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Immortal Consequences

Written By: Steven Sterup Jr.

Copyright 2018 Steven Sterup Jr.

Legal Disclaimer - This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Book Cover Design by 100 Covers.

Special thanks to my wife, Tammy. Without her support none of this would have been possible.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27


Chapter 1

Pain woke Kal Johnson as he lay face down on the cement. Pain like this was something he wasn’t accustomed to. Not that he couldn’t be harmed, it just took a lot more than it did to hurt a human. In his human form Kal was susceptible to the normal hazards of human skin but in his gargoyle form he could be hit by a car and walk away with a headache. Whatever, or rather whomever, had hit him while he was in gargoyle form was at least as strong as he was.

The cold wet surface of the concrete confused Kal as he tried to get his bearings, it hadn’t rained in weeks. He wasn’t entirely sure what had happened and why he was face down in the alley, it was all still a little fuzzy. Then he realized why the cement was wet. It wasn’t water soaking his clothes and face. It was human blood. The scent assaulted his nostrils and he was overcome with a gagging sensation. The smell of human blood to his kind was similar to the reaction humans had to rotten food. He glimpsed the disgusting scene as he painfully pushed himself off the street then looked down to make sure of what he had seen. The site was gruesome but the smell was much worse.

Kal rushed over to the nearest dumpster and deposited his supper. That was when he noticed the policemen walking up to him. They were at the far end of the alley. The lights on top of their squad car were flashing but there were no sirens. The closest one yelled to him while shining his flashlight directly in Kal’s face but he couldn’t make out the words. The savage beating he had just survived, coupled with the nauseating stench of blood, clouded his mind.

“Sir! Are you ok sir?!” the middle aged police officer yelled to him again. The officer’s other hand was on his gun but he hadn’t pulled it yet. The man’s partner was using the radio attached to his shoulder but he was speaking too quietly for Kal to understand him.

“Sir?” the officer asked again. He was closer now. “Are you hurt?”

“I think someone hit me over the head with something.” Kal said. His accent was from the Midwestern United States even though he had been born in Egypt over two thousand years ago. Long ago Kal had learned to hide his Egyptian accent. He was very proud of his heritage but, having lived in the United States for over three hundred years, it was just simpler to speak like Americans did. America was full of many cultures. If you spoke with a foreign accent people were skeptical but if you didn’t…you were just another American.

“Do you need a hospital?” the officer asked, still not removing his hand from his weapon.

“Maybe,” Kal said, though this was a lie. To facilitate his lie he put one hand on his head while he steadied himself against the dumpster with the other. His body would heal itself quite easily but he knew how this looked. Kal looked back at the poor dead woman and inhaled deeply through his nose. This produced another gut retching feeling so he turned back to the dumpster and threw up once more. But this was exactly the reaction he had intended. The police would be much less inclined to peg him as the murderer if he vomited at the sight of the dead woman. Truthfully, he didn’t even know the woman’s name. She didn’t look at all familiar.

Whoever she was, she had been brutally murdered. It looked like her skull had been bashed in. Her head was also turned at an angle that would have been extremely painful, if not deadly, had she still been alive. Her bloody body was positioned with her chest against the ground and her eyes looking away from where he had been only moments ago. It was as if someone had intentionally positioned her so he would wake up and look right into her caved in skull. This, in itself, might be a clue as to who had killed the poor woman.

Kal had been fortunate enough to see the woman being chased down an alley by someone he knew was a vampire. The more he thought about it and the way the woman was killed then positioned, the more he realized, he had fallen right into someone’s trap. Perhaps fortunate was the wrong word here, stupid was more like it. Whoever had chased this woman down the alley had intended for Kal to follow. The way the woman bled was also part of it. The vampire didn’t even feed from her. This was an elaborate trap to make him look like a killer, but why? Thinking back, he couldn’t even be sure if the person he chased had been a man or a woman. The quick flash he had seen told him nothing about the vampire. It was out of the corner of his eye and, truth be told, it was more of a feeling than what he had seen which forced him to follow the poor woman.

Whoever this vampire was, he or she had to be very old. There was no way a vampire from this century, or even this millennium, could have hit Kal with enough force to knock him out. He had shifted into gargoyle form when he entered the alley. His rock hard skin would have broken the bones of a younger vampire and he wouldn’t have felt a thing. No, the vampire who did this was probably even older than he was.

For two thousand four hundred and twelve years Kal had walked the earth. And more recently, he had been trying to protect humans from vampires. His self-appointed status as protector might very well be the reason for the trap, and this woman’s death.

In his younger days he had been bested by vampires but those days were long gone. It had been centuries since he’d met an opponent who even stood a chance against him but this vampire produced something he also hadn’t experienced in a very long time, fear. This vampire was not only strong, he or she was smart. Framing Kal for a murder would force him to run. Serving a life sentence was not something an immortal could do without raising suspicions as to why he didn’t age. Then there was the other possibility. A death sentence would raise even more concerns. The electric chair wouldn’t kill him, it would likely just annoy him. And lethal might give Kal something similar to a human hangover, but that was all it would do. That was, if he let them put the needle in.

In truth, Kal knew a few vampires that could best him. But there was no way they were here in Salvon Iowa. Kal thought for a second then changed his mind. It was possible that one of the two female vampires he knew could be here but if it was one of them and they had attacked him…he had much worse problems than someone framing him for murder. Either of these two women could kill him if he wasn’t prepared. They were not just older than he was, they were stronger and more deadly than any vampire he had ever met. He desperately hoped that it was neither of these women. The police officer shined the bright light in his eyes again and he was ripped from his thoughts.

“You don’t look so good buddy,” the kind officer said and he finally removed his hand from his gun.

