The war has begun
***POV - Damion
Boring, boring, boring! Can anything be worse than going from one place of waiting for tests to the next place waiting again for more tests? At least I’m about halfway through, just a brain-scan left, but they’re making me wait, an emergency got shifted in before me.
I understand the situation, it’s just that I’m not very good at waiting and sitting still for long. My leg is bumping up and down impatiently, waiting is definitely not my strongest point, neither is patience. I can’t help it if sitting still is something I’m struggling with, always has. A sly smile creeps over my face, thinking of the number of times I got in trouble at school for this exact reason. This is the worst part of my job, my monthly checkup that Dean insists on.
I take a sip from my Starbucks coffee, envying Sean sitting quietly in his chair reading a magazine. Shifting in the chair for probably the hundredth time I give the girl at the desk a lopsided smile, her constant flirty stares towards me doesn’t go unnoticed. A year ago I would have been flattered, maybe even seduced myself a quick blowjob on the go, but all that’s in the past. All I can think about is Melaena and how I’ll never get enough of her.
I shake my head thinking about how Enrique always warns us to not get hooked by a voodoo pussy, and here I am, slam-dunked by his sister’s spellbound vagina. The ringing of my phone gets my head out of Melaena’s womanly parts, while the busty brunette at the counter gives me the no-phones-allowed look and points to the sign that proofs it, so I get up and walk outside, thankful for the distraction. Before I can even say hello my mom shouts hysterically and I almost drop the cup of coffee in my other hand.
“Damion, Luke is gone … kidnapped!” I can hear she’s terrified - crying, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Calm down mom.” I put the Starbucks cup on the ledge – I’m currently standing in the hallway looking through a huge window, barely noticing the hustle and bustle on the other side.
“Mom, are you sure? Where?” I try to keep calm, needing her to give me as much information as she can in her state.
“Yes, I was late and he was not there. One of the kids saw him getting into a white van, so I went home, but he’s not here either.”
“He’s busy calling Luke’s friends.”
“I’ll be right there.” I hang up and instinctively call Mel – needing to hear her voice, to know that she’s safe. Her phone goes straight to voicemail. The same thing happens when I call Kiara. I yell at the brunette that we need to go and pull Sean from his chair unceremoniously. He throws the magazine onto the table and we run down the hall.
While I run to my truck I try Mel’s phone one more time. This time it is ringing and I sigh with relief, but it’s short-lived. Somebody hangs up without answering! What the fuck?
I stare at the phone in disbelieve, the message ties my already knotted guts up even more.
Mel: Mayday! Mayday! Three little prisoners waiting.
Then a photo appears of a mangled-up car – Kiara’s car! Fuck! I grab the bulbar of my truck as my heartbeat increases heading for the checkered flag. Fucking asshole has her phone and her! I look at the time, I’ve been in that fucking hospital for almost 4 hours, while the whole time she’s been taken. I look at Sean and tell him to keep on trying to call Kiara.
My thumb pushes the little green telephone symbol under Mel’s name and waiting with anticipated breath, I hope to hear her voice this time, but the fucking universe is against me, like usual.
“Loverboy, just the person I was looking for.”
“Who’s this? Where’s Mel?” The guy makes some clapping sounds with his tongue. I know that voice. Forcing myself to listen, to remember, but I just can’t place it in my screwed-up head.
“Tsk-tsk, so many questions. I need you to do exactly as I say.” I stop dead in my tracks, waiting for him to continue. I need to stay calm and collected, he’s going to try and rile me up. I take a deep breath. My hands are trembling.
Breathe, breathe, breathe! Don’t let him see my weakness, stay in control. If I lose control now, he wins the battle. Sean signals me that Kiara is not answering her phone with a worried look in his eyes.
“Ok. Talk.” I sound a lot cockier than I feel, but he’s not going to know that, but whoever this is, the fucker is dead.
“You’ll get a message soon. Just follow the instructions.” That’s it, he hangs up, but almost immediately a message comes through, a photo of Mel, Kiara, and Luke sitting on an old bed, clinging to each other.
FUCK! I show it to Sean and we stare into each other’s worried eyes when the phone beeps again.
Mel: Mayday! Mayday! The little boy is fucked!
Another photo of Jackson tied to a chair, his head hanging, telling me that he must be unconscious. Double fuck! This guy has me by the balls and he knows it. Heat rises inside me like hellfire, but it’s not just anger, there’s a fair share of raw-set panic burning with it, trying to blaze free. Gripping my hands into fists, I strike out and hit the metal dustbin next to me, sending it flying a few meters down the parking lot. Grabbing onto the bulbar again with white knuckles, I bend forward and gag painfully, spitting it out onto the ground.
Fucker! Another message appears and taking a deep breath I slowly lift the phone to stare at the little screen, scared shitless at what I might see this time.
