She was beginning to think she needed to call her parents. Her fiance was getting stranger and stranger by the week. A couple months ago she had returned from work to find their home ransacked and her fiance, who should have been home, missing. She called the police but he showed up by himself a few days later. Haggard but not hospital bad off. She had still wanted him to get checked out but he refused, saying he just wanted to be home after everything he had been through.
Her biggest red flag was his story would change ever so sightly when he talked about what happened. That didn’t tend to happen with true stories. Sure, given time your memory would fail you but this was only months ago. Another red flag that was bothering her was sex. It was weird, different, like she was making love to a different person. He had had a life changing experience but she had never heard of one changing someone like that. Then there was the fact he could suddenly cook. He had tried here and there but his food was always inedible. Now his food was amazing.
All this and more was getting her to the point she wasn’t sure it was her husband who had come home. The only thing stopping her from calling her parents sooner was how much she loved him. If he was still him she couldn’t imagine how hurtful an accusation like that would be. He knew about her parents and her parents friends past, the crazy things her mother went through which had given her an open mind about the possibilities in the world but that probably wouldn’t lessen the sting for him.
She sat there holding her cell, debating calling her mother. If it was just trauma then she would feel bad, but what if something serious was going on? What if someone had done something horrible to him? She felt herself choking up in her frustration and she finally went to her mother’s number and called. “Kay?”
“Hey mom, I need to talk to you.”
“Is everything alright?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s wrong honey?”
“It’s…it’s Shawn, he…” she swallowed, “there’s something going on and…” The front door opening and Shawn walking in startled her. “Hey, I’ll call you back.” She hung up before her mom could say anything else and stood when she saw Shawn clutching his head. “Shawn? Are you alright?”
He shook his head. “I had to leave work, my head started throbbing.” He kicked off his shoes, letting out a groan. “I don’t know…it feels like my head is being split open.” She helped him over to the couch.
“Let me get you a Tylenol.” She started to move away and he grabbed her hand.
“Just sit with me please.”
“Okay.” She dropped down next to him.
“Were you on the phone?”
“Yeah, talking to my mom.”
“Sorry.” He clutched his head tighter. “Maybe that Tylenol was a good idea.”
“I’ll be right back” she hurried off,thankful to find it in the bathroom cabinet where it was supposed to be. She may be worried he wasn’t himself but she had loved Shawn for years and she couldn’t stand the thought of him being in pain. Kay soon brought him the medicine and water. He took both gratefully then asked for her to sit with him again. She did, even rubbing his back to provide some sort of comfort. When he regained composure he hugged her and she wrapped her arms around him. “I love you so much Kay” He said those words with so much emotion she almost cried, hating how conflicted she was. Maybe she was wrong to question him but he was just so different. More had to of happened than he’s letting on or maybe he’s forgotten things.
Hannah had run outside to talk to Adam who was playing football with his friends. “what’s up?”
“Kay just gave me a really strange call about her husband. It was cut short, I’m worried”
“what do you want to do?”
“I just feel like we should go there. I know it’s two hours but I’m that worried about her. She sounded really upset”
“Go pack for us and I’ll say bye to the guys” he gave her a long kiss and they parted. She heard their cars leave as she packed and soon her husband was in the room with her “I’m sorry”
“You have nothing to worry about. They come over plenty”
“Its just if something wrong I dont want to wait until she’s already in some sort of danger…I wish she hadn’t moved so far away”
“I would have moved anywhere for you” he kissed her head then continued “Shawn already had a good job and home where he lived. It made sense. We’ll go drop in on them and make sure all is well. We were over due for a visit anyway”
Shawn’s headache had started to subside, but he was still in pain and it scared Kay to the point that she insisted they go to the hospital. “No, please, I’ll be fine.” He said.
She ran her fingers through his hair, trying to comfort him. “Why not?”
“I…” he looked so confused, “I don’t know, I just can’t.”
“Alright, we won’t go.”
“Can you at least tell me how it started?”
He nodded. “I was just sitting there working on my computer and then it was like everything just…I don’t know like I was suddenly overwhelmed by everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just everything, sound, light, smells, everything. My head felt like someone had hit me with a bat or something. I don’t know, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” He shook his head. “Hey, it’s going to be okay. Why don’t I help you to bed then make you something to eat.”
“I don’t think I could.”
“It might help.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
She paused then asked a question she felt might be ill timed but she had to ask again “Shawn…have you really told me everything you remember? I mean…to still be having so many problems and for you still to be so against being looked at…are you scared of doctors now or” she stopped there, not sure of what else to suggest. He looked her in the eyes and she hated all the pain that dwelled within them “I love you Kay” he could see her disappointment “I love you too, I’m sorry, you don’t feel good and I’m pressuring you”
“No…it’s okay” she got up and offered her hand to help him off the couch. He took it but instead of walking he hugged her, repeating what he said before “I love you Kay” she pulled out of it and tugged him in the direction of their room “you should really lay down” He followed her, settling into their bed without protest. She left the room to see what they had in their kitchen.
Shawn didn’t realize he had dozed off until he jerked awake a few minutes later. He knew it hadn’t been long because Kay hadn’t returned and he could smell something cooking downstairs. He lay there in the darkness, his heart pounding in his chest. He hated he couldn’t remember anything but the flashes and nightmares. It was never anything truly coherent, but he knew something awful had happened, he could feel it. Every time she mentioned the hospital every part of his being tensed, forcing him to reject being examined. He could see she was suspicious and he didn’t blame her. The thought that he wasn’t him was terrifying. “Stop it.” He said it out loud. “You can’t think like that.”
Kay sighed as she cooked, her heart aching for Shawn, for how truly scared and distraught he obviously was. She wished she could read his mind like her uncle Eric, then maybe she could help him, but all she could do was speculate and none of it was good. She realized as she cooked that she had practically hung up on her mother and quickly grabbed her phone to call her back and apologize. “We’re on our way over honey.” Hannah said when she picked up.
“Mom, it’s fine, I think I was just overreacting.”
