Luna Proxy #6

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Luna Proxy #6 Page 4

by Mac Flynn

  He shrugged. "I have to know you're nearby. That's usually enough."

  I nodded at the shared wall between our rooms. "I'll lean against that. If there's trouble I'll scream and knock." I turned to go, but he caught my hand and tugged me so I faced him.

  His face was troubled and his voice soft. "Be careful."

  I smiled. "Hey, don't give me that look. I've got an ancient werewolf protecting me, remember?"

  He managed a smile. "Yeah, I guess you do."

  I pulled free from his grasp and went to my bedroom. The room was spartan, but comfortable. I sat on the floor and leaned against the wall. A window to my right looked out on the furious storm. I tilted my head back to look up at the ceiling and a sigh escaped my lips. My jumbled thoughts and mixed emotions swirled inside of me in a strong mimicry of the storm outside.

  "Why couldn't you control your terrible curiosity?" I whispered. My voice sounded small and weak in the quiet room.

  The wind rocked the branches outside. The minutes turned to hours and evening slipped into night. My eyes grew heavy. I don't know when it happened, but I drifted off to sleep.


  A flash of lightning and thunderous boom awoke me. My eyes flew open and I jerked forward. The flash of lightning had only partially illuminated the dark room. Something had blocked the light. I turned towards the window and my eyes widened.

  Outside, just beyond the glass, was Red. He clung to the frame as the rain and wind pelted him with their fury. The water washed down his face and contorted his features. His hair hung off to one side like a toupee, and a strange light shown on his wrist. He slapped a hand against one of the panes and leaned towards me.

  I screamed. It was a long, loud scream filled with all the horror of my many adventures. Red started back and dropped out of sight. I climbed the wall and banged my hands against the surface behind me. Footsteps raced down the hall and my door flew open.

  Vincent's tall, bulky frame filled the doorway. He was transformed into his elegant form with his human-like face and slimmer body. Behind him was Bram. Vincent rushed over to me. My legs buckled and I fell into his arms.

  Vincent lowered me to the floor. "Leila!" he called to me. "What's wrong?"

  I pointed a shaking finger at the window and choked out my words. "He was there. Right there."

  Vincent followed my finger, but shook his head. "I don't see anyone."

  I clutched onto him and shuddered. "It was Red. I know it was."

  Vincent looked back at me and furrowed his brow. "Who?"

  I swallowed the lump in my throat. "My old roommate, the one who attacked you in the alley behind that old couple's house. He was right there."

  Bram opened the window and leaned out. "I don't see anyone." He turned back and frowned. His eyes swept over the room before he looked from me to Vincent. "Where's Quill?"

  I glanced around. He was nowhere to be seen. I shook my head. "I don't know, but let's find out." I struggled to my feet and Vincent assisted me.

  "Maybe you should lie down," he suggested.

  I brushed aside his helping hands and shook my head. "There's something very wrong when a reporter doesn't rush to a juicy story."

  I led the others to Quill's door and knocked. "Quill? Quill, are you-"

  "Move!" Bram growled. He pushed past me and grabbed the knob. The door was locked. He growled and shoved his shoulder against the entrance. The door gave way and slammed onto the floor inside the room. Bram rushed into the dark space and whipped his head left and right. "Quill? Quill, you in here?" Vincent and I entered just as he spun around. "He's not in here. I don't smell him."

  Vincent frowned. "But the door was locked from the inside."

  I pressed my palm against the wall and swept my eyes over the room. "That means they got in through another way."

  Bram's eyes widened and he snapped his fingers. "Yeah! A secret passage or something!"

  I turned to Vincent. "Any chance your memory can help us out?"

  Vincent pursed his lips. He closed his eyes and walked forward blindly. Bram and I both frowned and looked at each other. Vincent's footsteps marched across the floor and turned him ever so slightly towards the chimney. He stopped short of the hearth and reached out. His hand brushed against a stone. The rock gave way beneath the pressure of his hand. A section of the wall gave way and revealed a passage in the shared wall.

  Bram pushed past Vincent and stuck his head into the dark chasm. I heard him take a deep breath. He whipped his head over his shoulder. "They took him through here."

