Authors Note: A huge thanks to Coyo for once again allowing Donnie to visit one of his fine establishments!
“…in other news, authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating an escaped patient from the South Bay Mental Institution. Donnie ————— is described as 5’11,”weighing 170lbs and is considered unstable and very dangerous. If seen, call 911 immediately and do not approach, attempt to apprehend or sexually assault…”
I stared at my mug shot on the morning news. Not exactly the most flattering picture of yours truly out there. Unstable and dangerous huh? Yeah, that’s as fitting of a description as any of me now a days.
I was holed up in a cheap motel thanks to my estranged daughter, Didi, who picked me up on the street last night during the rain storm. Unlike Vicky, who wanted more of an understanding of things, Didi seemed content with just straight out despising me.
It was a depressingly odd sensation, being hated by her – a daughter I didn’t even know. Plus the fact that she was several years older than me didn’t help things much either. I guess to her, I was the deadbeat dad that was never in her life. The dad that missed all the birthdays, the Christmases, school plays, baseball games and pretty much everything else.
I wondered how she found out about me, why she didn’t question our age gap and how she knew where Ilias would take me. Any questions that I asked was responded by her threatening to shoot me with her own revolver. It was a Winona clone that Vicky, my grandaughter, created from the original blue prints.
Just another chapter in the train wreck of my life, I suppose. I always did say I was the daytime TV favorite of Fate, herself. Somehow I didn’t think things had changed that much since my happy ass landed back on Earth. The bitch must have ordered HBO just to keep up with me.
The sound of an opening door pulled me from my musings as Didi walked out of the bathroom, fully dressed in black nondescript business clothes. On her belt was a badge and a holster. From what I was able to piece together, she was some kind of government agent, like the FBI but different. Something about a Mamono only division or something or other. Another change and addition to reality all thanks to your favorite fuck up.
“I have to go to, work’s been a shit show since yesterday,” She began in a huff as she grabbed a small purse from her beds nightstand.
“Something going on?” I asked.
“You are NOT to go out, you hear me?” She continued, once again ignoring my questions.
“I’ve left some food in the mini fridge and the do not disturb sign on the door- so that should keep anyone from knocking. Under no circumstances are you to step foot outside!” Didi finished with a glare to me.
“So I’m your prisoner here?” I asked quietly to her.
She answered by pulling her gun out of its holster.
“Which part of my instructions did you not understand?”
“Fine.” I sighed. I didn’t think she would pull the trigger but she was my daughter and I’m pretty sure it’s within her to do anything up to and including shooting her old man. Even if her old man was much younger than her. At least it beats getting raped by a Manticore in some insane asylum.
Slamming the door shut, I could hear her footsteps as she walked away. Looking around the beaten room, I couldn’t help but sigh and mumble,
“Well, what’s the worst that could happen?”
I ended up spending the morning watching tv. The news offered some insights to the world around me and current goings on, soap operas were pretty much the same- except with gratuitous sex scenes. Kids programs were the safest, although I think Jim Henson would be rolling around in his grave if he saw what Sesame Street and The Muppets had become…
By the afternoon, I was going stir crazy. I just wasn’t used to sitting around on my ass so much. Back in the day, I’d be traveling, taking up odd jobs as a Merc, or running around with Romie, saving the god damn world. A deep pang of sadness stabbed through me when that memory came around. I wondered what she would think of this whole crazy situation. Hell, she’d probably love it. Crazy situations and her went together like PB and J…
Taking a breath, I tried to rein in my feelings.I didn’t want to cry, not again. Been doing too much of that as of late.
Flopping down in bed, I took the large marble that Ilias gave me out of my pocket to distract myself. Holding it up to the light, between my thumb and index finger, I examined the Goddess’s last gift to me. It seemed exactly was it looked to be, a tiny, highly detailed depiction of Earth. Yet I knew there had to be something else. Her mysterious statement saying she changed it into something more fitting proved that point.
“What are you?” I mumbled out loud to the bauble. I half expected an answer, but wasn’t too disappointed when the only response was from the TV. Shouldn’t have expected it to be that easy, I thought as I returned the marble to its home in my pants pocket.
Another interesting thing was the clothes that she gave me. They weren’t exactly your run of the mill stuff taken off the rack at Macy’s. So far, they seemed to stay fresh and unwrinkled, as if I just put them on. Guess she really wanted to make sure I remembered her.
Women… Goddesses… Whatever, I sighed. Too damn complicated in my book.
Reaching into the other pocket I was surprised to find there was a folded piece of paper there. Pulling it out, I discovered what it was. Son of a bitch, it was the same paper Vicky had slipped into my hand that evening I saw her off from Druella’s mansion. To say it was curious as to why Ilias chose to include it was an understatement. I knew she wasn’t exactly keen on me staying on Earth and getting all domestic with the Mamono. Especially seeing as how I now technically had a few as kids and a grand kid.
Well, my dear daughter said not to go out, she didn’t say anything about making phone calls…
Picking up the phone, I dialed the hastily scribbled number. It rung and rung until I was sure it would go to voicemail. Thankfully instead of an automated message, it was Vicky that answered.
I hesitated. What was I going to say?
“Uh, hey… It’s me…”
Not the best way to start a conversation.
