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Eye From Within

Summary

A musician uncovers a conspiracy as old as time itself.  Now he must struggle within 
to find the strength and the courage to stand against it, before it changes life as 
he knows it forever.

Prologue

 


Over the years that led up to the war, our world was in disrepair. With poverty and crime at it's highest levels, terrorism plagued the streets based on global politics and religion. Mankind lived in fear, torn between racial, religious, and social barriers. For many years a small group of the general population, known as the Subsequent's fought against it. Yet, they lacked the knowledge and power to eradicate it. As a result, much of the world's population remained blind to the truth.

Only a handful of people knew that our world was run by a secret society; known as The Dark Regency. An organization that dated back to biblical times and possessed the knowledge of Human Potential. A culture that had been long lost to humanity. By using this knowledge, The Dark Regency gained power over the Subsequent. This placed the fate of our world in their hands.

They corrupted our world with crime, alcohol, and drugs. Their only goal was using Human Potential against us, forming a New World that was governed by them under martial law.

For years they influenced the world's governments, manipulated the media, and infiltrated the entertainment industry. All meant to create a system to gain the trust of the youth. The purpose of this system was to influence young minds into the belief of their replacement world. This classified operation was named Horus. The establishment of Horus proved too slow for The Dark Regency, who craved immediate domination over the world.

It was Chancellor Eva Lucas who first introduced the idea of an ultimate weapon. They would need an individual who came from a Subsequent background. Someone that the people would trust. This person would be able to influence the youth that the Dark Regency attempted this concept twice and failed. They believed that such a person did not exist.

What they weren't aware of is that concealed within the Subsequent was an Army who possessed the knowledge of Human Potential naturally. As well as abilities much too advanced for the minds of those within the Regency. We remained in the shadows awaiting the day that the one would rise. The one destined to lead the world into rebellion and restore the knowledge of Human Potential to humanity. We call it the Rebellion of Trion, you know it as Revelations. This is our story.

We are, Trinity.

1

 

My mother was the type of woman who always spoke her mind. No matter what it was, she was never the type of person to hold her tongue. She knew that the corruption in the world was because of the organization called The Dark Regency. However, her sanity was questioned because that's the way humanity was taught to look at conspiracies.

Even my father did not believe what he called her ramblings. He continually asked her to keep her opinions to herself, but she couldn't do that. She had to warn people about what was to come. My mother feared for my future in the corrupted web of reality. She cared more about my life than her own. That's why it was so baffling when my father came home to find that she had completely vanished without a trace. However, not a soul in Portage was surprised and figured that the crazy ramblings just became too much for her. Their sympathy went to us instead.

It might have been my mother's disappearance that made me grow up to be a loner, and furious with the world. Because, from the moment my mother disappeared, my life continued to spiral out of control. My father often worked, and so I had little guidance and was left to my own devices.

By the time I was ten, more hardships had come, and we moved in with my grandmother. We were poor, and I was often teased about my clothing. Never being one to complain I did my best with what I had. While most kids got brand new gifts from their parents, I found many treasures on my way home from school. That's how I got my hands on the first Walkman that I ever owned.

My only friend, Bobby Parks, lived a few doors down. Bobby often felt sorry for me and would give me whatever he no longer wanted. That's how I got my first tapes to play in my Walkman. I fell in love with music, I studied it and started composing some of my own songs. This interest seemed to help me cope with my troubled life.

When I finally got comfortable another tornado hit and turned my life upside down again. Out of the blue, my father met another woman, Jessica, they ripped me from my grandmother's without notice.

It didn't take me long to figure out that the current arrangement would not work. Jessica wasn't easy to get along with, and I was sure that she hated me. Thing's got worse when she got pregnant even though I prayed every night. However, things got even worse than that when Lucy was born, and that's when I had enough. I ran away from home without a single glance back.

For the most part, I lived on the streets of Portage, salvaging what I could. Bobby helped me out from time to time, and I even remained in school, for a while. But, the nights I spent in the streets were cold and scary, so I leaned heavily on my music while hiding from street gangs who caused trouble overnight. Not once did my spirit dampen and I continued to focus on my music. In fact, with Bobby's help, I even composed the school musical.

That was how I met Kelly, and if there were two people wrong for each other, it was us. We were like night and day, but the only two that couldn't see that were us. Kelly and I were both Subsequent, but we grew up on different ends of it. Kelly's family made decent money, while mine remained poor. This caused differences in personalities, and we often argued. This was also the main reason that Kelly's father hated me, and looked down at my dream to become a musician. To him, I was a slacker who would never amount to anything and therefore had no business being with his little girl. He had forbidden Kelly to see me, which became the main attraction in the first place. From that moment on Kelly influenced most of my decisions.

It was Kelly who had talked me into quitting school so that I could spend all of my time focused on my music. Bobby tried hard to change my mind. However, that was the thing about Kelly, she always got her way. Thing's were going well for me until Kelly ended up pregnant and her father threw her out of the house. It was only then I regretted my choice to leave school. I ended up taking two dead-end jobs. I worked as a sales clerk at Freddy's Discount Store over on Maple Street from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon, six days a week. And, as a bartender at the Inferno around the corner from the trailer park, working from three in the afternoon until seven in the evening for seven days a week. The income allowed me to purchase a shabby trailer for which I rented a lot for at the Fifth Avenue Trailer Park. It wasn't much, but it put a roof over our heads. The rest of my pay went towards groceries but just barely. Of course, Kelly wasn't happy about it, nothing was ever good enough for her.

I was sitting behind the wheel of a 1976 Pinto, in my driveway. I was resting my forehead against the steering wheel. It was seven-thirty in the evening, and I was just arriving home from work. My car had seen better days and flanked out as soon as I pulled in.

"Are you fucking shitting me!" I groaned, pulling my head back. I pulled the lever under the dashboard for the hood. I pushed my head back on the seat, closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. My car would break down like this often. It was a piece of shit, but I couldn't afford a new one. "Unbelievable," I muttered as I shook my head, I opened the door and climbed out of the car.

I had a long day at work, I was hungry, exhausted, and in desperate need of a shower. Of all days for this blasted car to act up, it had to be this one. I was cursing as I rolled up my sleeves watching the steam roll out from under the hood. I stepped forward and pulled the hood up as the door of the trailer burst open. Kelly stepped onto the porch, our son Dylan on her hip.

"I need you to run to the Pitt Stop," she said. "Dylan's out of milk and diapers. We also need eggs."

"I'll go in a bit, the car quit on me."

"You'll go now." She insisted.

"I'm a little busy," I shouted. "Give me fifteen minutes."

"Figures," she muttered. "My dad's right about you." My jaw dropped.

"Are you fucking shitting me?" I shouted again, worried that we were disturbing the neighbors. "I worked my fucking ass off all day. Now I gotta fix this stupid car!"

"Not my problem," Kelly was shaking her head. "Are you going to the store or not?" I could feel my cheeks flush as people gathered in the street.

"Why can't you go?" I asked as she tossed back her head and laughed.

"As if," she replied. "You're the man of the house. It's your job."

"What do you do Kelly? Sit around the house all day, stuffing your face and watching soaps!"

"Don't be an asshole, Adam." She cried. I grinned, shaking my head as I peered at the engine.

"That's all I know how to be."

"Listen," she shouted, and I glanced nervously at the neighbors. "You get your ass down to that store, or you'll be sleeping in that car." I glared at her and slammed the hood.

"Fine!" I shouted, walking out of the driveway and jamming my hands in my pockets. She appreciated nothing I ever did, sometimes I wondered why I stay and put up with it. But, then I remember the reason is Dylan. Also, I spent so much time on my own growing up, I didn't want to be alone. However, all I do is work and sleep these days, I haven't had the chance to even think about music for over a year. I doubted I would ever have time for it again. So much for my dream. I should have never left school. I could see Bobby now, that cocky smirk painted on his face, as he chuckles under his breath and says, I told you, didn't I?

Deep down I probably knew even then that I didn't belong with Kelly. However, I remained with her, never experiencing real love. I sighed as I walked down the street kicking pebbles along the sidewalk. By now I had hoped I'd gotten somewhere with my music, but life got in the way. Success took time and dedication, two things that I no longer had. My dream had been stolen from me, it just was never going to happen. Not for me. It was unfair because all I needed was one chance to prove myself in the music industry, but that was never going to happen. I was in a bad mood walking into that Pitt Stop as I was passing an older lady with a young girl, the young girl with hair of gold bumped into my shoulder.

"I'm sorry," she said, but when she looked at me, she gasped. I narrowed my eyes.

"It's okay," I replied. Darcy's eyes a vivid blue and thick like the ocean captivated me. She peered at me as if she knew me from somewhere before. I knew she hadn't for I would never forget that face.

"Come, child," The older lady said.

"But, Gran that's..." The woman waved her hand.

"Leave him be, he's not ready yet."

"But!"

"Come, child," the older lady called, and the younger girl glanced back at me before hanging her head in defeat and walked out of the store. The entire episode lasted only a few seconds, but I lingered as I wondered how they knew me. How strange, I thought and pushed it out of my mind as fast as it entered. I had more important things to think about, no need to waste time on that silly girl and her grandmother. I made my way to the baby supplies, my eyes scanning the shelf before stopping on the smallest package of Huggies. I searched again for a generic brand, but of course, there was none. My eyes fell on the price tag on the Huggies.

"Are you fucking shitting me?" I muttered out loud as I gazed at the tag that read: $14.99. I sighed as I seized the bag of Huggies and walked to the cooler where I grabbed a jug of milk and a dozen eggs. I struggled to the front of the store where Miss Riley sat behind the counter. She was reading the latest issue of Soap Digest. She peered up over the magazine at me, smiled, and lowered it.

"I think Sammy will get Austin this time!" She said, there was great excitement in her voice. I raised my eyebrow, I had no idea who Sammy or Austin was, and I really didn't care. I placed the items on the counter. It was always awkward with Miss Riley because she wasn't just the clerk at the Pitt Stop, she was also Jessica's mother.

"Adam dear," she frowned. "You look exhausted."

"I just got off work," I replied as she bagged my items. "And, I'd like a lucky seven, please." Miss Riley opened the ticket drawer and smiled.

"They say that the third one's the charm." As she said this, she took out the third ticket from the front. Then tapped a few buttons on the register. "Okay, that will be $27.50." I was already digging in my wallet, but all I could find was a twenty.

"No, no, no!" I muttered as I dug deep into my pockets. I was desperate now. Miss Riley narrowed her eyes.

"Is something wrong dear?" She asked, and I sighed again.

"All I have is a twenty," I said and licked my lips. "Could you put the other $7.50 on my tab?" However, Miss Riley was shaking her head before I had finished speaking.

"No, absolutely not," she replied. "Your tab is maxed out, and Stweart was clear that you are not to receive any more credit until some of your bills are paid." I cursed under my breath before gazing at her with pleading eyes.

"Please," I asked. "cut me some slack. Kelly has already threatened to throw me out again. If I don't return with everything, she asked for it's going to be world war three tonight." Miss Riley sighed and shook her head furiously.

"I'm sorry, not going to happen." She said as tears were forming in my eyes.

"Please, I get paid in the morning." I cried. "I'll come straight here and pay the bill off, I promise." She glared at me, still shaking her head.

"No, I can't do that." She replied. "You'll have to put something back." I hung my head as the door opened behind me.

"Adam!" The person called. "I was just heading to see you."

"Oh, hey Bobby," I said my voice was low, and even I could tell I was down about something. Bobby gazed at me for a moment and raised an eyebrow.

"What's wrong?" He asked. I shuffled my feet not daring to look into Bobby's eyes.

"Kelly," I admitted. "She sent me for these things, but I'm a little short." Bobby peered into the bags.

"Yeah? How short are you?" He asked.

"$7.50," I answered. Bobby's forehead wrinkled, and he glared at Miss Riley.

"You couldn't put that on his damn tab?" He asked. "He has a damn kid to take care of."

"His tab is maxed out, it was out of my hands." She answered. Bobby gazed into his eyes, he licked his lips and was nodding his head.

"Okay," he said. "put it on mine. If this ever happens again, I want you to do that." Miss Riley did as she was asked, but she was glaring at Bobby.

"You know, you shouldn't keep bailing him out of every jam he's in, Bobby." She said. "He needs to grow up and learn how to handle his own. You mark my words, one of these days he'll get himself into a mess that you can't get him out of, and what will happen then?" She said, and I peered at her and narrowed my eyes.

"Excuse me?" I asked. Miss Riley blinked, shaking her head as she rolled her eyes.

"You heard me." She said. "You rely too much on other people, Adam Mitchell. You had enough problems of your own. You had no business bringing a child into your mess."

"I might be young, and my son might not have been planned, but he's taken care of." I was shouting, and Miss Riley was laughing.

"Taken care of is he?" She asked. "Adam, you couldn't even afford to pay me tonight."

"It's the night before payday," I shouted. "It's not unusual to be short on cash!"

"You would have had a much better life if you would have stayed with your parents." She said, and this only made me angrier.

"Such great parents they were." I spat, rolling my eyes.

"They did their best." She replied, and it made me laugh out.

"Are you fucking shitting me?"

"They are so worried about you," she pressed. "they want to be a part of your life, and Dylan's." I glared at her.

"No thanks," I replied. I grabbed the bags off the counter and stormed out of the store. I could hear Bobby chasing after me.

"Adam, wait!" He shouted. I stopped and cursed under my breath.

"Yeah?" I spun around, my eyes locking on his.

"I was heading to see you," Bobby said. "because I have something that will change everything."

"Honestly Bobby," I said. "unless you have a brand new car for me it won't change anything." Bobby laughed and held up a flyer. I glanced at it and shook my head.

Battle of the Bands, This Saturday 12PM, Tyler High School

I pressed my lips together, and then I glanced into Bobby's eyes.

"You're fucking shitting me right?" I yelled. "You can't be serious right now. I have no time for this shit." But, Bobby shook his head.

"I shit you not," he replied. "First prize is five thousand dollars and a record deal. Adam this is your chance to be a star, you got this."

"Got this?" I asked. "Bobby, I haven't even thought about music in over a year, I'm too busy. I have nothing that would be good enough for something like this, and I have no time to work on something... Saturday is two days away." I spun around and walked away, but Bobby followed me.

"You can win this," he insisted. "All you need is one song, and Eye from Within would be perfect." I bit my lip, as I stopped again.

"That needs some work. I'm exhausted, and I still need to go home so I can fix the car. I work the rest of the week. It's not possible."

"Make it possible!" Bobby insisted. "Take a few days off and finish the song. You're meant for greater things, I can feel it."

"Man, I have rent to pay, a car to fix, mouths to feed." I was shaking my head. "I can't."

"Screw all that," Bobby said. "All you need is one shot, and this is that shot. When you win this, you won't need to worry about any of that." Bobby said, and I narrowed my eyes.

"You believe in me that much?"

"Yes," He answered. "I always have." I bit my lip again.

"Okay, I'll do it but on one condition," I said. "If I don't win, I'm done with music Bobby. Forever."

"You'll win," Bobby said. "I got a good feeling that this will change your life forever."

"I hope so Bobby," I sighed. "I could use the break."

"Go home and make magic," Bobby said. "I'll see you on Saturday." I grinned.

"It's a deal."

I ran the rest of the way home that day. Bobby was right about one thing. If I won this, my life would change forever. Kelly and Dylan would never have to want for anything ever again. However, if I lost this, my dream would die forever. I was under so much pressure and had little time, could I win this contest or would my dream come crashing down?

2

 


Saturday afternoon I stood behind the curtain in the Tyler High.

Auditorium flexing my hands as I peered into the crowd. That was a lot of people out there, my heart was racing. I had never performed
in front of that many people before; I gulped. My eyes locked on the judges' panel. They would be deciding my fate. I gasped and closed the curtain, trying to remember why I agreed to do this.

"Nervous?"

I licked my lips and cleared my throat.

"No," I lied. Bobby could see through the lie. He smiled and shook his head.

"That's good because the Chancellor is a judge." He replied, and I glared at him.

"The Chancellor," I said. "of The Dark Regency?"

"Yeah," Bobby answered. My eyes were wide as I shook my head. I backed up a few steps. I couldn't be noticed by The Dark Regency. When I was a child, my mother always warned me that I could never be discovered by The Dark Regency. I never knew why that was, but I knew it was important. Now I was about to flaunt myself in front of them.

"Forget it," I said. "I'm withdrawing now." Bobby narrowed his eyes.

"What why?"

"My mother, she always said that The Dark Regency is the reason this world is so fucked up. She also warned me that I can never be discovered by them, no matter what." I said.

"You said yourself that your mom was a nutter."

"You don't get it, my song... Eye from Within is about them. I can't sing it in front of their God damn Chancellor!"

"You can and you will. That song is going to win this."

"I've heard things about The Regency. What they will do to you if you cross them." I said. Bobby laughed.

"You don't believe in that hogwash do you?" He sighed. "The Dark Regency are just people Adam, no different than us. They can make this happen for you. So get out there and do this." Bobby pushed me out onto the stage. I froze. I was blinded by the lights. I raised my arm and squinted my eyes. I glanced back at Bobby who was grinning. With my thoughts racing, I fixed my eyes on the judges' panel and saw the Chancellor, Eva Lucas of The Dark Regency gazing at me. I cleared my throat, pushing all my thoughts out of my head, I held the microphone to my mouth.

"My name is Adam Mitchell, and this song will be different from anything you are used to hearing," I said, worrying that this song was about to get me into trouble with The Dark Regency. It might even get me dead. I swallowed nervously. "So, sit back and enjoy the ride." At that moment the band behind me broke into the instrumentals the music billowing around me, my music touched my soul and brought something to life inside me. It was as if I were born to be on that stage the moment my mouth released the first lyric. The crowd went wild, they loved every moment of it, and as I moved around that stage, Eva never took her eyes off me. This indeed was second nature for me.

As incredible as my performance was, it just wasn't enough. I was the best out there, but the judges worried about my lyrical content. They feared that if they chose the song as the winner, trouble would knock on their doors. That was even after the Chancellor voted a perfect ten for the song. They gave first prize to some mediocre country singer and their song about a broken heart. I was given five hundred dollars for second place but left the high school with my dream dead.

Forty minutes later, I was sitting on the front porch with Bobby and Kelly, I was frowning when Bobby sighed.

"Forget it," he said. "You won that contest, everyone knew it. They were just afraid of The Dark Regency." I glared at him.

"And with good reason," I hissed. "I had no business going out there with that song. My mother always told me to stay away from them."

"There's always next time, sweetie," Kelly said, but I shook my head.

"Nah, I meant what I said. I can't do this anymore. I'm done with music." I shifted my feet.

"You can't give up your dream over one failure. That contest was rigged. You won fair and square." Bobby said.

"No, Tony Bill won, with Pieces of the Heart." I sighed. "Besides, one failure? My entire life is a failure. It's time I grew up and forgot about stupid dreams." My voice trailed off as my eyes fixed on the Rolls Royce that entered the trailer park. It pulled slowly into my driveway. "What in the flying fuck?" I muttered as I jumped to my feet. The car door opened and a woman climbed out. She was wearing designer clothing, a pair of sunglasses, and her hair was pulled back in a neat bun. Even with the distance between them, there was no mistake. It was Chancellor Lucas who stood next to her car, smirking. I was in serious trouble. The Dark Regency had come for me. She would take me and lock me away if I were allowed to live at all.

