This is a story that’s part of a larger legend of a character I created named Cygnus the Lawkeeper.
The sun feels good even when it’s going down. The cool, ocean breeze feels good. Everything here feels, well, good. Every now and then, I like to escape the big cities of the world and just plop my ass out in the middle of nowhere to think. I think and I absorb. I deserve this time to myself, especially with all those fucking supernatural idiots running around doing whatever the hell they want. That’s not necessarily true. Only some of them break the law; a small handful, really. The rest are actually pretty good people and I get along with them just fine.
Enough about them, though. I came here for peace and relaxation, to get closer to nature. This really is my favorite kind of place out all the places I’ve been. It doesn’t matter whether it’s here on Earth or some other part of the cosmos, I just like to be in a place where there’s sun on my face, fresh air on my skin and solid ground beneath my feet, or, in this case, under my ass.
Oh, look! There’s a Red-Footed Booby! Such wonderful wildlife on Maui. That’s another reason why I come here. The birds are beautiful. I like all wildlife and they like me, and there’s definitely a difference between a Booby and a pigeon once you have seen both. Pigeons are plain and grey. Boobys are fantastic and colorful.
I’m just going to sit here a bit longer and take it all in. I’ve been here for three weeks now, but I can’t seem to get enough of –
WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?
Where is that light coming from? That is definitely not normal. Well, not normal to Earth, at least. Believe me, I know. However, it seems familiar. Kinda like mine, but off a few shades. Regardless, this is something that needs my attention and it needs it quickly. I’ll have to fly fast and under the radar. Eastbound. I’ll have to be invisible, too, so I can avoid the eventual conspiracy theories and the necessary cover-up I’ll have to arrange later. Been there, done that, many times. It’s a pain in the ass. Of course, teleportation is an option, but I’m not exactly sure where it’s coming from so I’ll be hit and miss until I peg it. I like flying better anyway because you see and experience so much more even if just for a brief moment.
The light has formed a column now, stretching upwards into the stratosphere, and I’m sure no one else can see it. Its energy is so similar to mine; I can safely assume that it’s undetectable by both the supers and the humans. I take off, leaving behind a cloud of sand. It only takes me a second to reach the California shore and a second more to reach New York City where I’m now able to get a good fix on it.
The column is thicker and much brighter now and it’s showing me exactly where it’s coming from like a beacon. I slow down as I come upon a warehouse in a remote section near the East Side Highway. I recognize this piece of shit building as one of the few covens in the Northeastern part of America. By “coven”, I don’t mean a group of witches. I mean vampires. A rather old vamp named Abel who has caused some headaches for me in the past leads this particular coven. I thought he was on the straight and narrow, but I guess I’ll have to see about that. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt this time. For now.
Two beefy vamps allow me entrance without even acknowledging me. I’m sure I’m visible now, right? Yep. I guess I earned some privileges here after my last visit. I continue to walk through the large, empty space towards a set of reinforced metal doors at the end. Four more vamps, each holding a semi-automatic rifle, guard those inner doors. Seems a bit overkill. One of them stops me with a flattened hand to the chest as I walk by them, but one of his compadres steps in and tells him who I am. The vamp steps back and bows deferentially.
Another one of the guards, a bald and burly man, opens the door for me, then waves me inside. I give him a polite nod, then step through, immediately hearing the chunky clang of the metal door closing behind me. The staircase is dimly lit and I can hear excited voices below. Classical music is playing softly; I think its Bach, but I always had a hard time telling one classical piece from another. I would never tell that to Beethoven or Chopin directly. They were quite sensitive chaps.
As the stairs wind down, a soft line of light gets stronger until I walk into a large, baroque styled chamber. A couple dozen vampires are here, talking, drinking – general socializing. When I come into full view, all eyes are upon me. A female vamp, an attractive blonde-haired woman named Cybill, approaches me, wine glass in hand, with a toothy grin. “Cygnus! How pleased I am to see you!”
I smelled the blood in her half-full glass, but I’m still cordial like alway. “Cybill,” I say, “The pleasure is always mine, of course.”
She takes me by the elbow and tugs lightly, leading me towards the center of the room. “So, what brings you here tonight? Care for a little fun?” She turned on only half the charm she possessed.
“No, thank you.” Although she looks quite appealing in that dress. “I’m looking for Abel. Do you know where he is?”
My rejection disappoints her, but she pastes on a smile anyway. “I haven’t seen him around in a while. We can have someone call him for you, if you like.”
I could still see the light emanating from a behind a wall in back of the room. The beacon is fading, so I declared a silent urgency and quickened my pace. I could tell it is sourced from somewhere below, a place I’ve never been. Obviously, Abel has a secret chamber I wasn’t aware of, but it’s not something he can hide from me any longer. “I think I’ll go get him myself. Thank you.”
I walk by Cybill, who is already rejoining her kin, and head towards the wall. I see the pulley system right away and pull down a sconce to trigger it. Behind the wall is another flight of winding steps that head down to my destination. As I descend, I pass by a few more vamps, but none of them are even trying to stop me from going deeper. They couldn’t if they tried anyway and they know it.
