-Head of the demon
Kalen opened his eyes to find himself in a small white room. He smacked his lips and tasted his sour breath. His shaggy white beard was days overgrown and his bristled whiskers raked against each other. The bright lights illuminated his perfectly symmetrical bald head with a single braided rat tail from it. The room contained a single chair and a small table in it. Outside noises were virtually nonexistent save for the rustling of the loud air vent.
“Where- where am I?” he asked in a gloomy state of mind, still trying to adjust his eyes to the light. He attempted to stand up only to be met with the rattling sound of metal. Steel handcuffs bounded his hands to the arms of the chair. “The hell?” Kalen looked over to the large blacked-out window a few feet in front of him. Despite the one-way window, he could faintly make out the silhouette of a man standing behind it. His heart pounded, almost leaping out of his chest with sweaty palms against the handcuffs.
“Kalen? Kalen? Can you hear me?” the man asked through a loudspeaker in the room that disguised his voice.
Kalen closed his eyes and turned his head as the beams of light blasted his face from a large overhead lamp. His initial thoughts were that he was in some kind of asylum or interrogation room. But he couldn’t be sure yet or know other than his situation didn’t appear to be good. He looked down at his body to see he was wearing a standard white top with white bottomed pants and gray shoes that had no laces. Great, so I’m some kind of prisoner...
The speaker in the room screeched before the man behind the window began to speak. “Kalen, you’re here because we need to ask you some questions... concerning Drake. We gave you a little serum to make you more persuasive.”
“Do you think I’m working for him or something?” Kalen softly answered.
“You’ve been hunting him down longer than anyone in this organization besides The Warden. We know you have information that you haven’t shared!” the voice barked. “Let’s start from the beginning. Beckwith, Kalen, enlisted in the army at 18, served with Special Forces in Vietnam MACV-SOG and then became one of the first operators recruited for Delta Force in ’75. Right?”
Kalen scoffed. “That’s classified. Who are you guys? What do you want from me-?”
“How did you become a werewolf?”
“I- I was bitten,” Kalen stammered. “By one on an op in ’75... We tracked Drake to his mansion in Paris. We- we had followed his tracks from Vietnam to Russia and then to-”
“Did you know at the time that Drake was a vampire? That vampires and werewolves even existed?”
“There were rumors... about ‘monsters’ in Vietnam and Russia during the height of the war, but I didn’t see it until that night in Paris. Werewolves,” he paused anxiety heavy in the air. “They wiped out my entire unit. I was the only one that got away.”
“What was your unit tracking Drake for?” the voice asked more aggressively.
He gulped. “We had a defector called Prometheus. Gave us intel to the safehouse, pictures, names of Soviet agents on the ground in Vietnam. Then Drake’s name came up, and this guy named Vlad. Said they were working on a serum that would change the world forever.”
“And you’re certain Drake was the ringleader?”
“I don’t know,” Kalen honestly answered. “The Soviet defector gave us the intel, pictures, documents, we didn’t ask questions. But I know the raw material for the serum came from Drake himself. I think I ran into him one time by accident in Russia. He was... like a god, brave, free-spirited, majestic red eyes, but also, perhaps the most dangerous being alive.”
“Why didn’t he kill you?”
“I don’t think he knew who I was. And it was only for a mere moment. When you’re a sniper who’s been watching a target for so long-” Kalen coughed, lunging his body forward before taking a deep breath through his nose. “You feel like you know them. Their routine, habits, everything. Better than they know themselves. Some people can’t pull the trigger when the time comes.”
“That drawing on the table is a rendering of Drake that Sullivan drew of him. It’s all we have. Look about right?”
Kalen leaned forward as far as his handcuffs would allow. He scanned every inch of the hand-drawn picture in front of him. My god! ”That looks just like him, but that had to have been over thirty years ago-!”
By now, Kalen was fully awake. The man had his full attention. He knew it was a classic interrogation technique. Empathize with the man, ask open-ended questions, get him to drop his guard. Humans naturally comply with command after all. And he had walked right into it.
“Shortly after I was turned. I was attacked by Praetorians. They were two friends of mine, guys I served with. But when they fired those first shots and spoke to me the way they did. It was like... I was just some monster to them. Like they had never seen me before. But then this woman saved me. She was a beautiful woman with long green hair.”
“What was her name?”
Kalen faced the window with a piercing stare looking at the man behind it as if he could see into his eyes. He breathed in and exhaled. “Her name... was Lyn.”