Gaige let himself into the house, removed his over-sized sunglasses, and tossed them on the small stand in the foyer. He wouldn’t need to hide his eyes until his freakaziod father got home in a few hours. Then again, he rarely saw his dad as the man always ensconced himself in his “office” when he wasn’t on his spaceship or where ever the hell he went.
Gaige wandered into the dining room, headed for a gleaming red apple nestled in a fruit basket on the table. He paused, mid-reach, catching his reflection in the polished wood. The red spot in my eye—shit.
During the soccer match two nights ago, not only did he score multiple goals, but took a kick to the side of the head. He wondered if he’d ruptured a blood vessel that leaked into his eye. He gingerly tapped his bruised cheek, dropped his soccer ball and stepped to the mirror that hung heavy, stately, on the dining room wall.
His mom hated that mirror. Said it reminded her of pretense and bullshit, and only served to reflect her sorry marriage. Gaige had been her respite from the world. Before she died, she’d been at every soccer match, cheering him on while his father probably didn’t know his son even played the sport.
He moved closer to the reflective glass. Shit, he mused, is that red spot glowing? He blinked, trying to clear his vision. Maybe it’s a concussion.
He bit into his apple, thoughtfully. It gave a satisfying snap as juice squirted onto his face. He ran a hand across his mouth then wiped his palm on his shorts. His bare chest was still sweaty from practice. He liked the muscles starting to bulge in chiseled, hard-edged power. He flexed his arm and stared at the reflection of his rock solid biceps and solid chest. Tonight I give all this to Emily. We’re finally going to do it. He’d have to keep his sunglasses on, pretend to be a badass, though. No need to elicit pity over my eye.
He snagged the soccer ball between his feet and dribbled along the hallway toward his bedroom. Taking another bite of apple, it slipped from his fingers and he flailed forward trying to catch it. In the process, the ball went airborne down the hall, bounced off the wall, hitting his father’s office door, pushing it further open and disappearing inside. Shit.
He hurried in hoping like hell nothing was broken. Standing in the middle of the bedroom-turned-home office, his pulse pounded. His father assured him if he ever went past the door, he’d wish for death after he finished punishing him.
If his mother hated the dining room mirror, she’d despised his office. “Nothing but evil secrets in that room,” he’d heard her say.
Gaige took a moment to look around. It appeared more like a tactical war room than an office. What the hell does he do in here? A massive table stood in the center of the room. The back wall held an array of monitors showing maps of Earth and news feeds from around the globe.
It made him think of a long ago cartoon he watched on rerun, Pinky and the Brain. “Gee, dad, what do you want to do tonight?” he said, mimicking the show. “The same thing we do every night, son—try to take over the world!” he said in a lower voice, pretending to be his father as the Brain. He heaved a grunt.
One monitor showed a strange, bleak, yellow, red, and brown landscape. Looked like a dying alien world in a sci-fi flick. My father’s home planet? Gaige wondered. Under the monitors, the bedroom’s original closet was filled with junk. He set his apple on the desk and stuck his head in for a peek. Sounds erupted from the front door as his father and several others stomped into the house.
Shit! What the hell’s he doing home so early? His heart hammered, both from his breach into his father’s forbidden domain and the sight of four disgusting male Deltarcs entering the dining room that he spied through the wide-open office door. Fuck. Another meeting of the High Council of Deltarc, freaks of the planet. I’m in trouble, big time.
The males dredged down the hallway.
Gaige flew for the slatted closet, barely closing it before his father appeared in the doorway, the other males behind him. Through the narrow slits in the sliding closet panel, he watched his father pause, staring at the entrance to his lair, his face becoming ugly. His eyes lifted to the desk where Gaige left his apple.
Sweat burst from Gaige’s forehead and neck. Shit, shit, shit. I’m going to be in so much fucking trouble.
A smile bloomed on his dad’s face as he resumed his human role as a bank executive. “Can I get you anything? A cocktail, perhaps? Beer, wine, bourbon?”
The men agreed on bourbon and Gaige’s father poured hefty slugs into thick crystal glasses. They solemnly lifted their drinks in a toast and tossed back swallows.
