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Book One: The Innocent Heart

By Ben Douglas All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy

Sour Innocent Sixteen


Part 18.1 of 1.9: As the Twin Beasts prowled the streets, an old friend returns...

Ash let out a snarl. It was the twenty ninth of 072461.271, the twin beasts’ birthday. They turned sixteen. The morning was brisk as they walked side by side in unison against the sun. The sun rays were blocked by the building as they walked along the city. Ash kept her hold on her twin beast’s hand. With a grip, she turned to her and stopped walking inquiring, “Where do you want to go, Mack? We have the whole day for ourselves. It’ll be our treat.”

Mackie smiled and responded, “For ourselves? Don’t we have people to celebrate with?”

Ash shrugged replying, “Sure, but don’t you think we would enjoy it better one on one. Watch a holo-movie or something. Daezguntz is showing. It’s about this old, ancient ghost colony that was abandoned due to a methane gas explosion. The entire colony was dead. Taken over by an ancient evil, the former inhabitants of the colony rose from their graves and-“

She was interrupted by Mackie’s snarl as she scoffed shaking her head, “No. I’ve had enough of horror flics. They are still in bad taste. Let’s watch something nicer?”

Staring at her, Ash mocked her with a smirk, “What little beast? You scared?”

Mackie scowled at her as a guttural growl escaped her throat. She snarled baring her fangs and retorted, “Careful Ash. Don’t make me rip your throat out and hang you from your entrails.”

Ash offered a cold smile shaking her head. Before she could respond, a voice came from the front of them. It was Cameron. The twin beasts’ mood soured as they turned to him with anger. They snarled at him as Cam waved at them with a smile, “Hey Ash! Hey Sack-“

Mackie ripped out an angry roar as her Paxxian aggression returned. Shoving Ash aside, she bounded across on all fours and launched herself at Cam. Cameron gasped stopping. He raised his hands trying to stop her, but Mackie dug her claws into his chest and thrust him harshly onto the ground. Opening her mouth, she attempted to bite down.

Yelling in fear and panic, Cameron managed to grab the twin beast’s throat and held her back. He barely missed Mackie’s sharp canines by a few inches. Quickly, Ash reacted as she rushed forward with a shout, “Mackie! Get back!”

Gripping her twin beast by the shoulder, Ash pulled Mackie back as Cameron whimpered in fear backing up against the wall of the building. His chest bled. Pushing the brown haired beast across the sidewalk, Ash shouted, “Mack-“

Mackie interrupted her with a snarl as she spat angrily at Cameron, “Where have you gone after all this time? You left without much of a notice and when Ash got betrayed, where were you? Where were you when she was in a coma for a month? No! What kind of a friend does this? What kind of a friend drops off the face of the Earth without a hint? You are no friend, Cameron Sheppard! No!”

Keeping her hand on her breasts, Ash roared keeping her twin beast back, “Mack! Stop this I command you! You are getting aggressive again. Keep it under control now!”

Mackie opened her mouth with another roar. Keeping her beast back, Ash took her fist and rammed a blow against Mackie’s jaw. She snapped her out of her locked in rage against her friend. The twin beast roared opening her fangs. Ash thrust her back harshly and pumped herself up as she roared. Her dark eyes glimmered red as her dominance over her little beast came.

With a roar, Ash spoke harshly, “Mack, get out of here. Go back to the Underground. We are not going anywhere while you are like this. Scram. Get out of here now!”


Part 18.2 of 2.9: With complete dominate control, Ash won over her twin beast making her submissive

Ash puffed her chest and backed her beast down with a push. Mackie aggressively roared at both her dark beast and the boy. After roaring and a few more dominate strikes by her alpha beast, Mackie whimpered going down on all fours and scampered away with her tail sweeping low. Still angry, Ash breathed with rage. Opening her mouth, she snarled flashing her fangs.

With a groan, Cameron sat up against the wall. He inquired getting her attention, “Ash?”

Snapping her head around with a glare, Ash snarled angrily, “What are you doing here Sheppard?”