"Adam Mitchell?" She called, and I gulped. My heart racing.

"Yes?" I asked. The tremble in my voice noticeable.

"Eye from Within was a fascinating song." I gulped again. I was in trouble alright, this was the end of me.

"About that... I never meant..." I had started, but she waved her hands, I stopped speaking and narrowed my eyes.

"I was hoping that you'd be interested in a record deal with Dark Entertainment." She said. At that moment I could feel the shock wash over me. My mouth dropped.

"Did you say record deal?" I asked.

"Yes, Mr. Mitchell. I see potential in you." She said. "I have been searching for years for a specific person. I think you might be that person. We can help each other."

Never get noticed by The Dark Regency. Stay away from The Dark Regency. I could hear my mothers voice as clear as a bell inside my head, but I ignored it. Chancellor Lucas was offering me the chance of a lifetime. Everything I've ever wanted for myself, Kelly, and Dylan. I've been down on my luck, I needed this break. So, despite all the warnings in my life, how could I pass this up? I gulped.

"I'm interested," I answered.

"Then please," she said. "Get in the car. We'll run to my office and get the paperwork done. We must start your training straight away." I took a few steps toward the car.

"My training?" I asked.

"Oh yes," She replied. "You're about to learn things that you'd never believe in your wildest dreams." The corners of her mouth twitched, and I hesitated. However, a second later and I was inside that Rolls Royce. As we drove away, I glanced into the rearview mirror, taking the last glimpse of the life I was leaving behind. The last glimpse of the world that I thought I knew. 

3

 

  I was sitting inside the downtown office attempting to register everything I just been told. I sat across from my Dark Entertainment manager, Bradley Jacobs. I was leaning my chair back on two legs, my hands folded behind my head, and my feet propped on the desk. Jacobs was peering at my feet with a vacant expression.

"Your fucking shitting me right?" I asked. "You expect me to believe that the reason Subsequent's can't get anywhere in life is that they lack this knowledge of... what did you call it... Human Potential?" Jacobs rolled his eyes.

"Yes, it's the secrets of humanity that have been lost forever."

"If it's lost, how come The Dark Regency knows about it. For that matter why doesn't The Dark Regency teach it to the Subsequent?" I asked and regretted the question the moment that Jacobs glared at me with those beady eyes beneath those round spectacles.

"It's only lost to the Subsequent, and the reason we don't teach it to them is that if only a small minority know how to use it than it is easier to control them. If the Subsequent had the knowledge of Human Potential, the world would be equal, and there would be no one in control. People are like sheep, they need to be guided." I wrinkled my nose.

"So, The Dark Regency keeps this information from the Subsequent to maintain control?" I asked.

"They don't have full control yet. Not until the New World is established. That's where you come in. You will use your music to convince them subconsciously that they will want a one world government controlled by The Dark Regency. In exchange for your help, you are granted knowledge of Human Potential. You'll have everything you've ever wanted, all you have to do is what they ask of you." I sighed.

"I don't know," I said. "Keeping it from the Subsequent's seems wrong to me. These are my people." Jacobs glared at me and blinked.

"You're not Subsequent anymore."

"In my heart, I'll always be subsequent."

"Look, The Dark Regency spends billions of dollars every year to make sure that the Subsequent never find out the truth. You must keep this secret. That's the only price for your fortune."

"You want me to lie?"

"Is it lying when they will never ask you?" Jacobs asked.

"I guess not," I replied, pressing my lips together.

"You won't regret it." He said, and I narrowed my eyes. I wanted to believe him, but something seemed wrong, and I'm not sure why.

"How does The Dark Regency keep them from finding out the truth?"

"They have developed a serum that represses one's mind. It forces the pineal gland closed. Without the gland open, even if a Subsequent stumbles onto Human Potential, they will feel that it's hogwash because they won't be able to get it to work." Jacobs said. "However, we can still influence the mind." I exhaled.

"So, I'm a weapon?" I asked. Jacobs grinned and nodded as he gathered the papers on his desk.

"The third in Operation Horus." He answered. I raised my eyebrow.

"And, what if I told you that I changed my mind?" I asked, narrowing my eyes. Jacobs cleared his throat.

"Are you familiar with Deuce?" He asked.

"He was the artist that was murdered in broad daylight," I answered. Jacobs gazed deep into my eyes.

"Deuce crossed the wrong people, I'd keep that in mind." As Jacobs spoke a chill ran down my spine. My mother's warnings screaming in my head. What the fuck did I get myself into? "Follow me." Jacobs walked to a security locked door that was at the back of his office. He swiped a key card, and the door opened. He led the way inside.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"Before we can start teaching you how to use Human Potential, we need to reawaken your gland," Jacobs explained. We were walking down the hallway that had many doors branching off to the left and the right. As we passed each entry, curiosity crept up inside me. I glanced inside one room and stopped walking. I pointed inside as my mouth dropped. Inside what looked like alien life forms were working in some sort of lab.

"Are those aliens?" I asked. Jacobs stopped next to me and exhaled. His grin spread across his lips as he pushed his glasses up his nose.

"Well, you don't think we develop our own technology. Do you Mr. Mitchell."

"I never really thought about it before."

We walked on until another room caught my attention. It was set up like a hospital ward, and people were laying in beds. Some of the beds had more aliens standing over them.

"What in the world?" I stopped again. Jacobs glanced into the room that distracted me and sighed.

"You've heard of alien abductions?" He asked.

"Yes." My eyes were fixed on the room.

"Once a month, we take Subsequent's from their beds and bring them here to give them the serum. We get the greys to administer it because that way if one of them should wake they will think they were abducted by aliens and no one would believe them." I was staring into the room and narrowed my eyes.

"So, without the serum, the pineal gland will open again?" I asked, and he nodded.

"Yes," Jacobs said. "It takes some time, but it will eventually open."

"How many times have I been in this room?"

"Well, that depends. How many months old are you?" I blinked my eyes and followed Jacobs further down the hallway. We stopped in front of a door called: Examination Room. Jacobs opened the door with his key card, and we walked inside.

4

When I woke, I felt drained as if someone sucked all the energy out of me. My head throbbed, and I was actually dizzy.

"Interesting..." The man in the lab coat said.

"Is something wrong?" I asked, watching the man as he read the papers in his hands.

"What," he glanced up. "Oh you're awake... you're free to go."

"Is there something wrong?" I asked again.

"No, no," he said. "At least I don't think so." I raised my eyebrow.

"But, you said something was interesting."

"Yes, that's because when I went in to open your gland, it was already open."

"Is that bad?"

"No, I've just never seen it before," he said. "You're free to go." I jumped down from the stretcher and grabbed my jacket. Then I left the room. In only a few minutes, I was on the sidewalk, heading to the parking lot. I rounded the corner and rammed right into something. Or, maybe I should say someone. It was that girl with the golden hair. She gazed directly into my eyes, and suddenly I was hit with an overwhelming feeling that I've known this girl my entire life. The way she was staring back at me, I had the impression it was mutual.

"It's you," she said as she gazed up at the building. "And this is Dark Entertainment. It's starting."

"What is?" I asked.

"You're Adam Mitchell."

"And you are?"

"I knew it was soon going to start. I could feel it."

"What's going to start?" I asked. She lowered her head.

"Gran says that you're not ready yet."

"Ready for what."

"The truth." She said, and I narrowed my eyes.

"Excuse me?" I asked. She shook her head.

"Have you been signed to Dark Entertainment yet?" I narrowed my eyes.

"Yes,"

"So, you are born Subsequent, but turned Dark Regency," she said. "But, Trinity blood runs through your veins. You really are Number Three."

"Number what?"

"It doesn't matter," she said. "You're not ready yet."

"I don't understand," I said.

"You will in time," she said. "Do they know your gland is already awake?" I narrowed my eyes.

"Yes."

"No matter what you do, don't tell them anything your mother told you. Keep that information to yourself. If they figure out who you really are, then it will be over before it even starts."

"What do you mean."

"I mean that they will kill you."

"How do you even know about the gland? Subsequent's aren't supposed to know."

"Our people have always known about the gland."

"Our people?"

"I've said too much."

"You can trust me."

"Not until you are ready."

"You're not Subsequent, are you? You know too much to be Subsequent."

"No, I'm not."

"But, you're not from The Dark Regency either."

"No," She said. "Think Adam, there was a reason your mother always told you to not let The Dark Regency notice you. You are different that's why your gland was never closed. They can never find out that you are different."

"Great, and now I'm right under their nose," I muttered.

"You can still keep what you are a secret from them." She said. "Especially when you don't know any more then they do."

"My mother," I said as my mind drifted back to every single moment that she warned me about The Regency. Every moment that she told me never to be noticed by them. "My mother was different too, wasn't she?"

"She did her best to protect you, but when she found out who you truly were, she did her best to protect all of us. Your mother did what she had to for you to become who you were meant to." I wrinkled my nose.

"You keep talking like that. Who am I? Who am I going to become?"

"You are the third attempt at Operation Horus. First, there was Jordan, then Deuce, now you. That makes you Number Three."

"Why do you keep saying Number Three as if it holds some special meaning."

"They say that Number Three will be born as one of us, but raised as a Subsequent. And becomes a member of The Dark Regency." She said, and I sighed.

"There must be more to it than that," I said.

"Number Three will take a stand against The Dark Regency. He will be the one that leads us into battle. Number Three will end Revelations." She said. I was gaping at her.

"Is that all?" I asked. "Just take on the most powerful people in the world and end Revelations." I swallowed. "Piece of cake."

"For you, it will be. Being a member of The Dark Regency, you know that there are things in this world that can help you. There are magical powers within you when you are ready to accept them."

"So I'm told, I've never witnessed these things yet. For all, I know they are pulling my leg." I sighed. "Even so, I think you're wrong. This is real life, I'm not a superhero, not here to save the world, I just want to provide for my family."

"You and I both know that nothing in this world is impossible. That's what a Subsequent is trained to believe. Human Potential..."

"I know, I know. Makes anything possible. However, even if I am Number Three and I'm not saying I am. But, if I were. I'm not about to take on The Dark Regency. When you go against them you end up dead, people you love end up dead. You're looking at the wrong person to betray them. Nothing will ever make me turn on them."

"You're not ready yet, but you will be." She said.

" I wouldn't count on it."

"I'd bet my life on it." She said. "The same as I know you won't run this conversation straight to The Dark Regency. Even if they ask."

"You want me to lie?"

"Yes." She chewed her lip. I sighed.

"Okay," I answered. The girl walked away. "Hey!" I shouted. "What's your name?"

"In time." She smirked and then ran.

5

I sat at the table that night pushing my mashed potatoes around the plate. I wasn't hungry, I was a bit agitated, and my mind was on Human Potential, The Dark Regency, my pineal gland, and the girl with the golden hair.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"I'm sorry," I sighed. "I'm exhausted. What were you saying?"

"Figures, never mind it doesn't matter." She spat. "How much longer will you be doing whatever you are doing?"

"At least a week and then it's recording," I said. "On the bright side, I'm getting my advance soon." Even with me hearing the words come out of my mouth, I had a hard time believing it. I kept thinking that I was going to wake up at any moment and realize it had all been a dream.

"Good, I was worried about no money coming in." She said. "So, what's with this training thing. Music isn't rocket science." I shook my head. Even if I could tell her about Human Potential, she would never believe it and would probably have me committed.

"It's the equipment, the media, the fans, things like that." I lied. Her eyes narrowed, and I got the feeling as if she knew it was a lie, but she said nothing else.

"It's strange with you gone so long now," she said. "sometimes it feels like you don't even live here anymore. The few times you are here, it's like your mind is somewhere else." I laughed. If Kelly were the one who had just learned that everything she thought she knew in this world was a lie, she would take it a lot worse.

"I'm sure things will settle down." I lied again as she rested her chin on the back of her hands.

"Hopefully, it gets lonely without you around." She said, and I glared at her out of the corner of my eyes. I licked my lips and stood, scooping my whole plate into my hands.

"I'm sorry," I said as I scraped the plate into the garbage. "We knew there would be downsides." I placed the dishes in the sink as Kelly was watching me with narrowed eyes. I glanced at her and sighed.

"I have a headache," I said. "I'm going to lay down." I walked out of the room. When I entered my bedroom, I flopped down onto the bed and gazed at the ceiling.

Was I really cut out for this? A question that was playing on my mind all day. I had no idea that so many secrets came with fame. I now knew things that I could never discuss with any Subsequent. I had sold my soul for fortune and fame, forced to deceive people who I call family and friends. Was it worth it?

I wasn't just a musician making music anymore. I was a weapon being used against people I know, people I love, people I grew up with. It was my job to convince them that the New World Order was a good thing. That the world would be a better place if The Dark Regency were in charge.

The Dark Regency is evil, Adam. Pure evil. I could hear my mothers voice vividly in my mind. However, I don't have a choice. If I betray The Dark Regency, they will kill me.

She had been right, but why did she disappear? Was she caught by The Regency? They say that I was with her the day she vanished, but I don't remember anything. I must have somehow blocked it from my mind. I thought about my family, my friends, my neighbors. Each of them working hard, trying to get ahead, but they never would. Each of them unaware of Human Potential or how to use it. How was that even fair? It pissed me off that I knew about these things but could never tell them. I sighed and rolled over onto my side.

Was I really capable of brainwashing the entire world? Did I have it in my soul to mislead the Subsequent toward a hellish future? I thought about the girl with the golden hair. I knew deep down that it would only be a matter of time before my actions ate at my conscience. Was my own humanity worth fortune and fame? The girl believed that I would fight against them, but how could I? As much as I disagreed with everything The Dark Regency stood for, I could never betray them. I had to ensure my own survival.

---

That high pitched wail filled my ears. I rolled over and tossed my pillow over my head, pinning it down over both ears.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I muttered as I slammed my hand down on the alarm clock, I pulled my head out from under the pillow.

I hadn't been getting much sleep as I was putting a lot of hours in. Chancellor Lucas wanted my training finished so that we could move on to the next phase; brainwash.

I was suffering from massive headaches due to them poking at my pineal gland. I was also very irritable. I couldn't understand that, but anytime I asked Jacobs, he informed me that it was a normal side effect. However, to me, it was as if hate was taking over me and I didn't like it at all.

I stumbled into the bathroom and snapped on the light. It would take a hateful person to purposely trick the Subsequent into thinking that the New World was a good idea. If I did such a thing, what kind of person would I be? Would there be any of me left in here at all?

I stripped off my clothes and climbed into the shower. Allowing the warm water to trickle over the top of my head and run down my face.

I was no longer a person I thought. I was a weapon. A weapon that The Dark Regency intended to use against my own people, my friends, my family, to ensure that they rule the world. A vision that I did not share nor did I believe in. However, I either promoted this world or I would end up dead. I was no longer free, I thought. Freedom enlisted choice and that was something I didn't have. Lie or die. Those were my options, and both of them sucked.

Why was I even second-guessing? This was my dream, that girl messed with my head. Chancellor Lucas was offering me the opportunity of a lifetime, there should be no question about it. My loyalty should remain with The Dark Regency. 

The Dark Regency is evil, Adam. Pure evil.

Maybe.

That girl's words were running through my mind now. Was I the one that would stand against The Regency? No. I have no choice, sticking with them was the only way I could survive. I sighed again as I turned off the shower, climbed out and got dressed. As I stumbled down the hallway toward the kitchen, I stopped short when I heard the voices.

"What do you mean?" Bobby asked.

"I'm not sure," Kelly answered. "But, ever since he signed with Dark Entertainment he's been acting strangely. He is jumpy, moody, and only eats in the morning."

"It's just stress," Bobby whispered. "This is a significant change, you need to give him time to adjust.

"It's more than stress," Kelly insisted. "He mutters in his sleep and shouts out. I think he's terrified of The Dark Regency, whatever this training is about it has him terrified." I rolled my eyes if only she knew what these people were capable of. I cleared my throat as I entered the kitchen.

"There's the superstar!" Bobby exclaimed. I smirked as I faked my enthusiasm. I was getting good at doing that. If Bobby knew what came with my fame, he wouldn't be excited either. I took a bowl from the cupboard and a spoon out of the drawer, then I sat next to Dylan's high chair and grabbed the box of Corn Pops.

I'm not a star," I said, and I wished I could add, 'and I never want to be one' but I held my tongue. So many secrets. I poured my Corn Pops into the bowl carelessly, Kelly was watching me. Her lips were pursed, and she had one eyebrow raised. I knew she was waiting for me to fuck up in front of Bobby. I kept my cool.

"But you will be," Bobby said as I poured the milk onto my cereal. Droplets of liquid splashing onto the table.

"Maybe, it's not as glorious as it seems," I answered as I shoveled spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth. Bobby pressed his lips together as he wrung his hands. His eyes narrowing with each spoonful. And I knew, he was worried about me.

"Just do me a favor. When you become a big star, don't forget about me." I shoveled more and more spoonfuls into my mouth.

"I'll do my best," I answered with my mouthful. In truth, I really didn't know if I could have Subsequent friends. Not when I held so many of their secrets. I shoveled in the last six spoonfuls and tipped the bowl to my lips. Bobby was watching me, and I knew he was concerned, but I was just so hungry. I refilled the bowl.

"So what's going on at Dark Entertainment?" Bobby asked. I knew immediately I couldn't tell him the truth. Bobby would never believe it even if I told him. So, I thought up a lie. One that wouldn't exactly be a lie, but not the truth either.

"Nothing exciting, just preparing. To be honest, being around the same suits all day is a little annoying." I replied. "If I spend too much time with them I lose my shit." Kelly glanced at Bobby with narrowed eyes. I knew that she wasn't buying it. But, what more could I say?

"I'm not sure if that's good or bad," Bobby said. I pressed my lips together and shook my head.

"Neither am I."

"So, when do you start recording?"

"I have another week of training, then I'll hit the studio," I said with Kelly glaring at me. Her eyes could have drilled a hole into my head. I knew she was done, she wouldn't have it anymore.

"What the hell is going on in that place?" She snapped. "I know there is something strange going on!" I was angry now, she needed to let it go and not worry so much about it. I spun around my eyes like ice as they locked onto hers.

"What's your problem!" I shouted. "Why can't you just leave it the fuck alone."

"This is why!" She spat as she was pointing at me. "There is something different about you." I licked my lips as I shook my head. I ran my tongue along the inside of my mouth. She would be different too if she found out that there was no such thing as fiction.

"What I do at work is none of your business."

"It's my business when you come home as Jekyll and Hyde." She shouted back.

"You need to trust me," I shouted. "You need to let this go! There are things in this world, things that you will never understand, things that you are better off not knowing!"

"What does that mean?" She cried, but it was Bobby who was gazing at me now with his eyes narrowed to slits.

"So, something is going on?" He asked, and I clamped my mouth shut and swallowed. I said nothing and Bobby sighed. "What's going on?"

Nothing," I answered. "I just meant that it's none of her business." Kelly glared at me and tossed her head back before she laughed out.

