Short Fiction!




“Just do it.”

“Do you think I’m afraid? I’m not some timid ten year old boy, Jay.”

“Then prove your manlihood, chicken.”

Rob chugged the last half of his beer and crushed the can.” This is ridiculous,” he said to his twin brother in the seat next to him.
Jay followed in suit, draining the can and throwing it behind him. He heard the clang of it hitting the existing pile and rolling to the floor as he slammed the passenger door of the beat up Chevy Cavalier.

Shoulder to shoulder, the twins stepped to the entrance of the abandoned trail. The light of the full moon shone on the backs of their heads casting two identical copies ahead of them. Rob swore he saw Jay’s shadow wink at him.

Impossible, he thought before taking a step forward. Jay, again followed in suit, dropping behind him and marching in cadence.

All was quiet, eerily quiet. The only sound in the forest was that of their steps on the rocky terrain and the occasional gust of wind. On either side of them, the trees thickened. Rob could feel the innumerable eyes penetrating his shell and scratching his very soul. He just knew somewhere in those trees lived the thing he was most afraid of, but there was no way in hell he was going to tell Jay that.

Somewhere deep in the tree line, a screech owl broke the silence. Rob nearly jumped right out of his combat boots. His could feel the tiny hairs on his neck stand on end and his knees begin to shake. For a second, he wasn’t sure if he was going to throw himself on the ground and play dead or run back to the car. Lucky for him, Jay’s hysterical laughing reminded him of exactly what they were doing here.

“Afraid of a little bird, Robbie Boy?”

“You don’t have to be such an ass, you know,” Rob growled back. He hated it when Jay called him that. It was just so demeaning and it took that endearing quality he connected with his mother away from the nickname to hear it from his angry twin brother.

Rob picked up the pace as he fought the urge to turn around and deck Jay. He could only think of his mother’s last words, “Keep an eye on JayJay, Robbie. He’s not as strong as you.”

“Yes, Robbie. Do watch out for your poor brother. We’d hate for anything to happen to him.”

“Stay out of my head, Jay,” Rob snapped as he pushed his way through the thickening underbrush. He’d been so busy trying to keep his fear in check, he hadn’t been watching the path ahead. Now that he looked, it had utterly disappeared. In its place were briar bushes and saplings.  
Jay took advantage of Rob’s distraction and probed his mind. “Robbie? Are you afraid? Is this too scary for you?”

“Seriously, Jay. I’m out here with you. The least you could do is stay out of my thoughts.”

“What good is my twincense if I can’t peek into your head? Come on? Just a-”

Jay was cut off mid-taunt with a yelp. Rob didn’t slow to see. He knew he’d caused his brother’s pain. Just a mild shock now and then to remind him who’s in charge.

“Was that necessary?” the second twin whined.

“Yes. Now have I made myself clear?”

“Fine,” Jay said kicking a rock out of his path.

“I can see the tower rising ahead of us.” Rob pointed toward what looked like a needle protruding from the haystack that was the forest line. “Just another mile or so. Can you make it.”

Jay scoffed. “Of course.”

Rob reached into the sheath strapped to his back and withdrew a machete. Jay, again, followed in suit, raising his hand strung bow over his head and withdrawing an arrow from the quiver. Jay readied himself for an attack from either side. He could tell from Rob’s stance there was bound to be something in the trees.

“Do you hear them?” Jay whispered.

“Panting. Look to the left.”

 Jay did as he was told. “The eyes, Rob.” He forced tremble into his voice.

Shoot them, Rob thought loudly.

“I can’t do that. It’s like…”

I know what it is. You must shoot it.

“But…”

If you don’t, it will hurt us. Quickly, between the eyes.

Jay lined the arrow against his finger and prayed it would penetrate the skull for the instantaneous kill. He let the arrow fly and watched as it hit the target. Within seconds, the two amber lights went out.

“Good job, brother. On we go.”

“Are there more?”

“Most likely.”

“How many?”

“Reach deep, Jay. Can you feel them?”

“I feel you and me?”

“Use your twincense, JayJay. Are there more?”

Jay gasped.

Rob lifted his machete and wacked the overgrowth in front. “Stay close. If you see one, shoot it. Always between the eyes. This is what we trained for.”

“Do you have your shield up?”

Rob nodded. He knew his twin would be able to see the slight movement. Together, they pushed through the forest, one cutting the trees while the other flying arrows.

The more arrows Jay let fly, the freer he felt. Like with each one he killed the more of him was free. He briefly remembered his mother saying, If you stretch yourself too thin, you will never keep up. If only she knew…

“I think I see the base of the tower,” Rob said, breaking the rhythm. Jay looked past his brother and grunted an agreement.

