Chapter 13: Epilogue
"It isn't fair..." A voice said. The sound was like nails on a chock board.
"What?" I asked, stupidly. It was the only thing I could say as I lay on, what my mind perceived as the floor, in this vast darkness. I turned my head to try and see something, someone, anything, but all I could see was the intense darkness that made up everything for as far as I could see.
"It isn't fair…" The voice repeated.
I stood up and looked around until I saw a single figure curled up on the floor as it muttered to itself. I swallowed hard and walked closer, partly because I wanted to see the figure and partly because there wasn't anywhere else to go.
My heart raced as I grew closer to the red figure, its features became clear as I got closer: Cracks covered his red skin; bones and meat were visible from some of the cracks in his backs. The sight of that made my skin crawl and I had to hold my breath so I wouldn't throw up at a three large worms that slithered past some of the larger cracks. He had a large snake like tail that tended to move this way and that. His hands were claws, with his right pinky missing.
"Who...who are you?" I asked.
"It's not fair..." It repeated and slowly stood up then turned to look at me.
I gasped when I saw the last of the purple flames, which made up its eyes, diminish. I froze as he started to say something but stopped as he exploded into flames. I stepped back quickly but there was no escaping the fierce flame that slowly ate at the creature's body.
The last of the flames went out and the dark emptiness returned.
"Well that was fun." I muttered then sighed.
I walked around and called for anyone but never got a response.
"Where the hell am I?" I asked to nobody in particular.
I felt something run passed me but I wasn't able to see anything when I turned around. Something else scurried passed my feet and I jumped and made a high pitch sound that made me glad that there wasn't anyone with me. I still wasn't able to see anything and the sounds stopped soon enough so I, reluctantly, continued walking.
"Zeke! Zeke, wake up!" I heard, the voice echoing in the vast darkness.
"Hello?" I yelled and waited for a few seconds but there wasn't anyone to respond.
A bright light burst on in the distance and it quickly moved to surround the darkness that made up the large void around me. I grunted and moved to shade my eyes with my hands.
My vision slowly adjusted to the sudden brightness and I was able to look around at the room I was in. I instinctively blinked a few times and I noticed a flight of stairs to the side, which meant that I must be in a basement. There were three long tables with long red cloths that covered their surface, and on top of that, there were several plants with several handwritten labels.
I looked around and noticed Ai, the girl from my dreams, sitting in the floor with her legs crossed and her eyes closed.
"Hey…" I said, almost at once, but she didn't answer or move or gave any indication that she had heard me. "Ai! Hey, what's going on?"
I moved forward and stepped on a plant that was on the floor. The vase should have broken but it didn't, it held its shape. I blinked a few times but the flower was still there, so I picked it up and examined the green and red flower pedals. The leaves on in did not move in anyway even after I tried forcing them to, it was as if they were made out of weightless stone. It had a handwritten not that said "Smell Me" so I shrugged and followed its instructions.
"Don't touch the flowers." A woman said and slapped my hand.
The flower dropped from my hand and into the table as I turned to see Ai standing there. Not the woman that was still sitting on the floor with her legs crossed but a younger version of her, the one in my dream. This Ai looked to be a year younger than I was and wore some torn jeans and a t-shirt that read the legend: Plant a fucking tree already!
She moved and examined her meditating body and pushed her large bangs from her face and behind her ears then turned to look at me.
"Where am I?" I asked.
"I'll be the one asking the questions!" She snapped.
"What?" I asked.
"Sorry...I've always wanted to say that." The young Ai said. "You're probably wondering where you are."
"That would be what I just asked." I replied.
"You're in your subconscious. This is where all your thoughts and actions happen but you've been asleep for months so all you probably see is darkness." Ai said and sat down on a chair that wasn't there before.
"I'm in my subconscious?" I repeated and looked around. "Why does it look like a plant filled basement?"
"That's because I chose to manifest in your subconscious while I'm in my basement, you dumbass!" Ai cried out.
"Feel free to yell at me, it really is helping." I said sarcastically as I crossed my arms. "Why are you here?"
"Because somebody has to." Ai replied then sighed and stood up. "It was my fault that all this happened to you and your friends..."
