The Lennox Brothers

After a flat tire lands brothers Ricky and Kai Lennox in a pitch black country lane on their way home from work, they are attacked by a beast, one which they can only describe as a 'five foot tall canine'.
In the morning, Ricky is shocked to find they are both still alive, but can't help but wonder why the beast didn't finish them off.

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4. Kidnapped

    A few weeks later, I decided, ‘hey, why the hell not’, and asked Claire out to Alexanderose with me. The night began slow, as I expected, and after a tipsy slow dance, we retired to the bar where she talked about medical school and her childhood and I gulped down beers and ‘listened’ until she took a bathroom break. I leant on the bar and released a gentle groan. A platinum blonde with pink tipped hair bartender giggled, standing in front of me while cleaning a glass.


    “She’s really pretty.” The blonde girl said, looking at me. “But you don’t look like you’re having an amazing time.” I smiled, tiredly.


    “She’s a nice girl. But-”


    “If there’s a but, maybe she’s not the right girl for you.”


    “Maybe not. But I don’t feel like I have time for dates anymore, you know?”


    “Sweetie,” she put down the glass and leant across the bar so that our faces were centimetres away from each other. “I work five, sometimes six nights a week and I sleep all day. I definitely understand.” Again, I found myself smiling. I felt like she was somebody who had seen the world like I had, who had to get through it like I did. There seemed to be this sort of rapport between us, even though we’d only spoken a few words to each other. “Nixy.” She called, over the music. “I’m Nixy.”


    “Ricky.” I replied, taking her hand when she offered it and dropping a kiss above her knuckles. Her right ring finger was decorated with a pink-orange stoned, silver ring.


    “Hi, Ricky.” She released my hand.


    “Hey. So, uh, you’ve worked here a long time?”


    “Two years next month!” The grin that accompanied the statement displayed her genuine like and enjoyment of the job.
    “Then maybe you can tell me something - I was in here with my brother last month. This blond guy that works here came over and cock-blocked us both. The hell was that about, does he do that often?”


    “Blond guy?” She wondered, her face showing bemusement. “Oh! You mean-!”


    “Hey!” Called a waiting patron, leaning over the bar. Nixy winked at me, then walked down to the bar where she, it seemed, immediately began flirting with her impatient customer. Naturally, his mood switched from impatient and angry to subdued and friendly. Nixy was… wow. She was very pretty. Her eyes were large, a shade of brown so delicate, like stained glass, that they almost looked pink in some lights. Her teeth were perfect, resting behind her heart-shaped, rose lips. Her body was petite but perfect, boasting a silhouette that would have a model envious.


    “Hey!” A female voice behind me said. I turned around, seeing Claire had returned.


    “Hey, Claire.” I said, pushing forth a smile I was becoming too exhausted to truly mean. Going from Nixy to Claire was like losing colour. I meant what I said, that Claire was a nice girl, and she was definitely very pretty, but I think Nixy was probably right. If there was a but, she probably wasn’t the girl for me. I honestly was not the type to believe in love at first sight, or that people were just made for each other or any old shit like that, but I was unable to deny that I clicked with Nixy, I felt unusually comfortable around her. Perhaps this was exactly why she was a bartender. I know I felt like buying more drinks just to talk to her more.


    I am by no means proud of myself, but I did pursue Claire for a while longer, took her out a couple more times that week, finally sealing the deal on the 4th date, which was longer than I had expected to wait. I felt for her, but unfortunately not enough to pursue a relationship with her. I went back to see Nixy one night, but managed to pick the exact night she was not working, so I gave up and went home.


    “Claire again?” Questioned Kai, once I returned to the flat.


    “Naw. Just went out for a walk.” It wasn’t far from the truth. I was unsure I wanted Kai to know about Nixy. He would have definitely seen her before and the more I thought about her, the more I thought about how stupid it was to think about her. She was a bartender, she flirted for money. But in the same way those girls with the dark hair exuded that dark but enchanting aura, Nixy radiated colour and sweetness and excitement.

 

 


    “That Fairbridge Hall called us back.” Kai stated. “Said if we grab a new light and bring it down tomorrow and install it, they’ll refund us the light and pay us ‘time and a half’. This is a good investment. They’re starting to pay us to do simple shit. Shit you’d do for your neighbour for free. It won’t be time and a half every time, but I think we should make this place a regular customer. Do it quick if we have to, just to secure them.”


    “Alright.” I agreed, nodding. “Tell them we’ll do it and come by tomorrow.”


