Beyond the Veil

by Ottie Otter

18 Sep 2023 230 readers Score 8.9 (12 votes) PDF Mobi ePub Txt

Struggling was futile.

I was able to let out a quick scream until the tendril of shadow snaked up my body, wrapping itself around my jaw, covering my mouth.  Though I thrashed as much as I could, there was no breaking free from it. I could hear Roger’s shirt ripping as I was dragged along the ground and a searing pain on my arm told me it’d been cut on something.

When I came to a stop, I tried thrashing around again, trying to break shadow, but it was either too strong or too insubstantial for me to get out.

My entire body froze when Natalia walked over to me, her fist half closed as if she were holding an invisible apple. She smiled at me maliciously, her eyes trailing along my body.

“What a fucking idiot,” she said, almost laughing. She flexed her hand, turning it as if to hold the apple out, and the tendril of shadow lifted me from the ground so I was upright. I could see all three of them now: Natalia, Natasha, and Peter.

“You’d think someone who was running for their life would use better judgement about walking alone in the dark,” said Peter as he stepped up to me, bringing his face so close to mine he could have kissed me. “Let him speak, Nat.”

The tendril of shadow slinked down and wrapped around my throat, loose enough to let me speak but tight enough I knew Natalia could cut off my air in a second.

“What’re you doing walking around anyway?” asked Natasha.

“Look, I don’t have a fight with you. Just let me go and I’ll—”

“Run back to Kaden,” said Peter. “Would you be willing to lead us to him?”

I couldn’t do that. Kaden would be caught off guard. The collective would have the upper hand and they’d kill him.

“Of course he wouldn’t,” said Natasha, “he still thinks Kaden is the good guy in all of this.”

“Oh, and you’re supposed to be the good guys?” I asked sarcastically.

“When you think about it logically, yeah,” said Natalia. “Damien, do you know what a Siphon is?”

“Let him down, Nat,” Peter ordered, “he isn’t going anywhere.”

Natalia dropped her hand and the shadow tendril vanished, dropping me to my feet.

“I do know what a Siphon is and I know Emily turned into one and you killed her instead of helping her.”

“Oh, we tried to help her, Damien,” said Peter. “We tried for weeks. She was locked in that basement a long time. We only killed her when she broke loose and killed her sister. I killed a deranged, murderous creature that ended a child’s life, and you think I’m the bad one?

“Kaden toyed with forces of nature far beyond the comprehension of anyone on Earth, resurrecting an insane person who, again, murdered a child, because he loved her, and you think I’m the bad one? Kaden stole from me. He could have just split our power evenly, taken his fifth and left us the rest. But he didn’t. He wanted revenge on me because I killed Emily.”

“You helped him raise Emily from the dead.”

“Sure,” said Peter. “That’s what you do for family. Kaden was like a brother to me, so of course I helped him out. But nobody realized what was going to happen when she was resurrected. She was beyond powerful. It took all three of us to take her down. She manipulated Kaden into helping her. Natasha, Natalia, and I almost became Siphons trying to stop her. In the end, Kaden killed her, the very thing he hated me for doing.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. I knew this story was true. That everything happened the way they said it had. But somehow, Kaden’s version of the story made him out to be the good guy, trying to save his love. Peter’s version painted a different picture. An evil creature, resurrected by Kaden, hellbent on causing death, stopped by Peter.

“Oh no,” Natasha said in a falsely concerned voice, “is he broken?”

“No, he’s just realizing we’re not the evil murderers Kaden’s made out us to be,” said Peter, stepping backward.

“You’ve still tried to kill me,” I said.

“Well, sure,” Peter said in an offhanded voice. “Because if this got to the police, they’d bring in fairies. You’d spin the story the way Kaden told you. There’s a flaw to fairy magic. You see, something you believe to be the truth will be seen as the truth. They only know what you tell them. Kaden would omit the part where we stopped a Siphon, something you’re legally allowed to do. He’d only tell them we killed Emily and you’d back him up. Getting rid of you was the easier option.”

“That still makes you attempted murderers. How does that make you the good guys?” I pointed out.

“Maybe good guys was a bit of a stretch. Emily had plans for the future of the collective. Big plans. Plans we still intend to put into motion once we’ve gotten our power back.”

“What plans?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m just going to stand here, monologuing for you,” Peter said sarcastically.

“Well you’ve sure been running your mouth a lot,” I said.

Before I could react, Peter bitch slapped me across the face, knocking me to the ground. He was on top of me before I realized what was happening.

“Techenocsu heguorhtym dena, telem ees heguorhtseh sehyeh,” Peter said, his hand clamped on my jaw, forcing it open.

He spat into my mouth, then clamped his hand over my nose and mouth.

