Lage’s Game ~ Chapter One; Part One

“Mom?” I ask, walking towards her. The social worker has left. Mom sits there, bruised and stitched up in the kitchen. The swelling has gone across her face and the black stitches seem to stand out more.

She tries to smile at me. But there are tears in her eyes and I hesitate. Maybe I shouldn’t have left my room.

“Hey,” she sniffles and wipes at her face gingerly. She puts on a brave smile. “Hey how are you?”

I look down at my softie and nod. It was a unicorn, crocheted by my grandmother when she was still alive and I was young.

“Your cousins will be here soon,” Mother tries to sound cheerful. “Would you like to play a game with them?”

I don’t look up. I don’t speak. I think I will go back to my room. Even if they say I should leave it, I don’t want to. I haven’t left the house since … then. Last week, five days ago now, marked a whole different world. A world with father in it.

Tears well in my eyes and I run, flying to my room. I slam the door to my room shut, but even that doesn’t feel safe anymore. I throw myself into bed, burrowing under the blankets with my softie. I hug it to my chest, but can’t stop the tears.

A moment later, I hear the door creaking open. The stifling hot blankets are lifted from my head. I drag them back down in a snatch, enclosing myself in darkness.

I told myself I was safe. But I knew I wasn’t. This house was where it had happened. The burglary, mom’s bruises, and… father’s death. Just last week.

“Hey,” mom sits down on the bed beside me, creaking the mattress. Her hand rests on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry hun.”

I sniffle, but don’t say anything. I don’t feel like saying anything.

“You – want to play a game?” she offers again.

It used to be a thing. Family game night. Mom and dad would take out all these cards, miniatures, boards, and we would play. Friends of Fathers’ would come over. My cousins used to never come. Now they came for me, because they were the only family ‘near my age’. I wouldn’t see my friends. I didn’t want them, anyone, in the house. But I couldn’t say no to family.

“Come on,” Mom pulled at my shoulder a little. “Let’s pick out a game.”

I sat up for her. Because I knew she didn’t need me to make things any harder on her. I was twelve, almost thirteen. I shouldn’t be acting like a child.

So I got out of bed, mom smiling bravely at me.

She was dressed in jeans and a clean shirt. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail. I, however, had hair like dad. It was in cornrows, just like he’d had too. He’d been darker than her, and that’s why the cops had shot him. They’d mistaken him for the burglars who had brutalized mom.

“Hey, hey, honey,” mom was shaking me by the shoulders, crouched before me. “Hey,” she smiled in a wobbly sort of way. “Let’s go pick out a game, okay?”

I nodded, holding my stuffie to my chest. We left my room, me tailing along behind her like a toddler. We held hands like it too, and I tried to straighten out my face. To stop it from wobbling.

The basement was an unfinished thing, dark and dismal but dry. At least it was dry, which father had once told me was important. That way, we could store stuff here. And he had gestured to the games.

There were shelves of tools, shelves of junk, and a shelf of board games. We stopped before them.

“Which one would you like?” mother asks. But she doesn’t move for any. Neither do I.

I don’t want to tell her, but I don’t want any of them. None. Nothing. I wanted nothing.

I must have blacked out again, for suddenly mom is on my other side and saying something. We’re not holding hands anymore.

“Mom?” my voice is feeble. She turns, a horrified and desperate look on her face. “Can we just go back upstairs?” I ask.

I shouldn’t have. Mom is crushed, tears brimming in her eyes. She presses her lips together in that way she has – and she turns away. She’s facing the corner now, where there is nothing.

“Would you like to try something new?” she asks, her shoulders tensing. I hesitate. She steps into the corner. With a lurch, her hands dig at the dirt and rocks there at face level.

“Mom?” I ask, heart rising in my throat. What was she doing? Was she losing it?

But the rocks move. The dust comes down in a cloud, but she is pulling away chunks of rock like her life depends on it. Like we’re trapped in here.

And then, where she was clawing, a hole appears. A mini-cave. In the back of my mind, I think it would be the perfect hiding place.

With a grunt and maybe a sob, mom yanks out a chest. She backs up with it, then turns to me with a smile and tears. “Ta-da!” she says, voice breaking.

