The Truth About Jay Mauser

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Chapter Ten; Hell’s Hounds

July 17, 2017 – Timmins, Ontario

That hot boil of rage inside of him that repeated stupid, stupid, stupid sickened his stomach to the core. What was he thinking? That an angel could be his lost love? No. Stupid. He should have never thought such a thing, nor even attempted when his brother already, well, practically, called dibs on her.

Of course she wasn’t a toy, but it was his duty to not screw with what his brother had attraction for.

Jay would just pretend that nothing happened… He would be completely normal, act like they only talked and hadn’t gotten so… close.

It wouldn’t be that hard, right? At least they hadn’t kissed. That would have gone too far.

Entering the rustic motel room, forcibly he made his way into the bathroom and shut the door behind him, locking it. His eyes set on the mirror that was in desperate need of being cleaned, but he ignored it, just staring at himself.

The motel was the same as the others, but Jay ignored the significant mirror from the Victorian ages that he stared into, and the painting above each queen bed with fresh new sheets and blankets. A TV was tucked inside a cupboard that stood before the second bed closest to the bathroom, and a table with a lamp sat delicately with a layer of dust still on the copper paint.

The mirror was still dirty from the people before, with pink lipstick stained in the top left corner, and a few dried water drops.

He looked the same, yet as he looked deeper, he saw something morphing into what he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what it was. A monster, perhaps. Or something new, something undiscovered.

Although he looked like himself: a sharp jaw-line, striking, ice-blue eyes and unshaved stubble started to appear on his face once again. His flannel was stained, and his jeans needed to be washed.

Something was different, but he couldn’t decipher what it was.

Shaking his head to himself, the male turned on the tap, relieved to see crystal clear water and splashed the cool liquid onto his stubbled face. Listening to the constant trickle of water that had begun outside of the motel room, Jay turned off the tap and leaned against the wall.

Silence was his desire at the moment, but the rain would be enough—until he heard whispers from the room. He’s confused, Jude said. He lost the love of his life; he’ll figure things out.

She told him. Of course she did—an angel telling his older brother about his personal life that he dreaded for his brother to discover.

Although she was his guardian, did that give her the right to say something like that? Sighing to himself with utter annoyance, the male looked down at his dirt-covered shoes, remembering how Sarah would always clean his shoes if there were mud on them.

Sarah would even say: if you don’t get rid of that mud, then you might as well say goodbye and you say hello to the streets. It wasn’t his favourite saying, but because it came from her… It meant something to him.

So much more than this damn crisis his brother got him into…

Perhaps it was fate that this had happened—it was meant to be that he was to… die.

Or maybe—just maybe—he could put an end to all of this.

He just had to believe. He could do something great; he could save the world and his family.

Himself.

A knock sounded from outside the door. “Are you done sulking?” his brother said from outside the door. “We don’t have all day to pout—unless you want to do some extremely gay confessions.”

Jay’s eyebrows furrowed and he shut the tap and opened the door, and with a slight glare at his older brother, he closed the door behind him and sat on the bed. “I wasn’t sulking.”

Jude looked amused. “You know, your eyes twitch when you lie.” They did?

“How do you know all this stuff?” Jay asked him, covering his face with both of his hands.

“I’m your sophisticated, Caucasian brother. It’s what I do best,” he added with a tap on his shoulder and walked around his bed and threw his used clothes into the duffel bag. “We need to buy more supplies.”

Jay uncovered his face and stood up, grabbing his own bag and looked over the angel. She quickly looked away as if she never noticed him.

“Salt, bullets, and,” he laughed. “Condoms.”

He grimaced. “Do you have to be so graphic and disgusting?”

“Oh, don’t forgot the porn,” he added and let out a bark of laughter before he exited the motel room and unlocked the doors of the ’67 Mustang.

“Just as I said,” Jay called to his brother. “Disgusting.

Jude pointed a finger at him, and then looked at the angel. “What do you think? Has he read porn ever in his life?”

Shannon shrugged casually. “I mean, isn’t that what most guys do?”

Jay raised a brow. “You think I’m just like any other guy?”

