Castle Roland

Who Is He

by Eric Aune


Chapter 24

Posted: N/A

Michael rubbed his back, "You did what you had to do to help him. This Milos character would have continued to torture him until you gave in. He forgave you."

"I know, but I can't forgive myself. I never will." Jason said, his shoulders slumped.

"C'mon Jason, let's take a break." Michael said.

"No….I have to finish this. The next part is important." Jason said as he shook his head.

{15 years ago}

Jason continued to exist within Beloch's family. To him, that is all it was, existence, not life or rather unlife. He stayed aloof from the others as much as possible. He went on many walks on the estate grounds. He got to be very good at being silent and keeping himself hidden. He left the grounds with some of the other members of the family. Once again he felt the hunger building in him. He fought to keep it from being a problem, but Milos knew and he finally confronted Jason about it.

"I know you are getting hungry again. If you don't feed you will not survive."

Jason glared at Milos, "Maybe I don't want to survive this way," he murmured.

Milos put on a fake fatherly look of concern, "My boy…"

Jason backed away and looked at him with hatred, "Don't call me that! I'm not your…boy."

Milos ran at him so fast, that he was a blur, grabbed Jason around the throat, lifted him off the ground and slammed him against the wall. His teeth were clenched as he glared at Jason.

"Understand this, I am your Patriarch. I made you. You will do what I say, when I say, or your existence will be pure hell for a very long time. I know how to sustain you for a long time and in that time you will experience torment like you could not imagine. I learned how to inflict pain hundreds of years ago as a torturer for a Duke of the Hungarian Empire. I promise you, I learned my trade very well before I was turned, so don't think I can't make you beg for death over and over and over. You would die only after I finished with you and not before. So you will obey me without question."

He threw Jason to the ground and looked down on him with some contempt.

"I am not without compassion for my family members, so I'll let you choose how we do this. I can procure another tender morsel like before, only I think I'll choose one a bit younger. Let me think, don't you have a younger brother. I think he would be very tasty. This time I will not allow you to give him release. First I will torture him nearly unto death, then, and only then, will I let you feed on him. On second thought, perhaps I should turn him instead. What do you think, you could be reunited with your brother and spend eternity together in darkness."

Jason got up and glared at Milos.

He let his fangs drop, "You bastard. Leave him alone. You have a problem with me. You deal with me."

Milos lashed out, causing Jason to fly down the hall and land on his back. Milos advanced, picked Jason up and hit him several times. His fists flew so fast that they were a blur. Jason was groggy when Milos finished beating him. Then he felt Milos grip his hair and drag him out into the yard behind the house and throw him down, knocking the wind out of him.

"Shackle him!" he ordered to a couple of the other family members who were out there.

Jason felt himself picked up and felt his arms being shackled over his head. "Strip him," came the next order.

Jason's head finally cleared and he saw that Milos was standing in front of him. The fury on his face was evident. There were other vampires and others that he recognized as human servants of Milos. Ivan walked up and handed a coil of leather to Milos. He shook it out and Jason saw a short whip made of several lengths of leather, there were metal barbs along each length of leather. Milos smiled and swished it through the air a few times as he advanced toward Jason.

"You may have heard of this, it's called the cat of nine tails. As you can see, I've added my own….touch to it, so it hurts more."

Milos was close enough now to shove the wooden handle of the cat under Jason's chin. He brought his face up close to Jason's and sneered.

"Sometimes, I must give out discipline to reign in my family, just like any father would do. I only do this when I feel it is necessary, like now. I promise you, this will hurt you a lot more than it will hurt me."

Milos smiled cruelly and stepped back. Jason was scared because he knew it was going to hurt more than anything he had ever felt, but he tried to stare defiantly back at Milos and the group that had gathered around to watch. Jason could tell that they were all going to enjoy this, as he could see several anticipating smiles on the family members.

Milos turned and quickly struck with the whip. Jason was unprepared for the level of agony, and he screamed in surprise as much as in pain. Each hit brought an involuntary scream from him, until his throat felt like it was on fire. The strikes seemed to go on relentlessly. Eventually all he could do was whimper, his head hung down and his body hung from the manacles. As he looked down on his body he could only watch as the whip cut into his flesh and the blood ran freely, until it looked like he had been bathing in it. He could faintly hear cheering and catcalls from all around him. Finally the whipping stopped, and he felt someone come near. Milos gripped his hair and pulled his head back until he was looking Jason in the eyes.