  I stepped towards him. "Who's-" I froze as my foot crunched something on the floor. I stepped back and knelt down. The light from the windows reflected off bits of broken glass. I picked up a fragment and held it to my face. "Someone broke something."

  Bram stepped into the passage and jerked his head down the dark, narrow corridor. "Come on! We gotta stop 'em!"

  I stood and tucked the glass into my pocket. "But who got him?"

  "That one guy and the lady! I can smell 'em, now come on!"

  Bram disappeared into the passage. Vincent and I rushed to the entrance and peeked inside. The pitch-black interior was intruded upon by light from the room. I could see the corridor connected dropped down a staircase and disappeared to the lower floor. Vincent took my hand and smiled at me.

  "It's my turn to lead you."


  Vincent guided me through the cobweb-cluttered passage and down the stairs. The steps led to a short landing that stood on the first floor somewhere between the dining room and kitchen. A single set of stairs led deeper into the depths of the house. Bram was nowhere to be seen.

  I cupped my hand over my mouth and lowered my voice to a whisper. "Bram?"

  Vincent tensed. He grabbed me and pulled me close against him as he placed himself between the landing and me. My human ears caught the sound of frantic footsteps. The sound pounded off the walls. Bram flew around the corner and fast on his heels was a semi-transformed werewolf.

  It was Red.

  "Help!" Bram shrieked.

  He tripped over a lower step and fell face-first onto the stairwell. Red jumped on him and hung over him. The sharp teeth in his semi-elongated face were bared, and his wild white eyes glared down at Bram. A black wig hung off one side of his face.

  I tried to pull away from Vincent, but he held me against him. "Red!" I shouted.

  Red whipped his head up and stared at me. The look in his white eyes softened and his lips concealed his teeth. He leaned back away from Bram and settled his weight on his back legs. Bram flipped onto his stomach and scrambled up the stairs to cower behind us.

  Red grasped the bare wall with one clawed hand and took a step towards us. His voice was deep and more growl than human. "Leila?"

  I gently pulled myself from Vincent and nodded. "Yes, it's me, Leila." I moved to stand halfway between my new friends and my old one. "How'd you get here? Why were you at my window?"

  He cringed. His left hand clutched one side of his face and he shook his head. "I. . .I don't remember. I-" He shut his eyes and shuddered.

  A dim light on his wrist caught my attention. I saw it was the same watch Black had worn. The glass cover was smashed.

  I nodded at the item. "Where did you get that watch?"

  Red lowered his arm and studied the watch as though it was the first time he'd seen it. He shook his head. "I. . .I don't know." He grimaced. His legs buckled. He caught himself and clutched his head. "I don't know anything! I don't remember anything!"

  I took a step towards him and held out my arms. "It's okay, Red. We can help you find out what happened."

  The dim light from the watch brightened. Red dropped his arms to his side and straightened. The white from his eyes were gone. I now looked on the vacant expression of Black. Red turned and walked down the lower staircase.

  I stretched out my hand. "Wait!" He disappeared around the corner.

  "What the fuck was with that guy?" Bram spoke up.<
br />
  I spun around and jerked my head at the single staircase. "Did you find him down there?"

  Bram nodded. "Yeah. There's a door at the bottom and he was laying next to it. I nudged him with my foot and he jumped me. That's when I ran." He pursed his lips. "But I think Quill was behind that door. At least, the trail led there."

  Vincent studied my face. "You might not be able to help your friend."

  I raised an eyebrow. "What's that supposed to mean?"

  He pursed his lips. "I know that watch he's wearing. My mind is telling me that's controlling him."

  I frowned. "Even if that's true I'm still going to try."

  "And we have to find Quill," Bram reminded us.

  I jerked my head down the stairs. "Come on."

  I led our small party around the corner. A dim light at the far bottom allowed me to see my way. The flight led down into the stone foundation of the house and deep in to the damp earth. Mold and water leaked from the plastered walls and sank into the stone floor. A long, wide landing rested before the door.

  "What the hell?" Bram hissed.

  I paused and turned to watch him slap a hand over his nose. "What is it?"