"Hmm..." I said "Well at least it's-"
"Can you shut the hell up? I'm trying to apologize!" Ai said and glared at me. "Like I was saying...I thought that you were the being that was going to finally tell us what we actually were and help us co-exist with the humans but I messed up and summon that red skinned freak named Mammon."
"That red thing was Mammon?" I asked then stopped and stared. "Wait...who's Mammon?"
Ai raised an eye brow and looked at me as if she wanted to kick my ass for asking such a stupid question but she decided against it and simply explained.
"Mammon is the name given to the prince of the pit. Religious people might think of his as the devil's son." Ai said. "Although, I really doubt that it was him."
"I had the devil's son inside of me?" I let out; my voice must have sounded horrified as Ai didn't get mad at me for ignoring what she just said.
"Apparently..." Ai said. "Either that or he manifested inside of you somehow. Either way, he's gone now and that means that you're you again."
"How long was he manifested inside of me? How long did he take over?" I said. "The last thing I remember is blacking out in the shower and then waking up here."
"Hmm... Not sure really. I accidentally released the demon, inside of you, six months ago." Ai said. "He isn't of this world so he needed time to adjust. He would have gotten strong enough to be able to kill someone with a gesture or maybe even a look. I'm pretty sure that he would have killed you at some point, if only to prove that he didn't need you anymore. He would have the power to enslave us all and make us do what he wanted but your friends stopped him."
"My friends?" I asked and smiled as the thought of Helena's family risking their lives to save mine.
"Zeke! Zeke wake up!" I heard a voice say. It sounded like Michael.
"Too bad that you're practically dead." Ai said unemotionally.
"What? I'm dead?" I asked.
"Practically..." Ai repeated and stood up.
"Well isn't that a bitch." I said.
"Quite. Smell this." Ai said and picked an orange and purple flower.
I flinched then smelled it for a few seconds.
"Come see me one day. We might be able to help each other." Ai said and vanished, the room soon followed as I felt a pulling sensation.
"Zeke! Zeke, wake the fuck up, Zeke!"
I gasped loudly and awoke on the floor.
"What?" I asked in the kind of confusion that never turned out to be good.
I opened my eyes and saw Michael and Leon standing over me.
Michael was in his werewolf form: his tanned fur was covered in blood. He smiled and looked around before focusing at me again. "Rise and shine." He grinned and I was slightly intimidated by the row of teeth in his werewolf muzzle.
Leon's shirt was torn and covered in blood. His exposed chest showed several scratches and cuts. They both looked terrible.
I looked around, we were on the inside of a building; a small stack of wood was on fire a few feet away. I noticed Helena, Senna and a female Dee that looked like a jaguar. They were all unconscious as they lay on the floor with a leash attached to a collar around each of their necks.
The leashes and collars shifted suddenly then snapped open and fell to the floor. The leashes and collars merged together until a girl stood where they lay. She stretched then smiled as a man moved closer.
I saw Iris, Michael's cousin, walk into the room and stand next to Michael. She was in her cat form but you could still see that she had been crying. Her face was red and her claws filled with, what looked like, blood.
"Don't you say anything, Michael!" Iris said then noticed me. Her calico cat ears perked up in anger. She pointed at me with rage in her eyes. "This is your fault!" She yelled and moved closer.
Michel stood up quickly and held her back. "Iris! Calm down. It wasn't his fault, he was being controlled remember? It was that thing I killed, plus why are you mad at Helena for? She was only doing what her instincts told her to after you sprayed her with that thing."
Iris stopped and shoved Michael who fell over then stood back up.
"Do you have any idea how humiliating that was? And you guys just stared and laughed." Iris started crying as some glass shattered in the distance.
"I know... I'm sorry. That won't happen again." Michael said and hugged his cousin who hugged him back.
"What did I do? What happened?" I muttered as my entire body ached.
"Dude, you fucked up big time..." Leon said as he motioned behind me.
I turned and I saw several Darkstalkers, in several different forms, standing up against the wall. Some were handcuffed while others had a police officer working on subduing them.
A girl tripped an officer and extended some large bird wings and began to fly upwards. A female husky Darkstalker came running on all fours then jumped up and grabbed the girl by her leg and pulled her down. The husky girl head-butted the bird girl and held her down until an older officer came and used his teaser on the girl. The bird girl shook for a second then lay still.
