I wrote this after seeing a picture of rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance.
“You said we’d never get this far. You said your words, we played our parts. Said your two cents, now it’s my turn. So, sit down, shut up, are you ready?”
-Three Days Grace, ‘Are You Ready’
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS; LATE WINTER
Revenge is a dish best served cold. And I mean cold. Like straight-from-the-deep-freeze-to-the-table cold. Maybe I say this because I desire it so much myself. I desire it so much that I spend most of my time thinking about how I can retaliate against the people who have ruined my life and screwed it up so much that every decision I make could end my-or someone else’s-life.
I think I’m getting ahead of myself. Why ruin the story now? It’s only been a paragraph. And I don’t plan on this being a book where the main character dies on the last page. Those are stupid. Waste of paper. I also hope I don’t kill a tree with this.
I want revenge because exactly four years ago on February twenty-fifth, 2007, at 4:34 p.m., my life was ripped from my hands and tossed to the Cerberus in the fiery bowels of Purgatory and Inferno. In the end, I’m not so sure of what I did to deserve it. It’s like ‘Save Me’ by Avenged Sevenfold; Is it something we said? Is it something we said to them? Is it something we said? It makes not one fraction of a piece of sense to me.
Once again, getting ahead. You know, I’m tired of playing mind games. So, here I go. Ready for this? You sure? Can you handle it? Okay, don’t say I never warned you.
On February twenty-fifth, at 4:34 p.m., I was attacked by three boys of whom I wasn’t overly-familiar with. I don’t mean ‘attacked’ as in black eye, busted lip, stolen wallet, either. These boys went to school with me, and from day one, had a bone to pick with yours truly. Insert ‘Save Me’ lyrics here. I don’t know why, but I do know I should have fought harder.
I remember walking down the street that the school was on, on my way home. I usually minded my own business, therefore I felt like I had nothing or no one to hide from-or so I thought.
“Hey, freak!” I heard a voice call after me. I glanced quickly behind me and recognized them. Knowing they were troublemakers, I continued to walk. That was probably my first mistake.
“Ryan!” they shouted. I stopped. They had the nerve to call me by my name, so I had nerve to turn and look. Second mistake. Before I knew it, I had been busted in the face by a flying fist, and was being drug away. After the bright colors left my eyes, I looked up at two of them, one holding each arm, dragging me. The third boy was down by my feet, giving me a glare that would make Lucifer blink.
I was dropped down in an alleyway between two apartment complexes. Lying on my back, I looked up at them. They looked at me like I was a pathetic little dog whimpering and crying for help. One leaned over me.
“Still awake?” he asked. I didn’t say anything. My face hurt too much. I could feel warm blood trickling out of my nose. I just lied there and breathed. And bled. I thought he might have broken my nose, too. My silence led to a kick in the gut. After struggling to breathe, I spit the blood from my mouth, and was jerked up by my arm. I looked at who had my arm. I probably never should have.
Not their eyes themselves, but the skin around their eyes were colored a bright red-pink. It was like they had all been punched. That or they like playing with their sisters’ makeup. Their faces when liquid-paper-white, and they had about three sets of canines instead of the normal one. It scared me because a few moments before, they looked completely normal. Something was really, really wrong.
The one boy still had my hand. My brain screamed pull it away! Do it! Now! I couldn’t. I was froze. I was the deer in the headlights, and the headlights came from a man-eating Mack truck from Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.
I’m not sure what they did next. In between what you think happened (I’m not telling yet!) and a couple more beatings, I was lost. The world was a swirling torrent of pain, blurred objects, bizarre noises, and vibrant colors. Out of everything, I could feel my hand pulsing, and it felt like it was to the point of bursting. I could hear the boys’ twisted, almost animal-like laughter, and it was shattered by a scream that was a lion’s roar and ended in the screech similar to fingernails on a chalkboard.
I was on my stomach now, and I could make out the fuzzy outlines of the boys running for dear life. Something scared them off. It was like lions and hyenas; they were being run off so the predator could have the kill for itself-and I was the kill.