“It’s Donnie…. Your… Grandad…”
Shit that just sounded so wrong. Hell, I’m not even 25 yet…
“Donnie! Where are you?!! They said you escaped a mental institution! Is that true?”
“Uh… Yeah. I had some help from um… a higher power, so to speak…” I said, stumbling around the fact that the Chief God, enemy to all Mamono kinda, sorta played a major role in me being free.
“Holy. Fucking. Maou. That’s so bad ass!”
Jesus chick, really?
“Your… My…. Um… Didi picked me up, she’s got me in a hotel somewhere in a place called San Leandro?”
“San Leandro? Why does she have you in that shit hole of a town? Hey be careful over there cuz you’re going to end up shot or raped by some Hell Hound gang.”
And the day just keeps getting better…
“You know, I’m not entirely sure on that but… I’m going crazy here, I really need out.”
“Do you want me to come pick you up?! I wanna introduce you to all my friends! Oh yeah my boyfriend too!”
Call it genetics, call it some kind of psychological reaction due to me finding out that I had children, but some where deep inside, I did NOT like the fact that she had a boyfriend. I glanced over to Winona laying on a pilliow.
July 6th… cont.
San Jose State University Dorms.
So I’m pretty sure Didi is going to kill me… But hey, I left a note saying I was safe and with a friend. That should be good enough, right?
I was in Vicky’s tiny dorm room, sitting on her bed, surrounded by herself and her friends- a Kappa, a Kobold, and a Kikimora. All Mamonos starting with K and all a few years younger than me. Somehow, deep down, I felt infinitely older. Maybe it’s all I’ve been through; being stranded in a strange world, the violence, the death, murder, dealing with psychopaths and being up against veritable gods and aliens. Let’s not also forget having to make decisions that not only affected billions but also changed reality itself.
Guess you could say I had them beat on fucked up life experiences.
I questioned for a brief moment if this was how Arawn had ever felt in his ageless life. Where did that coot end up? Or did he finally get his wish? I could have really used a splash of that old man’s advice.
Her three friends were all eyeing me like I was the special of the week at the cafeteria. Admittedly there was a very high school feel to the scene. But then again I found out they were all 19 and just out of said high school. It kinda made sense.
“So spill it Vicky, who’s the hunk of beef?” Asked the Kappa, her long amphibian tongue licking her chops at me.
“Are you cheating on your boyfriend?” The Kikimora added with a slight hint of disapproval. The Kobold simply stayed silent, staring at me, her nose wiggling heavily in my direction.
“Shut up and stop being such a slut!” Vicky giggled as she playfully slapped the frog girl on the arm while passing by to sit on a computer chair next to me.
“And no, Mari, I’m not cheating on Devin,” She huffed in the direction of the Kiki, “This is my gran… uh…”
My grandaughter paused as she realized that she was about to call a guy a few years older than her ‘grandad.’ I kept my mouth shut, mildly amused that I wasn’t the only one having to deal with a screwed up situation.
“Your what?” Asked Slutty Froggy suspiciously.
I think at that point, she finally realized that telling the truth about me wouldn’t work. It was just so unbelievable, so crazy, that the everyday Joe, or in this case Jane, wouldn’t be able to comprehend nor accept it.
“Myyyyy… ggrrrrrreat cousin Donnie! From my grandads side… Twice removed. He’s in town, visiting.” Finished Vicky awkwardly with a hesitant smile and a flush on her face.
Seemed she sucked at bullshitting almost as badly as her old, old man.
The three looked over at Vicky in semi-disbelief then back at me. I offered a small smile and wave of my hand to them. Guess it still beats being stuck in a run down hotel.
“And Donnie, this is Becky, Mari and Polly,” She said pointing at the frog, the bird and the dog, “They’ve been my best friends since high school.”
A small warmth filled me, it was nice to see she had girlfriends like that. If I were honest with myself, I would admit that I didn’t make buddies that easily. I didn’t have too many to name, and none that would understand what I had been through. Knowing that Vicky had good friends… It… It made me happy…
Everyone mumbled polite greetings then Mari asked politely with a gentle smile, “So Donnie, where are you from?”
“You smell funny.” Stated Polly, the Kobold, suddenly.
“Polly!” Admonished Mari.
“See? This is why you haven’t gotten laid yet.” Added Becky with a heavy, dramatic sigh.
I was willing to bet Lassie was not only smelling Ilias on me but her handy work with the clothes. Romie had a similar reaction when the Goddess kissed me in a dream and I’m pretty sure that the real life deal left a stronger scent. Either by nature or by good ol’ Maou ma’s design, the more animalistic Mamono seemed to be able to sniff her out.
“It’s ok,” I said, trying to distract everyone from Rovers little faux pas “I tried this new uh, cologne on and, yeah, it’s not the best.”
Once again, PR work saves the day.
“Got a girlfriend?” Becky asked bluntly with a predatory grin.
“He’s off limits, Becky.” Vicky growled, almost possessively. It was nice to know she cared.
“Awww come on!” The Kappa wined as she grabbed a hold of Vicky’s arm and shook it, “We could totally be in-laws!”
“Not with a hoe like you!”
The Kappa gasped in mock insult, “You whore!” Then added for good measure, “Come on slut, it would be totally fun to be related!”