A ding rang out, indicating his father just received an email. His dad turned to the monitor resting on the desk, while Gaige squinted at the screen, trying to make out what the reading pane said.
Lyrica Dupond, he read, is being transported to a new cryo-facility. Her condition worsens.
How can a dead woman’s condition worsen? Gaige thought, an icy chill forming along his head and spine.
His father frowned as he read.
We’ve tried various treatments without effect. We’re sending her to one last facility, still in a state of cryo-preservation.
What? My mother isn’t dead? She’s been cryo-preserved? He thought his father drained her dead from his “nightly feedings,” and he despised him for it—as in murderous hate, like a viper living in his gut. The wood slats in front of his face reflected a slight red glow while the rage in his belly grew molten hot.
His dad shut the laptop, and rapped on it with his knuckles before sitting, his back to Gaige.
“Bad news?” one of the males asked.
“Nothing that compromises the mission.” His father tried to divert the conversation.
“Speaking of missions, how’s your son? Any signs of his Deltarc spore?”
Gaige watched his father stiffen, his shoulders rising. “Not yet. He still takes after his mother.” He practically spit the word out like a poison seed.
“Seers say the time for Red Rex has come.”
Red Rex? What the hell is that? Gaige thought, struggling to keep it together.
“Legend says the mightiest of Deltarcs will fall to his progeny, a blood hex. Thus begins the rise and reign of the savior Red Rex.”
His father placed both hands, palms down, on the table and let out a vicious, angry squeal, sounding more like a wild boar than human.
The males’ eyes grew wide and they sat very, very still.
Gaige clamped his hand over his mouth, trying to keep from vomiting.
“Gentlemen,” his father said in a more conciliatory voice. “Since when did you believe in fantasy? That legend has been applied to every new ruler in Deltarc history. That story’s nothing but mythology, I assure you. Do you honestly think my whelp of a son is stronger than you, Chax?” He lifted a finger in one of the male’s directions.
The male smiled nervously and shook his head.
“Or me? Honestly. You’re like hens sometimes.” He lifted his glass to his lips. “I’m about to become the supreme warrior general.”
The what? Gaige thought. Loud murmurs and “hear, hear” cheers and shouts of assent followed his father’s declaration.
“Let me prove it. Let’s skip the tactical meeting. It’s time to force his transformation,” his father said. He pressed a few buttons on a funky looking mobile phone. “Sylvia? Remember what I asked you to set up?” He paused. “We’re ready now. No. I said right fucking now.” His father disconnected the communication device and said, “I’ve arranged it. We’ll breed him to a pure she-male.”
Prickles of fear washed along his scalp. Breed me? Like a fucking stallion? Hell, no. The only one who gets my virginity is Emily. Tonight, if I can wing it.
“Have you noticed anything unusual, my lord?” one of the males asked his father.
My lord? Gaige wrapped his arms tightly in front of his bare chest. Since when do people call him my lord?
“Why, yes, his lovely teenage hormones have finally kicked in. He’s ogling a female from his school, but hasn’t fucked her yet as far as I can discern. I’m damn tired of waiting. He’s been slow to mature but I’ve noticed him behaving oddly. I think we’ll have a warrior minion on our hands.” His father smacked his lips.
Gaige’s head began to swim and the freakish compulsions he’d been feeling lately—disturbing, bizarre cravings, like he wanted to consume his girlfriend, not merely lose his virginity to her. He thought he might faint, blowing his cover.
“We know the male transformation has to be forced—we’ve all experienced it. But breed him?” another said.
“Our race is dwindling. We came here to feed and grow strong again. However, with all the she-males miscarrying, we might still become extinct if we don’t figure out what’s happening. We force the transformation and see what he’s made of.
“So far, he’s taken after his mother. But he may have more of our kind in him than we think. And we breed him to as many she-males as possible and use them to find a cure for the stillborns—he’s young and virile and his seed is no doubt superior.
“Then—if he fails to prove useful or he turns out to be some sort of fucking mutant, we snuff out his lights.” His father lifted his glass and drained it into his throat. “Gentlemen?” he said, standing, stepping to the liquor cabinet and lifting the decanter of bourbon. “Who wants a refill?”