Mel: Next instructions at 6 pm
As soon as we sit inside my pickup I make a phone call.
“Hi, dude.” Judging by his voice tone, Ilkay is still clueless as to the current predicament.
“Ilkay, I need you to get everybody to my house asap! Including your uncle and tell him to bring Garcia. I’ll explain later.”
“What the fuck?” He knows it must be serious.
“Bro, just do it. And be careful what you say, we don’t know who’s listening. It’s a matter of life and death, no fooling around.”
“Fuckit. I’m on it.”
“Oh, and Ilkay, tell your uncle to bring the hi-tech stuff … that spray he was talking about.”
“Got it. See you in 30.” Next, I phone my father and tell him to get to the meeting spot with my mom and Alejandro. It’s going to be all hands on deck for this one, and my brother has training that will definitely come in useful. Hitting the steering wheel as a fresh swell of rage rose in me, I swallow down my frustration and start the pickup, my mind racing at 200 miles per hour laps in my head.
The song on the radio seeps into my swinging mind and the words hit me with so much ferocity that I have to gulp for air.
’Get out your guns, battles begun … Are you a saint, or a sinner?
If loves a fight, then I shall die with my heart on a trigger’
Well, if it’s a war Harry wants, it’s a war he’s going to get … and this time he messed with the wrong family. Together, we have enough demons to fill half of hell and then some, demons he’s personally going to meet face to face. I smile, thinking that he might just have captured the most deadly of the Blackburn brothers as his prisoner. Like I said before, Jackson is a force to be reckoned with.
’They say before you start a war, You better know what you’re fighting for
Well baby, you are all that I adore … If love is what you need, a soldier I will be
I’m an angel with a shotgun, Fighting til’ the wars won … ’
I know what I’m fighting for, Melaena, the girl I love, the girl I would gladly stop breathing for so she can take another breath. And today I might just have to fulfill that promise, but she’s worth it. My mind drift again … the guy’s voice … I’ve heard it before, but where?
‘Don’t you know you’re everything I have? And I, wanna live, not just survive, tonight’
If all ends well tonight, my life is going to begin, I’m going to stop surviving and start living. I’m going to ask Mel to marry me. I stop at the house, seeing that most of the guys are already waiting for me inside.
My focus moves to the black SUVs pulling in, Garcia and Uncle John get out covered by at least a dozen bodyguards. Inside everybody looks at me with worried, stressed eyes, nothing of the usual playful, cockiness in sight, so I fall with the truth right through the door.
“It seems Kiara, Mel, Luke, and Jackson have all been kidnapped by Harry.” All the eyes change to anger and frustration – everyone in the room has a lot to lose.
“They will send us instructions at six, so we have around 4 hours to come up with a fool-prove plan.” I send my phone around so they can see the photos.
“Fucking bastards! Why is he picking on Jackson all the time – it doesn’t make sense.” Enrique’s fist hits the wooden wall and he starts walking up and down.
“The guy Jackson saw being tortured when he was a kid, was Harry. Maybe Harry blames him too.”
“That’s stupid, he was just a kid,” Ilkay says, frowning at how far-fetched it sounds.
“Guys, let me tell you what I’ve found out first. Maybe we can turn things around.” Garcia grabs all of our attention and we circle around the heavy dark-wood table. Mom gets busy in the kitchen and starts making snacks and coffee. I know it’s her way of keeping her mind occupied.
“Ok, so I must say I had to use all of my resources and it wasn’t easy. This guy is anything but stupid. Anyway, he took over one of the gangs in the upper north side under a false name. The reason I never put two and two together was that I’ve never met him in person. He always sent his number two or his son to the meetings. Apparently, the gang wants me out of the way, and now I know why. Harry wants his son, Darren, to take my place. And they’re working with another gang, the leader Alex also wants to take over.”
Garcia’s eyes flicker with something that I’m not sure I want to analyze. I think there’s something he’s not telling us.
“And the last thing ever registered to Harry’s name is the old ghost-house at the south side of the Sea Cliff area. And his gang is not ratting him out, cause if he rules they’re going to be the top planters in the pot.”
“I received a message earlier from Harry just after Luke was taken.” He quickly glances at my father.
“I know he’s my kid, I’ve always known.” The expression on my dad’s face tells me he was somehow expecting this.
“As soon as I found out Sophia was pregnant, I let her go back to you, knowing you would look after the baby. I didn’t, and still don’t, want anybody to know that I have a son, it’s too dangerous and I didn’t want him to grow up like us. I want him to be a normal kid in a normal family.” There are tears in Garcia’s eyes while he looks at my dad. My father nods at him.
