Taint

RULES OF THE SYNDICATE:
Respect Lux
What she says, goes.
Got it? You're part of us now.

Sometimes, there are chances for redemption, if you look in the right places. After the tragic death of her parents, leaving her and her brother orphaned, she is no longer looking for redemption - she's out for blood.

Seven years after the death of her parents, Dawn, under the alias as Lux, arrives back into the limelight to set her vengeance in motion. Dawn isn't about to let anyone destroy her family
again.

If she's going to fall, then she's going to take everyone down with her.

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2. o n e

 

o n e

SHE CHUCKED the newspaper in the metal bin, dusting her hands of its foulness.

“Ugh, they worship that bitch as if she created the heavens itself.” She scoffed, taking the plate that was being handed to her.

“They’re mourning a death, Dawn.” Isolde took the plate back from her, and added a medium-sized portion of chips to it and then placed it on the glass dining table. “Go, eat.” She pushed Dawn off the counter and towards the dining table.

“I can make my own food, y’know.” She muttered under her breath as she pulled the wooden chair out. The oak ridges massaged her back as she swayed side-to-side, rubbing her shoulder blades against the ridges of the chair.

Isolde snickered, her tone teasing. “And have you burn down the entire pack house? Hah, no.” She placed two plates on either side of Dawn, straightening the terracotta place mats as she did so.

“It was almost one time.” Dawn defended herself, popping a chip into her mouth.

She almost melted as the hot chip connected with her taste buds. Isolde knew exactly how to cheer her up.

“Is it good?”

“S’alright.” She tried to make her tone nonchalant but her voice betrayed her as it quavered mid-word.

Isolde chuckled while pressing the white button on the wall. “Where did you put that newspaper?”

Dawn pointed to the bin and Isolde followed the direction of her finger. She pushed the pedal lightly and reached inside the bin to get the newspaper, scrunching up her face when her fingers touched the gooey food she threw out yesterday. She dusted the crumbs off the newspaper and set it down next to Dawn.

Dawn rolled her eyes as she bit into the burger. Damn, I gotta learn how to cook like Isolde, she thought to herself as she wiped the ketchup drooling down her face.

Isolde pulled the chair out slightly, and slid in and sat on the edge, with her feet facing the entrance to the dining room. Dawn huffed loudly, wanting Isolde to know her annoyance as she opened the newspaper.

“I just don’t see why I have to suffer with all this shit as a result of her death.” She put her burger down, and peered over at the newspaper. “Mourn quietly, for fucks sake.”

A black and white picture of a brown-haired girl smiling and posing with a proud older man is placed in the centre. Above it, the title read ‘Still mourning the loss of our angel.’ She rolled her eyes again and picked her up burger, brushing the sesame seeds off the bun.

“They’re still trying to figure out what happened to her.” Isolde murmured, moving her finger on the words as she read.

“I hope they have fun with that.”

Isolde smirked as she looked up at her kaiārahi, watching as she contently ate her burger, not even phased at what just came out of her mouth. Her deep black fringe dangled in front of her as her eyes peered closely at the burger, looking for the odd sesame seed.

“So they don’t find out it was you?” She guessed, lowering her voice.

Moi? I wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Isolde laughed to herself and flicked through the pages to the main article. “You were really sloppy, leaving bits of your dress everywhere. I bet you didn’t even think of an exit plan, or I don’t know, that someone would find out about the body that was lying in the middle of the alley for all to see.”

Dawn stood up and tucked her chair in with her butt, pushing it right under the glass table. She placed her plate in the sink, and rolled her sleeves up. Leaning against the counter, she rested her elbows on the counter as she squeezed the washing up liquid onto the sponge.

“It wasn’t my dress, anyway.” She said simply, tapping her foot against the counter.

Isolde mulled this over, before saying, “Ah, so there’s a chance that they could trace it down to you.”

“If they haven’t been able to do so in three years, I doubt they’d trace it down to me now.” Dawn said, brushing her fringe out of her eyes with her arm as she tried to avoid wiping her soapy hands on her hair.