The two started to wrestle playfully as Mari played mother, trying to break them up and Polly jumped up and down in excitement at the tussle.
“I’m in a relationship.” I said dryly as I watched them go at it.
Vicky paused suddenly and glanced over at me right before Becky slammed the palm of her hand straight into her face. My grandaughter crashed painfully to the ground and shouted,
“Ow, you fucking bitch that hurt!”
Nice to know she could swear just as good as I could.
Pulling herself up from the ground I could see it bothered her by me saying that. As much as she maybe wanted otherwise, I was still a stranger in her family that was married to someone else.
“Stop complaining, I’ve taken you down much harder than that before.” Becky retorted lewdly with a wink and lick of her lips.
I tried my best to ignore the connotations of that statement as well as the blush forming on Vicky’s face. In answer, she threw a discarded bottle of nail polish at the Kappa’s head. The frog had pretty decent reflexes as she dodged the cherry red bottle that ended up clanking against the wall behind her.
“Well we all better leave now if we are going to make it to class,” Mari said maturely as she took out her phone from her purse and glanced at it.
Everyone groaned at the statement as they stood and piled out of the room.
“You three go without me, I’m gonna skip so I can introduce him to Devin. Just take notes for me?”
Mari shot her a disapproving look as the other two said their goodbyes to me. Guess the Kiki really was like the groups mom. Vicky simply rolled her eye in answer as she locked the room behind her. After shooting off a quick text from her phone, she grabbed my hand and lead me across the sizable campus over to the men’s dorm.
As we walked, I nervously kept peering around in hopes that no one would recognize me.
“Why are you acting all jittery?” Vicky asked.
“Remember, I’m an escapee from a mental hospital and my mugshot was all over the morning news.” I mumbled back to her.
She stopped and gave me a condescending look.
“What?” I asked.
“The news,” Vicky laughed, “Come on Donnie! If it’s not on Fuckbook, no one gives a crap!”
Well, she had me there. When we reached the entrance, Vicky grabbed me aside and whispered,
“Hey I gotta use the bathroom, just hang out here, ok?”
Looking around, I nodded absently as she ran to use the facilities. The men’s dorms were pretty nice, evidently they just had a remodel or something because they seemed newer than the female ones. There were a couple guys tossing a frisbee around, another on a guitar up against a tree. Here and there I saw a few couples making out, both human and Manono mixed. My eyes settled on a small table near the entrance. Curious, I walked over to see rosaries, pamphlets and bibles spread across its top. I grabbed one of the teal colored papers. On it was the symbol for The Order integrated and intertwined with the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David and the Muslim star and crescent moon. Above were the words: Mamono Means The End To Humanity!
I snorted a laugh. So, somehow The Order managed to survive and make its way to Earth, huh? It was almost too ironic though. Before, you would never see all the religions banning together like this, especially with Islam. Yet the thing was, World War 2 never happened, both the Korean and the Vietnam wars as well. The Gulf war and 9-11? Yep, same thing.
I learned that after Maou Ma popped into Earth, there was never a major war afterwards. Sure, there were the occasional spats here and there but nothing in the magnitude of the history of my own reality. Little did these guys know that it was actually because of the Demon Lord and family that this little religious Super Friends team up was possible.
I honestly didn’t know how to feel about it. On one hand millions, perhaps billions, of lives were saved. On the other, did humanity miss out on some kind of valuable lessons learned only through bloodshed? That war was both horrible and terrifying. That at some point we had to work things out. Funny thing is, I didn’t think we were at that point. There were still atrocities happening on a daily basis in my own reality.
Here, it seemed there wasn’t quite that much. Yes, there were still murders, still the daily goings on of people against people. Forgive me for going off my train of thought. Sometimes I try to play philosopher when I’m just too stupid for the job.
“Interested in joining the Holy Sect of Fredrickson, my son?”
I looked up to see an almost familiar face. He wore the black clothes of a priest, complete with a white stole. It took me a moment to realize it wasn’t him, though. Wrong color eyes, nose was smaller, cheeks a bit too low. Besides, I doubted that old fucker could have been still around.
“Yes, we are a small church and movement located in the heart of Santa Clara. We work to spread the word of truth that, despite their kind words and actions, the monsters are trying to destroy Humanity! Right now Human birthrates are at an all time low! Humanity is in danger of going extinct! My ancestor, Karl Fredrickson, Chief God bless his soul, was a Paladin that worked tirelessly saving men, woman and children from the monsters temptations. I take it upon myself to do the same!” He finished proudly.
“He was an Inquisitor.” I mumbled, staring between the pamphlet and the grandson, perhaps great grandson, of the man that I once disliked, yet somehow, on a small, odd level, respected.
Memories resurfaced of him. When I first started off as a Merc, I took a few small, basic jobs for The Order and worked with Fredrickson on a couple. Not to mention also on the failed peace talks. To say our differing ideologies made us bump heads was an understatement. I saw him as a close minded old bastard, with the answer to all of life’s problems being at the end of a sword or a noose. There was quite a number of times where I almost shot the ass because he was pissing me off so much, but The Order paid pretty well at the time and a guys gotta eat… If I had to say one redeeming thing of him, it would be he deeply cared about people, well Humans at any rate. In a world where humanity was on the endangered species list, he fought against the end.