Clutching his chest, Cameron slowly rose to his feet and spoke, “I only came here to talk. I didn-“

Turning to Cam, the beast advanced harshly as she spat, “Yes you didn’t think, Sheppard! What did you think would happen? You disappeared and you hurt Mackie! You don’t hurt my little beast.”

With a sigh, Cameron raised his hand and responded apologetically, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the world. Let me explain-“

Ash roared at him clenching her fists, “Speak!”

Cameron gulped and hastily responded, “The reason is that after I finally got your message, I decided to drop it. Then life took over as I got busy. I traveled out of country for a while for the past two years. I tried to get over you. Then I heard about you being in coma and I want to say I’m sorry for not being there for you. I apolo-“

Ash snapped interrupting him, “Apologies are for the weak. Tell me the reason you came here or leave. Now! I will not have you upsetting my little beast anymore. I will soon kill you.”

With a sigh, Cameron nodded and responded, “Ash, I am back now. I am here. This is your sixteenth year. I do not want you out of my life. I want to be more than your friend. I want to be your anchor so you don’t drift too far away into darkness. I want to be on your side because I still want to fight for you. I never forgot you Ash because you were in my thoughts every day. I still love you.”

Ash scowled at Cameron. She cooled stopping before him. Cam gulped speaking, “You need me Ash. You need someone to soften the blow as you descend into darkness. I extend my hand-“

Standing up, he approached her bravely and withdrew a chip from his pocket. It was something that could connect into a Holo-vision. Holding out the chip to Ash, the fourteen year old boy resumed, “and I hope to grasp yours without getting bitten. Ash today is your birthday and I want to do something with you to commemorate your special day. I haven’t even hit sixteenth mark but I do know how special it is. Please take my hand just this once. Celebrate this day with me. I want to remind you again just how awesome you are. I still remember the day you healed me. You took care of my leg and that was when I started following you. You still have your innocence and I hope some are still left.”

Cameron kept his hand out with the chip atop his open palm. Ash snarled uttering a low growl. She felt her anger tendered feeling no rage toward the boy. The beast was calm. Taking the chip, she studied the piece of technology. Cam approached Ash and smiled taking his place besides her offering his hand.


Part 18.3 of 3.9: Once again as Cameron attempts to grab Ash’s hand...

Looking at the boy, Ash stared at him. Taking his hand, she gripped it. Cameron led her along the sidewalk and entered through a store. On the window were all sorts of technology. They needed the one that projects a holo-vision. Searching the store, they found an active holo-projector in one of the rooms. Entering through the doorway, Cam turned to lock the door.

Ash approached the holo-vision device. Twirling the chip in her hand, she stared at it. Approaching the beast, Cam pointed toward the holo-vision and responded, “Go ahead and put that in there. We have the entire day to ourselves. Let’s not waste one minute.”

With a light snarl, Ash focused her attention onto the holo-vision. She placed the chip in and backed. The scenery slowly shifted as it transported them into the middle of a park. They were in an opened glade surrounded by several patches of trees. The woods were behind them and the city was in front of them further away. Around her, she felt this aura of peace and tranquility.

Cameron walked to her side and spoke, “This was twenty fourteen. It was the month before World War Three started and the last month of innocence before the war took it all away. This place- no, this park was the last place of refuge before it was all taken away by the war. It was a part in the middle of the eastern states south of Pennsylvania. There were free rides here because you can’t put a price on joy and fun as families got together for one last time before this place turned into a massive graveyard.”

Walking in front of Ash, Cam turned to face the beast. He offered his hand and replied, “Come Ashlyn Sadie Techryn. Enjoy your birthday. Just once enjoy it and experience innocence again. Find what you lost and let me be your cushion as you fall. I extend my hand and lift you to my arms.”

Cameron stood there holding his hand out and waited for her. Ash stared at him confused and unsure what he wanted her to do. Turning away, she walked from him across the glade. As the boy watched her walk away, he sighed dropping his arms. Looking around the park, he pondered on what he should do next. To him this day was not done.