“You and I both know that isn’t true. We’ll be over soon and we’ll figure everything out then.”
She hated she had worried her parents so much. “Okay, love you, just stay safe.”
“we will, your father has only been in one accident in his life” Hannah smiled over at her husband Adam. No matter what the situation was it always brought at least a small smile to allude to the night Adam hit her with his car. It was what brought them together. If he hadn’t she may have been caught or worse, at least worse to her, she may have never met her husband and had this wonderful family with him. He looked a little embarrassed especially when she hung up with their daughter “may I remind you I manged to slow down to ten miles an hour before I hit you?” Hannah laughed then kissed his cheek “I thought the situation needed a little teasing in it. I’m so stressed”
“don’t be, we’ll figure this out. Shawn loves Kay, I know he does. I would have raised hell if he had tried to move her so far away if I didn’t feel like he’d do anything for her. If something has replaced Shawn we will find the real Shawn and if something is simply just wrong with Shawn we’ll figure that out. Maybe its more scientist crap. Maybe he’s so different because he’s not human any longer.”
“you mean like a wolf or vampire?”
“Yeah I mean, humans have been changed many times before”
“why would something change him then give him back”
“have you forgotten how crazy living forever makes some beings? Who knows”
Kay switched off the burners and plated the food then headed to their room to get Shawn. She was glad to see he was sleeping, but the moment she dropped down on the bed next to him, he woke, his eyes darting around before settling on her. “Kay? Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, food’s ready.” She brushed her fingers through his hair. “Do you want to come eat with me or do you want me to bring it to you?”
“I’ll come eat with you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I want to.”
He pushed the blanket back and sat up, feeling a little dizzy. “You okay?”
“Just dizzy, but better than I was.” He pulled her into a hug. “Sorry for everything, for scaring you and just everything.”
“It’s okay, it’s not your fault.” She pulled back, giving him a smile. “Come on, let’s eat.”
He was getting more and more concerned that he was loseing her. She was saying everything was okay but he knew it wasn’t. He knew if he could just make himself go to the hospital she’d be more comfortable but he couldn’t. “when I’m feeling better can we do something together Kay? We haven’t really left the house except for groceries and work since I was abducted”
“Yeah…though, my parents are coming”
“I’m sorry, I know we normally run these things by eachother” He kissed her hand “It’s okay” He looked so sad she felt even worse than she had this morning. This was Shawn, she decided right then and there this was Shawn and she was going to quit having doubts. She needed to be stronger about all this because he needed her to be the rock right now in their relationship. Once they were standing they hugged again, both struggling with their emotions.
“This looks really good.” Shawn said once they were sitting together in the kitchen. He still wasn’t hungry, but he took a bite anyway. He had always loved Kay’s cooking.
“Any good?” She asked.
“Very, thank you.”
“You know, if you want, we could go on a walk after. I can just text my mom and let her know.”
“Okay, sounds good.”
She reached over and took his hand, giving it a squeeze. “Everything’s going to be okay, Shawn. I love you.”
“I love you too, I really do, more than you know.” He cleaned his plate even though his stomach was in knots, not wanting to worry her anymore than he already had, then helped her clean up. They got ready to go out, Kay sending her mom a message to call if they showed up while they were gone.
“You ready, baby?” Kay asked.
They decided just to start walking down the road so they wouldn’t be too far away when her parents arrived. They shared a beautiful home in a large neighborhood. They could walk for at least twenty minutes before they were even out of it. It wasn’t so much that there were a lot of homes, there was just a lot of space between homes. When she had moved here for him this was their compromise. She wasn’t used to having close neighbors and he wasn’t really for country living but she was fine like this. Kay just needed to feel like she had some privacy.
“I’m really happy we’re doing this Kay”
“we shouldn’t stay locked up in our home and…well I shouldn’t be as distant as I get at times”
“I know you’re dealing with…well…me as best you can”
“Shawn I…I’m sorry.”
“Lets talk about something happy”
“that new show you’ve been watching, tell me about whats going on”
“Well, it’s been sad.”
“I’m sorry, did one of your favorite characters die?”
“No, just the characters are going through a lot emotionally and the actors are so good it makes me cry.”
He actually cracked a smile. “Maybe I’ll have to start cuddling you while you watch it.”
She nudged him. “So mean.”
“I’ll be sure to bring the tissues.” They laughed together and in that moment everything felt normal. He pulled her closer and pressed a kiss to her temple. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” She continued talking about her show, happy that he seemed at least a little at ease, that he was actually smiling and looking happy, even if she could still see a lingering sadness. She knew that was her fault and she hoped she could make it up to him.
Shawn allowed himself to become fully engrossed in this conversation with Kay. It felt so normal, like they were getting back to where they were. It was when he started to notice a steady thudding sound that he realized something was wrong. It had been the same at work, like a dull thumping that became louder and louder and he could smell everything, the grass, the flowers, Kay’s shampoo. He stopped dead in his tracks and brought his hands up, trying to block out the sound. “Shawn? Baby are you okay?”
“It’s happening again, it’s so loud.” He tried to pinpoint it and realized it was coming from Kay.
“It’s okay, let’s get back home.” He looked so panicked and upset. “Come on.”
“no…I” all the noise was making it hard for him to talk, he couldn’t think over it. “It’s okay, we’ll walk another time. I wont be upset, I promise”
“I’m sorry” she tugged him back toward their home, her heart beating faster out of worry. They weren’t inside long when her parents showed up. They both heard them pull up in the driveway. “Why don’t you go lay back down. Make sure to refill your glass of water first”
“okay…I’ll come out when I feel a bit better” She kissed him “you don’t have to come back out tonight okay”
“I don’t want to be weird”
“You’re fine, someone kidnapped you and abused you Shawn. My parents will understand” He finally went over to the sink, refilled his water then went to their room to lay down until everything stopped being so loud.
Kay received a hug from her mother the moment she opened the door and she could tell she was relieved to find her safe. “I’m okay mom.” She let them in then hugged her dad.