“True.” Isolde simply said, flicking the pages of the paper. “Did you mean to get rid of her?”

Dawn stopped rinsing her plate, keeping her fingers still under the running tap. “What makes you say that?”

“Reading this, it looks like you were careless throughout. It just seems like your entire plan was ‘one: stun her, two: infiltrate her party, three: get the contract, four: exit.’ Am I wrong?”

“You act as if I was incompetent.”

“Were you not?”

“Yes.” She rolled her eyes while Isolde laughed, louder than she had ever heard her laugh before. “But I did anticipate those things, just didn’t prepare well enough for them. You haven’t answered my question Isolde.”

“Isn’t patience supposed to be a virtue?”

Dawn chuckled, leaning against the wall opposite Isolde. “Since when was I considered virtuous? You’re avoiding my question, Issie.”

Isolde sighed, closing the newspaper and folding it into two. She pushes it to the side, and looks Dawn in the eye. “Since you were so careless, I sense that the only thing that made you so scattered in the first place was accidentally ending her life. Am I wrong?”

Dawn smiled, but the smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Her expression falls and her eyes look down at the newspaper’s main photo – the photo of Aja and her father smiling and posing for the camera. Dawn knew that Aja didn’t appreciate the love and adoration that her father bestowed on her, often acting like the petulant spoilt brat and often heard screaming at her father for not doing what she wanted. Her father was blind, blamed this on the sudden loss of her mother but deep down, Dawn knew that he knew that this wasn’t true. Love, perhaps hope, caused her father to view his daughter through rose-tinted glasses. He only saw the positive moments, the moments where she came to him crying, burying her head in his chest as she sobbed into her chest. Those secret moments where she hugged him as if this was the last time that she would see him. He ignored, or at least pushed the moments to the back of his mind where she would tell him for the thousandth time, that she hated him and wanted nothing to do with him.

Dawn saw the moments where his eyes would follow his teenaged daughter as she stomped away, slamming every door open and he would sigh to himself. He would often look up to the sky, mumbling something she couldn’t hear, but she knew that he was talking to his deceased wife, asking for advice. Nothing would come out of it, at least if his wife whispered to him through the heavens something different, he ignored her advice and carried on the same way he was treating her.

“I know what you’re asking. The only part of me that feels some sort of remorse is adding to King’s source of pain. I don’t regret killing her, not one bit, but I’d be lying if I don’t hear that wail, that same wail that rushed the birds above me to fly out of their homes in their dozens. You know the type of pain that spreads to every part of your being, the one that cripples you from the heart and brings you to your knees? I saw that in his eyes. I saw that as the tears, disguised as waves of sadness, cascaded through his body, leaving him just as debris, the same way the ocean swallows its victims and leaves its remnants there. Man, I’d be lying if that didn’t haunt me.”

Isolde nodded, in the way that Dawn knew that she had felt that pain herself. They fell into a comfortable silence, comfortable in the sense that they were both okay with reliving that pain in their memories. Together.

Issie had been in her life for a while, Dawn hadn’t been counting the years that had flown past since Issie had strolled into their lives. She still remembered the shock she felt when this Asian girl had fallen out of the bushes, her long black hair was a mess and she was bleeding from a cut above her temple. Both had their secrets, but the ones that were willing to share? They both knew about.

“Shit, why’s it so silent here?”

Dawn straightened up, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes when a hulking blonde brute strolled in, followed by a light-skinned black boy immersed completely in his book.

“Your brother reads a lot; you realise that?” Raphael said, failing to stifle his yawn.

“How are you still tired? You’ve been asleep for twelve hours.”

Raphael flicked Isolde on the forehead and managed to retract his arm before she grabbed a hold of it. He laughed, the type of laugh that grows inside a stomach and can only erupt upwards. He laughed like that all the time, Dawn didn’t know why but he did.

“What can I say? I’m a growing boy.”

“You’re nineteen.”

“Sorry, my bad.” He faked a cough, as he leaned in the corner that the two kitchen counters met. “I’m a growing man.”