Something told me to run, but it couldn’t command my body to move. I was really trashed and scattered (Avenged Sevenfold humor!). I felt a grip on my arm, which sent electric shocks of pain through my body. I was one giant bruise, and nothing was helping. I was yanked on again.
“Kid? Can you hear me? Speak to me,” someone said, but my brain couldn’t process it. In one ear, out the other. “If you can hear my voice, say something,” it said. It was a masculine voice. I coughed up a little more blood, and my knees caved in on me. Another grip came onto my other arm and held me up almost effortlessly. “I’ll take that as a yes,” the voice said. “You can let go.” Of what? I thought. “Relax.” It didn’t have to tell me twice.
I wasn’t on the street anymore. I was laying on my side on a couch. In someone’s house. And I wasn’t alone. Someone was sitting next to me. I looked up.
A man was sitting there. He was tall, muscular, and a little older than me. Two tattoo sleeves lined his arms, and a silver ring hung from his lip. He had black spacers in his ears. His short black hair was combed back, and a pair of dark aviator sunglasses hung on his tight black shirt. He had his feet on a coffee table, and he was reading a newspaper.
My hand was in a large metal dish. I didn’t look at it, but it hurt. “Who are you?” I croaked.
“I’ll tell you my name if you tell me yours,” he said.
“Ryan,” I said quietly.
“Max,” he said, never looking up from the paper. I felt a cough start in my chest and travel to my throat. I leaned over and spat the blood into the metal bowl. Yeah, my hand was in the bowl-sitting in an inch of my own blood and floating gobs of whitish-yellow pus. The smell would clear your sinuses in an instant. It takes a lot to gross me out, but I was so disgusted that I wanted to vomit then and there.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Nasty, isn’t it?” Max said.
“Beyond that,” I said.
“Try having one on your neck,” he said.
“Thanks for the mental image,” I said, “But what happened?”
“You got bit.”
“By what? A dog that stores rotted meat in its gums?”
“A demon.” I froze.
“A what?” I asked.
“Demon,” Max said. “Want me to spell it for you?” he asked, glancing up from the paper. I looked at my hand. It looked like a dog bite.
“You sure?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said, “I got bit, too. Well, several years ago. It’s healed.”
“What happens now?” I asked. He neatly folded his paper, and sat it on the table. He folded his hands in his lap.
“Wanna guess?” he asked.
“Not really,” I said. My brain was hurting.
“You ever seen the movie Van Helsing?” he asked.
“What happened to Velkan and Van Helsing when the werewolves bit them?” he asked. I think my stomach hit the floor. I was screwed. Max obviously knew I figured it out.
“You’ve lost the war,” he said, “So did I.” Then it hit me. Max was a demon.
I leapt of the couch, pushing the pain in my hand away.
“Get away from me!” I spat.
“Relax, Ryan. Don’t do stupid stuff,” he said.
“What makes you think I’m gonna listen to you?” I snapped.
“I suggest you lay back down before the infection goes to your heart and kills you. The way you were laying cut the infection off to your heart. Being a demon’s better than dying,” he said.
“No! ‘Cause the second I fall asleep, I’ll be demon food,” I said. He furrowed his brow.
“You watch too much Syfy channel,” he said. “Doesn’t work like that. Now, you’d better lay down before I make you.”
“I’m not afraid of you!” I said, which was a blatant lie-and the wrong answer in Max’s book.
“Really?” he asked-then he was gone. In an instant, I was on my back on the floor with the breath knocked out of me. He was standing over me.
“I told you. You gonna listen now?” he asked. I nodded slowly. “Don’t screw with me, Ryan. I’m usually pretty nice, but I can snap you like a twig before you know what hit you,” he threatened. He yanked me back onto the couch, picked up the bowl, and went to another room, where he emptied and rinsed out the bowl. He came back and sat my hand back in it.
“Now,” he said as he sat back in his chair, “you can do two things. One, you can lay there for a couple of weeks and let the infection drain on it’s own, or I can rinse it out with alcohol, and listen to you scream it across Lake Michigan. Your pick.”