Seeing a flower patch of blood-red hyacinth, Cameron walked toward it. Bending down, he studied the unusual flower for a moment. He inhaled their aroma and exhaled. Taking the stem, he removed the flower easily and stood. Turning toward the sixteen year old girl facing the park, he replied holding the flower on his hand, “Ash.”

Ash turned to face him. Brushing her dark curled hair aside, she cocked her head inquiring him with curiosity. Holding the flower to his side, Cameron approached the beast slowly. Holding out his hand, he showed the flower with blood red petals toward her and spoke, “Do you know this flower? This is the Baur-sun Kym. This is the hybrid of a hyacinth introduced to this world by a race known as the Siriian. They refer the Baur-sun Kym as the strongest flower to survive. It would even survive through the longest droughts or the harshest winter. Drop it and the stem doesn’t break and the petals don’t fall.”

Ash studied the flower before her. Taking the offer, she sniffed the sensory aroma. The beast moaned closing her eyes smelling the nice aroma. Cameron resumed, “I programmed this flower into this simulation. It isn’t from this time period obviously, but I made it just for you. The hyacinth had been extinct for a while. Somehow it survived the war’s malice, but it wouldn’t grow. It was kept frozen as a few seeds were saved. They kept them frozen until they removed it and merged it with that other rare flower only found in the harsh sands of Siri. The Baur-sun Kym is the blood red flower that survived even through toughest sandstorm of Siri. When it merged with the Baur-Sun Kym hyacinth, it became the toughest flora ever known in the Terrian Alliance.


Part 18.4 of 4.9: Baur-Sun Kym hyacinth, the toughest flora in the galaxy...

Ashlyn regarded the flower with curiosity. Taking the blood-red petal of the hyacinth, she studied it. Her rage and anger diminished. Rubbing the petal between her fingers, she crushed it. The color stained her fingertips red. Facing him, she inquired, “Why?”

Taking her hand, Cam grabbed it and gently caressed her face with the other. Ash allowed him to touch her face as he brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. He explained, “Flowers have meanings. Each is a part of the person’s destiny their journey into the unknown. This is yours. You are beautiful, tough and strong. You push through any barriers without question. This flower survived everything nature threw at it, even through man’s malice. However it still grows strong. Water will make it grow taller. Deny it water for several weeks and it will remain standing though the harshest of days hot or cold.”

Cameron stroked her cheek. Gripping her hand, he reached over to give her a kiss. As Ash kept the flower to her side, she snarled baring her fangs. Whipping her hand away, she gripped his chest and pushed him back a certain distance and spoke harshly looking at him, “You would play for my affections and you expect something from me? You’re wrong. I feel nothing. I don’t know love. I know hate. I feel no remorse and I am stronger for that.”

As the beast finished, she forced him onto the ground. Taking the flower, she scowled at it. Moving the blood-red flower atop her palm, Ash clutched it into her hand in the attempt to crush the flower. Within her closed fist, the inside of her hand was stained with blood as red liquid dripped down slowly. Cameron gasped holding his chest and looked at Ash.

“My father,” she replied crumbling the flower in her hand, “my father sought to teach me to deny weakness and strive to become stronger. People like you get in my way and my only resolve is to teach them a lesson they won’t forget. It is the same lesson my father taught me.”

Dropping the blood-red flower onto the ground, Ash turned walking from him. Her flower was forgotten. Cameron crawled over across the ground toward the flower Ash dropped and picked it up. It wasn’t broken or crushed. The stem remained unbent and the petals were still whole. Even though some petals were gone crushed into her fist, flower still remained resilient keeping its namesake as the toughest flower known. Getting up onto his feet, he carried the flower to his side and walked toward Ash. He still had feelings for her and the boy didn’t want to give up on her.

