The Tech Genius
Shit, I’m late, I hate being late. Frowning, I glanced over at the digital display of my Porsche 918 Spider as I rounded the corner on to Corporate Center Drive. I gave myself plenty of time as I left my high-rise in Long Beach this morning, but a crash on the freeway set me back a good thirty minutes. Leave it to some careless idiot who doesn’t know how to drive to smear his worthless brain all over his dashboard and slow L.A traffic down to a stop. By now I have come to accept how inconsiderate some people were, but such carelessness still got on my nerves.
At the moment though I was just thrilled to see the top of my company peeking through the trees. Ikuchi was nothing special, as a matter of fact, it did not even stand out from the rest of the glass boxes at the heart of the corporate center. It was my baby though, and I was sure proud of it. My partner came up with the name, he said it was a term for a fearsome Japanese sea monster, and it fit our small tech company nicely. We have only been on the scene for three years and were already larger than the other two tech giants combined. Not too shabby for a couple twenty-seven-year olds if you ask me.
The tires of my Porsche screamed as I jerked the wheel to pull into the parking garage, I could see Daisuke’s Nissan GT-R parked snuggly in its spot. He was always the modest one, ever since we met as roommates at M.I.T, though if I had to be honest, I’d say his slick white car was a thing of engineering beauty. Pulling in next to it I leaned back and glanced at the sign in front of me with a smirk: Reserved for Kyle Messer-CEO. Who’d have thought a small dream of two Computer Science majors would become a force to be reckoned with? Yet, here the two of us were, living the dream.
Having adjusted the collar of my black shirt, I grabbed my briefcase off the floor and climbed out of the car. The alarm chirped as I smashed the button on my fob, and I gave my silver beauty one last glance before I set off for the elevator. Daisuke was not going to be happy with me, not that I blame him, but I shall make it up to him somehow. In my defense, I did try to phone in to explain why I was running late, but apparently, our secretary has forgotten how to do her job.
Brenda had been with us for a year now and was still relatively new at her job. I was deadest against hiring the doe-eyed little girl with pigtails and glasses, but Daisuke had promised his aunt to give the young woman a job. She was the daughter of a family friend or something like that. Whatever the case was, Daisuke felt like he owed these leaches a favor, even if it meant hiring an incompetent bimbo to run the office for us.
Personally, I could not stand the girl or the way she ogled me with those big brown eyes of hers. Thinking of how she would greet me with her annoying, high-pitched voice made me cringe before the elevator even came to a stop. Daisuke informed me that she really liked me, and told me I should give her a chance, but I brushed him off. Women are bad enough on their own, let alone when they are immature little floozies such as Brenda. Combing my hand through my jet-black hair, I shudder at the thought of some little girl putting her filthy hands on my perfect body.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not always against the company of a woman. I was even engaged once to a girl I met at college, wasted six years of my life with her until she up and walked out on me, shattering my world in mare minutes. Bitch had the audacity to toss the ring at my face and tell me she was running off with some chiropractor because I had no ambition in life and was never going to get anywhere with my wild dreams. Bet she’s sorry now, seeing as that wild dream of mine earned me enough money to put the measly fortune of her husband to shame.
Yes, revenge is a dish best served cold, and the filthy gold digger probably regrets the day she threw our life away. At least she taught me a valuable lesson in the process; women are not to be trusted, they only have their own interests in mind. Daisuke thinks I’m crazy for avoiding relationships, but I can tell you it has been working out rather well for me. At least this way I don’t have to share my earning with anyone but myself, and personally, that’s just how I like it.
The elevator jolted to an abrupt halt, forcing me to abandon my thoughts and focus on the task at hand instead. As the doors clanked open, I took a deep breath to prepare me for the conversation which was about to follow. Stepping out onto the freshly vacuumed, beige carpet I glanced down the long hallway leading to my office, something was off. Ikuchi’s topmost floor was reserved for Daisuke and me, so it was always peaceful up here, but today it was eerily silent. No voices, no ringing of the phone, no clicking of Branda typing on the keyboard, no rumbling of the coffee maker.