  Vincent sniffed the air and frowned. "Laboratory chemicals."

  We both looked to him. "How do you know that?" I asked him.

  He pursed his lips. "I remember Variel had a fondness for scientific experiment."

  "Now your memory comes back?" Bram wondered.

  Vincent shook his head. "Only bits and-" A cry from the other side of the door interrupted him.

  Bram whipped his head to the entrance and his eyes widened. "That's Quill!"

  We rushed forward. The door was unlocked, and in a moment we were in another world. We stood at the head of a large chamber. The low ceiling above us gave one a claustrophobic sensation. A few dangling fluorescent tube lights lit the area. The floor was a cold but sturdy marble.

  Gone were the stone walls, and in their places were unpainted sheet rock. The grayish walls were filled with electrical outlets from which extended power strips. Cord after cord of electrical equipment ran to the electricity. Beakers, burners, computers, and diagnostic machines worked away at dozens of scientific experiments. There was row after row of sturdy tables that held the equipment, but the rear of the chamber held long, narrow, empty tables with white clothes thrown over their flat surface.

  Atop one of those surfaces was Quill. He lay strapped to the board. His right sleeve was rolled up and a metal band was wrapped around his bicep. A black cord rang from the band to a machine close at hand. Red stood at the machine and turned a dial. A stream of electricity appeared over the metal band. Quill arched his back and screamed.

  "Red!" I yelled.

  Red turned his lifeless eyes towards us. His hand cranked the dial, and more electricity shot into Quill's body.

  "Stop it!" Bram screamed.

  He rushed past Vincent and me. I reached out my hand, but his sleeve slipped through my fingers.

  "Wait!" I shouted.

  Vincent followed him, and I wasn't far behind. We navigated through the many tables to our pained friend and reached his bedside. Red switched off the machine and stepped back. Bram grabbed the two leather straps that held Quill down and tore them apart.

  Quill lifted his head and gave us a weak grin. "Hey, guys. What took you?"

  Bram glared at him. "Why the hell didn't you scream or something?"

  Vincent helped Quill sit up and swing his legs over the side of the tall table. Quill rubbed his arm where Vincent had torn away the metal band. "It's kind of hard to scream when they shove a gag into your mouth." He shoved his thumb at Red. "The most I could do was break this guy's watch. He got me down here and strapped to the table before he started acting crazy. Kind of like he had a split personality. Then he took off and just came back to give me the shock treatment."

  "And lead you all here," a voice spoke up.

  We spun around to find Variel at the far end of the chamber. In one hand was a revolver. The barrel was pointed at us. She closed the door and strode over to us.

  "He really was a useful puppet, though not quite as intelligent as Pararius and Leno," she commented.

  My eyes narrowed. "So those two creeps from the city belonged to you."

  Variel stopped two yards from us and bowed her head. "Guilty, as charged. I might add the charge of forcing your stay here with the storm."

  Quill hopped off the table, but leaned against Bram. "So werewolves can control the weather now?"

  Vincent's gaze remained on Variel as he shook his head. "No. She has studied the art of witchcraft, but only the rudimentary forms."

  Variel chuckled. "I've been practicing, my love."

  Vincent's eyes narrowed. "You no longer bear that title for me, and have not for several months."

  I whipped my head up to him. "Do you have more of your memories back?"

  He nodded without looking at me. "Yes, and now I know that it was she who left the mansion first, and I went in search of her."

  A sly smirk slipped onto Variel's lips. "I thought kidnapping your friend and forcing you into that form might trigger a memory relapse. It seems my theory proved to be correct."

  Vincent clenched his hands into fists. "I found you in the city, but you betrayed me and locked me away in that lab. It was you who tortured me and experimented on me."

  She rolled her eyes and waved her hand at him. "No one cares for a recap, my love, and besides, you were doing nothing but rotting away in this old house. Your body was put to a better use at the lab."

  Quill squinted at her before his eyes widened. "Gail Scitus!"

  I frowned and looked back to Variel. "The head researcher of Legenda Labs?"

  Quill grinned. "I thought I recognized that cute face. You look better with red hair."

  She pointed the gun at him and smiled. "And you look better on that table."

