Update: 13 March 15

Good Afternoon! How’s everyone’s day going? It shouldn’t be anything less than amazing considering it’s Friday and a beautiful, sunny day out today. At least, that’s what it’s looking like here in Northern California!

I’ve not forgotten my promise to my small circle of readers- I will have some fresh reads for you nexxt week. Who would have thought the military would demand so much time that I wouldn’t be able to right full time? Oh wait, I did! And no you all do as well.

The upcoming post will feature a short piece from the POV of Field Agent Layla Talat that will be another leg in a series of shorts I’m calling the Descendants. You may remember briefly meeting Agent Talat in my previous post on New Years Eve. If you don’t remember her, either I need to step my game up, or you need a refresher! Either way, be sure to read both a King’s Christmas and One Last Hurrah! before the end of next week!

In the meantime, have a safe weekend!

-QuamaineB

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One Last Hurrah.

Eighty-seven.

That was the number of targets he had tagged and bagged like so many animals for the human government since the Revealing, an event that reveal the existence of another species to mankind. And yes, the delineation was intentional, because no, he was not human, apparently never had been.

 Not according to the human scientist who studied his kind, not to the military board who’d kicked him unceremoniously to the curb after discovering the truth of his heritage, and certainly not the piece of shit fiancé who’d left him six months ago.

 Four.

The number of paranormals who had not survived what the human doctors called Rehabilitation, a procedure that forcibly cut off his kind’s access to the very powers that made them unique. An inhuman process which left them in an endless coma, stripped of their very identities, nothing more than shells for the humans to poke and prod like lab rats.

He had sentenced eighty-seven of his own people to that fate.

Tracked them down like errant dogs and turned over members of his own species to be experimented upon and then put down like rabid animals. All on the say so of a group of humans who would sooner see everyone like him dead out of fear than attempt to understand and help them adapt to the modern era.

Lyncoln Turner was a traitor, self-loathing his ever-present companion.

He took a moment to survey the table to his left, offended. If he didn’t already hated himself enough, Lyncoln stood posted within spitting distance of every single member of the Program’s ruling Board, the men and women who gave the execution orders, like a well-trained dog waiting to be recognized as their most accomplished field agent since the inception of the program.

A banquet.

They were throwing a fucking banquet to celebrate his team and their hand in reducing his species, one by one. It was disgusting and revolting enough that he be the instrument of his people’s destruction, but even more so that the so-called civilized humans so coolly celebrated genocide.

Toasts were made, fine wine consumed by the gallon and plates the cost of which one could provide the capital to help his people reform were cleaned by human societies most elite, New York City’s one percent. He wondered if they even knew what it was exactly the Program did to the paranormals it supposedly helped integrate into modern, human lives.

Lyncoln somehow doubted it.

While the rich could be insensitive to the suffering of others, they weren’t always cruel, would most likely not take kindly to the knowledge he held. The nouveau riche did not mind a dirty deed or two done in private so long as their pockets were lined, but they would sell their own mothers to protect their precious reputations. Reputations the truth about the Program would trample with muddied boots.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.

The Director, his salt and peppered hair fashion in a military high and tight, sat at the head of the table wearing a perfect mask of civility. And it was just that, a mask. The man was a ruthless bastard with a mind as sharp as any blade, his gray blue eyes as cold and merciless as a winter storm. He was the one who’d found and recruited Lyncoln following the Revealing in 2010. Recruitment was the politic term that had been used.

It had actually ben a euphemism for serve or watch your family branded as freaks, their lives ruined.

He could not stand his family, for while they hadn’t abandoned him as everyone else in his life had, they may as well have. Nevertheless, they were family, even if they refused to claim him, and he would never turn his back on family. The Director knew that about him as well and didn’t hesitate to use it to his own ends.

Lyncoln hated the smug bastard with every ounce of darkness in him, but no one was any wiser as he took the champagne flute offered and lifted it to toast to a man he’d gut at the first opportunity. The liquid, usually a favorite of his, was uncharacteristically bitter, the bubbles dry and bitter on his tongue as he downed the contents of the glass.

 “Turner!”

Lyncoln snapped out of his thoughts at the harsh whisper in his left ear.

Talat, an exquisite beauty whose features spoke of her deep Middle Eastern roots and a fellow field operative, glared at him as she approached from his left. Her shoulder length jet black hair was pinned up in a neat bun to expose her bare shoulders in the strapless, teal dress she wore to perfection.

Her topaz eyes locked onto his, her concern intense, so tangible he could practically touch it.

Lyncoln put on his best faux smile as he addressed his second. “What?”

“Stop it.”