    “Already did.” He said. I cocked an eyebrow. “Sorry, but you weren’t here and it was too good an offer to pass up. They have a show going on tomorrow, so they need us outta there by 8.”


    “8, we can do that simple. We can do that if we get that at seven forty-five.”


    “Yeah, I know. Which is why I took it.”


    “Okay, okay.” I said, holding up my hands helplessly and smirking. It would be nice to do such a simple job. And the people at Fairbridge Hall weren’t giant dicks. You would be surprised how many of our most lucrative customers are absolute assholes to us. But we put up with it because of how much they tip us. The ultra-wealthy guys often like to throw in a smartass comment like, ‘you need this more than I do’. Which doesn’t piss me off, because it’s money. And I know I’m doing an honest day’s work. I earn my money. Being confident and content with oneself is an invaluable trait. I pride myself on it.


    The next morning, Kai was up early and went out to get the light. He even picked up the kit ready to go out later that evening. I was surprised, seeing him so organized, it was impressive of him. So when dusk started to fall, we were ready and we were at Fairbridge Hall, leaving the premises just as night started to descend upon the town. I drove home, making a point of avoiding the country lane we were attacked in.


    “Are you going to see that Claire girl again? I saw her at the gym. I was going to talk to her but then it occurred to me that might be a big mistake if you two aren’t seeing each other anymore.”


    “Yeah, we’re not seeing each other anymore. She’s fair game.”


    “I’m good, thanks.”


    “You’re just saying that because y-” All breath caught instantly in my throat. “I-” I tried to inhale, but something was seriously wrong - it felt like my lungs were being palpated, is the only way I can think to explain it. I gasped for air, unable to ensnare nearly enough, the world beginning to fade into a blur of colours and sounds.


    “Ricky? Come on, what’s going on?” Kai’s voice was muffled and fuzzy to me, like we were underwater. My foot pumped the brake and whenever I could focus my eyes, I steered the car further over to the pavement, until I finally pulled to a stop. “Ricky! Hey! Listen to me, man!” When I didn’t respond, and instead kept gasping and wheezing for breath, Kai got out of the car. As he did, my hearing sharply increased in quality, so that I could hear everything crisp and clear, like toying with the audio cable on the back of the TV.


    I heard him jog around the car and he whipped open the driver’s door. “Get out.” He demanded, unbuckling my seat-belt and grabbing onto my arm. “Get out, Ricky. Come on. Get some air.” I stumbled out of the car, only able to stand because Kai was supporting me. Catching my breath suddenly became slightly easier, but very quickly I realised why. As soon as I found oxygen, I began to cough. Knowing I was going to vomit very soon, I ran into the gates of Phoenix Park to, classily, throw up in a shrubbery of some sort. Kai locked up the car and tailed me.


    I didn’t stay on my feet for long, dropping helplessly onto all fours, a thick, hot bile rising in my throat and suffocating me. I felt like I was dying. “Ricky. What the fuck is happening to you?!” I could hear the panic rising in Kai’s voice, he had never sounded so young, and he knelt beside me in the grass. Unable to hold it back any longer, I started to throw up right there in the grass. I was about 20 yards from a bush, but beggars cannot be choosers. Why did this shit always have to happen within a mile of the flat? Did some force not ever want me to be safe while I was having a medical crisis?


    As a general rule, I try my utmost hardest to avoid looking at vomit, whether that be my own or somebody else’s, but under the glow of a nearby streetlight, I saw that the bile I was coughing up was, peculiarly and terrifyingly enough, dark. Dark enough to be black. “The fuck…?” Murmured Kai, apparently seeing this, too. This was the last thing he said, because moments later, my inability to breathe was passed onto him and he began to gasp and pant as I had been. I cursed myself for being unable to tend to or comfort him, but I could not move from my all fours position, my body was unresponsive and stubborn.


    “The hell is this?!” I tried to cry out, but instead all that made it out was a troubled call of pain. My limbs turned limber, like jelly and I dropped to the ground, face luckily falling inches away from my own unnaturally black bile. Before my eyes squeezed shut to deal with what felt like the crunching of bones, I saw Kai bent double, holding his chest and huffing.


    I looked up at the stars, now beginning to emerge from the skies and twinkle, hoping it would somehow calm me. At times like these, times when I was in danger, I began to think about everything I had done wrong, everything I should have done and all of the things I needed to fix if I lived through this, although I don’t suppose if I did make it through, I would ever have a life altering change. I’m not nearly spiritual enough. The sound of Kai wheezing had me angry that I was unable to help him. I thought about my phone lying in the glove compartment of my car and that made me even more angry. I just hoped I would live through this. Maybe I would wake up in the morning, like last time my brother and I were incapacitated.