Like a moron, I picked the alcohol. And I was sure that my screams made it across Lake Michigan. After it was all said and done, and Max wrapped it in bandages, he put me back on the couch.
“I hope you know I’ll have the police telling me that there was a disturbance from my house that people heard in Michigan,” Max said.
“Oops,” I said.
“It’s fine. I probably screamed louder than you when it happened to me, anyway,” he said. A question popped into my head.
“How long have you been this way?” I asked.
“Five years,” he said.
“How old are you now?”
“You were twelve?” I asked.
“Yep,” he said. “How old are you?” he asked.
“Sixteen,” I said.
“This is probably easier for you than it was for me,” he said. “You have an idea of what’s happening, and I didn’t.”
I then thought about what his parents thought of him. Then I realized that my mom would be freaking out because I wasn’t home. I sat up quickly, and it made my head spin. Max looked at me. “What?” he asked.
“What about my mom?” I asked.
“You’ll see her again. Just not for a while,” he said. “She’ll report you missing, and after the hysteria dies off, you’ll come back,” he added. I scoffed.
“Dude, we’re in Chicago. There is no hysteria over missing people,” I said.
“True,” he added, thinking it through. “We’ll give it a few weeks or so,” he said. I laid back down. She’ll be hysteric, I thought. Just wait it out, it’ll be fine.
No, it wasn’t fine, as I later found. A few weeks later, my hand had healed, and I was almost a full demon. Everything about me had changed from the way I felt to the way I thought to the way I moved. I felt almost like a tiger when I was awake and not sleeping. I also found I slept during the day like Max. That made me feel like a vampire, too.
Max had pointed out Sears Tower (or Willis tower. Whatever it’s called now.) and Navy Pier so I knew how to get home. I probably never should have went.
I found my old home, and came up to the door. My blood ran cold; it had been kicked open. I ran inside, and called for Mom. No answer came. My ears could pick up the sound of someone breathing. I picked up a cleaver from the kitchen, and called once more for Mom. I turned the corner, and came face to face with the boy that bit me.
My mind commanded my body-or my body commanded on its own, rather-to attack. I dropped the cleaver, knowing I didn’t need it. I felt the power in my body and muscles draw back like a bow, and it was about to release a broadhead-tipped arrow. I went for his throat, and he went for mine. He got there first, gagging me. I made a kick for his gut, and sent him into the wall, creating a large hole in the drywall. I grabbed him by the neck and slammed him into several different things like the counter, refrigerator, and even the washing machine.
My nose didn’t break the first time, but it got hit a couple times in this squabble. I drew back to punch him, and he slashed my face with his razor-like claws. I let go, and he broke through a window and escaped. I stood still for a moment, taking it all in. I smelled what I then knew was blood. It wasn’t mine, wasn’t his, and that meant only one thing; it was Mom’s.
I followed my nose to the bathroom, and slid open the door. There Mom lay, in a pool of her own blood. I kneeled down and gently pressed my finger to her neck. It was cold. And still. She was dead. I had gotten there too late. I stood, and stared down at the blood that had soaked into my jeans at the knees, and wiped my bloodied hands on my shirt. I looked up and glanced into the mirror.
My face had become pale, and the skin around my eyes became a fiery red, making my green eyes glow with rage. Three sets of canines grew in my mouth. I was a monster. I was responsible for Mom’s death. I was the one who killed her. I shared the boy’s blood. I closed my eyes, hoping it would disappear, but it didn’t. I clamped my hands over my ears, and screamed my lungs out. This scream surpassed the one when Max put alcohol in the bite by light-years. And it made it worse that it sounded like an animal, and not a human.
I drew back my fist, and shattered the mirror. I couldn’t look at myself. I left the bathroom and grabbed the phone. I dialed 911, and waited for the operator to pick up. I simply said that someone had killed a woman, and gave the address. I hung up before the operator spoke again. I couldn’t control myself. Tears flowed down my cheeks, and I could barely stand. I knew the police would be there soon, so I left out the back door, and made my way back to Max’s house.