His older brother got into the vehicle and threw his bag into the back. “Seems the angel’s on my side, brother.”

“You’re such a jerk,” Jay grumbled and got into the passenger’s side and pressed the first button on the radio. His face alighted at the sound of Journey’s last played album—until Jude switched it to AC/DC’s Get it Hot. “Just as I said. A jerk.”

“Hey, driver picks the music,” Jude said to him. “And you can just shut your cakehole.”

Letting out an offended gasp, Jay looked out the window and crossed his arms like a stubborn little girl.

“It’s just music,” Shannon said to him. “It’s not the end of the world.”

“Since when were you on his side?” Jay asked her, and turning to face her, she looked… hurt, before the sound of wings filled his ears. Of course. A total surprise.

“Why’d you be so mean to her?” Jude inquired, turning to face him as he pulled out of the parking lot.

“She’s probably a century; she can learn to get over some attitude.”

Jude rolled his eyes. “You know, you have to get over her some day.” Sarah. “I know it hurts…” He stopped the car. “But acting like an asshole won’t help anyone—not even yourself.”

“You’re so very wise,” Jay mocked, and Jude’s eyes flared.

“I mean it, Jay,” he snapped. “You’re acting like that freaking chick in Mean Girls. Cute and cuddly on the outside, but you’re just as rotten as road kill on the inside.”

“Then what if I told you to get over mom and dad? How would you feel?” Jay challenged.

Jude flinched, and shaking his head, he replied, “That’s different.”

“Is it? We both loved them, they were out parents and close to us—“

“They were our parents. That’s my point! She was a girl you met, and you didn’t know if you’d spend the rest of your life with them. But family… that’s forever.”

Jay scoffed. “Family sure seems like forever.” They were both dead, and they sure as hell wouldn’t come back.

“What’s with the mood swings? One moment you’re happy, then the next—whatever happened when you guy’s left—you change into a complete mess. I want to help you, Jay.”

His eyes focused on the sky, and he watched as a crow flew above the vehicle. “You can’t help me,” was all he said.

You could feel the angered aroma around his older brother, but it only sickened his stomach more when he felt it from himself. He couldn’t maintain a good relationship around his brother, and he was sure it was because of Jude—

But really, it was because of himself.

He was messed up, angry, tired and… afraid.

The scars burned on his flesh, and he went to scratch at it to remove the pain, but his brother grabbed his wrist.

“Don’t touch it,” he instructed. “It won’t do you any good.” Understanding crossed his brother’s similar, blue eyes. “I know you’re upset, and I shouldn’t have said what I said. I’m angry too, Jay, and I guess we’re both making excuses.” They both laughed slightly. “But we can’t get this between us. We’re brothers, and we’re the only family we’ve got left besides Uncle Ben. And once we lose him… it’s you and me against the world.”

“You’re right,” Jay said and put his wrist to the side. “We can get through this.” They couldn’t lose hope, either. It’s all they had now. “Those son’s of bitches can go back to Hell.”

Jude smiled at his choice of words. “That’s more like it,” Jude said and started the engine to the Mustang once again and started to drive. “Now, where to next?”