    My newly, unusually crisp hearing picked up the sound of footsteps, and these footsteps were confident and wealthy. I say that because they carried the click-clack of heels, but the heaviness and pace of a male, therefore a male wearing dress-shoes. The sound got closer and closer until I heard them on the stone path near my back.


    “This,” a voice said. “This is perfect.” Precisely what we needed. A psychopath while we were incapacitated. I would prefer it if nobody walked past us until morning, like last time. Perhaps I should start taking that country lane again.


    I couldn’t turn to face the disembodied voice, nor could I reply, as my jaw had begun to ache and seethe. I heard and felt a crunch in the hinge of my jaw, and felt something I could only imagine was both my upper and lower rows of teeth beginning to extend, like I was growing a muzzle or something.


    “I don’t remember the last time I came across a couple of freebies like this. Come on. Let’s go.” The last thing I remember was a set of strong arms lifting me, and being thrown over the shoulder of a young man no taller or bigger than myself. Then, I either passed out or repressed the horrible memories of what happened after that.

 



    I woke up to daylight. Or, at least what I thought was daylight. When I finally opened my eyes, I realised the light I was seeing beyond my eyelids was actually artificial. A bright, white bulb was on the ceiling in the centre of the room I was in, which I now realised was very large and floored with concrete, although I was laying on what felt like some sort of yoga mat. I sat up and simultaneously ran my hands through my hair. The hell happened last night?


    Something cloth hit me in the chest. Paranoid, my hands ripped away from my face and eyes darted down and around for the source. It was a plain white t-shirt that had hit me, and I saw that Kai was sitting beside me, almost on a yoga mat, looking at me.


    “Just a heads up - you’re naked.” He said. I glanced and noticed that yes, yes I was. My jeans were covering my groin area, but the rest of my body was bare. I looked back at Kai as I pulled on the t-shirt.


    “Where are we?”


    “Underground.” He pouted, bending his knees to rest his head on them.


    “What? Why? What happened?”


    “I won’t pretend that I know. Because I don’t. Look, when you wake up, you get taken to another room. Also, this guy is like Santa, he knows when you’re pretending to be asleep. I told him I wasn’t going nowhere until you woke up.”


    “Who? Kai, where are we?”


    “I don’t know. All I can remember of last night is some freakishly tall drink of water picking us up and taking us. Also, lots of throwing up and agony.” He added.


    “Yeah.” I continued to dress myself. “I feel fine now, what the fuck was that? Do you feel okay, now?” Kai glanced around the room, for a second seeming like he may make some sort of sarcastic comment, but then he nodded calmly.


    “He may be freakishly strong,” began Kai, game face on, “but I think we can take him. Together. What do you say we give it a try when he comes back?” I tensed all of my muscles, biceps, triceps, thighs, calves, assessing their current strength. Yeah. I could get into a fight.


    “Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we’re not exactly here because we won a prize.” I glanced around this room. It was cold and unforgiving, floor of concrete, shoddily painted walls, single light bulb without a lampshade, to be frank it was exactly where you would expect to end up after being kidnapped.


    “I wouldn’t bother trying, really.” Standing in the doorway, leaning his hip against the frame was, I believe, the man who kidnapped us. Kai and I both leapt to our feet, I was only grateful that I was dressed now. “You aren’t alone in here, even if you think you are. I’ve been in this business a very long time.” He was blond, with dull blue eyes, tall, wearing a burgundy coloured shirt and black dress trousers, and the shoes I had predicted to boot. No pun intended. Kai bared his teeth and began cursing blindly, so I waited for him to finish before I spoke.


    “What exactly is this business?” I asked, and Kai began to crack his knuckles.


    “I think you’re new to this world. Else you would know me.” The young man said it with an arrogance that I could tell was typical of his personality.


    “What exactly is this business, fuck-stick?” I said again, through clenched teeth. “Why are we here? You-… Last night, you called us freebies? What does that even mean?”


    “Yes, I did, I was quite lucky to find the two of you, actually.”


    “The fuck are you talking about?” Kai growled. He had calmed himself enough to form coherent sentences, even if they were crude.


