The events of the night still shook her to the core. Not only had she gained an uncle but she also found out that, that uncle was an immortal psychopathic vampire.
She had stepped into the shower aching from the adrenaline that had coursed through her body, and the strain on her muscle from fighting the vampires. The training sessions hadn’t lived up to the real live action one bit. The hot water had helped to soothe her aching muscle but had done little to her mind.
She now sat on her soft bed wrapped in a dark blue dressing gown. Her long blond hair hung wet at her back like a golden waterfall cascading into midnight.
She held a pink decorative box between her crossed legs and a picture in her hands. A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.
Abel pushed the elegantly paneled door open a crack and poked his head through.
“You all right?”
She took one look at the worry etched on his face and knew that he was concerned. They had done no talking on the way back to the institution, and none through the debriefing. Abel always used his soft voice whenever he felt like he had upset her or when he had bad news. Like when he had told her that her mother was sick, back when she was 6 years old.
She smiled just to reassure him.
“I’m ok, just a big night you know, new Bo-staff, first mission, vampire uncle.”
She shook her head a little and left the sentence hanging hoping that her father would have something to say on the matter.
“You did real well tonight Low….Despite that little upset.” Abel raised his eyebrows a little. The worry seemed to drain away giving him back his youthful appearance.
She hadn’t given it much thought that a man over 6000 years old could still look in his prime.
Willow slammed the photo back into the box and turned on her father.
“Little dad. Really! I would say bloody humongous. What the hell? Why didn’t you tell me I had an uncle?”
Abel stepped through the door and closed it behind him. He still wore most of his combat gear, although somewhere between the briefing room and Willow’s room he had lost his Kevlar vest. Willows room – like all the living quarters – was on the ground floor of the institution. The old 1940’s building looked more like a school from the outside, an elegantly created masterpiece hidden in a woody landscape. The only thing separating the institution from a school was the high barbed wire fence, guard dogs, and armed patrols.
Abel’s black boots squeaked on the wooden floor as he approached her large four poster bed, the one of a kind took up most of the room. Soft white fabric cascaded down from the dark wooden beams like silky dragon’s wings. Willow’s room was decorated with the same furnishing like most of the room apart from the bed. The Regent had wanted to make her room a bit more welcoming. Something she found strange at first until she had come to know and like the old man. The few little things she had managed to keep from all the traveling, that she and her father had done were jotted around the room.
It wasn’t much, a small frame on the double dresser showing her, her father and her mother at sea world. A few necklaces hung on the handles of the dresser and a poster, haphazardly stuck to the wall of the American rock band the Eagles. There wasn’t much, as often they need to ditch things in the spare of the moment and move on. She had tended not to get attached to things after a while.
Abel moved the fabric with a hand and sat on the side of the bed. He reached over and lifted the pink box from Willow’s lap.
He remembered Sarah buying this for their daughter, as a place for all her keepsakes.
It was a shame that they weren’t much in there. He reached in and pulled out the photo Willow had been holding moments before, Sarah smiled back up at him.
“When I first met your mother, she had just been assigned to the biology department working with the Regents wife, Abigail.”
Willow crossed her arms over and her face softened from her angry retort. She loved to hear stories about her mother. The memories of her mother were one of her most prized possessions, like her mother’s love of roses and sunflowers, how she always fussed over her when she fell or hurt herself and when she would crank up the volume to any Eagles song that came on the radio.
“She was the most beautiful women I had ever seen. I remembered her green eyes looking over at me before she got shy and turned away, she tucked a strand of blond hair behind one ear and pretended to be interested in some files.”
Abel chuckled and smiled as he closed his eyes, Willow watched as his shoulders relaxed a little, she found herself smiling along with her father’s infectious grin.
Abel opened his eyes and look at Willow.
“You remind me a lot of her; you have her strength.”
Willow blushed as her father reached out and gripped her arm.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I thought that maybe you might put two and two together, you know, me being immortal, Abel Adamson “Adam’s son”. Especially after coming here and hearing all the stories they tell about me.”
Willow opened her mouth to protest but Abel waved her away.
“I know what they say about me and most of it’s true, and I know what they say about you too. See your mother didn’t want your angel side to catch up with us. That’s one of the reasons we were always on the move.”
Abel shifted nervously, replaced the photo in the box and handed it back to Willow.
“So while I’m getting things off my chest,
I think I should tell you something else If you haven’t already figured it out?”
