THE CRIMSON FLOW

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Chapter 8.1 - SNARED

“What the fuck is he doing?” Fergus questioned. He stood next to one of the darkened booths at the rear of the room, watching in awe as Luke shouted an order and a metal mesh pinned Cain to the ground.

Tony stood next to him, disgust boiling within, as the first of the bolts shot through the mesh, pinning Cain’s hand. Three more fired quickly after. “He plans on draining him. The fucking asshole thinks he will infuse himself with Cain’s strengths if he sucks him dry. And he’s hoping for as little resistance as possible. He may still be in for a surprise, though, all going well.”

“I guess we at least created an advantage by keeping particular entries from Becky’s journals secret from him.”

Tony snickered. “Oh, yes. But, by the looks of it, my brat of a brother reckons he has it in the bag. I think even Cain is surprised.”

“Who’s that?” Fergus pointed, squinting at the tunnel of swirling light bleeding from the side of the PA deck.

Tony growled. “Shit! It’s Christine - and she’s with Riley and Becky. I regret we went with Luke’s plan. We should never had let on she was coming to the city.”

Fergus lowered his head. “I didn’t think. I was more focused on needing you here when Cain arrived. You and Riley needlessly heading to Ventura would not have helped us.”

“Yeah, I know. You did what you thought was best. Luke would just have assigned us to get her wherever she went anyway. For this to work, we had to play along. Unfortunately, Cole is going to go ape-shit when he sees the two of them over there!”

"Fuck!” Cole spat from behind. The other two flinched as he levelled up beside them, his face a mask of pure rage as he caught sight of Christine with Becky and Riley. “This complicates matters and it also goes to prove one thing.”

“One?” Tony shrugged.

“Yeah, well...” Cole scanned the area, focusing on the edge of the bar. “Luke assuredly doesn’t trust us - did either of you know about the trap?” Both shook their heads. “Didn’t think so. That means he’s been planning this little charade with the others. Look - ” He indicated two places on the upper walkway where John (Hobbit) and Axl stood. “They must have dropped the chains.” Then he nodded to the far side of the bar. “Mia has to be down in the Den. I didn’t have time to check, but I don’t think it’s empty.”

“You think...?” Fergus whispered, not wanting to believe what Cole implied.

“Pretty sure, yeah. Luke’s covered all bases; this trap, then ensuring Becky was on site and the Den. He’s hellbent on getting what he wants, but I doubt Luke realises he’s crossed one perilous line. That still leaves only us against five though, and probably - ”

“The odds are even, gentlemen. Six, once we rescue Cain.” A voice spoke from the darkness.

The three of them spun around, all equally startled. Two men stood, their outlines barely visible in the shadows. They moved forward, wings wrapped around their middles, keeping modesty intact.

“You!” Tony said, stepping forward to greet them. He grabbed Craig’s hand, then Nick’s.

“Well, you did give us the heads up,” Nick said, smiling. His eyes drifted to the other two standing next to Tony.

“This is Fergus,” Tony introduced. “And this...is Cole.”

The Fallen nodded in greeting, their focus set on the watcher. Cole bowed, reverent. “Do not kneel to us,” Nick said. “We are Fallen, and being such, we’re as condemned as you all.”

Cole nodded, appreciative of their unpretentiousness. A moment of awkward silence passed between them. Then Cole asked, “Does Cain know?”

Nick shook his head. “No, we have not told him.”

“You run the risk of making him pissed off with you,” Cole said, a tiny smirk tugging the corner of his mouth.

“Oh, I think we’ve managed that anyway,” Craig replied, regretful. He glanced over towards the incapacitated Cain and saw Luke grabbing Becky, pulling her down. He swallowed. “But, for now, we have a job to do.”


“Cain!” Becky’s concern amused Luke, and he mimicked her pitiful pleas, to which she quickly reacted by hissing at him. Laughing, he pushed her back; she fell on her buttocks. Luke stood, abrupt, and ordered Christine to pick Becky up.

