Chapter 51: The Devil of Frankincense City
“Hacksaw. A ghost that slithers through shadows and solid concrete walls. Eating little children and influencing the mad minds of our city,” Casey sits in the hospitalised level turned orphanage. Or perhaps it was better called the Paradise, since that is what any kid would consider such luxurious surroundings. Not only were the beds made and clean, but Casey moved all his electronics into the centre for the kids to play Old World games and watch movies and television. I sit with Viola, who is asleep on my shoulder whilst holding an open book in her hands. My Brownie Squad recline around me on assorted pillows, all napping instead of listening to Casey as he speaks of his ghost story, “His name, Hacksaw, is renown to be connected with his long silver mane of razor sharp hair. It cuts through anything and he uses it to deflect bullets and shred the hands of anyone who dares to try and attack him. He never shows himself in public. You’ll never see him during the day. He lurks in old abandoned buildings and dark cold alley ways, waiting for the lonesome child to wander... and if he takes you, you’ll never be seen again!”
“This is so not appropriate for these kids,” I whisper under my breath to myself, but the twenty orphaned kids are entranced by the story, while two cots hold two sleeping babies; Avery and Sally. Their big brother, Jax, sits on a rocking chair by them, also listening to Casey’s story with intense interest.
“None of it’s true!” one of the kids call out, “It’s just a stupid story.”
“Huh!” Casey scoffs and almost drops his torch as he regains his grasp on it and his eyes search the crowd to find Viola sleeping on my shoulder, “My girlfriend used to live by his side,” Casey explains, “His accomplice -” Casey halts as I shake my head, narrowing my eyes in a warning. It wasn’t his place to give away V’s secrets.
So, Casey listens to me, surprisingly, before he rolls his eyes as I smile in approval of him taking note of my advice.
“You know what? I’m bored,” Casey holds out the torch and states, “Someone else go next, I’m tired,” as he gives up with his story that easy, I try not to laugh. He was an emotional kid and but he knew not to push V’s secrets out any further. Plus, I wasn’t sure if she’d appreciate the girlfriend status since he was 9 freaking years old and they were just friends.
Another kid decides to stand up and tell a ghost story, while Casey steps around the group to silently make his way towards Viola and me. Casey sighs as he swipes up a pillow and sits opposite me, clasping his hands together and resting his chin on his hands.
“You’ve done a great job setting this place up,” I give him a compliment to get him to smile but he just sighs again and frowns at V sleeping.
“We’ll have to name it something,” Casey murmurs, “Village of Kids? Kingdom? I can be the King?” He raises a brow, perking up at his own suggestion.
“I was thinking the Paradise,” I answer back, “But I’m sure you can role-play a Kingdom with the kids if you get bored -”
“I’m in class with fifteen and sixteen year olds who bore me,” Casey narrows his eyes, “I don’t want to role play anything. If I make this a Kingdom - it’ll be real and I will be a real King -”
“I think you’ll have to ask Dale first, your megalomaniac father,” I whisper, even though STRIKE have retired to another level; I assume for drinks.
“We all know he isn’t my real father, but he is my dad,” Casey admits, “You know, I better go to bed before Serge drags me up there and locks me in. Dad reckons he’ll put a tracking collar on me if I try to escape one more time.”
“Dale is just trying to protect you. And don’t worry, I wouldn’t ever let something like that happen to you,” I promise Casey this while thinking of Dale’s attempt at putting the bomb in my head a few hours ago.
“I know he wants to protect me from the life they were forced into,” Casey adds, “It’s pretty tragic, anyway, I better take my girlfriend with me -” Casey snaps up a hand as Viola abruptly throws her book at him after faking being asleep. She opens her eyes and her cheeks are a bit pink - but with anger, not a blush.
“No,” she growls, ”No.”
