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 didnât 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 wasnât 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 couldnât 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 wouldnât 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 motherâs number and called. âKay?â
âHey mom, I need to talk to you.â
âIs everything alright?â
âI donât know.â
âWhatâs wrong honey?â
âItâsâŚitâs Shawn, heâŚâ she swallowed, âthereâs something going on andâŚâ The front door opening and Shawn walking in startled her. âHey, Iâll call you back.â She hung up before her mom could say anything else and stood when she saw Shawn clutching his head. âShawn? Are you alright?â
He shook his head. âI had to leave work, my head started throbbing.â He kicked off his shoes, letting out a groan. âI donât knowâŚit feels like my head is being split open.â She helped him over to the couch.
âLet me get you a Tylenol.â She started to move away and he grabbed her hand.
âJust sit with me please.â
âOkay.â She dropped down next to him.
âWere you on the phone?â
âYeah, talking to my mom.â
âSorry.â He clutched his head tighter. âMaybe that Tylenol was a good idea.â
âIâll be right backâ she hurried off,thankful to find it in the bathroom cabinet where it was supposed to be. She may be worried he wasnât himself but she had loved Shawn for years and she couldnât 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. âI love you so much Kayâ 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 heâs letting on or maybe heâs forgotten things.
Hannah had run outside to talk to Adam who was playing football with his friends. âwhatâs up?â
âKay just gave me a really strange call about her husband. It was cut short, Iâm worriedâ
âwhat do you want to do?â
âI just feel like we should go there. I know itâs two hours but Iâm that worried about her. She sounded really upsetâ
âGo pack for us and Iâll say bye to the guysâ 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 âIâm sorryâ
âYou have nothing to worry about. They come over plentyâ
âIts just if something wrong I dont want to wait until sheâs already in some sort of dangerâŚI wish she hadnât moved so far awayâ
âI would have moved anywhere for youâ he kissed her head then continued âShawn already had a good job and home where he lived. It made sense. Weâll go drop in on them and make sure all is well. We were over due for a visit anywayâ
Shawnâs 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. âNo, please, Iâll be fine.â He said.
She ran her fingers through his hair, trying to comfort him. âWhy not?â
âIâŚâ he looked so confused, âI donât know, I just canât.â
âAlright, we wonât go.â
âCan you at least tell me how it started?â
He nodded. âI was just sitting there working on my computer and then it was like everything justâŚI donât know like I was suddenly overwhelmed by everything.â
âWhat do you mean?â
âJust everything, sound, light, smells, everything. My head felt like someone had hit me with a bat or something. I donât know, Iâm sorry.â
âItâs okay.â He shook his head. âHey, itâs going to be okay. Why donât I help you to bed then make you something to eat.â
âI donât think I could.â
âIt might help.â
âOkay, Iâll try.â
She paused then asked a question she felt might be ill timed but she had to ask again âShawnâŚhave you really told me everything you remember? I meanâŚto still be having so many problems and for you still to be so against being looked atâŚare you scared of doctors now orâ 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 âI love you Kayâ he could see her disappointment âI love you too, Iâm sorry, you donât feel good and Iâm pressuring youâ
âNoâŚitâs okayâ 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 âI love you Kayâ she pulled out of it and tugged him in the direction of their room âyou should really lay downâ He followed her, settling into their bed without protest. She left the room to see what they had in their kitchen.
Shawn didnât realize he had dozed off until he jerked awake a few minutes later. He knew it hadnât been long because Kay hadnât returned and he could smell something cooking downstairs. He lay there in the darkness, his heart pounding in his chest. He hated he couldnât 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 didnât blame her. The thought that he wasnât him was terrifying. âStop it.â He said it out loud. âYou canât think like that.â
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. âWeâre on our way over honey.â Hannah said when she picked up.