Ashlyn growled snarling and stopped before the tree. It was in bloom with the pink-violet leaves. Several leaves were laden on the ground. She stared at the tree with anger. The beast wanted to leave this place. Feeling a presence behind her, she turned her head around baring her fangs. Cameron grabbed her hand and pulled her around. Showing her the flower, he responded, “You may not show any love for me, but I have feelings for you. I feel something for you. I-“

Cameron paused. He sighed looking down. Still scowling, Ash cocked her head and studied him some more. Taking the flower, she sniffed the aroma again. As Cameron gulped, the wind around them increased. The wind gusted softly through the pink-violent leaves. As the leaves fluttered in the wind, they fell loose from the branches and began to fall.


Part 18.5 of 5.9: The slow minded beast slowly understood what the boy was trying to say...

Moving the blood-red flower to her side, Ash let it drop. Taking Cameron by the chin, she moved his attention to her eyes. She stared at him while stroking his cheek. With her other hand, she touched his hair stroking his scalp. Cam gulped grabbing her wrist. After studying his eyes, Ash let out a gasp. It hit her as she finally understood.

The pink-violet leaves fell around them as it programmed by the holo-vision. Seeing the beast submissive, Cam made his move grabbing her hand. Placing his arm around Ash’s broad torso, he supported her body as they hugged. Letting go of her hand, Cam caressed Ash on the face. Brushing her dark hair aside, he moved for a kiss.

The beast stopped him placing her arm against his chest. Pushing him back, she spat, “Sheppard, I can’t feel what you are feeling. Love is weakness.”

Cameron grunted feeling dejected. He sighed and backed from her responding, “It doesn’t have to be Ash. It’s more than that.”

“Cam,” Ash finally spoke his first name. The beast backed from him. She sighed shaking her head responding, “If you truly love me, then forgive me but I can’t-“

The scene shimmered as the holo-vision suddenly shut off. They were interrupted as a large, muscular angry human faced them. James’ dark eyes shimmered red as he snarled at both of them. He spat, “You would expose her to such weakness, boy? I will not abide this any longer!”

Facing her father, Ash gasped with fear as she backed. Her father was angrier than usual. Seeing the true monster in his red eyes hiding beneath his human skin, the beast submitted. Cameron went to her defense as he faced the large man. Keeping his hand behind him while keeping Ash back, he put his fist forward and scowled at him. The strong fourteen year old spat back with defiance, “You will not harm her anymore!”

James took the rod out and flicked activating it. He stormed toward Cam and raised his rod. With fierce determination, Cameron rushed toward him. James thrust down with his rod swiping it at his side. Cam ducked the blow and retaliated, but the angry muscular man thrust him aside with his sweeping arm muscle. Cameron was thrust harshly aside as James stomped toward Ash. Ash froze looking into his eyes. Her muscles stiffened locking her in place. James smacked Ash harshly across the face.

Ash fell onto the floor spitting blood. Laying the rod to his side, James scowled at her with heavy breathing. Kneeling down on the ground, he grabbed Ash by the chest and raised his rod. Cameron moved around on the ground and groaned in pain. He looked at the man with anger. From the doorway of the room, another person entered. It was the store owner.

The middle aged man shouted at James, “Hey stop! No violence in my store! Leave the kids be! Security has been notified and they will be on their way. You will-“


Part 18.6 of 6.9: Love rejected is a love lost...

He was cut short as James turned against him. His red eyes glared at the store owner. The owner stopped and gulped in fear. Gripping the handle of his energy rod, James stood and charged toward him with an angry roar. The man backed offering his hands at the large man surrendering. However, James placed his rod low and thrust with an upper motion jamming the stun weapon against the man’s chest. He impaled him through the heart and snarled lifting him by the chest.

The store owner gasped as blood trickled from his mouth and onto James’ hand. Gripping the handle, he struggled as his feet left the floor and was dangled above the ground. James snarled as his large muscles bulged while he lifted him and scowled at the dying man’s eyes.

Behind them, Cameron slowly made his way toward Ash. Grabbing the stunned Ash by the torso, he laid himself protectively over her. Placing his wrist atop Ash’s breast, he tapped a few commands into the flashing light below his skin. They vanished from the store in a blinding light somewhere far away.