  Vincent stepped in front of our little group and glared at her. "For what use did you betray and torture me?"

  "For mine."


  We looked past Variel at the stairwell. A person stood in the shadows, but stepped forward at our attention. I started back and my eyes widened.

  My words came out in a choked whisper. "William Fox?"

  His stylish black suit and red tie showed off his status as one of the richest men in the city. He wore his short black hair slicked brushed back with a sharp cut at the front that pointed over his handsome features. He sported a sly, crooked smile as he walked over to us.

  His eyes fell on Vincent and he bowed his head. "It's been a long time, Vincent."

  Vincent narrowed his eyes and clenched his teeth. His voice was a deep, low growl. "You."

  Fox's smile widened. "I'm glad you remember me. I thought my few visits to the lab were forgotten."

  Variel moved to stand beside him. "Mr. Fox was quite useful in providing me with specimens and rare materials for my research."

  Fox swept his eyes over us. His gaze settled on me. "I enlisted Variel's assistance in creating artificial werewolves. Pararius and Leno were two such examples, but as Miss Ulric saw for herself they were no match even for Vincent's feral state."

  Vincent snarled and lunged at both of them. A shot rang out. Vincent stumbled back and clutched his left shoulder. I grabbed his upper arms and steadied him. Sweat poured down his temples and he grit his teeth. Blood covered his fingers and steam rose from the wound. His breathing was quick and shallow as he glared at his former love.

  Variel wagged a finger at him. The barrel of her gun smoked. "Don't try anything foolish, my love. These bullets contain obsidian. They won't kill you unless they penetrate your head or heart, but they are quite painful, aren't they?"

  Fox placed his hand on the top of the gun and looked her in the eyes. "I think that's enough, Variel. We don't want our 'guests' too injured for the journey back."

  Variel stepped away from Fox and pointed the gun at him. "I'm afraid I have other p
lans, Mr. Fox, and they don't involve you, so if you'd be kind enough to step over there with the others."

  Fox frowned, but moved over to stand to one side of our group and well away from Vincent. His eyes remained on Variel. "I would say I'm surprised, but you did betray your own lover."

  She sneered at him. "He was growing tiresome." Her eyes flickered to Vincent. "You were satisfied to rot here forever as we watched our children squander their heritage."

  Bram took a step forward, but Quill stretched out his arm to block his way. "We're not all nuts like you, lady!"

  Variel's eyes fell on me. "No, you're not all like me, but you are a problem. Your necklace tells me that much."

  I frowned. "What about my necklace?"

  Vincent turned his head t o face me. His beautiful white-gray eyes studied my face. "The necklace was a gift from us to the first of our disciples. They bred with humans and passed the necklace down from generation to generation as a remembrance of their heritage."

  I blinked at him. "So I'm. . .I'm a werewolf?"

  He nodded. "Some small part of you is, yes."

  Variel laughed. "Bravo, my love, for remembering. Your memories must be completely returned by now. I was afraid my experiments on you had forced you to completely lose your mind."

  He whipped his head to her and narrowed his eyes. "No. I stored them away until my body was able to handle the horrors you inflicted on me."

  She shrugged and stepped to the side. "Nobody's perfect which is why I need your little friend." She pointed her gun at me and jerked the barrel in the direction of the stairwell to her right. "Get moving."

  Vincent stretched out his arm to block my path. "Why do you want her?"

  Variel rolled her eyes. "Don't you ever get tired of being the hero?"

  "Why?" Vincent persisted.

  Fox stepped forward closer to Variel. "Because what her experiments are missing is a Proxy."

  Variel chuckled. "Very astute of you, Fox, but not quite accurate. I will see if a Proxy can assist in my research.." Her eyes flickered to Red. "Black! Take her upstairs."

  Red shuffled between Bram and Quill, and grabbed my upper arms from behind. I looked over my shoulder and searched his face.

  "Come on, Red, don't do this," I whispered.

  He pushed me forward. Vincent moved to stop him, but Variel fired off another shot. The bullet hit his other arm. He cried out and stumbled back to where Bram and Quill stood. Both arms sizzled and smoked as he glared at Variel.


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