I just stare. The chest is deep blue, covered in dust and smudged with dirt. It has metal hinges and clasps and a lock on its front.

Mom sets it down at my feet. “Dad loves collecting things, you know!” shes half laughs, looking down at the box. “He thought – he wanted you to have this. It’s why he was so happy you were a girl. Now- we’ve just got to get this open and-”

I stare as mom scrabbles at the lock, fishing around her neck for a tiny key. In fact, when she draws up her necklace, there are three keys. “This should be it,” she croaks with a sniffle.

She unlocks the very modern looking padlock. In fact, the padlock was so pristine that when I took it I could easily read the brand name on it. It looked brand new, just old model.

With a “A hah!” that was supposed to be cheerful but just sounded desperate, mom popped the chest. It swung open without a creak, and just in that instant before I saw what was in it, I wondered if we really should be doing this.

Dad loved collecting things, yes. They were his ‘preciouses’, he would joke, and they were usually worth a lot. Whatever was in this chest, it probably belonged in a museum and shouldn’t be played with. But then I saw what was in the chest and I forgot about all that.

There was a green cardboard box, the color luscious and deep. There were strange inscriptions across it in gold paint. Mom lifted it up with a desperate laugh. “See? It’s a game!” she said, holding it out to me.

My eyes stayed in the box however, where there were several other boxes with printed anime images on them. Old school anime.

“Those are the VHS that go with it,” mom says happily. “Do you want them too?”

I nod.

The next chapter can be read Here

“My Name is Chaos”: Chapter Two Part Two

Here you go lovelies! Sorry for the delay, and remember -> comments feed the author! Feel free to share, comment, and tell your friends about it 🙂 Every little bit makes me very happy!

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Alright, time to escape. I fingered my pentacle, then bit on it softly. More like a nibble. Not that it mattered. FoxFace had walked out of the interrogation room. I was now alone, staring at the mirror/window through which who knew how many people were observing me. Or maybe no one. Really, my guess was all I had – because I didn’t have a dice to tell me anything. Grump.

Grumps aside, now was me time. Time to shine. I could imagine myself busting out of here like a badass, sword blazing and eyes glowing with magic.

I had a half-ass plan. Aside from just chopping down whatever was in my path – well, I intended to follow the exit signs? Yeah, that was good. This should work.

I bit on the edge of my pentacle again, wishing for my dice. It was a lot easier to start a fight when you knew you would win.

But when had I lost a good fight anyways? I could totally do this.

Except I was taken by surprise when the door opened and FoxFace entered. I jumped. She was flanked by several beefy hulks who fanned out in the room around her. She strode forward, a little device in hand. It unlocked the chains around my wrists and ankles. Whooo, high tech chains.

But now I was free. With a smirk, I straightened. “Come this way,” she said, marching towards the door.

I bolted. Past her, out the door. I nearly ran into the second door. Oh shit! I whirled, fists lifting just as a whirr and thud- and a feather was sticking out of my chest.

“That was funny,” I head FoxFace saying as the world turned black around me.

Alright, alright, this was getting really irritating! I woke up with chains and cuffs on, strapped to a table.

“Fuck I’m sick of this!” I declared as I opened my eyes to glare around. Someone had better let me go or – or… I’d break my vows?

I seethed, wishing I had crossed my fingers or something when I’d vowed not to hurt humans. It was making this mission dangerously jeopardized… by the humans themselves!

I should have bolted and run before getting caught. That was it. Because now? Now I was in a laboratory. Blood-filled tubes came out of my arms. Electrodes were strapped to my chest. Lights glared from everywhere and there was test tubes and microscopes all around.

“It’s awake!” crooned a lanky dude that strolled over, snapping latex gloves on.

“I’ll spit on you if you touch me!” I snapped. That made him stop.

“Is your saliva venomous?” he asked cautiously, adjusting his safety glasses.

I didn’t answer but with a vicious grin. Would he take the risk?

He hummed and strolled away behind me. I twisted and squirmed, but couldn’t see what he was doing. There was a rustle, then he returned. I groaned, rolling my eyes at the hazardous material suit he was now wearing.