Funny, it was only few years ago for me, yet it seemed like a lifetime.
“You… Your mistaken, son. My great grand father was a respected Paladin that upheld a moral code, and rescued thousands from the Mamono scourge!”
Maybe growing up, that’s what he was told. That grand pappy Fred was a hero, going around saving people like a regular Sir Lancealot. I found that I didn’t have the heart to argue nor tell him contrary. I’ve already done enough damage.
Let him believe what he wanted. He had a direction, a cause and a crusade to fight for in this world. It was something that I was almost envious of in a messed up way.
“Get away from him!”
I was suddenly grabbed by the arm and yanked away.
“Go spread your bigotry somewhere else, you racist!” Vicky spat furiously to the priest.
“Mankind will eventually learn the error of its ways and cast your kind out, monster.” He replied sternly as he crossed his arms.
“Go fuck yourself.” She retorted.
“Do not be tempted by them, my son!” He called as Vicky dragged me away.
“Ugh! I don’t know why they let those creeps onto campus! Stupid religious freedom. Keep away from guys like that, they-“
She stopped pulling and gave me an angry look.
“What, just accept what those bible thumping bigots say about me? About my kind?!”
“No, but I’ve delt with those same bible thumping bigots before, except they were packing swords, magic spells and all other kinds of shit. They were all too happy in murdering ever Mamono they could see. I’ve killed them, shot them and everything in between. There’s two very important things to remember- One; No matter how many you take out, more will always pop up, and two…”
I paused thinking back to my past experiences with the Maou.
“It’s impossible to change the mind of someone who believes they are in the right. That it’s what they believe they have to do because it’s their only choice. Believe me because I’ve tried.”
She opened her mouth to argue but I cut her off quietly saying, “Vicky, just be you. Be the smart, amazing woman you are and don’t let them change anything. You lose something when that happens… Lose a piece of your soul. Trust me on that one.”
I looked down to the concrete, bathing in mild self reflection as I finished, then back up to her. The anger in her face had vanished as she took in my words. Pulling me into a hug, she whispered an apology.
“Sorry. Just guys like that get me so mad.”
“I know. But people like them will always be around.” I whispered back. “I’m not saying don’t fight against what they stand for, just do it on your terms, not theirs. Otherwise you might end up with an arrow in your shoulder.”
I grinned and reflexively reached up to touch a scar that wasn’t there. Wrong body, that’s right.
She laughed and said, “Well I wouldn’t want that!”
Walking through the hallways we arrived at a stained door.
“Ugh, I told him he needs to clean this.” She mumbled embarrassed as she knocked.
“Donnie, this is my boyfriend Devin. Devin this is my, um, cousin Donnie from uh Connecticut.”
Greasy, curly hair that nearly came down to his shoulders, a yellow T-shirt that might have once been white, pajama pants and sandals. A poorly grown douchebag goatee put the frosting on the proverbial cake. Really? This was the guy she was going out with?
“Wow fuckin no shit? You’re far from home bruh.”
Jesus, he even sounded like a douche.
“You never said you had fam visiting babe. Not cool.”
“It was a little last minute.” She said looking to me conspiringly.
“I don’t like it, but whatev’s.” He said as he left the door open and walked back in to jump on a chair besides a desk.”
My distaste for the guy was growing by the second as I followed Vicky into his room.
“Sit down wherever ya can.”
His place was a mess with dirty clothes lying about alongside random bits of trash, papers and books. God, the guy was a total pig. I took a seat on hopefully a clean part of his unmade bed.
“Hey babe, go grab us some drinks.” Devin ordered.
“Okay,” She said cheefully, “any kind?”
“Well fuck, that’s what I said, didn’t I?” He snapped at her.
“You don’t have to yell, I’ll be right back.” Vicky whispered under her breath as she left.
Once again a cold, dangerous feeling begin to creep over me, and I knew that I was going to do something very bad.
“So, like, are you doing a Clops too?”
“Yeah, like, you know, banging a Clops. They’re ok, like a basic fuck when your tired of the Succ’s. Like, their a better lay and stuff but they get too cray in the sack, ya know?
He kicked his dirty bare feet up on the filthy desk littered with beer bottles, candy wrappers and fast food bags. Completely shocked, I stared at him as he picked at his teeth and continued on,
“Vick’s like a pretty good fuck, kooch is tight, but she gets all bitchy when I don’t go down on her. Like it’s a mother fucking crime I don’t eat pussy, ya know? Sides,’ the MG’s are suppose to love the dick anyway, they don’t need anything else.” He grabbed his crouch in emphasis.
Now some of you out there might be saying that I had no right to get mad. That for all purposes he was just some college asshole, bullshitting about a woman I really didn’t know too well. Someone whom I literally just met a few days ago. Yet on the hour something long car ride, we talked like old friends. She was smart, funny, outgoingly awkward, even charming in her own way. I never really imagined how being a parent was like, but I was proud of Vicky. Judge me however you want, but I felt an attachment to her.
Plus, truth be told, I hated guys like him. It seemed like they always got the cute girls that would wait on them hand and foot, that would adore and love them only to be abused and treated like trash. And if God… well I suppose any “God” out there was my witness, I wouldn’t let my grandaughter be involved with a low life like this.
