“Antonio Rodriguez!” Zeke screams triumphantly as he bursts through my bedroom door. “What?” I pull off my glasses and set down some files I’ve been reading. “Antonio Rodriguez is who’s blood you found on the glass, and you were correct; he has a criminal record.” He takes a seat next to me while also placing a stack of papers in my lap.
“How’d you know he’d be a criminal?” My focus is on the stacks of papers that is currently making my legs fall asleep from the weight. “Well, every supernatural species has a file in the Head Councils record room, whether they’re criminals or not. So, when we ran the blood through the system and came back with nothing, we knew it was a criminal who most likely served time for some very bad things and was able to delete it. Very few are rich enough to get it done so he’s either a rich criminal or he’s working for someone of very high power.”
“Well he’s not rich, I can tell you that.” I look up at Zeke, silently questioning how he knows that. “His soul is damned to hell for everything he’s done, that’s why I was able to find so much info on him.” He gestures lightly to the twenty pounds of words sitting next to me. “Read that and you’ll know him like you know the back of your hand.”
“So that’s why you were gone for three days? I wish you would’ve called and said you had something. I thought maybe you had reached a dead end, or something happened because you did find something.” He rubs away a fake tear while holding his hand to his heart. “Aw, my granddaughter was worried about me, how sweet.”
I just roll my eyes and start to playfully shove him out of the room. “I’m sorry I worried you but in the realm of the damned time is slower. Three days here is only a few hours there.” He says sincerely before giving me a very awkward hug. I lightly tap is back, not really knowing what else to do.
I’ve never been a hug person.
After a couple more seconds, he clears his throat and backs away. “I’m glad to hear you’re accepting me as your grandfather.”
“Well I’d like to be on good terms with at least one person in my family.”
“I’m surprised you’re so trusting of my word and who I am though. Why is that?” I smile hesitantly, trying my best not to look guilty. “It’s not that big of a deal but I may, or may not have, taken a piece of your hair and ran a DNA test to see if we were actually related.” I rock back forth on the heel of my foot while I wait for his reaction.
To my surprise he lets out a full out, belly aching laugh. He holds onto the wall as he bends over and releases loud joyful chuckles. “What a fun story to tell your children.” He holds back his laughter a little to say that sentence. “You’re not mad?”
“Why would I be mad darling? You just needed proof to be able to trust me, that’s all. I would’ve gladly given over a cheek swab or blood sample if you asked.” He stands up straight and fixes his over coat before heading to my bedroom door. “I’m just happy you’re starting to accept me as family, goodnight Celeste.” With that, he leaves.
“Hello?” Light knocking is heard from my bedroom door as I flip through the pages my grandfather gave me. “Yes?” I call out, not looking up. I hear the door creak open then shut before the thumping of footsteps come from behind me. “What are you doing, Celeste? I called and texted like 100 times.”
Austin sits down beside me as he speaks. “You have?” He gives one small nod when I look up that has me checking my phone. “Oh, you did. Sorry, I didn’t hear it going off.” I set the small device down and return to my reading. “What could you possibly be reading that has you up at 3:30 in the morning and ignoring me?”
He snatches away the papers on my desk and scans through it. “Okay, who is Antonio Rodriguez, and should I be worried?” He growls playfully, setting the papers back on my desk. “No, you don’t have to be worried.” I chuckle lightly. “He’s one of the guys who helped kidnap my uncle. Zeke found his file after I gave him the blood spot that we got from the car crash.”
“Okay, anything interesting?” He pulls my chair closer to his while I continue reading where I left off. “Yeah, this dude has done some crazy shit.” An unladylike snort escapes my mouth. “He’s a trained assassin that has killed over a hundred people. His specialty being kidnapping and torturing his victims before he shoots them execution style.”
“Whoa, really?” Austin whispers in shock as he reads along with me. “Yeah, there’s even some crime scene photos.” I pull out some of the pictures the council took when they caught Rodriguez in the middle of one of his tortures.”
As I lay out the photos, one thing catches my eye, the final report. “Hold on, look at this!” I say, excitement in my voice. “What is it?”
“Paragraph four in the report, look.” I turn the paper towards Austin and point to the paragraph in question. “It says here the council was able to figure out where he was because each body was found in an empty field next to a fleet of warehouses. They were able to trace it back to one warehouse in particular because the bodies had traces of this weird fiber an old mattress company owned.”
“Okay...” Austin trails off, clearly confused. “Serial kidnappers and killers have to stick to their routine. And this man, Antonio, is the man from Jack’s memories.” I flip to the front page and point to the photo placed in font. “He’s second in command and probably agreed to help whoever is doing this with an exception that he could stick to his routine.”
“But wait- doesn’t that mean he’s going to kill your family after torturing them?”
“No, if his boss is really using them as bait to lure me to him than he’ll use killing them as a last resort. We should actually be expecting a call or something from them negotiating my families release.”
“That’s good then, right?” He asks. “I don’t know.” I scrunch my eyebrows together as I think. “I mean they would have to know I’m here which means they either got that information from one of my family members that they captured, or you have a mole here working for them.”
With that said silence falls around us, only our breathing heard in the quiet of the night as we get lost in our thoughts.