"That's not what you meant." She insisted. I exhaled as I glared at her.

"Will you just fucking drop it!" I shouted.

"There's something weird about that place, and you know all about it." She shouted. I jumped to my feet.

"Why can't you just leave it the fuck alone!" I shouted again, thrusting the table upward and everything went flying across the kitchen. Dylan screamed.

"What the fuck!" Bobby shouted, and Kelly glanced at him.

"Do you see it now? He's lost his God damn mind." She shouted, and I glared at her as I shook my head.

"I'm warning you, Kel," I said as I pointed my finger at her. "You need to stop this bullshit. Now, I gotta go, Jacobs will kill me if I'm late for training." I walked out of the trailer, and I knew that he would follow behind me.

"Adam wait!" He shouted when I was a few feet from my car. I stopped. "Are you in some kind of trouble."

"Don't worry about it," I said. "Just keep in mind everything my mother said about The Dark Regency." Was I warning him?

"You're scaring the hell out of her," Bobby replied pointing back at the trailer. I sighed as I fumbled with my keys.

"I can't explain, all I can do is ask you to trust me. I'll find a way to fix this Bobby, but if she doesn't stop pushing this, my temper is the last thing she should be scared of."

"You are in trouble, aren't you?" Bobby asked.

"Not yet, but if she keeps pressing it, I will be," I answered and climbed into the car.

"What the hell is going on?" Bobby asked, and I sighed again.

"For your own safety," I said calmly. "Never ask me that again." Bobby backed away, and I pulled out of the driveway. I never wanted to lie to my best friend, but it was the only way I knew how to keep him safe. However, I had more pressing matters. I not only warned Bobby, but I promised to fix it. Was that Number Three inside of me? Maybe I didn't have a choice after all.

6

I pulled into the Dark Entertainment parking lot, shut off the car, and took the keys out of the ignition. It was dark and gray that morning, the weather coincided with my mood. I peered out the windshield and spotted the two girls walking down the street. The girl on the left had golden hair that glistened in the sunlight and billowed in the gentle breeze. She was smiling and then laughing.

The knock on my window startled me. I glanced into the eyes of Chancellor Lucas. I exhaled and rolled down the window.

“Good morning Mr.Mitchell,” she was smiling. “could we have a word?” I licked my lips and nodded as Chancellor Lucas stepped back from the car and I climbed out.

We sauntered toward the building. The Chancellor was glancing at me out of the corner of her eyes. It made me feel uncomfortable, and I buried my hands in my pockets.

“It had come to my attention that when Dr. Smith tried to wake your gland, it was already awake.” She said.

The Dark Regency can never find out about you. I could hear both my mother and the girl with the golden hair now.

“Yeah,” I answered. “He mentioned that. Is it not normal?” She bit her lip.

“It’s unusual,” she said. “You’re the first we’ve ever seen. Only The Dark Regency members have open glands. Both of your parents, they were Subsequent?” I thought about my mother.

“Yes,” I lied.“At least I think so, my mother disappeared when I was young.“Chancellor Lucas’ lip curled.

“What do you remember about her?” She asked. “Have you ever witnessed her doing anything that you couldn’t explain?”

“You mean like Human Potential?“I asked. “I don’t remember anything really. Especially from the day she disappeared, it’s all... gone.”

“What a shame.” She replied, and I knew that she really didn’t give a rats ass about me. She was looking for information on my mother so that she can find out what I am. The more time I spent with this woman, the bigger the snake she became.

“You know, maybe someone just fucked up and didn’t do their job.”

“With what?” She asked.

“The serum, maybe I didn’t get mine last month.”

“Maybe,” she replied. However, I knew she didn’t believe that. I knew she would keep pressing me. That’s just the type of person she was. She wouldn’t rest until she found out why my gland was open.

“Did you ever hear your mother say anything unusual?” She asked.

“My mother was unstable, everything she said was unusual.” My eyes were on the girl standing at the bus stop. I wanted to go over there.

“You adjusting okay?” She asked. “Learning human potential without difficulty?”

“Of course,” I said.“Mind you, I still have difficulty believing that numbers are going to decide when I’m going to do something from now on.”

“A numerology reading is a great tool, once you know how to use it, nothing will ever go bad for you again.”

“And Tarot?”

“Prepares you for your future, whatever it may be.” She said. “Using these tools wisely you can’t go wrong.”

“It’s so much to wrap my head around.”

“It can be overwhelming for those coming out of a Subsequent life,” she said. “I won’t keep you any longer.” She walked inside. I glanced back at the bus stop, but the girls were gone. Eva Lucas might be the Chancellor of The Dark Regency, but I didn’t trust her, I just had this feeling that she would stab me in the back quickly if it came to that. It wasn’t disliked, it was a burning hatred. Did that belong to Number Three? I walked inside.

As I arrived outside Jacobs office, I noticed the door ajar. I peered inside, Jacobs was talking on the phone. I couldn’t help but overhear what was being said on at least one side of the conversation.

“You tell Jordan that he must do what he’s told, I can’t have another Deuce on my hands. Does he really think he’ll go anywhere without The Regency?” Jacobs asked. He paused for an answer. “I get that he has had a change of heart, but he still needs to play his part. I can’t have another deuce, my hands will be tied with Number Three. Jordan signed the contract, there are other ways to rebel against them. Safer ways. No. He’s not ready yet, Number Three will take a while. It’s like his mind been wiped. He doesn’t remember anything. You tell Jordan to continue with every task for now. The time is coming to fight but not yet. If he continues to resist the new world, they will kill him.“He paused again. There was that name again, Number Three was I really destined to lead the fight against The Regency? “Probably not right away. Besides what they will do to him before they kill him will make him wish he were dead already. Just tell him to smarten up, end of story!” Jacobs slammed the phone into the cradle, and everything went quiet. I pushed the door open as I cleared my throat.

“Oh...I hadn’t seen... were you standing there long?” He asked. I shook my head.

“No.” I lied. “I just got here, Chancellor Lucas stopped to talk.” Jacobs was nodding. He seemed relieved to think that I hadn’t overheard his conversation. It sounded like he was rebelling against The Dark Regency, but I dare not bring it up. I sat down and put my feet up on the corner of the desk. “Do you think my mother was from The Dark Regency?” Jacobs’ eyes were narrowed.

“Your mother, she was Katherine Mitchell?” I nodded.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“Is there another option?” He asked, and I swallowed.

“No,” I replied.

“Then it must be that.” He answered. “What else could it be?”

“By the way, I’ve been moody lately,” I said, and Jacobs was nodding.

“Yeah, that’s normal. I wouldn’t worry about it, Mr. Mitchell.” Yet, I could tell that Jacob was holding something back, something important, something I should know.

“What are we covering today?” I asked butJacobs shook his head.

“Dr. Smith wants to take another look at that gland.” He admitted.

“Why?”

“You are immune to the serum, The Regency knows about it, and they want to know why.” He explained. “You’re the first they’ve seen, and they fear that there may be more.”

“Will they find out what’s doing it?” I asked. Jacobs gazed at me, his eyes were vacant.

“Let’s hope not.” I found this response strange. Unless he was against TheDark Regency, it didn’t make sense. We stood and left the room, heading for the Examination Room.

---

I woke hours later still drowsy. They gave me some food, handed me my advance, and sent me on my way. Great, I thought as I made my way out of Dark Entertainment. On top of everything else I had to deal with, I could add a test subject to the list. Who cares if I’m immune, maybe some people just are. There are conspiracy theorists everywhere, it’s not like the general population would believe a handful of people talking foolishness. There was something else going on here. They were looking for something, and I had a pretty good idea what. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, and I slammed into something substantial. Whatever it was it tumbled to the ground and groaned. I glanced down to find the girl with the golden hair, I still hadn’t gotten her name, and she seemed in no hurry to give it tome. I gasped. She was alone, and after my initial shock, I grinned.

“What are you doing on the ground?” I asked. I could feel the amusement inside me as she glared at me. The phrase; if looks could kill, running through my mind.

“You knocked me over!” she snapped. I chuckled and held my hand out to her. She took my hand, and I pulled her to her feet. She was glancing at the building behind me. “This is Dark Entertainment?“I scratched my head and nodded.

“It is,” I answered.

“You’re closer than I thought.” She said. “Are you famous yet?”

“Not yet,” I said. “How do you know I will be.” She blushed.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She said, and I rolled my eyes.

“After the things, I saw around here, I’d believe anything.”

“Well, if you knew what was good for you, you’d stay away from this place.” I could tell she was genuinely concerned for me.

“You sure you didn’t hit your head or anything?” I asked. She ignored me, her eyes locked on the building.

“This place is dangerous,” she said. I couldn’t agree. While the people who ran Dark Entertainment were dangerous, this was just a building.

“It’s just a building,” I said.

“One that belongs to The Dark Regency. They are as corrupt as you can get. Using the old religion against the poor Subsequent as a means to take control of the world, anyone who crosses them ends up dead.”

“You should see a doctor. What are you babbling about? What old religion?” I asked. This girl knew things she shouldn’t. I knew she wasn’t Subsequent and I had a good feeling she wasn’t from The Regency, but there was something special about her. Something different, like me.

“You know what I’m talking about. The Regency calls it Human Potential, but there is so much they don’t know. Like the fact it comes from the tree of knowledge.”

“Do you practice this old religion?“I asked, and she glared at me.

“If I did, and I’m not saying I do, you’re the last person I’d tell.” She snapped.

“You can trust me,” I said, and she laughed.

“Until you prove your not a snake, I can’t trust you.”

“I’m not like them. I don’t even believe in the new world or anything the Dark Regency does. I’m just... I’m looking for answers.”

“That’s what they all say,” She insisted.

“I truly am different, and it bothers them,” I said. “You’re probably the only person who can help me understand.”

“Why do you think you are different?” She asked.

“My pineal gland was already awake, they say that shouldn’t happen. The Dark Regency say I’m immune to the serum.”

“You’re immune to the serum because you are not Dark Regency and you are not Subsequent.”

“So then what am I?” I asked. She pressed her lips together and sighed.

“You’re not ready for that yet.”

“What did you say your name was?” I asked.

“I didn’t,” she said. “You’re not ready for that either.“She flashed him a wink before she spun around and ran. I stood on the sidewalk watching.

Her go. I still had the feeling as if I knew the girl my entire life. I was exhausted and pushed the thought from my mind. I had to get out of here, but I didn’t feel like going home. Not just yet. I needed to talk to someone who knew me and could tell me if I was doing the right thing. I needed to speak to the one person I could confide in and knew it wouldn’t go anywhere else. I needed to talk to Bobby.

7

Bobby lived in the same place he always did. His parents weren't home at that time of day, so it gave us enough time to talk things over. I knocked on the door twice before it opened. Bobby stood in a daze studying me, I hadn't seen him since we exchanged words that morning. I decided to throw caution to the wind and tell him everything.

"You okay?" Bobby asked, but I pushed my way into the living room and paced back and forth.

"I don't know about this Bobby, there are things I don't like, but I think I'm in too deep. Do you remember what I told you about The Dark Regency?" I asked. Bobby nodded. "It's all true, and if I don't do exactly what they tell me they are going to kill me, and anyone I care about. Even Dylan isn't safe."

"What do they want you to do?" Bobby asked, and I sighed.

"There are things in this world that you wouldn't understand. Hell, I don't even understand them. They want me to use these things against the Subsequent, convince them into believing in a New World that will be controlled by them. In exchange, I get everything I've ever wanted for me, for Dylan." I said. "But, it doesn't sit well with me. These people are evil, Bobby. Pure evil, and to have people like that run this world... you think it's bad now wait until they are in control."

"So then, walk away."

"It's too late," I said. "I'm in too deep. However, there's this girl. I don't know her name, but she knows things, things she shouldn't know about. She says there is a whole group out there waiting for me to stand against The Dark Regency when I'm ready. So Bobby, what do I do?"

"I'm not even sure what you're asking me," Bobby said, and I sighed.

"What path do I take? Do I obey and be their God damn puppet. Or do I rebel against them and hand their asses to them?" I asked. Bobby scratched his chin.

"well, maybe I'm wrong here, but I think you should do both."

"Both?"

"Yes," he said. "It only makes sense. You pretend to take their deal, you get as close as you can. Learn whatever you might need to learn and then you hit them when they least expect it."

"You might be on to something."

"So, back to these things in the world, I wouldn't understand..."

"I shouldn't have said that," I said. "You know too much already."

"You gotta give me something." He said, and I sighed.

"Let's just say that there are things that you thought your entire life was fiction that's actually real. People use these things to get ahead in life, but only those that The Dark Regency allow."

"What kind of things?" He asked. I gazed at him and swallowed.

"Thing's like the law of attraction, Numerology, Tarot..." I said. "That girl, she calls it the old religion, says that it comes from the tree of knowledge... whatever that is."

"You don't know what the tree of knowledge is? Seriously?"

"You do?"

"Yeah me and damn near everyone in the world. Given your namesake I would think you of all people would know. Eve and the forbidden fruit ring a bell to you."

"Not really," I said as I sat down on the couch. "There wasn't much religion in my house. I think my dad lost faith when my mom vanished. Then he met Jessica, and there is nothing holy about that woman."

"So God right, when he made Eden, he allowed Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except one. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But one day Satan takes the form of a serpent and convinces Eve to taste the fruit and then Eve convinces Adam. Furious God casts them out of Eden forever. They say that man, we continue to be punished for their sin."

"But, she spoke as if this knowledge was intended for mankind to use, and The Dark Regency stole it from them."

"I don't know. The bible is filled with metaphor's that are complex. It's hard to say for sure. I do know that Adam and Eve had two son's Cain and Abel. One was good, and the other was evil. One brother killed the other, and god was furious, so he banished him and marked him. Adam and Eve, they had more children after Cain was banished." He said. "But, in the days of Noah, God punished man and wiped most of them out to get rid of the corruption."

"The world's corrupt again, why hasn't he wiped us out again?" I asked.

"Well, I think that has to do with Jesus. He tried to wipe us out but Jesus gave his life instead, and I'm guessing Jesus won't let him wipe us out again. He has hope for mankind or something."

"That's some heavy shit."

"Maybe you should write about that but twist it. Hide the meanings with metaphors like the bible."

"You know Bobby, that's a good idea." I said."You know, if I had one wish right now, I'd take back my last one. I know it will never happen, I'm stuck with this nightmare now."

"I know you're regretting fame, but take it and use it against them. But, do it wisely."

"If only it were that simple, I'm going to have to stay one step ahead of them. I may have signed away my soul, but while it's still in my body, I'm going to fight for it." Bobby nodded.

"That's good, man because if you see something that you know in your heart is wrong, then the best thing to do is fight it. Take a stand, and show the world the right path."

"You're right, signing that contract was probably the biggest mistake I've made. But, I'm embracing it and making it a good thing." Bobby was nodding.

"You're about to live your dream. Push everything out of you're mind and enjoy it, and enjoy it your way man, fuck The Dark Regency, don't let them change who you are in here." Bobby held his hand to his chest. I licked my lips as I nodded.

"Thanks, Bobby, I don't know what I'd do without you. You're my best friend."

"Okay, don't get all sappy on my ass man," Bobby said, and I laughed. In my mind, I was thinking about everything Bobby said. Was he right? Was it better to do both? If I got caught I would lose everything but what kind of person would I be to just sit back and watch something I didn't agree with happen. To fight, that was the better path, but first, I had to make them trust me.

---

When I left Bobby's, I went to the bank, cashed the cheque and opened an account. It was the first bank account I ever had. Up until that point, there was nothing left of my pay to save anything. When I walked out of the bank, I headed home, knowing that I was in trouble. I stayed at Bobby's longer than I expected and I was coming back late again. I wasn't entirely out of the car when she flew out the trailer door.

"Where the hell have you been?" She snapped. "Do you have any idea what time it is? You missed dinner again!"

"Chill out, you're going to bother the neighbors."

"To hell with the fucking neighbors, where were you!" She shouted.

"I was with Bobby," I replied.

"What the fuck was you with Bobby for!" She yelled. "You're supposed to come straight home!"

"Who do you think you are, my mother? Did you ever think that I didn't want to come home to another argument?" I shouted. She was glancing around me and peered in the car.

"Where is the stuff I asked you to pick up?"

"What damn stuff?"

"The stuff I called you at the studio about. The stuff you said you'd pick up. Milk, Eggs, Diapers? Ring a bell?"

"You called me at the studio... today?" I asked. "And you were talking to me?"

"Yeah bonehead, who else would I have been talking to?" I clamped my mouth shut. I was unconscious today... wasn't I?

"I guess I forgot."

"Figures," She crossed her arms as she rolled her eyes.

"Fine, I'll go right now, just freaking chill," I replied. Welcoming the chance to walk away from the situation. I climbed in my car and slammed the door. Surprisingly it started first try, and I pulled out of the driveway.

8

When I arrived at the store, I climbed out of the car and slammed the door again. That angry feeling took hold of me, Kelly had pissed me off. I jammed my hands into my pockets and walked toward the store. A couple to my left were arguing, I paid them no attention, walked into the store and froze. There she was, the girl with the golden hair. She stood at the counter with her dark-haired friend, they were speaking with Miss Riley.

I walked to the back of the store and to the shelf carrying baby products. I grabbed a bag of diapers, no longer caring about the price. Then I made my way to the water cooler and got a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs before I returned to the front of the store. They were still standing there, talking to Miss Riley. Not wanting to interrupt the conversation I stood behind them and tried not to eavesdrop, but it wasn't the easiest thing to do.

"How's your grandmother?" Miss Riley asked.

"She's doing better, thanks for asking." She replied.

"Your grandmother has been coming in for years." Miss Riley said.

"Nan wanted to come tonight, but, I wouldn't allow her to. I don't think she realizes how bad these streets are." Miss Riley shook her head.

"You shouldn't be on these streets alone, either." She said. "Isn't it a school night?" School night? I thought. How old was this girl? My heart was racing.

"Not for high school, it's the break after exams." She said. "And, I'm not alone, Carrie is with me."

"Oh my granddaughter is in the sixth grade, she has school in the morning.

Lucy. Lucy was twelve, I was fourteen years older. How old were high school students again? Damn. I tried to do the math in my head, but I always sucked at math. As I struggled to figure it out, I stumbled and dropped the milk. It crashed to the floor, catching the attention of Miss Riley and both girls. My face turned red.

"How long have you been standing there?" Miss Riley asked. "Girls, this is my grandson, Adam." It was the girl with the golden hair who bent down and picked up my milk. She placed it on the counter. I cleared my throat.

"Thank you," I said putting the rest down.

"At least you didn't drop the eggs." She giggled as she picked up her own bags and walked outside. Miss Riley peered at the items.

"I'm guessing Kelly sent you?" She asked.

"Yeah," I answered. I hadn't been here since the night I told her off.

"And you'll be able to pay without snapping at me?" She asked. I nodded.

"I'm sorry about that. I was in a bad mood that night." I said. "I'm going to pay that bill off tonight." She narrowed her eyes.

"You will?" She was peering at me, and I could see the disbelief behind them, I nodded.

"Okay, that will be $226.50...you sure about this?" She asked, and I smiled and nodded. I held up my bank card.