He locked down his shields, dark eyes narrowing on Talat. He knew exactly what it was she meant. He also knew precisely how she knew about it. Though he loved Talat endlessly, knew she would never betray his trust, Lyncoln loathed even the thought of anyone being privy to his chaotic emotions.

Even if it was his empathic best friend.

“Stop eavesdropping or I’ll give you a migraine.” He threatened, putting his champagne flute back down on black tablecloth before he spoke again. “You know I hate that.”

Talat, with her infinite patience didn’t react to his less than brusque tone, her abilities and inherent peaceful disposition providing a fertile field for the roots of a deep and abiding friendship to grow and flourish. Though she’d come into the Program nearly a year after he, Talat had quickly become someone he could depend on, in any matter.

That same reliability came with complimentary couch time.

“In my defense, you were projecting,” A casual shrug of her shoulders, beautiful bronze skin aglow beneath the ballroom lights. “If you actually paid attention in the classes I teach, you might actually remember how to prevent that.”

She was wrong. He’d listened diligently. The techniques she’d first taught him no longer worked with the same efficiency as they’d done a year ago, his mind having found a way around the self-imposed blocks, but that wasn’t something he was ready to share. Not with her and certainly not with the doctors that Talat would insist he confer with.

“You right,” an effortless lie told with unnerving ease. It was becoming far too easy. “My apologies for snapping at you, but the combination of this stuffy suit and these small suns they call lights above us are making me incredibly irritable.”

In truth, Lyncoln was nervous.

Today marked his fourth, and God willing, final contracted year as a field operative, the ceremony serving the dual purpose of a celebration and a farewell. No one else knew, the Director having decided it was best he make a clean cut.

He didn’t agree, but the Director wasn’t a man anyone defied.

Still, Lyncoln remained grateful. No matter how small it seemed, the promotion to desk jockey was a welcomed reprieve. His soul was torn and tattered, every mission a corrosive acid drip on the fragile tapestry. He would live with the shame of his actions to his final breath, but if he could save just one life, just one of his people, then perhaps he could earn a modicum of forgiveness.

The comm timepiece on his wrist chimed.

Switching open his mental pathways, Lyncoln answered the mental hail, the distinct steel of Samone Richards mind touching his own. A former emergency responder, Richards was also an incredibly skilled telepath and functioned as the team’s main source of information.

There was an electromagnetic spike detected in Lower Manhattan three minutes ago. Precinct 7. Orders are to retrieve the target alive.

He didn’t bother asking why the mission had been assigned to him when Command surely knew his time as a field agent was over. If the order came across Richards’ desk, it was meant for Turner and his team.

Copy. We’re on it.

a King’s Christmas.

King did not like Christmas.

No, that would be dressing it up far too nicely. He fucking hated Christmas. The unending blanket of snow for miles and miles, the fresh pine smell of Christmas trees in his nostrils, and one could not forget those goddamn gingerbread cookies. Fucking gingerbread. God, he loathed the very mention of the season, dreaded the sight of the first falling leaves.

Fall heralded the coming of winter and winter always brought with it the cold chill of his past.

Just two years ago, King had been living the good life. A life Kanye West himself would be envious of. He’d had a mother who, aside from her annoying, overbearing tendencies and occasional bitch fits, loved him and almost everything other young men his age only dreamt of. Car, check. Rent free house, check. Free groceries and a maid, check check.

What the hell kind of idiot wouldn’t be content with all that?

“Clearly an idiot like you,” he grumbled under his breath. Or so he thought.

“What’d you say there, pretty boy?”

King looked up at the mountain of a man who’d somehow managed to get right up in his grill while he’d been lost in dream land. Probably not the best course of action when one was sitting in central holding with all manner of lawbreakers, but King never claimed to be the brightest light bulb.

Apparently this precinct didn’t believe in separating minor offenses and first time offenders from the less friendly riff-raff. His mother sure paid a lot of state taxes. If they weren’t going toward making his occasional jail visits more pleasant, then where the hell was it going?

“N-no-nothing,” he finally managed to spit out. It was an admittedly weak response, but through the cocktail of cheap alcohol and even cheaper tree he’d smoked, his mind was not capable of a more complex retort. He cleared the little bitch in his throat to make room for the man before speaking again, hoping he didn’t sound as worried as he was. “Thinking out loud, sir.”

The tattooed behemoth seemed to accept the half-assed apology, but not before he giving King an extremely long and completely unnerving up and down with lust filled eyes. As if sex were anywhere near his list of priorities right now. And even if it were, it wouldn’t be with a man that reeked of stale cigars and looked like he did not know what “No” meant.

