Drake (Book 1)

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[57]-Buyer's remorse


11:30 a.m.

Inside the stock exchange, currency changed like a variation in the wind. Men and women in suits and ties scrambled across the trading floors. Phones rang perpetually and with each call that ended, three more took its place, overwhelming the stock brokers who worked tediously at their desks. Each trading floor displayed multiple monitors tracking the stock market worldwide; digital clocks tracked the multiple time zones around the globe.

Glass walls separated the offices in cubes where brokers sat around their oval-shaped desks, computers stacked around them. Angry brokers bickered amongst each other, some of them slamming their phones on the receivers. Others crowded the larger monitors as particular stocks took a turn for the worse.

In this place, fortunes were made, or sometimes lost. But everyone knew the stock market favored no specific individuals or entities. It was just good business…

Four guards kept watch at the reception office, running people’s belongings through x-ray machines and waving metal detectors around them like a magic wand. The doorbell rang as a group of mercenaries entered, their leader, Drake. They strolled past the guards without a peek, and the metal detectors buzzed red.

The lead guard stepped forward to intervene, stopping Drake with his arm.

“Hey mate, you can’t just waltz on in here like that-”

He caught the receiving end of Drake’s haymaker, that knocked him out in one blow. The other guards rushed to his aid, drawing their weapons and tasers. Drake aggressed and with feral ferocity, incapacitated them with his fists, leaving bruises and concussions. The last officer, a woman, raised her pistol and fired.

Drake moved his head slightly to the left and watched the bullet speed past him and shatter a glass door. He snatched her pistol and gripped her face with a hand before pushing her some ten feet away.

Abbas dropped the bag he shouldered, revealing a hidden machine gun. The other mercenaries did the same, their identities hidden by baklavas or custom masks. To assert their presence, Abbas fired a burst into the air. The chaos stopped for a moment and before anyone could react; the mercenaries swarmed the room.

Brokers screamed as more gunfire erupted on the trading floor. In just a matter of minutes, the floor had gone silent, each broker on their knees with hands behind their heads. One man, who showed more defiance than the others, took a butt struck to the head as his punishment.

A porcelain mask covered Drake’s face, but his blue eyes glowed through the eye slits. He sauntered to the center of the room and sprouted his wings. The hostages looked in awe as he hovered over the trading floor.

“I’m not here to take your money,” Drake said. “I’m here for someone else. Stay where you are and my men won’t kill you…”

His mercenaries patrolled the trading floor, guns cocked and at the ready for any sign of danger. Nicholaj Udulutch removed a laptop from his bag and scurried to a row of servers. He connected it to the server, and the screen illuminated, starting an unknown process.

Udulutch thrived from his transformation to a Shaytan. In fact, his body adapted beyond expectations, perplexing even Drake. He no longer needed glasses; the cancer that ravaged his body was cured, and his balding head filled with pepper colored hair. Immortality, rejuvenation, and strength beyond comprehension, the true purpose of Drake’s blood.

It cost Udulutch nothing but his humanity in return. He would not succumb to the side effects and become a monstrosity like Abbas or any other of Drake’s creations. His transition closely mirrored Lyn’s.

Police sirens wailed in the distance, drawing closer with each second. The progress bar on Nicholaj’s computer reached a hundred percent. He smirked and slammed the laptop shut before tucking it away in his bag.

Nicholaj turned to Drake and gave him a thumbs up. Drake nodded and turned to his hostages. He ambled past them, inspecting each broker. A woman trembled, ruined mascara cascading down her face. Drake glared, and she balled. A companion, presumably a co-worker, moved in to console her.

“Austin Alexander!” Drake called, weaving through the rows of hostages. “Stand up!”

A man rose from the crowd. Drake gestured to him to come forward. The crowd parted and Austin gulped. He walked like a man on death row, gripping the golden pocket watch in his coat. Austin had been in the business for many years, starting off as a tenacious young broker in New York before immigrating to the United Kingdom.

Over the decades he accumulated a small fortune, rising among the ranks until becoming a floor manager, then moving his way up to CEO, owning the entire stock exchange. However, his immigration to England was not by choice but by force. Tax evasion, embezzlement, and illicit drug deals caught the attention of the FBI.

But money talked, and he struck a bargain, fleeing overseas never able to return to the United States; his companion, a man known as the Wolf of the Wall Street was not so lucky.

Drake snagged his collar and lifted him. Austin cried and his glasses fell. Drake released him and he crawled towards the spectacles, which were crushed beneath Drake’s heel. Austin’s face went pale, and he clasped his hands to beg for his wretched life.

“What do you want from us? We’re just brokers!”

Drake sneered. “You’re one of Sullivan’s investors. After today, everything will change for him. You shouldn’t have betrayed us…”

Austin tilted his head, and Drake grabbed him, ascending to the glass rooftop and crashing through it. The hostages screamed as glass rained, shielding their bodies with arms or newspapers.

When Austin opened his eyes, he floated near the tower’s spire. At this height, the wind howled and blew angry blasts. Drake suspended him over the building, holding on to nothing but his collar. Austin looked down and yelped, hurling his body and kicking his legs, though he only walked on air.

Drake’s wings flapped, and he lifted him to eye level.

Austin’s face swelled with rage and he pounded Drake’s chest with his fists. “When Sullivan finds out about this, he’ll have your head. Vlad too when he awakens! Now put me down you bastard!”

