Taurus

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Chapter 20

A/N: I know it’s been a while, but I had exams and assignments and other things creeping up on my end. Sorry for the late update!

And I have been going through the previous chapters as I noticed some plot holes. I have been trying to fix that and then get back. Next update might be next week. I will try to update soon, but if anything, it must be exams.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments!

*************

I tapped my foot on the floor as I waited for my name to be called. I was the last for today. I had specifically asked to be the last. I could have been the first, but sleep took over after what happened last night, I crashed on the bed at about five AM and I woke up very late. At about eleven-thirty in the morning.

The hallways were pristine clean. Two workers had cleaned the hallways twice in the one and a half hour I was sitting here. The lights gave a steady glow despite the murky sunlight creeping through the glass windows.

“Mr Stykes,” the female sitting outside the doctor’s office called. “You may go in.”

Nodding to her, I got up when a female who had gone before me came out. She was holding a piece of paper in her hand as she gave it to the female who had called my name.

As she began to explain the female who had come out, I slipped in. The office was drastically different than the previous one I had gone to. The last doctor had his office in just shades of white and a little grey. But here, the colours were pleasant to the eyes. The aesthetic was mainly black and white, but there were occasional hints of pink and soft blue. Weirdly enough, the colours never clashed.

On the other side of the table, the doctor sat, penning something in a file. She was dressed in a formal suit, with her navy blue blazer on the chair she was sitting on. She had a white shirt on.

“Dr Hayes?” I asked standing before her.

She then looked up and gave me a warm smile. “Draco Stykes, I take?”

I nodded.

“Please have a seat.” She motioned me to the chair opposite to her table. “Could you wait for a second? I have to finish this and sent this to the hospital management. It just crept out of nowhere.”

“Take your time,” I muttered as I sat down and looked around.

On her table, there were just two photographs. One was what I presumed to her mate and Ryan and in the other, she was smiling with another female. It could have been a friend or a sister.

There was a crystal pen stand with colourful pens and on the right corner of her table was a stack of neatly arranged files. The light filtered through the windows behind her.

Keeping the file away, she assessed me. “I saw your files from your previous doctor. It’s been about six months since you last visited anyone. Any particular thing today?”

I looked down. “I don’t know where to start.”

She leant on her chair. “I read your medical history, Draco. What you have been through, I assure you. Not many can move past it and become what you are today. Not only you have shown bravery in recovering fine, but also by coming here today. Do you know that many have to be dragged to my office? Most don’t come on their free will. You have. I think you do where to begin. Take your time.”

I sighed. “I learnt a few things about myself a day ago. I can’t seem to accept it.”

“Like what?” she asked.

“Like my past is a lie,” I croaked out. “I don’t know whom to trust now. I don’t even know if this is real. I don’t know what is real anymore.”

“You don’t know what is real?” she asked. “You feel that nothing is real?”

I nodded. “Mali... she created lies for my past. My entire past seems to be a lie. I don’t know if she is doing it again. I don’t even know if this second is another creation of hers or my own.”

Her eyes softened. “Have you spoken to others? Anyone else from your past?”

I bit my lip. “I spoke to two of them. They were tricked too. She... she changed my past in a way that everyone else knew the past she created. She changed even theirs, but I don’t to what extent they would be affected.”

She blinked at me and then nodded to herself. “That’s how those people with the powers of hallucinations work. But there is a trick in their power. It seems very simple, but it is very hard to do so. Ready?”

“Y-you are telling me that,” I gulped. “You will help me see through her power?”

Dr Hayes nodded. “That’s right. You are not the first to present me like this. There are a lot of vampires whose power is a hallucination and I have successfully treated twenty-two such victims in my long life of sixty years. You can trust me on this. I have worked in this field and I do know how to tell otherwise.”

“How?” I asked. “I really want to move forward. I tried talking with the people in my past, but I can’t trust them until I see them. I spoke to the people I have met recently, but I feel I can’t be myself. I need to know.”

Dr Hayes took in a deep breath. “That power... it makes you feel as if everything was real. Right from your emotions and that’s why you can’t trust the present.”

I nodded. “I felt the love for a girl who never existed.”

“My previous patients,” she said. “They were at the maximum under the influence for a month. I must say, you were under that suppression for a very long time. It will take a lot of time. But seeing your records, I can say that you have a speedy chance of recovery.”

I gulped.

She then linked her fingers together and placed them on the table. “They think that the more effort they put in the emotions, the more realistic it would seem. That’s true. That’s why you believed them all this while.”

“But?”

“But,” she said with a secretive smile. “But, they often leave the component of the memory itself.”

“What?” I asked.

“Look,” she said. “Have you ever been to the beach or anyplace with your mother that makes you smile now?”