The silence unnerved me, and I took an uneasy step towards the door. Unsure as to what I was going to find I cursed the stupid light bulb flickering above my head. I told Brenda weeks ago to call down to maintenance to have it fixed, and she was yet to do it. Grasping the polished handle, I paused momentarily, part of me knowing I did not wish to see what lay on the other side. Convinced the nerves have got the best of me I swung the door open, only to be nauseated by what the scene revealed.
Our reception area was in disarray. Branda’s desk appeared as if a bomb had gone off on it. Papers were scattered across the room, a telephone lay broken by my feet, and what was left of an Ikuchi computer set smoldering in a crumpled-up heap on the floor by where it fell. A sickening smell permeated the air; metallic and fresh, like a dead deer after a hunt. The source was painfully evident as a deep burgundy puddle was seeping from behind the desk. Cautiously I made my way around the mess and peeked to see what had happened.
“Jesus,” I muttered at what I found.
Brenda’s lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling, an expression of horror frozen on her face. Her throat had been slit so hard that the head was barely left attached to the body. The white blouse she wore today had been colored red with her blood. My heart dropped as I glanced over at Daisuke’s door. There was no way he’d be dead, he would never leave me alone like this. Stepping over the corpse of our secretary I rushed to his door and flung it open, not prepared for what I was about to discover.
The cool beige walls were splattered with splotches of crimson which trickled down to the floor, leaving behind a pathway of makeshift roads. Between the large window and the antique oak desk lay Daisuke, his intestines spilling out as if he was a broken bowl of spaghetti. Hunched over him, eating his entrails were hideously deformed beings. The small, golem-like creatures were hunched over, their skin as black as coal. They appeared to be virtually hairless, with no ears and wrinkled like a prune.
One of the things paused long enough to glance up at me, its eyes shone with a glazed over green light as it let out a muffled hiss. The creatures deformed mouth was full of jagged, snarled teeth which were covered in my partner’s blood. A man who had been my best friend for nine years, the only person I had come to trust other than myself, was dead, and these things murdered him in cold blood. Daisuke was a gentle soul, too kind for his own good, he did not deserve to become a meal for some beast.
For the first time in years, I was overcome with emotion. So many feelings coursed through my veins; the sadness of losing the person I was so close to, and the rage of some unholy being killing him. Letting out a howl, I surrendered to the madness and let go of my reserved humanity. The sudden pain was exhilarating, it made me feel aroused, I knew I was becoming more powerful than I had ever imagined. With madness in my eyes and hatred in my heart, I glanced over at the six small beings cowering in terror before me.
Without giving it a second thought, I grabbed the foul creature closest to me by its tiny head. It squirmed and squealed as I sunk my claws into its skull and effortlessly pulled him apart as if he was a ragdoll. The rest of them shrieked and scattered, but I was not going to let them get away with what they did to Daisuke. One by one I grabbed hold of the monsters, ripping them to shreds with ease, their bodies disintegrating before they hit the ground. Both the hunt and the revenge were intoxicating, I could have done this all day long.
By the time I was done, the room had looked like a horrifying canvas painted by a madman. Everything was covered with smudges of red and black, the grey dust from the creatures was all over the floor. Then there was poor Daisuke, splayed out like an unfortunate animal on the floor, his dark brown eyes glancing towards the window, not a hint of fear on his face. The sight of my friend brought me back to reality, and the insanity left me. Whatever had briefly come over me had now abandoned me, and I found myself back to normal.
Kneeling by my partner’s body I waited for the tears to come flooding in, but they never did, such deep emotions still escaped this stone-cold heart of mine. I’d have to report this, I needed to call the cops, but first I had to figure out what I was going to say to them. As I pondered my predicament something caught my attention out of the corner of my eyes. The morning sun streaming through the window had grabbed hold of something in Daisuke’s clenched hand, making it sparkle ever so slightly.
Gently I pried open his hand and pulled out the silver chain with a pendant on it. It was made of jade, with a familiar symbol on it. I recognized it right away, it was a tomoe, something Daisuke had displayed around his house, but this one was different. Instead of it being made up of three intertwining tadpoles, this one had three coiled up serpents. I did not understand the meaning of this, but I knew it had to be related to Daisuke’s death. If I found who this necklace belonged to, I would locate the monster behind the murder of my friend, and then I was going to make them pay.
