The Truth About Jay Mauser

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Chapter Four; The Farm

July 13, 2017 – North Bay, Ontario

The drive wasn’t that long to get to the farm. The forest slowly turned into country, and as they drove in Uncle Ben’s old, red pickup truck, Jay closed his eyes to feel the crisp and delightful wind from the open window. There weren’t a lot of homes in this part of Canada, and he understood why his mom and dad would have gone to Uncle Ben to get away from the demons—but it didn’t help them in the end when they returned home.

Jay couldn’t imagine what it was like to be hunted like prey… But the deep feeling anxiety clung inside him each painful moment as they drove towards the one place that could solve their problems.

He wanted to ask his uncle why it was he and his brother that were the ones that had to undo this curse—why no one else was chosen to do this. Maybe it was because they were the only ones that knew of the existence of angels and demons in their family.

The Amulet of Redemption, he thought, was the answer to everything. But what if the farm didn’t know where it was? He opened his eyes and saw a large, red farm in the distance. They were almost there.

They pulled up a long, dirt road, and the sun was shining a lot brighter than earlier. Uncle Ben turned off the car and looked back at Jay who sat in the back. “Ready?” But just as he said that, his phone went off. Looking at who was calling him, he said:

“I’ll be a few minutes, you can go in without me.” Jude and Uncle Ben nodded and got out of the truck and walked towards the farm.

Answering the phone, he said, “Hello?”

“Jay?” Sarah’s voice said on the other line, and a smile spread across his lips. “I was getting worried… You didn’t call me earlier.”

“Don’t worry, it’s fine,” he reassured her. It was so relieving to hear her voice… “How are you?”

“Everything’s been a bit quiet with you not snoring beside me,” she laughed, and Jay smiled at her optimistic tone. “I miss you.”

“I miss you, too,” he sighed and rested his head against the side of the truck’s door. “But it won’t be much longer.” A lie—it was going to be so much longer than he thought. “We might not have to go to Nova Scotia—we’ve headed to somewhere closer.”

“That’s a relief,” she said.

“Yeah…” He eyed the farm for a moment. “I’m with my Uncle Ben right now.”

“Oh yeah?”

He nodded, but he knew she couldn’t see his gestures. “He offered us a place to stay for the night, and we’ll be back as soon as you know it.”

She was silent for a moment. “You don’t sound so sure,” she murmured.

“Aren’t I always sure?”

He could picture the ghost of a shake of her head. “Most of the times,” she admitted. “But maybe I’m looking to close into things… Have fun with your brother and Uncle Ben. I’ll see you soon.”

“Sarah—“

“I love you,” was the last thing she said before she hung up.

Clutching his phone in his hand for a long moment, he held in his emotions and got out of the truck and entered the farm where Uncle Ben and Jude had went into, stuffing his phone into his jean pocket. It didn’t look like anything special; just loads of hay and wood. A large open area was in front of him, and when he looked to his left, he saw his brother and uncle speaking to an old lady wearing a red bandana and leather jacket.

“There he is now,” Uncle Ben said and looked over at him as he walked towards the group.

“You look a lot younger than I anticipated,” the old lady said with a rough voice and held out her hand. “I’m Jane Young, it’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Jay Mauser.”

He took her hand and shook it once. “And you, as well,” Jay replied.

Letting go of his hand, Jane said to them, “Follow me downstairs, and we can talk about… procedures.” Jay looked at Jude before they all followed her outside and towards a cellar.

“Like Hell I’m going down there,” Jude muttered as she opened the two large doors and there wasn’t a single speck of light. “I swear, if there’s a psychopath down there waiting with a chainsaw, I’m going to shit my pants.”

Awh, are you scared, kid?” Jane teased him and started walking down the cement stairs that led to who knows where.

Jude frowned and shook his head. “Me? Never.” And without a glance at Jay who held in a laugh, he muttered to him, “You shut your face.” And he then followed Jane down the steps.

Jay looked at Uncle Ben, and he gestured for him to go. “After you,” Uncle Ben said. Nodding, Jay walked down into the cold and dark cellar. They were enveloped by complete darkness, but when a blinding light suddenly lit up the place, Jay resisted as it pained his eyes to get used to the brightness.

“See, it’s not as scary as you thought it’d be,” Jane mused as she removed her hand from a switch and moved towards a terminal.