“Ok, enough of that, what’s the plan?” Enrique is not into the mushy nitty-gritty stuff, or at least he pretends not to be. Uncle John shakes his head at his nephew with a warm smile. I take my hat off for that man, raising 6 kids on his own all this time couldn’t have been an easy feat.
“Wait, there’s more … “ Garcia pulls a little box from his pocket. “This was also delivered to me just before I left. The open box drops on the table and it’s as if the whole house sucks in the air all around us. I move my head forward as if it’s going to change the gruesome contents, but the bloody pinky still lies motionless inside the red-stained tissues.
“Who the fuck? Who’s …” Enrique starts but quickly has to jump out of the way since Sean next to him folds double and almost pukes on his shoes.
“Shit dude! Look where you aim that!”
Ilkay picks up the finger and turning it around, examines it slowly. “They used a sharp object and one quick blow.” He puts the finger back in the box.
Sean wipes his mouth and without looking at the finger again, he takes a few deep breaths and seems to get his color back.
“There’s a plan, but you need to go downstairs now. I’ll be right there.” Uncle John stumbles, pushing his hand through his hair. The bookshelf moves and I watch the guys walk down the stone stairs hidden behind it. I grab two more sandwiches from the kitchen table and slam my arm around my mom. The devastation I see in her eyes mirrors mine, hers just lacks the darkness I know is stuffed behind my soul. Logan brings in Jesse and Noah, carrying some duffle bags. We also walk down the stairs. Jesse immediately moves to the hi-tech computer area and Uncle John helps him to get acquainted with everything. This is more than just a secret garage for my racing bikes, it is one of the most sophisticated rooms any spying agency could ever want, thanks to Blackburn company. Logan drops the bags on the floor.
“Alejandro, you’ll find some clothes in your size, and you’re going to use Jackson’s bike.” My brother pouts his mouth and salutes Logan playfully. From one of the bags, Logan retrieves a spray can and starts shaking it.
“You all know that the company created this new tracking device. You spray it onto the skin and it leaves an invisible mark that makes it possible to locate the person for at least two days. Brilliant stuff.”
Walking around the room he sprays all of us with the invisible marker and then he swabs our mouths, getting each one’s DNA, necessary for the tracker to work. Uncle John inserts each DNA stick into a small lab device, (something that is apparently a PCR, centrifuge, and more all in one – but let’s stick to gadget) and it, in turn, sends each DNA-record it pulls up to Jesse’s computer where he links it with the tracker and combines it with a name.
This way, he knows exactly which dot on his computer belongs to which guy and where he is. When we’re all done, Jesse makes sure each of us is registered and he also checks the radio contact devices. Dad is going to handle that part with Noah.
Five-twenty-five, the flashing light on the computer screen displays. I’m fucking sure time is standing still. Scary thoughts trigger my demons and they start to tip-toe slowly around in my head. I close my eyes to try and still the pitter-patter of their feet, but just thinking about everything he’s maybe doing to her … Fuck!
The sound of my fist against the locker crowds out the noises in my head a little.
“I’ve scanned the fingerprint on the finger and it belongs to a Xander Blackburn. Guess he’s family?” The question mark between Jesse’s brows spread across the room. The pinky belongs to Mel’s dad? Fuck me.
“Dad? Where in hell did Harry find him?” I’m sure Ilkay means that in the literal sense, seeing that hell has a special place for people like Xander and Harry.
“At least it’s not Jackson’s,” Enrique confirms and everybody sighs a breath of relief, our bro still has all 10 fingers for now.
“Don’t judge your father too harshly ... he’s not the man you think him to be.” Garcia softly mentions, but he doesn’t elaborate too much. “Now is not the time to go into details, but just keep it in mind.”
Putting on the black SWAT-team-like clothes, fully equipped with even bullet-prove vests my phone laying on the bench beside me pings a few times, and I grab it quickly.
Mel: Opera House in Van Ness Ave – come alone
Hopeful eyes are glued on me, waiting for any news, good news, bad news, but before I can say a word a photo hits my screen, and this time I feel my gagging reflex working overtime to swallow down the puke that pushed up into my mouth. Mel is standing against a pillar, her arms pulled back, probably tied up. He tore open her shirt leaving some sexy lavender underwear exposed. In a flashback, I recognize it as the ones I picked up in her room once, that feels like ages ago.
Her face is bruised and the look in her eyes sends up some more of the burning liquid, I swallow, I have to keep it in.
“Say something!” Enrique yells at me, but the clatter of creeping footsteps from my demons turns into a full-on stampede. My heart is torn from my chest, my body stuck immobile, then
Alejandro takes the phone from my hand. Blood drains from his face and a single word drops from his lips, “Sorella.” It’s so soft, I’m not even sure he said anything, but it’s enough to stop the sudden frenzied rush and push the demons back again – for a while at least.