âMom, itâs fine, I think I was just overreacting.â
âYou and I both know that isnât true. Weâll be over soon and weâll figure everything out then.â
She hated she had worried her parents so much. âOkay, love you, just stay safe.â
âwe will, your father has only been in one accident in his lifeâ 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 hadnât 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 âmay I remind you I manged to slow down to ten miles an hour before I hit you?â Hannah laughed then kissed his cheek âI thought the situation needed a little teasing in it. Iâm so stressedâ
âdonât be, weâll 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 didnât feel like heâd do anything for her. If something has replaced Shawn we will find the real Shawn and if something is simply just wrong with Shawn weâll figure that out. Maybe its more scientist crap. Maybe heâs so different because heâs not human any longer.â
âyou mean like a wolf or vampire?â
âYeah I mean, humans have been changed many times beforeâ
âwhy would something change him then give him backâ
âhave you forgotten how crazy living forever makes some beings? Who knowsâ
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. âKay? Is everything alright?â
âYeah, foodâs ready.â She brushed her fingers through his hair. âDo you want to come eat with me or do you want me to bring it to you?â
âIâll come eat with you.â
âAre you sure?â
âYeah, I want to.â
He pushed the blanket back and sat up, feeling a little dizzy. âYou okay?â
âJust dizzy, but better than I was.â He pulled her into a hug. âSorry for everything, for scaring you and just everything.â
âItâs okay, itâs not your fault.â She pulled back, giving him a smile. âCome on, letâs eat.â
He was getting more and more concerned that he was loseing her. She was saying everything was okay but he knew it wasnât. He knew if he could just make himself go to the hospital sheâd be more comfortable but he couldnât. âwhen Iâm feeling better can we do something together Kay? We havenât really left the house except for groceries and work since I was abductedâ
âYeahâŚthough, my parents are comingâ
âIâm sorry, I know we normally run these things by eachotherâ He kissed her hand âItâs okayâ 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.
âThis looks really good.â Shawn said once they were sitting together in the kitchen. He still wasnât hungry, but he took a bite anyway. He had always loved Kayâs cooking.
âAny good?â She asked.
âVery, thank you.â
âYou know, if you want, we could go on a walk after. I can just text my mom and let her know.â
âOkay, sounds good.â
She reached over and took his hand, giving it a squeeze. âEverythingâs going to be okay, Shawn. I love you.â
âI love you too, I really do, more than you know.â 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.
âYou ready, baby?â Kay asked.
They decided just to start walking down the road so they wouldnât 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 wasnât 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 wasnât used to having close neighbors and he wasnât really for country living but she was fine like this. Kay just needed to feel like she had some privacy.
âIâm really happy weâre doing this Kayâ
âwe shouldnât stay locked up in our home andâŚwell I shouldnât be as distant as I get at timesâ
âI know youâre dealing withâŚwellâŚme as best you canâ
âShawn IâŚIâm sorry.â
âLets talk about something happyâ
âthat new show youâve been watching, tell me about whats going onâ
âWell, itâs been sad.â
âIâm sorry, did one of your favorite characters die?â
âNo, just the characters are going through a lot emotionally and the actors are so good it makes me cry.â
He actually cracked a smile. âMaybe Iâll have to start cuddling you while you watch it.â
She nudged him. âSo mean.â
âIâll be sure to bring the tissues.â They laughed together and in that moment everything felt normal. He pulled her closer and pressed a kiss to her temple. âI love you.â
âI love you too.â 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, Kayâs shampoo. He stopped dead in his tracks and brought his hands up, trying to block out the sound. âShawn? Baby are you okay?â
âItâs happening again, itâs so loud.â He tried to pinpoint it and realized it was coming from Kay.
âItâs okay, letâs get back home.â He looked so panicked and upset. âCome on.â
ânoâŚIâ all the noise was making it hard for him to talk, he couldnât think over it. âItâs okay, weâll walk another time. I wont be upset, I promiseâ
âIâm sorryâ she tugged him back toward their home, her heart beating faster out of worry. They werenât inside long when her parents showed up. They both heard them pull up in the driveway. âWhy donât you go lay back down. Make sure to refill your glass of water firstâ
âokayâŚIâll come out when I feel a bit betterâ She kissed him âyou donât have to come back out tonight okayâ
âI donât want to be weirdâ
âYouâre fine, someone kidnapped you and abused you Shawn. My parents will understandâ 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. âIâm okay mom.â She let them in then hugged her dad.
âI know, Iâm sorry we decided to come over uninvited, but the way you hung up worried me.â
âItâs okay, Iâm actually really glad youâre here.â
âWhereâs Shawn?â Her father asked.
âIn bed.â She sighed. âHeâs been having episodes.â They went and sat in the living room together, Hannah on one side of her and Adam on the other.
âWhat do you mean?â Hannah asked.