"Merci, ma cherrie." The man said.
"De rien, papa." The girl replied and got off the bird girl and kicked her midsection once, on bare principles.
"Wow." Michael said and walked up to the girl who kissed him shyly.
"Yeah, she's really hard headed." A male husky Darkstalker with brown and white fur said when he came closer.
"What happened?" I asked.
"It's a long story..." Leon said as he helped me up. "It all started six months ago when you disappeared for a night. A dude named Mammon took you over and was like bam! Imma make the world my bitch and stuff."
"You suck at explaining things." I said and limped closer to Helena who was lying on the floor.
"What happened to her?" I asked.
Michael walked over and placed a clawed hand on my shoulder. I flinched as the touch hurt more than it should have. My entire body was sore and my head pounded heavily.
"You...Mammon literally turned her into nothing more than a guard dog." Michael said as he stared at his sister's body. "I mean, that's not such a bad idea as she could be mean as all hell but I wouldn't want to be the one picking up the droppings."
I grinned. "Yeah I wouldn't either..." I said as we both jumped when Helena shifted slightly.
"Michael?" Helena asked and slowly stood up on her hand and knees. She opened her eyes and jumped back when she saw me. "Oh God! No! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" She cried out and bowed as low as she could without actually kissing the floor.
"Helena, it's okay!" I said and moved my hand to stroke her face but she flinched away from me in fright. She looked like she expected me to hit her. "Helena, it's me! It's Zeke, remember?"
Helena stopped shaking and looked at Michael then at me.
"Tell me something that only Zeke would know." She said.
"You have a mole in your right ass cheek." I said then flinched when Michael glared at me.
"I don't believe you- oh God no I'm sorry! I didn't mean it! Please don't hurt me!" Helena said and cowered on the floor. It was clear that Mammon abused her and did who knows what while he wore my face.
"Okay, how about this? You only drink orange juice when you are the one to open it, and even then you only drink the first glass." I said. I always thought that was weird but it seemed to work as she stared at me hopefully.
"She does that with you too?" Michael asked.
"She also has to take a shower, at exactly 9am." I laughed out.
"Or go to sleep at looking west." Manuel suggested.
"Yeah! She also doesn't wear the same clothing twice in one week.
"Okay! Shut up! You are Zeke!" She said and jumped forward, knocking me and Michael down. She started licking our faces instinctively then stopped and kissed me.
"I'm sorry, Helen... I never meant to hurt you." I said smiling.
"Don't call me Helen, that's an old woman's name." Helena said and hugged me tightly. "I have this primal urge to call you master..."
"This isn't the bedroom." Michael said and stood up then slapped his sister in the ass. "Mom and dad have been worried.
I smiled and let her go. Helena ran off and jumped at her father who had been staring at her for a few minutes now.
"I guessed about the mole thing." I lied.
"No you didn't. I'm not against anything that you guys do but I just don't want to know about it." Michael said and punched me in the arm slightly then walked off. I would have punched him back but he was a werewolf and my girlfriend's brother.
Leon walked up and shoved me. "What the hell happened to you anyway?" He asked.
"I don't know...I don't remember anything that happened." I replied.
I didn't remember anything. It was as if somebody had simply taken a few months from my life away from me. The last thing I remember is helping Michael with his car and him talking to a ginger girl in a car, a Bella Ross. I then went in to take a shower and I heard a voice then passed out then awoke a few minutes ago. I said as much to Leon.
"That's ginger girl right there." Leon said and pointed at the female that was busy helping an older police man, two brown huskies, and a squad of police officers, place hand cuffs on anyone who wasn't part of Helena's family.
"That's Bella Ross? I didn't know that she's a Dee..." I said.
"She is, but call her Kassandra Josèphe. Bella Ross was just a pen name or a username or some shit..." Leon said. "Hands off though, bitch has a master by the name of Michael."
I looked at Michael who walked towards his parents but stopped next to a male werewolf that was covered in pitch black fur.
I didn't recognize the werewolf even though I was there during Michael's birthday party and met his family but I didn't remember the werewolf.
I moved closer to listen to what they were saying.
