Chapter Twenty-Six: ‘Thy desperado’s heart...!’
Hector shambled into his room and collapsed onto his bed. It had been a long night, and the following morning had not been much better.
Garovel had found him a triple homicide in progress, and while Hector did manage to successfully prevent any deaths, the intended victims never realized they were in danger to begin with. So instead of being grateful, they thought Hector was some kind of blood-soaked monster, and thus, he had to spend a few extra hours evading and hiding from the police.
By the time he made it home, he had already missed the school bus. He intended to just skip, but one of his friends decided to pay him a morning visit. Apparently, Nathan lived quite close by and wanted to offer Hector a ride.
Hector thought about simply refusing Nathan’s offer--Garovel even gave permission--but he couldn’t bring himself to. He worried what his new group of friends thought of him, what with how he always made it difficult for them to help him with anything. So he went to school.
But before even his first class finished, Hector had to leave again. Garovel had found him a nice, heaping plate of early morning gang violence--and not even that far away from Calman High, either.
It was a group of ten or so guys, all pretty young, and masked with scarves and hoodies. They’d been raiding a rundown apartment complex, terrorizing the residents with knives and handguns. Without incurring injury, Hector bound them all in iron and stole their weapons. An elderly tenant offered him an apple pie. He quietly refused, of course.
Garovel was quick to find more people in distress. There had been a spike in violent crime over the past couple days. The police largely attributed it to the Rofals, but they also seemed keen to blame Hector, even if they couldn’t determine how just yet.
And now, having not slept more than a total of four hours in the past three days, Hector finally lay in bed again. It was the middle of the day, but the nights tended to need him more, anyway.
Through the growing fog that was his fatigue, he could still feel faintly wondrous at the lack of pain throughout his body. It was a welcome change, to say the least, though he did not expect it to remain that way for very long.
Sleep was a warm cloud, unconscious bliss. And then a voice broke through.
‘Hector, wake up. Your cellphone is beeping.’
His eyes slit open. “Cellphone...? Who would be--?” He sat up.
Hector rummaged through his bag until he found it--the burner phone Colt had given him. At Garovel’s behest, he hadn’t taken it with him to Sescoria. The reaper had posited that if Colt were to call while they were in the capital, then there would be nothing Hector could do about it; therefore, it was better to leave it here in Brighton, where it would not get destroyed if things went badly. Certainly, one of the reaper’s more prophetic suggestions. Garovel had to remind him to recharge it as soon as he had returned home.
There was a single text message, received less than two minutes ago. Hector read it.
He immediately grabbed his bag and bolted out the door.
Another row of cars blocked the way, and Colt was forced to turn again. Nearly an hour had passed since the clothing store, and he had been drawn into a losing game of cat and mouse. Much as he tried to find a way around, the minions were slowly forcing him toward the port.
He knew their plan, but there wasn’t much to be done about it. They obviously wanted to corner him against the water, where he would have nowhere left to run unless he intended to commandeer a boat; but if that were even an option, it would probably just be an even worse trap.
Colt just wanted to buy time for Hector. Delroy was nearly two hours away from Brighton. The kid had texted him back, but Colt hadn’t found the opportunity to stop and read it, much less reply. His hands were busy trying to prevent a car crash as he weaved his way through the streets.
He could often see a silver-white car in the rear-view mirror, along with a big, red hand waving hello from out of the driver’s side window. Colt would lose him, only to see the car reappear a few minutes later.
At length, he ran out of road. The Gulf of Emerson filled the horizon, and only a long shipyard lay between Colt and the turbulent waters.
Colt drove onto a footpath. Dock workers lined the water, hoisting crates and tanks up via pulley. They yelled at him as he passed, and he spared them a couple gunshots--not hitting them, just getting them to flee.
He looked for an area without people. He saw an empty cruise liner and decided to abandon his car in front of it. Hopping the rope and running up the stepped path, he found the entrance shut, so he riddled it with bullet holes and kicked it open.
“Mr. Colt!” came Geoffrey’s not-so-distant voice. “Where are you running, Mr. Colt?! Isn’t it about time we brought this little chase to an end?!”
Colt knew Geoffrey was right. He was out of options. Even if he could somehow steal the boat, it sounded like Geoffrey was already on board. Colt ran for the bow of the ship.
Rows of chairs and small tables surrounded a covered pool. Colt approached the edge of the ship and climbed up over the guard rail. The waters must’ve been a good ten meters below him, and the way they crashed against the hull certainly did not look inviting.
He gathered his courage and jumped.
And he stopped in midair. Pain exploded throughout his body. The red shadow had pierced his chest and leg, holding him in place.
“No, no,” said Geoffrey, turning Colt around to face him. “Let’s not turn this into a swimming competition, Mr. Colt. That would be so tedious.”
The pain was worst in his chest. Colt could feel the shadow there, tearing through muscle and bone, coiling around his heart. He screamed, and the shadow wrapped around his mouth, too.
“Shh. Come on, Mr. Colt. I need you to listen. You can still hear me, can’t you?”
He struggled, tasting blood in his mouth. The pain was maddening, but he was determined to keep his focus until the end. With his right hand, he could still feel his rifle.
“By the way--” The red shadow expanded out, much larger than Colt had ever seen, and shot back behind Geoffrey, disappearing over the side of the ship. After a moment, it returned. With Colt’s car. “I believe you forgot this.”
Colt’s eyes widened at the sight of the vehicle there, held in place as if stuck in a crimson tree.
Geoffrey smiled. “And I must say, Mr. Colt. I am surprised at you. Pleasantly surprised. You left your children in your car, didn’t you? Were you hoping they would distract me long enough to let you get away?”