Standing up, I asked calmly, “So Devin, do these rooms have good… Sound insulation?”
He smirked at that and said, “Fuck yeah they do! Bitches can moan all night long on my cock and no one can hear shit outside. They all got some magic in the rooms keeping everything on the DL.”
I stepped over to the door and flipped the lock.
“That’s good. Real good.”
“Hey, what you doin?”
I turned to him with a cold smile.
“You know Devin, Vicky wasn’t entirely honest with you when she said I was her cousin,” I kicked the chair he was leaning back on, sending him falling to the floor while simultaneously pulling Winona from underneath my shirt.
“I’m actually a little closer in relation.”
“What the fuck man! You’re her new boyfriend, aren’t you?! I knew that bitch was cheating on me!”
“No, you fucking moron, I’m related to her. I’m her fucking grandfather.” I said in growing rage. I snapped and climbed atop of him while using Winona to pistol whip him over and over. With every blow, he cried for mercy and help.
Some of you, if anyone is out there, might be shocked or disappointed in me and what I did. I really don’t care. If I had to make an excuse or explanation then all I can say is that some of my demons got out. A little bit of the poison, the rage, frustration and everything else had dug it’s way out from where I buried it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m not a Hero. I’m not some Superman with an iron constitution and the answers to everything. I don’t even consider myself the good guy in this fairytale gone sideways. I’m just a normal fucking guy that’s trying to survive and keep myself sane in an insane world gone upside down by my own hand. Even in that I’m not doing a very good job at it.
“You’re fucking crazy!”
“Now that’s a clinically proven, legal fact, Devin.” I growled, shoving Winona’s barrel right between his eyes. His face was a bloody mess from my beating.
“Now let’s talk about your relationship with my granddaughter.”
“G-Get the fuck away from me!” He screamed as he struggled beneath me. Cocking my ladies hammer, the douchebag froze in realization that I was about to murder him.
“P-Please! D-D-Don’t k…kill me! Y-You’ll go to jail!” He stuttered, his eyes wide with terror and tears.
“Really? Cuz I’ve been there and done ALL of that. Juan, Pedro and the rest of the crew are old prison buddies of mine. I’ll be getting a warm welcome back in the slammer.” I said, semi-lying. Juan was ok. Pedro was kinda a dick, but that’s a story for another day.
“Please! What do you want?!”
I considered the question as he broke down. The guy was a quivering, rambling wreck at that point. Blood, tears and snott covered his face and I was halfway tempted just to put him out of his misery. But then you have to consider the mess from an explosive tipped bullet, the clean up, how to explain to Vicky how her boyfriend died. I didn’t think she would buy the whole ‘He fell on a bullet’ bit.
“You talk about Vicky like she’s some kind of object. You don’t respect her and you’re a dirty piece of shit. What I want is your worthless ass out of her life. When she gets back we’re going to be all buddy- buddy, but tomorrow, you’re going to break up with her. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. And if you don’t or if you ever try to get back together with her… Well…”
I took Winona’s barrel from between his eyes and forcefully pushed it into his mouth.
“I’ve done terrible things, Devin. Things you wouldn’t believe even if I told you. I’ve killed people. A lot of people both deserving and not. Trust me, adding your name to that list won’t keep me up at night. Understand?”
Still wide eyed with Winona in his mouth, he nodded slowly and fearfully. Eyes locked on his, I pulled myself off him only to discover in his fright, he pissed himself. Disgusted, I put away my other significant other and said,
“Clean yourself up.”
The man-child, curled himself up into a ball and continued to sob over and over again. As much as it would give me some kind of sadistic joy to have Vicky see him like this, I knew it would have the opposite effect that I was going for. Walking out of the room, I saw Vicky making her way towards me holding 3 cans of coke.
“Hey, um Devin told me he had some last minute… stuff going on. He said to grab lunch and he’ll catch up with us.” I lied as I took the cans of soda from her. Before you may ask, yes I did feel guilty about it. I know I’m not exactly batting a perfect score on my parenting skills or anything else for that matter.
“Oh. Okay sure. Where did you want to go?”
“McDonald’s?” I asked hopefully.
She gave an odd look as I said the name of my favorite fast food place. Shaking her head at me, she said with a smile, “Boy, you’re going to be in for a surprise.”
“You’lllllll seeeee.” She sang, grabbing back a hold of my arm, she lead us across campus until she suddenly stopped and exclaimed.
“Shit! I forgot my backpack! Stay here, I’ll be right back!”
I watched as Vicky took off in a mad dash back to women’s dorm. She certainly had a lot of energy. I sighed in self disgust at the realization of my own thoughts. God, listen to me, if I’m thinking that, than I really must be an old man.
“My, my, how darling. There is nothing that can compare to spending quality time with family.”
I froze, recognizing the voice behind me. Turning around, I saw Druella leaning nonchalantly against a white washed brick wall. She was wearing a low cut black and white pin striped business suit that made her look almost more like a slutty model than anything. My heart started to pounded in my chest as the she stared at me. As inconspicuously as I could, I slowly snaked an arm behind my back to get within reach of Winona. Part of me wondered absently how well explosive tipped bullets would work on a Lilim.