As the dead man was dropped on the floor with the sparking energy rod still sticking out of his chest, James turned with a snarl. As the blinding light ceased, the room was empty. With anger and another roar of rage, he pounded the wall and left the doorway. As the sirens came closer, James escaped through the back door. Darkness was falling as the man vanished into the woods behind the store.


Ashlyn!

It was dark and chaotic. A single voice shouted out in the darkness. Ash felt something she hadn’t felt before. It was more than rage and hatred. A dark malice inside her boiled hot as she roared. The beast charged out trying to get free.

Ashlyn!

Darkness moved inside her as the cries tried to reach her. It failed. Lighting flashed once illuminating the darkness for a moment as she looked back to what her father did.

As James rushed toward the store owner, Ashlyn dropped back onto the ground. She was stunned by his blow. Turning to her side, she looked back at him and watched as her father attacked the store owner. She was still dazed. Feeling Cameron’s arm across her torso, Ash broke her stare and looked at him. She watched him type the teleport button on his arm and they vanished in a blinding white light.

They reappeared in the emergency room of the hospital in the whining, blinding light of the teleporter. Ash found herself lying on the hospital bed. Cameron was at her side gripping her hand. She stared at him dazed and unable to speak. The sound was muffled as Cameron called for her name but she couldn’t hear him. Slowly as Ash stared at the boy, she felt a slow rising of darkness inside her. It was a boiling feeling of rage and hatred that she never felt before. It was the beast’s malice.

A hand reached for her face and she flinched involuntarily as Cameron spoke taking out the blood-red flower from his pocket. He showed it reminding her, “Remember this? It is the Baur-Sun Kym hyacinth. Your name and this flower connect. It will make you stronger to resist his blows. Do not give in to your hatred of him. Instead grow stronger and prove your strength and resolve.”


Part 18.7 of 7.9: A rare flower that never wilts...

The beast couldn’t hear him. She was deaf by the blinding rush of hatred and malice. It was new raw emotion for her. Cameron tried again as the beast read his lips.

Ashlyn Sadie Techryn. I love you!

The beast glared at him as her dark eyes shifted into a harsh red with anger. Cameron gasped seeing her eyes change color. He saw the anger and hatred emanating from her and inquired, “Ash?”

However, his word was cut out when the beast grabbed his throat. Cameron struggled with pain as he flailed grabbing her wrist and murmured gasping for breath, “Ah-Ash! Wha-“

Ash shut him up with an angry roar. The beast wanted everyone dead. She wanted anyone within reach of her dead no matter whom. Scowling at the boy with boiling rage and malice, the blind beast couldn’t see Cameron anymore. Instead, she saw a stranger in place before her. Cam struggled as he gasped while Ash increased her grip. Her rippling muscles constricted harder as her arms bulged. The dark curled hair fell to the front of her face as she scowled through the strands.

Baring her fangs, Ash sat from her hospital bed and rose to her feet slowly. Keeping her grip on the struggling boy, she moved him back. With her other hand, she grabbed Cam’s chest. Using her upper body strength, she ripped out a roar lifting the boy over her. Turning to the bed, she rammed down the struggling boy onto the soft bed harshly. The legs of the bed broke as it collapsed on the floor. Ash let go of him as Cameron fell back onto the falling mattress onto the ground. The soft bed cushioned his fall as Cam slipped into unconsciousness.

Hunched over scowling at Cameron with rage, her muscular torso heaved with her heavy breaths. Her dark hair covered her face. Clenching her fists, she exhaled sharply and arched back flipping her hair over. The beast let out another roar. Turning away, she stormed away from the unconscious boy and tapped her wrist. The whining hum of the teleporter activated as she vanished from the middle of the room. From the doorway, several nurses rushed into the ER to tend to Cameron.


Back at the city, darkness fell. James walked along the quiet street sullen and angry. The sirens wailed from a distance. Dark eyes returned on his face as he entered the bar. Above it was a sign that said, ’Thorny Rose’. On the side was an image of a rose with thorns.