“You have a pretty little mouth,” A slow, lusty smirk that revealed teeth should belong to a pirate. “Keep thinking aloud and the boys and I’ll put those pretty lips of yours to good use for the night.”

Self-preservation would have kept any other guy’s mouth tightly sealed as the inmate turned to leave, but King had never been normal or the type to let an insult slide. Not from his mother, not from his father when he’d been alive, and certainly not some reject from the Last House on the Left.

“Like hell you will.” And wasn’t that a fucking mistake.

The hulk-man whirled around shockingly fasted and locked one meaty hands around King’s throat before he could so much as flinch, pinning the smaller man to the prison cot with his body weight. King’s hands came up immediately, scrambling for something to hold on to, to escape. It was no use, those hands locked like a snake around his throat, constricting airflow. Damn, the fucker was strong.

In the movies, this was around the time the inmates started causing an uproar, which in turn drew the attention of the guards. Guards who would come and break up this little attempt on King’s precious life. At least, that was how it worked in all the movies he had seen. Apparently in the real world, those very same underpaid civil servants were in their sorry excuse for a break room. How oh so very fortunate for him that he should die while the guards were away drinking cold, dollar store coffee out of Styrofoam cups.

“Should have kept your mouth shut, little boy,”

The smell of booze and onions blasted King in the face as the creep leaned down until they were nearly nose to nose. King’s body locked up immediately, memories from his past bubbling to the surface. His throat tightened even as the grip loosened. A cold sweat broke out, his face perspiring as the brute rubbed King’s chest through his shirt with his free hand.

Something hard pushed against King’s thigh and, though he couldn’t see, he knew exactly what it was. Bile rose in the back of his throat, his stomach heaving in violent rejection of what was about to happen if he didn’t man the fuck up.

That hand slid lower, stopping just at King’s waistline to snake underneath his shirt. The feel of those balmy, fat fingers on his naked flesh almost caused him to retch right then and there. He didn’t care if it got all over his Versace sweater- money could buy more shirts, but it couldn’t buy his dignity back if he lost it to this bottom feeder.

Wiggling just enough to give his arms some room to maneuver, King laid his fingers on the sweaty, belly partially exposed by a shirt that was clearly to small. Though it had been more than a year since he’d last done it, he was hoping his little trick would work right now. Liquor usually crippled it, but it was better to try and fail, than not to try at all and just lie there and take it.

A button coming undone, the sound of a zipper.

King closed his eyes and forced himself to filter everything else out. The stench of liquor vanished, the heavy weight of another man astride him lifting, the sounds of labored breathing silenced in a moments time. Warmth spread through him, the tell-tell sign that his trick was working, and King went to work.

“You don’t want to do this,” King said, the words no less commanding for that they were spoken calmly.

The male trying to rape him looked up then, a look of completely bewilderment on his aged face, a combination of drunkeness and King forcing his will onto the other male. That was usually what happened when King “pushed” someone- minor resistance, followed by compliance and then confusion. In this case, there was no resistance, the no doubt illegal amount of liquor in the man’s bloodstream circumventing any kind of mental fortitude he may have had.

“I don’t?” A confused look around before he looked down at King. “I don’t. I don’t want to do this, do I?”

King sent up a silent prayer to God, thanking him for small favors. “No, you don’t. In fact, you never want to ever have sex again. Ever. The very thought of it will make you sick. Do you understand me?” It was only fair, right? The male was certainly going to rape King and he wouldn’t shrink at doing it to someone else. This was practically community service or something, right?

The jerk rolled off of King then, scrambling to stuff his engorged manhood back into his dirty trousers with remarkable speed. Thankfully, no one else was present in the cell and the guards still hadn’t come by on their usual rounds. It was embarrassing enough that he’d had that disgusting appendage on his designer jeans- if anyone had witnessed it, he’d absolutely die.

Of course, King was more concerned with making sure no one had seen him use his trick.

“What am I doing?”

And wasn’t that a good question? King sat up on the cot and tried not to curl his lip in revulsion at the man before him as he considered punishment. Telling the guards would accomplish nothing- the could care less what happened to those they put behind these bars. No, retribution was lain at King’s feet and his feet alone.

“You want out of this cage?” A jerky nod from a head far too small for the body is sat on. “Good,” King said with a slow smile. “Then leave. Claw your way out or whatever, just don’t stop.”

King turned over on the cot content as the man went to the far wall and began clawing at the concrete with his fingernails. It was the season for giving after all. His gift was a cruel thing, especially the way in which he used it, but King couldn’t bring himself to give a fuck.

The world was a cruel place- why shouldn’t he be cruel too?