“Poor choice of words,” Drake chuckled, dropping him as commanded.

Austin crashed to the Earth, bellowing as he fell, going through the glass roof. His body slammed against a massive monitor, knocking it from its perch and bouncing from floor to floor, before landing on a desk. Nicholaj clung to Abbas with all his vigor as the giant sprouted his wings and joined Drake in the sky. The other henchman followed suit, demonic wings bursting from their backs and making their ascension.

12:00 p.m.

Trinity Corp and subsidiaries, founded by Ulysses himself were well known throughout the world. The pharmaceutical company produced a myriad of things ranging from but not limited to: vaccines, cosmetics, preventative medications and so forth. With their founder and CEO, Ulysses, dead, the twelve remaining executive officers fought a silent war amongst each other for control. Alliances were formed and broken along with false pretenses of friendship.

Even now, the remaining executive officers bickered with each other on the top floor of Trinity HQ in the conference room. The long mahogany table stretched across the room, glass windows surrounded them, offering a spectacular view of the London skyline. Three vacant seats rested at the table: Sullivan, Austin, and Sir Cutler.

The members were well aware of Sullivan’s endeavors in Iraq, who stood as the stand in CEO since Ulysses’ demise at the hands of Lyn. In fact, he had her to thank for his ascension in the corporate world (although it was done unknowingly on her part). Austin Alexander’s death reached them within the hour, as had Sir Cutler’s a week prior.

They took a moment to mourn Austin’s death, while in actuality, relishing at the news. The president cleared his throat, grabbing the other’s attention. He came from old money, a man named Jason Ackner. Like the others, he had been indoctrinated since birth to know only one thing: that the world is yours.

His hair resembled more salt than pepper, but a light hue of red lingered on, the only remnant of his youth. His ocean blue eyes scanned the room, and he reached for a remote, turning on the monitor adjacent from them on the wall.

The charts ran red in a bearish market; assets were sold and liquified. The company’s investments plummeted, nearing the precipice of bankruptcy. A few of the members gasped but Jason stood firm, keeping a calm façade, but sweltering with rage on the inside.

“Our analysts say the company will be bankrupt by the week and other corporations will surely move to assimilate it. We need to act now; sell assets, pull from the trust funds, and take whatever you have left and — disappear.”

A board member raised his hand, a plump African-English born man named Yusef. “Ulysses would’ve never let this happen,” he scorned. “Every decision you’ve made has led us from bad to worse!”

Several others nodded in agreement, and the bickering resumed. Accusing fingers armed with spiteful words shot towards a defenseless Jason who stood dumbstruck.

Morgan, a dark-skinned man from India, leaned forward and propped his elbows on the table. “Well, Mr. Irons, I’m afraid he has a point…”

Jason jeered, and without another word, grabbed his suitcase and coat. He dashed past the board members and out the revolving door that led to the elevator. The other members shrugged and continued, business as usual.

“So, I’m assuming he’s stepping down as president?” a man asked.

Yusef nodded. “Which leaves a vacant spot. However, Sullivan has to choose, he is the CEO after all-”

“Sullivan won’t be choosing anyone,” a voice corrected.

The hairs on his neck rose, and he slowly turned his head towards the revolving doors. Blood smeared its glass, and he saw Jason’s corpse lying on the other side, grimed and shredded. Drake licked the blood from his hands and approached the group, taking the president’s vacant seat. Abbas followed, standing behind him with two other armed mercenaries. He leaned the chair back and propped his feet on the table.

Yusef shot up from his seat and slammed his fists on the table. “What is the meaning of this!”

Drake ignored him, rolling an apple in his palm before taking a bite, juice dripping from his lip. He crunched on the apple, rows of shark-like teeth lacerating and pulverizing it to bits. When he finished, he tossed the core aside and directed his attention to the board members.

“You’re supposed to be dead,” Yusef declared curtly.

“I was,” Drake replied, a grin on his face. “I’ve come back from the grave…”

He left his seat and sauntered around the board before taking a spot behind Yusef. He grabbed his shoulders and dug his dagger-like claws into them. Yusef winced and gritted, but could do nothing but watch as blood soaked through his suit and dripped onto the table.

One man attempted to flee, but a cocked assault rifle from Abbas suggested otherwise. He sat back down. The others watched with morbid faces as Drake continued to dig his claws into Yusef. However, it wasn’t a pity, but more of the fact that any of them could be next. Drake released his claws and Yusef fell forward, gasping and short-winded.

“By rights, none of these assets belong to you.”

“You’re suggesting they belong to you?” Morgan inquired, his voice was flat.

Drake nodded. “Actually, yes. But I’m not interested in his wealth or his company. Sullivan and you lot are the only ones profiting from his death. I intend to kill Sullivan myself, and I have no qualms about wiping out his collaborators as well…”

Each member exchanged a glance, and the blood drained from their faces.

Drake continued: “But I’ll give you all one chance. Resign now and cut your ties with Sullivan and you might live.”

“You’ve gone mad-!”

A rifle fired one shot. Yusef looked down to see blood blooming from beneath his white suit. He placed a hand over his chest and looked up. Then he fell, toppling over his chair. Smoke rose from Abbas’ barrel.

Drake shared a threatening leer with each board member. “Sullivan wanted a war; I’ll give him one…”

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