“I know, I’m sorry we decided to come over uninvited, but the way you hung up worried me.”
“It’s okay, I’m actually really glad you’re here.”
“Where’s Shawn?” Her father asked.
“In bed.” She sighed. “He’s been having episodes.” They went and sat in the living room together, Hannah on one side of her and Adam on the other.
“What do you mean?” Hannah asked.
“He came home from work today saying he was sitting there and all of a sudden his senses were overwhelmed. It happened again while we were out. I’m scared and he’s scared and I just don’t know what to do. He doesn’t remember anything, but whatever happened to him must have been bad. He’s also picked up cooking, which I wouldn’t usually complain, but it’s not something he was good at.”
“Did you try getting him to go to the hospital?”
“He won’t go, he’s terrified.”
“If Eric were closer, we could get him to come over, he might be able to pick something up.” Adam said. He hated how worried his little girl looked.
“I couldn’t bother Uncle Eric as well…”
“You just want to know what’s going on with your husband, anybody would. I can ask him, it never hurts to ask.” Before she could protest any more Adam was already calling. Hannah now spoke “we’re all over due for a get together. You two don’t visit enough”
“Shawn just works so much”
“How’s Meredith? We’ve only spoken on the phone once since she started college. I always feel like I’m going to call at a bad time”
“It’s an adjustment. High School was so easy for her she likes having a challenge”
“Gosh, we all need to see eachother more.” Adam was already off the phone “that was quick” Kay was the first to note. Adam responded with “he wanted to help just like I knew he would”
“well let me go up and talk to my husband. I don’t want to surprise him again”
Shawn was curled up under the blankets when Kay came in, her presence heralded by that same thumping sound. “Shawn?” She said it so softly as she crossed over to him and sat down. Her hand rested on his side and he pushed the blankets down.
“Hey beautiful.” He answered, his pain evident in his voice.
“Has it stopped?”
“No, I can hear something coming from you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like…like a thumping sound.”
Kay brushed her fingers over his temple and let them run through his hair as she sat there and thought of what it could be. “Does it sound like a drum?” She asked as a thought dawned on her.
“Shawn, I think it’s my heart.”
He shook his head. “That’s…that’s crazy.”
“But it’s possible.” She bent down and kiss his cheek. “Eric’s coming over to help.”
“Yeah, maybe he’ll be able to pick something up from your thoughts. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, sorry, my head just hurts.”
“I wish I didn’t make it worse”
“You make it better too…I’d rather have you with me…the last thing I want is to alienate you Kay” His words held so much emotion she had to lean down and kiss him. Kay hugged Shawn gently as she said “I’m not going anywhere. I’m really sorry I haven’t been taking this better”
“I’m not who you married anymore…there’s something wrong with me”
“Not wrong, just something we need to learn how to handle”
“You really think I can get used to this”
“I’m sure you can, I’m even more sure there has got to be a way for you to control all this” He let out a shakey breath as he got up so he could give her a quick kiss “I really do love you Kay”
“I know you do, you don’t have to keep reminding me Shawn”
“I do, what if…”
“There’s no what if, Shawn, I’m not going anywhere and I’m sorry I made you think for a second I would. I love you so much and I we’re going to get through this.”
Shawn swallowed the lump forming in his throat as he nodded. “You should go visit with your parents.”
“Are you going to be okay without me?”
“Yeah, go ahead.”
“Call me if that changes.”
She gave him another kiss and waited until he had settled back into bed before leaving him to spend time with her parents. “How is he?” Hannah asked.
“His head hurts and he can apparently hear my heart beating.”
“That sounds like heightened senses.” Adam said.
“Do you know what could have caused it?”
“A lot of things. Vampires, werewolves, some sort of experiment, it could be anything. You said he doesn’t want to go to the hospital, could be the last one.”
Hannah nodded. “You know what happened to me, sweetie, those places are awful.”
“I hope he hasn’t been through something like that.”
“well if he has I can help him come to terms with it” Hannah said, even happier she had just come. They caught Kay up about their own life to help distract her as they waited on Eric. When Eric arrived he was alone so he explained “we were babysitting our grandchildren. Ivy is going to come along in a few days if I’m still here”
“Oh yeah Christopher and Shena are on that cruise” Adam said as Kays heart sunk “I’m so sorry” he waved her off “we see our grandchildren all the time. Plus Ivy can handle them on her own. She’s probably happy she doesn’t have to share with me now” he said with almost a chuckle. He looked around “where is Shawn?”
“resting, he was just laying down but he may have fallen asleep”
“thats fine, we’ll work on this in the morning then”
“Both the guests rooms are ready if everyone is tired”
“will you be able to rest honey? I’ll stay up” Hannah asked her daughter who answered “yeah, I’ll be fine, please, I’m so grateful you all came. Get rest” Kay waited until her parents and Uncle were settled before getting into bed herself. She wanted to text Ivy, to thank her and apologize at the same time but she didn’t want to wake the children if she had gotten them down.
Shawn woke the next morning, his headache gone, the only noise Kay’s soft breathing. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into him, burying his nose in her neck as she woke. “Shawn? You alright?”
“Yeah, just wanted to hold you.”
She wrapped her arms around him and ran her fingers through his hair. “How are you feeling?”
“Better. Is Eric here?”
“Yeah, but he wanted to let you sleep.” She kissed the top of his head. “Want to help me make breakfast?”
“Can we shower first?”
“Of course, baby.”
They got out of bed and grabbed clean clothes then jumped in the shower together. Most of their time was spent with Shawn kissing and cuddling Kay and Kay in turn getting him to smile and laugh as she teased him. He reveled in these normal moments and almost didn’t want to get out of the shower. Kay coaxed him into getting clean and then finally out of the shower, not wanting to leave her family without breakfast and knew they needed to work on finding out what was happening to him.
“Kay?” Shaw grabbed her hand as she went to open their bedroom door.
