THE CRIMSON FLOW

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Chapter 3.4 - NEPHILIM

“I thought he was dead,” Christine voiced flatly following Luke’s announcement.

From the little bowl on the table, he picked up a few nuts and popped them in his mouth. With a delayed smirk, he responded. “The biological one is, yes; along with my mother, my sister Helen and brother Frankie, five cousins, three uncles and four aunts - all gone - apart from Tony, of course,” Luke nodded at his older sibling across the table. Tony’s face remained impassive, his eyes glowing in the nightclub’s laser show.

Tony had not been present that fateful night; he had been on holiday with his friends in Rio. The homecoming had been something of a shock, but Luke had found him and soon baptised him with a new lifestyle.

The brood largely remained quiet, sharing ambiguous looks. After careful consideration, Christine spoke again. “You’re looking for him, aren’t you? The one who made you?”

Smug, Luke pulled the bowl of nuts towards him and offered some to Riley, who declined with a nervous shake of his head. The vampire was notably amused at the expression on the human’s face; bewilderment threaded with uncertainty. “Yes,” he laughed. “Cain, he was called.” His eyes flitted to his brother, a smile still on his lips.

Cole, his voice taut, added to the conversation. “Did he not masquerade as a champion for God?”

Luke’s eyes narrowed. He had only ever spoken of Cain to three of his brood; Tony, Fergus and Cole, but never in great detail; Tony being the exception. Ever since he came to the fold, Cole had always spoken his mind, which was not objectionable as a rule, but Luke would not tolerate anything uttered against Cain. “Something like that,” he replied stolidly.

Although the watcher had not outwardly criticised the great vampire, Riley sensed an underlying tone current in his comment; something strange - resentful? Cole was one of the chosen though; Luke’s elite, and that was enough to make him menacing anyway.

“Then why do you seek him out?” The watcher tilted his head, his jaw tight while eyeing Luke.

The leader nodded to his brother. Tony leaned on the table, and once he ensured everyone was waiting expectantly, he proceeded to explain his brother’s desire to meet up with the vampire who had altered the Dubois lineage. “This Father of vampires, Cain, is so much more than the likes of us.”

The second female of the group piped up. “What makes him so different?”

“Surely his name tells you that, Mia,” Cole muttered with a huff. “Even you went to Sunday School, did you not?”

The raven-haired female stared open-mouthed at Cole. “What? Are you telling me he is the Cain? Are we talking biblical here?” She turned to face Luke. He smirked and nodded.

“No fucking way!” she gasped. The others, including Riley, looked equally astonished at this revelation. Only Fergus and Cole remained impassive.

“That is not all,” Tony continued, catching Cole’s eye. The others leaned in, interest piqued again. “He is - Nephilim.”

Stunned silence followed. It was broken by one who had not yet uttered a word, named Axl; he proudly exhibited his name etched on his leather jacket. He inched forward. “He’s - what?” he asked.

“He is half angel.”

Cole, as per usual, seemed agitated, his eyes narrowing, hard, while everyone else at the table was astonished. A silent acknowledgement passed between Luke and Tony before the older sibling continued. “Furthermore, he walks with two Fallen angels at his side.”

Sounds and expressions of disbelief ran around the table like a Mexican wave.

Luke laughed at their surprise. “Do you honestly find it so hard to believe?”

The final member of the group threw in his pennies-worth. “Well, fuck. Yeah!”

Luke’s eyes hardened, his whole demeanour cooled. “Tell me, Hobbit, what do you see when you look at yourself?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, apart from being a short-arse with big feet, what else looks back at you from the mirror?”

Some snickering flowed around the tables, as ‘Hobbit’, whose real name was John, fidgeted a little uncomfortably. He eventually nodded understanding. “A creature most consider make-believe,” he answered with a tiny smirk of embarrassment.

“Exactly!” Luke applauded. “We are not supposed to even exist! We are just the stuff of nightmares and fairytales, yet here we are, walking, breathing and drinking of lesser mortals.” His eyes drifted to Riley. The human squirmed. “So, you see,” Luke continued, suppressing a laugh. “Cain’s true lineage is not as far-fetched as it sounds and neither are his companions.”

“How long have you known about this?” Fergus asked, glancing between Luke, Tony and Cole.

“A few days only,” the leader replied. “Tony, Cole and I have been trying to locate Cain for several months. Every time we thought we had a lead, we arrived too late, he was gone. Even Cole here, couldn’t snare him.”

The watcher glared, then glanced away.

Luke continued with a smirk. “But, Tony came across some recent news stories which hinted at it being the work of the man himself. And, there was a new, exciting development in the story. Tony managed to meet with the Fallen.”

“You met them?” Christine asked, excited.

Tony nodded but raised a hand to silence her from questioning him further. She was irritated by the gesture but held her tongue.

“And what do you hope for when you meet him?” Cole directed at their leader.

Luke leaned across the table. “I want to know if this celestial blood also runs in my veins. If not, I want it. And, if he is indeed Nephilim, and more powerful than I remember, what is he truly capable of? What are we capable of? I want to find out. You think we are impressive now? Imagine the possibilities if we are simply in a pupal stage.”

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