"You take plastic right?" I knew they did, but I was looking for her reaction. Her eyes grew wide as she nodded her head and handed me the machine. I knew she thought that my card would be declined. I swiped it, selected my account, and entered my pin number. Within seconds it cleared.

"Is this some sort of joke?" She asked. I smirked and shook my head.

"My foolish dreams paid off, I got signed Miss Riley."

"Your parents will be so proud of you," she exclaimed. "We always knew you had it in you." I knew that both of these were lies, but I decided to humor the woman and let her think whatever she wanted to believe.

"Miss Riley, who was that girl."

"The one who just left?" She asked, and I nodded my head.

"Yeah," I replied.

"Well, I know she's from Broad Street, but I don't know her name."

"You said you knew her grandmother."

"Yes Eliza, but I don't know her outside the store."

"Damn," I said and picked up my bags. "Thanks anyway." I walked toward my car.

"Well, hello again." She said. I glanced up.

"You waited for me?" I asked.

"It seems I'm waiting for you to do a lot of things." She said.

"About that, I'm not sure if I'm this Number Three you keep talking about, but I decided..." I glanced up and down the street. Lowering my voice to a whisper. "I'm going to fight them. But, I need more information. Please, I need your help." She smiled.

"So it's true, you are the one." She sighed. "You must stay with them and observe, learn the tools that you will use against them in time."

"But what am I?"

"After being banished from Eden, Adam and Eve had two sons. Abel and Cain. You know the story that Cain was jealous of Abel and murdered him. That was false. Abel was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Cain knew this, he saw the wolf beneath the surface and murdered Abel to stop him. God knew there would be many Abel's on earth, so he marked Cain with a serpent bite. Like this." She rolled up her sleeve and revealed a mark that resembled two freckles. I knew the mark well, I rolled up my own sleeve to reveal the identical mark. "The mark protects us, that's why you are immune to the serum you bear the mark of Cain. You are meant to fight evil. The Dark Regency is that evil. Our people have been fighting The Dark Regency since the days of Cain. It is referenced many times in the bible with different names, the most popular would be Babylon, seeing how Revelations is a prediction centered around this time. Chancellor Lucas would be known as The Whore of Babylon."

"What is my purpose."

"You will rebel against The Dark Regency, those with the mark will rise with you and fight at your side. You will restore Human Potential to humanity where it belongs and banish evil from the world."

"How will I know when it's time to start?"

"When the time comes, you'll know. But, you need to find your book."

"My book?"

"Each of us has our own set of powers that are unique to our souls. Your family book will guide you to that inner power, but your's is lost because your mother disappeared. Once you find the book, you will find your inner power, and then you will be ready." She said. "I must go now."

"What is your name?" I asked. She smiled again.

"You're not ready for that just yet." She replied and walked away.

---

I woke earlier than usual and got into the hottest shower I could stand. When I got out, I stood gazing into the mirror. I barely recognized the man behind the hazel. I wasn't the same person, my experience was changing me, it questioned my Humanity. I may have agreed to do this, but I wouldn't do it for long. As soon as I was ready, as soon as I found the way, I would rebel. It was in my blood. Human Potential, magic, fortune telling, mind control. In the hands of The Dark Regency, these tools were weapons for evil. Put them in the right hands, and they were a beacon for good. I just had to find a way to separate the wolves from the sheep.

Get ready. I thought. I'm coming for you.

I am Number Three. 

9

In the kitchen that morning, Kelly was preparing Dyan's breakfast as she listened to the radio. She was smiling, it was rare to see Kelly smiling. I walked up to her and kissed her on the cheek but felt nothing. Dylan laughed and covered his eyes. I sat down at the table.

"We need groceries." She said.

"Can it wait until I get home?" I asked.

"No, we are out of everything." She replied.

"Okay, I'll give you my bank card. Just don't go overboard. This money has to last until the first album is released." I said. Kelly was nodding.

"I'll just get the basics." She said as I handed her my card. Dylan dipped his spoon into his applesauce and offered it to me. I laughed and took the bite.

"You will soon get yourself a better car, right?" She asked.

"I'm getting two cars," I replied.

"Two cars?"

"It's better than lugging all those groceries and Dylan on the bus isn't it?"

"You think we can afford that?"

"Um... yeah, I think we'll manage." I laughed and pulled her into my lap. I gave her a kiss and felt nothing again.

"It worries me, we've never had this much before. My father always told me not to push my luck." She said. I could feel the beast awaken inside of me.

"Your father?" I asked as I rolled my eyes. "your father has never liked me, let alone believed in me. He never thought I'd amount to anything. Even still, he kicked you out of his house for me to take care of the moment he found out you were pregnant. Do you remember that? I don't give a flying fuck about anything your dad said." I snapped. "Do you see him here? Has he even bothered to meet our son, his own grandson? Do you know why that is? Because your father doesn't give a rats ass about him, me, or you. To hell with your father." I was shouting now and slammed my fist down on the table. Kelly and Dylan jumped. I had no idea why I was so furious, but I could feel the hatred boiling inside me.

"I'm sorry, I never meant..." she was crying, and I glared at her.

"You should be," I shouted again and violently pushed her off my lap. "I've got to go earn a living I deserve, the one your dad never thought I could give you."

"When will you be home?"

"When I fucking get home," I shouted and slammed the door behind me.

A few minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of Dark Entertainment. I was calm again as I turned off the car. I glanced at the bus stop before I remembered that I wouldn't be seeing her there today. I sighed and climbed out of the car.

When I entered Jacobs office, I gazed at him. He was beaming with excitement, and at first, I couldn't figure out why.

"There you are!" He shouted. "It's happening tonight!"

"What's that?" I asked hanging my jacket on the rack.

"Your official initiation into The Dark Regency of course," I couldn't understand why Jacobs was so excited about this. I thought he was rebelling against The Regency. Perhaps I heard wrong. "Aren't you excited?"

"Of course!" I lied. "It's not every day you get the chance to sell your soul." This was a test, I wanted to see what side of the fence Bradley Jacobs stood. He gazed at me a smile etched upon his lips.

"Because you are a nonmember until tonight, you're not allowed to know the location of the sacred grounds just yet. So, you'll have to meet me here at 11:30 PM. I have the honor of driving you there myself, while you are blindfolded of course." I nodded.

"Okay," I replied. Jacobs showed no reaction to what I'd said about selling my soul.

"Tonight is extra special because you will be receiving your code name for Operation Horus."

"Which will be?"

"Number Three of course," He said. "And as they always say, the third one is the charm," Jacobs said this as if he knew the importance behind the name. I guess that he did if he really was rebelling against them he probably had the mark of Cain. I remembered Miss Riley, that day that seemed so long ago now, using the same phrase. Did she know too?

---

At 11:25PM, I pulled into the empty parking lot. Dark Entertainment looked so deserted this time of night, but I knew better. Beneath the building, in the bowls of the basement man worked with extraterrestrials to keep the secret of Human Potential from the Subsequent. Jacobs hadn't arrived yet, I turned off the car and put the keys in my pocket. At the bus stop, a gang was defacing the bench with a few cans of spray paint. I had my window down so I could hear them clearly.

"What if the clerk gives us a hard time?" One asked.

"We bash her head in with a bat." The other said. I shook my head, knowing that their way of thinking was thanks to Operation Horus. I rolled up my window. The streets were getting worse, soon it wouldn't be safe even in the daylight. I was about to join the assholes responsible. But, I wasn't joining them, not really. I was only pretending.

The moon was full that night, and a slight breeze rustled the trees, which put a chill in the air. I knew what I was doing was dangerous, but I knew what I was getting myself into. I might not have had a choice to join them, but I had an opportunity to rebel and as dangerous as it was I felt it was the right thing to do. I sighed, tapping the steering wheel in a rhythm and thinking up lyrics to go with it. But, my mind drifted to the girl with the golden hair. Why couldn't I get this girl out of my head?

She had been the first to call me Number Three, she knew I would fight them before I did. She believed in me. I imagined telling Bobby more about her, but I already knew what Bobby would say.

Oh God, you've got groupies already.

Telling Kelly was also out because Kelly would accuse me of cheating. I sighed as headlights pulled into the parking lot. I was blinded by the light momentarily. Then, I got out of my car and jumped into Jacobs' car. Jacobs didn't greet me, he just passed me a blindfold.

"Put your belt on and put this over your eyes. Make sure it's tight you're not allowed to know the location of the sacred grounds." I did this as Jacobs pulled out of the parking lot. I hoped it wouldn't be a long drive, with the blindfold on I felt sick.

"There's something I haven't told you. So don't be alarmed."

"What haven't you told me?" I asked.

"It's an ancient ritual, and you might find it strange. It may even freak you out a bit, you may even feel like you shouldn't go through with it. You must push yourself to complete it at any cost. If you don't pledge your allegiance, the Dark Regency will kill you. You will never be seen again, you'll just be another missing person." I swallowed.

"Pledge or die?" I asked.

"I'm afraid so," Jacobs said, and even though I couldn't see him, I sensed he was grim.

"I never had a choice, did I?" I asked.

"Not really."

"Awesome," I replied. The more I learned about these bastards, the more I hated each and every one of them. I couldn't wait to hand these rich pricks their asses. They wanted to dominate our world, horror would become a reality. Obey or die. I wasn't about to let that happen. They thought my initiation was to change my world, but really it was the beginning of the end of theirs. I would use my music as an outlet and shed fury on The Regency even if it meant my death. 

10

 

 We were driving for a while before the car came to a stop. It had been so silent that the sound of Jacobs' voice made me jump.

"Take your belt off, but do not remove the blindfold. We aren't there yet. We must walk from here." I fumbled with the button unable to take the belt off as I heard Jacobs door open and close. I had only seconds to get the damn thing off. Finally, I listened to the click and the belt released just as Jacobs opened my door. He guided me down a long and what seemed like narrow path. He was apparently taking me out into the middle of nowhere, which was the perfect place if they killed me. Finally, Jacobs removed my blindfold, and I scanned the area unable to believe what I was seeing. It was as if we were standing in a scene from a movie. We were in some sort of ritual grounds. There were two pathways of red bricks that formed an inverted cross, and in the center of this was a patch of dirt and a podium. This area was surrounded by three columns that were arranged in a triangle. On top of the left column was the statue of a double-headed eagle, on the middle column, was a statue of an owl, and on the last a figure of a zebra. The pathways were scattered with paintings of pentagrams, doves, and crows. Stone buildings were surrounding us, Jacobs glanced at me and whispered.

"The red bricks represent the thirteen bloodlines and their mockery of Christ, the pillars symbolize magic. Each statue is a representation as well. The Double-headed eagle stands for overriding importance, the owl for magic, and the Zebra for the split mind. These form a triangle which is symbolic for the all-seeing eye, or The Dark Regency ever watching." He explained.

"What about the paintings?" I asked.

"They stand for the gods' and goddesses." He replied, and I gulped as I nodded my head.

Eva Lucas walked up to the patch of dirt in the center of the inverted cross, and every member in the area gathered around her in a circle. Each of them wearing black hooded robes that covered their faces.

"Members have flown in all over the world for this," Jacobs whispered. "You are of great importance to them."

My eyes were on Eva Lucas; The Whore of Babylon. I felt the name suited her very well. I blamed her for the plague of corruption on earth. I accused her because she was in charge of The Dark Regency, and gave the orders that puppets followed out of not loyalty but fear.

"Welcome brothers and sisters. Since the beginning of time, The Dark Regency has stood proud. Awaiting for the day that the world will be fully ours. Generations before us have tried and failed, thanks to an unknown enemy who continues to attempt to thwart us even now. But where our ancestors failed; we shall succeed. Did we not put an end to JFK? Lincoln? And others like them? Sure this unknown enemy has fought against us, but their success is nothing to ours. We will succeed in our mission, and tonight brings us one step closer. Tonight I present to you our ultimate weapon. We only fail because our unknown enemy places doubt in Subsequent minds. Subsequent's do not trust us, we have struggled with this for some time. But, I have finally found the right person to gain their trust, twist their minds, and make them believe in all we stand for. That person is the reason you've all come here tonight as he is ready to pledge his allegiance and join us in our journey. Adam Mitchell, please step forward." I swallowed, glancing around at the thousands of people on these grounds that were waiting for me to approach. I knew I must move forward, but my feet were failing me. I was frozen to the ground. Jacobs must have sensed my hesitation because he gave me a shove ahead. I walked toward Eva, who was glaring at me as if I stepped on her toes. I guess in a sense I did. She raised her eyebrow, and I sighed as I took the last step. I blushed and shrugged.

"Sorry, I guess I'm nervous," I said. The Chancellor laughed, and the others followed suit. It was like they were playing Simon says.

"You should probably get used to big crowds." She replied.

"I'm working on it." I nodded. Eva glanced at the crowd, but she spoke only to me.

"Adam Mitchell, as you stand before us tonight you prepare yourself for an ultimate change of lifestyle. Are you ready for such a change?" She asked. I wasn't, but I knew better than to tell them that. I could feel the smirk curling my lips.

"I am," I replied.

"Mr. Mitchell please repeat after me. From this day forward I, Adam Mitchell, pledge myself devoted to The Dark Regency." I drew a deep breath.

"From this day forward I, Adam Mitchell, pledge myself devoted to The Dark Regency." I recited. Eva's thin lips curved.

"And I, Adam Mitchell, by doing so, will make The Dark Regency my top priority and swear my loyalty." She said.

"And I, Adam Mitchell, by doing so will Make The Dark Regency my top priority and swear my loyalty," I repeated, and I knew that this line was at least truth. The Dark Regency was my top priority but not in the way they expected it to be. I would be devoted to bringing them down. Eva handed me a spade, and I gazed at it, unsure what I was supposed to do with it.

"And as above, so below." as Eva spoke she gestured for me to dig a hole in the dirt. I repeated the line and dug into the earth until she signaled me to stop. Eva took the spade from my hands and set it aside. Then, moving to the podium, she picked up a cloth that was scattered with chicken bones. She wrapped the fabric up and tied it like a sack and placed in it my hands. That was when Eva looked deep into my eyes.

"With my offering unto Lucifer, I give all of me." She said. I glanced at the sack of chicken bones that I held in my hands. I hesitated with every member of The Dark Regency watching me. I swallowed, repeating the words as I Bent down and placed the sack in the hole and filled it in with my hands. As I stood, Eva handed me a dagger. I glared at it wanting nothing more but to thrust it into the depths of her skull.

"I give my soul in exchange for this better life in which I will eternally repay." She said and motioned for me to slice into my palm. I did, flinching from the pain. I allowed the blood to pool into my palm. As I repeated the words, I tipped my hand and squeezed it, allowing three drops of blood to drip onto the very spot I buried the bones.

"Brothers and sisters, I introduce to you The Dark Regency's newest member, Number Three." A deafening roar erupted as Jacobs walked over to me. He tied the blindfold around my wound as I gave Eva back the dagger.

"You did good," Jacobs said, as he bandaged my hand. I was watching Eva as she walked away from us.

"Brothers and Sisters, I introduce to you The Dark Regency's newest member 003." She said. A deafening roar erupted around them. Jacobs walked to him and tied the blindfold around his bleeding hand as Adam gave Eva back the dagger.

"Now what?" I asked.

"Now we go home. Unless you want to stay for the... um... celebrations." He replied. Jacobs cleared his throat as I glanced around the grounds. Everyone had shed their robes, and were half naked dancing around a fire, moaning in a strange language that I had never heard of. Some of them were wearing the heads of boars as the sounds of drums echoed all around the grounds. Public displays were popping up everywhere. I wrinkled my nose.

"I think we should go home, Jacobs." We walked to the narrow path and walked in silence to the car. When we reached the road, I climbed into the car and caught my first glimpse of two signs. The small white one read:

150 Miles

The larger one read:

Douglasville two Miles, Highway-22

"The Dark Regency built their ritual grounds off of a highway?" I asked, but Jacobs shook his head.

"The grounds were there long before the highway. It took a lot of money to cover it up." He answered. "It's good in one way."

"How so?"

"What better way to hide something, than to hide it in plain sight." I never thought of something like this before, but it was a good strategy. 

11

 


The next morning, my irritability was higher than it had ever been. I sat at the breakfast table swirling the spoon around in my milk. Images of the night before still as fresh as the wound on my hand which was now properly bandaged. Of course, it had been the first God damn thing Kelly had noticed that morning.

"What did you do to your hand?" She asked. I glanced at the bandage knowing that I couldn't tell her the truth, but I had to say something.

"I'm such a doofus, I sliced my hand opened on a mixer." I lied. She squinted her eyes but said nothing more about my hand.

"You got home late again last night."

"Was working late, I'm on a deadline," I replied.

"Well, hopefully when it's done.." I shook my head.

"Once the albums out I'm going to be doing nothing but promos and tours." This made Kelly frown.

"Well, after that..."

"I hope to be working on my next album," I replied.

"Jesus Adam, your never home anymore. Will, you ever slow down, you promised me a car, you got your Cadillac yesterday."

"I've been busy Kel," I shouted, "Here take the fucking card and find yourself a fucking car." I biffed the card at her head. Of course, she doesn't end the fucking conversation.

"We never see you, it's like you don't even live here anymore."

"That's the price to have a better life." I glanced at my watch. "I better go, I'm going to be late." I gave Dylan a kiss and got to my feet, but Kelly wasn't leaving it there, not this time. She got to her feet as well and blocked my way.

"Oh no, we are going to talk about this right now."

"Get out of my way," I said furiously.

"No,"

"Get out of my way," I said again.

"No," I was pissed, and I grabbed hold of her and shoved backward, she stumbled and smashed her head off the cupboard. She grabbed onto the back of her head.

"Who the fuck are you?" She asked, and the words cut deep. I had no answer for her because at that moment I had no idea.

A few minutes later I pulled into the parking lot and waited in my car, watching the bus stop. After a five minute wait, there she was, the girl with the golden hair. I jumped out of the car, slammed the door, and ran after her.

"Hey," I shouted. The girl turned around slowly when she saw me she narrowed her eyes, her lips curling into a smile.

"May I help you?" She asked. I was breathing heavy from running, and I held a finger up to catch my breath.

"It was last night, my initiation," I said holding up my bandaged hand.

"You pledged? That means you were born of Trinity blood, raised Subsequent, and turned Dark Regency." She said, and I nodded.

"However, since they went poking around my gland I've been experiencing mood swings. Last night my anger was a hundred times worse. Is that normal?"

"I've never heard of that happening before." She said.

"Damn," I said. "My next question is how do I find my book."

"You're not ready for that. You need to put your first album out, gain followers, and then worry about the book." She said. "I gotta go, you'll be alright. Use this time to collect as much information on The Dark Regency as you can."

"Just one more thing. What is Trinity?" She smiled.

"You caught that huh?" She laughed. "Next time, I promise. Oh, the universe has multiple possibilities for a future. But, the moment you pledged you sealed both our fates." Before I could ask what she meant, she walked away.

I was still confused as I walked into Jacobs office that morning. Jacobs blinked.

"What the hell's wrong with you."

"Funny, I was going to ask you the same question. My anger has increased since last night."

"Oh that, are you sure you want to know?" He asked.

"Yeah, I do."