"...well yeah, but whatever... So how do you change back?" The black werewolf asked him. He stood on his hind legs and swayed back and forth.
"That's actually more complicated than it should be." Michael started. "You have to reject your werewolf part and remember how it feels to be human."
"So... What?" The werewolf asked.
"Just forget that you're a werewolf and remember that you're human. That's the simplest way I could explain it." Michael said.
The black werewolf frowned and thought for a minute then announced that he's probably stuck that was since he wasn't able to think of anything. Michael's aunt came over and kissed the black werewolf who smiled and kissed her back.
The black werewolf's fur started shrinking back into his skin as the muzzle merged into his face. It took a few seconds but Michael's uncle stood where the black werewolf was.
"He's one of us now." Michael said. I didn't even notice him looking at me.
"Cool!" I replied.
We all returned to the Talbain residence a few hours later. It was crowded with people, most of which were some sort of half animals.
I lay on the couch and rested my head on Helena's lap. She smiled at me while wearing a light blue blouse and knee long skirt. She played with my hair as we sat in silence and watched the two white tiger twins play a fighting game against the brown husky twins.
Helena informed me on what happened during the time that the demon of the pit had me under his control. She said that the demon used her, her cousin and a female jaguar Darkstalker as guards. I apologized and she said that I shouldn't be sorry. She also told me that the demon took advantage of her a few times. I couldn't help but smile at that thought.
"Did you like it?" I asked playfully.
"What? Being tied down and used as he needed?" She replied.
"Well it's giving me ideas." I replied and she pushed my head slightly.
An older man, around 40something walked up and stood by Helena.
"Hey Mr. J'ariso. How can I help you?" Helena asked cheerfully?
"Hello, Helena. I ran those tests that you wanted me to. Can I...talk to you for a second?" The doctor asked her.
Jonathan, Michael's father, had called the family doctor/vet over to examine them all to make sure that they were all okay.
"Sure, be right back, Zeke." Helena said and walked off with the doctor.
The doctor's name was Mark J'ariso. He worked with his father in a vet's office. Both the father and son were good friends of the family, so they didn't mind coming over.
"So what's your story, friend?" One of the brown huskies asked me while he mashed the buttons in his control.
"Who me?" I asked.
"Yeah." He asked. "You're the only guy, that I know, that is doing my sister's boyfriend's sister."
"I'm just the neighbor." I replied.
"...and the guy who's hitting that werewolf booty." The other husky added.
"Zeke, why are you hitting Helena? Is she doing something that she shouldn't? Like playing with your toys?" One of the white tiger twins asked.
"No, I'm not hitting her." I said and patted him in the head.
"No, but he likes it when Helena plays with his toy." Michael said as he walked closer and leaned on the couch. He was in his human form again, he wore a shirt that read "Night Springs" and had a guy with a handgun in one hand and a flashlight on the other.
"I hate it when my sisters play with my toys." The other white tiger twin said.
Both husky twins snickered for a moment. "How often do Desiree and Joanna play with your...TOYS, Poe?" Michael asked as he amused himself.
"Very often! Especially Desiree." The first white tiger twin said. "I sometimes yell at her to stop but she won't. She just keeps on going and going until she gets tired. Sometimes she plays with both mine and Jimmy's toys at the same time."
Both the husky twins dropped their controls and busted into laughter, one of which actually began to roll on the ground. The white tiger twins stared in confusion as they were too young to understand our carnal sense of humor.
"Can I talk to you?" Michael said and signaled for me to walk outside with him.
"Sure." I said and stood up. I turned in time to see Iris hand a coffee mug to one of the brown husky twins.
Michael closed the door then turned to look at me.
"What's up, Michael?" I asked.
"I wanted to talk to you. I know that we really don't know each other so I wanted to talk to you." Michael said and leaned on a wall.
"Sure, what do you want to talk about?" I asked.
"First, let me say that my sister is happy with you. Second I want to let you know that regardless with what happened I still want us to be cool. I have no idea what Mammon did to Helena or Senna or to Charisse... But the effects seem to be diminishing."
"Who's Charisse?" I asked.
"The female jaguar." She is from Australia; Mammon kidnapped her when he appeared there looking for followers." Michael replied.