It took forever for the cops to come. They swarmed my office building like ants to a picnic. I had never felt so violated in my entire life; between the endless questioning and them covering everything in my office with that nasty black dust. Looking at the mess they were making was starting to give me a headache, not only had my best friend died, I would now have to pay a buttload of money to get this place cleaned up.
The whole thing would not have been as bad if it was not for that damned police dog. Most everything I could deal with, except the way the German Shepherd looked at me, his biddy eyes following my every move. At one point I could have sworn the dog even spoke to me. I know this sounds insane, but I was sitting in a chair with my head hung between my knees as the boys in blue tore up everything in sight when someone spoke to me.
“You know more than you’re letting on.”
I lifted my head to see who it was, but the only thing I could spot was a black muzzle staring at me. Spinning my head from side to side, I attempted to see which officer spoke to me, but the only thing looking at me was Duke the dog, as his vest proudly suggested. By this point, I had concluded that I must have lost my mind, finding my friend murdered and the fact of not having eaten since breakfast must have got to me.
Duke and I continued to glare at one another, sizing each other up, when the lead detective walked over to me. Placing a large hand on my shoulder, he gave me a tap and told me I was free to go, said he’d give me a call if they found anything. I thanked the officer and got up to leave, I was halfway through the door when the same gruff voice came from behind me.
“Don’t go far, chump. And don’t do anything you will regret.”
Frozen where I stood, I slowly twisted my head to look in the direction of the speaker, only to be met with the same darkened muzzle again. Duke was sitting right behind me, his head tilted to the side, licking his chops. I knew there was a reason I hated dogs. Aside from the fact that they shed, they seem to have an uncanny understanding of what is going on around them. Now, maybe it was paranoia kicking in at this point, but I thought I could suddenly understand what the beasts are saying.
Standing in the doorway, I scowled at the dog, and he just continued to study me, letting out an odd whimpering noise before turning around and walking back to his handler. Satisfied with what I considered a win, I straightened the collar of my shirt as I walked out of the room. Confined safely in the small compartment of the elevator, far from prying eyes, I reached into the pocket of my black slacks to pull out the medallion. Tracing its details with my thumb I studied it closer, it was an ancient Asian symbol for sure. Unfortunately, I didn’t know enough of Asian lore to make heads or tails of this thing, but I knew someone who did.
My elevator jerked to a stop with a loud beep as the doors swooshed open. Wasting no time, I headed for my car, the alarm chirped as I pushed the door button on my key. Getting in, I slammed the door behind me. Not wasting time with the seatbelt, I threw her into reverse and peeled out of my parking spot. With the tires squealing, the car departed the garage to my next destination, Little Tokyo. Fortunately, it was still early in the day, the freeway would be less crowded, it should only take me about twenty-five minutes to get there.
The drive down was remarkably uneventful, so much so that I have almost forgotten the nightmare which transpired earlier today. If it were not for the amulet shimmering on the passenger seat next to me, I would not have remembered the death of my best friend, or at the very least have put it to the back of my mind. Soon, news of Daisuke’s death will be all over the televisions and papers, when it happens I will no longer be invisible, it is imperative I get the answers I seek before it happens.
There was no parking in the area suitable for my car, accept a parking garage a short walk away from my destination. Parking at the very top to avoid any unnecessary social contact, I threw on my black trench coat and a pair of dark sunglasses. Daisuke was the face of our company, but my face had appeared in the paper enough times to make me recognizable to a trained eye. To detract attention from myself I often wore this makeshift disguise when I was out in public, it was not much, but I found it kept people from approaching.
With a deep breath to steady my nerves, I set off down San Pedro Street towards the Japanese Village Plaza. After a brief walk, I blended into a chattering crowd beneath the red and white paper lanterns. It was not long until I came to the place I was looking for. Nishimura Antiquities was a small green pagoda style building wedged between a sushi restaurant and a trinket shop. It belonged to the family of Daisuke’s friend from middle school, Nick, but it was not him I came here to see.
