Contract of the Dark

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In the previous episode, Drekken, Aaron Fellmind’s twin brother, has been ordered by “Mother” to take care of Rune and Aaron after he killed their guardian, L Strider. Drekken gave them both a choice: come with him to be cleansed by “Mother” or die a quick, painful death. Readers voted for Rune to accept his offer but for Aaron to reject it.

Episode 13

Drekken leans against the front door, patiently waiting for an answer. To pass the time, he plays with the garrote wire, twirling it between his fingers. The razor-sharp string cuts open the flesh, but his abilities heal any injuries. His blood-red eyes are locked on his captives, Aaron and Rune. The two of them hang unmoving like lifeless puppets, completely under the control of the Puppet Meister. Neither says a word, which quickly gets on Meister’s nerves. The wire between his fingers is pulled taut, intimidating them to make an answer.

“Time’s up,” Drekken says, his blood-red eyes shifting back and forth to either of them.

At first neither is willing to answer, until Rune speaks up, “I will join you.”

“What?” Aaron shouts, astonished at what he hears.

“Excellent,” Drekken claps his hands together with delight.

With a snap of his fingers, the invisible bindings that held the girl are severed, freeing her. Rune looks over at Aaron, seeing the look of betrayal in his eyes, and quickly turns away. She strides over to the other Fellmind, who greets her with open arms. He embraces her as if she were his sister. As he lets her go, Drekken turns his gaze toward the still-bound karayan.

“And what of you, brother?” he asks, a hand on Rune’s shoulder.

“Please, Aaron,” Rune pleads, her eyes welling with tears.

“How could you side with him?” Aaron snarls, glaring at both of them. “He killed Strider!”

“Strider would want us to live,” she sobs, unable to stop herself from crying.

Aaron grits his teeth, “Not like this. I’d rather die…”

His brother shrugs his shoulders, “Oh well, I tried.”

Drekken steps forward with the razor wire spinning in his hands. Rune grabs at his coat, pleading to spare Aaron’s life. The Puppet Meister simply ignores her, jerking himself free of her feeble grip. His eyes blaze as he strides over to his brother, ready to deliver the execution.

“Any last words?” Drekken asks with a false-kindness.

Aaron gives his response by spitting in his brother’s face. Drekken growls, as he wipes the spittle away.

“I don’t have to make it quick, you know,” his scowl quickly turns into a smile. “I should really savor the bit of time we have left together, brother. Perhaps I’ll take you apart, bit by bit; starting with that sharp tongue of yours.”

Drekken is so enthralled in the ideas of torturing Aaron that he does not sense someone else in the room. A powerful kick to his side sends him tumbling across the ground, smashing face first into the wall. He gets up, slightly dazed from the blow to the head. It takes a few seconds for him to realize he has been attacked, but he gets back on his feet quickly.

Turning back to Aaron, he sees that his hold over his brother has been destroyed. The injury disrupted the control. Beside his twin Fellmind is another man. This mysterious figure is dressed in the same trench coat that Strider wore in the past, black as darkness and aged from years of ware. The identity of the attacker stays a mystery, as his entire head is wrapped in blood red rags. A few strands of black hair poke out from the wrap. All but his right eye is hidden behind these bandages, which glows faintly of crimson, as do all karayans.

“Who the hell are you?” Drekken asks, wiping a few drops of blood from his lips.

“Cross,” the bandaged man answers.

“Not a very inventive name, Cross,” he laughs, pulling a large length of wire from the spool. “And it’s not very wise to interfere in other people’s business.”

Drekken throws his wires at the man who calls himself Cross, trying to lasso him. The bandaged man quickly slips out of the way to avoid being ensnared, and grabs ahold of them. His black gloved fingers protect him from the razor thin string, as he pulls with all his strength. Drekken pulls back, but loses the tug-of-war. Cross reels him in, slamming his elbow onto the Puppet Meister’s head. Fellmind falls to his knees, his head swimming from the pain.

Groaning through his throbbing skull, Drekken growls, “Enough of these games.”

He holds up a hand, which paralyzes Cross in his tracks. The Puppet Meister holds this mysterious karayan hostage with his ability. Unable to move, he is at the mercy of Drekken, who gets back to his feet.

“I’m going to make sure to kill you first, then Aaron,” he laughs.

Aaron tries to attack, but Drekken anticipates such an obvious ploy, binding him also with his ability. Having two puppets at his disposal, the Meister playfully dances them around the room, before forcing them to their knees like criminals facing execution. He walks over to Cross first, with wires ready to rip off the man’s head.

Just as he is about to behead the karayan, Drekken feels his feet being pulled out from underneath him. He falls flat on his back. Glancing over, he sees that it was Cross who grabbed him.

“What?” Drekken appears shocked, “How did you break free of my hold?”

Cross answers by squeezing Drekken’s leg tighter to the point that the bone shatters. The puppeteer roars in pain, grabbing the injured limb. The shock to his body breaks Aaron and Cross free. Getting back to his feet, Cross tosses off his overcoat, revealing a strange weapon strapped to his back. A thick metal poll with a second welded across it in the shape of a cross. Taking ahold of the weapon, he spins it around his body like a ninja staff, before driving it into Drekken’s chest.

The karayan grunts, but does no more. His body flails for only a second, before falling lifeless on the ground. Cross makes sure to twist the weapon, ensuring that Drekken’s heart is shredded to pieces. Once he feels satisfied with the damage, he pulls the weapon out of the gaping hole.

“That won’t be enough to kill him,” Cross says to the others, “But it will buy us some time.”

Aaron nods, understanding, and then turns to Rune, “So are you still going with him?”

She turns her eyes away, “I’m sorry, Aaron. I’m going to choose to live, for Strider’s sake.”

Gritting his teeth, the living Fellmind says no more, as he opens the front door, fleeing into the darkened suburbs. His heart is torn in two, knowing that he has just lost his entire family. He would keep running, if Cross did not stop him.

“You need to come with me,” he says to Aaron.

“Why should I?” he says, turning back to his rebellious attitude.

“Just trust me,” Cross says with a stern, almost familiar tone.  Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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