Jay smirked at his brother, and he glared back at him. “You, scared? Aren’t I just surprised?” Jay joked.

Jude rolled his blue eyes. “Taunt me all you want; I’m sure you were frightened, too, or at least thinking something would stab you down here.”

Jay only shook his head, and Uncle Ben said to them, “Stop with the nagging, we’ve got business to attend to.” With both brothers sighing in unison, Jane opened the large, grey door with the symbol of a cross and sun in the middle.

“All right, boys,” she announced to them, “welcome to the farm.”

Entering through the door, Jay’s eyes widened, as the interior was a thousand times different than the exterior. It was like a one of those secret organizations from a movie about the FBI, and he felt his heart quicken to a rapid pace. People of all kinds were walking around, some holding clipboards and some racing to one side and the other. Stairs led down to another area of the basement where he saw what looked like a hundred different vault doors.

The place was monstrous, wonderful and magnificent… It was just… Jay shook his head with disbelief. A large sign glowed blue in front of them as they walked through a tunnel that read: Headquarters.

“Well, ain’t this place reminding me of The Skulls?” Jude breathed.

Jay shook his head. “The Skulls is nothing compared to this…” Jay looked through the windows that overlooked the many different floors beneath them. “Everyone here knows about the supernatural? About demons and angels?”

Jane nodded. “There’s at least two hundred of us working here,” she told him. “We have our researchers, scientists and hunters… Everyone here has a specific role to play to prevent demons from hurting human kind.”

“I thought they were just after our family?” Jude asked with furrowed brows.

“Oh, demons have their targets, but when it comes to bloodshed… Demons are merciless and don’t care about who or what made a deal or not.”

Uncle Ben added, “Everyone on planet earth is in danger.” Jay and Jude exchanged worried looks before they continued on. They turned right down a hall, and the first door on the left was a door that he assumed was the headquarters.

“You boys will really change the world,” she said to them. “More than you’ll ever know.”

“How can we do that?”

“You’ll find out in due time,” Uncle Ben said to them and gave them an encouraging smile.

Jane turned to face them, and the brothers quickly halted and eyed her curiously. “Your uncle and I will leave you two here,” she said. “The Headmaster has been awaiting for you brothers for a long time.”

Uncle Ben put a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “You have nothing to be afraid of, not yet,” he said.

“Good luck,” Jane said to them.

Swallowing hard, Jay nodded and faced the door. His brother by his side, they knew that being by each other’s sides would make them stronger. It automatically opened for them, and entering through, a single, wooden desk with a man sitting in a leather chair. “Jay and Jude Mauser,” he greeted them. “I’ve been waiting for you.” He was smiling like a wolf.

They both didn’t move—they just eyed the man that they were sent to talk to. “Go on, take a seat,” the Headmaster said to them and gestured towards the two chairs that faced the desk. Jay and Jude both obliged, slowly making their way towards the seat, and hesitantly sat down.

Jay stared at him for a long moment. He had short blonde hair and green eyes, and he was most likely in his like forties. He wore a black suit with a red tie—red must be their accustomed colour, for everyone he saw walking around had at least one shade of red on their clothing.

“So,” the Headmaster began, “what can I do for you boys?”

There was a long silence. How can they trust a man they don’t know? How can they trust this entire organization located underneath a farm?

The Headmaster sighed at their silence. “Yes, I know what you’re thinking.” Jay shifted uncomfortably. “You don’t know me, I don’t know you… Trust is a powerful thing, and I want you both to believe that I’m not the bad guy.” He clasped both his hands together. “We’re here to help you, and I hope that you’ll help us, too.”

The brothers both exchanged looks, and with a nod, they knew they could talk.

Jude spoke first, “From what you already know, our family is cursed like we’re from some horror film. My brother and I are next, and we…”

Jay finished his sentence, “We need you to help us find the Amulet of Redemption.”

The Headmaster stared at him for a long moment before he broke into laughter. “The Amulet of Redemption? Please. You think that legend is true?”

The brothers both looked unsure. “The journal says—“

“Your descendant Robert knows nothing, Jude Mauser. He was just a fool with a psychotic family.”

“Our family isn’t—“

“Oh, you have no idea how messed up your family truly is, Jay,” the Headmaster laughed, shaking his head. “From head to toe, each one of you has something cooking inside that brain of yours that isn’t what you call… normal.”