Isolde ignored his comment, and instead twisted her body around to slide out of the wooden chair. Her black locks get trapped around the ridges, yanking her head back violently when she tried to get up. Dawn rushed forward, banging her hip on the corner of the chair, sending pain to spread around the area but she ignored it. She crouched down, trying to untangle her friend’s knots from around the chair. Her fingers fumbled around, untangling everything except the very knots.

Isolde sighed heavily, and reached blindly for the scissors lying on the table. Her hands found Dawn’s fumbling ones and moved them out of the way. Dawn stood up, realising what she was about to do.

“Is that really necessary?” Dawn asked, watching as Isolde’s fingers measure the distance from her scalp to the end of her hair.

“It gets in the way sometimes.” She said simply, snipping away as the knots fell to the floor.

Dawn watched as Isolde gathered the hairy remains in her arms and dumped them in the bin. She tapped the lid closed, making sure that the lid was closed.  She grabbed the scissors off the table, and placed it in the pockets of her playsuit. “I’m going to go sort this out, or at least look for a hairdresser.”

She left, and Dawn’s attention turned to Raphael, who was just about to eat his hamburger. Dawn’s hand was quick as she nicked a chip off his plate, and popped it in her mouth before he could even react.

The doorbell rang before he could complain. He looked longingly at the burger and looked towards the entrance. He threw his hands up in the air and skulked towards the door, dragging his feet on the ground. “Doesn’t everyone know that it’s rude to interrupt a man and his food?”

Dawn chuckled, breaking a chip in half and leaving the other on the side of Raphael’s plate.

“He’s going to kill you for that, y’know?” Wesley said, his nose still buried in his book.

“Eh, he can try.” Dawn shrugged, knowing that he wouldn’t see it anyway. She snatched the book out of his hands, making him groan in frustration. She glanced at the book cover and brought the book to her eyes. “Cheatin’ Life, you read some weird shit.”

Wesley snatched it back from his sister, placing his bookmark on the page he stopped on and closed the book. Not trusting his sister, he placed the book on his lap, covering it with his left hand and ate his food with the other hand.

“Kaiārahi, Jason of the Oyunes is here.” Raphael’s voice was formal and his Scandinavian accent was hinted in his voice. It was considered rude to address the leader by name. Dawn didn’t care, the title was mostly used by people who didn’t know her other in front of kaiārahis to avoid scandal.

“Did he say what he wanted? It’s too early to deal with his shit.”

“Dunno, he looks pissed though.” Raphael whispered, before straightening up. “I’ll get Isolde.”

Dawn nodded, before running her hands through her hair. She peered into the living room, watching Jason crossing his legs and drumming his fingers on the sofa impatiently. She gestured for Wesley to follow her, and he obeyed, silently tucking his chair inside.

Dawn nodded, before running a tired hand through her hair. She patted down her fringe, and pulled her crop top down. She sighed, not wanting to hear the old man’s complaints about her attire.

“Jason, it’s good to see you.” Dawn said with a plastered smile, sitting down on the chair opposite him.

Her brother sat on the seat next to her, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his thighs. He patted the seat when Isolde came into view, moving closer to his sister to make space for her.

“Kaiārahi, there’s no need for this.” Jason muttered, watching as Raphael stood by the door with crossed arms.

Dawn laughed, but it was empty. “Jason, we’ve been through this before.” Her smile was short lived and was soon replaced with a frown. “It’s unlike you to drop in unannounced, is there a problem?”

Jason ran his hands up and down his thighs, something he only did when he was nervous.  “I didn’t want to disturb you, Lux-”

She narrowed her eyes. “Kaiārahi.”

Jason apologised, “Kaiārahi, your presence is needed at the weekend meeting.”

She sighed, rubbing her forehead. “Why? Haven’t I appeared enough times at these meetings?”

“It’s urgent.”

“What’s urgent?” Raphael asked, pacing up and down the living room impatiently.

“Learn your place.” Jason dismissed him with a flick of his hands, and focused his attention on Dawn.

She seethed. Jason was blinded to this, carrying on with his conversation as if nothing had happened. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Raphael made strangling motions behind Jason’s balding head and almost smiled.