“Swallow it,” he said. I tried to fight him off but he was much stronger than me and I was starting to suffocate, so I swallowed. As his saliva travelled down my throat, a warmth spread throughout my body.

He let me go and stepped back.

“What did you just do to me?” I asked.

He didn’t answer. He, Natasha, and Natalia turned and ran off into the darkness, leaving me on the ground.

What now? I had so many more questions than answers. Did he curse me? What was going to happen to me? Should I really be trusting Kaden? Should I go back to the police? Maybe I should go back to Sebastian. Could a vampire protect me from the collective?

There was only one real option left to me. As many doubts as I had about him, Kaden is the only person I really know in this world.

I stood up and was about to run straight to Roger’s when I stopped. If the collective follows me to Roger’s, Roger will be in danger too. I couldn’t do that to him. Instead, I pulled out my phone, found Kaden in my contacts, and called him.

“Damien?” Kaden’s sleepy voice came through the speaker. “Why are you calling me? Wait,” he suddenly sounded alert, “where are you?”

“I’m down the road from the Scarlet Drop. I snuck out to go to the club and the collective found me.”

“Go back to the club and lose yourself in the crowd. I’m coming to find you. Whatever you do, do not hang up the phone.”

I turned on my heel and started running back for the Scarlet Drop. When the bouncer saw me, he just nodded and I moved past him.

“I’m going to wait by the bar for you,” I told Kaden.

“I’m on my way. I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

“Damien?” I looked up at the voice to see Sebastian walking along the bar toward me. “What’re you doing back here?”

“Who is that?” Kaden asked.

“Nobody, he’s just a…” I didn’t know what Sebastian was to me, so I chose the cliché answer, “a friend.”

“A friend?!” Kaden asked, sounding angry. “You met someone at the Scarlet Drop? Damien, that’s a vampire bar. You need to be careful, vampires love the taste of mortal blood.”

“Sebastian is okay,” I told Kaden.

“What’s wrong?” Sebastian asked, grabbing my arm. “You’re shaking.”

I muted Kaden.

“I was attacked by someone outside,” I said. Sebastian looked past me, out the door. I could hear Kaden yelling my name through the phone, but I didn’t care.

“What did they do to you?” Sebastian asked.

“I’m not sure. He said a spell or something and spat in my mouth, made me swallow it.”

“That’s weird,” Sebastian said. “I have no idea what that would mean.”

I unmuted Kaden and put the phone back to my ear. “Kaden, I’m safe for the moment. I’ll see you when you get here,” I said, then hung up the phone.

Sebastian pulled me into a chair at the bar and waited next to me, glaring at anyone who came too close until Kaden came walking into the club. When he spotted us, he looked first relieved to see me unharmed, then a curious look flashed across his face at the sight of Sebastian’s hand on my arm, which turned to something like fury.

Kaden strode up, pulled Sebastian’s hand off me, and shoved him backward.

“Hey, what was that for?” I asked Kaden.

“Look, buddy,” Kaden said, holding his hand out to ward Sebastian off. “I can take it from here.”

“Sebastian was just making sure I was alright,” I said. “Leave him alone.”

Kaden looked between me and Sebastian a couple of times, then he seemed to realize something.

“You used Buffr,” he said. “You snuck out to…”

The look of sadness on Kaden’s face cut my heart like a razor blade, but confusion swirled in the pain. Why did he care? He made it abundantly clear he didn’t have feelings for me. That we were nothing to each other.

“Look, dude,” Sebastian said, walking forward. “Someone attacked him. I was just making sure he’s okay.”

“Kaden!” I said, grabbing his arm and spinning him around.

Peter, Natalia, and Natasha were at the door of the club, looking around for us.

“They must’ve followed you here,” Kaden said. “We need to find a way out.”

“Follow me,” said Sebastian. “I come here all the time.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me along behind him, leading us back to the room where we’d had sex. At the end of the hall, was an emergency door. We burst through, setting off an alarm that must’ve killed the music. Outside the door, we heard sounds of a panic as people swarmed for the exits, probably thinking the building was on fire.

Sebastian led us around the back of the club where we were able to blend in with the crowd. I looked over my shoulder as we moved through the throng of people and saw the collective heading down the street. As soon as I noticed them, they stopped. Peter turned slowly on the spot, his arm pointing outward until he was pointing at us, then started marching toward us.

“They’re following us somehow,” I said.

“There’s no way they saw us,” said Kaden.

I glanced back, noticing them moving through the crowd and said, “Well they are.”

“We should split up,” Kaden said. “Sebastian, you go that way and I’ll take Damien—”

“I’m not leaving him until I’m sure he’s okay,” said Sebastian, grabbing my other hand.