“I can’t stand the sight or smell of blood,” Kal said with the back of his hand against his mouth, trying desperately not to vomit once more. He had put on a good show but his aversion to blood was not a lie.

“Pinch your nose and don’t look at it. Breath through your mouth,” the kind officer said then ushered him to his partner.

Kal was a short man compared to the officers but, then again, when Kal was growing up five foot ten was incredibly tall. His black hair was neatly trimmed to a quarter of an inch all around and his face was cleanly shaven. The new officer looked at him strangely. At first Kal mistook the officer’s condescending look as racism but it wasn’t. As soon as the man spoke Kal understood the reason for the look.

“Nice suit,” the officer said with disdain in his voice.

Yes, now Kal understood why. His suit probably cost more than this man made in a month.

“Not anymore,” Kal said and shook the bloody sleeves of his suit.

Kal’s dark skin was not the reason for the officer’s look nor his comment. It was Kal’s wealth that bothered the man.

“Why don’t you sit in the squad car and we’ll take you in for questioning as soon as more officers show up,” the officer said. This time the condescension was absent.

“Am I under arrest? Should I call my lawyer?” Kal asked.

“No. Nothing like that. We just need to get your statement,” the officer said then headed back to help his partner take pictures and search for clues.

Kal thanked fate as he took a seat in the back of the squad car. The two officers who had found him weren’t racist and didn’t even act like they thought he had done it. Things could have gone much worse but, then again, this was Salvon Iowa. The town had maybe twenty five thousand people in it. It wasn’t exactly small enough for everyone to know everyone but in a town this size, people didn’t automatically jump to conclusions based solely on the color of your skin.

Chapter 2

An hour later Kal was escorted through the police station without cuffs on. Some of the officers gasped at his blood covered suit while others just looked away. He felt very conspicuous as he was led to an interrogation room. He also felt very ill. He counted the minutes until he could remove his suit and the horrible stench it carried. The blood was drying but the smell wouldn’t go away.

Once inside the room it only took a few minutes before a man in a suit walked in. He looked Kal up and down then smiled. It was a strange and cheesy smile. Although the officers that had brought him in had decided he was innocent, the man before him had decided him guilty.

“Detective Saul Krite,” the man said and held out his hand to Kal.

Kal shook it politely then Detective Krite sat across from him.

The detective was an average sized man. He wasn’t thin but he wasn’t overweight. He appeared to be in his mid-forties, but Kal was never good at judging age. For all Kal knew, he might be in his twenties and just aged badly. The detective had on a worn, blue suit that had seen better days. Even his white shirt had small stains that had probably been there for years. The detective’s brown hair was short and his face looked like he hadn’t shaved for a week.

While Detective Krite was laying out a notepad and pen so he could take Kal’s statement, Kal looked around the room. The room was small and, of course, had a mirror behind the detective. Kal was certain that someone important was watching from the other side. Even if that wasn’t the case, there were cameras in two corners of the room. He needed to be very careful with the information he gave them. Not only did he not want to be considered a murderer, he couldn’t tell a human about anything that had really happened. The vampire council took these types of things very seriously. If he told Detective Krite the truth then Kal really would be a murderer. The council would not hesitate to kill a lone human to protect their secret and it would be Kal’s fault.

“What do you do for a living Mr. Johnson?” Detective Krite asked.

“Call me Kal,” he said and smiled at the officer.

“Ok. Kal. What do you do?” the detective asked.

“I’m…hmm…I am an investor,” Kal said, not knowing exactly how to pin down what he did for a living with one phrase.

“An investor?” Krite asked with suspicion.

“Let me explain,” Kal said, removed his suit jacket, put it over the arm of the chair then put his elbows on the table. He clasped his hands together and pushed them to his chin. At least his shirt wasn’t completely covered in blood. Taking off his suit jacket allowed him to breathe a little easier.

“Please do,” the detective said. His voice and attitude told Kal that whatever he said would be viewed as unsavory but Kal spoke anyway. What choice did he have? There was no reason to lie about what he did for a living. The detective would probably find out anyway, if he didn’t already know.

“Companies looking for money to expand call on people like me,” Kal said. He leaned back and crossed his arms. “I put up the money so they don’t have to get a loan from the bank. This is especially true when they can’t get a loan from a bank due to bad company performance or bad credit.”

“So you’re a loan shark?” the detective asked. His scowl and the tone of his voice told Kal that he wanted it to be true.

“No. I don’t make loans. I invest in their company. That is…if the company looks like it will make a profit,” Kal said and grinned back at the man. “I spend quite a bit of time vetting the company beforehand.”

“So you never get the money back?” the detective asked. His skepticism was holding steady. It was clear that he was just looking for a reason to hate Kal.

“I do. When the company starts turning a profit I get part of that profit as a shareholder,” Kal stated.

“And this is legal?” the detective asked.

“People do it all the time. Yes, it’s legal,” Kal explained.

“How many companies do you have a stake in?” the detective asked.

“I don’t know exactly. Twenty or thirty,” Kal said. Something was strange about the way the detective was asking the questions. The look on his face was also strange. Kal felt like he had just walked into another trap.

“So you would say that none of the companies are more important than the others?” the detective asked.

Suddenly Kal understood the reason behind the questions. It was a trap. Something in the back of his mind told him that he should know the dead woman. Then there was the gloating on Detective Krite’s face. All of it pointing to one conclusion.

“Who was that woman?” Kal asked and his apprehension grew.

“You tell me,” the detective said.

“I have no idea. I’ve never seen her before,” Kal replied.

“Does the name Laura Olen mean anything to you?” the detective asked. Kal could see the wheels in the detectives head turning. He needed to answer this one very carefully.