Jay glared at the Headmaster, but he forced himself to not bear his teeth at him. “You know nothing of our family—“

“I know everything about your family, boy,” he shot back and stood up. He towered over them, and when Jay looked up at the Headmaster, he only just realized how terrifying he really looked. “I know about the curse that has crossed your family because of a stupid girl named Erica E. Mauser. I know that your parents died trying to save you both. I know your parents were never meant to cross fates, but some idiot decided to let them mate. I know that your brother ran away from you, Jay, and how he hunted monsters, demons and angels… Just. Like. Us.”

Our parents were never meant to cross fates?” Jay inquired, and he looked over at his brother. He didn’t care if Jude hunted monsters—there were so many other questions that had to be answered at this moment.

“Oh…” He laughed. “You never knew?” Jay and Jude bother shook their heads at a slow pace. “That is a story for another day, Jay Mauser.”

“I want to know—“

“Doesn’t everyone want to know?” He shook his head and sat back down in his seat. “But you boys didn’t come here to know why people are meant to be born or not.”

“Right,” Jude muttered. “We’re here to listen to you laugh and mock us like we’re a bunch of idiots.”

“I mean, I wouldn’t say you were wrong…”

“Cut the crap, whoever the fuck you are, Headmaster. Either you help us, or we’re out of here,” he growled.

“Okay, okay,” the Headmaster sighed and lifted his hands up adjacent to his shoulders to show surrender. “I’ll tell you this: if you help me, I’ll help you.”

Jay made a face. “Help you with what, exactly?”

“Just a little business that you two are most likely familiar with.” He shrugged. “You know, hunting monsters.”

“You want us to do your dirty work for you?”

“In exchange for the location of the Amulet of Redemption.”

“But you said—“

He cut Jay off, “I say what I say, but you should never believe me.”

“Then how can we trust that you’ll give us the location of the Amulet of Redemption?”

“You don’t,” he replied. “But, it’ll get you one step closer to what you need.”

“We need more than that,” Jude bargained. “More than just a location—we want something else.” Jay looked over at him with the eyes that read: we do?

The Headmaster scratched at his chin. “Fine.” He looked over at the wall, and he added, “I’ll tell you about your parents.”

“We don’t—“

“Take it, or leave it,” The Headmaster snapped, and Jude flinched slightly.

“Okay,” Jude sighed. “Deal.”

Jay looked uneasy. This man they hardly knew… They were about to do something that seemed almost insane. Helping him with his dirty work—they were going to go after monsters. Jay never said he’d agree with this, but he had promised to help his brother. He’d be out of this in no time, right?

“What do you want us to do?” Jay then asked him.

The Headmaster’s lips rose into a devilish grin that sent a shiver up his spine. “I want you to find the location of the Gate.”

“The Gate?” Jude leaned forward with raised eyebrows.

A nod. “Oh, yes. The Gate that will seal Hell and its demons forever.”

“So, if we find it, you’ll give us the Amulet of Redemption.”

“Not give it—I’ll tell you where it is.”

Jay looked over at Jude. “We can back down. We’ll only get killed!” he hissed.

Jude gave him a reassuring smile. “We’ll be fine,” he promised. “It’s just a stupid Gate, it shouldn’t be that hard.”

“Don’t underestimate the Gate, Jude Mauser,” the Headmaster warned. “It’s more than just a gate that keeps people and demons out alike. Legend says the presence is sickening and guarded with angels, demons and monsters of all kinds on every side. You can feel it from a mile away.”

“Then if you can find it easily, then why don’t you do it yourself?” Jude countered.

“It’s not that simple. You must be stealthy, smart…”

“You’re sending us on a suicide mission,” Jay growled. “You can’t seriously think we can—“

Jude placed a hand on his shoulder. “He said find it, not raid it.”

“And what if he asks for more?”

“That wasn’t apart of the deal,” he reminded him.

He couldn’t do this.

Not today. Not so suddenly…

The Headmaster was smiling at them when Jay looked back at him.

“Let me clarify this,” Jay said to him. “If we find the location of the Gate, which can be anywhere, you’ll tell us where the amulet is?”

“Yes,” he said. “I cross my heart.”

Jay eyed the Headmaster for a long moment before he sighed, “When do we start?”