Kaden and Sebastian glared at each other, both trying to pull me in different directions. Sebastian was stronger. With a tug, he pulled me next to him, my hand slipping from Kaden’s and led me through the crowd. Kaden had no choice but to follow.

With Sebastian in the lead, we cut through the crowd easily, making our way to a side road leading toward a row of restaurants, two of which seemed to be fast food restaurants, as cars were pulling into drive thrus.

Nobody from the crowd was here, so moving was easy. I glanced up at the sign for a parking garage as we entered and Sebastian took an immediate right, leading us up a staircase to the second level.

“Where are we going?” Kaden asked.

“My apartment. This garage connects to the back of it. We’ll go inside and—”

“This way!” came Peter’s voice. “They’re just at the top of these stairs.”

I looked at Kaden, who was obviously confused.

“How the fuck did they follow us?” Sebastian whispered.

He pulled me to a row of cars, Kaden on my heels, and we hunched down below a green buggy just as the trio reached the stairs. They didn’t hesitate, their footsteps coming closer and closer until they stopped, just beyond the car we were hiding behind.

“I know you’re back there,” said Peter.

I looked to Kaden again. He was pulling out a pitch black phial.

“Put that phial away, Kaden. Don’t be stupid.”

Suddenly, Kaden clapped his hand over my eyes.

“I’ve lost visual. Move in, now!” Peter yelled.

“Keep your eyes closed, he’s looking through them!” Kaden whispered in my ear. “Sebastian, help me!”

With my eyes closed tight, I couldn’t see what was going on. I felt Kaden and Sebastian move, leaving me alone. Grunts and shouts and yelled incantations followed by explosions and the sounds of blows landing were driving me crazy.

“Kaden, don’t!” Natasha or Natalia yelled and I couldn’t resist any longer.

I stood up and looked through the car windows to see Peter, Natasha, and Natalia on one side of the aisle of cars with Sebastian and Kaden on the other. Kaden lifted the phial and threw it, then shouted “Rettahs!”

The phial shattered into a hundred pieces and a black ball formed in midair. It began to grow, bending light around it and I suddenly knew what it was.

Kaden had conjured a black hole.

Sebastian wrapped his arm around Kaden’s waist and ran, faster than a lightning flash, and was by my side.

“Eyes closed!” Kaden ordered. I shut my eyes and felt Sebastian lift me into his arms then start running, but at normal speed. Peter, Natasha, and Natalia were shouting spells, but nothing seemed to be aimed at us. A heavy door slammed shut behind us, muffling the sound behind us. We ran through the hallways then a door opened and shut, then I felt myself being lowered onto a sofa.

“Don’t open your eyes,” Kaden said. “Just keep them shut. We don’t want to know we didn’t move very far.”

“Wait, where are we?” I asked.

“We’re in my apartment,” said Sebastian.

“And we aren’t worried about being this close to a black hole because…?”

“They’ll keep it contained,” said Kaden. “Conjuring a black hole is extremely illegal. They won’t want to get the authorities involved. Besides, it won’t get very big.”

I sat up, eyes still closed, and faced Kaden.

“I feel like you’re glossing over a very dangerous situation like it’s nothing,” I said.

“It wasn’t a real black hole,” said Kaden. “It was just meant to scare them. Hopefully it takes them a while to realize that and they think we ran off. The longer you keep your eyes closed, the farther away they’ll think we are.”

“And what are we doing to do about the fact that Peter can see through my eyes?”

“The spell will wear off in a few hours. I’ll get us back to Roger’s and we can lay low.”

“You guys can hide out here for a while,” said Sebastian. “I don’t go back to work until day after tomorrow.”

“We really appreciate that, Sebastian,” I said.

“There’s no need to be here a few days,” said Kaden. “Once the spell wears off, we’ll be leaving.”

“What’s the harm in staying?” I asked.

“The harm is that I don’t trust him,” said Kaden.

“I get the feeling you don’t trust anyone,” said Sebastian.

“Well I certainly don’t trust you.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“And neither does Damien.”

“Well he’s had my cock in his mouth, so he must trust me a little—”

I heard a sound like a fist making contact with a face.

“Fuck you!” Sebastian yelled. I heard punching and grunting as they fought each other.

“I’m opening my eyes!” I said loudly, standing up.

“No!” they both yelled together.

“Well at least you can agree on something. Both of you go to opposite sides of the room and behave!”

I could almost feel them glare at each other as they separated. I sat back down and felt someone sit by me, Sebastian, I thought, and heard Kaden pull out a chair across the room and sit down.

It took nearly three hours before Kaden said it was safe to open my eyes and, when I did, I let out a small gasp.

Kaden had a black eye and a busted lip. Though Sebastian looked perfectly normal, I assumed Kaden got a few licks in, since Kaden’s knuckles were red.

“Jesus Christ, he kind of fucked you up,” I told him.