Casey’s eyes widen and so do mine. She was deaf and for some personal reason she preferred not to talk. I think this moment was the first Casey or I heard her real voice. Low, husky and not at all what I expected to hear. With our shocked gazes she sits up straight and she shakes off her sleep, looking shocked also at her own self for speaking. She shrugs but her eyes flicker between Casey and I and she looks embarrassed and a bit frightful, like she just awoke from a nightmare.
“Um,” Casey slowly stands as V jumps to her feet and grabs his arm, trying to hurry them along.
“Bye,” I wave at both of them while Casey hurries with V to speak with her in sign language.
I look over my Brownie Squad and they are still out cold on the pillows. I stand up to leave and find STRIKE. On my way to the lift, as Casey and V enter, Inertia comes out wearing a different set of clothes. Grey shorts and a plain blue t-shirt. He looks really exhausted but as he tries to pass me without saying anything, my Ultima alarm goes off in my head and I try to grab his arm to stop him passing.
I momentarily forget of his ability and my hand stops and drops before I can touch his skin, but he still halts impatiently.
“Whats up, Alyssa?” I hear the forced happiness in Daniel’s tone and it has me curious.
“You okay?” I ask him, “You were happy a few hours ago and now you look... beat. Did STRIKE hurt you?”
“They put an explosive in my head,” Daniel nods with a forced smile, “Not at all disheartened - but hey, I’m alive, right?”
“That’s how I used to feel when I met them and got away with my life in my hands,” I admit, hoping he opens up a bit, “But, not that they’re all bark and no bite - because they do bite - but they’re not just animals, Daniel. Trust me. There are sides of them you don’t know. Good things, I mean, not bad -”
“I’d love to chat but I’m going to make sure these kids find a bed each with no trouble and no fights, not that there should be any,” Daniel sighs, “I’m sure your Brownie Squad will help and then I’ll ask them where my kennel is - since I’m there pet.”
“I honestly thought you were a little excited about it, in a kinky way -”
“Not in the mood to talk about me, babe. But, I guess there isn’t anything to complain about when three super models enslave you as theres exclusively,” Daniel walks off, irritated about something.
I’m still not convinced it’s just the bomb in his head.
When I glance over my shoulder, I see Blue sitting up and rubbing her eyes, yawning. She blinks and watches Daniel come closer and her eyes flicker to mine, curious about my departure.
I point my fingers to my eyes and then to Daniel, so she knows to keep an eye on him. Blue nods and sits up straighter, determined to wake up and follow my order. I nod my thanks and then I hurry into the lift, also determined to find answers of my own.
As long as Dale didn’t mind my company, that is. I’m sure he was a little irritated after our last little chat.
I head to the Red Lounge, where I assume the beasts will be sharing a bottle of some sort of alcoholic liquid. In this moment, it annoys me just thinking about how they always drank to cope with things.
However, as the lift descends, I notice something different about the metallic insides of the lift. Although it was old and scratched - it didn’t have those silver edged lines, so close together, on the left side, all the way from the railing to above my head. It looks like someone used sand paper - or a thousand nails and scratched tiny lines.
My hair would do something like that, I was familiar with the markings. However, I know the markings aren’t from me.
So, who else had razor sharp h-
The lift doors open and before I can even finish processing, I’m barrelled into by Ace, who was waiting on the other side. His arms clasp around my middle and throw me over his shoulder while carefully avoiding my own hair.
“Did I scare you?” Ace swings around while one huge muscled arm clasps around my butt and kneads one ass cheek distractingly. He’d walking back into the Red Lounge where I hear a chuckle from Jose, “She’s scared, I can feel her heart beat.”
“Put me down,” I reply, dryly, while reaching down and slicing my nail through the back of Ace’s pants, very carefully - so he won’t know I’m making a smiley face with the silent rips, “Please.”
“You said please but it wasn’t genuine,” Ace stops walking but slides me down his front anyway onto a bar stool, where he sits on the other and Jose sits beside me.