"Okay, well when The Regency opens your gland they insert a demon parasite."

"They do what?"

"You have a demon in your head."

"Awesome," I said. "How do I get rid of it?"

"You don't," Jacobs said, he shut the door and lowered his voice. "But you can tame it, and control it."

"How do I do that?"

"When you feel that it's creeping up on you, all you have to do is discipline your mind, and push back," Jacobs said. "But, right now you have bigger problems."

"What kind of problems?"

"Well, you're not going to like it, but Eva pushed up your deadline." He said. I was scowling by that point, and I shook my head.

"By how much?" I sat down and propped my feet up on Jacobs desk.

"That's the part you're not going to like. It's two weeks from today."

"Two weeks!"

"From today." Jacobs was nodding.

"Has she lost her fuckin mind? How can I possibly make a deadline like that?" I asked. "Does she know how much work needs to be done?"

"You'll just have to work harder. Eva wants it done in two weeks. Be sure that you don't forget any subliminal message she wants to be included in your music." I sighed.

"Yeah, yeah. I got it." I said. "But, won't a rush lessen their effect?"

"That's on you, Mr. Mitchell."

"I'll do my best."

"Good," he said. "Now, follow me. They want another peek at that gland." We stood.

"Of course they do." I sighed. "When am I going to stop being a guinea pig?" I shoveled my hands in my pockets as we walked along. Jacobs pushed his glasses up his nose.

"That's hard to say. They are determined to figure out what you are."

"And will they?"

"I hope not Mr. Mitchell."

I narrowed my eyes, Jacobs has been giving me hints that he's not on The Dark Regency's side. But, is it a trick? First the phone call, then the way he acted at the grounds, and now this is the second time he said he hoped they wouldn't find out what I was. I don't think Bradley Jacobs is exactly with The Dark Regency, he was a spy sent by the unknown enemy. I'm sure of it. Jacobs is trying to show me that I can trust him. He might be my only friend inside The Dark Regency walls.

Five Months Later

It was a Saturday afternoon, I was driving around town in my car that day. In the last five months my album had dropped, and overnight I was a global success. Therefore, I can't be in one place too long. Strolling the streets is dangerous for me, but I wasn't ready to let everything from my old life go. That was one reason I was driving.

In truth, I was driving around a lot in those five months, because I was looking for something. Well, not something... someone. Yeah, I was looking for the girl with the golden hair. I Hadn't seen her in a long time, and now that my album dropped, I needed to find my book. The other reason I was looking for her was that I couldn't get her off my mind. My fame made it hard for me to find her, but I wasn't giving up. Too much depended on it. I could only hope that because our destiny was the same that we would continue to cross paths. It would have been so much easier had she given me her name. What was she playing at with that?

Just as I was about to quit, I spotted her entering Cedar Park.

"Finally," I muttered as I spun the car around. I parked near the entrance, threw up my hood, and jammed on a pair of sunglasses. I got out of the car and walked hurriedly in the same direction. The last thing I needed right now was to be recognized.

12

 


She was only a few yards ahead of me, but I couldn't yell at her. That would draw too much attention that I didn't need. I quickened my pace, trying desperately to catch up to her. She was with that same girl that she had been at the Pitt Stop with.

"Honestly, when are you going to give it up? He's a superstar now. He obviously forgot all about you," her friend said. "It's time you got over this silly crush."

"For the last time, it's not like that. I don't even think of Adam that way. He's Number Three, and you know what that means." She replied.

"You have no proof that he is the one. He's never done anything to suggest that he is. Did you ever think that maybe you are wrong? Adam Mitchell is from The Dark Regency. He is dangerous." Her friend said.

"I'm not sure why he hasn't done anything yet. However, I don't believe he is with The Regency. He's just... waiting for something." She replied. "If only I could talk to him again." I could hear this as I was trying to catch up to them. Thankfully, they stopped at the fountain and sat down on the bench.

"Well, to be fair he did as for your name several times. It's kind of your fault." She said.

"I figured that he'd find me whenever he needed me." She replied, and her friend nudged her shoulder.

"Maybe with his fame, he doesn't need you." This pissed me off a little bit, but the girl with the golden hair shook her head.

"I don't believe that." She said, and I marched up to them and glared at her friend.

"Of course that wasn't it!" I exclaimed. "It's not exactly easy to walk around town anymore." She glanced at me, and her face lit up.

"A--" She was going to say my name, but I cut her off.

"Shh, I wouldn't do that if I were you," I said, glancing around us nervously. "It's not that I wasn't looking, you're just not easy to find."

"You were looking for me?" She asked. I reverted my eyes to the ground and licked my lips.

"Yeah," I answered. "The problem was that I've been so busy, I wasn't able to catch you at the time that you are out front of Dark Entertainment," I explained this as I sat down beside her. "The truth is I need your help to find my book."

"That's going to be difficult." She replied. "That book disappeared with your mother."

"Then it's impossible," I said. The girl grinned as she shook her head.

"I never said it was impossible," She replied. "Only difficult."

"I don't understand."

"Your mother may have hidden that book with the person she trusted the most. Find that person and find the book." She said. "Then you will use that book to find out what happened to your mother."

"How?"

"To find what's been lost, you need to visit the past," she said. "Adam you are going to have to go back in time to speak to your mother."

"Back in time? How?"

"Well, you can't do it alone. You need someone to help you."

"Will you help me?" I asked, but she was shaking her head.

"I can't," she said. "It has to be someone more advanced."

"Great who's going to help me then?" I asked. "Everyone thinks that I'm Regency scum." I was glaring at her friend as I spoke the words.

"I'm not going to hide it, I don't trust you." her friend said. "You can't trust anyone from The Dark Regency, they are all snakes."

"You can trust him, he's not from The Regency," she said. "Not really." She sighed. "He's Trinity like us."

"What is this Trinity?" I asked.

"Not what," she was shaking her head. "Who. The Trinity is a large group of people who descend from Cain. An army of people... your army."

"My army?" I asked, and she nodded.

"Yes," she replied. "Once you take a stand against them, your army will follow you."

"But, I gotta find that book first."

"Yes," She said. "And it won't take you long."

"If I need help to find out what happened to my mother who's going to help me?" He asked. She sighed.

"My grandmother's the oldest most experienced member of Trinity that I know. I will ask her to help you."

"You mean if she believes you that I'm the one." She giggled.

"She already knows it's you." She said, and I recalled the day that I saw her in the Pitt Stop with her grandmother. I remembered the way they had acted, spoke about me even. It was as if they knew exactly who I was. I found it strange at the time, but knowing what I know now, it wasn't strange at all.

"Will she help me?" I asked.

"Well, don't quote me. I don't want to put words in my grandmother's mouth, but I think she'll want to help you. My grandmother was friends with your mother. It broke her heart when your mother vanished. She thought that she could have done more."

Suddenly, a group of teenagers walked by us. They stopped and gazed right at me, and I knew at that moment that I'd been spotted.

"Shit!" I muttered as the group screamed. I climbed onto the bench so that I was standing on it. It was a feeble attempt to get away from my fans. I glanced at her. "We'll have to finish this conversation later."

"Darcy," she said. "My name is Darcy Clark." I nodded as I jumped into the fountain and ran through it, splashing water everywhere. The crowd of teenaged girls chased after me, giggling like mad. With them close behind me, I jumped into my car and jammed the key into the ignition. It started first try, thank God it wasn't my old Pinto. I glanced out the window, smiled and waved as I screeched my tires before taking off.

"A wild bunch of apes," I muttered.

13

I parked my car and quickly headed inside. Boxes were everywhere, marked with words like Kelly's, Dylan's, and Adam's. It's the last weekend that we would ever spend inside the trailer. I was alone, Kelly and Dylan were staying with Kelly's parents, who completely pulled a 360. Only a day after my name made the front page as an overnight sensation Mr. Marshall called and took it all back. I wasn't stupid, it was the fact I was getting rich that enticed them to change their decision. That's why I was home alone. Although I accepted Mr. Marshall's apology, that's as far as it went. I wasn't about to spend my free time with a dick that never believed I would go somewhere with my music.

I sighed as I walked to the fridge and grabbed a cold beer. I cracked it open and took the ten steps to the living room and turned on the TV. The news reporter was saying something about Death Man getting into trouble yet again. I knew what was really going on. It was a punishment for not doing what The Regency said. Death Man's music was speaking against The Regency and the N.W.O. They were always making things up so they could send him to jail and silence him.

I sighed again and flopped down on the couch, grabbing the remote. I made a mental note that when I started to speak out, to do so in a way that wasn't completely obvious. I knew I had to find a way to conceal the truth while making sure the listener heard exactly what I was saying.

I was flipping through channels and paused on an episode of Full House. I watched for a few minutes and shook my head. People just didn't act that way in real life.

"Gimme a break," I muttered before I changed the channel. I arrived on MTV, and the VJ's were announcing the music news.

Jordan claims he is sick and tired of the control and manipulation of Dark Entertainment. He is suing for the rights of his own music and breaking free of them. He says that once he does the entire world will know the truth... whatever that means.

"Like you don't know, puppet." I laughed. After finding nothing worth my while on TV, I got up and turned my Play Station on. I grabbed my controller and sat back down waiting for Siphon Filter to boot. When it did, I selected my game file. I was at the museum and had been having difficulty getting passed the mission. As I played, my mind was on Darcy and the book. I can't begin my rebellion without my heritage. I needed the secrets to my abilities. But, my family book has been lost since my mother's disappearance. I tried remembering the day my mother disappeared. I was old enough that I should remember, but my mind was blank. Had I repressed the memory? Where was the book? There was one person who might know. But was I that desperate? I hadn't spoken to him in years.

I thought it over as I played my game. After dying about a hundred times, I tossed the controller onto the couch. I stood and walked to the phone. I took a deep breath and picked up the receiver and dialed a number. After a few minutes, I drew a deep breath.

"Hi dad," I spoke into the phone. "I was wondering if I could stop by?"

An hour later, I was standing on the front porch of my father's house for the first time since I ran away from home. Not much had changed since the last time I was there. But, it looked as if Jessica may have gotten some new curtains. I was nervous as I approached the door and knocked. Suddenly, the door flew open, and a hand came out and seized my sweater, pulling me inside. I found myself being pawed and prodded as I was locked in the biggest bear hug that I ever been in. The strangest part was this was not by my father but my stepmother, Jessica. The one who hated me. She was squeezing me so tight that I couldn't breathe.

"Patrick, look at him. He looks great!" She exclaimed. "Oh, Adam how we've missed you." Confusion washed over me, who was this woman and where was my real stepmother. The one that hated my guts and wasn't afraid to tell me.

"I'm incredibly proud of you for what you've made of yourself." My father said as he nodded his head. I gazed into my father's eyes and nodded as my sister, Lucy entered the room.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in. You know, you've made me extremely popular at school. Everyone wants to be friends with the superstar's little sister." She rolled her eyes as her mother glared at her.

"How many times have I told you, gaining popularity is a good thing!" She exclaimed. She finally let me go, and I could breathe again. I glanced at her and shook my head.

"No, it really isn't," I said, glancing at Lucy. "I'm sorry, I know how annoying it can be with everyone bothering you all the time." I rested my hands on my hips.

"I thought you might understand," she replied as she glared back at her mother. I could see a hint of resentment in her eyes. Then, Lucy peered at me. "I bet you're getting it more than I am." I nodded. It was awkward being home after all these years, but I tried to hide it as best as I could. I failed miserably.

"In fact, we're moving out of our trailer this week. I got us a bigger house with fencing. People just won't leave me alone." I replied. My father narrowed his eyes as if a thought just occurred to him.

"Where's Kelly and Dylan?" He asked.

"They're at Kelly's parent's house for the weekend," I replied. Jessica shook her head as she glanced at me sympathetically.

"They didn't invite you?" She asked. It was hard for me seeing her this way. She was usually so mean and nasty with me. Did my running away have this much of an impact?

"They did. However, I want nothing to do with those people. The only reason they want to be a part of our lives is that we have money. They never gave a shit before."

"Then you'll stay for dinner." She said. I narrowed my eyes and shook my head.

"I don't want to intrude, I was just going to call for a pizza when I get back home."

"Nonsense," Jessica said. "You're our son, and I want to feed you. You're staying for dinner, I insist." I watched her curiously as she clapped her hands together, and rushed off to the kitchen. In the next second, Lucy ran up the stairs, and I was left alone with my father. We walked into the living room and sat down.

"I know what you're thinking." My father said. "Why isn't she the mother you remember from your childhood." I pointed toward the kitchen.

"That woman is not my mother," I replied. My father ignored me and continued to speak.

"We discovered recently that Jessica is bipolar. She was acting the same way toward Lucy as she had been toward you. I questioned what might be going on with her." He said, and I laughed under my breath.

"Figures, when it was me you ignored it. Your child with her, however, that's a different story." My father ignored this again and continued.

"She's medicated now, and as you can see, there is a tremendous difference. I would like it very much if you gave her another chance." I laughed again.

"You're fucking shitting me right? After the way she treated me? Made me leave home the way I did? Too late dad. If you haven't noticed, I'm no longer fourteen years old. I finished raising myself because she didn't want me here." I snapped. The topic was still a touchy one for me even all these years later. I supposed it was because of how much it hurt me.

"I'm sorry, son. I should have never allowed that to happen. That's on me, and I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. But, your mother..." I became angry.

"That woman is not my mother," I said again. My father finally nodded.

"Jessica then," He said. "She wants to make it up to you. Could you at least try to be civil with her? A lot is going on right now." He said, and I widened my eyes.

"Like what?" I asked, and my father sighed.

"Lucy, she is getting in with the wrong crowds and rebelling against us. She has been getting into trouble with the law and barely goes to school. We need to get her away from this place, but we can't find anywhere that is far enough away. I was wondering what you are doing with your trailer once you move." I raised my eyebrows.

"My trailer?" I asked.

"I'd be willing to take it off your hands. Name your price, and I will take over the lot fees." He said.

"You want my trailer?" I asked again, and his father nodded and crossed his legs. "You can have it if you want. I was only planning to haul it away and burn it anyway."

"Have it?" My father asked, and I nodded.

"For free, just get Lucy away from this crowd. But, don't expect miracles it's the world we live in." I said, and my father narrowed his eyes.

"Now you sound like your mother."

"That woman..."

"Your real mother," He corrected. "Katherine. She used to talk about the world the same way. I'm surprised you don't remember that."

"I do," I answered. "Dad, did mom ever do anything in front of you that maybe you couldn't explain?" I asked. My father raised his eyebrow.

"Why?" He asked.

"Mom wasn't Subsequent dad, and I got a reason to believe she was part of a group of individuals who are dedicated to taking down The Dark Regency." My father sighed.

"You're talking about The Trinity." He said, and I gazed at him in shock. How did my father know about The Trinity?

14

 

"You know about The Trinity?" I asked.

"Please, I was married to your mother for eight years. Of course, I knew about them. You're mother told me everything before we got married. It's all hogwash Adam, as a cult of some kind." I shook my head.

"No dad, it's all true. Mom wasn't crazy. When I joined Dark Entertainment, I was shown things that Subsequent people think is nothing but fiction. Everything she ever told you about The Dark Regency was true. They are conspiring against the Subsequent to place a New World Order in which they will control with Martial Law, all freedom will be lost." My father stood and crossed the room to the bay window and placed his hands in his pockets. Then he glanced out into the street.

"If this is true.. is the world doomed son?" he asked, and I shook my head.

"No, not if I can help it."

"You son?" My father asked, and I sighed.

"Think about it father, I was born of Trinity, raised Subsequent, and turned Regency," I said. My father pressed his lips together and sighed.

"That makes you... Number Three?" He asked as his eyes grew wide. I nodded and my father, he sighed again.

"I'll be right back," My father said, and he left the room. Did I make a mistake telling my father what I knew? Was he even the person my mother trusted the most? A few minutes later, my father returned with something wrapped in a black velvet cloth.

"Before your mother left, she wrote a few letters. One was addressed to me and the other to her friend, Eliza Clark. She told me in my letter that only a few people knew of its existence and I must hide it until the day a man who was born of Trinity, raised Subsequent and turned Regency would come and ask me about The Trinity. I was to give this only to him, the one they call Number Three. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be you." He handed me the object, and I unwrapped it to reveal the cover. On the front a red triangle that was upside down, behind it angel wings. In gold lettering were the words: The Book of Cain.

"Does this mean something to you?" My father asked. I nodded. It meant everything to me. In my hands, I held my lost heritage. What my mother would have taught me if she had stayed. But, this was the way it was meant to be. I was always supposed to be raised Subsequent. This book made me one step closer to gaining full power. The Dark Regency didn't stand a chance.

---

Two days later I stopped by Bobby's place on my way home from Dark entertainment. There was something I had meant to ask Bobby, and I couldn't put it off any longer. We were sitting on the couch as Bobby flipped carelessly through the channels.

"So let me get this straight, your stepmothers on some sort of miracle drug, and suddenly she's this entirely different person?" Bobby asked. I nodded and licked my lips.

"Pretty much," I replied, and Bobby laughed as he shook his head.

"You don't really think it's going to last, do you? I mean Jessica is a bitch and no amount of drugs are going to change that."He said. I shrugged and glanced at him.

"I don't know," I replied. "I guess we'll see." Bobby shook his head.

"I don't get why you went to see them at all." He said. "After everything they did to you."

"I told you," I replied. "I needed to get something that belonged to my mother."

"You could have gotten your dad to send it in the mail." He said. I shook my head.

"It was too important to trust in the mail." I knew that The Dark Regency intercepted everyone's mail. There was no way I was trusting The Book of Cain in the mail system.

"I needed to talk to him so that he would know exactly what I was looking for," I said. "What I needed was too valuable for the mail."

"I think you're foolish, that woman will never change. I bet it's only a matter of time before she's as nasty as she always was."

"I know," I said. "But, it's my dad, I gotta give it a chance. I missed so much time with him already." I said, and Bobby smirked.

"I bet Kelly's not happy."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, her parents did less to you, but when they called to apologize you wouldn't hear them out," he said. "But, you easily forgave your own parents for all the shitty things they did to you."  I shook my head.

"It's not the same thing," I said. "Kelly's parents called us because they saw that my music made me famous and rich. My dad didn't come to me, I went to him. Besides, I really don't give a fuck. There isn't too much that makes Kelly happy these days." Bobby narrowed his eyes.

"You two still having problems?" He asked. I shrugged and glanced at my hands as I twirled my thumbs.

"We always have problems, you know that. But, since I got this record deal, it's like we can't even get through one hour in the same room without fighting about something. It's getting to the point that I dread going home every night."

"I've never thought the two of you were good for each other. You're too different and all Kelly does is nag you. She needs to cut you some slack. I don't think it has gotten worse because of the record deal. I believe it just seems that way. Honestly, she might enjoy your money, but you live in two different worlds. Fact is, you never wanted to be with her, to begin with, even I know that. But, for the first time, you don't have to be. There are a million girls out there that are just wishing they could be with you." I shrugged again.

"Yeah, but they don't want me," I said pointing to the TV. "They want him." It was on MTV, and one of my music videos was playing. Bobby glanced at the TV and waved his hand.