“Yes. Is that who she was?” Kal asked, full of surprise. In fact, most of his surprise wasn’t even faked. He had no idea what Laura Olen looked like but it made sense that whomever had framed him used someone he knew, even if it was only by phone.

“You didn’t know?” the detective asked, then before Kal could answer he added. “You’ve never met the owner of the newest company you ‘invested’ in.” The detective used air quotes to emphasize his point.

“No,” Kal answered. “I never meet any of them in person. It’s all done with phone calls and through bankers. I never have to leave my apartment if I don’t want to.”

Kal’s answer didn’t satisfy the detective. In fact, it seemed to make him more upset. Why was Detective Krite so determined to prove him guilty?

“If you never have to leave your apartment what were you doing at fifteenth and Sutton? It was nearly nine PM.” The detective was fishing but it wasn’t his question that produced a look of fear on Kal’s face.

“Holy hell! My wife!” Kal shouted. “Can I have my phone call?! My wife is going to kill me!”

“Why is that?” detective Krite asked.

“Because I was on my way to meet her. She is either worried sick or about to chop my nuts off. Maybe both,” Kal said emphatically. “Can I please call my wife?”

“No cell phone? A suit like that and you don’t have a cell phone?” the detective asked.

“Whoever bashed me over the head must have taken it,” Kal said. He opened his suit jacket then pulled out the inside pocket. “I always keep it right here.”

“Wallet and cash all intact?” Detective Krite asked but Kal could tell he already knew the answer.

“I already told the Officers this when they picked me up. I have about a thousand in cash in my wallet and my cell phone was the only thing taken,” Kal explained.

“That’s very strange don’t you think?” Detective Krite asked.

“Yes it is but it’s the truth. I have no idea why someone killed that woman then smashed me over the head. I also have no idea why they took my cell phone but left my cash. I saw someone suspicious following that woman so I followed them into the alley and got blindsided.”

Kal was lying about this part but saying he was following a vampire was not going to make this go any easier. Actually, mentioning anything about vampires or gargoyles would put every human in this police department in grave danger. The council might just kill them all to be safe. It was hard to say. They rarely killed this many human’s at once but then again, five policemen knowing about vampires might be a little too much to risk.

Then a thought occurred to Kal. “Wait. I know why they took my cell phone. I had it recording. I was going to record my wife’s reaction when I told her we got the deal. I must have caught the killer on it.”

“Mhmm,” Detective Krite said skeptically.

“Can I please call my wife?” Kal begged.

“Fine. You can call your wife but don’t leave town,” Detective Krite said as he stood. He put his notepad, which he hadn’t written a word in, into his suit pocket then did the same with his pen. It was like Detective Krite didn’t care about the truth at all. He had already made up his mind and probably had a pretty good idea of what he was going to put into his report.

Kal pulled out a card from his pants pocket and set it on the table.

“Obviously I’ll need a new cell number but you can call my home number if you have any questions,” Kal said.

“Strange that someone actually has a land line now a days,” Detective Krite said. “Also. Your record lists your name as Kal. Is that short for something.”

“No. Just Kal,” he said then shrugged his shoulders. “I had strange parents. Also, I have to have a land line for my work. My wife helps out quite a bit. Sometimes we have my cell, her cell and the land line all going at once.”

“Mhmm,” Detective Krite said, clearly not buying this part of the story either. The man was determined to find Kal guilty of something. What had he done to piss off Detective Saul Krite? Before tonight he had never even met the man, though his name did sound a little familiar. A problem for another time. Kal’s wife was waiting and he didn’t want to waste another second.

After Detective Krite left a uniformed officer led Kal to a phone so he could call his wife. Thankfully he knew his wife’s cell phone by heart. Many of his other contacts, the one’s in his phone, he would have to find a way to get.

The phone only rang once before a pleasant, yet worried, voice picked up.

“Hello?” she asked. She was kind and her voice was soft but it was clear that she was terrified.

“Honey, I’m fine,” Kal said and cringed.

“Then you better have a damn good reason for this. You are two hours late and the first call I get is from the Salvon Police Department. Do you have any idea what was going through my head?!” Her words started out quiet but by the end she was practically yelling. Kal could hear the fear in her voice.

“I’m ok honey. I’ll tell you everything. I just wanted you to know I’m ok. I’ll be home in about thirty minutes or so,” he said calmly.

“Oh hell no! I’m coming down there!” she yelled.

“I’ll be released by the time you get here. I’ll just call a cab,” Kal explained.

“You better not! I’m heading out the door now! You better not move!” she commanded.

“Yes, dear,” he relented and he heard the click.

“A real ball breaker?” the man behind the desk asked.

Kal smiled and leaned over the desk.

“Actually, quite the opposite.” When he saw the man’s confusion he explained. “When she finds out why I was here and that you didn’t take me to the hospital.” He paused and smirked. “You’re probably going to need those cuffs.”

At first the officer behind the counter laughed then he realized Kal was serious. He quickly got back to gathering up the paperwork for Kal to sign so he wouldn’t have to face a furious Mrs. Johnson.

Chapter 3

The car ride back to their apartment was nearly silent. Kal’s wife, Brianna Johnson, hadn’t even said a single word in the police station. Kal knew he was in for the verbal lashing of his life. His beautiful wife was loving, kind and caring most of the time. When she wasn’t…she was the most stubborn and vicious person he had ever met. People didn’t want to get on Bree’s bad side and, right now, that’s exactly where Kal was.

After he walked in the door and switched on the lights he turned to watch his lovely wife shut, then lock the door. In that instant he was very aware of how angry and how beautiful she was. He had never, in over two thousand years, seen anyone who looked so gorgeous when they were furious.