The red broke through the car door and filled the backseat. It pulled out the bundled blanket, holding it up to see. The blanket flapped open. There were no children inside.
It took Geoffrey a moment to process, confused blinking turning to abrupt rage. He glared at Colt. “What did you do with them?!”
And Geoffrey caught a grenade with his face. The explosion knocked him back, making him release both Colt and the car at once.
A gaping hole in his chest, Colt still managed a bloody smile as he fell into the rolling waves.
Geoffrey scowled through the smoke as it cleared. He ran up to the guard rail and looked out. He couldn’t see the man in the water.
Ozmere and Moss approached from behind.
‘What happened?’ the reaper asked. ‘Did you get him?’
The anger dissipated from Geoffrey’s face and became a frown. “I did get him, yes.” He brought down one of the red tendrils. Colt’s coat hung from it, dripping with blood. Geoffrey peeled back the cloth to reveal the man’s still-beating heart. “But he was not supposed to die that quickly. I wanted to torture him much more, first.”
‘Aww. I’m sorry.’
“And he hid his children from me, too! How did he do that?! I was going to make him watch them die! But no! Mr. Colt, you were a real bastard!”
‘Well, at least you got to kill him,’ said Ozmere. ‘He was a wanted man, right? Imagine if someone else had gotten him before you.’
Geoffrey just pouted.
Ozmere frowned as well. ‘I suppose I could go find the body, if you want, but we really should be leaving now. You’ve made quite the stir here. We need to get you back to Sescoria where Abolish can protect you.’
“Really? But I was holding back. I only killed a few dozen people.”
‘Yes, but that is more than enough to make national news. And if it makes international news, then the Vanguard’s aberration hunters will definitely come to investigate.’
“Well, if that is the case, then I might as well just devour the entire city before they get here. There are at least a hundred thousand people in this city, right? That should make me quite strong, yes?”
‘No! If you do that, they’ll send their very best warriors! Which would ruin all of our plans for Atreya!’
“Bah. Fine then.”
‘If you want to eat an entire city, then we’ll arrange that for you somewhere safer.’
“Mm, okay. Oh, but before that, I need to go back to Brighton and tell my grandpa that I will be leaving with you.”
‘Your grandfather, huh? What’s he like?’
“He has a reaper, too, actually. Why don’t you come with me to meet him? He is a lot of fun. I am sure you would like him.”
‘Hmm. Alright. Lead the way.’
Hector pulled into the parking lot and hopped off the bike. He eyed the address on the far corner of the building and double-checked Colt’s text message:
delroy. 8133 sampson st. life/death. keep them safe
He left the engine running and ran inside the outlet store. Garovel followed.
The place was a mess. Toppled shelves and scattered clothing riddled the floor. Hector stopped in the center aisle, looking around. ‘I don’t see anyone.’
Garovel floated ahead of him. ‘There was obviously a struggle here. Did everyone run away? You’d think there’d at least be police officers here.’
“Wait...” Hector heard a faint squeal. A baby. He followed the sound to the back of the store.
Two shelves had been pushed together, leaving only a small crack between them. Hector pulled them apart to see the twins there.
‘He really left them here for you...’
“I’m afraid of what that could mean...” Hector took them in his arms. They started crying louder as he carried them back out to the motorcycle.
‘What do you want to do with them?’
“Uh...” Hector eyed the bike again. “First things first... how the hell do I carry them both on a motorcycle?”
‘Make yourself an iron carriage around your chest.’
He sat on the bike with both arms full, and then did as Garovel suggested. The metal formed from his back, grew around his torso, and gradually enveloped the children, freeing up Hector’s arms.
They didn’t like it and kicked against the metal, so he expanded it out a bit, giving them slightly more space. They had enough room to move their arms and legs a bit, but their bodies fit snuggly into place. Then he added a pair of tiny iron helmets, as well as caps for their knees and elbows.
He pulled out of the parking lot again and started back the way he had come.
‘You’re going to take them home with you?’
‘What else can I do?’
‘Hmm.’ Garovel paused. ‘I suppose that will be fine for a few days. But is that a long-term solution? We don’t know if Colt will be coming back for them.’
‘Well... I don’t know... but he asked me to keep them safe, so...’
Garovel gave a nod. ‘I suppose that’s all that matters at the moment.’
Hector didn’t get on the highway yet. It had been blocked on the way into the city, and he doubted it had been cleared already. Instead, he followed the street beyond the city limits and waited until he saw the open country before getting on the larger road.
The kids took a while to adjust to the ride, crying for a good half hour before settling down.
‘Do you, um... do you think this was Geoffrey’s doing?’
Garovel was slow to answer. ‘That might explain why we haven’t seen him in Brighton. But you’d think Colt would have mentioned Geoffrey in his text.’
‘I don’t think he had much time, seeing as he never replied. And... if it was Geoffrey, then Colt might’ve been worried that I’d go after him instead of getting the kids to safety...’
With a clear, open road ahead of him and a setting sun over the horizon, Hector eyed the children another time. They both stared back at him, chubby-cheeked and curious.
Hector frowned inside his riding helmet. ‘Garovel... what the hell are we gonna do...?’
“...Agh? Hmm? What’s happening?”
“Easy there. You’ve had a rough day.”
“Where am I? Who are you?”
“You’re dead. My name is Bohwanox. And there’s something I’d like to ask you.”
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Bored monster ago
Who's Bohwanox again?
Kalgeriax 101 ago
AYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY Ma man ..... I was worried how the fuck MC gonna taking care of twins. Of course it kinda cool if they can inherite powers, but they need to die for it..
I knew it!!!