"Now, my boy, you know what I expect. By the time I release you from these shackles, you are going to be hungry, just as if a few more weeks have passed. You see, blood sustains us and gives us the energy we need to make us stronger and more powerful. It also helps us heal nearly any damage that we sustain. When we lose blood that we have taken in, we need to feed more often. The blood of an innocent, like you have had, will sustain you longer, but after the amount that I have bled from you, the hunger is going to increase and you will need to feed sooner. I will let you hang here and think about that for a little while."

Milos let Jason's head drop and walked away. Jason could dimly hear the others leave. He hung there, his shoulders feeling the strain. Slowly he felt his wounds close as the damage was healed. He felt the warmth of the sun touch his body and he tensed, because he suddenly remembered all the stories about vampires and sunlight. Then he smiled, thinking his release was going to come and this nightmare would be over. Slowly the sun rose until it filled the morning sky and he felt the heat buildup. He turned his face preparing for his body to burn away the evil that he had done. Instead, he felt the heat increase until he felt he was on fire but as he looked down, he saw that he was not burning up. Instead his skin felt like all the worst sunburns he had ever had multiplied a hundred fold and he screamed out in agony. He thought he could feel his skin start to peel off and he passed out.

{Present day}

Jason shuddered as he recalled the event.

"I thought that was it. The end, the nightmare was over….but it wasn't; as I soon found out."

Jason leaned his head back against the back of the couch and closed his eyes, then he suddenly felt a weight settle into his lap and someone was holding on tight. He opened his eyes, sat back up and found that Chris was holding him. He immediately grabbed onto Chris and rocked him as father and son held each other and cried. Heather and Michael could only try to comfort both of them, enfolding them in a family group hug. They composed themselves and loosened their grips.

"Thank you Chris. You have no idea what that means to me." Jason smiled at his son.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that." Chris told him.

"To get to where I am right at this moment, I would go through it again. If going through that allowed me to feel what I feel right now, I would do it again without question. Now, however, I need to continue with the story. This is when my life changed once again…."

{15 years ago}

Jason woke up in one of the cells once again. His skin felt tender everywhere and he groaned as he sat up on the cold concrete floor. His back was to the door and as he pushed himself to his feet he heard the door to the cell open behind him. He turned around and saw that one of the vampires from his first night there named Zebulon was in the door, behind him Ivan stood and watched. Zebulon handed Jason a robe.

"So, brother, I hope you have learned your lesson. Milos wants you to get dressed and come with us." Zebulon said.

Zebulon led the way with Ivan behind him. They went back upstairs to the bedroom that had been Jason's before. Zeb turned to Jason and motioned to the clothes on the bed.

"Get cleaned up and get dressed, come down to the study when you are done." He ordered.

He turned to go, but stopped and turned back. He reached into the pocket of his shirt and took a small picture out and threw it on the bed and smirked.

"Just so you know. When we took you down from the post, this is what you looked like. Think about that. It took you a few days to heal from that."

He and Ivan then left the room, closing the door behind them. Jason walked over to the bed and picked up the picture, he was shocked at the image in the picture. It was hardly recognizable as a real person. There were blisters everywhere, some of the skin was blackened as if burned by fire, and patches of hair were missing. He could barely make out his features underneath the swollen, blistered skin. Jason threw it down, ran to a mirror and dropped the robe. He could see some peeling skin on parts of his body, but other than that he looked normal, although pale. He shook his head, resigned to what the rest of his life would be like.

After cleaning up, he dressed in the clothes on the bed and slowly walked downstairs to the study. Inside the study were Milos, Ivan, Oscar and Zebulon. Milos smiled as he walked over to Jason and placed his arm around him to lead him to the group. He picked up a goblet and handed it to Jason. Jason took a sip and felt some renewed energy enter him as the taste of the blood filled him.

Milos smiled at him, "Ah, much better. It's nice to have you back among us my boy. I trust you have learned your lesson?"

Jason could only nod as he did his best to keep his real thoughts to himself.