When I look around I see Serge at the edge of the bar away from them all, silently taking one shot after the other after the other.
When I look to who is serving the drinks, my eyes slowly wander up the hand now wearing the actual emerald green ring - clearly keeping it from me - and then my eyes wander up the fine wrists, the lithe body and then the face of hidden emotion. Dale pours out more shots and side swipes them to Serge without looking at him, as Dale simply watches me instead.
However, I’m not interested in giving the panther-man with his tyrian purple eyes, all my attention. Instead, I glance between Ace and Jose, who both put an arm around my waist possessively while Serge keeps taking shots.
“What’s wrong with him?” I ask.
“Babies,” Serge whispers, “Babies - what the fuck -?” Serge takes more shots, after clearly realising he turned into a super dad in one afternoon, which meant he realised what that entailed for his reputation.
“Not your concern right now,” I snap out, “And neither is having sex with me,” I glare at Ace and Jose, who were getting a shared and hungry lustful look in their eyes, “Wait, how did you know I was coming out of the lift, Ace?”
“Ole boner over there has all the cameras linked into his phone, doll,” Ace explains, while nodding at Jose.
“Perfect,” I drawl and press a kiss to Ace’s cheek before turning to an irritated Jose and sliding my hand into his pocket. Damaging his suit just a little, I slowly slip out his phone and his hand clasps around my wrist with super strength, so I can’t get it up in front of me.
“What are you doing, kitten?” Jose asks, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
“Seeing what contacts you have on your phone,” I lie but with over the top sarcasm, “To check none of you are cheating on me.”
“You can’t cheat on a whore,” Dale murmurs as he swallows a shot while glaring at me. I wait for Serge to add in on it but he just smirks and takes another shot.
“Is drinking all you ever do?” I whisper to all of them in disapproval after Jose shrugs and lets my hand go so I can open his phone. Without asking I’m able to find the application that controls the cameras.
I scroll through to quickly see there are literally hundreds of cameras, if not at least a thousand.
“How big is this bunker?” I whisper to myself as I keep scrolling through, “No... no... no...”
“If you’re looking for movement,” Jose speaks after an excruciating minute of intense and awkward silence. They were all waiting for me to announce my amazing discovery, but I wasn’t finding anything, “I have an alert for any time there is movement on any level below home base [HB].”
I drop the phone with my realisation and scramble out of the stool.
“Casey,” I whisper in a panic and I start running to the lift, “Hurry! Follow me!”
“What the hell is going on?” Dale snarls out, his thin patience snapping.
“Oh my god,” I whisper to myself as I stop by the lift anxiously, “What does he want...? What does he want with -”
“Doll?” Ace runs up behind me and lays a hand on my shoulder as the lift creaks open and I turn to see Jose there too. I’m shocked to see Dale at the bar and Serge still drinking shots.
“What the fuck?” I hiss to myself as I step into the lift and Jose and Ace follow me.
“Dale’s in a bad mood, don’t mind him - plus he doesn’t believe that you’re reacting to real trouble,” Ace murmurs.
“He probably thinks this is an escape attempt - we’re making sure it isn’t,” Jose double explains and I put up both my hands, infuriated.
“You don’t need to continue,” I snarl, ”Either of you - just have faith in my judgement.”
“Loyalty is earned -” as Ace shrugs and rubs in the fact I need to keep proving my loyalty until full faith and trust is restored, I point my hand to the scratches on the left side of the lift. At first it’s easy to ignore - but when you realise who it is, it’s pretty damn creepy.
“We have a ghost in the bunker,” I snap, ”Hacksaw. He’s real - V was with him, remember? Casey has sparse video footage of a hand or a slither of hair, or a shadow of him roaming the city... and now he’s in here.”
“Shit,” Jose murmurs under his breath while glancing at the markings, the same time as Ace, as the lift stops at level HB after rising quickly.
The doors open at home base and I’m confronted with a huge new figure I don’t expect to run into this quickly in the search.