She looked at her father and raised her eyebrows.
“You have two uncles.”
Willow gasped and raised a hand to her mouth. The sinking feeling settled into her stomach like a concrete shoe in the Hudson River.
“You’ve got to be kidding, Two uncles?”
“Yep, two. Seth, my younger brother.”
Abel picked at her white bedspread avoiding Willow’s eyes.
Abel looked up into his daughter’s green eye, Sarah’s green eyes. She had made him promise that he would keep her safe and away from danger. But history sure has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass.
Willow punched her father in the arm playfully.
“Is he like Cain?”
Abel rubbed the blow and chuckled.
“No. No. Fortunately not but he isn’t like us either.”
Willow’s smile faded.
“What do you mean not like us, surely he would be half angel too?”
“He got the curse alright, but something went wrong, I don’t know if the big man got something wrong or did it on purpose, it would seem my family got a short straw. Or maybe a long one, anyway I really don’t know, and Seth’s never been inclined to tell me either. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t have seen it for myself, but there you go.”
“So what?” Willow raised her palms up and shook her head.
“He’s not a vampire, so what, maybe, a ghost? A Bigfoot? A werewolf?”
“Spot on kiddo.”
Willow laughed again.
“What a werewolf really? Next, you’re going to tell me that the Regent’s a demon and Ozzie Osbourne is a zombie?”
Abel laughter long and loud, slapping at his thigh, it eventually slowed to a chuckle.
“Ozzie sure is something else but no; he’s human and the Regent might seem like a demon, but he’s a good man. Look we have a long family history, and it’s not all great. But if you want to know something, anything, I won’t hide the truth.”
Willow smiled at Abel and grasped his hand.
“Thanks, dad that means a lot. But I’m just going to try and process this whole Cain thing first.”
“I understand honey.”
Abel leaned over and kissed Willow on the forehead before standing up and walking back to open the door. Just before he closed it, he stuck his head back through.
Willow looked up from the picture in her hand.
“You were great tonight. I love you.”
“I love you too dad.”
She smiled and turned back to the photo as Abel closed the door.
On the other side, Abel paused and rested his forehead against the wooden door letting out a big sigh. The weight of the world settled back on his wide shoulders like Atlas holding up the sky.
Abel turned and walk away from his daughter’s door. The institution was set out on three floors. Living areas, training facilities and gymnasium on the ground, security and monitoring on the first and offices on the second floor.
At the end of the corridor, Abel poked the elevator button and waited until the lift came down and the doors opened. The annoying elevator music accompanied him as he ascended to the top. The elevator dinged and the doors opened.
The two armed guards facing the lift relaxed their guns when they saw who was exiting. Abel raised a hand and continued on his way.
He approached a door and knocked once. A muffled voice broke through the paneling and Abel moved the handle and entered the room.
An old man with a bald head and gray hairs around the sides sat next to a roaring fireplace to his right. A British bulldog laid at his feet snoring loudly. The room reminded him of a college professors room, although he had only seen them in the movies. A wall on his left and the alcoves of the fireplace – to his right – were full of book and the wall with the door he had just come through was littered with pictures and awards.
Abel walked over a worn red and black woven rug past an ornate desk, its green surface besieged by piles of files and paperwork. A window behind showed a nearly full moon, its bright light illuminated a canopy of mighty trees.
“Ah Abel, come, sit, sit.”
The Regent gestured from his seat to a twin chair opposite his next to the fire. The Regent was well into his seventies and dress like it too. Beiges corduroys met with a blue and red flannel shirt, sunken blue eyes looked out from thin brown frames glasses as Able approached.
“I was dosing off…ha ha. Luckily Rumpole here woke me with his snoring.”
The Regent stoked Rumpole with his slippered feet. The dog opened his eyes and saw Abel. His tiny tail managed a couple of wags before he closed his eyes again.
“Stupid old fellow. Haha. Um…..Before you sit dear boy, I know you like a tipple and I have a nice new single malt, you’ve had a big day, go grab your self a glass.”
Abel stopped his hands on either side of the chair, his bottom nearly touching the fabric. The Regent wagged a finger at a drinks cabinet in the alcove of the fireplace. Able stood and walked over, grabbing a crystal rock glass from its surface.
“And seeing as your there dear chap, I think I’ll have one as well.”
Able poured two healthy drinks and returned to the chair, handing one to the Regent before taking his seat.