“If something bad happened, if I’m not Shawn…I…” He swallowed the lump in his throat and squeezed her hand. “If I’m not Shawn…”
“Hey, that’s enough of that.” She wrapped her arms around him and he clung tightly to her. “You’re Shawn, my Shawn, no matter what. Even if something awful happened, we’ll get through it, I promise.”
She allowed him to stand there holding her as long as he needed, keeping her arms tight around him so he could feel how much she loved him. When they left their room Kay noticed her family all outside on their porch and opened the door “Hey, we’re going to make some breakfast. Are you guys hungry?”
“Yeah, we wanted to wait on you too” Hannah said then Adam added “since he’s having trouble with over sensitivity to sound we were worried we’d interrupt your rest”
“thank you” Shawn said behind her, drawing their attention “good morning” Hannah got up, kissing her daughters cheek while she passed then hugging Shawn, knowing he probably needed reassurance from them they didn’t feel weird about him now. He gratefully hugged his mother in law back then said “Kay and I have breakfast. I’m actually really good at cooking now”
As he and Kay cooked breakfast together, Eric allowed himself to slip into Shawn’s mind. He delved past his troubled thoughts about Kay and his worries that he may not be Shawn, searching for any memory of what had happened to him. Broken fragments met him, flashes of a strange place and his fear and confusion. There were memories of his trek back home, his panicked run through dark woods, but not knowing why he was there. He pulled his mind away and chatted with everyone while they finished cooking.
“Mom, dad could you set the table? Uncle Eric, do you mind pouring everyone some coffee?”
They all moved to do as she asked and then she and Shawn brought the food over once they were done and filled everyone’s plates. “Um, so how are we going to do this?” Shawn asked once he was seated.
“I’ve already looked a little and I couldn’t find much about where you were taken.” Eric answered.
“Oh, I see.”
“That doesn’t mean I won’t find something. Once we’re finished here, I’d like to ask you a few questions to see if maybe they bring anything up. Your memories are fragmented because you’re scared of them, but maybe if I prompt them, I’ll see something.”
“Your mind just reacts to certain questions so don’t worry. I should see something. Even if it doesn’t work at first we can try this every day until it does… We wont give up on you. You’ve been too good to our Kay” Kay gave his leg a reassuring squeeze then Kays family started more normal conversation so Shawn could finish his breakfast without having to think about what happened to them.
“Before you two woke up we were talking about your brother Brayden” Hannah said, looking at Kay “Oh, what about him? I feel so behind on all three of my siblings lives”
“well he’s back in college, he’s decided to finish.”
“I’m so relieved to hear that…it was kind of soul crushing when he dropped out because his girlfriend broke up with him. Though I understood where he was coming from. He has to see her all the time at school.”
“he’s had some time to heal from it and we pointed out to him he’ll now be two years behind her in classes so they shouldn’t have to see much of eachother now”
“I didn’t think of that, that is a plus.”
“We’re going to have to find the time to get everyone together. I miss them and you guys.” Kay said.
“We miss you too, but we understand. Life happens and you have to deal with it before you can do anything else.” Hannah reassured her.
Shawn became nervous when they all finished eating and he helped Kay clean up. He was scared of what Eric might find, but he needed to know. They all when and sat down in the living room and Shawn took a deep breath. “You ready?” Eric asked.
“Yeah, I mean no, but yes, I need to do this.”
“I want you to do something for me then, close your eyes and just relax.”
“Okay.” Kay took his hand and he closed his eyes and tried to make himself loosen up.
He was glad she did, he really needed her right now. He didn’t know if he could handle all this without her. He went from being a completely normal guy with a life as simple as you could dream to everything changing into confusion, stress and unknown. Eric decided to start with the break in to try and get his mind rolling through everything that happened. “Lets start with Kay driving away to head to work. What was the first thing you did?”
“I promised myself I was going to finish that book I had been trying to read for a few months…I put some water on the stove so I could have some hot tea while I read…I had just gone into the kitchen to turn the stove off when I heard someone trying to doorknob. They were trying to open it so violently. I turned the stove off and ran to grab my phone to call 911. It couldn’ have been Kay, she has keys and anybody we knew would have just knocked. I just knew there were bad people at the door”
Shawns heart rate was already spiking and he held on to Kays hand a little tighter. She rubbed his arm and Eric prompted “and what else, when they came in. What did they look like” What they looked like had been one of the areas Shawn had been struggling with so Eric hoped he’d be able to see them. Their faces came into view in Erics mind. It had been in there, it just took someone like Eric to grab the picture. “lets stop a second while I see them clearly” he announced. Eric wrote down all the details he could so they could give it to the police and have it for themselves. It wouldn’t be the first time this family played detective. You couldn’t always wait for the cops, not if you were anxious for answers. Often police departments had far too much on their plates.
“Alright, now did they say anything?”
“No, but I kept asking them what they wanted and…”
“You threw hot water in one of their faces. You thought if you blinded at least one you would have a chance.”
“Then you were knocked unconscious.”
“The next thing I knew, I was back home.”
Eric nodded. “Okay, but let’s go back. You had been taken somewhere else, I’ve seen little flashes of it. Try remembering the room you were kept in and who might have visited you there.”
“I…” Shawn squeezed Kay’s hand. “There was…someone.” He started breathing hard, his heart thumping hard in his chest. He could tell the memory scared Shawn and he focused on every detail, not wanting to miss anything. He watched from Shawn’s point of view as the two men who had taken him came into the room he had been locked in, followed by another. This was the man who terrified Shawn.
“What did he do Shawn?” Eric asked. “Why are you afraid of going to the hospital?”
“He…he…” he shook his head. “I don’t know, I can’t remember, it’s there, but…”
The memories were confusing and disjointed, but Eric caught enough. Shawn strapped to a table, the man grinning at him with sharp canines. The man forcing Shawn to drink his blood then injecting him with chemicals that tore his genetic makeup apart and remodeled it. He knew that pain all too well, they all did. Shawn dying as the man poisoned him, wanting to test his resilience. “It’s okay Shawn, let’s get away from that.” He had to force the anger out of his voice. He asked him about running through the woods, wanting an idea of where he had come from, if he had escaped or if they had let him go. A lot of the memories were jumbled from panic and the need to forget, but he received enough information that he didn’t have to push him too much.