The end of the trail lay a hundred feet from them. Retaining the lead, Rob skirted to the right into the dense trees. He couldn’t hear any panting in that direction and if all else failed, he had his machete. Again, Jay followed in suit.

“How many guards?” Rob asked.

“None. But they are everywhere. How are we supposed to pass them.”

Rob smirked. He let his hands fall to his side and closed his eyes, trusting his brother to protect him. He held his own mirror image in his mind, replacing his own baby blues with the glowing ambers of the others and let the electricity fly. The howling came from all around as the targets fell to the ground in pain.

He opened his eyes and barked the order. “Run. Straight to the door.”

Rob broke through the door and latched it behind Jay just as the shock war off. Wasting no time, the brothers climbed the spiral stones ahead of them. It was something they’d done millions of times in their childhood but never in the dark and never without Mother.

As remembered, the stairs opened into a circular room filled with state of the art computers and buzzing machines. We’re not alone, Rob thought.

Jay raised an arrow and scanned the room. In the center of the room, strapped to a stainless steel work table was Gemini.

Jay sprang into action. He threw his archaic bow to the floor and ran to the side of the table and began undoing the straps. First his ankles, then his wrists and lastly, the headpiece.

From behind a mirror stepped a graying man in a blood stained lab coat. “Hello, my boys.”

“I have done as you requested, Father,” Jay said.

Rob’s face sm ushed up in a look of utter confusion. Father was dead. He saw it happen

“I’m sorry, Robbie Boy. Did you really think it was going to be this easy? Did you really think you could just swoop in from your high class life and rescue me?”

“But he’s just…”

“Gemini is part of me. You left me. You asked for this.”

“Sorry it has to be this way, son. Your mother did ask you to look out for JayJay. Consider this your ultimate act of obedience.”

Gemini flew from the table and was on top of Rob before he could raise his machete. He lifted the young man over his head and slammed him onto the steel table, hard enough to render him immobile but not enough to shake his consciousness.

“I want you to feel each burning jab. Every grating strap. I want you to hurt,” Jay said. “Oh, don’t worry. There was nothing you could do to change this. I was the original. From me, you came. You robbed me of my life and now I will take yours.”

With that, Jay reached above the table and pulled the life force wires from their hook and snapped them into a needle the size of his arm. “If I miss your heart, I will have to do it again, I suggest you be still.”

Rob felt immense pain spread from his chest outward and all went dark.

Happy Halloween he thought before he lost consciousness.








“Marcos has reassembled.”

It was four in the afternoon. I still had three hours before my shift was set to start. Why was this daylight hunter calling me? 

“I don’t think you understand.”

The voice on the other side wasn’t wrong. I had no idea why it was necessary to wake me from an already fitful sleep to tell me something I’d been warning them about for months. 

“If you don’t get here, there is no telling how many will die.”

Again, I’m not sure what I had to do with any of this. I didn’t have the magic wand to send him back into banishment. 

“He’s been asking for you. He says he is going to start killing ten humans an hour until you show up.”

Marcos always knew how to get under my skin. “How? Is he not stuck inside?”

“Yes, he is. When we first heard he’d returned, the whole unit ran over here. Two hours ago, the neighborhood was vacant. Not a soul could be seen. It was eerie. Over the last hour or so, people have just popped up. They are standing in the street staring at the house.”

“He’s beckoned them.”

“It appears so.”

“Send me an address.”

It didn’t take long to climb out of bed and dress. Lucky for them, I’d showered after my workout this morning. The address wasn’t far. Just on the other side of the railroad tracks. As I pulled onto the street, I knew I was in the right place. Entranced people were everywhere. Some stared at the house with a twisted smile on their face. Others sitting on the ground rocking back and forth. 

I was forced to park my car. The second I stepped out of it, I heard the voice. This one had gall. He might as well have been speaking through a megaphone, his broadcast was so strong. 

The human cattle-call stopped at the property line. 

I stepped up beside the daylighter. “We have to stop meeting like this.”

“We don’t have time for jokes,” she growled. “This is serious.”

“I can see that. Why haven’t you made your men visible? How do you plan to hold off the humans if they can’t see you?”

“I hoped when you arrived, he would let down his broadcast.”

Maniacal laughter filled the air. One could only be so lucky. Every human took one step forward. 
Would you like to play chicken?

“I’m here, Marcos. What is it you want?”

Freedom.

“I can’t grant that and you know it.”

The crowd took another step forward. 

“I believe it’s time to see your men.”

Jane nodded her head and instantly, dozens of black clad men could be seen lining standing face to face with the front of the crowd. Behind them, another ring of strangely dressed men and women stood with their hands held toward the sky, muttering under their breath.

Buzzkill.
 