“Nova Scotia,” Jay replied.

~~~~~~

July 19, 2017 – Pembroke, Ontario

They came in the shadows of the old motel they rented out ten towns away from Timmins.

The sound of a low, wolf’s growling filled his ears until it was the only thing was audible. Looking up from the old, yellow-stained sofa in the corner of the room, Jay stood up and moved towards the window. Nothing was there.

Perhaps he was already going insane—or he was only just realizing it.

Creak… slam!

Jay jumped backwards as suddenly the bathroom door shut, and his eyes flicked back and forth, trying to decipher what was happening.

Demons, was the first thing that came to mind. Shannon, where are you now? Jay thought silently, hoping it could be loud enough for her to hear, Jay moved backwards until his body hit the wall, and the door made a click beside him—the motel door… locked on its own?

Shannon, please, he started to plea, and he ran for the door, trying to open it, but the door wouldn’t budge.

The mark burned like Hell itself.

He let out a scream then as it felt like an iron fist wrapped itself around his arm, pressing as if trying to break bone. Fire, flame and heat… It was the worst god, damn pain he’d ever experienced in his life.

Jude!” he then yelled at the top of his lungs, and his brother gasped awake.

“Jay? What the hell is wrong with you?” Jude inquired with clear annoyance, but there wasn’t enough time to argue.

Demons,” he hissed and tried to open the door again. Giving up, he pushed himself into the door, hitting it—again, another failure. “Oh, Shannon. Please, dear God!”

Jude ran to his side and attempted himself to kick the door down, but it didn’t even creak, didn’t even budge…

“We’re gonna die, aren’t we?” Jay said to his brother with fear lacing his breath.

“No,” Jude said and turned around, and his breath hitched as a wolf walked through the wall, and shadows and smoke plumed off of the beast.

He could smell its breath from here, and it churned his stomach.

Hellhound,” Jude whispered, and he dived for his bed and removed a pistol from under his pillow. Instantly he fired, but the bullet went right through it and hit the wall, leaving a hole in its mark.

“What do we do?” Jay called, and suddenly his body slammed into the wall, and he felt invisible claws pushing him up to the roof.

“Jay!” Jude screamed, and he fired again, but it hit the door this time. Jay inhaled a sharp breath, but he couldn’t utter a word. His words were forced inside his throat, and only his thoughts to be spoken silently. Shannon, if you can hear me… I’m sorry. We need your help—save us, please!

The sound of flapping wings didn’t answer.

They were alone this time.

Son of a bitch, Jay thought, and he felt his intestines squeeze inside him, and he let out a painful gasp, and he shut his eyes, praying that this suffering would end.

“Let my brother go,” Jude snapped at the hound, but as he went to strike with a lamp he managed to pick up, his body was thrown into the wall, and his body fell limp onto the wooden floor.

No!

He struggled against the invisible force, and when he opened his eyes, he stared into the eyes of pure insanity.

And the hellhound looked at him as prey, and he knew he was his lunch tonight.

The hellhound had razor-sharp teeth, and beneath its shadowed form, he could see the fur of what used to be a grey hound. The beast’s eyes were intoxicated red that radiated various different oranges, yellows and crimsons. Its ears flicked to the side, and turning to face away from him, the beast then stared at his brother he laid still on the ground.

Fuck, Jay cursed. Don’t you dare touch him.

It sniffed his brother’s neck, and a low growl sounded from the hellhound’s mouth.

He could see foaming the beast’s jawline, and a shiver was sent down his spine.

Please… he thought again. I thought you were going to help us.

The beast would kill his brother, and then him—slowly and delicately.

“I love you, Jay,” suddenly he heard in Jude’s voice, and instantaneously his brother jumped up, and a blade was in his hand, and the blade went straight through the beast’s neck, and black blood sprayed all over his body.

He fell to the ground, and he let out a yelp as he leg hit the side of the dresser, and without much thought, he stood up and ran over to Jude’s side as he collapsed to his knees. “A-are you okay?” he asked his brother, furrowing his brows.

“Peachy,” he replied, wiping black blood from his face and a smile spread across his lips. “Y’know, you need to learn how to fight off evil spirits.”

Jay rolled his eyes. “I’m not a demon expert,” he said to him.

“I never said you were; but you seem to scream like a girl when you’re afraid.”