“You’re incredibly obvious Donnie, I don’t know if you’re aware that or not, and I really wouldn’t aim your toy at me again if I were you. I let the first time pass, but try me for a second and I’ll rip out your throat before you even have chance to blink.” She said with a cruel smile.
“Is this a social call or are you just here to threaten me?” I asked with as much bravado as I could manage while dropping my hand back down. In afterthought, having a shoot out at a college probably wouldn’t be the best thing in the world.
“I wish I could say the latter. A few days ago, I would have given you to an Ushi Oni for that little stunt you pulled,” She barred her teeth to me then paused and tilted her head slightly almost in thought, “But after re-reading some of your history from mother’s diary and conferring with a trusted friend, I now understand why you act the way you do and did the things you did.”
She pulled herself from the wall and walked towards me, her hips swaying slightly with each step. Her voice changed as she spoke again. It lost its edged, its harshness and became calm, smooth, almost honeyed.
“You’ve been through much in your short life, haven’t you? You’ve seen and done things that took a heavy toll upon you. The human psyche is a fragile thing, too much trauma and it can break, however just enough can lead someone to make some very foolish and rash choices. You’ve suffered much and I understand that now.”
She stopped a few feet away and held up her hand to me.
“You believe yourself alone in a strange world that was once your own. You believe you have no one to rely upon, no resources. You’re wrong in that. For two years, you slept in my facility and I ensured your safety. As you once said me, we’re family. Let us find a way to reconcile our differences and work together. Let us put aside anger and mistrust. I’m willing to forgive and forget the past, will you?”
“Well that was quite a speech. What’d ya do Auntie, hire Dr. Phil?” I replied sarcastically.
“Perhaps I did.” She returned with a smile.
Now that must have cost a pretty penny.
“Does family have someone arrested and then committed?”
“If they pose a danger to themselves and others, then yes, Donnie. You held myself, Molly and your parents at gunpoint then tried to kill yourself. You needed help.”
“Those weren’t my parents!” I growled.
“Yes, they are.” She growled back, her eyes flaring slightly, then taking a breath, she calmed herself and continued, “Things have changed, including those in your personal life, your friends and your family. Whether you like it or not, you had a hand to play in that and are equally responsible for the events that have occurred in your slumber. I tried to tell you, things are not as you knew them and never will be. You have to accept this if you wish to live in harmony with this world.”
I glared at the Lilim as the flames of defiance flared inside me. Maybe I didn’t want to live in harmony with the world. Maybe this wasn’t MY world. Maybe I’d be fine with just watching it burn. But then… Where would that get me? Druella’s words, as much as I hated to admit, had a ring of truth. Was I being so selfish, so pig headed that I was just acting like a giant idiot?
I sighed softly in frustration, not knowing what I should be feeling or doing. Maybe I was going about everything all wrong? Was being so headstrong, the very thing that kept me alive for so long, just hurting me in the end?
“Are you going to commit me again?” I mumbled lowering my eyes.
“Are you still a danger to yourself or others?”
“…No.” I raised my head and met her glance, trying not to think about the guy I just beat to shit.
“Then no. You will come back home with me where you will be safe. You will see a psychiatrist and together, we will find a place for you in this world.”
A part of me wanted to say yes. To find some kind of meaning and direction, some kind of peace, it was tempting.
An intense warmth from my pocket shook me from my thoughts. The marble that Ilias gave me was heating up to where it was almost uncomfortable. I wanted to pull it out but remembered her warning to me…
Keep it safe, away from them…
My spidey sense started tingling, maybe it was trying to warn me of her offer? The Maou was nothing but a back stabbing bitch and I had no reason to doubt that Druella was the same. Maybe I was being unfair, or maybe I was too trusting of a celestial being that I hardly knew, maybe I was judging someone for the actions of their family. I didn’t have any clear answers, no clear choices I could make that I knew where the right ones.
Some of you out there, if you are out there, may say that I should have taken her up on it. Living the good life with a rich, slutty aunt, not a care in the world, it’s the dream for some. If I did that, I knew I would also have to give up seeing Vicky, maybe somehow trying to make amends with her family. After all they weren’t in the family so to speak. I forever lost that chance with Victoria, but maybe there was still hope with our children. I still needed to find Romie, if she was still out there but I knew that I owed some kind of… reconciliation… some kind of… answers and closure to my daughters and grandaughter.
“How much time do I have to decide?” I asked.
She took the outheld hand and cradled her chin with it in thought.
“Hmmm. I will give you until the end of today. You are out with your grandaughter after all. I’m not that heartless to interrupt such an affair.”
“And if I decide I don’t want to go with you?”
“Then that would be the wrong choice Donnie, and I trust you’ll make the correct one. You’ll be seeing me later.”
“Hey sorry I took so long!” I turned to see a winded Vicky with her forgotten backpack slung over a shoulder.
“What’s on the wall?”
Turning back, I found that Druella had vanished just as quickly as she appeared. As short lived as it was, the party was soon going to be over and I had to think of something to escape the Lilims grasp. Maybe a little comfort food would help.
“Nothing… Let’s go.”
“Welcome to McSabbath’s, can I take your order?” Droned a pimply faced teen behind the counter.
Fuck me, they changed McDonald’s too.
It was the same Golden Arches, but the fucking Bamphomet’s took over my beloved fast food chain.