“we’re done Shawn” Eric said sadly and Shawn grabbed onto Kay, holding her tightly to him as Eric spoke again “he isn’t human any longer. I’m not sure yet precisely what but thats what is so different with Shawn. They also injected him with many chemicals so even once we discover what he is there will be much more for him to come to terms with. Beyond what he’l inherit from the blood of that being he might gain extra powers, powers like we all have Kay” Kay kissed Shawn and his lips trembled against hers “I love you, I’m so sorry” Eric stood and looked over at Adam and Hannah “we should go, I’ve seen where he came from and what these beings look like”
“Shouldn’t I help?” Shawn asked, letting go of Kay. Eric shook his head “Kay doesn’t have any abilities and I don’t want her left alone. Beyond that you haven’t come to terms with your own yet. I’d rather have us help you than you try to summon things you dont know about in a fight. We three are more than capable. Please stay with Kay” Shawn nodded. pulling Kay into him again. It had been hard having those memories pulled from him but atleast Kay could know for sure now he was being completely honest and those horrible men could be stopped.
Eric set his cellphone on the table “If Ivy calls me update her please”
They left and Shawn dropped his head onto Kay’s shoulder. She ran her fingers through his hair, helping to ease the tension out of his body. “Are you okay?” She asked softly.
“No, not really.” He swallowed. “I don’t know what to do or think. I mean at least I’m not a clone right?”
“Shawn, it’s okay to be upset.”
He sighed. “I know.”
“I know I’ve already said it, but I’m sorry about being so distant. I should have been more supportive of you, I should have been helping you through this.”
“I understand Kay, you were scared too.” He lifted his head and kissed her. “I love you and hopefully we can get back to normal, at least mostly normal.”
“I’m just glad my family came. I should have called them sooner…I was so worried to voice my concerns…I didn’t want to hurt you Shawn but I guess I was doing that anyway by being weird”
“we don’t have to talk about that ever again. Just let me hold you” Eric, Hannah and Adam were all in Erics truck, driving in the direction Shawn had come home. Adam and Hannah rode silently, knowing Eric was concentrating on the memories he saw in Shawns head. They stopped the truck in front of some woods “He really had to run all that way?” Hannah asked sadly “Yeah, I’d drive through here but I don’t want to get it stuck. The trees get thick unless that was just a panicked mind jumbling things”
Ivy calling woke Kay, she didn’t remember even getting close to sleep. Shawn let her go enough to let her answer “Hey Ivy, sorry, Shawn and I have Erics phone”
“Oh, it’s alright, how’re things going?”
“He managed to see some things about what happened to Shawn. He left with my parents”
“just tell him to call me as soon as he gets back.”
“How’re you two?’
“reeling from everything.”
“I’ll let you two go back to what you were doing. Our son and his wife are coming back tomorrow morning so I’ll see you soon.”
“Alright, love you and tell everyone I love them too.”
“Will do sweetie.” They hung up and Kay put Eric’s phone back and snuggled back into Shawn.
“Is everything alright?” Shawn asked.
“Yeah, she just wanted to talk to Eric.” She let out a little sigh. “How are you?”
Kay lifted her head to look at him. “Talk to me.”
“Knowing what happened, makes it seem like I’ve been…violated I guess. I’m not scared of you or anything, never you, but it’s changed everything about me and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“I’m sure everyone will help you get a handle on your new abilities as you discover them and you know I’ll be here no matter what.”
“I know, I’m not trying to sound depressed or anything.”
“I know, don’t worry about it.”
He reached up and tucked some hair behind her ear. “You’re so beautiful Kay, so beautiful and perfect and I’m kind of relieved I finally know what happened.”
“I don’t know why I didn’t think of Eric sooner”
“probably because we really haven’t been as involved with your family as we should be”
When Eric, Hannah and Adam managed to locate the facility that had taken Shawn they barely had time to be horrified before bullets started flying their way. They dodged, all three having incredible speed. “we should have been more careful” Eric projected into their minds. “Hannah, run the other way and call the police, help them find this place. They can be our backup if we haven’t gotten to the leader before they get here” Hannah knew this wasn’t the time to argue with her husband. She ran back the way they came, opening her phone and dialing 911.
Eric thought Adam had made a wise decision. Her worry over being a near a place like this again had hung thick in the air. She had suffered far worse than even he, Ivy or Shawn had because her captors had been raping her as well. They might need the help and they didn’t want Hannah getting any more emotional scars either or to have her nightmares return.
Eric expanded his mind as far as he could, trying to pinpoint the one who had harmed Shawn. “Ten men, three of them scientists.” He said to Adam.
“Is the man who had Shawn taken one of them?”
“Yes, he’s so calm and, as I saw, not human. Touch his mind.”
Adam let his own thoughts move out. “I see and the rest are all human.”
“What are you thinking?”
“They’re focused on us here. You go around that way, I’ll go around the other way and we’ll meet in the middle to stop the guards out front. Once we’re inside, we’re going to have to move fast.”
“Got it. What do you want to do about the boss?”
“If we can, force him to reveal what he did to Shawn. Right now, he has it buried deep.”
Dividing to conquer worked and the two were able to get inside where they seemed ill prepared to keep anybody out or in. That was how a very confused and incredibly scared Shawn was able to escape. With how long Shawns been gone Eric would have thought they’d improve security but then again, maybe this thing liked his beings to escape. He could have some way of watching Shawn, the aftermath of what he did might be why he did it, some sort of show for him. In either case the being who turned Shawn now knew they were coming.
Hannah constantly looked around her as she waited for the police. She had first called 911 but now she was on the phone with an officer who had wanted to keep her on for updates incase some men came after her. “so you guys have handled locations like this before?”
“not me but my husband and his family has”
“still, we should have been informed. They cant just go attacking places”
“These aren’t normal places so please just get here.”