"Well, so what? You only live once. Why not enjoy it?" He asked, and I sighed.

"Because I don't want something that easy, I want a challenge. Something that is hard to get but worth it." Bobby laughed.

"Would that challenge have golden hair?" He asked. I had been talking about Darcy a lot with Bobby over the time I couldn't track her down.

"Me and Darcy?" I asked as I wrinkled my nose.

"So you found out her name." He smiled, and I nodded. "Well, why not?"

"It's not like that with Darcy."

"I think it is you just don't know it yet," Bobby said and I rolled my eyes.

"Just drop it."

"Fine," He laughed. "So, you're moving in the morning?"

"Yeah," I replied. "It's still hard to believe. I never thought we'd leave that trailer, let alone move into a house as we have now. It's wild, I could fit my entire trailer in the living room."

"It's certainly one hell of an upgrade." Bobby agreed. "We don't have to move anything?" I shook my head.

"Nah man, it's all taken care of," I said.

"That's good. Do you remember the last time? When we moved you out of that rooming house. We ended up losing the couch over the railing." He laughed, and the memory made me laugh out as well.

"We sure scared the shit out of that little old lady. She tossed her apples in the air and cussed us right out."

"Yeah, she chased you down the street as she swung her handbag. I've never seen you run so fast." Bobby laughed. "That old lady was terrifying." I peered at him and raised my eyebrow.

"You think we'll ever have moment's like that again?" Bobby glanced at me.

"Why wouldn't we?"

"Since I been signed, I'm so busy, and in a week I'm going on tour."

"How long is your tour?"

"The entire summer."

"All summer?" He asked, and I nodded.

"It's a world tour. Three stops in every major country in the world."

"Damn," Bobby muttered, and I sighed again.

"That's kinda why I came here," I said. Bobby gazed at me and narrowed his eyes.

"Really?"

"My manager, Jacobs, he says I need a personal assistant. You know someone who will take care of things for me. Like checking me into a hotel or picking up fast food." I said, and Bobby nodded. "Problem is, I've interviewed about a hundred different suits, and none of them is a good fit for me. What I need is someone who knows me, knows what I like, someone I can hang out with. The only person I could tolerate spending that much time with is you."

"You want me to work for you?" He asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "I would pay you, and it would be better than that pizza place you're at now. Plus, you'll get to travel, see the world, and we can hang out more."

"You do make it sound exciting." He replied. "When can I start?"

"How about the day after tomorrow?" I asked. "That gives you time to quit the pizza place." I wasn't sure at the time why I would even consider dragging Bobby into this mess. Maybe I felt as if the situation wasn't as bad as it was. Perhaps I always knew that he played a more significant role. It was hard to say. But, if I were going to be Number Three, I needed Bobby at my side.

I arrived home late that night and Kelly was sitting in the armchair reading. For once she wasn't surp[rised at the late hour. I guess she was getting used to it, I walked into the living room and flopped down on the couch. She glanced up from the book.

"I didn't even hear you come in." She said, and I glanced at her.

"You're not angry?" I asked, and she shook her head.

"Nope," she replied. My eyes fell on the book she was reading.

"Why the hell are you reading Harlequin Romance?" I laughed. "I thought you said those books were nothing but trash. Something to fill the void of desperate single people with no love lives."

"Well, to be fair I don't have much of one anymore, do I?" She asked raising an eyebrow. "Besides, this one happens to be of interest."

"Oh yeah?" I asked. "Why is that?"

"The wife of this wealthy man has an explicit affair with the pool guy." She said. I laughed even harder. I knew what she was doing, and it wasn't going to work.

"Sorry to tell you that the pool guy for the new house is about 85 years old. Is named Martin and is very much gay.. but lemme know how it turns out for you. I'll send a nice gift to the wedding or the funeral whichever one comes first." She glared at me.

"You don't think it could happen?" She asked.

"With Martin?" I was still laughing, and she narrowed her eyes.

 

"With anyone." She said, and I shook my head.

"I haven't really thought about it," I said.

"Why haven't you?" She asked. I shook my head.

"Jesus, I don't know, Kel," I replied and stood up. "I'm going to bed." She bit her lip.

"You know this book has me a bit worked up." She said as she pulled her lips into a pout.

"Yeah?" I asked, and she nodded. "Do me a favor then, take care of that out here before you come to bed. I'm a bit tired." Without another word, I walked toward the bedroom. 

15

We moved the following morning, and that afternoon my father came by the new lace to get the keys for the trailer. We were standing in our yard when my father gazed at Kelly and smiled.

"You must be Kelly, my wife's mother has told us so much about you. I'm Adam's dad, Patrick." However, Kelly just glared at him coldly.

"Hello," She said stiffly and walked away. I shook my head and glanced at my father.

"Ignore her dad, she can be a bitch when she wants to be." I snapped, and my dad gazed into my eyes.

"Why do I get the feeling that things aren't good between the two of you." He asked, and I shook my head.

"They aren't and never have been to be perfectly honest. Most times I can't even stand her. Is that bad?" I asked, and my father was shaking his head.

"Maybe you don't belong with her." My dad suggested. "Have you ever felt that way?" However, he no longer had my attention.

The new house that Jacobs had found me was located on Broad Street. For some reason, Jacobs insisted I be in the middle of this community. I had the feeling that everyone in this area were from The Trinity. I knew at least my driver was, because the driver lives directly across the street from me, and was heading toward me now, with a young girl at his side. A young girl with golden hair. Her eyes met mine, and she smiled and blushed.

"Son, are you even listening to me?" My dad asked and gazed in the direction I had been looking. "Oh, I see."

The man and girl stopped in front of us. My eyes were locked on hers.

"Mr. Mitchell, we wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm your new driver, Edward Clarke and this is my daughter Darcy."

"Hello again," I said. Edward raised an eyebrow.

"You two know each other?" He asked.

"We've bumped into each other a few times." She admitted. Edward glanced from her to me and back. His face etched with concern.

"Yes, well if you ever need anything Mr. Mitchell we are right across the street." He said clearing his throat. I glanced at him for the first time since they had arrived.

"Actually, I was hoping I could have a word with your mother." He said, and Edwards' eyes grew wide.

"My mother?" He asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "You see, your mother knew my mother. She might be able to help me with my heritage and stuff."

"I told you she can't help you without the book," Darcy said.

"I found my book." He said. Mr. Clarke's eyes grew even wider. "You are of Trinity blood?"

"I was born Trinity, raised Subsequent, and now I'm Dark Regency," I said as I glared into his eyes.

"You're Number Three?" Edward said. "But, Darcy that means..."

"Don't worry about what it means right now dad." She said. Her words stopped him from finishing what he was going to say. I got the impression that she didn't want me to know whatever that was. "Anyway, I better go. Carrie is waiting for me at the mall." With those words, she ran off.

"I'll see you around then," I shouted after her.

"Teenagers." Mr. Clarke muttered. "Moody as hell, sometimes." Why did she get so upset? What was it that her father was going to say just now that she didn't want me to hear? It was like one minute she was fine, and the next a switch went off somewhere. My father glanced at me and held up the keys to the trailer.

"I better go, now it's our turn to move." He said.

"I'll call you later," I replied. My father nodded, climbed into his car and drove off. Mr. Clarke glanced back at me.

"If your not busy, my mother is home." He said. I glanced at him and nodded.

"Sure, I'll be over in a few minutes. I just need to get my book." I said, and he nodded before heading across the street. I ran inside. Kelly was standing over a tower of boxes.

"I hate moving." She hissed and glanced at me. "Who were those people in the yard. The man and girl?" She asked.

"My driver and his daughter," I shouted as I ran up the stairs. I walked into the bedroom and opened a box with my name on it. I grabbed the book, wrapped in its cloth and ran back down the stairs. A few seconds later, and I was knocking on the door.

It was Edward that opened the door.

"Come in," He said. "My mother just there in the living room." He leads the way inside. Eliza Clarke was ancient. Her face was wrinkled, and she reminded me of those wise old ladies that you see in movies. The old woman held her hand out, and I handed her the book. She unwrapped it and traced her fingers on the triangle.

"This book has been lost for many years, ever since your mother's disappearance." She said, and I nodded. "What do you remember from that day?"

"Nothing," I said. "I have no recollection of that day."

"That's because your memory was wiped to protect you. Now that you are ready, with this book I can send you back to recall the memory that was lost." She gestured for me to sit in the chair across from her and I did.

Eliza traced an upside-down triangle onto my forehead, muttering words that I don't understand. However, it was almost as if I had heard this language a thousand times before. My eyes slowly close and the next second I'm falling through a glowing timeline, the years are zipping past me. Suddenly, I landed with a thunk on something rather hard. I opened my eyes, and I'm no longer in Edward Clarke's house. I'm looking at the familiar tiled floor of my childhood home. I pushed myself up and glanced around the kitchen. It was exactly how I remembered it. Suddenly I hear a familiar voice, hollering from the bathroom.

"Adam Mitchell, are you ever getting out of that bed?" That was my mother's voice. I knew she wasn't talking to me now, but the younger version of myself. I froze as her footsteps were getting closer. Katherine rounds the corner and lets out a scream, grabbing the rolling pin off the counter and holding it up like a club.

"Who are you!" She shouted. "What are you doing in my house? Did the regency send you?" I raised both hands in the air.

"Eliza Clarke sent me back in time to regain my memories," I said.

"Back in time?" She repeated, and I nodded.

"I was born Trinity, raised Subsequent, and turned Dark Regency. I am Number Three." I said.

"That doesn't make any sense, why would Eliza send you here to regain your memories. I've never met you." She insisted.

"My birth name is Adam Mitchell," I said.

"Your...are you sure?" She asked.

"I can prove it. Just last week I was playing in the yard on my favorite tire swing... you told me constantly not to stand up because the rope was weak. As always, I didn't listen to you, and the rope snapped. I fell forward and scrapped my knee pretty good. It needed ten stitches, you were so angry, and informed me that it would scar for life." I said, and she nodded.

"I remember." She said. I lifted up my pant leg to the knee where a very faint but noticeable scar could be seen.

"I didn't even say which leg," I said. My mother gazed at me with tears in her eyes.

"Look at you all grown up." She cried, and he nodded.

"I have a little boy of my own now," I said. "His names Dylan." This makes her smile.

"I like that name." She said. "But, what is it that you need to remember?" I sighed. I knew that this conversation had to happen. I had been hoping to avoid it.

"This is the day you vanished without a trace," I said. "You asked me if The Dark Regency sent me... why would you think that?" She sat down at the table and shook her head.

"They aren't pleased with what I've been doing. The Dark Regency suspect me of being one of what they call the unknown enemy. They aren't wrong. The Trinity is the unknown enemy. I need to protect them, and you especially now that I know you are Number Three. If the Regency ever found out about The Trinity or Number three the rebellion will never happen." She said.

"Have they been following you?" I asked, and she nodded.

"For days now." She answered. "I don't know what to do about it. Adam... well you... want to leave the house and go outside but I can't allow it. Patrick thinks I'm nuts as always." I licked my lips.

"You need to write two letters. One to Eliza Clarke telling her who Number Three is. The other to my father, telling him to keep the book safe until the day a man named number three asks him for it. He is to give the book to this man only."

My mother sat writing the letters as I watched. She had just finished what she was doing when a loud knocking came to the door. She glared at me.

"You better hide, I don't know if they can see you or not." She said. I nodded and hid in the coat closet but left the door slightly ajar. My heart was racing as the impatient visitor decided to wait no longer and burst through the door. Katherine screamed as the two figures stood before her. They stood with their backs to the closet so I couldn't get a clear view of who they might be. However, when the woman spoke her voice was very familiar, and I swore under my breath.

"Who do you work for?" She demanded, and Katherine shook her head.

"I don't work for anyone." She said, and the woman slapped her across the face.

"Don't lie to me you filthy Subsequent! We know you are conspiring with the unknown enemy!" She shouted.

"There is no one else, just me." Katherine pleaded as the younger version of me entered the room.

"What's this?" The woman laughed. "A mini filth." She grabs the boys arm, and when she does, I get a clear view of her face. I glared at her with a burning hatred.

"Please, don't hurt him." Katherine pleaded. The woman chuckled again.

"You tell us what we want to know and we will spare the boy." She said. Katherine shook her head and pleaded again.

"Please, I have never heard of the unknown enemy. These opinions are my own." She said. The woman shook her head.

"I don't believe you." She said and pulled the boy close as she held a knife to his throat. "Say goodbye to mommy little boy, she was naughty, and you are her punishment." The boy was crying, and the fear inside him mirrored into me and from it came to a high power that I had never felt before. I threw on a large raincoat with a hood that covered my face and jumped out of the closet.

"Leave the boy alone!" I shouted, and the woman gazed at me while the man stood looking stupid.

"Are you going to stop me, Subsequent?" She laughed, and I glared at her and smirked.

"That's the thing lady," I said shaking my head. "I'm not Subsequent!" My eyes burning into hers with the deepest hatred. "Ignis!"

Eva Lucas began to scream she let go of the boy as she clenched both her hands and fell to her knees. The boy ran behind me and clung to my leg.

"What's happening?" The man shouted. Eva was still screaming and glared at him.

"My hands, their burning!" She yelled. "Do something! Kill him!"

"The boy or the man?" He asked, and Eva rolled her eyes.

"The man you fool!" She shouted, and the man darted at me. Once again I focused my gaze on the man.

"Caelo!" I shouted, and the man froze instantly.

"James!" Eva cried. "What did you do to him! What did you do!" I smirked again and fixed my gaze on the frozen man, James she called him.

"Caelestis Animus!" I shouted, and James shattered into a thousand tiny shards.

"James!" Eva cried again, and this was it this was my moment. I focused all my energy on Eva Lucas.

"Obfula Falcarios!" I shouted, but Eva moved out of the way, and it hit the wall. Suddenly, she had a hold of Katherine and was pulling her toward the door. I stepped forward to stop her, but Katherine glared at me.

"No," She said. "It has to be this way... I think you know that." I nodded and let Eva leave with Katherine.

The boy was sobbing and I n\knelt down beside him.

"Who are you?" He asked.

"My name is Number Three, I'm you."

"You're me?" He asked, and I nodded. "Where did she take mom?"

"I don't know, kid," I said.

"Will she be back?" He asked. And I sighed.

"Come here, kid," I said, and he walked closer to me. "You aren't ready for any of this. I need to wipe your memory, okay?" The boy nodded.

I closed my eyes and focused on the boy's mind.\

"Verum Miraculum," I muttered, and the boy collapsed on the floor. I took one more glance around the room before I heard the distant sound of snapping fingers, and everything went black.

16

 

"Jesus, Nan. What did you do to him, he's been out for hours?" The sound of her voice pulled me back to consciousness. I groaned and slowly opened my eyes. "Adam?"

"Yeah?" I responded.

"What happened?" She asked. She took my hand and pulled me into a sitting position. I gazed at Eliza.

"I remember, I remember everything. The Dark Regency took her, and I have a pretty good idea where she might be." I said. "She wouldn't tell them anything, I think that's why they keep going in to look at my gland. They are trying to find out what we are."

"They can't find out that way, can they ma?" Edward asked, but she shook her head.

"I don't know." She replied. "Do you remember anything else?" I grabbed my head.

"Yeah, I used some of my abilities," I replied.

"Do you remember how you used them?" She asked, and I nodded.

"Yeah," I replied.

"What abilities did you use?" She asked.

"Redemption Flame, Heaven Attack, Heavenly Soul, Slice Scythe, and True Miracle," I replied. She nodded.

"I figured as much, you wiped your own memory after they took your mother." I nodded.

"I will bring Eva Lucas and The Dark Regency down if it's the last thing I do," I said. "But, I need to learn more. I need my full powers, how to channel them and how to control them. Can you help me?" The old lady smiled and nodded.

"I can." She replied, but I was glancing at Darcy now.

"You're back? How long was I out for?" I asked. She laughed.

"I just got home, but a while." She said, glancing at her grandmother.

"What time is it?" I asked, and Darcy glanced at her watch.

"It's 7:30PM," she answered.

"Dammit," I mumbled. "Kelly's going to skin me alive." I got to my feet as the old lady wrapped my book back up in the cloth and handed it to me.

"Tomorrow evening, you come straight here, and we'll begin." She said. I nodded.

"I'll see you tomorrow," I said, heading for the door. Darcy chased after me.

"I'll walk with you," she said, and I narrowed my eyes.

"I just live across the street." She nodded.

"I know," she replied. "I just wanted to speak to you privately." I gazed at her.

"Why is that?" I asked. She glanced at the ground and shuffled her feet.

"Well now that my grandmothers helping you, I guess we won't be having our talks anymore." She said. This surprised me, I wasn't expecting that.

"I live right across the road, and I'm going to be over here all the time," I replied. She nodded.

"I know, but it won't be the same." She said, and I narrowed my eyes.

"What do you mean?" I asked. She exhaled.

"Before they were mysterious... almost magical." She said. Hearing these words nearly blew my mind.

"Magical?"I asked, one eyebrow elevated. "How were they magical?" She laughed.

"Maybe they weren't for you." She said. "It's almost as if we were drawn to each other by some mysterious force." She said, and I laughed again.

"You and I will always be friends," I said. "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't even be Number Three. Because of you, I chose to fight."

"But, you don't need me anymore?" She asked.

"I... I don't even know how to answer that." I answered. She nodded again.

"I understand." She said as she gazed into my eyes. It was so easy to get lost in those vivid blues, but tonight they had an extra shine to them. Were those tears? Was she crying? I opened my mouth to say something, anything and nothing came out. She turned and ran back inside her house. I wasn't sure what had just happened, but I was damn sure that I just messed up.

A few minutes later, I was walking in the front door to find Kelly glaring at me. Her arms were crossed in front of her chest as she stood in the kitchen, leaning against the cabinets.

 

"Where did you disappear to this time?" She asked. The tone in her voice was angry.

"Chill, I was across the road," I said as I was running up the stairs. I slid the book under my bed and then headed back to the kitchen.

"What were you doing across the road all this time? I had to do everything myself. I walked to the fridge and took the pizza box out.

"I'm sorry okay, I lost track of time," I said grabbing a slice of pizza and taking a bite.

"No, it's not okay. We just moved, and there is a lot to do. I need some help before you go on that blasted tour." She said. I had to stifle a laugh. Kelly was right she did need help just not the kind she was looking for.

"Will you chill," I said. "If you don't want to do it, hire someone else to do it for you." She ignored him walking to the fridge. She opened it sighed, and rolled her eyes.

"Great," she said. "We're out of milk again. I don't suppose you'd go get some?"

"I could buy the whole damn cow," I said a smirk curling on my lips.

"Just go to the store you ass." I chuckled and left the house.

I jumped in the car and drove toward the Pitt Stop. When I was three blocks away, I noticed a disturbance on the street. I was intending on ignoring it and drive by. But, that was before I saw a hint of golden hair. I slammed on the brakes and reversed my car. Stopping right next to the disturbance. I tossed up my hood, jammed on my sunglasses and jumped out.

Three men were attempting to tackle her to the ground. They stopped when they saw my car. My eyes glared right into hers.

"You okay?" I asked her, she nodded as she scrambled across the ground, using the bumper of the car to pull herself up.