“He’s fucking dead!” Ok, that part I heard loud and clear, expressing my own exact thoughts.
“I have to be at the War Memorial Opera House in an hour – alone.”
“Ok, boys. The battle has begun. Damion, you won’t have any radio contact with us, but I can track your every move. The boys will be just behind you the whole time.” Jesse shakes his head and for the first time, I feel the tickling of hope trying to push through my broken thoughts. And who knew that having a computer-nerd in the group would come in helpful.
The whole drive up to the opera house I gain back my control, to be the master of my demons, and as soon as I feel that familiar calmness on the outside, darkness on the inside feeling I know that I’m ready to face anything. I know the fucker sent me the photos to break me down, to screw with my mind, but he hasn’t met the devil face to face yet. A small smile creeps onto my lips.
I stop my bike but don’t get off, and scout the area. I notice a white van and drive towards it, remembering that a white van took my little brother. Knowing my guys are close by reassures me, sets me at ease. Three huge, gang-type guys leaning against the van, eyes my every move, and my guts turn a few times for what’s to come.
“And so it begins,” I whisper to myself and remove my helmet, hanging it onto the bars of the bike.
“You Damion?” The biggest troll asks and swinging my leg over my bike I stand up. I lift my chin and look him into his eyes.
“Who wants to know?” I sum them up and I can see that they are tuff, it’s going to take all of my power to beat them. They laugh and gesture for me to lean against the vehicle.
“Spread it, we need to check that you’re clean.” I do as they say knowing they’re not going to find anything. One guy body searches me, patting everywhere, and then take my phone from my pocket.
“You won’t need this anymore.” He drops it and stamps it with his foot, breaking it into pieces before he pushes me into the van.
“So, you guys watch Vampire Diaries?” I start up a conversation and they look at me as if I’ve just escaped the funny-farm. Great, exactly what I want.
“You know, I feel for Stephan. I mean, Elena was his girlfriend first, but she chose Damon in the end. You can’t choose who you love, right?” I look at the guy closest to me, as if I’m waiting for his opinion, but actually I’m looking for signs that I’m affecting him the way I hope.
“Shut the fuck up.” Yep, just what I want. “Not a fan, heh. Ok, then tell me this, why are you guys working for Scar-face.” One of them snickers, probably because of the nick-name we gave Harry.
“We’re not working for him, we’re working for Alex. He’s going to make sure our families get out of that hell-hole.” The one I’m secretly calling Guppy cause of his thick fish-like lips, rolls his eyes and lets out a grunt.
“Huh, I see. And I guess all you have to do is ...” I look at Guppy, hopeful that he’ll finish the sentence for me. I need to know everything I can about Harry’s plans.
“Mmm. Suppose since you’re going to be dead soon I can just as well tell you. We just need to be the scape-goats when Garcia gets killed.” Guppy’s already bulging eyes pop out a little more, the man is scared, that’s for sure.
“So, let me get this straight, you three are going to get blamed for Garcia’s death, then executed while Harry takes over. And all this just to help your families?”
“More or less. But Alex is going to take over, not Harry.” This time it’s the driver talking to me while eyeing me in the rearview mirror. Think I’ll call him Hitler due to his thin mustache and even thinner hairline. Let’s just name the last one Trash, because by the smell reeking from him he probably sleeps in a garbage bin.
“Listen, dude, my sister is going to get enough money to go study in New York,” Guppy is the most talkative of them it seems.
“My wife and kids can also buy a nice house in a safe area,” Hitler explains and I look at Trash, but he just stares at his feet.
“His brother needs an artificial limb after they shot off his leg.” I’m almost tearjerked by the unselfishness of these gangsters – guys most people would look with a frown upon.
“And living there is worse than dying ... so it’s not a bad deal.” Fuckit, they are willing to give their lives to help the people they love. That’s freaking courage. And maybe I can help them and myself in one blow.
“What if you can get all that without getting killed or blamed?” They look at me as if I’m from another planet, talking a whole new language they don’t understand.
“Ok, just hear me out … I can give each of you a million dollars, you know I’ve got enough money, you can leave with your loved ones, start a whole new life somewhere, and Garcia will owe you a huge favor. How’s that?”
Please take it, please take it, I chant in my mind.
“Keep talking,” Hitler’s eyes catch mine in the mirror again.
“See, Harry has my girl, my little brother, and some of my friends, I just need them all back in one piece. But to do that, I need your help.” My eyes are pleading with them.
“And you promise to give us the money.”
“On my sister’s grave, no strings attached.” Guppy has been quiet for some time, his bulging eyes staring at me as if he’s trying to figure something out. Then his thick lips pull into an ugly ass smile. The three look at each other for a little while.
“I’m in.” Guppy then says, Hitler and Trash also nod in agreement. Great.
“Ok, this is what I need you to do … “