He crossed his arms and sucked on a tooth. With a couple moments of thought, he finally said, “We start tomorrow, boys.”

~~~~~~

“Where the Hell do we even start?” Jay said angrily to his brother. They had returned to Uncle Ben’s cottage, and they were packing up for the road. “One moment, I was at home with Sarah, the next I’m travelling with you—and now? We’re freaking searching for a supernatural gate that is a door to the underworld!”

“Hey, at least we’re not playing hooky.”

I’m playing hooky, Jude,” he snapped at his brother, throwing a sock into his duffle bag. “My work thinks I’m sick and I need a few days off. At some point they’re gonna start asking questions.”

Jude sighed and leaned against the wall of his room. “If you’re going to get angry about this, then you can just leave.” Jay stopped for a moment, and he looked at him for a long time.

“Is that what you want?”

Jude scoffed, shaking his head. “You really think I want you to leave after all of this?”

“It seems like it,” Jay said back.

“Well, then you’re damn stupid.” Jay flinched at his words. “I want us to be a normal family, and us doing this together… We could save the world.”

“By being bait for a secret organization that we only learned about yesterday?”

“Yes, Jay. Yes, I want us to be the freaking bait! I haven’t seen you for years, and when you said that you’d come with me… You have no idea how relieved I was. I could have balled my eyes at that moment, and—“

“I don’t think I’m ready for something like this.” Jay shook his head and zipped his duffle bag shut.

Jude moved to touch his shoulder, but Jay quickly slapped it away. “You agreed.”

“To die? Huh. Yeah, sure.” He swung the bag over his shoulder and moved to leave, but Jude grabbed him. Jay turned to punch him in the face, but quickly stopped himself.

“You would really hurt your own brother?”

“No,” he said. “I wouldn’t—“

Boys?” Uncle Ben called from the bottom of the stairs. “Stop beating each other up like kindergarteners. It’s giving me a headache.”

Jay felt a muscle tick in his jaw. “Don’t worry about it,” he called back, and then turned to face his brother once again. Blue met blue, and he felt the ice get colder each second. He was angry, confused… He wouldn’t get himself involved in something like this. He had someone waiting for him at home. “I’m sorry, Jude, but I’m not risking my life to find something that could possibly seal Hell away forever.”

“I just don’t get it…” Jude whispered, looking down at his feet. “You’re doing exactly what I would have done five years ago.”

Jay felt a dagger push inside his soul. “I’m nothing like you, Jude.”

“You want to tell yourself that,” he said with an angry laugh. “You want to say we’re not alike, that you’ll never be like me… But every inch of your body is me.”

“Don’t you say that.” He pointed a finger at him. “Don’t say that I’m like you, because you’re an arrogant, selfish, stubborn—“

“It’s always the same, isn’t it? Calling me names, remembering the past but not looking towards the future. You have some demons inside you, and I wish that you’d recognize it.”

“You don’t get to say that.”

“But you do?” he shot back. “You get the name callings, the angry tones and selfish behaviors?”

“You got your share,” was all he said.

Jude inhaled a sharp breath, and he turned away. He was unable to look his brother in the eye. “Go then,” he said quietly, almost like a whisper.

What?”

“Just go,” he growled, his hand hitting the door. “Leave, and never come back.”

Jay stared at him for a long moment, and he felt a knot in his throat. Remaining strong, he forced himself to walk away and down the stairs.

His brother was so wrong—so damn wrong.

Turning the corner, he saw Uncle Ben looking at him as he put his beanie on his head. He looked genuinely concerned.

“Are you okay?” Uncle Ben asked, but he only shook his head ‘no’.

“Let’s go.”

“And you’re sure this is what you want?”

Jay looked at him sadly. “It wasn’t what I wanted in the first place.”

It was three o’clock in the morning when Jay had heard the door creak open.

He quickly jumped up from his bed, slipping on his worn, white slippers as he slowly made his way out of his room and down the old staircase. His foster parents hadn’t awoken, thankfully.

Jay watched his brother make his way inside, shutting the door and stumbling slightly as he made his way down the hall. Drunk, once again. Jay frowned with disappointment, and he followed his brother, watching him as he walked to the fridge and pop open a can of beer.

“What are you doing?” Jay hissed as his brother chugged a full can of Bud Light beer without so much as thinking.

“Drinking,” Jude replied with a grimace. He set down the can and furrowed his brows as he eyes his brother. “W-what are you… you doing awake?” he added with a slurred voice.

“I could ask you the same question,” Jay shot back. “But it seems I already know that you went out to drink for the sixth time this week.”

“What do you care of my business?” Jude snapped, reaching into the fridge again, but Jay quickly smacked his arm out of the fridge and forced it shut.

“What the hell!” Jude exclaimed angrily, and Jay let out a low hiss, warning him to not wake up their foster parents.

“Don’t wake up—“

Jude interrupted, “You really think I give a shit about what they think?” Jude got close to his face and snarled. “They aren’t yours or my parents, you understand? And I-I don’t give a fucking shit about what they have to say.”

Jay didn’t even realize he started to cry. “You’re such a jerk,” Jay hissed and turned to run away and back to his room.

“Yeah, you go run and hide under your blanket to cry,” Jude called after him, and he heard a loud crash on the ground.

Jay hadn’t gone downstairs that morning, for he was too afraid to see his brother in such a way, even as he tried to apologize.