âHe 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. Iâm scared and heâs scared and I just donât know what to do. He doesnât remember anything, but whatever happened to him must have been bad. Heâs also picked up cooking, which I wouldnât usually complain, but itâs not something he was good at.â
âDid you try getting him to go to the hospital?â
âHe wonât go, heâs terrified.â
âIf Eric were closer, we could get him to come over, he might be able to pick something up.â Adam said. He hated how worried his little girl looked.
âI couldnât bother Uncle Eric as wellâŚâ
âYou just want to know whatâs going on with your husband, anybody would. I can ask him, it never hurts to ask.â Before she could protest any more Adam was already calling. Hannah now spoke âweâre all over due for a get together. You two donât visit enoughâ
âShawn just works so muchâ
âHowâs Meredith? Weâve only spoken on the phone once since she started college. I always feel like Iâm going to call at a bad timeâ
âItâs an adjustment. High School was so easy for her she likes having a challengeâ
âGosh, we all need to see eachother more.â Adam was already off the phone âthat was quickâ Kay was the first to note. Adam responded with âhe wanted to help just like I knew he wouldâ
âwell let me go up and talk to my husband. I donât want to surprise him againâ
Shawn was curled up under the blankets when Kay came in, her presence heralded by that same thumping sound. âShawn?â 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.
âHey beautiful.â He answered, his pain evident in his voice.
âHas it stopped?â
âNo, I can hear something coming from you.â
âWhat do you mean?â
âLikeâŚlike a thumping sound.â
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. âDoes it sound like a drum?â She asked as a thought dawned on her.
âShawn, I think itâs my heart.â
He shook his head. âThatâsâŚthatâs crazy.â
âBut itâs possible.â She bent down and kiss his cheek. âEricâs coming over to help.â
âYeah, maybe heâll be able to pick something up from your thoughts. Is that okay?â
âYeah, sorry, my head just hurts.â
âI wish I didnât make it worseâ
âYou make it better tooâŚIâd rather have you with meâŚthe last thing I want is to alienate you Kayâ His words held so much emotion she had to lean down and kiss him. Kay hugged Shawn gently as she said âIâm not going anywhere. Iâm really sorry I havenât been taking this betterâ
âIâm not who you married anymoreâŚthereâs something wrong with meâ
âNot wrong, just something we need to learn how to handleâ
âYou really think I can get used to thisâ
âIâm sure you can, Iâm even more sure there has got to be a way for you to control all thisâ He let out a shakey breath as he got up so he could give her a quick kiss âI really do love you Kayâ
âI know you do, you donât have to keep reminding me Shawnâ
âI do, what ifâŚâ
âThereâs no what if, Shawn, Iâm not going anywhere and Iâm sorry I made you think for a second I would. I love you so much and I weâre going to get through this.â
Shawn swallowed the lump forming in his throat as he nodded. âYou should go visit with your parents.â
âAre you going to be okay without me?â
âYeah, go ahead.â
âCall me if that changes.â
She gave him another kiss and waited until he had settled back into bed before leaving him to spend time with her parents. âHow is he?â Hannah asked.
âHis head hurts and he can apparently hear my heart beating.â
âThat sounds like heightened senses.â Adam said.
âDo you know what could have caused it?â
âA lot of things. Vampires, werewolves, some sort of experiment, it could be anything. You said he doesnât want to go to the hospital, could be the last one.â
Hannah nodded. âYou know what happened to me, sweetie, those places are awful.â
âI hope he hasnât been through something like that.â
âwell if he has I can help him come to terms with itâ 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 âwe were babysitting our grandchildren. Ivy is going to come along in a few days if Iâm still hereâ
âOh yeah Christopher and Shena are on that cruiseâ Adam said as Kays heart sunk âIâm so sorryâ he waved her off âwe see our grandchildren all the time. Plus Ivy can handle them on her own. Sheâs probably happy she doesnât have to share with me nowâ he said with almost a chuckle. He looked around âwhere is Shawn?â
âresting, he was just laying down but he may have fallen asleepâ
âthats fine, weâll work on this in the morning thenâ
âBoth the guests rooms are ready if everyone is tiredâ
âwill you be able to rest honey? Iâll stay upâ Hannah asked her daughter who answered âyeah, Iâll be fine, please, Iâm so grateful you all came. Get restâ 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 didnât want to wake the children if she had gotten them down.