Eric and Adam probed the minds of the men inside. The two scientists that worked under the one who had changed Shawn were frantic, their minds racing with thoughts of what they had done to Shawn. They knew they were in danger and were trying to find a way out of it. Two of the leftover guards had memories of taking Shawn, of forcing him out of his home and to the facility. “Three guards left.” Eric said as they moved through the facility.
“The scientists are trying to hide, there’s a safe room.” Adam added.
“All except him, he’s confident in his abilities and unafraid.”
The last three guards tried hunting them, but with their abilities to read the men’s minds, Eric and Adam managed to turn them into the hunted. They took them out easily and made sure to take their guns. The only thing the police would have to worry about is arresting them. They made their way through the facility, stopping once they found the room to the main scientists office. “He knows we’re out here.” Adam whispered and Eric nodded. Eric grabbed the door hand, turned, and pushed it open while Adam pointed a gun at the man sitting behind the desk.
“a gun wont really do much against me I’m afraid, even if you go for the head shot. That young man, he’s why you came right? You there, holding the gun. His mate is your daughter. I can tell. He should be grateful for what I did. I gave him a gift. A gift he didn’t want but a gift all the same”
“You don’t get to scar someone and decide it’s a gift.”
“if he would have stayed I could have helped him learn how to control himself”
“and what did you want of him in return. Why?” Eric now asked. “Because I can, there isn’t a prison yet that can hold me, not a being I’ve ever faced that can stop me especially with the army I’ve been creating. I wont tell you how and try as you might you wont figure it out but I can now control Shawn whenever I want. From right here, if I wanted I could have him snap the neck of that little girl of yours” Adam shot him right between the eyes, hoping he was bluffing but the being just grinned “didn’t I just tell you I could have him kill her?” he sighed, seeming as if the wound in his head was merely an inconvenience.
“walk away, you can’t stop me and it’s the final chance I’ll give you. Annoy me further and I’ll have him kill his wife and come right back to me”
“Not happening.” Adam said. “Shawn wouldn’t, even if you tortured him.” His instincts told him to run, to go and save his daughter, but he couldn’t let this man go and do the same to someone else. He glanced at Eric, who nodded. “We’re not letting you go.”
He shook his head. “How cruel, choosing justice over your own child, it’s so unexpected, you surprise me.” He chuckled. “Suit yourself.”
Shawn’s sudden agonizing scream startled Kay. She very nearly dropped the glass of water in her hand and she quickly sat it down and ran to their room. He had fallen off the bed and was on his knees, clutching his head. His canines and nails had grown long and sharp, making him look like a wild animal. “Shawn?” She came out of her shock and went to his side. “What’s going on?”
“Get out, get out of my head.” His voice came out more of a growl.
“Shawn.” She grabbed his shoulders and he shoved her away.
“Get away from me, stay away.”
Kay crawled back over to him and he pounced on her, shoving her to the floor and pinning her wrists next to her head. His pupils were huge, nearly covering his entire iris and he gritted his teeth, his breathing labored as he fought not to hurt her. “Shawn, it’s okay.”
“I can’t…I can’t…he’s telling me to…to…”
He dropped his head down next to hers. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She could feel him shaking and his fingers hurt her wrists, but she knew if she struggled, it might make things worse. “He’s in my head.”
“Fight it baby, whatever it is, whoever he is, fight it.” She wanted desperately to hug him, to show him everything was okay.
The man chuckled again “you’re right, he is fighting me. He’s fighting pretty hard to” He still seemed like he was having fun. Suddenly Eric and Adam were kicked out of his mind, completely blocked from looking “looks like I’ll have to take this family just a little more seriously” Next thing Eric knew something metal and hard hit his head so hard he felt his neck pop before falling unconscious. Adam had no time to react before somehow this man had his gun. He fired every round that was left in his stomach “I gave you two a chance to walk away. Remember that” Adams first thought was Hannah, what if he caught up to her on the road. He called his wife, glad she picked up “I’m in the cop car baby”
Adam couldn’t speak, he couldn’t think. “Adam?”
“He’s fast, are” it was so hard to talk but he did his best to force himself on “please tell me some of those cops aren’t human”
“I don’t know, whats happened?”
“Ive been shot and Eric has been knocked out. He’s still breathing”
“Oh my god”
Shawn now felt the being pulling him to leave, to come to him. That feeling was welcome to the one he had been fighting off before. He was able to let go of Kay and get off of her “Shawn?”
“He wants me to come”
“to where” Shawn was shaking again “I dont know but I know at the same time I”
“it’s okay Shawn, stay with me, please”
“what if he starts trying to make me hurt you again”
“I love you, we’re in this life together no matter what. I know I was weird but I was worried like they had sent home some Doppelgänger or something. Now that I know you’re still you we’re just as strong as before. I don’t care what happens. I just want you to fight him and stay with me” A tear slid down Shawns cheek and he hugged Kay. He either found the strength to ignore the beings call or the being gave up because he didn’t feel the pull of anybody right now but his wife.
They didn’t move from that spot until Hannah called them “whats up?”
“your dad and Eric are on their way to the hospital. Your dad was shot three times in the stomach and Eric has a pretty severe head wound.”
“Oh my god”
“they are both alive though and thats what matters”
“what’s going on with you mom?”
“I’m still at the scene with the police. They wont let me come home”
“what do you mean they wont let you”
“They think we must know more than we’re saying”
“they cant do that. Let me talk to someone”
“Honey, it’ll be fine”
“No, its not fine to not let you go home or go to the hospital. I’m calling a lawyer at least”
“that might look weird and make them suspect us even more of having something to do with this place” Her mother said she had to go, another officer wanted to talk to her. “damn it she hugn up” Kay cursed and Shawn rubbed her back “Did I hear right? Your dads in the hospital and they wont let your mom leave?”
“what do you want to do?”
“I probably couldn’t see dad yet even if I went to the hospital and with the lawyer I don’t know how long they are going to try and keep mom”
“I think the limit is twenty four hours.”