Her bright green eyes and her sandy brown hair still made his stomach quiver. Her hair was almost blonde but a shade darker. Though he couldn’t see it right now, her smile was his favorite attribute. He had always heard the saying ‘Her smile could light up a room’ but had dismissed it as poetic musings until the day he met Bree.

Kal clasped his hands in front of himself while he waited for Bree to prepare whatever speech she was clearly assembling in her head. To say he was terrified was an understatement. He’d gladly have gone back to the alley and faced the ancient vampire rather than face the wrath of Bree. As he thought this a smile formed when he realized. Bree was the most terrifying person he had ever met, not because she was strong and fast, it was because she could do something no one else in the entire world could. She could break his heart.

Bree’s short, slender frame pushed by Kal and he allowed himself to be moved. She was a good four inches shorter than he was but that made little difference. He wouldn’t have pushed back even if he had been angry with her, which he wasn’t. His eyes followed her as she stormed over to the tan, plush couch where she plopped down and her expression changed. The anger had vanished, concern and sadness filled it now.

“Why did you go into that alley?” Bree asked.

Kal cleared his throat then cautiously walked until he was standing right in front of her. He thought about kneeling or bowing but the images in his head all looked ridiculous. Instead he decided to remain standing and take his punishment like a man.

“I saw someone following her. I thought…” Kal stammered.

Bree stood and her anger returned.

“You thought ‘Hey, I’m a big strong man. I can just go get myself killed.’ That’s what you thought. Not a single care for the wife you would leave behind nor…” She scowled up at him and slowly the expression eased. Her fury, in this case, was to hide her vulnerability. She was worried.

“I’m sorry,” Kal said and looked at his hands, which were still clasped in front of him.

Bree slid her hands under his arms and hugged him around the waist. After a few seconds Kal put his arms around her and hugged her back.

“Don’t do that to me,” she said and it sounded like she might be crying.

“What’s wrong?” Kal asked. Even for Bree this was more emotional than normal.

After another fierce hug she released him, took a step back and looked at him guiltily.

“Now I know there’s something wrong,” Kal said, his fear was back.

After a few agonizing moments Bree spoke.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

Kal froze for a second then was filled with anger.

There are moments in life where people say the wrong thing and would give up almost anything to take them back. Kal’s moment was now. What came out of Kal’s mouth was a sentence that would haunt him for the rest of his life and a moment he would always regret.

“You cheated on me?!” Kal asked, his voice and face showed his fury then the realization of what he had just said, to the person he cared about most, hit him like a truck. Before he could say another word Bree’s anger eclipsed his.

“WHAT!? I tell you I’m pregnant and you accuse me of cheating on you?!” She stared at him and he suddenly forgot how to form a sentence.

“I…umm…we…I…” Kal stuttered as his hands motioned to himself then her then back at himself.

“Spit it out JACKASS!” she shouted then put her hands on her hips and just stared at him.

“I’m sorry,” Kal said meekly.

“You’re going to have to do better than that,” she scolded.

Kal’s mind raced. If Bree was telling the truth, and he was inclined to believe her, then this presented a huge problem. Vampires could get human’s pregnant but it was very rare, one in a million, rare. With a gargoyle it was impossible. He stopped and pondered it a little more. Apparently it wasn’t impossible. Kal decided to start out slowly. Find out if Bree could be mistaken. If not, she was in for a revelation that would change how she viewed the world. But if she really was pregnant with his child, she deserved to know the truth.

“I told you I couldn’t have children,” Kal said. Bree was still furious but her anger seemed to be waning slightly.

“Apparently whoever told you that was wrong,” she said angrily.

“Oh this is bad,” Kal said. He put both hands on the top of his head and sighed then saw the anger rise on Bree’s face.

“I tell you I’m pregnant and you accuse me of cheating on you then you tell me it’s bad?!” Bree asked. He could hear the anger in her voice and the tears she was desperately trying to hold back. “Fine! I’ll just get an abortion then!”

“You can’t do that!” Kal yelled.

“I can do whatever the hell I want!” Bree screamed back.

“No, no. You don’t understand.” Kal’s voice was quiet and caring now. “It will kill you.”

“What are you talking about?” Bree asked, her anger faded to confusion.

“You should probably sit down for this.” Kal gently grabbed her elbow and tried to escort her back to the couch.

“I think I’ll stand. Thank you very much,” she said angrily and removed her arm from his grip.

Kal paced back and forth. He had never done this before. In fact, it was against the law to tell a human. A law punishable by death, her death, not his. But luckily Bree was covered by an obscure bylaw that said telling a life partner was within his rights, so long as she never told anyone else. Bree wasn’t some acquaintance nor was she his friend. He planned on staying with her until the day she died, a situation for which this law was created. As Bree grew older Kal would not. This was the reason it was permitted. He had considered it before but now, with her being pregnant, he couldn’t put it off any longer. Her pregnancy put her in danger, not only from the unborn child, but from vampires wanting to kill her and the child she carried. There was no certainty that the child would be a gargoyle, being that a gargoyle had never gotten a human pregnant, but it was very likely. Also, it was his child, Kal the scourge of vampires. There were very few vampires who wouldn’t want his child dead.

“This is going to sound crazy so please just let me explain.” Kal looked at Bree and she was still furious. “And you can never tell anyone. Not your mom, not your dad, not your sister, not even your best friend. No one. Ever.” Kal stared at her waiting for confirmation.

“Well? Get on with it,” she ordered. She didn’t exactly agree to the terms but Kal could worry about that later.

“Oh boy. Where do I start?” he asked rhetorically while he paced. Bree started to look worried so he began with the most obvious. “I am two thousand four hundred and twelve years old.”

Bree looked at him strangely.

“My name is not Kal Johnson. It’s just Kal. Back when I was born there were no last names,” he continued.

Bree’s look changed to worry.