Shawn woke the next morning, his headache gone, the only noise Kayâs soft breathing. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into him, burying his nose in her neck as she woke. âShawn? You alright?â
âYeah, just wanted to hold you.â
She wrapped her arms around him and ran her fingers through his hair. âHow are you feeling?â
âBetter. Is Eric here?â
âYeah, but he wanted to let you sleep.â She kissed the top of his head. âWant to help me make breakfast?â
âCan we shower first?â
âOf course, baby.â
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 didnât 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.
âKay?â Shaw grabbed her hand as she went to open their bedroom door.
âIf something bad happened, if Iâm not ShawnâŚIâŚâ He swallowed the lump in his throat and squeezed her hand. âIf Iâm not ShawnâŚâ
âHey, thatâs enough of that.â She wrapped her arms around him and he clung tightly to her. âYouâre Shawn, my Shawn, no matter what. Even if something awful happened, weâll get through it, I promise.â
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 âHey, weâre going to make some breakfast. Are you guys hungry?â
âYeah, we wanted to wait on you tooâ Hannah said then Adam added âsince heâs having trouble with over sensitivity to sound we were worried weâd interrupt your restâ
âthank youâ Shawn said behind her, drawing their attention âgood morningâ Hannah got up, kissing her daughters cheek while she passed then hugging Shawn, knowing he probably needed reassurance from them they didnât feel weird about him now. He gratefully hugged his mother in law back then said âKay and I have breakfast. Iâm actually really good at cooking nowâ
As he and Kay cooked breakfast together, Eric allowed himself to slip into Shawnâs 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.
âMom, dad could you set the table? Uncle Eric, do you mind pouring everyone some coffee?â
They all moved to do as she asked and then she and Shawn brought the food over once they were done and filled everyoneâs plates. âUm, so how are we going to do this?â Shawn asked once he was seated.
âIâve already looked a little and I couldnât find much about where you were taken.â Eric answered.
âOh, I see.â
âThat doesnât mean I wonât find something. Once weâre finished here, Iâd like to ask you a few questions to see if maybe they bring anything up. Your memories are fragmented because youâre scared of them, but maybe if I prompt them, Iâll see something.â
âYour mind just reacts to certain questions so donât worry. I should see something. Even if it doesnât work at first we can try this every day until it doesâŚ We wont give up on you. Youâve been too good to our Kayâ 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.
âBefore you two woke up we were talking about your brother Braydenâ Hannah said, looking at Kay âOh, what about him? I feel so behind on all three of my siblings livesâ
âwell heâs back in college, heâs decided to finish.â
âIâm so relieved to hear thatâŚit 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.â
âheâs had some time to heal from it and we pointed out to him heâll now be two years behind her in classes so they shouldnât have to see much of eachother nowâ
âI didnât think of that, that is a plus.â
âWeâre going to have to find the time to get everyone together. I miss them and you guys.â Kay said.
âWe miss you too, but we understand. Life happens and you have to deal with it before you can do anything else.â 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. âYou ready?â Eric asked.
âYeah, I mean no, but yes, I need to do this.â
âI want you to do something for me then, close your eyes and just relax.â
âOkay.â 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 didnât 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. âLets start with Kay driving away to head to work. What was the first thing you did?â
âI promised myself I was going to finish that book I had been trying to read for a few monthsâŚI put some water on the stove so I could have some hot tea while I readâŚI 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 couldnâ have been Kay, she has keys and anybody we knew would have just knocked. I just knew there were bad people at the doorâ
Shawns heart rate was already spiking and he held on to Kays hand a little tighter. She rubbed his arm and Eric prompted âand what else, when they came in. What did they look likeâ What they looked like had been one of the areas Shawn had been struggling with so Eric hoped heâd 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. âlets stop a second while I see them clearlyâ he announced. Eric wrote down all the details he could so they could give it to the police and have it for themselves. It wouldnât be the first time this family played detective. You couldnât always wait for the cops, not if you were anxious for answers. Often police departments had far too much on their plates.
âAlright, now did they say anything?â
âNo, but I kept asking them what they wanted andâŚâ
âYou threw hot water in one of their faces. You thought if you blinded at least one you would have a chance.â
âThen you were knocked unconscious.â
âThe next thing I knew, I was back home.â
Eric nodded. âOkay, but letâs go back. You had been taken somewhere else, Iâve seen little flashes of it. Try remembering the room you were kept in and who might have visited you there.â
âIâŚâ Shawn squeezed Kayâs hand. âThere wasâŚsomeone.â 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 Shawnâs 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.