“The force is up.” 

One by one, humans began to drop from their entrancement and turn away. Jane and I entered the force, weaving through the defenders and the witches. “Why can’t they dress normally? The wonder why we insist they be unseen but when we need them, they show up wearing such odd clothing. Everyone within view must know something’s up.”

“Now is not the time.”

I couldn’t help a grin. “Fine.”

“You knew we weren’t going to grant you freedom, Marcos. I brought the nightwalker. Now what do you really want.”

Just to be reunited once more with my brother.

Jane turned to me with that look I’d been dreading. The one of astonishment.  “Your brother?”

He didn’t tell you? 

“Yes, Jane. My brother. Have you never wondered why I have spent my life fighting demons? I watched him turn. There was nothing I could do for him. Once he was banished, I turned my efforts to cleaning the world of them.”

Such a pesky brother.

Jane let out a scream and fell to the ground. I knew she was dead. My brother always had a way of taking from me what matters most.

One

Our life together was never a pleasant one. Marcos was faster, meaner and sneakier than I ever could have been. I took the blame for all things gone wrong while he sniggered behind Mom’s back. 

No, I’m not looking for sympathy. I have long since accepted the fact that I grew up with a monster. Marcos has made me the strong man I am today. Without his taunting, I wouldn’t have been given the chance to grow a layer of tough skin and fight the demons in the night. 

Anyway, this story isn’t about my woes. It’s about Marcos and how he became such a beast. I will get back to that horrible day when Marcos revealed himself, I promise, but in order for you to understand the events of that day, you need to understand my brother. 

I think I was barely a year old when my father died. My mother was such a wreck that she sent me to live with my grandmother for a few months while she pulled herself back together. I don’t remember any of it as I was so young. All I do know is she spent a lot of time partying and relieving her sorrow at the bottom of a bottle or with a few puffs of something synthetic. When she sobered up and brought me home, she was three months pregnant with Marcos. 

To this day, she swears she has no idea who Marcos’s father is despite the fact that I’ve heard her numerous times screaming into the phone about the baby. Growing up, we moved like clockwork; every sixth months to the day. I always knew we were running from someone and the thought that it was the demon’s father never escaped either of us. The last time we moved, I was sixteen making Marcos almost fourteen. 

He fought tooth and nail to stay. “I know you are running from my father. I refuse to go!” he screamed, still unaware of his demon self. The fighting went on for hours. Mom sobbing that he was wasting time, Marcos screaming that she was keeping him from knowing his father. 

“He is not your father!” she finally screamed. “He is just the man who raped me when I was unconscious!”

A smile spread across Marcos’s face. “He told me you  might say such things.”

Mom was horrified. “You spoke to him?” she stuttered.

“Did you really think he wouldn’t find me? Make me know?”

“But he’s a…”

“Say it. Demon. He’s a demon.”

I sat on the bed listening.  What does that mean?

“It means I’m not human, big brother, half of me, anyway. I am special and Mom here refuses to let me live to my fullest abilities.” 

And you can hear my thoughts?

“Always have. I know how much you despise me. It’s ok. I won’t kill you. Just her.”

I ran into the living room in time to see Marcos transform into a true demon. He grew to nine feet tall, his skin turned from milky white to the color of blood and horns sprouted from his head. His fingers elongated and ended in claws. When his clothes ripped and fell to the floor, a set of wings spread from his back. I can only describe them as bat wings with claws at the tips. 

 “I will make it fast, Mom. I just need you out of the way.” Without pause, Marcos reached into her chest and ripped out her heart and held it in front of him, watching the blood as it dripped on the carpet. 

I bolted around him and caught her dead body in my lap as it fell to the floor. I sobbed as I stroked her head, unaffected by the demon that stood over me. “I trust you will bury her and run home to Grandmom?” 

“Do I have a choice?”

“I suggest you not share today’s events with her,” said another voice at the door. 

When I looked up, the man I saw was nothing special. Just an average man with an easily forgettable face below a mop of average brown hair and gray eyes. “Again, do I have a choice?”

“Not if you want her to live,” he said.

Marcos leaned over me and said the last thing I ever expected. “I’m sorry, Mom. It has to be this way.” You could see the sorrow in his beady black eyes. He kissed her on the forehead. It was a ghastly sight to see such a demon stretch his tightened skin into a pucker over his sharpened teeth. 

The man in the doorway must have said something silent because Marcos backed off and lumbered to our bedroom. When he returned he looked like my brother and the spitting image of the man. “I know you have questions,” he said, “but you are better off not having answers. The less you know, the safer your future.”

It was as they turned and left that I realized two things. My brother did care for us in his very own way and I would spend the rest of my life fighting hellraising demons.