I told him I would come and visit him sometime, but he didn’t know I’d have to live with him for a while longer. I was hysteric when I came back. The more he tried to calm me, the crazier I went. All I wanted was to watch those boys die slowly and painfully. I had a one-track mind; kill them. For the next four years, I schemed various plans, all failing or getting me nowhere.
I’ve changed a lot since then, too. I’m now twenty, and Max is twenty-one. I’ve gotten two tattoo sleeves and several piercings like snakebites in my bottom lip, and a ring in my nose. Two years ago, when I turned eighteen, I moved out of Max’s place and secured an apartment down the street from him. Now, this is where things might confuse you a little.
Aside from Max, I have a friend of whom I saved from a demon attack. Her name is Melissa, and she has a son named Adam. She’s about twenty years older than me, but she’s still kinda my friend. Her son’s sixteen, so I guess we’re the friends. Melissa is kind of like my surrogate mother. She keeps me out of trouble and wants me to make good decisions.
I guess I could be Adam’s older brother, too. We were both only children, so I guess that makes up for it. They both know and understand Max and yours truly’s world of demons. They know what we are, who we used to be, and how we live. Like why I sleep when Adam is at school, and why I go out until sunup while Adam is fast asleep. And why I like killing demons. Well, I don’t like it, but it makes me feel a little better when I save a life.
The one thing Adam doesn’t know is that his father was a demon. That makes him a hybrid. I think he knows something’s not right, but he doesn’t know what. I feel for him because he’s scared and confused as I was.
They live with me so they are safe. They were attacked because a hybrid like Adam can be bad news for a demon, so they tried to kill him. He’s no threat to me because I was the one to save him. Melissa’s not really afraid of me, either. I can be loveable.
Who was the one to attack them, you ask? Adam’s father. Who killed him? Me. Why? I wasn’t about to let a demon take innocent lives! The reason I knew about the attack was because they lived in the complex next to me, and I can hear a scream from a long distance in my deepest sleep.
I said earlier that Adam didn’t know his dad was a demon. He didn’t. He still doesn’t. He just thinks his dad tried to kill them for no reason. Probably thinks he was crazy. And we want him to think that. Later on, we’ll tell him, but that’d kill him today. He’s got a lot on his plate anyway. His dad tried to murder him, a demon saved him, he and his mother now live with that demon, and throw school on top of that, and you have a stress sundae. I feel sorry for him. I mean, when my parents divorced, I was devastated, when I got bit, it got worse, then Mom being killed topped it all off.
If I can’t find those boys and make them pay, I’m going to do everything in my power, and in Max’s power to keep Melissa and Adam safe. It’s my sole purpose anymore.
Now that you have most of the information you need, I guess I can begin. Let’s see, where to start…let’s start here.
It was a normal morning. I had come home at about five, seeing the sun was starting to come up. I sleep on the couch so Melissa can have a bed, and Adam sleeps on an air mattress in the same room. I was fast asleep, letting my aching body rest from a fight.
“Ryan? Are you awake?” I heard as something poked my tender shoulder.
“I am now,” I mumbled through my pillow.
“Can you walk me to school?” It was Adam.
“Where’s your mom?” I asked.
“She went to work at seven. Should I call Max?” he asked. I sat up.
“No,” I said, “Don’t bother him. I’ll take you,” Someone walks with Adam because Chicago is full of dirty rats-including demons. I grabbed my sunglasses, straightened my shirt, and put my boots on. We walked down the staircases and into the street, where we stuck to the cool shadows of the tall complexes.
“Are you going to combust into fire if you get into sunlight?” Adam asked, eager for answers. I shook my head.
“It would be a while before I caught on fire. I’d burn first,” I said. He nodded.
“That would suck,” he said, “Does it feel any different than a regular burn?”
“Have you ever been burned by hot oil or something?” I asked.
“I burned myself making French fries once,” he said. I chuckled. This kid amused me in weird ways.
“It’s like having boiling oil poured on you,” I said. He made a face.