Pushing open the glass door into the smoky interior which reeked of sandalwood the bell chimed to signify my intrusion. A short Japanese man with grey hair looked up from behind the counter. At first, he squinted his eyes at me, as if trying to figure out why some guy in black entered the shop, but then he appeared to realize who I was. With a warm smile of recognition, he waved me over to the counter.
“Nick!” he shouted, “Nick, Mr. Messer come see you.”
I’ve always admired the old man, he spoke with broken English, but considering he’s only been in the country for three years, it was impressive. Nick’s uncle had moved here from Kyoto to help out his sister when her husband passed away. It was only supposed to be a temporary thing, but I guess he liked it here so much he decided to stay.
“Hey Mr. Hayashi, it’s actually you I came here to see.”
“Me? What you need old man for?”
“I wanted to know what you could tell me about this.”
Pulling the jade trinket out of my pocket I placed it on the counter and slid it over towards him. Not even a second after he saw it did the color drain out of the old man’s face and a look of pure terror filled his eyes. Clutching his chest, Mr. Hiyashi backed up against the wall, staring at the necklace as if it was going to jump off the counter and kill him.
“Where you get this?”
“So, you do know what it is?”
“No…no.” the man continued to stammer. “You take evil back. Out of store Mr. Messer.” He shoved the pendant into my hands and pushed me out the store. “Out.”
Confused, I stood outside the store clutching the small silver chain with the pendant in my hands. This was not exactly the reaction I was hoping to get from the old man. This affirmed my suspicions; whoever this thing belonged to was responsible for Daisuke’s death. Frustrated at my lack of progress I was about to leave to search the internet when a firm hand grabbed hold of my shoulder.
Turning around I came face to face with a tall young man with porcelain skin and jet-black hair. Nick knew Daisuke longer than I have, and I was always a bit jealous of their relationship, but for once, I was glad to see him. He looked sad, lost even, I wonder if the news of our friend’s death had hit him yet. I was beginning to wonder if I should tell him if he has not heard yet, but before I could come up with an answer, he spoke up.
“I heard about Daisuke,” he glanced at me solemnly, “I’m sorry, I know you were close.”
“Is…is there a reason you came here?”
“I wanted to ask your uncle a question.” I shrugged remembering the old man’s reaction. “But he refused to answer me.”
“What did you wish to ask?”
I studied the look of confusion on Nick’s face, not that I blame him, I was a bit bewildered myself as to why Mr. Hiyashi shoved me out of the store. Now I was wondering if I should let Nick in on my little secret. Perhaps he knew the significance of the necklace, yet I was afraid of his reaction if he did indeed have the answers I sought. Then again, what did I have to lose at this point?
“I wanted to see if he knew what this was.”
Pulling out the pendant, it dangled in the air from my index finger. The same look of terror came over Nick’s face as it did his uncle’s. With trembling hands, he took hold of the circle and studied it up close before finally glancing up at me with concern in his eyes.
“Where did you get this?”
“Does it matter?”
With a heavy sigh, Nick glanced at the amulet again. “I suppose not. But from where we come from, this is a bad sign.”
“So what is it?”
“It’s the pendant of Lady Nakatomi. And, if you are in possession of it, something terrible is about to happen, or…” he glanced up at me with a sickening realization, “…it already has.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“Nakatomi Ikuko was a noblewoman from around the seventh century. She was married to an unfaithful man and grew increasingly jealous of his philandering. Her jealousy was so great, it transformed her into a Namanari.”
“Say what now?”
“A Namanari. In Japanese lore, they are a type of demon. But not full ones, they are caught in between, half woman, half beast. These women still look human, except for a set of small horns, and they are capable of powerful dark magic. Amongst them, Lady Nakatomi is the most feared as she survives on torturing and killing men.”
“You believe in ghost stories Nick?”
“I didn’t until you showed me this.” He frowned at me as he handed me back the pendant. “Be straight with me Kyle, does this have anything to do with Daisuke’s death?”