“I…I am a gargoyle and I sort of…police vampires,” he said with a cringe.

Bree laughed at first then when she saw how serious he was she let herself fall onto the couch.

“Oh boy,” Bree said and stared at her hands while she picked at her nails.

“Say something please,” Kal urged her.

Bree looked up at him.

“Is it hereditary?” she asked, full of worry.

“Being a gargoyle? I think so. No one is really sure. A gargoyle has never…” he started but she interrupted.

“No. The insanity. Is it hereditary?” she asked and now it looked like she was going to cry.

“I’m telling you the truth,” Kal said.

“Oh Kal,” she said with pity. “Do I need to call someone?”

“We’ve been married for five years. Don’t you think you’d know if I was nuts by now?” he asked, hoping this would convince her.

“Maybe the news of my pregnancy flipped a switch or something,” she rationalized. “Maybe it was too much and it sent you over the edge.”

“Fine. I didn’t want to do this right away because it’s a little scary but I need you to understand,” Kal said. Kal walked to the center of the room and took a deep breath. He had never shown a human before and he was a little nervous. Mostly because of who the human was. What if she was scared of him? What if she left? He had no choice now. Kal would have done anything to protect Bree and, right now, her ignorance was her greatest enemy.

“Kal…it’s ok,” she comforted. She stood and almost started toward him then saw his skin turning grey and he was increasing in size.

“I’m going slowly so you can get used to it. I usually change much faster than this but I wanted to ease you into it,” he said. His voice was still calm.

Kal’s eyes slowly turned red while his skin continued to change to a grey hue. Soon the sleeves of his shirt filled out until they were almost bursting, as did his pants.

Bree covered her mouth and fell onto the couch once more while Kal continued to change.

Large, canine looking fangs descended from his upper jaw and smaller ones came from the bottom. His fingernails turned black then elongated and came to sharp points. Even the bones in his face changed, they protruded until the bones of his skull were visible, just underneath the smooth grey skin that now covered his body.

“I’m telling you the truth,” Kal said and stood in front of her.

Bree’s mind could barely reconcile the voice of the man she loved coming from the monster in front of her. She blinked a few times then stood and put out her hand. Kal didn’t move. Bree gingerly touched the skin on Kal’s face and was astonished that, although it looked cold, it was warmer than hers.

“Does it hurt?” was the first thing that came to her mind.

“No. It’s just part of who I am,” Kal explained.

Next Bree moved her hands down his arms and continued until she felt the sharp, knife like, claws at the tips of his fingers.

“Careful. Those are very sharp,” he warned.

“And you hunt vampires with these?” she asked. Her mind was still reeling but she could hardly deny what she saw and what she felt.

“Something like that,” Kal stated. “Vampires hunt humans. I try to stop them. Well, some of them do. Long story.”

Bree continued to walk around Kal, astonished by the size of her husband. He had to weigh at least another hundred pounds, maybe more. His arms and legs, even his chest were huge compared to what he had looked like a minute ago. He was also much taller now. He had to be at least six foot two.

“Is this why you insist on wearing such baggy clothes all the time?” she asked. Her mind still wasn’t coping well but some semblance of reality was seeping its way in.

“Yes. That’s why my clothes are always two or three sizes too big for me,’ he said with a grin.

“I guess that makes sense,” she said but she was clearly still lost inside her own head.

“I’m going to change back now. Ok?” Kal asked.

“Sure,” Bree answered. She was squeezing his shoulders and marveling at how she couldn’t even dent the skin. It was like he was made out of concrete or steel but he was warm to the touch.

Kal eased his way back into human form and when he was himself again Bree walked to the couch and sat down. The look on her face was still the look of a woman lost.

“My kind is very sturdy. That baby,” Kal said while pointing at her stomach. “It won’t let you have an abortion. It will kill you first.”

“Oh,” Bree said but she still looked like she was trying to decide if she was dreaming.

“I’m really sorry Bree. I didn’t think it was possible,” Kal said solemnly.

“I know,” Bree said.

Kal’s heart went out to her. She was trying, she really was, but human minds were not ready to admit that his kind existed.

Bree slowly moved her arms over her stomach and it looked like she was hugging her unborn child.

“Will it kill me to have this baby?” Bree asked. Her mind was starting to work again.

“I don’t think so,” Kal replied. “Humans have given birth to vampires. Although this has never happened before, I don’t see why a gargoyle baby would be any different.”

“But you don’t know,” she said. “You’re not a vampire so this might just kill me.”

“Actually,” he said and cringed. “I sort of am a vampire.”

“What?” Bree asked and her terror returned.

“Gargoyles are a mutation of vampires,” Kal said.

“But blood makes you sick,” Bree said.

“Exactly. I can’t even stand the smell of blood,” Kal replied. “But genetically, I’m still a vampire. They’re faster, I’m stronger, but we’re both vampires.”

“Oh,” Bree said and once again she looked lost and confused.

Kal started toward the couch to sit by his wife and answer more questions when a loud knock came at the door. He looked down at Bree then at the door then back at Bree.

“I’ll get rid of whoever that is,” Kal said.

“Please,” Bree said.

Kal made his way to the door and the loud knocking rang out once more. When he opened the door he was shocked at first, then anger took its place. He shifted into gargoyle form in seconds then growled down at the small Egyptian woman.

The woman at the door was even shorter than Bree. Her long black hair and olive skin resembled Kal’s. Even her facial features and nose looked like Kal’s. She smiled, patted Kal on the chest then pushed her way inside.

“Calm down little brother,” the woman said with a laugh.

“What the hell are you doing here El?!” Kal asked angrily. Was it Elyssa who had assaulted him in the alley? It couldn’t be her could it? She was the kind to play games, after all. Even though he knew his sister’s propensity for manipulation, would she really just show up at his door afterward? At the very least, if she had been the one to attack him, wouldn’t she want to gloat about it?