Staring at the alien menu above, I compared the changes. The Big Mac had become the Big Brother, Quarter Pounder was called a Pound Me Harder, Happy Meals were called Little Sister Meals, and the list went on and on…
“I’ll take a Big Brother meal with a Coke and two apple pies. Oh, some honey mustard cups too, please.”
I shockingly looked over to Vicky. After hearing that order, there was no doubt in my mind that girl really was related to me.
Vicky glanced sideways and asked, “What? Don’t tell me all that made me sound like a total P’Orc, did it?”
I shook my head and smiled fondly, “Not at all.”
“And you, sir?”
I looked back up at the menu. The last time I went to a fast food place, Molly dragged me to Burger Queen against my requests. Now that I was in the closest place I could get to McDonald’s, I had no idea what to get. Finally my eyes settled on something I would have never guessed they would have.
“I’ll take the McRib meal with a Sprite.”
“Oh Maou, you’re one of those people.”
I frowned and looked back over to her, “What do you mean ‘those people’?”
“The Rib people.”
“You don’t get it, do you?” She smirked, making me think that I missed out on some kind of joke.
“One Big Brother Meal with a Coke, two pies, One McRib and a Sprite, that’ll be $12.50,” Interupted the cashier.
Once again, I found myself without money…
“Don’t worry, I got it.” She said taking her wallet out and removing a twenty. I was beginning to feel like a total mooch. Not for the first time, I wondered what the hell happened to all the gold coins I had back in the other world. Even a couple would at least give me a decent amount of spending money.
The food came faster than I expected and we took our trays to go sit down.
“Devin still hasn’t text me back… I hope he’s okay.” Vicky said while checking her phone.
“I’m sure he’s fine.” I lied, “Probably just got busy taking care of stuff.”
I know, I know, get off my ass for lying to her again. I felt bad for doing it, but not for what I did to Devin. Take it for what it is.
I unwrapped my sandwich and took a bite. Surprisingly it tasted pretty good. The sauce was a little sweeter than I remembered but it was almost the same! Maybe I spoke too soon about the goats.
“I hope he’s not cheating on me.”
Holy shit, what the hell is it with everyone and that?
Putting down my food, I remarked dryly, “If you don’t mind me saying, he’s not exactly a prize.”
“I know he needs some work but he’s a good guy, he really likes me.” She defended.
“It seems he likes ordering you around.” I countered.
“He does that sometimes, yeah. It’s just how he is.”
I could hear a growing doubt in her voice. Maybe this wasn’t the first time she had this conversation. Taking a breath, I asked,
“Does he hit you?”
But as she exclaimed that, her pupil shifted slightly away from looking directly at me. She wasn’t telling the whole truth. If my conscious was guilty about the beating I gave to Devin, it suddenly became very clear.
“Vicky, you’re beautiful and smart, you could do a whole hell of a lot better than that guy.”
Her face suddenly turned crestfallen as she looked down and chomped into her burger.
I waited until she swallowed, then she clarified.
“No, I’m not. Devin might not be the best but, he was the only one that showed interest in me. I was never looked at in High School, no one wanted to date some one eyed girl when there were ‘normal’ looking girls to ask out. One eyes don’t get much love…”
“Vicky…” I began, but she cut me off saying,
“It just seems like I have no chance, okay? There’s the Suc-u-sluts, that jump on anything that has a heartbeat, the Anubutts that everyone loves, then there’s the Cores’ that some idiots on the web started calling “Mofucores” and spreading rumors that if you sniff them, you get high. Yeah, try that and see how many times you get the shit rapped out of you. Oh! Oh! Then everyone has this stupid fetish for catgirls! Total weirdos.”
I raised my eyebrow to her last comment and she blushed in realization of what she just said.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“But that’s the thing! How’s a girl like me suppose to complete with all that? I don’t have any special powers or magic. I don’t have a tail, or wings, or anything cool or sexy like that.” She finished with a dejected sigh.
I shrugged and said, “Hey I did fall for your grandma. Your dad fell for your mom. It’s not a contest out there for who’s got the biggest tits, or the biggest ass, or tail, or who’s the biggest whore.”
It was her turn to raise an eyebrow to my last statement.
“Okay fine, for the Succubus’s it probably is, but that’s the thing, it’s not about what can you do for some guy. It’s about how they make you feel, it’s about them genuinely liking you and respecting you. I know back in the day it was different for Mamono. You had to take what you could get, and hope you got lucky with a good guy.”
I paused and bit into a couple of fries. Eh, they kinda tasted like Micky D’s. Not enough salt though.
“I used to hear all these stories about Mamono bending over backwards to please their man and this and that. The thing is you didn’t hear too many stories where the guy went above and beyond for them. In my opinion it always a give and take with Mamono but for the wrong reasons. They seem to give everything and take just one thing. I donno maybe I’m just a little pessimistic but I do know one thing for certain. You ARE brilliant, beautiful and so much more. You deserve better.”
She blushed at my words and mumbled a thank you before stabbing a fry into the little cup of golden honey mustard sauce.
Suddenly her phone rang. Even without it being on speaker, I could clearly hear the angry voice of Didi on the other end.
“Put him on the Maou damn phone, right now!”