“Kaiārahi, the committee requested your presence, and it’s not wise to reject the committee.” Jason said finally, with a sigh.

Now, Dawn was all ears. She had been waiting to pounce on a opportunity like this for a very long time. The committee were the highest of the highest, they were claimed to have ties to the human government for negotiation purposes. A board of twelve purebred werewolves discussed and solved issues for the werewolf community. Elitist was an understatement.

“We’ll be there.” She said with a smile, real this time.

Jason’s eyes lit up for a second and the colour returned back to his face. He was about to stand up but then he stopped, froze mid-action. “Lu- Kaiārahi, I don’t think you understand-“

She raised her eyebrow. “What exactly don’t I understand?”

To see a fifty-something year old man stuttering out of fear was a strange, yet common sight for Dawn. Her reputation preceded her, and that didn’t stop her adviser, along with all the other leaders from cowering in her presence.

“I didn’t say that. That’s not what I meant, what I mean to say that is that you are obviously respected and well, uh, you see, the committee have very requisite requirements, and it’s very, well, uh, rare to amend those requirements.”

“Spit it out.”

“The committee want to see you alone.” Jason rambled out in a slightly higher voice.

Dawn sighed, uncrossing her legs and standing up. She smiled, as the colour drained from Jason’s face as she stalked over to him. “Well, you get to witness one of those rare moments. Good-bye Jason.”

“Lux! You can’t do this, they won’t be happy, as your adviser you need to listen to me! Lux! Get your dirty paws off me!”

Goodbye Jason.” She waved him off, and turned her attention to her smirking brother. “could someone get me some ibuprofen? All this bullshit is giving me a headache.”

Wesley nodded, and pushed past the complaining man, which of course, made him complain some more. The noise carried down the hallway, increasing when the front door open. The shapes that the light created on the wall were hidden by Jason’s looming shadow.

“Lux!” Jason shouted out breathlessly, pushing past Raphael’s bulking figure.

“Why are you still here?”

It wasn’t a question she needed answering, but he answered it anyway. “You cannot just throw me out, I demand to be treated with respect and dignity!” He was fuming, his precious suit was dishevelled, and there was a tiny rip on his collar which Dawn would never hear the end of until she bought him a new suit.

If it wasn’t for Dawn, he’d be nothing but a pompous, poor, old man. No titles attached, nothing. She made him.

“Do not forget where you came from.” She whispered his ear. “I can send you back there, for a temporary visit?” She kept her tone light as she straightened his suit jacket. She patted his shoulders lightly, before plastering a reassuring smile on her face.

The terror in his expression almost made Dawn laugh. “I will see you at the meeting, l-later today. Have a good day, Kaiārahi.” With that, he left.

“He scratched me with those stupid long nails of his. You’d think with all that money you pay him, he’d invest in a nail cutter but noooo.” Raphael whined, wiping the blood all over his arms.

“Ralphie can’t handle a little booboo?” Isolde mocked him, her voiced adopting a babying tone.

“He took some skin off!” Raphael cried, clutching his arm in mock horror.

“Raphael, get some clothes on and a plaster. Tell Nea-Wesley to hurry up with those tablets.”

Raphael stopped flailing about and looked down at his leader, this clearly annoyed black girl who was at least a foot shorter than him.

“Wait, you’re serious? I thought you said that to piss the old man off.”

“Of course I’m being serious. Now, get a move on because we have two hours to get to the city centre. You know how long it takes to get there by foot, so we’ll be driven there.”

Raphael’s face lit up at the mention of being driven. He bundled out of the room like a child who was just told he was packing for Disneyland. Soon after, Wesley returned with bottled water and the ibuprofen. When he handed her the glass of water, she pushed his hand back and snatched the tablet out of his hand. She swallowed it, cringing slightly when the tablet slowly travelled down her throat.

“It’s against the precautions to dry swallow the pill!” He said, pointing at the warning side of the box. He sighed, a sign that he was surrendering on his argument. “Never mind, what’s the point of us all going?”

“I think it’s time we met the committee on my own terms.”

 

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