Opening the door, he stormed in with a snarl. Rapping his fist on the counter-top, he sat down on the stool and shouted with a snarl, “Get me several shots of whiskey!”

The bartender approached him. Taking the glass, he placed it on the counter and poured an alcoholic for him. He responded pushing the glass toward him, “Remember the rules. Three’s your limit.”

James growled at him with anger and grabbed the glass. He emptied the drink into his mouth and exhaled placing the glass back down. The bartender filled his glass. Placing the bottle to the side, he inquired, “Long day?”

The man looked up and exhaled sharply. He scowled at him. Returning his stare at his glass, he picked it up and studied the liquid. Moving his wrist around, he sloshed the alcohol making it swirl around the edges. The bartender kept his hand on the counter resting on it. He watched his patron while keeping his other hand on the curved bottle of the whiskey.


Part 18.8 of 8.9: A flower that bleeds...

The underground lightened up as the moving bright light of the teleporter moved forward. It dissipated as the beast stormed along the corridor. She wanted death. The dark beast wanted someone dead. Turning to the corner, she stopped before Tyler. Baring her fangs, she snarled scowling him with her glowing red eyes.

Tyler backed offering his hands and spoke, “Whoa Ash! What happened? You oka-“

Saliva dripped from her fangs as the beast snarled. Clenching her fist, she pointed with her other finger and spat at him with her broken English, “I want kill! Make dead! You-”

Tyler gulped and backed from the beast. He hastily responded, “Wait! Listen! Please! I have a match for you. It’s your birthday. Guess what? You get to take home that championship trophy you always wanted to get. I thought I would find you, but someone beat me to it. No matter. Since you’re here, I don’t have to cancel the match. My present to you from me is the championship trophy with the title of ‘Pit of Hell Champion’ that you deserve! It’s a long time coming Ash.”

Ash snarled at him listening. Her rage stayed. Tyler replied, “It’s not a death match. It’s a match against the current pit champion. His name is Jayce ‘Bear’ Ryan. He fought and proved himself the best. He is slightly older about my age. He is formidable. Take him on and consider your rage quelled. I cannot have you angry over something that’s-“

Tyler stopped as he sighed shaking his head confused by the Beast’s attitude. Ash scowled at him clenching her fist. Tyler shrugged and beckoned her to follow. She followed him into the big area. As they walked along the path, the beast breathed heavily with hatred and rage. Mackie came to her beast’s side and grabbed her arm, but Ash shoved her aside with boiling rage and bashed through the cage door. She broke it in half while jumping into the ring with a roar. Flipping her dark curled hair over, she pumped her arms.

Jayce Ryan stared back stoically as he kept his fists forward. After hearing the roar of the beast and her red eye glowering at him, he gulped feeling intimidated by his dominate challenger. Getting his confidence back, he bounded forward several steps. His opponent rushed forward toward him.

The announcer appeared and spoke, “Wel-“

The charging beast interrupted him with a snarl as she whapped his holo with her arms. The holo shimmered off and reappeared as he watched Ash rushed at her opponent. Jayce backed slightly. He stumbled when the beast grabbed him and shoved him with a roar against the cage. Baring her fangs, she snarled gripping his chest. Raising her fists, she pummeled him repeatedly. He grunted trying to fight back but the beast was too strong for him.

Taking her knee, she got close and delivered a blow against his chest. Bear grunted as his breath was taken away. Ash rammed another blow from her side and pounded him across. He spat blood and several teeth as he stumbled onto the mat dazed. Her blow was harsh. Jayce tried to get up and groaned in pain.

Ash turned on him as she walked over and knelt down. Gripping the nape of his neck, she hoisted him up and wrapped her arm around his neck. Constricting her bulged biceps against his throat, the beast lifted his back up with her knee against his spine. Jayce yelled with pain pounding his hand against the mat. Her curled hair hung down as she scowled baring her fangs near his neck. Increasing her grip, she shifted her shoulder up placing herself into position while placing her hand on Jayce’s head.


Part 18.9 of 9.9: A flower still standing strong is a force to be reckoned with...