"Excellent! Now for the final part, tonight we're going hunting; you, me, Ivan and Oscar. Tonight, you make your first true kill. I'm feeling magnanimous after what I put you through, so you get to pick your own victim. I won't interfere, unless you force me. If it comes to that, you will not like it. Because, I promise you that your brother will join you in the family if you don't do as I say. Is that clear?"

Again Jason looked down as he nodded, resigned to his fate and determined to do what was necessary to keep his little brother safe. Milos grabbed him by the throat and glared at him.

"I want to hear a 'Yes sir' from you. Just like any father would expect from an obedient child. Now I will ask again. Is…that…clear?"

Jason answered him, "Yes, sir."

Milos released him as the others laughed. Milos drained his goblet and set it down; the others copied his movements as Milos took the goblet from Jason.

"We wouldn't want you to get full now. It might spoil your dinner."

Again the others laughed.

"Zebulon, keep an eye on things. We will be back later. Let's go my children, the night is young and there is food to be had," Milos said with a leer.

Ivan and Milos walked off with Oscar giving Jason a push to start him moving. They went outside and got into the SUV that was waiting out front. Ivan drove. Soon, they found themselves in an area of the city that had many clubs. Milos directed Ivan down a street that was a little off the main drag and had him park the car near a small neighborhood park. He motioned for them to get out and follow him back to the main drag. They made their way down the street until Milos found a likely place and led them up to the doorman. Milos flashed a hundred dollar bill and they were let in. Milos walked up to someone standing at a podium near the base of some stairs. The man greeted him and directed a host to lead them upstairs to a table that overlooked the dance floor below. When they were seated, Milos turned to Jason and motioned to the crowd that was dancing below.

"Choose my dear boy. They are your oyster, you only have to open them and enjoy the feast."

Jason looked down and gazed dully on the crowd. He didn't know how he would pick one. How could he pick someone to murder? While he looked, Milos bought two drinks for everyone, because of the cover charge, and gave the waiter a healthy tip. The other three began to converse in their native Hungarian as they looked over the crowd's below, leaving Jason feeling isolated. Ivan clapped him on the back.

"Come leetle brother, I think you more need to be closer. Let us go down and join them."

Milos nodded and Jason got up to follow Ivan downstairs to the dance floor. They started dancing, but Jason could not really get into it until Ivan nudged him and scowled. He started trying to put on a good face and pretend to enjoy it. After awhile he was able to at least fake it enough that Ivan moved away into the crowd. Jason continued to dance, with occasional glances up to the balcony above where he could see Milos watching him very closely. Ivan soon turned up again, with a couple who looked barely eighteen or nineteen. They looked to be at least a little high. Ivan smiled as they drew near.

"Leetle brother, I haf made some new friends, who vish to party wit us. The lady thinks that you are cute. I told her that you would love for her to party wit us. What you think?"

Jason put on a fake smile and nodded. Ivan grinned and they started on their way back upstairs. The couple was impressed, since this was the VIP area and they had never been up here before. Ivan led them to the table and sat the girl next to Jason and the guy next to him. Milos smiled as he presented them with margaritas. They thanked him and started to drink them. Soon the girl was hanging all over Jason and when he looked at her, he could see that she seemed a little out of it.

"Come, let us leave and have a little party of our own," Milos said.

They all got up and with the girl hanging onto Jason's arm. They left the club and walked back to the where the SUV was parked. As they neared it, they saw several shapes step out of the shadows nearby. In the dim light, they looked to be teenagers and others who looked to be no more than their early twenties. Milos looked at them in amusement.

"What do you little boys and girls want? I assure you that you don't want to deal wi….."

Milos stopped and looked around. His facial expression changed as he studied the people who surrounded them.

A voice behind him made him whirl about in surprise. Standing several feet away was someone about his age, but taller, with long black hair that he wore swept back. "Good evening Milos. It's been a long time," the man said.

Milos sneered at him, "Robert, how nice to see you again. What brings you out here?"

The man he called Robert merely smiled, "Why…you of course…my old friend. It's been so long, I thought you had forgotten about me? I'm hurt."

Milos straightened up and smiled back, "All you had to do was knock on the door. I would have welcomed you with open arms, my old friend. Why don't you come up to the house tomorrow night and we can talk about old times."