Elyssa stopped when she saw Bree on the couch. It was clear that Bree had been crying. Then Elyssa took a deep breath through her nose and smiled.

“Congratulations,” she said then looked at Kal. “This is a surprise. You tell her yet?”

“About five seconds ago,” Kal exaggerated.

“That explains the crying,” Elyssa stated then walked over and sat down beside Bree. She stuck out her hand and looked at Bree strangely. “I’m Elyssa. His big sister,” she said while looking at Kal.

“You said you didn’t have any family,” Bree said and ignored Elyssa’s hand.

“Ok. I lied about that because my family is very…” Kal paused and Bree interrupted.

“If you say complicated,” she warned.

“I was going to say dangerous,” he corrected.

Elyssa looked at Bree and grinned.

“Guilty as charged,” she said.

“But you’re a gargoyle. You wouldn’t hurt me, right?” Bree asked.

“I’m a vampire,” Elyssa said and her teeth slid into place. They looked more vicious than Kal’s teeth. They were longer and, although Bree was probably imagining this part, they looked sharper.

Bree scooted away quickly to one side of the couch and Elyssa laughed.

“You’re perfectly safe. For one,” she started and looked at Kal. “My little brother would rip the teeth out of my head if I hurt you. I can smell it on him. He loves you. And for two. I don’t hurt humans any more. Little brother’s idea.”

“It wasn’t exactly my idea,” Kal said.

“Your’s and father’s,” Elyssa said and Bree could see the sadness on both of their faces as their eyes locked and a secret was shared, one Bree was not a part of.

“What was that look for?” Bree asked.

Kal looked at the floor and, although Elyssa looked just as uncomfortable, she spoke.

“Our older brother, Rasheed, killed our father.” Then another look came over Elyssa, a look of pride. “But Kal killed him.”

“So why don’t you hurt human’s anymore? Let’s get back to that,” Bree said. She knew there was more to the story of Rasheed but it didn’t look like either of them were in the mood to talk about it.

“Damn. I see why Kal can’t take his eyes off you,” Elyssa said with a laugh. She looked at Kal and smiled. “She’s got a spine. She just found out you’re a gargoyle, your sister’s a vampire and she just keeps on asking questions.”

Kal smiled to hide his embarrassment.

“Well. About four hundred years ago. Kal and dad came up with an idea. They decided that hurting humans wasn’t necessary. It was cruel. We could just as easily survive off blood that was given voluntarily. Some vampires, including my brother, saw this as blasphemy. I mean really? Blasphemy? Do humans go around worshiping hamburgers? It’s blood. It’s just food. If there is a better, more efficient, way to procure it then why not do it? Someday we might even be able to come out in the open and live at peace with humans.” Elyssa looked very sure of herself and it put Bree at ease.

“So how many vampires believe what you believe?” Bree asked.

Elyssa looked a little concerned but she answered anyway.

“Not enough,” Elyssa replied.

“That reminds me,” Kal said, his look turning cross. “Why were you at my door after nearly four hundred years?”

“Damn. I almost forgot. The smell of a pregnant woman threw me for a loop. It smelled like you and her. I needed to make sure.” Elyssa looked at Bree with kindness. “Congratulations. That baby is one of a kind.”

Bree’s rage returned and caught Kal off guard.

“See. I didn’t cheat on you!” Bree said angrily.

“He accused you of cheating on him?” Elyssa asked with amusement. When Bree nodded Elyssa looked at Kal. “You’ll have to excuse my little brother. He’s not very good with women.”

“How many have there been?” Bree asked and gave Kal a devious look.

Kal looked frightened and cornered. This was getting out of control.

“Should I tell her?” Elyssa asked Kal with a grin.

“Don’t El,” Kal begged.

Bree crossed her arms and looked at Kal but spoke to Elyssa.

“Please El. Do tell,” Bree said while raising her eyebrows and grinning from ear to ear.

Elyssa looked at Bree with all seriousness and waited until Bree was looking back at her.

“One,” Elyssa said.

“One?” Bree asked, astounded. “He’s over two thousand years old and there was only one?”

“El, come on,” Kal begged once more.

“Who was she?” Bree asked, ignoring her husband’s pleas.

“That’s the thing,” Elyssa said and grinned devilishly at her brother. “The one is you.”

“Really?” Bree asked with astonishment.

“Yep. I mean, he’s not a monk. I’m sure he’s had sex but never a girlfriend and certainly not a wife,” Elyssa stated.

“Can we please get back to why you’re here?” Kal asked but it sounded more like begging to the two women.

“Ok. Before Bree and I get to talking about all the embarrassing moments in your life I do need to tell you why I’m here.” Elyssa winked at Bree and Bree smiled.

“Well?” Kal asked impatiently.

“Mom has been getting wind of a very old vampire. One as old as we are. This vampire wants to get rid of all human sympathizers.” She paused for a moment then stared at Kal and he knew what she was going to say before she said it. “He, specifically, wants to hurt you.”

“What do you mean hurt me?” Kal asked.

“You’re not just a sympathizer. You’re Kal. The one who started it all. If he can hurt you, not just kill you but hurt you first. Then, in his mind, it will prove that the old ways are better. It might even prove it to the others, ones that aren’t so fond of humans. Kal. It’s the start of a civil war.” Elyssa looked at her little brother with compassion.

Kal laughed and seemed to take this news very well. He even looked relieved.

“Well, my first thought was wrong at least,” he said.

“Wait. You thought it was me?” Elyssa asked. She looked a little hurt by his assumption.

“You or mom,” Kal admitted.

“I took your side all those years ago. How could you even think that?” Elyssa asked.