âWhat did he do Shawn?â Eric asked. âWhy are you afraid of going to the hospital?â
âHeâŚheâŚâ he shook his head. âI donât know, I canât remember, itâs there, butâŚâ
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. âItâs okay Shawn, letâs get away from that.â 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 didnât have to push him too much.
âweâre done Shawnâ Eric said sadly and Shawn grabbed onto Kay, holding her tightly to him as Eric spoke again âhe isnât human any longer. Iâm 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 heâl inherit from the blood of that being he might gain extra powers, powers like we all have Kayâ Kay kissed Shawn and his lips trembled against hers âI love you, Iâm so sorryâ Eric stood and looked over at Adam and Hannah âwe should go, Iâve seen where he came from and what these beings look likeâ
âShouldnât I help?â Shawn asked, letting go of Kay. Eric shook his head âKay doesnât have any abilities and I donât want her left alone. Beyond that you havenât come to terms with your own yet. Iâd 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 Kayâ 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 âIf Ivy calls me update her pleaseâ
They left and Shawn dropped his head onto Kayâs shoulder. She ran her fingers through his hair, helping to ease the tension out of his body. âAre you okay?â She asked softly.
âNo, not really.â He swallowed. âI donât know what to do or think. I mean at least Iâm not a clone right?â
âShawn, itâs okay to be upset.â
He sighed. âI know.â
âI know Iâve already said it, but Iâm sorry about being so distant. I should have been more supportive of you, I should have been helping you through this.â
âI understand Kay, you were scared too.â He lifted his head and kissed her. âI love you and hopefully we can get back to normal, at least mostly normal.â
âIâm just glad my family came. I should have called them soonerâŚI was so worried to voice my concernsâŚI didnât want to hurt you Shawn but I guess I was doing that anyway by being weirdâ
âwe donât have to talk about that ever again. Just let me hold youâ 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 âHe really had to run all that way?â Hannah asked sadly âYeah, Iâd drive through here but I donât want to get it stuck. The trees get thick unless that was just a panicked mind jumbling thingsâ
Ivy calling woke Kay, she didnât remember even getting close to sleep. Shawn let her go enough to let her answer âHey Ivy, sorry, Shawn and I have Erics phoneâ
âOh, itâs alright, howâre things going?â
âHe managed to see some things about what happened to Shawn. He left with my parentsâ
âjust tell him to call me as soon as he gets back.â
“Howâre you two?â
âreeling from everything.â
âIâll let you two go back to what you were doing. Our son and his wife are coming back tomorrow morning so Iâll see you soon.â
âAlright, love you and tell everyone I love them too.â
âWill do sweetie.â They hung up and Kay put Ericâs phone back and snuggled back into Shawn.
âIs everything alright?â Shawn asked.
âYeah, she just wanted to talk to Eric.â She let out a little sigh. âHow are you?â
Kay lifted her head to look at him. âTalk to me.â
âKnowing what happened, makes it seem like Iâve beenâŚviolated I guess. Iâm not scared of you or anything, never you, but itâs changed everything about me and I donât know what to do about it.â
âIâm sure everyone will help you get a handle on your new abilities as you discover them and you know Iâll be here no matter what.â
âI know, Iâm not trying to sound depressed or anything.â
âI know, donât worry about it.â
He reached up and tucked some hair behind her ear. âYouâre so beautiful Kay, so beautiful and perfect and Iâm kind of relieved I finally know what happened.â
âI donât know why I didnât think of Eric soonerâ
âprobably because we really havenât been as involved with your family as we should beâ
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. âwe should have been more carefulâ Eric projected into their minds. âHannah, run the other way and call the police, help them find this place. They can be our backup if we havenât gotten to the leader before they get hereâ Hannah knew this wasnât 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 didnât 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. âTen men, three of them scientists.â He said to Adam.
âIs the man who had Shawn taken one of them?â
âYes, heâs so calm and, as I saw, not human. Touch his mind.â
Adam let his own thoughts move out. âI see and the rest are all human.â
âWhat are you thinking?â
âTheyâre focused on us here. You go around that way, Iâll go around the other way and weâll meet in the middle to stop the guards out front. Once weâre inside, weâre going to have to move fast.â
âGot it. What do you want to do about the boss?â
âIf we can, force him to reveal what he did to Shawn. Right now, he has it buried deep.â
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 theyâd 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. âso you guys have handled locations like this before?â
ânot me but my husband and his family hasâ
âstill, we should have been informed. They cant just go attacking placesâ
âThese arenât normal places so please just get here.â
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. âThree guards left.â Eric said as they moved through the facility.