“I think it might. But don’t worry, I will find the person responsible for it and make them pay.”
“Don’t do anything rash Kyle, you can’t tango with a demon.”
“No worries, I think I can handle her.”
“If you say so. Just promise me you’ll be careful…for Daisuke’s sake.”
With a nod, I turned around and started walking away from him. For once, I had a slight idea of who to investigates next, Daisuke’s new girlfriend. I never met the gal, but from what I know she is a prominent Japanese immigrant who goes by the name of Misako. Now all I had to do was find the right one and hunt her down for some questioning.
There was only a slight problem with my perfect plan, I had no idea how many women by her name resided here, and I never did get her last name. But this is of little matter, I can quickly figure it out through some savvy tech work, after all, I am a tech genius. First thing I’d do when I get home is try and find out more about her from Daisuke’s social media site. Then, I will figure out where she lives and confront her.
Contemplating the steps to my plan I rounded the corner to head into the parking garage when something caught my eye. In the darkened corner of the cement building, glowed two bright amber orbs. Upon meeting my gaze, the stalker walked out from the shadows to reveal itself to be a rather large dog.
It appeared to be larger than a domestic dog, with shaggy white fur. If I had not known any better I would have said it was a wolf, but that’s ridiculous, there are no wolves in LA. Whatever this beast was it continued watching me from a distance as if trying to discern what my next move will be. The encounter would be unpleasant enough, but given my dislike of dogs, it sent a shiver down my spine.
Keeping to the side as far away from the beast as possible I hurried to my car, always checking over my shoulder to make sure I was not being followed. By some stroke of insane luck, the dog stayed where it sat. Perhaps I was a tad irrational, but in any case, I was thrilled to be back behind the wheel of my car headed home to my penthouse in Long Beach.
Took me all night and most of the day to try and figure out who this woman was. Three hours into my research and I started cursing Daisuke’s need for privacy. He only had one picture with the woman up on his page, dainty little thing, but excruciatingly hard to hunt down. No less than a dozen women with the name Misako were living in the greater Los Angeles area, and ten were under the age of thirty.
I had to hack into the immigration database to see which women came here from Japan, which only narrowed my list down to six. From there I had to look them up and hope a face would pop up with a search and any confirmation as to her identity. The search was beginning to prove futile, I was starting to lose all hope when one finally popped up in the DMV records. A twenty-one-year-old intern from Kyoto who came here on a work visa, Misako Inoue, and she happened to be the lady in Daisuke’s picture.
Sitting back in my chair, I glanced at my computer screen satisfied, not only had I found her, but I also had her address. This girl made no attempts at hiding her identity. Either she was incredibly naïve, or she was as cunning as a fox. In any case, in a few short hours, she’d be mine, and I intended to shred her to bits after she confessed to what she had done to my best friend.
Closing my eyes, I took a quick snooze before I’d head out. I was hoping for a reprieve from the last twenty-four hours, but it would not be. Instead, my head was filled with nightmares of things which transpired in the office, playing on an endless loop. Almost as if I was there. I could see the goblins approaching Brenda while she was on her phone, catching her off guard, killing her before she had a chance to scream. Once she was dead, the creatures snuck their way into Daisuke’s office, swarming him as he attempted to fight them off.
They held him down as he looked on in shock and betrayal at his open door. A shadowy figure in a kimono approached him. Her face was concealed by long, flowing hair, but I had no doubts it was her, Misako. I tried to call out to them to warn them or maybe get to the office in time to save him, but each attempt failed. The woman pulled out a tanto and slit his throat as a silent scream escaped me. Before he collapsed to the floor, Daisuke grasped at her amulet, ripping it off her neck as he fell to the floor.
Drenched in sweat, I startled myself awake, falling out of my chair. Clutching on to my chest, panting, I attempted to still my beating heart which threatened to pound its way out of my chest. The digital clock on my wall read out 7:00 in bright red digits. Finally, the time of judgment has arrived. Staggering up off the floor I headed for the door. Soon, I’d be confronting the woman who murdered my friend.