Robert gave a small smile and shook his head, "Sorry, this is the only opening I have in my schedule. When my friend Patrick called to tell me that you were having a night out on the town, I decided to bring some of my friends to join you and spend an evening with my friend from the old country."

"Are you sure it's worth it, Furginson?" Milos' voice had turned harder.

Robert continued to smile at him, "Oh, quite sure, Milos. I think it is quite worth it."

Milos motioned to him, "Come on then, Robert. You think these young ones you bring with you will be enough to take us on. They are but children compared to us."

Robert glanced at the people with him and merely smiled at Milos, "I have confidence in my family."

Milos tried one more thing and gestured to the couple from the club, "I have two innocents and I know how you like them. You may take them and go. Or I will kill them and all of your children that are here with you before I kill you."

"I don't know who they are. Threatening them will do nothing to stop us. Perhaps some of us will die tonight, but all of you will die as well, this I swear," Robert declared.

Milos grabbed the girl who was hanging on Jason and held her in front of him. By this time, she was glassy eyed as the drug that Milos had put in her drink had her completely spaced out. He bared her neck and looked at Robert as he let his fangs drop.

Robert tsked, "You will only make it worse for yourself Milos. Let them go, this is between us, no one else. If you kill them, I will stake you out in the daylight and watch you burn. Let them go and I will make it quick."

Milos threw his head back, "Hahahaha! Surely you jest. You couldn't take me the last time in England. What makes you think you can take me now?"

Robert's face hardened, "I have a family that believes as I do, that those like you should be eradicated from the face of the earth."

"More like you, hah. We are the predators, these humans are just sheep. The sooner you realize that, the better it will be for all of us. We are meant to rule them. They are meant to serve us. We are free to do what we want. The sooner you and your kind realize that, the better it will be for everyone."

Robert just stood there as he calmly said, "No, this ends with you, tonight."

Milos didn't even hesitate. He swiftly picked the girl up and threw her at Robert, charging after his human missile. Robert was surprised by his action and he tried he catch her to keep her from being hurt. Milos hurled himself at him a second later, throwing both him and the girl to the ground. Milos was immediately upon him with flashing fangs. The fight became chaotic as the people with Robert charged them.

Jason was tackled by one of them, who looked a little older than him. He fought back as they struggled, but he knew he was not strong enough to keep him off him for long. One of Furginson's guys was on the ground at Ivan's feet, his neck was twisted until it was almost looking over his back. Another was grappling with Ivan until he was thrown off. This gave Ivan the room to move away from the vehicle and into the park; where he had more room to move.

Oscar was on the ground with three of them on him. He threw them off and jumped up. One of them tried to regain his feet, Oscar kicked him in the face hard, he went down and the other two charged him. Oscar grabbed one of the two and rolled backward, catapulting him over his head to hit hard against a tree and land dazed at its base. The other grabbed him at the waist and they went down rolling across the grass of the park, ripping and biting at each other.

Robert threw Milos off of him and stood up; the two circled each other, and glared as they looked for a weakness to exploit. Two of the other Furginson people supported him, one female and one male. The three of them made several feints toward Milos and guided him to move back into the park. Milos and Robert nearly flew at each other and slammed into each other about ten feet high in the air, coming back to earth with a crash as they landed in some bushes. The other two waited nearby for them to come out, as they could not see them as they fought inside the bushes. Robert came flying out of the bushes, but was able to flip in mid air and land on his feet; just as Milos charged out of the bushes, knocking the girl twenty feet away into a tree as he did. Robert had time to brace himself as Milos hit him. They traded blows faster than a human could see until they were just a blur of hits and kicks.

The young guy went to help the girl up. They wanted to help Robert, but they were not sure how without getting in the way. Jason, meanwhile, was tiring quickly, when his opponent looked up and snarled. He then looked down at Jason and within a few blows, Jason was dazed. The guy who had just defeated Jason, got off of Jason, put his fingers into the sides of his mouth and let out a piercing whistle. From an alley nearby, three large wolves came out of the shadows.

He motioned to one, and then pointed at Jason, "Watch him."

The wolf walked over and stood next to Jason, watching the fighting going on around him. Jason opened his eyes and started to move when he heard a menacing growl. He looked up and saw a wolf looking down on him with bared teeth and he shrank back. The wolf held him in place.