Watching her, the announcer had enough. He approached pointing his finger at the beast speaking, “Alright! That is enough! Let him-“

He was cut off by the sound of a single crack from a neck bone. The flailing body ceased as Jayce slumped over dead. The beast had twisted her arm across snapping his neck. She exhaled as all of her energy withdrew from her. With a gasp, her red eyes dimmed as her dark eyes returned. All the boiling rage, hatred and the malice diminished as her beast withdrew into the protective shell of her tough body. Ash felt nothing at all. There was a deathly silence in the air.

Dropping the body, Ash looked up and brushed her hair out of the way. Looking around, she was dazed. Getting up to her feet, she turned toward the announcer. The holo shimmered as he gaped at her with a horrified surprised expression. Ash walked across the mat through the announcer as the holo vanished and reappeared behind her. He watched her.

Soon as Ash stepped over the broken cage door and exited the ring, Tyler came beside her and shouted with anger, “You failed the match. You forfeited it with his death. You don’t get tha-“

Not wanting to listen to his whining, Ash scoffed irritated shoving him aside. She stormed her way across the path leaving the ring. Tyler followed and shouted, “Hey-“

A harsh grab from behind pulled Tyler back as Mackie ripped out an angry roar. The aggressive Paxxian thrust him against the cage and pressed her strong arm across his chest. She started baring her fangs at him with a guttural growl.

Tyler gulped and responded, “What? Mac-“

He was rudely interrupted for the third time as the angry Paxxian shouted, “You don’t get to talk to her anymore! I’m done with you. I’m tired of you! Everything you have done thus far for my beast has been to keep her blood sated, but you went too far! You knew she was angry, but you don’t get it do you? You never do! You don’t get to look at my beast and decide what she wants because she does it only for herself. No one holds her hand but me you hear? No one!”

Tyler gulped as Mackie’s fangs went close to his throat. She let go of him and turned. Going down to all fours, the seething Paxxian bounded after her beast as her tail wagged to the side. Tyler rubbed his chest and muttered confused, “Ow. I don’t understand.”

Halfway toward the retreating back of the dark beast, Mackie bounded toward her on all fours. Reaching up with her claw, she grabbed Ash’s hand as she stood and barring her path. Ash stared at her emotionless. Mackie whimpered touching her beast on the cheek and responded, “Ash.”

Ash stared at her. Looking into her yellow cat-like eyes, she gripped her hand and touched her other hand on her face. She let her twin beast speak. Mackie responded, “I wanted to apologize before for letting my aggression get out of hand. Cameron didn’t deserve my harsh words. I’m sorry.”

Ash nodded accepting her apology. Mackie gripped her hand and replied, “Let’s get out of here for good, Ash. Let’s run away. Leave this place. I hate the Underground. It’s too dark.”

Looking at her, the beast exhaled a sigh at her twin beast and nodded. Mackie smiled and tapped her wrist. A whining hum of the teleporter blinded them as it took their bodies away from the underground and back to the city. Turning around, Mackie kept her hold on the hand and led her across the city. Ash stared at her twin beast.

When they came around the corner, sirens from the Terrian Alliance metro police increased in tempo. Before them a building was aflame. It lightened up the dark sky as the flames shot out of the building. Firefighters fought against the burning inferno of flames with water as police put up road blocks. A burnt and broken sign lay next to the twin beasts. It said ‘Thorny Rose’. Ash watched the former bar burn to the ground.

In front of her, Cameron approached. Mackie scowled at him and snarled. Ash let go of her twin beast’s hand and held her back. She moved forward as Cameron approached her. He responded gasping with breath, “Ash! Please. I am sorry. I want no more trouble. I’m not angry at you. Just listen. Come away with me please. I forgive you.”

Ash stared at him. From the other side of the street in the dark alley near the burning building, a man in uniform appeared from the darkness. He stared at her observing. The man in black uniform watched as Cameron approached the beast and knelt before her. He watched the boy take the beast’s hand. Mackie watched from behind her dark beast.

Cameron spoke with enforcement, “I forgive you.”

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