“I dont care, I’m getting her home. She must be a mess and those cops can’t be helping”
“I’ll help you find a lawyer then. Surely there has to be someone that can help right now”
Shawn searched for people on his phone while Kay used the laptop. She felt a knot in her throat the whole time, so worried about her dad and uncle, hoping they were both going to pull through. Shawn inhaled sharply and Kay looked up from what she was doing to see him staring off into space, his hand gripping his phone so hard his knuckles were white and the screen had cracked a little. “Shawn?” She touched him and he jumped, breathing hard.
“Sorry, he’s still calling me, I’m sorry.”
Shawn looked down at his phone. “Holy shit.” He then looked at Kay, his eyes moving to her wrists. There was some faint bruising he hadn’t noticed there. “I hurt you.”
“Shawn, it’s alright, they don’t even hurt.” She reached over and took his hand. “I love you, no matter what he tries to make you do, I will always love you.”
“I love you too.”
Kay looked back at the computer screen and stopped when she saw a recent news article talking about Jasper Bookchild and how he was at the forefront for preternatural rights. She had heard about him plenty, even watched him on the news from time to time. She knew his services were probably expensive, but it didn’t matter. “I found someone Shawn.” She said and he looked over at the screen.
“Do you think he’ll actually help us?”
“It’s worth a try.”
Kay called the number, reaching an assistant. She explained what was going on and that she needed someone to help her mother right now since the cops weren’t letting her leave. “We have many other very capable lawyers here at the firm. I mention this because he’s not in right now. I can reach out to him if you really want Jasper himself. This sounds like a case he’d be particularly interested in. Nothing works him up more than cops doing things they know they shouldn’t”
“Please try him, that lab is linked to some terrible things. I don’t want them trying to lump my family in with the culprits”
“alright, whats the best number to reach you at?” Kay gave the woman her number and allowed her to hang up. Shawn hugged Kay “what can I do baby?”
“I dont know, I want to go and raise hell but with you struggling I don’t want them getting any ideas about you too without a good lawyer present. I can’t be alone right now” Not even half an hour had passed when Jasper called her back “Mrs MacThom?”
“I’m on my way alright. They aren’t keeping your mother. I’ll make sure she goes wherever she wants to and I plan to stick with you guys until this is all sorted out. Her husbands in the hospital for christs sake and they don’t even live near you right?”
“Too many cops like to jump to conclusions.” He sounded incredibly irritated “after I get your mom away and have a talk with them I want to hear more from you about your family and this situation”
“I’m sorry you’ve been put in this situation” When Jasper made it to where they lived he found they had Hannah at the police station. It only made him angrier she was sobbing and asking them to let her call the hospital to check on her husband.
The men interrogating Hannah knew him immediately. He didn’t even have to say anything before one of them was running to get their boss. “Mr. Bookchild, so nice to see you.” The chief said, shaking his hand.
“Maybe you’d like to tell me why your underlings are spending their time questioning my client when she’s not even a suspect.”
“She was at the scene.”
“Is she or is she not the one who called to inform you that her husband and brother in law had entered the facility to find the ones responsible for kidnapping her daughter’s fiance?”
“Well yes, but…”
“Has she been cooperating with you?”
“Then why is she being forced to stay here when her husband could be dying?” Hannah let out a little sob and Jasper wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “You’re going to tell me that you truly believe that this woman is responsible for the attack on her family? You didn’t even know you had a scientific facility in your backyard where people were being experimented on. Your officers are supposed to protect and serve, not scare the shit out of innocent women.”
“I want her released and I want someone guarding her family members, especially the young man Shawn and her daughter Kay. If you can’t do your job, then I will call someone in to do it for you.” He let Hannah go so he could pull his wallet and hand the police chief one of his cards. “Call me when you have something substantial to add to what’s going on.”
“lets go Hannah” Jasper urged more gently. Hannah got up “I need to see how he’s doing, please”
“is your car still at the scene? Would you like me to get it first?”
“Thats probably smart, that way if you need to leave me at the hospital I can manage myself.” Once they were in Jaspers car she asked “Is my daughter okay. I know she’s who called you. She was so mad when I told her they were making me stay”
“She seems okay, she’ll be better once she knows I have you. Go ahead and call her, you’ve got your cellphone?”
“I do” she pulled it out of her pocket and let Kay know what was going on. They stayed on the phone until they arrived at the hospital. Hannah was surprised when Jasper got out with her “you’re coming in?”
“I’m going to make sure someone fills you in on your husband or better, lets you into see him if he’s fit to be seen”
“thank you so much Mr Bookchild”
“please, call me Jasper okay?” Even the people at the hospital knew him and quickly saw to it that Hannah knew everything about her husbands condition. It ended with “You should be able to see him in about an hour but we can’t promise. Surgery can be hard to time”
“Just please let me see him as soon as I can”
“I’m going to be calling my client in an hour to check on things” jasper added. Once the nurse walked off he said “do you need anything before I leave you?”
“You’ve done plenty…really”
“I can’t imagine someone shooting me and then cops making my Stella sit and be questioned. I’m just doing what I’d want someone else to do for my wife” Hannah hugged him and Jasper hugged back, leaving right after to talk to Kay. Kay looked relieved to see him when she answered her door “Your mom is at the hospital. I’ll call her to make sure the doctors are cooperating if you give me her number”
“I know it by heart” Jasper pulled out his phone and entered the number Kay rattled off.
“Is this Shawn?” He asked as he tucked his phone away.
“Yes.” She went over to Shawn who stood up and shook Japser’s hand.
“Thank you for coming.” He said.
“No problem.” He looked Shawn over and took in his scent. “What can you tell me about the man who changed you?”
“Uh, yes of course.”
“How about I make us some tea.” Kay said. She didn’t think she’d actually be getting any sort of sleep, not when that thing kept attacking Shawn.
“Thank you.” Jasper said as he took a seat. He then turned to Shawn who swallowed. “If it makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to.”