“I do not!” he said, frowning at his brother.

Jude nodded. “Oh, yeah you do,” Jude mused. “A teenage girl on fright night, to be exact.”

Jay snorted. “Okay, whatever you say,” he said and helped his brother stand.

With a look of triumph, Jude stuffed the pistol and blade covered in black blood into his duffel bag.

“Why did an angel choose to give that to you, anyway?” Jay asked his brother.

He shrugged. “Honestly, I have no idea.” Not long ago an angel had appeared to Jude and offered him this blade, yet without an explanation the being had disappeared without a trace. He’s kept the blade on him ever since that day. “But I sure am glad that I was chosen,” he added with a light laugh.

“Oh yeah,” he replied. “We’d be dead for sure by now…”

“Where did that damn angel go when we needed her?” Jude suddenly asked, and Jay’s expression changed completely.

Giving his brother a darkened look, the male said, “She abandoned us.”

“She’s not going to help us, is she?” Jude asked rhetorically, and Jay only looked away, his shoulders dropping. “I’m done with betrayal,” Jude growled. “Either she’s with us, or she’s gone. I don’t want her one day dropping us because we’re not a good ally.”

“We’re wonderful allies!” Jay exclaimed.

“Angels might think otherwise,” Jude muttered.

Jay shrugged to his brother, and he rubbed at his stomach. “I think we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Yeah, she abandoned us. But I also hurt her feelings.”

“So her feelings are more important than our lives?” Jude’s voice rose, and Jay held up a hand to calm his brother down.

“I’m not saying that—definitely not—but I’m just saying that we survived, didn’t we? You pulled badass hunter and killed the hellhound without any problem. Like, how the heck did you play dead like that?” Jay let out a weak laugh. “But maybe next time she’ll come around. She’s saved us before.”

Jude considered his words. “I suppose…”

“Just… don’t freak out at her if she ever comes back. We don’t want to lose her again.”

A bitter laugh. “Like I’m the one who’d do that,” he shot back.

Jay crossed his arms, exhaling a long breath. “I don’t want to fight, Jude. I didn’t mean it that way. Just please… Don’t say anything you’d regret.”

“It’s not like the angel’s gonna show up randomly, bare naked and wet.”

“That’s beside the point,” Jay sighed and moved for his backpack. His brother was yet still a child.

“But I’d like to see her wet,” Jude said with a snarky grin, and almost to the minute, the sound of flapping wings came from behind them, and they both faced the angel. Jude’s face turned crimson.

“It’s nice to know your intimate feelings for me, Jude,” Shannon said with a raised brow.

“I-uh… No.” Jude can usually express how much he likes someone without a problem. “That’s stupid. I don’t.”

Jay held in his laughter. “Keep telling yourself that,” Jay said and looked at Shannon. “You know, we could have used an extra two hands back there.”

Shannon shook her head. “I-I’m sorry… Heaven made me… do something. I wish I could have been there when you both needed me.”

The fact that she had gone to Heaven once again made it feel like a dagger was slowly piercing itself through his human heart, but without further due, he erased the feeling inside of him and continued walking to the Mustang. Opening the trunk, he placed his black bag inside and ignored the large duffel bag full of single weapons that could blow the face off of any monster they were aware of.

“I said I’m sorry,” Shannon said with a high-pitched squeak as she followed him outside.

Jay looked over at her and shut the trunk. “I never said I didn’t forgive you.”

“But you also didn’t say you did,” she responded and she crossed her legs. “And I heard your apology. I forgive you—I can get a little… touchy sometimes.”

Jude cackled behind them and he moved in-between them and leaned against the old vehicle. “Stop flirting and let’s get going. I don’t want another hellhound finding us and eating us alive.”

Shannon eyed the two with amusement. “I would get a shower before you leave,” she told them. “You look like you took a bath in a lake of sewage.”

Both their faces turned red, and as they eyed each other, suddenly they both went running for the bathroom. Pushing Jude to the side, Jay let out a call of triumph as he entered the bathroom and slammed the door behind him. “I win!” he exclaimed.

“Boys…” Shannon murmured under her breath and waited for them to get cleaned outside.

“This battle isn’t over,” Jude called to his brother.

“Ah, but you know that I’ll only win,” Jay said back and turned on the tap, and cold water sprayed itself in a constant trickle from the silver tap.