The one who had called the wolves gestured for the other two to follow him as they ran at Oscar, who was heading toward the dazed vampire that he'd thrown against the tree. Oscar's other opponent was now just ash, after Oscar had ripped his head off. Oscar's other adversary was laying a few feet away, with both a leg and an arm broken, the bone showing through his clothes. He was trying to put some distance between him and Oscar. Oscar never heard the vampire and the two wolves that ran silently and quickly behind him. The wolves leaped, and one of them latched onto the back of Oscar's neck while the other bit into the tendons behind his knee, bringing him down beneath them. The vampire added his strength as they rolled. The wolf that had had the hamstring, let go, found an opening, and latched onto his throat. Between him and the other wolf, they ripped Oscar's throat out and then with the vampire's help, they tore his head from his body. Oscar immediately turned to ash.

Jason switched his glances between the fight between Oscar and his attackers, and the wolf that stared at him; and continued to growl at him. He jumped when Oscar was destroyed. In the park, Ivan had already killed one of his attackers and the others were circling; the odds changed as the two wolves that had killed Oscar ran at him. Ivan sensed something and turned to see them as they tried the same tactic against him, but he was too quick. As the one leaped at him, he plucked it out of the air and with a quick twist broke its neck and ripped it's head off, throwing the dead wolf pieces at the vampire. The other wolf went for his belly, but Ivan was able to misdirect him. The result was that Ivan had to turn his back on his original attackers, who took the opening presented and leaped at him, bringing him down. It became a pile of vampires snarling and clawing at each other and the surviving wolf darting in to grab at any piece of Ivan that he could. One of the vampires was thrown clear holding his throat where Ivan had ripped it open. The opening was enough for the wolf to dive in and latch onto Ivan's throat and start ripping at him. Ivan continued to struggle, but the combined might of the vampires and the wolf finally allowed them to incapacitate him, and then with their combined strength, separate his head from his body, turning him to instant ash.

The two vampires collapsed, and the wolf went over to the other wolf. He changed back to human form as he took the body of his friend, who had resumed his human shape upon his death, into his lap and cried. Milos and Robert had just gotten back up and stood back to stare at each other. They were both covered in cuts and gashes everywhere on their bodies, and they breathed heavily as they circled. Milos noted that the other Furginson vampires were coming near. Glancing around him saw that Ivan and Oscar were gone. He could feel their loss. He sneered at Robert.

"You lost a few tonight Robert, including one of your puppies too. My heart bleeds for you. You think this is the end. Even if you kill me, my family will avenge me."

Robert glanced at his people. "That is if you think your family will survive this night. Some of my friends and family are visiting your home right now. My hope is that your legacy ends tonight and we will clear the area of your Nosferatu, to bring a little bit more safety to the innocents of this region."

"There are more of us than there are of you. My line will survive and continue," he said haughtily.

Robert just looked at him with contempt, "Milos, I give you one chance to survive this. Let's finish this honorably."

Milos sliced his hand through the air between them, "I do nothing honorably."

Robert turned to the guy who had fought against Milos with him and nodded. The guy turned and ran off, returning moments later with two gleaming swords. One of which he had retrieved from Milo's SUV. He threw them and they stuck into the ground in front of each of the combatants. Robert stepped forward and pulled the sword free. Milos did the same.

"I accept. After I finish turning you into ash, I will hunt down every member of your family, and those that I do not kill will be kept alive in torment until I'm ready for them to die, then I will destroy that bunch of curs as well," Milos declared.

"Bold words; let us see if you can back them up," Robert said as he saluted Milos.

They both moved at each other in a blur, the blades gleamed as they flew forward, when the blades met, sparks flew. For the next several minutes the two swung, parried, flipped, turned, jumped, somersaulted, kicked, and punched as they battled each other. They seemed to be equally matched as they fought; neither seemed to tire as they looked for the other to make a mistake that would leave an opening to exploit. There was a whirl of a blade and Milos staggered back, Robert followed with another whirl and Milos' head flew from his body. A look of hatred on his face could be seen just before the separated parts became ash and the sword tumbled to the earth. Robert looked down upon the remains of his long time enemy and turned toward the remaining Beloch vampire, Jason. He walked over to where the wolf stood guard. As Robert neared Jason, the wolf stepped back. He lifted the sword to strike.