The air gets a bit stale and damp down here, and I can smell blood even before I hit the landing. That isn’t unusual for these folks, so I pay it little mind and press on down the long underground corridor to the end where a door has been left ajar. Not quite an invitation to enter, but I’ll take it as one. The white light I have been chasing is very bright now. This must be the place. I have no doubt.
I softly push the door open and walk in. It’s a round cement room with a high ceiling. Four vampires flinch as I enter, but back down when they recognize me. They are some of the oldest of their kind and would prove to be a tough adversary to anyone, but their leader, Abel, is far older than even they are. He’s standing at the opposite side of the room right next to a woman hanging by her arms from large-linked chains connected to the ceiling. The woman is bathed in white light. I get a feeling that this may get ugly.
“Cygnus! How glad I am to see you! Please, come on in. I was just about to enjoy a little meal.” Abel pauses as I walk closer. “So, what brings the great Lawkeeper to my home?” He is a snarky little bitch, but he hasn’t given me a reason to pulverize him yet. I hate him, by the way.
The woman in chains has puncture marks oozing with blood up and down her body. I have to get her out of here and figure out how and why she’s emitting this aura. She’s not in good shape, almost dead, so the answers will take some time to get and only after I do some significant healing and feed her. “Hello, Abel. I’m on a little personal business this time, nothing official.”
Abel looked surprised. He should be considering how many times I’ve come here to threaten him for breaking the rules. In this world, you get more than three strikes, but he’s still close to being put on the bench permanently. “You’re not one for a personal call. What gives?”
“The girl. I’ve come for the girl.”
“This one?” he points to her with a salacious grin. I hate that grin. “My dinner?”
“Yeah, that one. And, I hope she is a willing invitee because if she isn’t, then you and I are gonna have some words.” That was a threat I completely would back up, and not with words. Again, I hate this fucking guy. Did I mention that already?
He sticks his teeth into her femoral artery and begins to gulp down her blood. I’m kind of in shock that he would do this in front of me. It’s not that I haven’t seen a vampire feed before, but I did just say I came for her. Seems rude.
The light ebbs as he sucks her dry. Oh, shit, she’s dying. “Hey, Abel! Abel! Stop! NOW!”
He pulls his long black hair back from his bloody face and looks the girl up and down. “Why do you want her?”
I up my urgency more than a little bit. “None of your fucking business, Abel. I said I wanted her, so give her over or I’ll take her.” I can feel his boys get ready behind me. I can’t believe they are asking for a fight.
“You can have her when I’m done.”
Motherfucker sinks his fangs into her again. That’s more than rude. That’s downright mean. Looks like I have to kick some skulls in, so I summon my staff, which instantly appears in my hand. It glows with the power of the sun. Literally. The vamps behind me leap at me at supernatural speed, but that’s still not quick enough. I can move at ludicrous speed (get the reference there?). With a swipe of my staff, two of them disintegrate into ash on contact. The other two miss their mark and tumble towards where Abel is standing. His teeth are still locked into the woman’s leg. I can see that she is about a step away from God’s waiting room so I have to move quickly.
I blink over next to Abel and pull him off the woman, hurling him against the wall about twenty feet away. That’s gonna piss him off but I don’t care. He shouldn’t have opened his mouth and got sassy with me. Spiteful little man.
The woman is covered in blood and sweat, emaciated, although I can tell she is probably lean bodied anyway. With a thought, the chains break and she falls into my arms. I set her down gently sensing that Abel and his boys are already preparing for another attack. They are so silly.
Sure enough, one of the vamps is one me toot sweet and takes a swipe at me that misses. They have to know they can’t hit me. I backhand him away and he goes flying towards the door I came in. His partner leaps at me, claws extended, fangs bared and meets the heel of my staff right in the face. He’s gone in a cloud of ash. Abel is standing back, waiting for something, but I lose patience and head towards him at a normal human speed. That shows confidence.
Even after being beaten twice, the other vamp runs at me again. I grab him by the neck before he makes contact and let energy burst through my hand. Ashes fly everywhere. I even get some caught in my hair. I’ll wash that out later.
Abel doesn’t even seem frightened. Not sure why since I just disintegrated his friends, but I head towards him anyway. When I get close, he pulls out a wand and points it at me. Black energy spouts from the tip and swirls around me like a nebula. I feel it sucking my body in every direction, but I’m able to keep contained easily after I adjust. I slam the heel of my staff on the stone floor and suck the nebula within the blackness of my weapon. “What else you got, Abel?” Now he looks scared. Good.
“Wait, Cygnus, hold on. I’m sorry. Take the girl and I won’t stop you,” he says as he raises his hand to keep me at bay. I’m pissed off now.
“As if you could stop me, Abel. No, this time you’ve gone too far, so you need to pay up. Using soul magic is forbidden and you know the cost.” I keep my voice calm, monotone.
“Please. I’ll go to Mother and confess. I’ll pay the fine or serve the sentence. Anything. Just don’t kill me.” I hate groveling in general, but, from him, I am quite pleased.
I walk up to him and squeeze his neck so hard that his head pops clean off. Ash everywhere. I guess after I bring this woman home with me I’ll need to go to Mother and explain what happened to one of her babies, but not before I figure out exactly why I was here in the first place. Who is this woman?
(To be continued)