~~~~~~

Her hair whipped back and fourth as the windows slowly rolled down in the ’67 Mustang. Country land could be seen for miles, and as they drove by farm-life, the two brothers knew this would be an eventful journey away from Ontario.

They never called their uncle, nor did they ever go back to the Farm. Little did they know that they were being hunted by more than one group of fiends.

The world seemed so large out here, with the bright, blue sky and the ginormous clouds that were the size of skyscrapers. Trees of coniferous and other kinds were held in bunches, but mostly there was grass—a lot of grass.

Of course there was the occasional house that had their barn full of life, but Jay felt completely alone out here. Looking to his side, he saw his older brother singing along to Father of Mine by Everclear. Looking behind him, he saw Shannon staring out the window, beyond whatever she could already see. He always wondered what angels thought of Earth, of how we destroyed this small planet, and how we think we’re so… powerful. Yet, looking at himself, he was nothing compared to the angelic beings that protected this foolish planet.

And then there were the demons, the ones who wanted the planet to be destroyed. Jay had the thought that humans themselves were their own breeds of devils that were convinced that this world didn’t need saving, so we did what we did best: create and murder.

But here they were, fighting to make this world a better place and to bring justice to their broken family.

The Amulet of Redemption would be found, Jay knew. He could feel it inside of him. He couldn’t explain this feeling, but when he looked into that Victorian mirror, he felt something shift, he felt like whatever was inside of him—of what he truly was—had been awakened.

The mark burned, and he started to scratch his arm, and inhaling a sharp breath, he told himself to stop. It took a lot of effort to rip his hand away from the mark, and he squeezed his eyes shut. The upside-down cross of the Anti-Christ—the target of the Devil himself. Jay knew he’d send his hounds again, and it’d be sooner than later.

Satan was most likely furious to the fact that he and his brother both survived. Yet, why did they target his brother, too? With a sigh, the male rested his head against the window as he shut it closed, not wanting to breath in fresh air that, well, smelt like manure.

This world would have been so different if his parents were both still alive. They wouldn’t be on this ridiculous game of justice; they wouldn’t have met Shannon—

But they still have been marked.

They would have died a long time ago.

I hate you, Erica, Jay thought. I hate you and this entire family. If you were never born… none of this would have happened.

He and his brother would be free, even if they hadn’t of been born. He couldn’t handle the rush of being hunted. He couldn’t handle having a target literally on his arm. Covering it with his flannel sleeve, despite the excruciating weather outside of heat, he didn’t want people to ask questions about the strange scar.

I hate you, he thought again. I hate you I hate you I hate you…

But he couldn’t do anything about it.

He couldn’t change the past, or the future.

And he couldn’t—

The sound of a low siren broke his thoughts away, and he turned around to face the back window to see a small cruiser with red and blue lights flashing.

“Jude, pull over,” Jay said calmly, and without question, his brother pulled over and stopped the car.

“What does he want?” Jude muttered and looked out the window and waited for the officer to come up. The siren turned off, and after two minutes, the officer finally joined them.

“You were going twenty over the speed-limit,” a female voice said, and suddenly Jude’s face glowed.

With a cocky grin, the male said, “My dear, I believe that I wasn’t going so fast over a sixty-zone.”

Jay rolled his eyes and looked away. He flinched as a hand squeezed his shoulder, and looking at the angel, she offered him a knowing smile—she heard every thought. Every curse, every hated comment.

And he realized he would never be alone again.

The officer blinked at Jude and then said, “License and registration.”

“You look sexy in that uniform, by the way,” Jude said as he leaned into the compartment and handed her his papers.

She didn’t even question it. “Ronnie Van Zant?”

Jude nodded. “Problem?” Seriously, the lead singer from Lynyrd Sknynrd?

She skimmed over it before she handed it back to him. “I’m gonna have to give you a ticket,” she said to him, and she wrote something down on a yellow sheet of paper.

Jude offered her a pouted look. “You don’t have to do that,” he said to her and then smirked. “We can make a… compromise.” Jay punched his arm, and Jude yelped.

“We can do this one way, and only one way,” the officer said and leaned against the car, pointing a finger at him. “Either you go driving off with that ticket and pay it fully, or I get my handcuffs from the cruiser and I arrest you.”

Jude’s face then paled. “I can pay for the ticket, miss.”

She gave him a bittersweet smile. “Have a good day, fella’s,” she said and walked off without another look.

“You know you’re an idiot, right?” Jay growled at him and took the ticket from him and eyed it. “At least the price isn’t too bad…”

“At least my name isn’t Ronnie,” Jude laughed and started to drive off once the cruiser passed them.

“You’re going to pay for it, right?” Jay inquired, looking back at the angel with raised brows.