“Ouch,” he said. After a few more questions, and even a couple dirty jokes, we came to Adam’s school-the same one I went to. We got up to the steps, and he froze. “Uh, oh,” he said.
“What?” I asked, scanning the kids for possible threats.
“Bullies,” he said.
“Who?” I demanded. He nodded over to a group of boys that looked like their bark was worse than their bite. “Told the principal yet?” I asked. He shook his head. “Need to,” I said, “Look where it got me.”
“You always look at it in a bad way. It’s actually good! Think of all the people you’ve saved. Including me,” he said. I sighed. Kid had a point.
“You’re gonna be late,” I said.
“Person who thinks a flesh-eater is a good thing.”
“You eat flesh?” he asked, genuinely scared.
“No. But I do drink blood from time to time,” I said. And that wasn’t a lie. He stared blankly for a moment.
“Wanna know something scary?” he asked.
“You have something scarier than that?” I asked, afraid of what he was about to say.
“That didn’t bother me at all,” he said.
“Okay, that was pretty scary. Go to class,” I said.
“Right. See ya, Ryan,” he said, and walked up the stairs.
“If your mom doesn’t come, call me,” I said.
“Will you be awake?” he asked.
“I’ll hear the phone,” I said. He nodded, waved, and disappeared into the building. In the two years I’d known him, he’d changed so much. It was like watching your kid grow up. I just wanted him to have a halfway decent life. The one I couldn’t have.
I turned around and walked back home. I was so tired, so I just laid down on the couch, and next thing I knew, I heard the door creak open. I heard two quiet sets of feet creep in.
“I’m awake,” I mumbled through the pillow. I heard two sighs as I opened my heavy eyes. Melissa had her work supplies in one arm and a bag from a Chinese restaurant in the other. Adam had his backpack slung over one shoulder, and was wearing his sunglasses-the ones he didn’t wear this morning.
“Where’d you get the shades?” I asked, sitting up.
“I’ve had them,” he said as he put his backpack on the floor. He didn’t take the glasses off.
“Thanks for taking him this morning, Ryan,” Melissa said.
“No problem,” I said, rubbing my temples. “Is it dark out yet?” I asked.
“Will be in fifteen minutes,” she said, “What’s the rush? Sure you don’t want to eat with us?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine,” I said, “I just don’t like to stay in the house all day. It’s bad that I can’t go out in sunlight or I’ll turn into a French fry.” I leaned against the counter. Adam still wore his aviators. “Are you so awesome that you have to wear your glasses inside?” I asked.
“You do,” he said.
“Only when the lights are all on,” I said.
“Oh,” he said. He was hiding something. I could feel it. Before he knew what happened, I snatched the glasses off his face. “Hey!” he snapped, holding his hands in front of his face. I made out the black and purple bruise around his left eye.
“Adam, what happened?” Melissa cried.
“Who did it?” I demanded sharply.
“I fell,” he said quickly.
“Liar.” Then silence. Then a sigh.
“I got in a fight,” he said.
“With who?” I asked.
“The kids I told you about,” he sighed.
“You gonna tell the principal?”
“I already did. And this was my payment,” he said, pointing at his swollen eye. “I’m scared to tell again.”
“I will,” I said, standing up straighter.
“No!” Adam snapped. I gave him a look. “What happens if they find out? I’ll be skewered!”
“They’d be mad at me, not you. And I’m not afraid of them. They’re just kids,” I said. Adam shook his head.
“I don’t think so,” he said. I gave him another look. “I think they’re like you,” he added. It always bothered me when I knew demons were in close proximity to Adam. One wrong move, and he’s mincemeat.
“What makes you say that?” I asked.
“I saw them do something,” he said, “Their eyes.”
“So, they turned red?” I asked. He nodded. I looked at Melissa, who looked genuinely scared. “I’m gonna tell the principal. If they bother you one more time, they’ve got Ryan Stanford to deal with,” I said. Adam almost looked like he’d rather die. “I’ll talk to him when I take you in the morning.”
“Are you sure this is appropriate, Ryan?” Melissa asked.