"Make it quick," Jason pleaded.

Robert paused and looked down at the teenager lying before him. He saw haunted eyes that stared back at him. Eyes filled with pain and he lowered the sword.

"What are you waiting for? Do it, finish it. I deserve it. I'm a murderer and murderers should die," Jason cried.

Robert handed the sword to one of the others as he knelt down beside Jason. While the other vampire put the tip of the sword against Jason's neck, Robert put one hand on Jason's chest and the other on his head. Jason just lay there with his eyes closed, waiting for the end, and thinking that they were doing some kind of vampire sacrifice thing. Then suddenly he felt a calming influence come over him and the hands on his head and chest were removed. He looked up and saw that this man was smiling at him and trying to help him to stand. Robert turned to the one holding the swords.

"Patrick, take care of Jason here. He is new and is worth saving," he announced.

The one with the sword, Patrick, nodded, "As you wish Robert."

Robert turned to the others, "The rest of you, let's clean this place up. Philip, help me take care of these two. Allison let me know who we lost"

The young lady, Allison, immediately started counting those that had survived the fight, while the others went around making sure that no evidence of what happened was left behind. They scattered the ashes of the dead vampires around the park and gathered up the clothes that they left behind. The two surviving werewolves, now in their human forms went to tend their fallen pack member.

Jason was confused as he looked around. He turned to Patrick. "I don't understand. Why haven't you punished me?"

Patrick looked at him, "That is for Robert to say. He saw something in you that he thinks is worth saving."

Jason shook his head, "But there is nothing worth saving. I killed an innocent boy. I don't deserve to live anymore."

Patrick looked at him for a moment before speaking again, "That is for Robert to say. He said to take care of you, and I will."

Tears ran down Jason's face and he hugged his knees to himself. Robert stood up from beside the young man, who was to have been Ivan's victim, and looked toward Jason with pity.

"Philip, take these two into the park, and find a safe place for them to sleep for a short time until they awaken. I need to tend the boy."

As Robert made his way to Jason's side and knelt down, Allison came up with her report.

"We lost four. Three more are injured but should be okay in a few days. The wolves lost one; there was nothing we could have done for him."

Robert nodded his acceptance of the news. "Thank you Allison. Let's get everyone together and get out of here."

Robert helped the sobbing Jason stand up and guided him to an SUV parked nearby, settling him in the back. Robert was trying to sooth Jason, but he kept sobbing until he finally fell asleep, his head in Robert's lap. Robert gently stroked the sleeping boy's head.

Patrick looked at Jason, "He said he killed an innocent boy."

Robert nodded, "He was telling the truth."

Surprise was evident on Patrick's face, "Surely then, he should have been destroyed."

Robert shook his head and looked back down at Jason, "No. I saw what happened. The guilt has been eating him up. He was made to watch as Milos tortured the boy in front of him, because he refused to feed on him. Finally Jason gave in and gave the boy release. The boy forgave Jason before he died. Tonight was to be his first actual hunt. Beloch had tortured Jason a few days ago, and threatened to go after Jason's younger brother and turn him, if Jason did not do as he said. He felt he had no choice but to agree, in order to save his brother."

"I hope the others had success in rooting out the rest of Beloch's Nosferatu," Patrick said.

"As do I."

Jason slept as they journeyed to the Furginson estate.

{Present Day}

Chris had moved so that he was now sitting between his mom and Jason. Jason looked at them as he finished his story.

"My life was changed once again, but this time for the better. From Robert, I learned more about the culture of the vampires. I could go into it, but I think it best to wait for Robert to explain it when he gets up."

Travis spoke up from where he was sitting next to Bryce.

"Uh, Jason, there is something that I don't understand. I thought vampires slept during the day and went out at night and burned in the sun. But you're awake and all, and you didn't burn to ash when the sun was on you."

Jason smiled, "Not everything you read is true or what the movies say. The vampires, who are very young or very old, can go out in daylight, but they must be covered up or they slowly, over time, will burn. The young ones can do it, because it takes decades to completely shed their humanity, and that allows them to be out during the day. The very old have become so powerful that they are immune to the suns effects. However, even though we can be outside during the day, we try to avoid the sun during the middle of the day. During summer we stay in the shadows, completely covered as much as possible if we have to be outside, or we stay indoors as much as possible."

