Drake (Book 1)

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[17]-Shaytan

Hampshire

11:21 a.m.

Kalen and Lyn both stared at Drake with accusing eyes. Despite his explanation, the two of them remained unsatisfied. It was only the tip of the iceberg. He wanted to say more, but his words stopped mid-throat. He glanced at Kalen’s lightning shaped scar running down his eye and the long white rat tail on his head. Lyn stood in wait, silently chastising him with her icy demeanor.

Drake sighed. “Alright, I guess it’s time I told you both the truth.”

Lyn’s eyes widened as his words hit her like a revelation.

“Ulysses has been using me- He’s been using us to do his dirty work. There are four other people in the world who are just like me. Shaytan…”

The tightness in his chest and throat wavered.

Kalen wore a dubious face. “Shaytan?”

Drake nodded. Lyn didn’t seem the least bit astonished.

Drake gazed into his palm and grimaced. “In short. We need human blood in order to survive. And you’ve already met two of us. Myself and Rain. I was the first of our kind. Ulysses used my blood to create the other four. They have spread their accursed blood throughout the world…”

Lyn stepped forward. “But what does Ulysses have to do with this?”

“He’s the mastermind behind all of it and we’re nothing but a science experiment gone wrong,” Drake replied. “There are weaker Shaytan, though. Take the four horsemen, for example. They’re creations of- of her…”

Godfrey reached for a glass bottle resting within a bridge behind the bar. He unscrewed the lid and handed it to Drake. Drake took the bottle and gulped it down in an instant. Though the others couldn’t see the liquid inside the container, a red liquid ran down his mouth as he drank. He wiped it away and licked it off his hand. He released a long, relieving breath.

“What happens after we kill the other four?” Lyn asked. “You really think he’ll just let you live too?”

“Who can say…” The glass chandelier hanging above caught Drake’s attention. “If I’m still useful to him then, maybe. Either way, we have a contract we need to finish...”

11:47 a.m.

Pavium stood amid the smoldering ruins of what was once a town. Piles of ash and rubble surrounded him. He stepped over the bones and skulls that reached his ankles. A thankful gale blew his cape and hood, dispersing ash and pieces of grass. Sullivan hadn’t exaggerated the destructive power of the ritual. The four horsemen did their bidding without question or any hesitation. They were just mindless puppets, made of nothing but dirt and bones.

He continued to scourge through the ruins. A skull collapsed under the weight of his boot as he jumped down into an enormous crater. Its perimeter was scorched with a deep epicenter, with nothing of particular interest. Pavium looked up as a man in a black cloak slid into the crater. Sullivan.

The four horsemen stood at the edge of the crater. Their bodies hunched over with blank, gray faces. Sullivan bent over and reached for a shard of stone. He scrutinized it for a moment with his cinnamon eyes and cast it aside.

“Another dead end…”

Pavium’s expression was resigned. “What are we really doing here Sullivan?”

Sullivan chuckled. “I had to witness the power of the four horsemen myself. They really are the offspring of our mother-”

“Mother? So, the rumors are true then, Sullivan. You’re also using the ritual to excavate burial sites aren’t you?”

Sullivan grinned. “You’re smarter than you look. But now, I don’t think her tomb is even on this continent…”

10:00 p.m.

Night fell upon Drake’s estate, leaving a clear night sky perfect for stargazing. Godfrey and the other servants made sure to ignite the kerosene lamps lining the walls of the garden and around the estate. Electric lamps brightened the interior house all the way to the observatory hidden within the garden. Crickets and other insects chirred. Swans floated through the bright green lily pads in the pond just behind the estate.

Lyn slipped on her nightgown ready to retire for the night. Tomorrow would be a long day, after all. As she traced through the west gallery to the master bedroom, her lover was nowhere to be found. She made a face. But then it occurred to her; Drake was always more nocturnal. While she slept, he was awake and vice versa. But she wanted his embrace tonight. Sleeping in an empty bed was becoming more and more repetitive.

She heard footsteps pounding down the hall as Godfrey made his rounds for the night. Most of the other servants had already retreated for the night.

“Godfrey,” she said. “Have you seen Drake?”

“I believe he’s in the observatory tonight,” the butler replied.

“Thank you-”

She was already moving, storming down the steps to the main lobby. She cut through the dining hall and out another set of double doors that led to the gardens. Peeking over the rose bushes and grass sculptures stood the roof of the observatory and its colossal scope. A paved pathway led directly through the plethora of flowers and bushes to her destination. As she came upon the observatory, the front door remained wide open.

“Drake? Drake?” she called, peeking through the doors. She didn’t see him on the first floor.

The metallic platform amid the room caught her eye. The spiral stairwell chilled her bare feet as she ascended the platform. Then she glimpsed an open hand on the floor near the base of the telescope.

“Drake!”

She ran to his side where Drake lay on a checkered picnic cloth. His body was sprawled over it with the buttons to his shirt undone halfway. Lyn feared the worst before seeing his chest rise and fall in a steady pattern.

This guy is fucking asleep…

Lyn formed a scowl, but then she noticed an apple laying near him. A bright red apple identical to the ones she saw in the garden that day. A chunk of it was missing.

She nudged his body gingerly, but received no response. “Drake? Drake?”

The next thing she knew the apple was in her hand. It looked enticing with its bright red color and glossy appearance that resembled glass. She closed her eyes and took a bite. Its savory juices smashed against her taste buds as she relished its natural flavor. Her heart pounded like a drum and her body froze. She fell over on Drake’s chest and succumbed to a deep sleep. And she did nothing to resist.

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