“I’ve saved him once, and I’d do it again,” I said, grabbed my coat, and went out into Chicago.
“I had a feeling you’d come by,” Max said as he stood up off the steps of his complex.
“You should trust that feeling more often,” I said. He pranced down the stairs and kept stride with me.
“How’s your night, so far?” he asked.
“Adam got in a fight,” I said.
“Uh, oh,” he said.
“With a demon,” I added. He stopped. I did the same. “Well, that’s what he thinks, anyway,” I said. He started to walk slowly again.
“What’re you gonna do?” he asked.
“Talk to the principal,” I said.
“He can’t do anything if they’re our kind,” he said.
“No, but I’m gonna have a couple choice words if he blows me off. You don’t mess with a demon’s friend. Or brother.”
Against Adam’s wishes, I walked him to school, and went in to see the principal.
“Who’s the principal?” I asked Adam while we were still a few blocks away.
“Mr. Sullivan,” he said. That was good. I had Mrs. Dunn when I was in school. I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t remember me, because they still think I’m missing.
“If they ask, you’re my half-brother,” Adam said. I nodded. It was a legitimate strategy.
I sent Adam to class, and I went into the main office. I recognized one secretary as Mrs. Rogers. I knew she wouldn’t remember me because she would forget to get dressed if she wasn’t married.
“Can I help you?” she barked as she looked me over with a very critical eye. I wasn’t planning on being approved.
“I need to talk to the principal,” I said.
“Name?” she asked.
“Ryan Stanford. It’s about my brother, Adam Baker,” I said.
“Brother, huh?” she asked, catching the last names.
“Half brother,” I reassured her.
“One minute. Have a seat,” she said as she walked over to the principal’s office. I sat back in the chair that I probably sat in many times before. “Mr. Sullivan can see you now,” she said, pointing the way.
“Thank you, ma’am,” I said as I stood and made my way over. She gave me her evil eye. If I gave her mine, she’d have a heart attack. Mr. Sullivan was a short, fat man with thinning yellow hair. He wore twenty-five-year-outdated glasses that had lenses so thick they could work as storm windows. He looked up from his papers.
“Mr. Stanford?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” I said. I was trying to be nice.
“Have a seat,” he said. He shuffled his papers as I took his offer. “So, Adam Baker is your half brother?” he asked. I nodded. “I didn’t know his mother remarried,” he said.
“She didn’t,” I said, and then realized what I said. “It’s really complicated.” He nodded.
“Family matters usually are,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Let me start by saying that Adam is a fine student. I’ve only had to talk to him about being on the honor roll and BETA club,” he touted.
“Yes, we’re very proud,” I said, and I was, “it’s just that Adam’s been having some problems with being bullied here at school.”
“He informed me that some boys had been saying cruel things to him. I believe it’s been taken care of, Mr. Stanford. It’s nothing to worry about anymore,” he said. Nothing to worry about my butt, I thought.
“Then why did Adam come home last night with a black eye?” I asked. He looked shocked as he picked up a pen and notebook.
“I wasn’t informed of this,” he said as he scribbled something down.
“He was afraid to tell someone because he was afraid he would be hurt again,” I said, “Now, Adam is very important to me. He’s not just my brother. I grew up here in Chicago, and I know it’s dangerous, but I want to protect him. Either his mother or I walk him to school in the morning and bring him home of an evening. That‘s how concerned we are,” I said.
“Understandable, Mr. Stanford, and we do everything we can to keep our students safe. If there is anymore problems, the students will be prosecuted-criminally, if needed. We want you to rest assured knowing that Adam will be safe here at school,” Mr. Sullivan said. I stood.
“Thank you for speaking to me, Mr. Sullivan,” I said, extending my hand. He stood and took it.
“Thank you for reporting this, Mr. Stanford. These problems will be taken care of immediately,” he said. I nodded, thanked him again, and went to the door. “Have a nice day!” he called after me. You never have a good day when you’re a demon.
“You, Ryan, have gotten me into the biggest pile of trouble, ever!” Adam snapped as he threw his backpack on the floor.