"Are there are lot of these powerful vampires?" Travis asked.

Jason shook his head, "I don't think so, but Robert would know better. You can ask him. For now, why don't you guys relax for a while? You can take a walk around the estate. I'm sure Jamie and Nicky will be glad to show you around. It's a bit too warm for me outside right now."

Michael nodded, "Okay Jace. We'll see you later."

Jason walked them to the doors that led out the back of the house. He pointed toward the barn. They saw Jessie and Tyler sitting on horses that were being led around the corral by Jamie and Nicky. They walked over and leaned against the corral to watch. Tyler and Jessie waved to their parents when they saw them walk up.

The five of them watched when Jamie and Nicky trotted along to get the horses to trot a little. Both of the kids had to grab onto the saddle horn to help their balance as the horses trotted. Heather got a nervous look on her face as she watched them. The twins slowed the horses back down to a walk and led the horses back to the barn.

The five watchers followed them in and watched as the twins helped the kids off the horses. Tyler and Jessie came over to their parents, all excited as the related what Jamie and Nicky had shown them all morning. They waited while the twins unsaddled and then brushed the horses down before leading them into their stalls.

The twins washed their hands in the outside sink before joining them. Heather still looked at the two of them warily. They slowed a little and their nearly constant smiles faltered a little, but they almost always projected a positive attitude. They were sure they would overcome the wariness that their powerful senses could detect coming off Heather. They smiled disarmingly and looked at Chris and his friends.

"Hey, you guys wanna play some frisbee?" Nicky asked.


He nodded, "Cool let's go."

Chris looked at his parents for moment and his dad nodded. They turned and headed into the park like back yard. Jamie had run into the barn to grab a Frisbee and the five teenagers were soon laughing and having a good time throwing it around. Tyler and Jessie soon joined them and there were seven kids running around playing Frisbee. The two adults found a park bench under a tree to watch. While they sat there, a servant came outside with lemonade and offered it to them. They thanked her and turned back to watch the kids. By this time, they had split into teams, Chris and his friends on one side, and the twins with the two younger kids on the other. They started a game of ultimate and after about twenty minutes they were all pretty hot and sweaty. They headed over to flop down near the adults to rest. While they rested lunch was brought out to them with plenty of cold lemonade to wash it down and help them cool off. Once they were finished, servants came out to clear the plates and stuff away.

Jamie stood up and looked at the three older boys. "Hey, you guys want to take a walk. We wanna show you something," he asked them.

"I wanna go," Tyler said as he stood up.

"Me too," Jessie echoed him.

Jamie turned to the two younger kids and had an apologetic look. "Sorry guys, but we're just going to give them a tour like we did with you this morning, since they didn't get to see all the stuff you guys did."

Tyler frowned, "Oh, okay, I guess."

Jamie went over to him and crouched down. "Tyler, later on, I….I mean, Nicky and I will try to find the two dogs and see if they are back from wherever they wandered off to, and you and they can play for awhile."

Tyler's face lit up, "That'd be cool. I liked them; they were fun to wrestle with."

Jamie smiled, "I'll keep an eye out and send 'em your way if I see them."

He ruffled Tyler's hair and stood up, motioning for the other guys to follow him. The five teenagers headed away from the house towards other parts of the property. They led them to a forested area that was a quarter mile from the house. They followed a trail deeper into the trees for a few hundred yards. As they went deeper into the trees, they started to hear the sound of water that got louder as they followed the trail. The trail ended at a natural pool, fed by a small waterfall, and surrounded by pine trees. The twins turned with huge smiles and held their arms out as if to say 'Ta-da'.

"Whadya think?" Nicky asked.

"Wow, cool," the boys said as they looked at the area.

"I thought you guys might like it. So what are we waiting for?" Jamie started taking off his clothes.

"What do yo....oh?"

The other boys soon got the idea as they saw the twins quickly stripping their clothes off and tossing them to the side. The three younger teens smiled at each other and joined them. Within a short time there were five naked teens jumping into the water. The water felt great in the heat of the summer day. They were soon laughing, splashing and dunking each other in the water. The pool seemed to be about eight feet deep at the deepest part, gradually becoming shallower until it was about ankle deep at the edges. They played in the water for about an hour before they decided get out and lie down on some nearby rocks to dry off.