My breath shortens.
It’s as if my eyes meet those of the devil.
It’s a man of jagged lines, a crooked nose, a loped set of lips - but the eyes. I’m staring into black orbs from a man just as tall as my beasts - which was near to impossible without genetic enhancement. The famous hair was waist length, in waves of metallic steel, jagged at the ends while he wore an entire black leather suit - neck to toe - it flashed.
Like... a camouflage suit or something.
“You will both fall asleep,” Hacksaw speaks so quietly to Ace and Jose, who’ve reached to pull out their guns.
However, they slump to the floor beside me and I’m the only one left standing.
Hacksaw is holding Casey’s wrist and Casey is unconscious.
“What do you want with Casey?” I ask, quietly without making a threatening move.
Hacksaw blinks and I’m not sure why I’m still standing unharmed, but he is convinced that looking at me a little longer is worth it.
“Call me Louis,” he insists, very politely.
“Louis? Let me guess... you are also my father?” I ask, remembering the note V gave to me when she was working with him.
“Not quite,” Hacksaw murmurs.
“You seem very calm for someone who just -” I stick out my hand before the lift doors close and my sudden movement doesn’t even get a single jerk out of Louis, ” -you infiltrated the Black Lair Clubhouse and you’re stealing the child of a very dangerous man... like I said, you’re very calm and it’s very weird... and you seem to have a lot of time on your hands.”
“I came to abduct Casey,” Hacksaw explains smoothly and easily, “To trade him for you. I didn’t expect to see you here in this visit. I’m very pleased I did...”
“I guess the trade works out a lot quicker for you if we do it right now,” I work it out quickly but I have no idea what he wants with me, all I know is I can’t let him take Casey, “Leave Casey and I will leave with you.”
“Frankincense City is a very dangerous place, Alyssa... you’re making a very, very wise decision. I guarantee you,” Hacksaw drops Casey’s ankle... gently... to the floor, “You will not regret this,” Hacksaw steps into the lift with the slightest smile to his creepy face and I take a step back when he closes the distance far quicker than I expect he would.
I back up into the end of the lift and he stands an inch from me, backing me into my corner while the lift doors close behind us.
Except the click never happens.
Because as the ghost legend is staring into my eyes like he’s hit the jack pot - the lift doors halt two inches apart.
“Step away from her,” I hear Casey snarl this at Hacksaw and the ghost legend straightens up from gazing into my freaking soul, to slowly look over his shoulder.
“That was just... pathetic,” Hacksaw whispers at Casey, but he stands back to make room for me to run around him.
Casey leans down and with super strength he drags Ace and Jose’s body out of the lift by grabbing an ankle each, and then presses the number for the top level for Hacksaw to leave.
“You’re the one who’s pathetic,” Casey answers back as if talking to a hated teacher in school, “You’re ancient and you’re acting like you have a chance with my mother.”
“Pathetic... but interesting,” Hacksaw answers again as the lift doors close and his eyes are trained curiously on Casey.
I stand next to Casey, in shock as Hacksaw, with a pained glance at me, stays in the lift.
When I hear the lift ascend, I glance down at Casey.
“You...” I whisper, “You just told him what to do and he did it.”
“I don’t know,” Casey whispers, frustrated, “I guess I intimidated him?”
“In those little kid PJs?” I can’t help but tease and he scowls at me, “Don’t scowl like Serge or V will never date you.”
“Shut up,” Casey snaps, “She’s lucky she slept on the couch in the living area or he would have killed her. At least I saved the day.”
“Casey, Hacksaw looked at me like he knew me,” I murmur, “I don’t think he wanted to leave without one of us... and then he just... left. After you told him to leave me alone. After he made these two fall asleep with a matter of words.”
“Mind control,” Casey shrugs, “He has mind control, so what, just another mutation.”
“No, well, I mean yes... but Casey, I don’t think he’s the only one,” I turn to him and he just shakes his head.