~~~~~~

July 14, 2017 – Toronto, Ontario

He didn’t regret going back home.

Sarah had jumped on him with open arms, holding him tightly. She was upset, but mostly she was excited that he’d come back so soon. “Did Jude do something?”

“We just had some disagreements,” he told her.

“You made the right choice—coming back.”

He smiled and kissed her. “I know,” he whispered onto her mouth.

He’d gone back to work the next day, and he didn’t have a lot of explaining due to the lieutenant. She said no more calling in for sick, and he returned to usual business: pulling over citizens and giving tickets to those intoxicated with drugs and alcohol. He didn’t mind helping the city with things like this—he was doing his part.

But it was nothing like searching for a gate to the underworld.

The thought sent a shiver up his spine, and he quickly shook it out; he wouldn’t think about that anymore. Not today, not ever. He was going to put this past week far away. His brother was insane for thinking that could do something like that. They were barely even on their own two feet, and this small, box apartment was one of the most expensive things he could ever imagine paying for.

Jay wasn’t sure how Jude would hold up—if he was okay, if he was safe… He was surprised he never received a call from his brother, either.

But everything was right once again—it was how he thought it was supposed to be. Him and Sarah, together. Him going to work, fighting crimes, not monsters.

Yet there was something inside him that said otherwise. Like this was wrong. But he chose to ignore it—he would make this the right thing for him, because he believed that monsters wasn’t the right way to go.

Maybe he should have given his brother a second chance, to hear him out. But how many times would Jude need forgiveness? To be given a chance for a mistake he made constantly?

Jay Mauser shook his head as he sat on the two-seated couch in his apartment’s living room. He was thinking too hard about this, and he just had to let it go.

But he couldn’t.

He couldn’t because Jude was his brother, and if they were in the same situation, but it was him instead… Jude wouldn’t have left him like that. He would have stayed and helped him through all of this, instead of running away. You’re already running away, Jude said to him before. Two hours and you’re already running away…

He hadn’t seen his brother in years, and suddenly with the feeling of being smothered, the fear of dying… It took over.

A sigh escaped his lips and he went to take a sip of the iced-water in his hand. Sarah came around the corner and dropped into the couch beside him, leaning against his side for comfort.

“You know, you made the right decision,” she said to him; smiling softly as she looked up at him through her dark, mascara covered lashes. He couldn’t remember the last time she wore makeup when there wasn’t an event being held. Strange. Though, she did look good with makeup on.

“Yeah…” Jay said breathlessly, shrugging casually. “I just feel… bad.”

“Don’t be.” She squeezed his arm. “You’re brother has never done anything good for you, he doesn’t deserve you.”

Jay wanted to believe she was right. “I guess.”

“Not I guess,” she muttered. “Say that I’m right, ’cause you know I am.” She sat up and offered him a grin. “When was the last time I was wrong?”

He thought for a moment. “Never,” he admitted.

“Exactly!” she exclaimed and grabbed his arm, hoisting him onto his feet. “Now, how about I make you feel not so guilty anymore.” Her grin turned almost devilish, and a shiver was sent down his spine. “In bed.”

He had come out of nowhere—Betty Laurence, the daughter of Frank and Jennifer Laurence had been sleeping, and suddenly she had heard a bang on the other side of her door. A gun shot.

She was home alone, asides from her yelping dog that was somewhere in the house. She let out a fearful sob as she thought of what could have possibly happened to her Yorkshire Terrior. Her eyes flicked back and fourth as she hid in her closet, and the little holes in her door allowed her to see through and into her bedroom. She was sure that she was far enough in the corner of the closet that the bad man wouldn’t find her.