“It’s alright, it’s important. I don’t know what he is, but Eric saw what he did to me. He fed me is blood then tortured me and forced chemicals into me, he killed me.” He swallowed again. “He’s been whispering to me in my head, telling me to hurt Kay and come to him and I changed.”
“My teeth and nails, my eyes. You can ask Kay, she saw everything.”
They kept discussing things with Jasper until he needed to check on Kays mother “I’m just about to go see him now. They said he’ll be okay. Thank you so much” Once he got off the phone with her he called someone at his lawfirm and gave him the details. Jasper even explained what Shawn smelled like “look into that for me. This thing is still messing with Shawn. If we can even figure out what he is I’m sure we can at least keep him from controlling Shawn” When he hungup Kay asked “who was that?”
“someone thats been at the firm quite a few years. If you want to figure out what sort of creature someone is he’s the guy to ask. I don’t know how he does it but no matter how obscure he figures it out for me”
“is there anything else you need from us?”
“Then how much do we owe you?” He shook his head “Like I said, I heard about your mother and I did what I’d want someone to do for my Stella. The cops around here have pissed me off enough I’m looking forward to being around to yell at them”
“are you sure?”
“save your money for you guys. I have plenty” Kay nearly hugged him. Kay really wanted to go to the hospital now but she was sure Shawn still wasn’t up to being in one. She just told herself her mother was there and she couldn’t help him anyway. There were capable doctors for that. A few days later the man Jasper called showed up at the door with Jasper who had been staying in a hotel nearby. “Hey, I’m Eòsaph MacPhàdraig. I need to do something that we need to have a serious talk about first”
“Um…okay, come in” Kay said as she moved. Once they were inside she called to her husband who came running “they need to talk to us” The group all sat and Eosaph set a syringe filled some orange liquid on the table which notably made Shawn nervous “I know a lots been done to you Shawn but you smell like a Daciandraco but they don’t have the kind of abilities or resilience you have so either you’re actually some sort of mix or the chemicals he put into you altered you and he did similar to himself. If I inject you with this you’ll shift, you dont even have to know how it just does it to you and if you’re multiple things you’re going to shift multiple times. I think it’s important to know what we’re dealing with. Is it okay if I inject you Shawn?”
Shawn swallowed. “I…”
“You don’t have to, none of us will force you.”
He looked at Kay and she gave him a warm, encouraging smile as she took his hand. “No, I need to, if I don’t then I’ll never know.”
“If at anytime you feel uncomfortable, let me know.”
Shawn nodded and held out his arm, a cold sweat rising on his skin. Eosaph gently took his arm and used his teeth to pull the cover off the needle. Shawn couldn’t help but notice how big it was and he forced himself to sit still. He knew it was just his mind messing with him, it was just a needle and he was going to be fine. Eosaph glanced at him then pushed the needle into his vein. “You’re doing so good baby.” Kay said as she rubbed his back.
Eosaph gently pressed the plunger and the orange liquid slid into his vein. Shawn didn’t have time to react to the cool burning sensation that moved up his arm, his body beginning to change. He could hear his bones popping, could feel them reforming. His body grew, elongating, a muzzle pushing forth from his face, full of sharp teeth. “Easy, it’s okay.” Kay’s voice was so gentle and he squeezed his eyes shut, focusing only on her. He was panting by the time the change stopped and then he felt it again, his groan coming out as a growling chuff.
“That’s not what I was expecting.” Eosaph said and Shawn opened his eyes. He looked down at his hands, surprised to find his skin an ashy grey, his fingernails long talons. He felt strange and he touched his arm. Stone. “The man who did this is either half gargoyle or he used the genes on himself and Shawn.”
Shawn turned and looked at Kay, shocked at having changed twice. “Is it bad?” He asked, his voice coming out husky.
“You look different, but not bad different, I promise.” She picked up her phone. “Do you want to see?” He nodded and she clicked on the camera then switch it to front view and held it up for him. Deep red eyes looked back at him from a grey face. His hair was more white than blonde and a pair of small horns stuck out of it. He touched his face, feeling the stone like texture. His body started to change again before he could fully grasp what he had become and he clung to Kay as he shifted back to himself. His body was exhausted and he breathed heavily, his skin drenched in sweat.
“That explains the other man’s resilience and that means Shawn will have the same. He’s practically impenetrable.” Eosaph said.
“Then how would we go about stopping the man who changed him?” Jasper asked.
“You know Chthon,” He said as he put the syringe cap on and tucked it away. “Ask him to help you.”
“What about me? What do I do?” Shawn asked, his voice cracking a little.
“I’ll give you all the information I have on what you are and will contact others of the same species so they can teach you how to control your abilities. I do want to let you know, that there are many misconceptions about gargoyles that other have. It shouldn’t cause you any problems, but a few preternatural creatures may naturally avoid you.”
“I’m so sorry someone forced this upon you but once you’re used to your abilities you can live life just as you did before” Jasper began talking after Eosaph “why dont we all just try to rest tonight and we’ll make some calls in the morning”
“theres no way I can rest, I’m so worried about my dad but thank you two. Can I do anything before you go back to your hotel?”
“No, I’d like to call my wife before it gets too late. I promise, I’ll call Chthon bright and early” Eosaph stood “me too, rest if you can, both of you. Shawn should be exhausted but that was the only way. Honestly he should probably eat something. I can go grab you guys take out. Not even a question, what kind of take out should I go grab?”
Kay looked at her fiance “taco bell?”
“yeah, get me a baha blast to drink and she likes that apple thing they have. For food we both get three soft tacos with what comes on them”
“alright, I’ll be right back”
“and I’ll see you guys tomorrow” Jasper said as he also left. A month past and Kays father, along with Eric were doing incredibly well while Shawn was really taking to his new forms with the help he was getting from Jaspers contacts. Chthon turned out to be amazing, though they only saw him a brief time before he went out hunting the man responsible for her families pain. Now all for them to do was wait, wait and adjust to the new life they would be living together.
~ the end