“Hello,” he said, waving a hand before my face.

“You look ridiculous!” I snapped.

“But you’re not spitting,” he said happily.

“Arlg!” I tried to kick but was restrained by the bonds. Cursing loudly, I squirmed and threw what basically amounted to a tantrum. He just stood there and watched.

When I was stilled, he said “Hi,” and waved again.

This time I spit. It landed on his helmet. His eyebrows raised. He wiped it off with a cotton swab that he placed in a petri dish on a little side table beside me. No kidding.

“So you speak English, I’ve been told?” he said slowly, now standing at my side.

“No,” I huffed. “I speak engrish.”

He chuckled. “That’s funny. Now,” he stooped to tap at my nose. “I’m going to tell you something. Only once. And if you say the wrong thing, you’re going to have an unfortunate accident in my lab. Got that?”

I blinked. Death? Oh good riddance, that would be humiliating. Hi dad, I’m back! So soon…

Taking my silence as a sort of agreement, he plucked up a syringe from a nearby table. “I’m going to pretend to continue doing my tests as we talk,” he said. “But this is just, uh, hydration for you. So don’t worry.”

I blinked at him as my arm was poked with the needle. “What do you want?”

“I want out,” he said simply. “I’ve, as some would say, gotten in too deep. And when you’re in ‘the bog’, there’s no actual getting out. But I want out. Get it?”

I squinted at him. He smiled. “Want to escape? Or you want to die here, on this table?” He drew the syringe from me and filled it with air. “Want to know what happens when you get air injected into your heart?”

“I don’t know how to get out of here,” I blurted.

“I’ll take you out,” he said. “But you’re taking me with you. You protect me. And we can rescue your boyfriend on the way out too.”

“My boyfriend? He’s eh, not my-” but I was blushing. Dammit!

“We’ll take him,” he said cheerfully, waving that syringe around. “And we can be a team!”

“Yeah, well, I fly solo,” I started.

He laughed. “Yeah you seem real effective at that. Look, I know lots. I got experience in the field. And I have a bag of stuff packed and ready to go that’s real useful. SO you ready my friend?” He picked up another syringe, then another. “Or do I let you wallow in your misery- and then kill you? ‘Cause we all know that’s how this is going to end. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.”

I eyed the syringes. Was I really getting rescued by a mad scientist? “Fine,” I snapped. “But we rescue Thor, and you give me back my stuff.”

“Thor? Your friend?” he asked curiously.

“Doesn’t he look like Thor? From the movies?”

“Well I suppose. I’m not a huge movie person. More of a videogame player, myself,” he said, but he was pressing a button on the side of the table. With a snap my bonds opened. I sat up, and he handed me a bag with ‘caution’ taped all over it. “Here’s your stuff. Get dressed.”

Hastily, I did. It felt so good to have my stuff back! My bracelets, my necklaces, it was my identity! When I turned back around, he had the giant ridiculous suit off and was just in his lab coat and uniform beneath that. Oh, and a military duffel bag with medical patches all over it. He was still holding a syringe in his hand.

“What’s that for?” I asked, squinting at the syringe. It had a huge needle on it.

“For poking people with. Let’s go. We have a fifteen minute window.”

“My Name is Chaos” Chapter Two Part One

“So where is home?” She asked tenderly, as if she cared.

“Fuck off,” I grumbled. I was caught in my lie. I didn’t even know what to say now.

She was smiling like a fox. “Where is it you want to go then?”

I lowered my head. “I don’t come from around here.” There. Not a lie.

She hummed agreement, nodding. “I know.”

I balked. “You know?” Right, she’d mentioned my ‘stature’, so maybe she knew… I leaned back smugly in my chair. “What do you know?” Come on, tell me the goods.

FoxFace smiled. She leaned forward innocently. “I know you’re not from around here.” And she lifted a finger to point between my eyes. “I know you’re a new specimen.”

A shudder ran through me at that wording. “Specimen?” I squawked. “I’m not-” but I stopped at her chilling smile.

“You’re not a vampire,” she said softly. “You’re much more powerful than that. Aren’t you?”

I squirmed. Uh, maybe? How did she know so much? Could they really tell so much from a blood sample? Humans.