âThe scientists are trying to hide, thereâs a safe room.â Adam added.
âAll except him, heâs confident in his abilities and unafraid.â
The last three guards tried hunting them, but with their abilities to read the menâs 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. âHe knows weâre out here.â 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.
âa gun wont really do much against me Iâm afraid, even if you go for the head shot. That young man, heâs 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 didnât want but a gift all the sameâ
âYou donât get to scar someone and decide itâs a gift.â
âif he would have stayed I could have helped him learn how to control himselfâ
âand what did you want of him in return. Why?â Eric now asked. âBecause I can, there isnât a prison yet that can hold me, not a being Iâve ever faced that can stop me especially with the army Iâve 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 yoursâ Adam shot him right between the eyes, hoping he was bluffing but the being just grinned âdidnât I just tell you I could have him kill her?â he sighed, seeming as if the wound in his head was merely an inconvenience.
âwalk away, you canât stop me and itâs the final chance Iâll give you. Annoy me further and Iâll have him kill his wife and come right back to meâ
âNot happening.â Adam said. âShawn wouldnât, even if you tortured him.â His instincts told him to run, to go and save his daughter, but he couldnât let this man go and do the same to someone else. He glanced at Eric, who nodded. âWeâre not letting you go.â
He shook his head. âHow cruel, choosing justice over your own child, itâs so unexpected, you surprise me.â He chuckled. âSuit yourself.â
Shawnâs 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. âShawn?â She came out of her shock and went to his side. âWhatâs going on?â
âGet out, get out of my head.â His voice came out more of a growl.
âShawn.â She grabbed his shoulders and he shoved her away.
âGet away from me, stay away.â
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. âShawn, itâs okay.â
âI canâtâŚI canâtâŚheâs telling me toâŚtoâŚâ
He dropped his head down next to hers. âIâm sorry, Iâm sorry.â She could feel him shaking and his fingers hurt her wrists, but she knew if she struggled, it might make things worse. âHeâs in my head.â
âFight it baby, whatever it is, whoever he is, fight it.â She wanted desperately to hug him, to show him everything was okay.
The man chuckled again âyouâre right, he is fighting me. Heâs fighting pretty hard toâ He still seemed like he was having fun. Suddenly Eric and Adam were kicked out of his mind, completely blocked from looking âlooks like Iâll have to take this family just a little more seriouslyâ 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 âI gave you two a chance to walk away. Remember thatâ Adams first thought was Hannah, what if he caught up to her on the road. He called his wife, glad she picked up âIâm in the cop car babyâ
Adam couldnât speak, he couldnât think. âAdam?â
âHeâs fast, areâ it was so hard to talk but he did his best to force himself on âplease tell me some of those cops arenât humanâ
âI donât know, whats happened?â
âIve been shot and Eric has been knocked out. Heâs still breathingâ
âOh my godâ
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 âShawn?â
âHe wants me to comeâ
âto whereâ Shawn was shaking again âI dont know but I know at the same time Iâ
âitâs okay Shawn, stay with me, pleaseâ
âwhat if he starts trying to make me hurt you againâ
âI love you, weâre in this life together no matter what. I know I was weird but I was worried like they had sent home some DoppelgĂ¤nger or something. Now that I know youâre still you weâre just as strong as before. I donât care what happens. I just want you to fight him and stay with meâ 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 didnât feel the pull of anybody right now but his wife.
They didnât move from that spot until Hannah called them âwhats up?â
âyour 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.â
âOh my godâ
âthey are both alive though and thats what mattersâ
âwhatâs going on with you mom?â
âIâm still at the scene with the police. They wont let me come homeâ
âwhat do you mean they wont let youâ
âThey think we must know more than weâre sayingâ
âthey cant do that. Let me talk to someoneâ
âHoney, itâll be fineâ
âNo, its not fine to not let you go home or go to the hospital. Iâm calling a lawyer at leastâ
âthat might look weird and make them suspect us even more of having something to do with this placeâ Her mother said she had to go, another officer wanted to talk to her. âdamn it she hugn upâ Kay cursed and Shawn rubbed her back âDid I hear right? Your dads in the hospital and they wont let your mom leave?â
âwhat do you want to do?â
âI probably couldnât see dad yet even if I went to the hospital and with the lawyer I donât know how long they are going to try and keep momâ
âI think the limit is twenty four hours.â
âI dont care, Iâm getting her home. She must be a mess and those cops canât be helpingâ
âIâll help you find a lawyer then. Surely there has to be someone that can help right nowâ
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. âShawn?â She touched him and he jumped, breathing hard.