Eagerly, I made the long drive from Long Beach to Beverly Hills where she lived. Her small Tuscan Vineyard would, unfortunately, be inaccessible from the road. My best bet would be to park at Franklin Canyon Park and walk through her grape field to enter the mansion. I suppose it was a good thing no one knew how much I hated hiking. Otherwise, they’d be questioning my presence by the small trail leading south.
Donning my black trench coat, I slinked behind the trees off the beaten path and started briskly making my way to the house. The shadows of the evening shrouded me in their presence as I crouched in the grape vines, slowly climbing down the steep embankment so to not alert the security of my intrusion. Staying close to the ground I dashed across a small section of the driveway into a thicket of trees overlooking the estate.
From my vantage point, I spotted a small fountain gurgling at the center of the primary drive. The mansion’s beige stone façade was illuminated by lights hiding out in the flower beds. I was in awe of the magnificence of the enormous structure before me, but my attention was quickly turned to the only source of light coming from the building. Out of all the windows on the two-story structure, only five were lit, not including the French doors.
Daisuke’s killer was inside, I could feel her sinister presence all the way out here. I needed to catch her off guard, but I knew I could not do it if I went in through the door or one of the lower windows. There was the odd balcony by the garage, it appeared to be between the two floors, and down enough for me to reach it. Creeping along the side of the garage I managed to make my way across the sea of concrete to the bushes underneath, ending up right below my mark.
Scaling the balcony was a simple enough task, I was a hair over six feet tall, and it landed me in a grandiose marble room which served as this woman’s bathroom. Gazing about the oversized room I was in shock at how much space a woman needs for her daily primping. A garden jacuzzi tub large enough for three people, a steam shower the size of my walk-in closet, large vanity with two sinks, and a crystal chandelier. Just from this space alone, I could tell this woman was high maintenance, so what Daisuke saw in her remained a mystery to me.
Shaking my head in disgust, I looked around for a door or any other way out. I didn’t have to search long as immediately to my left was a staircase leading up. It was only six steps and I scaled them three at a time until I wound up in what I could only guess was her bedroom. My whole penthouse loft could comfortably fit in this space, tastefully decorated with Japanese antiquities. Until now I thought I had refined tastes, but this woman put me to shame. I could have really grown to admire her if it wasn’t for the whole killing my best friend and being a demon part.
A faint, sweet, sensual scent of night blooming jasmine wafted past my nose from somewhere outside the room. Such a delicate, seductive smell. I had no doubts it belonged to her, and now I was starting to understand how Daisuke was bewitched by this creature. If I followed her scent I would be guided right to her, I decided to take my chances. The door groaned softly as I pushed it open and peered out into the long dark hallway.
Satisfied that I was alone, I stepped out into the intersection of halls and sniffed the air around me. At first it was hard to pinpoint where the scent was wafting from, but eventually, I was able to detect its location. Taking the hall straight before me I walked a quietly as I could to maintain my element of surprise until I came upon a landing with a double staircase leading down. The two arms wound down, wrapping themselves around the statue of a black dragon, the flowery scent grew overwhelming.
To the right of the stairs, a fading light spilled across the white marble, bathing it in a warm golden glow. Not daring to take the steps I slid down the banister and quickly hopped down between the stairs before anyone had a chance to notice. Holding my breath, I waited for her to come, but she did not move from the room she was hiding in. Tired of waiting I pressed my self-close to the wall and made my way to the light.
I found myself in a darkened room made from ebony and decorated with the same Japanese antiquity covering the bedroom. Tall shelves filled with books lined the three of the four walls, and directly in front of the windows facing away from me was a plush velvet chair with a woman planted firmly in it. Her long, silky smooth black hair flowed down behind her, her face transfixed in a book, her body emitted a deep purple glow. Before I had a chance to regain my composure, she slammed the book shut and stood up to face me.
“Good evening Mr. Messer, I was expecting you.”
Caught off guard by her remark I backed up against the wall as she approached closer to me. Her skin was white as porcelain, accentuated by her onyx hair, chocolate eyes, and bright red lips. She looked like the Japanese girls in the old paintings Daisuke had around his place, almost as if she stepped out from the past. Now I had no doubts as to why Daisuke would fall for her. A flowery, powder blue kimono swished behind her as she stopped right before me, running her long, blood-red nail under my chin.