Jude shook his head. “I can change my license plates and, plus, we have extra ID’s. We don’t have enough cash lying around to pay for a stupid speeding ticket.”

“Um… okay…” Jay’s eyebrows furrowed and he stuffed the papers into the compartment.

“Brighten up, buttercup!” Jude exclaimed. “It’s not the end of the world, and we’re certainly not in Fallout.”

“I never said we were,” Jay sighed.

“You should do the right thing,” Shannon put in.

Jude rolled his eyes. “Just understand that we don’t have money,” he said, “unless you can magically create money in the palm of your hand.”

Shannon didn’t say anything, and Jay decided to not either. His brother was stubborn, and when he didn’t want to do something, he wouldn’t.

The drive became long, and the police officer was far away now. The world was slowly turning smaller each second, and the sky was becoming dim. But they didn’t have money, did they? They were struggling, and the only way to survive was not to—

No. He couldn’t let himself drown in these dark ambitions. He wasn’t going to become like his brother; he couldn’t let himself do something like that.

“I’m just hoping you’ll see the light one day, Jude,” he said softly to his brother. “I’m going to pay for that ticket whether you like it or not.”

“What’s your problem with tickets?” Jude inquired with a raised brow.

“It’s choosing to do the right thing. Have you heard of Karma?”

“Yeah, she’s quite the bitch, but it’s my choice and mine alone. The Mustang is my car.”

Jay huffed and looked out the dust-covered window once again. “Whatever,” Jay said in defeat. He could feel the smile that spread across his brother’s mouth, and he was tempted to rip it right off that “pretty” face of his.

Control, he told himself.

“I’m here for you,” Shannon said into Jay’s ear, and a shiver was sent down his spine, and peeking over his shoulder, he saw the angel giving him a joyful smile. It was the first time he had ever melted to a smile so strong since Sarah… I’m here for you.

Her words repeated in his mind, and his eyes fluttered shut. He needed this support, this guardian angel… He needed Sarah back. Jay would have been so much better with her by his side. Why couldn’t he have just asked her to come? To just… start over.

I love you; Sarah’s voice rang in his ear from a distant universe that didn’t exist. It was just his imagination.

Listen to me, Jay. I know you haven’t seen your brother for years, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave.

But he did.

Promise me you’ll be back.

I promise.

It was a lie. He did go back, but not to her. He went back to a monster that had… changed her, possessed her. His fist clenched into a deadly fist, and he inhaled a sharp breath.

A hand squeezed his arm, but he didn’t open his eyes this time. He just took the comfort in.

Sarah had always done the right thing by donating to the poor even when they hadn’t even been considered being apart of the middle class. Why couldn’t Jude do the same thing?

Maybe it wasn’t a big deal, but he felt like it had crossed a line with him. When they were younger he never chose to do the right thing—he went for drugs, starting from weed to cocaine. But now… he did change, but not completely. Not officially.

Opening his eyes once again, panic flooded through his bones as suddenly a woman appeared in front of the Mustang, and Jay let out a screech.

“Stop the car!” Jay screamed, and Jude instantaneously obliged, slamming on the brakes. He jolted forward, but the seatbelt saved him, and he cringed as he felt the belt lock and crush his shoulder.

“What’s wrong with you?” Jude snapped at him and his arms flailed upwards.

Shannon looked out the window and shook her head. “There’s nothing there,” she said to them.

Jay’s mouth lay agape, and they were right… Nothing was there. “I-I thought… I thought I saw someone on the road.”

Jude’s arms fell limp on his lap and let out a long breath. “You could have killed my car by doing that.”

“I’m sorry, okay?” Jay said to him with annoyance and sat back in his seat. The road was completely empty; aside from the squirrel road kill and few stray branches from what could have come from a storm earlier. “Can we just go?”

Jude looked around one last time before being sure nothing was there until he started the Mustang once again.

“Tell me if you see something again,” Shannon said to Jay, and without thought, he nodded.

“Sure thing,” he replied to the angel. It wasn’t like he saw a ghost, right? Shrugging it off, the male returned his gaze to face outside of the window.

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