I thought for a while. We had once gone on a picnic near a stream in the Summer Pack after I had graduated from my university. I was not able to remember everything, but the sky was a different shade of blue that day. The colour my mother loved. Though the water tricked down slowly, it was cool against my skin. I could still remember the way the cheese melted in my tongue.

“A picnic,” I said. “I remember a picnic.”

“Good,” Dr Hayes said. “Remember, the mind forgets the unimportant things, things you have not been thinking for a long time. Think about it like a computer. It had maximum storage. One day you can’t put extra things there, for it is full. What do you do then?”

“Clean it up.”

“Mind does the same,” Dr Hayes said. “But when a sense is attached to it, it becomes difficult. Out of all the senses, olfaction has the best link with memory. That’s why the werewolves, vampires and magycs have a stronger memory.”

I blinked. I thought computers were hard.

“Now,” she continued in that soft tone. “These people who cause hallucinations, they can manipulate emotions, but not these senses. That’s why you remember the emotions of the memory they wove, but not the memory itself. You said you loved a girl who never existed. Think of the way she looked. Her voice. Her scent. Or even her touch. Can you remember them? Or just the love you felt for her?”

I closed my eyes. My mind was blank. Dark. I just knew I loved her. That’s all. I knew her name. But did not know what I called her. I knew she loved hugs, but could not recollect feeling her body heat. I knew she loved to sing and that she had the best voice, but I could not think of her voice. I knew she smelled like citrus, but I could swear I had smelled a lemon stronger than her.

“Just the love,” I said in a broken voice. Why was it broken again? Why was I crying for a girl who never existed? “Just knew things about her. I have not experienced it.”

“Fine,” she said. “Now, picture your mother, Draco. I take you are close to her?”

I nodded. “After my father left us when I was three, she was all I had.”

“What do you feel towards her?” she asked. “Is she real?”

This time, I could feel the warmth of her hug despite being miles away from her now. I could hear the way she would soften her voice when she called me when I was home late at night. Her eyes would go from warm towards Rune to ice-cold towards Somsak.

“She is,” I managed to whisper.

When I opened my eyes, she handed me a tissue and that was when I realised that I had been crying.

I hastily wiped my tears and threw the crumpled tissue into the bin.

“It’s okay to cry,” she said giving me a small smile.

“I don’t understand why I am crying,” I said. “That girl never existed!”

“You cried for the person you lost today, Draco,” she said. “You cried for yourself. You finally saw what was blocking your way.”

I sniffed. “I have to thank you for that.”

She waved her hand. “I am just doing my job. Every time you have a doubt, think of this. Hallucination... it’s a very interesting topic. Hypnosis, another.”

I took in a deep breath. “Thank you very much.”

“Who do you think you are?” she asked, cocking her head. “Did you get your clarity in this?”

I bit my lip. “I guess. I guess it does not matter now. I have to build a path for myself based on who I am now. I can’t linger behind, wondering if each and every second was true or not. Then I would waste another twenty-eight years.”

She cracked a grin. “This works too. But when you need to take a pause, don’t hesitate to. People will urge you to move forward. But they don’t know what it is like. Only you do and only you get to make the call.”

Something settled within me. Like a wind had stirred a sand dune and it finally found a place to rest. Jed was right. She was one of the best around.

“I feel that there is something else?” she asked.

I looked away from her sheepishly. “Given my past, do you think I can... be with someone? Love someone?”

When she did not answer me for a long time, I looked up to see her trying to contain a laugh. “I am serious!”

“Is that true?” she asked when she controlled her laugh. “What that girl did in the past?”

I knew it like I knew I would see a moment of transient darkness before the phosphenes danced when I closed my eyes. As this doctor said, I had felt the sweat that trickled down my skin. The way my throat burned why I had screamed for her to let go. Her touch was like bugs crawling under my skin.

I closed my eyes and nodded. “Very much.”

“And now you want to know if you are ready to be in a relationship?” she asked. “Why are you asking me this? You should know if you are ready or not.”

“But,” I began. “After that incident, my friends forced me to go on a couple of dates and I was so pissed by the time it ended.”

She smiled. “Are you friends forcing you now?”

I shook my head. “No?”

“It was a simple question, Draco,” she said. “Yes or no.”

“No.”

“You want to do it, right?” she said. “Look, you can either wonder if you are ever worth it to the other person while someone else takes them away or you can take the plunge if you are so sure about them.”

“Right.” I took in a deep breath and smiled at her. “Thank you for everything.”

She shrugged. “It’s just my job. If anything,” she took her card and gave it to me, “you can call me in number or if it is very urgent, scan the barcode behind the card and forward it to the number below the barcode. My assistant will know what to do.”

I stood up and when I turned to leave, someone knocked on the door.

