne, they won’t turn you away.” Connor looked at Hunter and thought for the first time that maybe they could be brothers.
“How can you be so sure?” Hunter asked timidly.
“I just know,” Connor explained. It wasn’t much of an explanation, but Hunter was desperate.
“It won’t be easy, you know,” Hunter said.“I don’t care,” Connor said, “I’m just really happy that my brother apparently isn’t the evil thing that I thought he was, and that I’ll get to go home.” Hunter nodded, a plan already forming in his mind. After about a minute of decision he started telling Connor his plan, glad that his brother wasn’t like their mother.