    “I’m quite possibly the most successful trader on the Black Market.” The kidnapper presented this fact with an overwhelming sense of pride and a self-adoring tone of voice that oozed douchebaggery. “Although,” now it switched to patronizing, “you two, being new to this world, probably have no idea what that means. Allow me to explain.” He took a few steps towards the centre of the room. Kai’s posture tensed up, ready for a fight. “My name is Link.” Kai snorted.


    “Link?” Kai looked at me. “And I got crap at school for my name being Kai? Come on.”


    “My trade name is Link, I prefer not to divulge my real name.” ‘Link’ said, in what was possibly the most condescending voice I have ever heard in my life, raising an eyebrow and smirking. I had a feeling there was a pattern here, that he would only speak down to us.


    “Then why the hell did you pick ‘Link’?”


    “Link is what I am. Part of a chain. A connection. There is nothing on the Black Market I cannot get.”


    “You keep mentioning the Black Market.” I said, arms folded. Link may have been an asshole, but he didn’t seem to be immediately hostile, which calmed me, for although I was prepared for a fight at any given moment, I was not looking for one. “Does that mean what I think it means?”


    “Yes and no. Yes, in that it involves objects one cannot find on the,” he cleared his throat, “high street, and no, because it goes beyond the world you know. Far beyond. Boys,” he steepled his fingertips. “Listen to me. I’m afraid the lives you knew before are gone. Your new lives are less than appealing, I will admit, but you don’t really have much of a choice, so deal with it.”


    “Can you just be frank, for Christ’s sake?” I was losing my patience. I hadn’t exactly ever been kidnapped before.


    “You are both now trade. I’m going to sell you both as slaves.”


    “WHAT?!” Kai exploded. “Ha, yeah, freaking good one, Link, now tell us the real damn reason we’re here.” Link looked on blankly, as if he didn’t understand why we didn’t believe him.


    “You did that to us, didn’t you?” I marvelled, lips parting? “Last night. When we were throwing up and couldn’t breathe… That was you doing that to us!” I cried out.


    “No.” Link shook his head calmly. “It’s okay, you really are new to this. Did you boys happen to come into contact with a very large canine type creature? About a month ago? And did he happen to attack you?” Kai and I said nothing, exchanging glances uneasily.


    “You can’t be serious.” I finally replied.


    “Look, I don’t have all day, I have customers waiting. Money to make.” He pointed to me, and then in a sweeping motion to Kai, doing that back and forth a few times. “Werewolves.” HE pointed to himself. “Vampire.” Then his arms folded. “Got it?”


    “Bullshit!” Cried Kai.


    “If you say so. Look, moving into the other room is optional, but it’s much nicer in there. I don’t really bother to splash out on the sleeping quarters, but the living quarters are carpeted, couple sofas, more than bearable food. A lot of wolves find that after their first change, they crave meat. I haven’t checked the fridge in a while, though. I wouldn’t make any friends here. You’ll likely be split up from them very soon.”


    “Slaves.” I whispered. “You’re selling us on the Black Market as slaves.” My head was shaking, I didn’t even care what he’d said about the wolf stuff, I was hardly listening to that.


    “Don’t take it personally, it’s a business. I really must go now. If you have any questions, see if you can find somebody in the living quarters to answer them, although it’s not a method I would depend on. They can tend to be a little sour. You know slaves.” Link turned around to leave, but I jogged a few paces towards him.


    “Wait, wait!” I stopped when he turned back towards us. “Why us?”


    “You are joking. Two young, strong, brand new wolves? You’re both worth a lot of money to me. I do believe the going rate for young, athletic wolves is equivalent to about… hmm…” He brought a finger to his lips and tapped them a few times. “£12 million. I’m looking at an RRP of £24 million for both of you.” Kai and I were speechless. When Link turned again to walk away, I didn’t follow him, just stared at the floor unable to believe the chain of events that had led to this. Unfortunately, Kai wasn’t giving up so easily and gave chase, charging toward Link with an insatiable anger.


    Even more unfortunately, Link wasn’t kidding about us not being alone in here. An invisible force stopped Kai dead in his tracks and knocked him to the floor.


    “What is this?!” Roared Kai. “What are you doing?!” Link hadn’t stopped walking and, by now, was gone. The invisible force released Kai and he scrambled to his feet. “Those were hands, fucking HANDS, Ricky!” Kai exclaimed, brushing himself off, searching the room desperately. “What the fuck is going on here?!”


    “I have no idea, Kai. I have no idea. But I think it’s very safe to say that we’re screwed.”

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