Frowning, she stood up and opened the door to see a tired Ryan.

“What are you doing here?” she asked him, folding her arms. “You know I don’t like to be interrupted when I am in my sessions.”

He snorted. “Then don’t leave your lunch behind, mom! Dad came and specifically told me to deliver this to you. He made your favourite and before he could finish it, you left. He sent this through me.”

A blissful smile touched her face. “That vampire.”

“I am one too,” he deadpanned.

“I know,” she said. “I gave birth to you. Now, scram.”

He put a fist over his heart. “How quickly you dismiss your son when you get your lunch made by your mate. Meanie.”

She made a face at him and pushed him out.

I laughed quietly.

She turned to me. “Want some?”

I shook my head. “I am all good. I should get going.”

“You should,” she said. “Or else, that buffoon will be waiting out for you.”

“Ryan’s waiting out?” I strained my ears, but I could hear nothing.

She took a seat near another window and opened her lunch. The delicious smell of sushi and noodles hit me hard.

“The room is soundproof,” she said. “With all these vampires and wolves with heightened hearing running around, I can’t have privacy with my patients. I know Ryan’s out, cause I know him.”

I asked. “Will you be alright eating by yourself?”

She smiled. “Usually my mate comes here to have lunch with me. But there are days when he has work and he can’t come. I am fine.”

Giving her one last smile and chuckling at her excited grin at the food, I left the room, to find Ryan leaning on the wall, fiddling with his phone.

It was true. A mother knew her kid better than anyone.

“What are you doing here?” I asked the vampire.

He frowned. “You want the truth or the lie?”

I blinked. “What is the lie?”

“I cared so much about you after you gave me that call last night,” he said.

“The truth?”

“The Second Warrior nearly killed me when you did not come out of your room,” he said. “He thought after last night’s conversation with me, I killed you or something.”

I chuckled. “That’s why you are waiting here for me?”

“I searched you everywhere,” Ryan said in exasperation. “Even the princess was talking my head off by telling how important you are to her. What a good friend you are. Then suddenly I remembered how you called me to get an appointment today and I came here.”

“That was all that happened when I came here?” I asked as we began to leave the hospital.

Ryan frowned. “There is something else too.”

“What?” I asked.

“Your friend, Zeke,” he said. “He told me that he has left for China.”

Why would Zeke leave for China? If anything, he would go to Egypt to see the pyramids.

My eyes widened. “Where is he?”

Ryan shrugged. “He left long ago. I just received a text message an hour ago due to my poor internet service.”

“Left?” I screamed and dashed towards the complex where he was staying.

“What is wrong?” Ryan asked, panting as he caught up with me. “I can help you.”

“Y-you don’t know,” I said as I reached that place finally.

Rune was frowning at something Niran was spouting while Antlia was grinning at Nox who was giving her pleading eyes.

Rune held a hand up to Niran and stopped me before I could enter the building. “What’s wrong?”

“W-where is Zeke?” I asked, my eyes finding everyone there.

Rune glanced at others. “I haven’t seen him since last night’s dinner”

Nox supplied. “He left with Erica last night.”

I swore and closed my eyes. “Last night?”

“Yeah,” Nox said. “Haven’t heard from them ever since.”

“What happened, Draco?” Rune asked me.

“He is leaving for China,” I said.

“So?” he said. “He wanted a getaway-”

“That’s where Sean’s son, Allen is,” I said. “I believe Dave found him and Zeke has gone to get him back.”

“You’re not making any sense,” Niran said.

“Zeke and I had spoken about this,” I said. “If Dave found out about Allen, any one of us would go to bring him back or to take him to a safer place. Dave would hunt him down and kill him.”

Nox cleared his throat. “Want me to go after them?”

“Do you know where Allen is?” I asked. “Or how he looks like?”

Nox shook his head.

“Even I don’t know these things,” I said. “Only Zeke knows.”

“Could this be related to Aiko’s release?” Niran asked. “You guys did say that Dave is very pissed at Sean’s family.”

“It is based on this,” I said. “Dave thought he had control over them when he imprisoned Aiko. But now, she is free. His position is threatened. If Aiko recovers and goes to the Elders, they would have to make her the Omicron. To control it, he must have found Allen.”

Only after I had finished talking did I realise how many people we had attracted. Some went on with their work after giving us a long look, but some did stop to see what was going on.

Gritting my teeth, I went inside the building with a confused Ryan following me. “Is there anything I can do?”

I nodded. “Did he tell you what flight he was going to take?”

Helplessly, he looked at others who had followed us in.

Nox said, “He said he was going to take 3:30 AM flight. I am not sure.”

I glanced at the clock whose hands just made its way to two-thirty. Eleven whole hours had passed. Where could I find him? On top of the Indian Ocean?