“I believe you broke into my house for a reason puppy…” she smirked as she trailed down my chest “…or am I wrong.”
Her voice was alluring and sensuous. The way she spoke, the way she conducted herself made the blood rush from my head. If I did not know any better, I’d say that I was beginning to feel attracted to her myself. But that was impossible, she killed my best friend, I could not in good conscience fall for such a vile creature. She must have sensed my discomfort as she pressed her slender body against mine and whispered sweetly in my ear while running her long fingers through my hair.
“What’s the matter puppy? Cat got your tongue?”
“Stop calling me puppy.” I pushed her away briskly, and she stumbled back, almost falling to the floor.
“My, my. You sure got a temper to you…pup. Don’t worry, I know exactly what you are, I’ve known even before you did.”
“Oh yeah? So, what am I? Do enlighten me.”
“You’re saying you don’t know?” She chucked at my confusion. “Why, you’re a werewolf, my dear boy. A cursed creature just like me.” A wicked smirk played on her face as she studied me closer. “Except you know, I’m a demon, so that sort of makes us mortal enemies.”
“You killed my best friend you filth witch,” I glared at her in disgust, all feelings of lust finally liberating my mind, “didn’t you?”
“First off, I’m not a witch, I’m a demon. We are completely different entities. Second of all, yes, I did kill Daisuke, and that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”
“Why? What did he ever do to you to warrant such a fate?” I stepped closer to her, pinning her against the wall with my body. “He was the nicest person anyone could come across, he wouldn’t hurt a fly?”
“Because he betrayed me.”
“What are you going on about? Daisuke would never do such a thing…to anyone, let alone someone he cared about.”
“Yes, maybe not the man you know, but he was someone else many years ago before he was Daisuke. Back when I was still a mortal woman, he was known as Reiichi, my philandering husband. For years I had overlooked his…indigestions. Well, until he had the nerve to leave me for some geisha girl. The pain and shame he inflicted upon me, coupled with the jealousy and betrayal turned me into the monster you see before you today.
Centuries ago I did the only thing a woman in my position could do, I took my revenge upon him and his harlot of a new wife. But that did not lift my curse, I was doomed to spend the rest of eternity as a demon. Unlike you dear, I cannot die by natural means, I was forced to flee my village before my secret was exposed. This new-found fate forced me to live in the shadows while I adapted to my immortal life.
At first, the hatred flowed through me freely, I sought revenge on all men. But with each one I killed, I’ve lost a little more of my humanity, getting closer to a full demon with every drop of blood I shed. Realizing it was no way to live, I abandoned my hatred, joined a temple, and reinvented myself. I’ve done so well for years, made something out of my life again while trying to redeem myself…until your friend came along.
I would have recognized his face anywhere, at any point in time, as he was still my Reiichi. Could you imagine? The bastard went and got himself reincarnated and was now living a life as some famous billionaire while I had spent centuries just trying to scrape by. I could not take it, seeing his face brought back so many painful memories. That’s why I did the only rational thing I could think of, I got close to him, I made him fall in love with me, and I killed him.”
“You heartless bitch.” I wrapped my hand around her throat and hoisted her off the floor, slamming her head on the bookshelf with a loud thud. The rage surged through my veins, arousing me once more, but this time only my hand transformed. I dug my claws into her neck, and a crimson stream trickled down her pale neck. “He didn’t have to die, he was not the same man you knew, he was different.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” Her voices cracked as a crystal tear fell from her eye down to her delicate cheekbone. “Truth is, I was beginning to fall in love with the man he had become, but I just couldn’t allow myself to get hurt again, I was afraid this time he might destroy me. If you wish to kill me, Mr. Messer, I understand, after all these years I welcome it.”