But when she heard a door slowly creak open with a high-pitched whine, she had to quickly cover her mouth as a gasp escaped her lips. His footsteps hit the creaky floorboards with a tap tap tap tap tap, and she felt her entire body shake from fear.

Please don’t look in the closet, please don’t look in the closet, please don’t look in the closet…

A shadow blocked the light that entered the closet, and she jumped back slightly as she realized it was the bad man’s body that covered the door. Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God… He was going to find her.

Suddenly she could hear the sound of a low hiss, but she was too afraid to question the sound.

“I know you’re in here,” a low voice growled, and the closet door swung open, and a scream escaped her lips. He threw a snake at her, and she tried to throw it off, but he grabbed her by the hair and the man dragged her out of the closet.

Let me go! Please! I’ll do anything,” she pleaded. He didn’t let her go.

It was a horrible and burning pain as he tugged her by the hair, and she tried to break free, but he wouldn’t let her go, wouldn’t release her… She felt a sharp pain on her ankle, and another scream escaped her lips. The snake bit her.

“Why are you doing this?” she whimpered to the bad man.

“You’re father wasn’t a good man,” he said to her and threw her into the corner. Her head smacked against the wall, and black lined her vision. “He took the one thing that mattered to me most away from me.”

“Please don’t hurt me…”

He crouched in front of her, his black Stetson covering his eyes, and he set down the revolver he had in his hand. He took out a syringe and held it to her neck, pressing it against her. “I’m going to do a lot more than just hurt you, sweet heart,” he purred, and without another scream or plead, he injected the liquid from the syringe into her neck.

The man stood up and moved towards a gasoline carton he had brought with him, and he poured it onto the girl and around the room, covering every disgusting inch of this house. Taking out a lighter in his pocket, he flicked the switch as a small but deadly flame illuminated from the top.

He dropped the lighter and the entire house burst into flames.

He expected to wake up, curled against the female’s side with the fragrance of sweet, peppermint perfume, and kiss her good morning, but he woke up to the exact opposite. A blade was to his neck, and it pressed deep enough to cut skin at the slightest move. Her hair was leaking of water from a recent shower, and the perfume had been washed away and covered with the smell of pomegranate.

His eyes widened at the sight of her wolfish grin plastered against her lips. Pure, and terrifying glee was written in her… red eyes? The colour from before… Sarah’s eyes were blue, not red.

Jay was unmoving as she took a second blade and dragged it down his thigh, all the way to his calf, and back up. He forced himself to not shiver at the touch, and he only glared at her darkly. What right did she have to keep him as some… sex slave? Or was there more to this?

She looked hungry, but not for romance or love. The look on her face… he had never seen it on a human being. He had never seen the desire for blood before. She slowly kneeled down and licked his jaw line, and he knew he couldn’t move. Disgust and bile rose up his throat, and he was afraid he let all of his sick out. Any movement, any struggling, would get him killed for sure.

“Oh, Jay,” she purred darkly as she ran her tongue all over his face like a snake. “You’re so…” She lifted her gaze up and met his eyes. The red, he could have sworn, beamed a brighter glow. “Delicious.”

He fidgeted uncomfortably, and he resisted himself to throw her off. She had the advantage. She could kill him in moments if she wanted to.

“Why are you doing this?” Jay demanded quietly, and he let out a panicked cry went the blade pressed into his Adam’s Apple.

Her mouth quickly moved to his ear, and hot breath caused him to shudder. He could feel her grin. “Because, Jay Bird”—he wanted to snarl at the nickname—“you were an easy target.” He was going to show her how wrong she was. “You have no will, no passion, no desire…” She was so wrong. “You don’t care for your brother, your girlfriend…” So wrong… He loved Sarah and Jude with everything he had. He would die for them, wouldn’t he? “You’re just a scared little boy who’s trapped.”

Trapped? This is what she calls a trap?

Perhaps she was right. Perhaps he was trapped. He was caged beneath her, blade to neck, and he had been manipulated into sex. No, he chose to have sex with her… But what happened to his love? This wasn’t Sarah… This was someone else.

But he could figure this out.

He could and he would. She went on:

“You believe that you’re going to help your family. You believe that this justice of an unknown cause will actually bring justice to your family.” Did she know that this was all of Jude’s idea? That he was forced—practically—into this? “Because, Jay, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. And we won’t let you get further than you already are.”