“What’s the deal if Zeke went in alone?” Ryan asked.

“You think I am the only hitmen Dave has?” I asked.

“He has others?” Niran asked, his eyebrows rising.

I sighed. “I don’t know who they are, but I do know that there are others. Zeke is not exactly a fighter.”

“Good thing then,” Nox said. “Erica left with them.”

“Erica is good?” I asked.

Ryan looked offended. “She is very good. Although she is not the Delta, she could hold her ground against Jed.”

“Assuring,” I said.

After I heard Zeke was trying to reach me last night, I had called him, but it was of no use. The phone went on the full dial and his caller tune began to irritate me after three calls. Even after seeing that, he did not call me in the morning. Or he did and I was asleep. Who knew?

Nothing could happen to him. He was one of the people I would call my best friend. If something happened to him because he was protecting a person I was supposed to, I would never forgive myself.

Though the other hitmen of Summer Coven were not as qualified as I was, they could do some serious damage to others. They were not taught by Lawan, who was the best shooter in Summer Coven.

We were awkwardly standing in the reception of the complex where our temporary residence was given. Nox was just blinking at me while th pair of mates were talking to each other in hushed whispers. Antlia and Ryan were just exchanging stiff, plain smiles.

“What were you guys doing out?” I asked.

Antlia put her hand up. “These people were standing and I just stood there to increase numbers.”

Nox shrugged. “I thought they were doing something fun.”

Niran looked at Rune. “He was standing out. I was just standing with him.”

I glared at the three before Niran groaned. “I am right. Draco, you have officially beat Taurus in the competition of who is scariest. We are here cause Taurus was worried. I don’t know about the others, but I was there when Taurus looked at Ryan as if he was going to kill him and I decided to help the poor guy. When he said he had an idea where you might be, I stayed here, waiting for good news.”

Nox and Antlia exchanged glances.

Rune groaned. “That’s why you are here? You liar! You said you are here for my emotional support!” Then he turned to me. “Lawan and Wirat are coming here. I was thinking about how to receive them.”

“Thinking about how to receive them?” Ryan asked. “Aren’t you guys friends? Why are you thinking about this?”

“Dave has put a ransom on our head,” I said. “If the airport authorities find any one of us, we are screwed.”

Ryan bit his lips. “I will see what I can do.”

“What if Taurus goes to receive them?” Niran asked. “No one can say anything against him!”

Nox blinked. “I thought the Warriors were laying low. If they find a Warrior, it would be easy to track the princess. If they find Taurus here, they will find Ant.”

Ryan looked at the young girl. “Why are they tracking you again? Did you steal their cookies or something?”

“The one who is tracking me,” she said. “Is the one who kidnapped Luna.”

Ryan blinked. “Just pretend I did not ask.”

I moved towards the sofas and plopped myself on the comforting softness. Niran and Antlia followed me.

“Jarred and Fia have power,” Niran said. “They can receive them?”

Nox bit his lips. “That could work.”

“I am not talking about how they will make it out of the airport,” Rune said. “They have Kyril, the son of West Omicron with them. With him by their side, they can make it out. But I am worried about something else.”

“What?” I frowned when I felt his anger rolling off in waves.

Rune glared at me. “I never knew I mean so little to you, Draco.”

Chillness crawled from my tailbone to my neck. As it sped my body, the hairs on my skin stood up in alertness. “What are you talking about?”

“Niran had to tell me what Mali did,” Rune said. “You had the time to tell Lawan and Wirat. Hell, even Niran and Nox, but not me?”

I had no words to offer him. How could I say that it was his sister who had ruined my past? A sister he loved so much? Would he even believe me?

“Am I really that low?” Rune whispered. “That I will not even hear what you have to say? Do all those years of friendship mean nothing to you?”

“I-I,” I began. “I... I could not say it to you. Not about Mali. And... I never saw you after I had that conversation with her.”

“She may be my sister, Draco,” Rune said, his eyes red and teary. “But what she did was wrong. Her mistake led to Sean’s death. It... she messed with your past. I know where to draw the line to my family. You had time to call Lawan and tell this to someone who is on the other side of the continent but not me? You could have woken me up!”

“Even Riley threatened me to understand her,” I said. “How could-”

“Riley has gone crazy,” Ryan interrupted helpfully. “He has been yearning for her for years that he lost his marbles. Don’t compare.”

Rune closed his eyes. “If you think about it, Draco, I was a victim too. If I tell this to my mother, trust me, she will give Mali what she deserves.”

“That’s what you’re angry about?” I asked. “That I did not tell you?”

Rune sulked. “What else?”

I sighed. “What do you want to know?”

A/N: I am having a lot of assignments and online tests. Even in quarantine, they are not leaving me alone. I will try to update soon!

Until then,

~Quill

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