“I haven’t even spoken to you in centuries. I thought you were…I don’t know…mad at me?” Kal asked.

Elyssa stood up and put her hands on her hips. Suddenly Kal was struck by an uncomfortable truth. His big sister was just like his wife, perhaps the other way around, but still. Had he picked out a wife because she had his sister’s personality? It didn’t change the way he felt about Bree but it was something that deserved a little thought…then again, perhaps it was better not to dwell on it too much. He loved Bree for Bree. The similarities to his sister were undeniable but it was still Bree he was in love with.

“We’ve been governing two hundred vampires. Just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we’re mad at you,” Elyssa said angrily. “Besides. You didn’t bother coming home, now did you? You fought Rasheed then just left. Is a phone call too much to ask for? You didn’t even bother to find out what we thought…you just left.” The discomfort in her eyes worried Kal. He had seen his sister upset many times but this looked different.

“To be fair, there weren’t phones back then,” Kal said with a grin, trying to hide his guilt. “And I had just killed our brother. What was I supposed to think?”

“It’s clear you didn’t think. Those are just excuses,” Elyssa said and she started to grin.

Bree stood up and Kal was outnumbered.

“Why don’t you run out and get us some supper while El and I talk?” Bree asked, but it was more of a command and Kal knew it.

“What would you like?” Kal groveled. The full weight of all the stupid things he’d said this evening and all the mistakes he’d made had yet to be counted. Groveling and doing everything Bree said was the best way to convince her to forgive at least some of them.

“Oh. You know what I’m dying for?” Elyssa asked.

“I’m not getting you blood,” Kal said.

“Don’t be daft. I’d never ask you for blood,” Elyssa said. “You’d probably faint or puke.” Elyssa laughed then went on. “I walked by a Greek restaurant about two blocks before I got here. I can’t get that smell out of my head.”

“You can eat real food?” Bree asked.

“Of course. Can you imagine what it would be like if your taste buds and sense of smell were ten times more sensitive? Human food is amazing! What am I saying? You’re carrying his baby. In about a month you’ll know exactly what I mean.” Elyssa smiled and Kal took this as a sign that he should get out while he still could.

As Kal headed to the door Elyssa stopped him.

“Skip the wine,” Elyssa said.

“Ok,” Kal replied. He looked at Bree and she looked back with a look that solidified the idea that the punishment for his mistakes had not even begun.

“None for you either. I don’t get wine. You don’t get wine,” Bree said sternly.

“Yes, dear,” Kal replied then headed out the door.

After Kal was gone both women laughed then sat on the couch.

“Damn, I guess what they say is true,” Elyssa said.

“What’s that?” Bree asked.

“Take the strongest, most stubborn man in the world. Put him in front of a woman and he will melt like butter,” Elyssa stated.

“I suppose,” Bree said, thinking back on the start of the evening. Kal had accused her of cheating on him and it had hurt more than she was willing to admit.

“But it has to be the right woman,” Elyssa said. “Believe me. You’re the right woman for Kal.”

“I hope so,” Bree said.

“I know so. I’ve never seen him like this. He’s terrified,” Elyssa explained.

“Of me?” Bree asked.

“Not like that. He’s not afraid of you. He’s terrified that you’ll realize he isn’t good enough for you,” Elyssa said. She raised her eyebrows then grinned.

Elyssa’s clever words made Bree feel better and the rest of the evening, even after Kal returned with their food, was spent talking about the baby and about the many life times of Kal. Kal, the slayer of vampires. Kal, the scourge of the bloodthirsty. The man even ancient vampires feared. And Kal, the man afraid of a woman half his size. Of all the foes he had faced in his lifetimes, her leaving was the one thing he feared the most.

Chapter 4

In the morning Kal drove his black sedan while Bree sat in the passenger seat. Elyssa had left a little after three in the morning to head back home and talk to their mother. Kal, of course, slept on the couch.

“You sure you want to see a human doctor?” Kal asked.

“Where were you born?” Bree asked. Not only had Elyssa helped her cope with her new situation, Bree had completely accepted her new life.

“Egypt,” Kal replied.

“Where at?” Bree asked.

“A small village. It didn’t even have a name,” Kal replied.

“Where does your mother live?” Bree asked.

“Cairo,” Kal replied.

“That’s where El was going?” Bree asked.

“Yes,” Kal replied. “You sure you want to see a human doctor?” Kal asked again.

Again Bree ignored the question.

“How many gargoyles are there? I mean in total.” Bree had a strong desire to completely understand everything.

“I think there are like ten or eleven, counting me,” Kal answered.

“So, it’s rare when a gargoyle is born?” Bree asked.

“Yes,” Kal answered. “What if the doctor sees something funny? What if the blood tests come back and he realizes there’s something different?”

Bree continued to ignore Kal’s questions.

“So your assumption that you couldn’t get me pregnant was based on a pool of ten people? I think that’s a little short sided don’t you think?” Bree asked.

“I see what you mean,” Kal replied with guilt.

“So you might say that your other assumption. The one where you accused me of cheating on you was also short sided?” Bree asked.

“No,” Kal stated.

“No?” Bree asked and Kal could see how hurt she was but he knew what he was doing this time.

“No. It wasn’t short sided. It was stupid, plain and simple. I was just stupid,” Kal said.

Bree smiled at his admission.

“And to answer your question. I’m going to tell the doctor I will only consent to an ultrasound. No blood tests. Religious beliefs and that kind of thing.” Bree leaned back and crossed her arms.

“Ok,” Kal replied. He wasn’t quite sure how else to answer.

“What about sunlight? Crosses? Holy water?” Bree asked as she leaned forward and looked at Kal curiously.