“Like I said, it was my natural courage, bravery and intimidation,” Casey is dead set on it, “There is no way I -... is there?” he whispers as his eyes brighten, “Nope, no way.”
“Yeah way, you just told the ghost legend of FC to basically fuck off and he did,” I don’t regret using the F-bomb in this moment of awesome clarity.
“Yeah... yeah, I did,” Casey looks down at Ace and Jose and then glances at me, “Should I test it?”
“Go ahead, but don’t do anything immature -”
“I was born to rule like a boss, Alyssa, so have a lil’ faith in science, K?” Casey half jokes but with extreme happiness as he holds out his hands like he has to, to both beasts in a slumber on the floor, “Awaken, you ugly brutes!”
I stand back with Casey as Ace and Jose roll and jerk back to life, scrambling to their feet while looking panicked. They both spin and look around for threats and then they focus on us, narrowing their eyes.
“What the fuck just happened?” Jose growls.
“You were mind fucked, by me,” Casey raises his brows.
“Casey, no f-bombs,” Ace swipes his finger from side to side while straightening his suit, “So, ah - what happened again?”
“What he said,” I point to Casey, who crosses his arms over his chest before yawning really loudly.
“This was cool,” Casey suddenly says in boredom, “But I’m still tired, so - cya.”
“Goodnight,” I wave him a goodnight and Casey halts, shrugs and runs in to give me a quick hug. I hug him back and then he pauses to look at the beasts, before scowling and walking off while flicking his hand through the air.
“Night,” Casey disappears while Jose and Ace still look majorly confused.
"What happened?” Ace repeats.
“Hacksaw tried to abduct me,” I explain, “And Casey saved me.”
“Bullshit,” Jose shakes his head.
“You don’t remember him standing in the hall way with Casey being dragged through the hall?” I ask, confused now too.
“Even if I believed what you were saying, that sounds like he was trying to kidnap Casey... not you,” Ace points out very helpfully while I just fume with anger.
First Dale and Serge are assholes, then Ace and Jose tease me and now they down right don’t believe me.
“I feel like hate fucking all of you right now,” I snarl, moving past them to press for the lift.
“Sounds... terrible,” Jose tries sarcasm and I give him a sorry smile.
“I’m a little scared, honestly,” Ace tugs at his collar as he follows me into the lift.
“You should be,” I drawl to both of them.
As they press for the Red Lounge, I press for the Paradise.
“The hospital, kitten? I don’t think the kids need any more traumatising, don’t you agree, Jose?” Ace keeps playing off the card that I’m stupid as the lift stops at the Paradise first. I reach my nail over and scratch a silver P over the H.
“Doll?” Jose asks as the lift stops at the newly formed and lit up [P].
I turn to whisper to both of them, “My version of hate fucking you, is fucking you over which means not fucking you at all. Also,” I step out of the lift as I point to the scratches on the lift wall, where they had failed to notice them yet again, “There is your evidence and oh yeah... fuck you too.”
The lift closes while Ace and Jose frown at the scratches on the lift wall before their eyes lighten with the knowledge that I wasn’t, perhaps, lying.
I roll my eyes and turn around to see a bunch of kids tucked up in hospital beds, while my Brownie Squad are now all awake, literally standing around Daniel’s bed, guarding him.
Again, I am taken very literally... so I decide to find out what’s happening, and if Daniel is still in a sour mood as my girls turn to me with happy smiles and I smile back.
I wanted to find out if Daniel had let Hacksaw in.
I also wanted to find out more about Hacksaw... with those devil black eyes... and that creepy way about him... that knowing, creepy way...
I could tell he knew many secrets.
And I was almost regretting not going with him to find out all that I could.
I had a feeling Louis knew more than most.
Since the ghost Legend of FC had been around for 100 years since Dooms Day... which meant if Louis really was Hacksaw, he was at least 100 years old.