Kaden rolled his eyes.

“You have to admit that what he said about you was crass.”

“Crass? Guys talk about way worse stuff with each other than that,” I said. “Why do you care anyway?”

“I don’t. You can fuck whoever you want. That doesn’t mean I want to hear about it.”

“Look, it really is safer if you guys stay here, at least for the night,” said Sebastian. “Damien can sleep in my room and Kaden can take the couch.”

“Like hell he will,” said Kaden. “You take the couch, we’ll take your bed.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Sebatian, “I didn’t realize you were boyfriends.”

“We’re not,” Kaden said in a strangely hurt voice. “But he’s better off away from you.”

“At the moment, I think I’m better off away from both of you,” I said. “How about I take the couch and you two share a bed.”

The look they gave me could have drilled through titanium.

An awkward silence stretched between us I was dying to break.

“Look, Kaden, it’s really not a big deal. You take the couch and I’ll sleep with Sebastian.”

“Well, there might not be much sleeping,” Sebastian said as he smirked at me.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Kaden rolling his eyes.

“It’s really none of your business what I do,” I told him. “And yes, Sebastian, we will be sleeping. I’m exhausted.”

“Fine,” Sebastian said, clearly disappointed, “we should get up early anyway to get down to MP Headquarters.”

“Why would we do that?” asked Kaden.

“Those guys attacked you. Thankfully that wasn’t a real black hole or you’d have to answer for it, but we need to report them to the police.”

“We can’t go to the police,” Kaden and I said in unison.

“Why not?”

“We just can’t,” said Kaden.

Kaden and Sebastian glared at each other for several moments before Sebastian turned to me.

“What exactly are you involved in?” he asked.

“I didn’t ask for any of this,” I said.

Sebastian looked at Kaden and said, “You should leave. Those psychos are probably after you anyway.”

I wasn’t sure where this was coming from, even though it was mostly true. Would I be safer if Kaden left? Would the collective go after him and leave me alone, or would they still hunt me down and try to find me?

“Sebastian, no,” I said, making up my mind. “I can’t leave Kaden. If he goes, we both go.”

Sebastian sighed and rolled his eyes before walking away from us into his kitchen.

“We should both go,” Kaden said in a quiet voice. “Go back to Roger’s. We can’t trust that vampire.”

“And how do we know we can trust the fairy?” I asked. Kaden shrugged. “Look, let’s just stay here for a while, just until we’re sure the collective is gone.”

Sebastian came back into the room carrying two bottles of water and a plastic pouch of blood. Kaden and I took the bottles and while Kaden opened his and took several chugs, I watched Sebastian.

He held the pouch up, his eyes on me. His canines extended an inch and he bit down into the pouch. I felt my heartbeat quicken as a drop of blood oozed from between his lip and the bag, running down his chin. An overwhelming urge to step forward, to lick the line of crimson from his skin was almost unbearably difficult to resist.

“Why are you staring at him like that?” Kaden asked, causing me to jump. I’d almost forgotten he was there. Realization snapped in Kaden’s eyes and he added, “You’ve been bitten, haven’t you?”

Neither Sebastian or I answered him, which was all the answer he needed.

“You fucking idiot,” Kaden said, shaking his head slightly.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Vampire venom is highly intoxicating. Do you want to get addicted to it?”

“Sebastian said it’s not addictive.”

“Well, it’s not,” said Sebastian, “and he wanted more.”

“Yeah, it’s not Sebastian’s fault,” I said, “I asked him to.”

“Vampire venom might not be addictive,” Kaden agreed, “but the feeling you get is. That Earth shattering high that makes the world tilt. The way it electrifies your nerve endings, lowers you inhibitions. But let me ask you this, Damien, did you agree to let him bite you after you’d already been bitten or before?”

“That doesn’t matter,” I said. I could tell he knew the answer though.

“Well he’s never biting you again. I’m going to make sure of that.”

“You don’t get to make decisions for him,” said Sebastian.

“And you do?” asked Kaden.

“Will both of you knock it the fuck off?” I said. “What is wrong with you two?”

Sebastian looked at me with an incredulous expression, then he and Kaden glanced at each other like they were sharing an inside joke.

“You really don’t see it?” Sebastian asked.

“See what?” I asked.

He scoffed and turned away, heading toward his bedroom. Kaden rolled his eyes as he walked to the couch and laid down, his back up against the back of the couch, but then looked up at me expectantly, clearly wanting me to lay next to him, even though the L-shaped sectional had an entire section open.

“You coming?” Sebastian said behind me.

I turned and saw him leaning sideways through his bedroom doorframe. His shirt was off and his fangs were extended. I looked back at Kaden again for just a moment before heading toward Sebastian.

by Ottie Otter

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