"Oh look, a hero!" One guy chuckled.

"You made a big mistake." Another said.

"Your gonna die," the third said. "Then we'll finish off your little girlfriend." I glared at the first man.

"Ignis!" I shouted. The man fell to his knees screaming in pain.

"What's happening?" One of his friends shouted.

"I... I don't know. Suddenly, I'm burning all over." He moans, the other men stood glaring at me.

"What are you some kind of freak?" One asked.

"Do you wanna find out?" I asked, and he shook his head.

"No," He replied.

"Then I suggest you take your little boyfriends here and get the hell out of my neighborhood. If I ever see you around here again, I won't be as merciful. Do you understand?" I asked, and the man nodded. "I'm glad we came to an understanding." I glared at the man one more time as Darcy, and I climbed into the car. She was silent for a minute or two. I took off my sunglasses and tossed them onto the dash.

"Thank you," she muttered, and I glared at her.

"What were you thinking?" I shouted. "You know how dangerous it is on these streets. It's not the best place for a stroll."

"That's never happened before, it's getting worse." I sighed and nodded.

"It's because of my music," I said, sighing again. "This is my fault." I slammed my hand on the steering wheel. "Those blasted subliminal messages!"

"You can't blame yourself," she said. I laughed shaking my head.

"No? Who do I blame?" I asked. "You know what they were going to do to you right?" She nodded and lowered her head.

"They made that pretty clear." She replied, and I shook my head.

"Going out after dark is stupid Darcy," I shouted. "What if they would have recognized me? What if they contacted the media? You could have exposed Number Three!" She glared at me.

"No one said you had to stop! You could have left me there. By the sounds of it, you should have!" She shouted, and I slammed my brakes on and glared at her.

"Do you honestly believe that I could have just left you there?" I asked. Her head was still lowered as she shook her head.

"I don't know," she sighed. "Maybe."

"I was going to keep driving until I saw who it was," I said. "You're the only reason I stopped the car."

"Well, you don't seem hay about it." She said, and I glared at her.

"Of course I'm not happy about it," I said. "You could have gotten seriously hurt." She glanced at me.

"You care if I get hurt?" She asked.

"It made me really angry," I said. "You're a kid and..."

"So, that's how you see me... a child?" She asked. I gazed at her, confusion etched on my face.

"They were going to hurt you," I said.

"I know, it's just.." She said.

"Then why are you mad at me?" I asked, and she shook her head again. Sighing she glanced out the window.

"I'm not mad, it's just... do you really only see me as some kid?" She asked, and I narrowed my eyes.

"How else am I supposed to see you?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "Just answer the question."

"It's the only answer your going to get," I said.

"I'm not some kid." She muttered. I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye.

"I know you're not," I mumbled, and a small smile appeared on her face. I pulled into the Pitt Stop. "Can you do me a favor? I need milk, do you think you could grab it for me?" She nodded. 

"Sure," She said. I handed her a bill, and she went inside. There was no need to risk being spotted more than once tonight. I sat in the car with my thoughts. Why was she so concerned about how I saw her? I jumped when the car door opened again.

"Your grandmother says hello," she said.

"She's not really my grandmother, you know," I replied.

"Blood doesn't always matter." She said. I figured if she met my family she might change her mind. "Here's your milk, and your change."

"Keep the change," I said, and her mouth dropped.

"You're joking right. It's forty-something." She said. I laughed.

"It's the smallest bill I had on me," I said, and she glared at me.

"That's not what I meant." She said.

"I know what you meant," I replied. "Just buy yourself something nice, okay?" I pulled the car into the driveway, and she glanced at me as Kelly came running out of the house.

"How fucking long does it take to go to the store." She was shouting, her eyes fell on Darcy, and her tone changed. "Oh, hello." Darcy climbs out of the car and glances at Kelly nervously.

"Kelly this is Darcy, she's my driver's daughter. I found her a few blocks down the street being attacked." I explained. I knew that it didn't matter. As soon as we were alone, Kelly wasn't going to let this go. Kelly gazed at Darcy, her eyes going wide.

"Attacked? In this neighborhood?" She asked, and I nodded.

"Yeah," I said as I handed Kelly the milk. Then I turned to Darcy. "Come on, I'll walk you home."

"You don't have to do that." She said, and I nodded my head.

"Yeah, I do." I insisted. "Come on." She followed me out of the yard as Kelly went inside.

"Where were you going so late anyway?" He asked. She shrugged her shoulders as she walked.

"I was heading to the ark to do some thinking." She said.

"What were you thinking about?" I asked, and she sighed.

"The talk we had earlier," she said. "I don't want anything to change. I hoped I would be a bigger part of this. But, you made it pretty clear." I narrowed my eyes.

"That bothers you?" I asked, glancing at her.

"Maybe," She said. I sighed.

"This stuff is dangerous, I'm only trying to look out for you," I said. Darcy laughed and shook her head before glancing at me and biting her lip.

"I'm not a child, you don't have to protect me." She said.

"I'm not protecting you because I think you're a child. I'm protecting you because..." My voice trailed off, I had no idea how to word this.

"Because why?" She prompted.

"I don't think I could stand it if anything ever happened to you?.." I admitted and swallowed. She gazed at me and narrowed her own eyes.

"What?" She asked, and this made me laugh. I shook my head.

"I don't know, it scares the hell out of me," I said as we reached her driveway.

"It scares you?" She asked.

"It fucking terrifies me. You need to promise me that these late night walks will stop. If you need to go somewhere and my cars in the driveway, just ask." I said.

"And if you're not home?" She asked, and I shook my head.

"Just stay home, I couldn't live with myself if.." I started, and again my voice trailed off.

"If what?" She prompted.

"If anything happened to you," I admitted. She took my arm and gazed into my eyes, I stared back. The feelings that flooded me at that moment were intense. I had never felt anything like it before. I knew a million reasons why I couldn't have these feelings. I backed up, pulling my arm out of her grip and swallowed.

"You need to get inside Darcy, it's late," I said coldly as I backed away.

"Wait!" She pleaded, but I ignored her as I turned and walked back toward my house. I knew I left her back there wondering what just happened, but it had to be this way.  

17

 I hated leaving the way I did, but I didn't like what was happening. I allowed myself to get too close to the girl. That could be bad. I had to stay focused, my primary objective was bringing down the Dark Regency. I couldn't afford distractions, and boy... was Darcy a distraction.

I entered the kitchen to find Kelly sitting at the table waiting for me. I wasn't an idiot, I knew what was coming.

"She's a pretty girl," she said. I sighed and shrugged my shoulders.

"I guess," I replied and swallowed. "I hadn't noticed." I was hoping Kelly bought it because I really didn't want to get in an argument about Darcy Clark.

"Was she really attacked?" Kelly asked. I sighed and nodded my head as I sat down at the table. I folded my hands and gazed at her.

"Yeah, by three grown men," I replied. "Maybe a few years older than us."

"Jesus," Kelly muttered. "What kind of neighborhood did you move us to?" I sighed again, shaking my head.

"It's not the area," I said. "It's the times. Thing's keep getting worse."

"That poor girl, she must have been thankful you came along." She said. I gulped, thinking about the argument in the car. I nodded my head slowly.

"I'm sure she was," I said.

"Thank God that I thought we had run out of milk." She replied. I raised my eyebrow.

"What do you mean you thought?" I asked.

"Well, you saw me look in that fridge. I swear there was nothing there. But, after you left, I opened it again, and there was nearly a full gallon." She answered. "It's almost as if someone wanted you to go to that store. Almost as if you needed to save her." I cleared my throat and shook my head again.

"I think you're reading too much into it." I lied. "You're tired, it's no big deal. Everyone makes mistakes." Kelly sighed and nodded.

"I guess you're right," She laughed. "It's not as if your some superhero or something."

"Anyway," I said. "It's been a long day. I'm heading to bed." I said nothing more as I got to my feet and headed to the bedroom upstairs. I closed the door and grabbed my book from under the bed. I unwrapped it and opened, The Book of Cain.

In the end days, the heavenly prince will rise. He will stand up for the children of the people against the darkness. He is a healer, protector, and leader of God's Trinity Army.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. Why hadn't my mother known?

The one's first mission, he was sent by God himself to free the nation from Babylonian captivity.

So, I'm not just here, I've been resurrected. Awesome! I thought about what I knew of Babylon. It was likely that it was only the Dark Regency under another name. Just as there was with the Dark Regency, there was nothing favorable about Babylon in the bible. They were the enemy. I continued with my reading.

As a healer, the one's powers are more advanced than anyone else's. He alone possesses Heavenly Redemption, Energy Soul, Miracle Power, and Salvation Reborn. While his signature attacks are far more sophisticated and brutal, then anyone has ever seen before. This includes Heavenly Soul, Slice Scythe, Fusion Flash, Smashing Bane, Soul Reaction, and Soul Reaper.

The one also has powers of illusion. Number Three's Heavenly Deception is noted to be the strongest and most potent. While his True Sanctuary could shelter hundreds of thousands of innocents with one cast. The one can reveal his presence with Divine Revelation.

Kelly walked int the room, and I slammed the book shut.

"Don't you knock?" I shouted as I threw the cloth over the front cover.

"What are you looking at?" She asked. I glared at her.

"Porn," I replied. "Now get out!"

"I think it's another strange thing associated with Dark Entertainment." She answered.

"Something like that," I muttered.

"What the hell is going on, with all the secrets." She said. I shook my head.

"Didn't I tell you before not to ask?" I asked her, and she shook her head.

"I can't do this anymore, Adam." She shouted. "I can't take all these secrets, I need to know what you are hiding from me."

"No, you don't!" I shouted back. "Would you just trust me on this?"

"How can I trust you when you're keeping things from me? She asked. I sighed and rubbed my face with my hand. I knew she wasn't about to let this go, and I had no idea how to handle this situation.

"You just have to trust that I have my reasons for not telling you," I said. She pressed her lips together. I knew she was angry it was written all over her face.

"Reasons, what reasons?" She demanded.

"I can't tell you," I replied. "I'm sworn to secrecy. If I break my oath and tell you..." I started but my voice trail off. Could I actually tell her?

"What?" She asked. I sighed.

"They'd kill me, you, and Dylan," I shouted. Her eyes shot at me like daggers.

"What have you gotten us tangled up in?" She asked, tears streaming down her cheeks. I took a step forward.

"It'll be okay," I said reaching out for her shoulder. She pulled away from me, and I sighed.

---

The next morning, I finished my breakfast as Kelly walked into the kitchen with Dylan and placed him in his highchair. She made her way to the fridge in silence. We weren't on speaking terms not since the other night. I knew that she was terrified, that's why I never planned on telling her anything. She fumbled around nervously in the kitchen, it wasn't until she dropped two eggs on the floor that she began to cry. I jumped up and wrapped my arms around her.

"There's nothing to be scared about. You know nothing." I said. "But, if they see you acting like this, they might feel otherwise."

"How do I go about my day and not be scared?" She asked.

"The same way you went about it without knowing," I replied. "Trust me, they aren't going to hurt you or Dylan, I promise." She peered at me and blinked.

"Why do you sound so certain?" She asked, and I pulled her closer.

"Another thing I can't explain to you," I said. "But, I won't let the Dark Regency hurt you."

"Won't let them? You said that you'd be a target too." She said. "You can't stop them."

"I will have security on you around the clock. You'll be safe, I promise. But, please just stop worrying about it." I said, and she sighed.

"It's not something I can easily forget." She said, and I laughed.

"This is why I didn't want to tell you anything. If you don't know anything that will put you in danger than there is nothing to worry about." I insisted.

"But, if I accidentally find out." She said.

"You won't," I replied. "If you stop snooping around."

"What did you mean by you not letting them through? How could you stop them?" She asked.

"That's something else that you don't need to know," I said. "You'll just have to trust me on that." She sighed again.

"You carry so many secrets." She said, and I sighed.

"I carry too many secrets," I replied.

"And, in a few days, you are leaving." She said, and I sighed again.

"You know that I don't have a choice," I said.

"Will we have some time together, before you leave?" She asked. I sighed again and shook my head. Then I glanced up and gazed into her eyes.

"Honestly," I said. "I don't know. They have me working these local promotional events. I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to take a dump." I was hoping for a laugh that never came. She pulled out of my arms and glared at me.

"We barely see you!" She shouted. "You're hardly home, and when you're here, you are either sleeping or locked away in the other room. I go to my parent's house tomorrow night, and by the time I get back you'll be getting ready to leave." She protested.

"Kel, believe me, if I could be home with you, I would be," I said. "When I took this record deal, I took on responsibilities that I can't get out of." She was glaring at me, and I could feel the anger boiling inside her.

"Your family should be your main priority, not your fans!" She shouted.

"What the hell do you want from me, Kel?" I shouted as I walked back to the kitchen table. "This is what I do now, this is how I am able to give you all of this."

"Do you honestly think I give a fuck about any of this?" She shouted. "I want you, Adam, that's all I've ever wanted."

"Yet, when you had just me all you ever did was complain about the things we didn't have. Now, I'm able to give you everything you've ever wanted. Your dad is back in your life, because of all of this, and you're still not fucking happy!" I shouted.

"If you honestly believe that then I think we have a problem here." She shouted. "I think we need counseling." I tossed my head back and laughed.

"Do you honestly think I'm going to have time for that shit?" I asked.

"You'll have to make time." She shouted.

"You need to chill," I said. "That just isn't going to happen."

"We need to make this work!" She shouted. I shook my head as I laughed out again.

"Then stay off my damn back about things, and we'll be fine!" I shouted. Kelly seized a bowl off the counter and biffed it at my head. I ducked, and it hit the wall and shattered. Thousands of tiny shards rained down to the floor. I dashed across the room and grabbed her by her throat, slamming her against the cupboard. There was darkness beneath the surface that I had never felt before. I glared into her eyes.

"Don't you ever do anything like that again, do you understand? You have no fucking idea who the hell you're messing with!" I shouted. She shook her head, tears streaming down her face. "I could have your shit ended in a snap, and no one would ever miss your ass, you filthy little Subsequent!"

As the words left my mouth, the realization of what I had been saying hit me. I let go of Kelly's throat, and she started to gasp. Had I been squeezing? Without another word I turned and marched out of the house, slamming the door behind me. 

18

 


I was standing on my front steps as my driver, Mr. Clark peered at me from the driveway and cleared his throat.

"I hope you don't mind, Mr. Mitchell but Darcy needs a ride to school this morning. She can't bring her project on the bus." He said. My eyes fell on Darcy, and she appeared to be terrified. I guessed that had something to do with the way I had left things the night before.

"Of course I don't mind," I replied. My eyes met hers. Darcy was looking directly into mine and moved her head to the left.

"You're better than them," she said. "Don't let them in your head like that, fight back." She climbed into the limo, as I stood in a daze. How did she know? I jumped in beside her, and we made our way to Bobby's house. I watched her in silence a few minutes, but after mustering up the nerve, I cleared my throat.

"What did you mean?" I asked. She gazed at me and smiled, but I could tell even then there was a nervousness in her eyes.

"When you get angry, the way you did with Kelly, you give them the upper hand on your soul. We can't afford to lose you to the dark side. You cannot allow the anger to consume you." She said.

"Yeah, but, how did you know I had gotten angry with Kelly?" I asked.

"I felt it." She said. I never had time to ask her any more questions. The limo stopped, and Bobby climbed in.

"I didn't think you were ever getting here, what did Kelly do this time?" Bobby asked, noticing Darcy just then. He smiled. "Oh, hello." He raised his eyebrow and pointed at her. "Is that..." I cut him off, glaring into Bobby's eyes.

"This is Darcy," I said. "We are giving her a ride to school."

"Hi Darcy," Bobby said.

"Hi," She replied. "You're Bobby... right?"

"I am," Bobby laughed. Darcy nodded.

"I'm glad that you're working with Adam. He needs as many real friends in that place as he can get."

"Yeah, I heard the suits in that place are boring," Bobby said. Darcy shot me a look as if to ask why I haven't told him the truth. She narrowed her eyes.

"Really." She said. Bobby, who noticed everything leaned forward.

"Is there something else I should know?" He asked.

"I don't know," she said. "You should probably ask Adam."

"Of course not, Darcy just believes the silly rumors about the Dark Regency," I said, but Bobby shook his head.

"Why do I get the feeling that I'm missing something?" He asked. Darcy and I were glaring at one another just as the limo pulled into the high school.

"This would be my stop," she said opening the door. She handed her father her project and climbed out, then turned back to the car and beckoned me. I leaned over.

"You need to tell him everything," she whispered. "He's of Trinity blood." With those words, she took her project from her father and walked toward a crowd of kids.

"Hey, who's that in the limo, Darcy?" a boy shouted.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." She laughed. Her father slammed the door shut, and in a few minutes, we were driving again. Not even five minutes later, he lowered the window that sat between the front and the back.

"We will be arriving at Dark Entertainment in a few minutes, sir." He said and put the window back up. Bobby glanced at me.

"Dark Entertainment?" He asked. "I thought we were going to a record store today?"

"We are," I replied. "But, first... my manager Bradley Jacobs needs you to sign some papers."

"Papers? What kind of papers?" He asked.

"Just your salary contract, and a confidentiality form," I replied. Bobby glared at me and narrowed his eyes.

"Are you fucking with me?" He asked. "I'd never..."

"I know you wouldn't, it's not for me. It's for the Dark Regency, in case you see something that you shouldn't see." I said.

"Why am I starting to think that Darcy girl's suspicions aren't so far fetched?" He asked, and all I could do is shrug my shoulders. I knew Darcy was right, I had to tell him the truth, I just didn't know how to do that. I'd fill him soon when I was out of options. Little did I know soon was sooner then I hoped.

We arrived outside Dark Entertainment. Eva Lucas stopped us on our way in. It was the first time I'd seen her since I discovered her involvement in my mother's disappearance. She smiled sweetly as she peered into my eyes. She was a good actress, I'd give her that. To be able to stand in front of me and look me in the eyes, knowing what she did. Now I knew the truth, but, I wasn't ready for her to know that. I must test my own acting skills. Something that I wasn't sure I could do.

"Good morning, Mr. Mitchell." She said, with her face beaming. I nodded, as I kept my face emotionless.

"Chancellor." I greeted. Her gaze turned to Bobby, she maintained the phony act, her smile growing.

"It's nice to see you again, Mr. Parks. I've heard that you'll be working for us." She said. Bobby nodded.

"Adam needed an assistant, I'll do my best." He said, and Eva nodded.

"I'm sure you will," she said. Then, she turned her gaze back to me. "I expect you to visit Dr. Smith for another session before you leave on tour." She stated. I swallowed and nodded. Knowing she wanted to poke around inside my head as an attempt to figure out what I was and why I was immune to the serum.

"Sure thing," I said, and Eva nodded before she walked away. Bobby glanced at me, and I had a pretty good idea what was coming.

"Are you sick or something?" He asked, I sighed and shook my head.

"Not exactly," I replied.

"Why does she want you to see a doctor?" He asked. I exhaled as I shook my head again.