“I did?” I asked, adjusting my eyes to the sudden light that he flipped on. I think he did it to wake me up. It worked, too.
“Tell the principal, huh?” he snapped, “Like he’s gonna do anything about the group of monsters that almost killed me today!” I stopped as I reached over to grab my sunglasses.
“Almost killed you?” I repeated, as I put on my shades. He pulled down the collar on his Chicago Cubs jersey. A long claw mark ran down his neck and onto his chest. I jumped off the couch. I looked at the marks. It came from a demon’s claws, alright. They weren’t welts like a human’s nails would leave, but more like a dog or cat’s.
“I’m a dead man walking, Ryan,” he said, his voice shaking. I looked at Melissa, who was shaking with fear. I sighed. “I’m supposed to meet them down by the river at Navy Pier at six,” he said. “And I’m sure they’re not taking me out to dinner.” I had to think fast. A light bulb flicked on in my head.
“Eureka,” I said.
“I’m not gonna like this, am I?” Adam asked.
“Nope. Neither is your mom,” I said quietly. “Give me your jacket,” I said. He gave me a look as he pulled it off his shoulders. I put it on. It fit, but barely. I’m not as small as I used to be. “Go get your Cubs hat,” I said. Adam ran to his room.
“What are you planning?” Melissa asked.
“Ever see the movie Tombstone? You know, Wyatt Earp and all that stuff?” I asked. She nodded. I put on Adam’s hat. “If he’s Earp, I’m Holliday,” I said. She made a smirk as the idea clicked. I went to the door. “On my way to the O.K. Corral!”
Navy Pier is a busy place on a Friday night. Not just on the inside, either. The river can be a very crowded place with boat tours and cargo ships. I scanned the river stretch by the Pier. I found a group of boys that I recalled from the trip to school two days ago. I walked off the bridge and down to the river, keeping my head low.
As I neared, I could hear the boy’s animal-like laughter. It brought back too many bad memories. I got closer and closer.
“Didn’t think you’d come, Baker,” one boy called. I stopped, keeping my head down. I slowly looked up.
“I’m your huckleberry,” I said, quoting Doc Holliday. They glared.
“Who’re you?” the boy demanded.
“Adam’s brother. And I’m mad,” I said. They looked at each other, and twisted smiles came over them.
“Like we’re afraid of you!” he said. One by one, their eyes turned red, and three sets of canines grew into place. I didn’t flinch.
“Ooh! I’m scared!” I mocked. One of them made a snarl. I felt my eyes start to burn as the skin around my eyes turned a burning red. The canines grew in my mouth to the point that they poked my tongue like needles. It then turned into the classic gunfight scene-the ringleader and I began to circle each other.
It then became a waiting game. Growing tired, I took advice from Mr. Holliday.
“Say when,” I said, smiling. He looked at me funny.
“Huh?” he asked. I took that as a ‘when’. I knocked him flat on the ground, and spun around as the two other boys charged me. I clothes-lined one, and hit the other in the crotch. Hope he didn’t want kids, I thought. One of them leapt onto my back, and I sent him into the river. One slashed at my gut with their claws, and I kicked his hand, breaking his fingers. He cried in pain like a dog would. I think the third boy got the idea and backed off.
I yanked the boy out of the river. “Touch Adam again, and I’ll eat you alive. Literally,” I said. He nodded profusely. “All of you!” I snapped. I threw the boy onto the shore. “Get lost!” They got it. They took off like a shot from a gun.
I felt like Wyatt Earp then. It was like I knew I had the strength to find those boys who ruined me and killed my mother-and make them suffer. I felt like I was yelling at Ike Clanton from the train station. Now run, you cur! Tell all the other curs that Hell’s comin’! You tell them that I’m comin’! And Hell’s coming with me, you hear? Hells! Comin’! With me!
Started February 25, 2011
Finished February 27, 2011
For Zacky Vengeance, rhythm guitarist for Avenged Sevenfold, for showing me that ‘the best revenge is bettering myself’