“None of it is real. Made up by humans to help them sleep at night,” Kal explained.

“Then how do you kill a vampire?” Bree asked. “You’re the great vampire hunter.”

“El exaggerates,” Kal said with a laugh.

“So you’re not the most feared gargoyle in the world?” Bree asked with a grin.

“That’s not fair,” Kal said. “You already know the answer to that.”

“So El doesn’t exaggerate,” Bree said with a self-satisfied smile.

Kal ignored her comments and decided to answer her question.

“Shoot or stab them in the heart or the head. You can also remove their head,” Kal explained.

“What about drowning? Suffocation? Bleeding to death?” Bree asked.

“Yes. Anything that would stop a vampire’s heart from pumping blood. Although they can hold their breath a long time and bleeding to death would be difficult. Vampires heal very fast,” Kal replied.

“So what can kill a gargoyle?” Bree asked.

“Why? You planning on getting rid of your insensitive husband?” he asked in reply.

“Just wanting to know how likely it is that this ancient vampire will kill my husband,” Bree said. She was serious and worried.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve lived a long time. It will take more than an ancient vampire to kill me off,” Kal laughed.

Bree stared at him angrily and crossed her arms again.

“So help me if you lie to me or even hide anything from me again. I’ll leave,” she threatened.

“Ok, I’m sorry,” he pleaded. “They can kill me the same way but if I’m a gargoyle it’s a lot harder. You felt my skin. I’m pretty tough to kill.”

Kal could see the hospital a few blocks ahead. Traffic was bumper to bumper but they would be there in a few minutes. He turned to Bree and smiled.

“Anything else you want to ask before we are surrounded by nosey humans?” he asked with a smirk.

“Hey now. I am one of those humans,” she chastised.

“Yes but…” he started.

Then, as he turned his head to catch Bree’s lovely smile, a smaller car came flying toward the intersection at Bree’s door. A car was right in front of them and one behind them. There was no where he could go. Without a second thought Kal threw himself on top of Bree and transformed. He encircled her with his arms as the car smashed into theirs. Their car slid sideways along the street until it hit a garbage truck that was waiting to turn. Kal’s car was sandwiched between them. When everything came to a halt Kal shifted back to human form and frantically grabbed Bree’s face.

“Are you alright?!” he yelled.

“I’m fine,” Bree smiled up at him. “A little shaken but Kal the Destroyer is my husband.”

Kal couldn’t help but smile back then he scolded her.

“No one ever called me that.” He still couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the vampire again. He quickly searched the car that had smashed into them but there was no driver. This wasn’t an accident. The vampire, whom he still hadn’t seen clearly, had thrown the car at them. Kal remembered the words Bree had said to him only moments ago. She wanted no more secrets.

“This wasn’t an accident,” Kal stated.

“What?” Bree asked and her smile vanished. Her brow furrowed and she looked at the car that had hit them then back at Kal, begging for answers.

“The vampire threw that car at us,” Kal said.

“Seriously? They can do that?” Bree asked.

“If I can throw a car, he can. Or she,” Kal corrected. He still wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman he had seen. The way the vampire moved was quick and strange. Both times he and only seen it for a second at most.

“You can throw a car?” Bree asked. The mixture of pride and surprise on her face felt good but her safety was more important.

“Hold on,” Kal said then started pushing Bree’s door. Soon the metal screamed in agony and the door’s hinges broke. It fell to the ground with a loud crash as the car pinned against it was pushed backward then Kal stepped out and picked up Bree.

“You ARE strong,” she commented.

Kal was about to take off after the vampire when the police arrived, followed by an ambulance. There were too many humans and it was the middle of the day. He would have to wait. The vampire had planned this out but how? How did it know they would be at this intersection? His thoughts returned to his sister. She had known where they were going in the morning and only her. It was possible the vampire had followed them but it was much more likely that it had known beforehand.

Kal leaned in and whispered to Bree as the paramedics were approaching.

“Only Elyssa knew where we were going,” he said quietly.

“It’s not her Kal,” Bree urged.

“How can you be so sure?” Kal asked.

“A feeling. Besides, she called your mother as she was leaving last night. What if someone was listening in?” Bree asked. She looked up at Kal and the expression told him that he was on the verge of making another huge mistake. Accusing his sister, really accusing her, would be yet another moment he could never take back.

“Before I go doing something stupid again we’ll go with your theory,” he said with a grin.

As Bree was about to commend him for his choice the paramedics started shouting anxiously.

“Are you alright?! Sir, can you put her down?!” one of them shouted.

Kal obliged and set his wife on the ground. It took nearly five minutes to convince the men that they were fine. Despite this, both Kal and Bree were compelled to ride in the ambulance the three blocks to the hospital.

Chapter 5

Kal sat nervously on the exam table while he waited for the doctor to come in. He and Bree had been separated when they arrived. It had been over an hour and Kal’s nerves were shot.

Surely the vampire wouldn’t try again in the middle of a busy hospital. Telling or showing one human would mean the death of the human but if a vampire showed itself to multiple humans, it would mean the death of the vampire. Killing multiple humans would only raise more questions. The police station had been five. The hospital…? Twenty, thirty, maybe more. There was no way the vampire council could come up with a story to cover that many deaths. It was just simpler to kill the vampire.

This vampire was smart, using an empty car to fake an accident was proof of that. He or she wouldn’t attack in the middle of a hospital. Then it hit him. His sister’s words rang out in his head and he was terrified. The vampire wanted to hurt him first. That was the reason behind Laura Olen’s death. And the vampire hadn’t been aiming the car for Kal. The car was meant to kill Bree!

Kal shot up from the exam table and rushed to the door but as he reached it a doctor greeted him.

“Going somewhere Mr. Johnson?” the elderly woman asked.

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