"Don't worry about it," I said. "Come on." Bobby followed me toward Jacobs office, and as we approached, I realized it was terrible timing. The door stood ajar, and Jacobs was on the phone again. It was another mysterious caller, or perhaps the same one as before. I brought my finger to my lips glancing at Bobby, he nodded. We stood listening outside Jacobs door.

"I don't give a damn! He needs to wait it out, Number Three will soon rise, and then he can come out of hiding." Jacobs paused. "No, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time." He paused again. "No, you tell Duece not to do that. I've got enough on my plate at the moment. Like what? Keeping Number Three from being discovered for one... no, he hasn't asked about his mother yet... look just tell Deuce to stay put and keep his mouth shut. I get that the stuff regarding Jordan and Death Man is upsetting... I've been trying to deal with that too." He paused again. "Well, because, I'm one man doing the job of at least three. Why don't you try getting me some more men on the inside? Well, then cut me some slack and keep him quiet!" He slammed the phone down. I pushed open the door.

"You know," I was smirking. "You really ought to make sure your door is shut when you go all double agent like that." He turned white as a ghost. "Shouting Trinity stuff the way you were. What if it wasn't me coming in here? What if it was the Chancellor? And what do you know about my mother?"

"So, you know exactly who you are?" Jacobs asked, and I nodded.

"I've known for a while now," I admitted. Jacobs sighed and sat at his desk. He ran a hand through his hair.

"I don't know all that much about your mother," he said. "only that the Dark Regency has her somewhere. They have been questioning her about why your gland is opened."

"Find her," I said. "I want her out of the Dark Regency's hands as soon as possible." Jacobs nodded.

"Yes, sir." He answered. Jacobs pushed his glasses up his nose and glanced at Bobby, who was in shock.

"We need to fill him in." He said.

"I think that's a good idea," I replied. Bobby pointed to the phone, and he began to mutter.

"How can a dead man not keep quiet?" He asked. I gazed at Jacobs and closed the door. It was time for Bobby to learn the truth, all of it and Jacobs would help me explain. This would be helpful to Jacobs, for he'd have another spy within Regency walls. 

19

Jacobs was pacing his office as he mumbled to himself.

"You better sit down," He told Bobby as he pointed to a chair. Bobby was puzzled as he took a seat. Jacobs sat across from him as I leaned on the wall. My mind was racing. Would Bobby believe us? "The world as you know it doesn't exist." Bobby narrowed his eyes and glanced at me. I knew he was looking for confirmation that this was some sort of joke. I pressed my lips together and nodded. This was indicating to Bobby that Jacobs was telling the truth.

"Do you remember when I first got signed? How oddly I was acting? This is why Bobby. The world you know is a lie ut into place by the Dark Regency. Everything my mother ever said was true. They conspire against the Subsequent to keep them from learning the truth." I said, and Bobby swallowed.

"What is the truth?" He asked. Jacobs peered at him over the rim of his glasses.

"Everything that you were ever told not to believe in is authentic. Fairytales, magic, all of it." He said. "This world is filled with what is known to you like fiction. It is just very well hidden from the outside world."

"So, why is it kept from everyone?" Bobby asked. I leaned forward, shaking my head.

"They keep the truth away from the rest of the world because they intend to use it against us. The Dark Regency wants to dominate a new world and rule over the Subsequent." I said.

"So, all those conspiracy theories are true?" Bobby asked. Jacobs and I both nodded. "We just can't sit back and let them get away with this!"

"We aren't. Hidden within the Subsequent are people with abilities. They call themselves the Trinity. Adam and I are both of Trinity blood, and so are you." Jacobs said. "But, Adam he's more special than you or I, or anyone for that matter." Bobby glanced at me as Jacobs continued. "Adam is Number Three."

"Number what?" He asked, and I sighed. I turned away from them and glanced out the window.

"I was born of Trinity blood, raised Subsequent, and turned Dark Regency. I'm what the Trinity call the Heavenly Prince, it's my birthright to start a rebellion against the Regency. Trinity will rise as my army, and the Dark Regency will fall. Leaving me to form a new world, one of equality and unity." I said. "If I'm going to do this Bobby, I need your help. I can't do this alone."

"Which is why I agreed to have you here. You are his guardian, your purpose has always been to protect Number Three at all costs." Jacobs said.

"This is heavy," Bobby said. "So fucking heavy!"

"This is why the Dark Regency insists you sign that confidentiality form. In case you witness the use of any Human Potential while you're within its walls." I said.

"And Darcy," Bobby said. "she's a part of this too?"

"Oh, you've met Miss Clark already?" Jacobs asked. I peered at him and narrowed my eyes.

"What do you know about that?" I asked.

"Her story collides with yours," he said. "I take it you haven't gotten that far in The Book of Cain yet?" I narrowed my eyes.

"What do you know that I don't?" I asked.

"Darcy is said to be Number Three's second in command, his partner, his..." Jacobs' voice trailed off.

"My what?" I asked.

"Your wife," Jacobs answered. My mouth dropped, and I felt my cheeks flush.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I asked. "You're going to stand there and suggest that I'm going to marry that girl?"

"Well, it's no secret you have a thing for her," Bobby said, and I glared at him.

"I don't have a thing for her," I stated. Bobby cracked up.

"I think you're in denial," Bobby said. "You have eyes for that girl, I saw the way you were looking at her this morning."

"Keyword here is a girl," I said. "Besides, I'm with Kelly."

"And look how perfect that relationship is!" Bobby said. I sighed, knowing he was right. Kelly and I had been climbing a slippery slope for a while now. However, Bobby was wrong about this, he had to be.

"Look," I said. "Darcy is a nice kid and all, but she's just that, a kid." I involuntarily winced at my own words.

"Did she ever tell you how old she is?" Bobby asked. I shook my head.

"Well, no," I admitted.

"Then, how can you assume she's a kid if you don't know her age?" He asked. I sighed again.

"She's in high school," I said.

"So what? She could be a senior about to graduate. You don't know because you never asked." He said.

"Or, she could be a junior," I said. "Either way it doesn't matter because I don't think of her in that way." Bobby laughed again.

"Keep telling yourself that." He said. Jacobs stood from his desk, he was shaking his head.

"You best ut this argument on hold. If we don't hurry up, Adam is going to be late." He said pushing his glasses up his nose. We both sighed, Bobby stood, and we headed for the door.

---

A few minutes later we were back in the limo. I leaned back in my seat as I gazed out the window. Was Darcy really meant to be my wife? It was silly to even think about. It's not like I had feelings for the girl. Sure, I cared about her, but all I could offer her was friendship. I was pretty sure that's all I could offer her. Regardless of her age, she was a kid to me, wasn't she? Wasn't that how I viewed her? Wasn't that the very reason he stopped the car and risked exposure to save her?

I sighed, knowing that wasn't entirely true. If it had been anyone else in that street, I would have kept going. The moment I'd realized it was Darcy was the only reason I stopped my car and turned around. It was the idea of anyone hurting her. The reason I felt obligated to protect her. That didn't mean I had feelings for her, did it? There had to be another reason. Maybe it was because I am Number Three, perhaps I felt as if it was my duty. Yet, now that I'd thought about it, I knew it wasn't right. My destiny was to protect the people from the Dark Regency, not gangs in the street.

The only reason I had stopped that car was that it was Darcy. However, I couldn't believe that I had feelings for her. It sounded foolish even in my head. I'll never allow such things to cross my mind. My relationship with Darcy must remain platonic. For both our sakes. There was also Kelly. Yeah, we did argue, and there have been times that I wanted to do nothing more than pack my shit and leave. However, Kelly was the mother of my child, I can't just up and walk away. Maybe that's the reason I feel whatever this is for Darcy. Things with Kelly are so stressful with the career change, the pressure of Human Potential, being Number Three, and learning how to be a savior. It was all too much.

Somehow I felt as if all of these things were an excuse. I was just sitting here trying to come u with reasons for why I felt the way I did. What the fuck was I afraid of? Was there even a reason I was looking for this answer? I sighed. Bobby was right. I am feeling something toward Darcy, and I have been for a while. The entire time I've been trying to convince myself that my feelings for her are completely innocent because frankly, they scare the hell out of me.

I was terrified that Darcy would be upset if she found out that I felt this way. After all, I was sure she thought of me more like a brother than anything else. What with the large age gap and all. Yeah, if she knew I felt anything toward her, it would creep her out, and then I would lose her entirely.

I'll have to keep myself in check. Keep my feelings for Darcy a secret and maintain the friendship we share. After all, it's the best way and the only way it can be. I'll continue to pretend that I feel nothing toward her. It's best for all involved.

The limo came to a stop and only then did I realize I'd arrived. I was brought back to my surroundings as I glanced out at the sea of people that were surrounding the record store. While most are there to support me, others are there to protest against me. Some of the Subsequent believe my music speaks out against the Regency and they fear that the Regency will take it out on the Subsequent. I guess they missed the memo where I was signed by Dark Entertainment.

I didn't like that I was being viewed as the bad guy. Not when the Subsequent's real problem was the Dark Regency. If only they knew who I really was, what I was going to do for them one day. Right now I knew that was impossible. Their glands were sleeping because of the serum, their minds couldn't process the truth. I needed to wait for the right moment, it isn't now. There was a lot of work for me before I got to that point. However, when the time came, I would do it right.

As I peered out at the sea of people there to support me, I started feeling overwhelmed. Never had my fame hit me until this moment. Bobby patted me on the back.

"See, I told you that this day would come," he said, and I shook my head.

"Did you count on the amount of crazy that would come with it?" I asked.

"Honestly, no," He admitted. "But, what the hell? We'll have to make it work." I nodded.

"You told me once to take all of this and use it to my advantage. Do you remember that?" I asked. Bobby nodded.

"Yeah," he replied.

"That's exactly what I'm going to do Bobby," I said. "I'm going to use Human Potential to change the world, and you're going to help me."

"It would be my honor, Number Three." He said. I nodded.

"Good, but before we save the world we need to build the audience who will listen," I said as Mr. Clarke opened the door. I climbed out of the limo first and was surrounded by three bodyguards. I started walking toward the record store as I was deafened by the surrounding roars. I did my best to wave at every fan I saw, every fan that was shouting my name but I couldn't possibly acknowledge every one of them. Bobby and Jacobs walked somewhere behind me, and for a single moment, I envied them. They could experience all of this and still maintain their freedom. Something that I knew despite everything, I'd never get back. 

20

For the first time since I had signed my life away, I knew it was worth it. The sacrifice I made was worth the chance to free every human in the world from the lies they believe as truth. I'd show them a new way of life, allow them the freedom of Human Potential. Maybe by giving the world the freedom which they deserve, is a good exchange for my own.

But, to be the one to bring Eva Lucas down, that's my reward. At that moment, I promised myself that when the moment came, Eva Lucas would know my identity. I would look directly in her eyes the second I would end her existence.

Once we were inside the record store, I was taken to a table that had been set u in the center. It was next to a display of my albums and was in perfect view of the glass door with the bay windows on either side. Behind the table sat three chairs, mine was in the middle, and there was one for Jacobs and Bobby on either side. There was a cooler of water behind these chairs for easy access, and of course, my security team was standing close by. On the table, there were at least twenty packs of sharpies for me to use.

When we were seated, Jacobs glanced at me and pushed his glasses u his nose.

"You won't have much time," he said. "just greet them, shake their hand, sign, and send them on their way." He stated. I nodded.

"And if they ask questions?" I asked. Jacobs cleared his throat as he nodded.

"Just look to me," he said. "If the question is approved by the Regency, I will nod my head. If it isn't, I'll shake my head, in which you will respond by saying, no comment."

"Okay," I replied. "I think I can handle that." A moment later, the doors were opened, and my fans were brought inside in groups of twenty. From that moment on I was signing, shaking hands, and was greeted by conversations that I had no choice but to cut short. The hours on the clock ticked by slowly, and eventually, my hand began to cramp. It had been hours now, and I was hungry. So, Jacobs sent Bobby for some food. He had been gone a while, and as I was signing the millionth CD of the day, I happened to glance out the front window. I dropped my sharpie and glanced at Jacobs.

"What the fuck does she think she's doing?" I asked. Jacobs glanced toward the window as well. Darcy stood on the sidewalk arguing with the security guard while pointing out at the crowd.

"No idea," Jacobs replied. I glared at him.

"Go stop her before she's getting hurt then!" I ordered. Jacobs nodded and stood, making his way to the door. He opened it and began to talk to the security guard. Bobby walked up to them now and whispered something to Darcy. Suddenly, all three of them came inside. Darcy's eyes met mine, apologetically. Jacobs whispered something to her, and she went to sit behind the counter with the store clerk. Jacobs and Bobby came toward me. Bobby handed me the food.

"Give it to Darcy," I said, and Bobby glared at me.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" He asked. "I stood in line for twenty minutes to get you this food."

"Yeah, I'm sorry," I said. "But, give it to Darcy," Bobby grumbled and walked the food over to the counter. Jacobs leaned in toward my ear.

"Did you tell her that if she needs a ride home your always there?" He asked.

"I may have said something along those lines," I replied.

"Next time could you get her to use the back door at least? That way the security guards don't give her a hard time." He said, and I smirked. I was pretty confident that it was the other way around.

"I'll try to remember, for next time," I replied. Jacobs laughed, and I shrugged my shoulders, continuing on with my signing.

At long last, the signing ended, and we were back in the limo and heading for Dark Entertainment to drop off Jacobs. Darcy was quiet, too quiet and it bothered me. She hadn't said much and in my experience that wasn't normal behavior for her. I kept glancing at her, searching for answers. I never had so much of a hint before dropping off Jacobs and she remained silent the entire ride to Bobby's. I was concerned, as she sat across from me chewing her lip. Once we dropped Bobby off, I leaned forward.

"Darcy is something bothering you?" I asked. She glanced at me, but the spark in her eyes wasn't there.

"I'm fine," she said, and I could tell she was lying. I glared at her and shook my head.

"Dammit, Darcy don't lie to me... what happened." She chewed her lip.

"You... you don't want to know." She replied I narrowed my eyes.

"That's not true," I said. "Tell me what's wrong."

"You remember those guys from the other night?" She asked, and I nodded. "They didn't listen to you, they are still around, and they know who you are."

"Did they..." I swallowed. "Touch you in any way?" She shook her head.

"No, I just saw them. But, those guys kept watching me which really creeped me out. That's when I overheard them talking across the street from the record store when you were inside. They were debating about going to the Dark Regency about what they see you do." She said.

"Dammit," I muttered, and she gazed at me.

"What do we do?" She asked.

"We?" I asked. "We don't do anything. I don't want you within fifty feet of those guys. I'll handle it." She rolled her eyes.

"I'm not going to let you face them alone." She replied. I glared at her.

"Who says I'm going to face them at all?" I asked. Darcy narrowed her eyes.

"Of course you're going to face them. You can't let those guys out you to the Dark Regency now, can you?" She said. "This is my fault, and I'm coming with you."

"It wasn't your fault. I made the decision to stop, I'm the one who took the risk, not you." I said. She sighed.

"That's not what you said last night." She said as she lowered her head.

"I was scared, angry, and worried. You went for a walk, that's not a crime. You didn't ask to be attacked. It's not your fault." I replied and pressed my lips together, I laced my hands together and rested my forehead on them. Almost as if I were praying.

"I won't let you face them alone. You are still learning, and I'm a big part of this." She insisted.

"I can handle the Subsequent myself," I said. "I'm sorry, you're not coming."

"Why not?" She asked. "I can help you!"

"You'll just distract me!" I insisted.

"I'm not a child!" she replied, and I glared at her.

"I never said that you were," I added. Darcy rolled her eyes again and thrust herself back in her seat.

"You implied it." She said, and I shook my head.

"Dammit, Darcy!" I shouted. "Need I remind you how dangerous my attacks are? As you said, I'm still learning. I don't want you getting hurt! If I ended u hurting you, I couldn't live with myself."

"You're worried about me?" She asked and narrowed her eyes. "Why?" I sighed and shook my head.

"I...I don't know." I said. "Listen, I'll take care of these guys tonight. But, please stay out of it."

"I'm not sure I can do that." She said.

"Dammit," I replied. "Why the hell not?" She glared at me.

"Did you ever consider that if anything ever happened to you, I couldn't live with myself either?" She asked. This surprised me. I had no idea what she meant by that, and I couldn't ask her either. At that moment the door opened, and Darcy jumped out of the limo. I came out behind her, and her father was glaring at me suspiciously.

"What time should we expect you?" He asked. I shook my head.

"Around six," I said. "I'll eat my dinner and be over." The man nodded, and father and daughter walked across the street. I made my way up the steps and inside. Kelly glared at me in surprise. 

"You're home early." She said, and I waved my hand at her.

"Don't get too excited, I'm only home to grab some food. Then I'll be leaving again." I said, and she frowned.

"Where are you going?" She asked.

"Out, I got stuff I have to do," I replied.

"What stuff?" She asked, and I sighed.

"Stuff that isn't any of your business," I said.

"So let me get this straight. On our last night together, you go and make plans." She said.

"Kind of, look it's important," I said, her mouth dropped, and I could tell she was upset. I removed my shirt and walked toward the bathroom. Kelly followed.

"Who is she?" Kelly shouted, her eyebrow was raised as she peered at me with seething hatred. 

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I asked.

"Stop playing games, it's obvious." She said. "You're never home and when you are you want nothing to do with me. You're having an affair." I glared at her, I could tell she was severe right now. It wasn't the first time she's accused him of cheating. She'd been doing it since high school.

"So, it's back to this again," I said. "When the hell would I have time for an affair? I'm not cheating on you." I said.

"You expect me to believe that when you make plans on our last night together?" She asked.

"Would you relax? I'm not even going far, I'm going across the street." I said. Kelly tossed back her head and laughed. It wasn't amused laughter, it was a mocking one. I knew then the grave mistake I just made because all I managed to do was convince her more.

"So it's her, the girl across the street?" She asked. "She wasn't in danger, that was an excuse because I caught you with her." I rolled my eyes.

"You've lost your fucking mind," I said. "Darcy's a kid Kel, still in high school. I've got no interest in her like that. Besides, it's her grandmother I'm going to see. She knew my mother." Kelly peered at me, and I knew she was skeptical.

"Why would she invite you over there?" She asked, and I sighed.

"She's helping me with something, nothing more," I said.

"Then bring me with you." She said, and I sighed again.

"Too risky," I said. "The Clark's are helping me with something you can't know about."

"Yeah, okay," She said rolling her eyes.

"It's true." I insisted.

"Keep telling yourself that." She mumbled and walked out. I slammed the bathroom door and glared at my reflection in the mirror.

What was everyone's problem? Why were they continually turning my friendship with Darcy into something it wasn't. Isw it so hard to believe that a guy and a woman could be friends without it having any other meaning? A smile spread across my cheeks as I realized I had used the word woman when thinking of Darcy. Yet, she wasn't quite that, was she? Darcy was still in high school, and that made her a girl. It was this reason that made everyone's accusations ridiculous. I didn't see her that way. That's why whatever I was feeling for her was nothing more than the way a brother feels for a sister, or at least that's what I hoped.

I did know one thing though, I was tired of defending this relationship. Everyone needed to stop these suggestions. I glared into the mirror a moment longer, before getting into the shower.