Cain, seethed under the barbed metal mesh, watching with growing fury as the female vampire dragged Becky away. With hooded malice, he glared at Riley. He was not angry at the man in truth; he pitied him, but he could not overlook the fact it was he who had brought Becky to the club. The human surprised him though.

“You lied!” Riley shouted a Luke. “You would not be going to such lengths if what told me was the truth - you wanted to follow in his stead.” He pointed to Cain. The trapped vampire grunted.

Looking sidelong, Cain saw Luke placing a crossbow’s stirrup against the floor. He pulled the weapon’s string back, taut, and then set a metal-tipped bolt in its flight groove. Slinging the crossbow over his shoulder, Luke started to walk towards the agitated human.

“I had hopes for you, Riley,” Luke said with a sneer. “I see they were misplaced.” He fired at the human. Riley was pushed back by the impact and fell, yelling, the bolt lodged in his shoulder. Becky cried out and ran to his side, at a loss for what to do.

“Fuck! Missed.” Luke said, then casually dismissed the wounded man, continuing the circuit of his quarry.

Cain was irritated by what he’d just witnessed but he had other things to consider. He’d noted the chains above earlier but had not foreseen the effectiveness of such a simple trap. A chain-linked mesh would not usually be impossible to escape, but Luke had seemingly thought this through. The metal had been weighted and hardened, most likely with some insanely expensive element, possibly osmium or iridium. Cain was snared like a wild animal.

That in itself was not what kept him immobilised. His hands and ankles were pinned by foot-long bolts no doubt containing a similar heavy metal as the chain-links. Added to the mix was the barbs in his meshed trap - like hundreds of serrated teeth, they rent his clothing, bit and buried into his skin when he moved. If he managed to wriggle free, he was sure strips of his flesh would be left hanging from the links, his blood coating the floor. Whatever happened, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

“So- ” Luke’s superior tone addressed Cain. “You asked what I wanted.” He halted to prep the crossbow again, then continued circling the chain mesh and its prisoner. “I want my blood-right,” he said, nonchalant, cocky.

“What are you talking about?” Cain hissed between gritted teeth, his incisors dimpling his bottom lip.

“I know your lineage, Cain. You are half-angel. Nephilim.”

Bearing the pain of barbs slicing at his ears, Cain turned his head to follow Luke as he circled to his left. “What of it?”

“With your blood running in my veins, I should have the same vigour, be stronger than a mere vampire. Your battle against angels months ago invigorated you somehow; triggered some new potential. So, I want that too.”

Cain chanced a glance at Becky. She lowered her eyes; shame making her melancholy scent erupt. Cain groaned; a lot of detail must have been in her electronic diary. “Doesn’t work that way,” he growled at Luke.

The young vampire guffawed. “Oh, come now. I know human characteristics can skip a generation or two, but celestial and supernatural beings?”

“Even if you did inherit, your rot would have eliminated it anyway. Your nature is like a cancer; it devours all things good.” He roared as another bolt pierced his right hand.

“Christ! Do you claim to be good? Your self-deception is amusing and disappointing, Cain! If you were perfect, your God would have had you sitting by his side long before now.” Luke readied the crossbow again. Another bolt shot through Cain’s left hand this time.

Becky screamed her protest. Cain caught sight of her wriggling against the female vampire who brutally grabbed her by the hair. Luke took a few steps forward, pausing only to reload the crossbow.

The potential threat to Becky caused Cain more agony as he shifted, tense under the deadly trap. The metal teeth tore through his clothing, slicing into his shoulders and back. He tried to ease his hands up over the bolts, but the nocks caught in the mesh, tugging the shafts, adding to the pain.

Luke turned, hearing his struggle. “She truly means something to you, doesn’t she?” He grinned.

“Leave her be!” Cain said, low, menacing.

“Or what? You’ll kill me?” Luke laughed - bitter. “You intended to do that anyway. Didn’t you?” he shouted, a flash of fangs prominent. “You called me a mistake! Well, allow me to show you the error of your ways then!”

He lunged at Becky.

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