Wide eyed, Vicky mouthed the words “Oh fuck!” to me then answered,
“Uh… Who’re you talking about aunt Didi?”
“Niece or not, I can and will put you in jail.”
My loyal grandaughter instantly passed the phone over to me.
Totally taking back that atta girl.
“I swear to the Maou, if I wasn’t a federal agent and needed this job, I would put a bullet in you and they would never find your corpse. Do you know how much of a pain in my ass you are?”
Yeah, she’s pissed.
“Hey, I left you a note, I’m safe, I’m with Vicky. What’s the problem?”
“The problem is you’re an escaped mental patient walking around with my niece like you’re all on a Maou damn picnic! Did you ever stop to think of how it would look on Vicky if you got arrested? That the LEO’s would take her into custody too? How her school might react to that?”
Her scathing words hit home to me. I never considered that all of this would be a risk to Vicky.
“…No” I answered softly.
“No. Because you only think about yourself. Because you don’t give a shit about MY family, MY niece, MY sister, MY mother! I did you a favor by picking you up from the street where you-know-who left you and how do you repay me? By endangering Vicky. I should have left you to rot.”
I didn’t have any words to say. I was ashamed of what I did. For the second time today, I questioned my actions. I fucked up, didn’t I?
I was well aware of Vicky staring at me during the conversation. She looked concerned. It just made me feel more like a scum bag.
“Where are you?” She growled.
“At a McDonald’s… McSabbath’s by her school.”
There was a pause as she was probably checking her phone for where that was. I could hear road noise on the other end which told me she was driving while doing it.
“I’m an hour away. Stay there, tell Vicky to go back to school and if she’s still with you by the time I get there, you will regret it.” She threatened.
It became clear to me that I wasn’t going to get my wish. That reconnecting with them was just a pipe dream. I was a danger to them, to Vicky. I was disease, a cancer to Victoria’s family. It was in that moment, I made a decision. Druella was right, I was acting like a kid, fucking up, not taking responsibility for my actions. I didn’t deserve to be a part of Vicky’s life or anyone’s for that matter.
“Druella.” I mumbled.
“Druella found me today. Offered to take me back to her place. Keep me away from everyone. Try to get me better. Find a place for me. I… I’m going to accept.”
I saw Vicky bring both hands to her mouth in shock.
The call ended as soon as I said that and I gave Vicky’s phone back to her.
“The hell you’re going back with her!” She exclaimed causing a few looks in our direction.
“It’s better this way Vicky. I’m not good for you, for anyone right now. At least if I’m with her, I’m not a danger to anyone.” I sighed, disgusted with myself that I could have gotten her arrested or worse, expelled .
“You’re not a danger to me! I finally found you! My grandfather that’s been missing forever! One of the biggest mysteries of my family and that’s it? You’re going to go back to being some Lilim’s pet?”
“And what’s the alternative Vicky,” I asked with frustration growing in my voice, “continue with what I’ve been doing? Messing up? Not knowing what the hell I’m doing? Keep winging it by the seat of my pants? It doesn’t work anymore.”
I put my hand on hers only to have her pull it away in anger.
“Things were different back in the other dimension. I was by myself, I didn’t have to worry about anyone. Now I’m back here. Back home,” I looked out a window to see the passing cars and Mamono students with their backpacks, “as home ever will be to me. Vicky, I did some bad stuff out of anger and fear, now I have to answer for that. Not only that, I also put you in danger for my own selfish needs. I’m lost and alone in this new place and I have no idea what the hell I’m doing…”
I stared down at my cold, half eaten food. A little voice inside my head said, ‘Time to grow up, Donnie’.
“You’re not alone. And you’re not danger to me. I know we just met but, I know you’re not.” She said softly putting her hand atop mine.
“I am Vic…” I mumbled softly.
I don’t know why I called her by the name I used to call her grandmother. Maybe somehow I thought was speaking to Victoria though our grandaughter. Clearing my throat, I spoke louder,
“Didi wants you to go back to class. She was pretty adamant on that.”
“Few more minutes? Just to finish?”
I nodded in agreement with a sad smile and we ate our meal slowly, savoring the time left together. Neither of us cared that the food wasn’t warm anymore. We just ate and talked, shared little stories here and there. It’s funny, I never got to say goodbye to Victoria yet with our grandaughter, I would.
As we exited the restaurant, I saw a black limo waiting for me with Druella leaning against its side.
Let’s get this over with.
I started to walk towards her but was pulled back by Vicky grabbing hold of my hand.
“Don’t go… Please.” She whispered. I didn’t have the heart or courage to face her.
“I have to. It’s best for everyone.” I whispered back. Her grip loosened and I slipped out, beginning to walk again towards the Lilim.
“Even you?” She called after I took a few more steps. Her question made me stop. I wasn’t sure. But it would keep everyone else safe from me.
“Anytime now, Donnie.” Druella sighed loudly as she checked her diamond encrusted watch.
The wail of a police siren stopped everything as a black Dodge Charger came speeding into the parking lot. The brakes screeched and the scream of tires burning on asphalt nearly deafened us as smoke and it’s stench washed over everything.
When the smoke cleared, Didi stood in front of the running car, much like the night when she picked me up from the street. Only this time her revolver was aimed at the Lilim as she positioned herself between myself and Druella.
“He’s not going with you.”