Gaige felt weak and shaky, like his legs were going to give out. My father wants to snuff out my lights? What kind of father says that shit?
As the alcohol hit the males’ bodies and they began to relax, their true Deltarc appearances began to emerge. Gaige had never actually seen it happen—he’d only caught his father unawares after he’d transformed. His lip curled in disgust as the men’s human forms blurred and they became short, stocky, beast-like creatures with yellow and red skin, horns protruding from their skulls.
His father portrayed himself as a handsome Italian playboy businessman and now looked the ugliest of the bunch, if such a thing were possible. He shrank in stature, legs bowed, and skin glistened. His tongue slid over his lips, then darted out to snag a crumb from the floor, like a monster frog.
“Fuck me,” Gaige whispered, his stomach churning in revulsion. He put his hand on his stomach in an attempt to quell the queasy feeling. He’d never witnessed his father’s real tongue. He glanced at the small glowing tattoos on the males’ faces—all identical to his father’s. The outline of a star with a circle and a triangle inside stood as the symbol for the “supra-celestial” or “diamond body,” an invisible channel of energy supposedly surrounding every being—every superior being, his father told him once. All the big-wig, muckety-mucks in the organization wore them, distinguishing themselves from their lessors.
His father finished his second drink and rapped his knuckles on the meeting table. “Okay, let’s do this. I’ll meet you there in about a half hour. After that, I’ll need a good long feeding. I’ve never found anyone as sweet as my empathic wife’s delta brain waves.”
Gaige watched his father shudder—he actually shivered with longing. Bile bubbled into Gaige’s throat. That’s what he thought of my mother? Nothing but a feeding station?
“Not many humans have delta brain waves as good as an empath’s, and there are not many empaths on this planet. How are you sustaining?” a male asked.
“I’ve had nothing but thetas and alpha waves,” his father grumbled. “A fellow can’t live long on those.”
Another commented, “Have you heard the latest? Our scientists are getting closer to creating a drug to put humans into a deeper sleep through a process called cryopreservation.”
A wicked little smile played along the edges of his father’s face. “Yes, I know. Who do you think started and funded this revolutionary idea three years ago? Well, my wife started it,” his chuckle drove through Gaige’s core, “but she had little choice in the decision. She’s being experimented on as we speak. Permanent delta. Endless supplies. Think of it,” he said dreamily. “Our kind…” He pulled a disgusted face. “No more she-males wide awake, chattering like monkeys. Only the release and the feeding, no conversation.”
The males grunted like pigs, making Gaige’s eyebrows knit together.
His father rapped his knuckles yet again, with his signature “tap, tap” move. “We’re adjourned. Let the transformation commence.” He smiled broadly, glancing at the closet.
Fuck! Gaige thought. I’m screwed. After they exited the office, he swiftly, quietly slipped from his father’s lair, apple and ball in hand, and hustled to his bedroom in the back on the next floor.
He grabbed a duffle bag from the closet and shoved in t-shirts, jeans, socks, and underwear. Then swiped the only picture of his mom from the bedside table and stuffed it between the clothes.
“Gaige? Would you come out here, son?”
Gaige froze. He couldn’t go out the front door without confronting his father. He crept toward the windowsill, and gently pried it open.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” his father said.
Gaige didn’t turn. Instead, he tossed the duffle to the grass, two stories down.
“Found an apple in my office,” his father said in casual conversation.
“Did you?” Gaige said and flung his leg over the sill. “I hope you choke on it.”
“Where you headed?” His dad’s voice came normal, no big deal, but Gaige felt chilled to the bone.
“Away from here. I’m done living in what you call a home,” he called without looking at his father. “You and your freakish kind can play among yourselves.”
The most sinister laugh he’d ever heard left his father’s throat. “Oh, son, how quickly you forget. Genes are genes, boy. Mine are strong.”
“Yeah, well you can fucking drown in them,” Gaige said, swinging his other leg out the window. He looked down at the side yard, thinking how little he’d miss this place. He started to push off to freedom when his father’s tongue noosed around his neck, wrenching him up and over the sill, to slam him against the solid hardwood floor, unconscious.
Home | Books |
Author | Events | Buy |
Contact | Blog