He clamped his jaw shut when he realized his was about to tell him this was all of Jude’s plan. That he was the one that dragged him into this craziness. But now that he’s heard her speak? Of what she’s told him? Telling her this was all of Jude’s idea was beyond betrayal, beyond deceit. He loved his brother, even if they had some hard times with each other, and he wouldn’t betray Jude like this.

“I don’t know what I’m getting myself into,” he told her. He stared at her for a long moment before adding, “But I know what you are. I know what I’m up against.”

He started to realize.

“Do you?” She growled assertively. “Do you really know what you’re up against?”

She manipulated him. She was beautiful beyond measure. She pretended to be kind, and she was cunning. She had sex with him—it was as if she had cursed him. She had red eyes. She wanted to kill him.

“You’re a demon,” he hissed. Jude was right, wasn’t he? This whole time, he was telling the truth, yet Jay had refused to believe him. But she? She revealed herself to him.

Sarah barked a laugh of bitterness and amusement. She looked down at him with a mischievous grin and purred, “Oh, you only just realized?”

“You killed my parents.” Everything came crashing down on him at that moment. He let the murderer of his parents fuck him!

She looked at him pitifully. “I wish I had been the one to uphold that prize,” she said unsympathetically. “But I’m not the one who killed your parents.” What? “My boss has... procedures and plans, and I wasn’t apart of that one.”

Her boss? Lucifer? The freaking devil? Oh god, he hoped he didn’t exist!

“I know what you’re thinking,” she said with a bittersweet laugh. “But the devil comes in many forms.” Her finger trailed down his cheek. “And he’s one of them.”

His heart was beating like a drum that was leading him to his death. He knew he was going to die. He knew she wouldn’t tell him the truth otherwise. These were his last living moments, and he wished that things had been better off with Jude. With Sarah.

If he hadn’t betrayed in this way, this wouldn’t have happened. Karma. It was always that bitch that got the ones who did the bad. And he was a criminal of love. Of hate.

God, he hated himself. He hated this demon. He hated everything.

“What did you do to Sarah?” he demanded as he looked into the eyes that should have belonged to his girlfriend.

“She’s tucked in far away,” she purred. “Asleep. She’s just a vessel, there’s nothing left of her.” No.

He struggled against her, letting out a snarl, but she was ten times stronger than what she appeared. Impossible.

Maybe it was the lack of will that allowed that door to burst open and reveal his brother with a shotgun. Maybe it was his lack of confidence that allowed someone to care enough to save him. Maybe it was his closeness to death that allowed someone to find him.

But whatever this was? He was relieved. He was glad.

The blade was removed from his throat, but he felt a stinging pain on his collarbone, and the tang of crimson, when he realized she had drawn blood.

Her hand flicked up, and Jay watched as his brother was lifted off the ground and thrown into the wall. A deadly snap of a bone rang in his ears, and he couldn’t hold in his cry.

“Jude!” He exclaimed, standing up from his spot and charging towards the demon.

He stopped mid foot, but it was as if a dozen ropes and chains were holding him in this stiff and forced position. He couldn’t even move a finger, he couldn’t even blink.

“You really thought you could out smart a demon?” She snapped, her red eyes gleaming with insanity. “You thought you could bring a shotgun in here like some circus clown and shoot at me like a child with a water gun?”

Jay could feel Jude’s gaze on his neck, and he wanted to look at him and tell him that he was sorry, but because of this godforsaken demon, he could do nothing about it.

“Do you think that human bullets could kill me?” She continued on, circling around him like a wolf ready to pounce on its prey. “Do you think that anything could kill me? I’m immortal. Invincible. I’m the creation of the devil himself. God fears me. The angels obey me.”

Jay was shaking. He had never been more afraid in his life. He wanted—he needed—to speak. But he couldn’t. Everything was clamped shut. He was like the puppet of a puppeteer.

This isn’t real, he thought to himself.

He wanted to tell himself that she was bluffing, but he knew that she wasn’t. With what she could do? Move a man without so much as blinking? What was he supposed to think?

But then he heard his brother speak. That idiot! “You know what I think? I just think you’re an afraid, little spirit that has daddy issues.”

He could feel her anger steam hotly off her skin, and she stormed toward him and delivered a punch to his face. Again and again and again. Jay struggled against her power, but nothing moved. His body was hers and no longer his.