âSorry, heâs still calling me, Iâm sorry.â
Shawn looked down at his phone. âHoly shit.â He then looked at Kay, his eyes moving to her wrists. There was some faint bruising he hadnât noticed there. âI hurt you.â
âShawn, itâs alright, they donât even hurt.â She reached over and took his hand. âI love you, no matter what he tries to make you do, I will always love you.â
âI love you too.â
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 didnât matter. âI found someone Shawn.â She said and he looked over at the screen.
âDo you think heâll actually help us?â
âItâs worth a try.â
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 werenât letting her leave. âWe have many other very capable lawyers here at the firm. I mention this because heâs not in right now. I can reach out to him if you really want Jasper himself. This sounds like a case heâd be particularly interested in. Nothing works him up more than cops doing things they know they shouldnâtâ
âPlease try him, that lab is linked to some terrible things. I donât want them trying to lump my family in with the culpritsâ
âalright, whats the best number to reach you at?â Kay gave the woman her number and allowed her to hang up. Shawn hugged Kay âwhat can I do baby?â
âI dont know, I want to go and raise hell but with you struggling I donât want them getting any ideas about you too without a good lawyer present. I canât be alone right nowâ Not even half an hour had passed when Jasper called her back âMrs MacThom?â
âIâm on my way alright. They arenât keeping your mother. Iâll 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 donât even live near you right?â
âToo many cops like to jump to conclusions.â He sounded incredibly irritated âafter I get your mom away and have a talk with them I want to hear more from you about your family and this situationâ
âIâm sorry youâve been put in this situationâ 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 didnât even have to say anything before one of them was running to get their boss. âMr. Bookchild, so nice to see you.â The chief said, shaking his hand.
âMaybe youâd like to tell me why your underlings are spending their time questioning my client when sheâs not even a suspect.â
âShe was at the scene.â
âIs 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 daughterâs fiance?â
âWell yes, butâŚâ
âHas she been cooperating with you?â
âThen why is she being forced to stay here when her husband could be dying?â Hannah let out a little sob and Jasper wrapped an arm around her shoulders. âYouâre going to tell me that you truly believe that this woman is responsible for the attack on her family? You didnât 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.â
âI want her released and I want someone guarding her family members, especially the young man Shawn and her daughter Kay. If you canât do your job, then I will call someone in to do it for you.â He let Hannah go so he could pull his wallet and hand the police chief one of his cards. âCall me when you have something substantial to add to whatâs going on.â
âlets go Hannahâ Jasper urged more gently. Hannah got up âI need to see how heâs doing, pleaseâ
âis your car still at the scene? Would you like me to get it first?â
âThats probably smart, that way if you need to leave me at the hospital I can manage myself.â Once they were in Jaspers car she asked âIs my daughter okay. I know sheâs who called you. She was so mad when I told her they were making me stayâ
âShe seems okay, sheâll be better once she knows I have you. Go ahead and call her, youâve got your cellphone?â
âI doâ 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 âyouâre coming in?â
âIâm going to make sure someone fills you in on your husband or better, lets you into see him if heâs fit to be seenâ
âthank you so much Mr Bookchildâ
âplease, call me Jasper okay?â Even the people at the hospital knew him and quickly saw to it that Hannah knew everything about her husbands condition. It ended with âYou should be able to see him in about an hour but we canât promise. Surgery can be hard to timeâ
âJust please let me see him as soon as I canâ
âIâm going to be calling my client in an hour to check on thingsâ jasper added. Once the nurse walked off he said âdo you need anything before I leave you?â
âYouâve done plentyâŚreallyâ
âI canât imagine someone shooting me and then cops making my Stella sit and be questioned. Iâm just doing what Iâd want someone else to do for my wifeâ 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 âYour mom is at the hospital. Iâll call her to make sure the doctors are cooperating if you give me her numberâ
âI know it by heartâ Jasper pulled out his phone and entered the number Kay rattled off.