“So where are you from?” she asked, clasping her fingers before herself on the table. “Tell me,” she said so sweetly.

I scowled. “I don’t have to tell you anything. I have nothing to do with this situation-”

“Oh?” she raised her eyebrows. “An uprising is being planned, and you just appear?”

I bit my lip. She knew?

She smiled… not patronizingly, matronizingly? Like I was a cute little chick that just needed some good henpecking. “You don’t think I’m stupid, do you?”

I swallowed some snark and shook my head.

“You do realize I won’t stop until I get the answers I want?” she said with that smile. I wished she’d stop smiling. I fidgeted, taking up my pentacle necklace. No need to use it yet, I told myself. I was just being interrogated. Couldn’t I stand this?

But I didn’t like the feeling that she knew more than I did. She had so many chips in her hand, and I had none. Except for myself, so to speak. And hey, I’m a mega chip but I need to know what I’m doing. And right now I was out of lies. I just wanted out. So hey, why not try that option?

I imitated her, clasping my hands on the table and leaning forward. “I want to make a deal with you.”

Her eyebrows raised. “That’s cute, considering your situation.”

I bit back a comment. “Let me go, and I’ll do you a favor.”

“Like what?”

I shrugged. “Like not killing you. Who knows?”

Her teeth flashed brilliant white as she grinned, nastily. “You should reconsider. Tell me something I don’t already know, for example.”

I snorted and crossed my arms, still leaning forward, trying to get all up in her face. “You can’t make me talk.”

In a flash she snatched the top of my head and slammed me face-first to the table. Smack! Forehead and nose to the table!

I yelped, cradling my face. Blood! I was bleeding! My nose!

It hurt! I know incarnation brought new sensations, but this pain was just – wow! Ouch!

“So you see,” she was saying as I snorted blood and gingerly touched my nose. Not broken? No, not broken. “I can make you talk. I have many, many, ways to make you talk.”

I glared at her. “Oh yeah?” I sneered, feeling braver than I felt.

Her smile was still there. “We also have Mark, if you’re not enough incentive for yourself. How do you feel about watching an innocent being tortured before your very eyes?”

I blanched. They wouldn’t. But one look at that smile and – yeah, they would. Or m ore precisely, she would.

“Not so sure?” she asked tentatively. “You look a little queasy.”

I looked down at my hands. Monsters. Humans are monsters. I wanted to go home already. “Look,” I said flatly. “You won’t believe me, so,”

“Try me,” she said softly.

Uh. I looked at her. Like, really looked at her. She was in a country being attacked by vampires, right? “You know,” I said cautiously. “The vampires kind of came out of nowhere, right?”

She waited patiently while I gauged my situation. There was nothing in my mission statement that said ‘don’t give away our existence’, so … “I’m the Grim Reaper’s child,” I said flatly.

A light went off in her eyes. “Really?” she said sweetly, way too sweetly.

Shit. What, was she going to run tests on me now? Shoulda thought this through. What now?

“So this is a turf war,” she said. “The Skulls kidnapped you to send a message to the Canes.”

“Uh, what?” I squinted at her. Skulls? Canes?

She gave me a petulant expression. “Your daddy? The Skulls? Mark’s gang? The Canes? Or did you not pay attention to Daddy’s work?”

I bit my lip. Just my luck. Just, well, maybe this was a turn for the best.“Y-yeah. I just,” I hung my head. “Tried not to have anything to do with it,” I mumbled.

“But then your friends abandoned you,” she said sweetly. “And you were in that car.”

I bit my lip harder. Shouldn’t have told her that. Really shouldn’t have.

“And now here you are,” she said in awe, as if I was a golden unicorn pooping a rainbow out for her.

I scowled at her. “So? You gonna send me home or what?”

She smirked. “What did daddy do to make your blood like it is?”

“I’m not a vampire.”

“I noticed,” she said softly. “So what are you then?”

I squirmed down. “I told you. I’m the Grim Reaper’s child. That’s all I know.”

Oh, those white white teeth. “Well, let’s find out together then, why don’t we?”

Oh, dear sweet Jesus on a stick.