“I hear you had a bit of a family reunion tonight?”
Able swirled the amber liquid around, looking at how the fractal glass played with the light.
“News travels fast.”
“I may be old Abel, but I am not deaf.”
“Did they also tell you it was a trap.”
“What?….speak up dear boy, mumble mumble, you’d think after millenniums of being alive you would have learned how to speak.”
The Regent wrinkled his old face and scoffed.
“Erat captionem, C’était un piège, Fue una trampa, it was a damn trap!”
Broken glass scattered everywhere as Abel’s hand dripped with scotch and a few fragments of glass. Rumpole woke and snorted. He shook his flabby fur dislodging some of the glass that flew his way.
The Regent eyes darted to the broken glass, to Abel and then the fire as his sunken cheeks turned red.
“Yes..um…well, it would seem we have a mole in our operation. But don’t worry I will ferret them out .”
“When you do, let me know cuz we’re going to have a little talk. No one puts my daughter in danger.”
The Regent nodded and sipped his drink as Abel wiped his hand down his black pants and glared at the Regent.
“Why now god damn it. Why show up now.”
“I’m sure that will come apparent in time.”
“Time is something I have in abundance, what I don’t have is patience.”
The Regent merely nodded and continued to sip his scotch.
“What we must be concern about now is the Vampire clans. With Cain here, Constantine is sure to find out, and knowing his flamboyant character, he’s sure to use it to his advantage and that can not happen.”
“What’s the plan, old man.”
“I have another assignment for you. We have intel that a new nightclub has been having a delivery of blood, I’ll give you one guess at the supplier?”
“Correct, we have done a background check on the new club and they look like a respectable company. So I had Declan look into our friends a bit deeper.”
“What did you find?”
“Well they’re defiantly vampires and the glyph on the door belongs to house Kristenson, which puts them under Constantine. But what I’m not sure about is, either they don’t care about our agreement or they don’t know about it. Either way, they aren’t technically breaking any of our rules but I think you need to pay them a visit and set the record straight before someone gets bitten.”
“How is my dear girl by the way? I hope Cain’s appearance hasn’t shocked her too much?”
Abel glanced at the Regent and then stood to go back to the drinks cabinet.
“You didn’t tell her did you?”
Abel lifted the bottle to his lip and gulped at the single malt. The burning in his throat felt warm and good.
“No. But now she knows.”
“Dangerous game you’re playing Abel.”
“She’s my daughter, I think I know whats best for her. He won’t get a chance to do it again.”
He returns back to the fire but didn’t sit down.
“Be that as it may, I think it would be best that she knows what danger she’s in.”
Abel growled and pointed a finger at the flames.
“He will burn if he even thinks about doing anything like that again.”
The Regent knew he had pushed too far, he had known Able for more than 35 years now and knew when he was wound tight. Time is what he needed, everything is better with time, he thought.
The Regent heaved himself out of the chair and stretched his back. Rumpole rolled on to his back and continued to snore.
“What you need now old boy is a good sleep, take the worry off your mind.”
Able nodded slowly and pinched his nose. He let out a deep breath before putting a hand on the Regent’s shoulder.
“You’re right, as always, but I think sleep will elude me tonight.”
The Regent smiled and patted Able’s hand.
“How is Abigail. Is she settling into the nursing home?”
“The Regency has been very good, the home she is in is renowned for its work with Alzheimer’s suffers. We are having a few more lucid days thanks to her administration.”
Abel smiled and patted his shoulder again.
“It’s good to hear. I’m glad she’s doing well. I’m taking this.”
He raised the bottle, the amber liquid swelled around like a tempest in the sea.
“Knock yourself out, dear boy.”
The Regent chuckled.
“I intend to.”
Able turned and walked away from the fire. The Regent slapped his thigh and whistled, Rumpole rolled back to his front. After several grunts and groans, he managed to get to his paws.
Abel turned the handle and opened the door.
The Regent started, he who never dream of letting any other of his subordinates use his real name, however Able was different, he was almost family.
“Yes, dear boy?”
“Get some rest too, you look like hell.”
The Regent chuckled again and waved a hand dismissively. The door shut and his face turned sad as he stepped over to the bookcase. He pulled a red leather bound book with gold writing down the side that read: The secrets of botany.
The secret door within the bookcase opened on silent hinges and he made his way through to a dimmed bedroom. Rumpole waddled through and collapsed at the foot of the bed as the Regent readied himself for bed