They were lying there for about ten minutes when Chris sat up and looked over at the older teens. They had their eyes closed as they lay there relaxing in the warmth of the sun. Chris thought that they looked like any other seventeen year old. He didn't see anything that made them seem any different than that.

Nicky opened one eye and looked at Chris, "What?"

Chris realized he had been caught staring, "Oh, uh…sorry. I just….sorry."

Chris turned red and looked around nervously. Nicky smiled and nudged his brother who sat up with a questioning look.

"Did you think we would be more….hairy?" he asked playfully.

"Uh…no, uh…ye….I don't know, um sorry."

Nicky continued to smile at him, "You said that."

Chris tried to control the blush that suffused his face. Nicky exchanged a grin with his brother and then punched Chris lightly on the arm. Bryce and Travis were now sitting up as well.

"Don't sweat it dude. We know it's a lot to take in."

"C…can I ask you so…something?" Chris stammered.


"I'm worried about something. That other wo…guy, clawed Travis. Is he going to turn into…you know…a…" he gestured helplessly.

"Werewolf?" Jamie asked.

Chris nodded, "Uh, yeah."

Nicky and his brother started laughing. The others didn't know what was so funny and looked at them like they were nuts. They looked at the three and saw the concerned looks and composed themselves.

"Sorry. We understand, but you have nothing to worry about. You've seen too many horror stories. Jamie and I weren't turned into a lycan, we were born this way. That's the only way to be one. You have to be born into a pack. You don't have to worry Travis. Only the scars will be left as a reminder of what happened."

Travis put his hand on his stomach where Barrett had clawed him. The scars were evident, but were thin lines.

"About that, I thought…I thought we were going to…die."

The twins sobered up and got serious looks on their face. "It was close, for both of you. You almost did, but Jason saved you."

Chris was confused, "How did he do that?" he asked.

"He gave you his blood," Jamie told him.

Chris made a face, "His bl…blood? Yuck."

Jamie chuckled, "Yep. It might be yuck to you, but it saved your life."

"His blood healed us?" Chris asked skeptically.

Nicky nodded in answer, "Yep."

Chris had a puzzled look, "How could his blood heal us?"

Jamie merely shook his head, "Don't know. We just know it worked."

Chris thought about it for a moment before another thought came to him, and began to feel a little nervous about what the answer might be. "Will….will it do anything else to us?"

Jamie was puzzled for a moment until he saw the worried look on Chris' face, "Oh, no, no. You're not going to change or anything," he said and Nicky added, "…as far as we know."

Chris looked at him quickly, "What do you mean, as far as you know?"

Jamie glanced at his brother and shrugged, "We haven't met a lot of living people who have had vampire blood, other than the people who work here, and we didn't know how they were before, so this is the only way we know them."

"Oh. Well the people who work here look alright," Chris offered.

"Good job, dufus," Jamie scowled at his brother.

"Hey, it kinda slipped out," Nicky said apologetically.

Jamie gave Chris his attention, "Chris, don't worry about it. Ask Jason, he'll know better than us. We're Lycs, not vamps."

"So, I guess, you don't need a full moon, like the stories say either," Bryce asked them.

Nicky grinned at him, "Nope, we can do it whenever we want to."

"Oh…uh…does it…hurt?" Travis asked.

"Nah, not really," Jamie answered him.

Jamie nudged Nicky and they got up and jumped down from the rock. The three friends watched as they saw the twins change. It wasn't a long drawn out process, but took maybe fifteen seconds. It started with fur growing to cover their bodies. As they bent over their arms became front legs and their legs changed shape into the more familiar canine leg shape. Their faces pushed out until they formed wolf muzzles. When they were done, standing there before the three astonished boys were two identical large wolves that looked like they were grinning at them. The two wolves barked and it sounded kind of like laughter. A few moments later, the process reversed itself and once again they were faced with two identical seventeen year olds with shit eating grins.

"Whoa," Bryce said.

Travis pointed at Bryce, "Yeah, what he said."

"We should get back. It'll be dinner soon," Jamie announced.

They quickly got dressed and went back to the manor house.

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