Jude! He wanted to cry, but no words came out.

He heard his brother spit out blood. ”Bitch,” he seethed.

“Shut you mouth!” She snapped. He could hear her walking around, but he couldn’t see what she was doing.

“Yeah, wish I could,” he replied, “but right now I’m in the dire circumstances of cutting off your pretty skin and feeding it to the dogs.”

Even Jay flinched at his brother’s words.

Sarah let out a laugh. “Adorable.” She paused for a moment, probably stalking him like a wolf. “You say these things, but you’d never attempt them.”

“Try me,” he shot back. He heard Jude spit again.

“You fool!” Disgust and anger. Jude spit in her face. Jay wished he could have laughed at that moment.

For a moment, just one, Jay felt himself free. He stumbled a step forward, but in seconds he was controlled like a toy. Continue, Jay pleaded to his brother silently as he looked over at him. Distract her to make me free. So I can save the both of us.

As is he heard Jay, he continued on.

“Honestly, sweet heart, I think you’re more afraid than you seem to put on,” he said. “You pretend to be all confident and a big shot... but you’re just the pet of the big boss. You just want to impress you’re daddy.”

Jay watched her smack Jude across the face. His face was already bleeding with a dozen marks. That bitch!

“You’re such an idiot,” she snapped. “You think this is because I want to impress Lucifer? I’d rather him dead! But you two? Your souls on a platter? Ah, that’d be a miracle.”

But what have they done? Why did they deserve to be brought down to Hell?

“Ah, honey,” Jude pressed, “don’t you wish to have our souls? But you know what? You will never get what you want, because you’ve got yourself in a pickle.”

Sarah tilted her head slightly. “And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Jude moved his hands down to his pants, and a blade had been revealed. Jay felt the heat in the room turn into ice.

“Where did you get that?” She demanded, her hand reaching for it, but in seconds Jay heard a crunch, and a bright, red glow illuminated around her like lightning.

“From a friend of mine,” he hissed. “And he says adios.”

Her body went limp, and she crashed into the floor like a rag doll. Jay was released, and he fell forward but caught himself. Jude ran to his side and lifted him to his feet.

“You all right?” Jude asked him, the expression on his face soft. He was a completely different person. But who was he truly?

Sarah!” he screamed. He had never felt emptier, angrier… He had witnessed his brother murdering his girlfriend… She was dead…

Jude touched his arm, and he flinched away. “Jay, listen,” he said. “That wasn’t her. She’s gone.”
He shook his head, unable to believe any of this. “You’re… you’re lying…”

“You’re in denial—“

She can’t be dead,” he snapped and ran to her side, shaking her. He shook his head, a whimper escaping his lips. “She can’t be…” They were just together, happy… He wanted to believe that none of this had happened, that she was safe in his arms. She was just sleeping, just napping… She would wake up soon. She would.

“Jay, listen to me!” Jude snapped, shaking his shoulders, attempting to snap him back into reality. He grabbed his arm, and then he instantly dropped it. Jay looked over at him, confused.

“What?” he whispered, staring at him darkly. “What is it this time?”

“Your… your arm,” he whispered, and Jay looked down at it. A marking slowly formed itself on him. Everything just stopped. Time itself, his heart, his mind… The mark.

“That’s… that’s why she went after you, isn’t it?”

An upside down cross was above his heart—the scar Uncle Ben had shown him.

Shit shit shit shit shit…” Jude said, standing up and padded back and fourth, his hands dragging through his hair. “They said we weren’t cursed!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.

Jay’s eyes locked on the scars, and he felt sickened to the core.

“They lied!” He heard a crash, but his eyes didn’t move from the scars. He was terrified, confused… “They fucking lied…” Jude crashed to his feet, and Jay finally looked over. Jude had thrown the lamp at the wall, and there was a crack in the window, and a hole in the wall. He didn’t care about the damage at this moment.

His girlfriend just died.

And now he was next.

“We’re going to figure something out,” Jude whispered. “We’ll figure something out…”

“How?” Jay then asked him, staring at him blankly. His face was dried with tears, and his eyes were swollen.

Jude shook his head. “If you’re still up for it,” he said, “then we’re going to do what the Headmaster says. We’ll do their dirty work and find the Amulet of Redemption. Then we’ll destroy Hell inside-out.”

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