Our gaze met, her dark eyes sparkled under the light of the pendant chandelier, they were filled with remorse. As much as I wanted to kill this woman to get my revenge, I just could not do it, Daisuke wouldn’t want me to. The rage which was building inside me flowed into my free hand as I tightened my fist and slammed it against the wall above her head. I released my grip from her neck and collapsed on my knees with a howl, burying my face in my hands I began to sob uncontrollably.
“I have to hand it to you, Mr. Messer,” a deep male voice came from the doorway “I did not peg you for the forgiving type.”
Lifting my head up I looked into the once empty doorway which was now filled with two male bodies. A refined gentleman with long, white hair in a three-piece grey suit stood with his hands in his pocket next to an Italian man. The olive-skinned fellow was staring right at me with his piercing gaze as he ran his fingers through his short black hair. Both men exchanged glances before the one in grey moved closer to me, extending his hand down.
“Don’t mind Duke, years of police work has left him a tad bitter. If it’s any consolation, I always knew you would not kill her.”
I took the man’s hand, and he helped me get back up on my feet. Shooting a glance back at the other guy all I could think of was the German Shepheard from the other day. The dog’s name was Duke if I recalled correctly, but that’s preposterous, they couldn’t be one in the same. Yet this man bore a strange resemblance to the beast, they had the same dark eyes which could probe deep inside your soul.
“Something wrong boy?”
“Sorry. There was just a police dog the other day. He had the same name as you.”
“Yes. Well. You see that would be because that dog and I are one and the same. If I recall, I tried questioning you that day, but you would not respond.”
“Can you believe this Colton?” Duke chuckled as he looked at his partner. “This boy transformed into a werewolf, confronted a demon, and yet he has a hard time believing my natural form is that of a dog.”
“It’s been a rough few days for him my friend, forgive his ignorance as he knows very little of our world.”
“Yes, my lad. You are part of our world now, and if you come with me, I will introduce you to it. Not to mention there is an assignment I could really use you for.”
“Personally, I still say the kid is too green for such an important job, but…” Duke picked the woman up off the floor and cuffed her. “I’ll be far too busy dealing with this lady to be of any help.”
“Mmm.” Colton nodded his head. “And I am not allowed to get involved due to my position within the Order. So what do you say Kyle, will you help us?”
“Depends. What’s the job?”
“I need your help escorting a wolf across Colorado. She is a remarkable creature with a rare gift. Her duty has always been to protect mankind, and now we require her services. Nothing major, just the fate of the world sort of thing.”
“You want me to pet sit for you?”
“Not just you, you’ll have company. Also, I would not call her a pet, she can shapeshift much like you. I assure you, she will spend the majority of her time posing as a human girl.”
“I think you should take the job, Mr. Messer.” The woman spoke up as Duke lead her away. “I have a feeling this doggie will change your life.”
I glanced over at her as she gave me a gentle smile, then I looked back over at Colten who was peering at me intently as if waiting for my answer. For a while, I had no clue what to say. I was not much for road trips or company, but maybe a change of scenery is just what I needed to get my mind off Daisuke. I had not taken a vacation in over six years, and it’s not like I couldn’t run my company from the road. Also, I needed answers about myself and the world I now find myself in, perhaps this would help me find them.
“Fine. I’ll do it.”
“Excellent. Follow me, I have a car waiting for us up front.”
He led me through the French glass door to a limo waiting outside. I was amazed I didn’t see or hear it pull up, or the Crown Vic behind it. I guess it’s best I was discovered by these two and not a police officer summoned by the security company. Climbing into the back seat of the limo, I promised myself I’d be more careful from now on. Colton jumped in next to me and shut the door behind him, opening a window to glance out at Duke.
“Give my regards to detective Keeton, will you? Been a while since we all worked together.”
“Yes, been a good eighty years.” He looked fondly at his friend sitting next to me. “Will do, but we all need to get together for coffee sometimes.”
“Indeed. Perhaps when all this is finally over.”
The two men nodded at one another smiling. Once Duke left Colton closed the window, effectively shutting me off from the outside world. We sat there in silence as I dared not question where we were going from here on out, at that moment, I did not want to know. Colton tapped gently on the darkened glass which separated us from the driver. With that, the limo set off into the darkness, carrying me further down the road of my next adventure.
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