âIs this Shawn?â He asked as he tucked his phone away.
âYes.â She went over to Shawn who stood up and shook Japserâs hand.
âThank you for coming.â He said.
âNo problem.â He looked Shawn over and took in his scent. âWhat can you tell me about the man who changed you?â
âUh, yes of course.â
âHow about I make us some tea.â Kay said. She didnât think sheâd actually be getting any sort of sleep, not when that thing kept attacking Shawn.
âThank you.â Jasper said as he took a seat. He then turned to Shawn who swallowed. âIf it makes you uncomfortable, you donât have to.â
âItâs alright, itâs important. I donât 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.â He swallowed again. âHeâs been whispering to me in my head, telling me to hurt Kay and come to him and I changed.â
âMy teeth and nails, my eyes. You can ask Kay, she saw everything.â
They kept discussing things with Jasper until he needed to check on Kays mother âIâm just about to go see him now. They said heâll be okay. Thank you so muchâ 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 âlook into that for me. This thing is still messing with Shawn. If we can even figure out what he is Iâm sure we can at least keep him from controlling Shawnâ When he hungup Kay asked âwho was that?â
âsomeone thats been at the firm quite a few years. If you want to figure out what sort of creature someone is heâs the guy to ask. I donât know how he does it but no matter how obscure he figures it out for meâ
âis there anything else you need from us?â
âThen how much do we owe you?â He shook his head âLike I said, I heard about your mother and I did what Iâd want someone to do for my Stella. The cops around here have pissed me off enough Iâm looking forward to being around to yell at themâ
âare you sure?â
âsave your money for you guys. I have plentyâ Kay nearly hugged him. Kay really wanted to go to the hospital now but she was sure Shawn still wasnât up to being in one. She just told herself her mother was there and she couldnât 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. âHey, Iâm EĂ˛saph MacPhĂ draig. I need to do something that we need to have a serious talk about firstâ
âUmâŚokay, come inâ Kay said as she moved. Once they were inside she called to her husband who came running âthey need to talk to usâ The group all sat and Eosaph set a syringe filled some orange liquid on the table which notably made Shawn nervous âI know a lots been done to you Shawn but you smell like a Daciandraco but they donât have the kind of abilities or resilience you have so either youâre 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 youâll shift, you dont even have to know how it just does it to you and if youâre multiple things youâre going to shift multiple times. I think itâs important to know what weâre dealing with. Is it okay if I inject you Shawn?â
Shawn swallowed. âIâŚâ
âYou donât have to, none of us will force you.â
He looked at Kay and she gave him a warm, encouraging smile as she took his hand. âNo, I need to, if I donât then Iâll never know.â
âIf at anytime you feel uncomfortable, let me know.â
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 couldnât 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. âYouâre doing so good baby.â Kay said as she rubbed his back.
Eosaph gently pressed the plunger and the orange liquid slid into his vein. Shawn didnât 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. âEasy, itâs okay.â Kayâs 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.
âThatâs not what I was expecting.â 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. âThe man who did this is either half gargoyle or he used the genes on himself and Shawn.â
Shawn turned and looked at Kay, shocked at having changed twice. âIs it bad?â He asked, his voice coming out husky.
âYou look different, but not bad different, I promise.â She picked up her phone. âDo you want to see?â 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.
âThat explains the other manâs resilience and that means Shawn will have the same. Heâs practically impenetrable.â Eosaph said.
âThen how would we go about stopping the man who changed him?â Jasper asked.
âYou know Chthon,â He said as he put the syringe cap on and tucked it away. âAsk him to help you.â
âWhat about me? What do I do?â Shawn asked, his voice cracking a little.
âIâll 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 shouldnât cause you any problems, but a few preternatural creatures may naturally avoid you.â
âIâm so sorry someone forced this upon you but once youâre used to your abilities you can live life just as you did beforeâ Jasper began talking after Eosaph âwhy dont we all just try to rest tonight and weâll make some calls in the morningâ
âtheres no way I can rest, Iâm so worried about my dad but thank you two. Can I do anything before you go back to your hotel?â
âNo, Iâd like to call my wife before it gets too late. I promise, Iâll call Chthon bright and earlyâ Eosaph stood âme 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?â
Kay looked at her fiance âtaco bell?â
âyeah, 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 themâ
âalright, Iâll be right backâ
âand Iâll see you guys tomorrowâ 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