"I really fucked up didn't I?" I asked.
"It wasn't you. It was that thing inside of you." Michael said and I was grateful that he didn't follow that up with a gay joke.
"What's gonna happen to her?" I asked.
"Charisse? She called her parents and is flying home with some of the Nanandrophy group."
"Good. I really didn't mean to hurt you guys."
"I know. You asked me to kill you, do you remember that?"
"No... It sounds like me though..."
The door opened and Helena quickly popped her head out to see what was going on.
"Oh... You're talking... I was expecting to see heads rolling and blood flowing." She said smiling.
"Hmm... This is when I wish I had a brother." Michael said and shoved Helena back in.
I walked in and closed the door behind me. I saw the older police officer talking to Michael's uncle.
"Technically... You're no longer a suspect so I don't have the pleasure of arresting you today, Mr. Gonzales." The man said in a French accent.
"Good, because I don't think that you guys need another Mexican in jail." Mr. Gonzales laughed out.
"I'm headed home, I'm sure that the Mrs. is wondering why I haven't checked in. Fabian, 'Enry, Kassandra let's go."
"Un second papa, s'il vous plaît." One of the brown huskies said as he held his hand out while Iris was busy writing her number in it.
"Papa, can I spend the night?" Kassandra said and smiled hopefully.
"Zut alors... D'accord. If that's okay with you Mr. Talbain." The police officer said.
"Sure. We can make room for her." Mr. Talbain said.
"Thank you. Goodnight everyone." The police officer said and waved goodbye as he pushed his sons out of the room.
"Zeke..." My mother started. I turned to look at her. She came over to see if I was okay, her memories were still gone but Iris sprayed her with something and she was actually saddened because she had forgotten. "We're headed home, you could stay if you want."
"Um...okay." I said and saw Helena quickly fist pumped.
"Goodnight, Zeke. See you tomorrow, hope you don't mind Charisse staying in your bed tonight." My father said.
"It's alright; I could sleep in your couch, no problem." Charisse said in a heavy Australian accent. She wore a Helena's knee length skirt and shirt that had a picture of a cartoon zombie with the word "Brains..." in a white speech bubble.
"You can have my bed tonight, Charisse. It's the least that I could do." I said. "Just don't touch anything under the bed."
"Yes, we will talk about what's under the bed later, Zeke." My mother said and cocked a hip.
"Busted!" Luna announced and kissed my cheek and said goodnight to everyone.
Two hours passed and most of the family went to their homes. Edward and Malorie had paid a visit to see how everyone was doing then left quickly.
The only people in the house were Me, Helena, Michael and Kassandra. Jonathan and Christine Talbain sat in the kitchen table as they talked to Jeffrey and Lilian Gonzales.
"So now I'm the only member of the family that doesn't have any power?" Christine asked.
"You got that shoutey-yelley thing." Jeffrey suggested.
"Great, I can nag people to death." Christine replied.
"You already do." Jonathan said and laughed as his wife lightly slapped him in the arm.
"Well it's a cool power, Christine." Lilian said.
"Yeah I just wish that I knew about it sooner." Christine said.
Jonathan wrapped an arm around his wife and kissed her. "Birds know how to fly when the time comes." He said and motioning with a hand.
"What?" Christine asked.
"I heard that somewhere." Jonathan replied.
"Fool, you read that in that fortune cookie last week!" Jeffrey laughed out.
"No...oh yeah..." Jonathan replied and everyone shared a laugh.
I turned and looked at Helena who stared at nothing in particular. She stared at the blank TV for a few seconds; it was as if she was in deep thought.
"You okay?" I asked.
She quickly blinked twice then looked at me. "Yeah, I'm just thinking." She said and gave me a weak smile.
"Thinking about what?" I asked.
"Nothing!" She announced quickly and louder than she should have. Her parents and aunt and uncle turned to look.
Helena blushed slightly, which was very unlike her.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
Helena sighed then stood up. "Can we talk?" She said as I rose to my feet.
"Sure." I said as she led me upstairs. I turned and saw her father stare at us.
I followed her upstairs as she led me to her room. But stopped when we listened to what Michael and Kassie where doing in their room.
"I am your master." Michael said from the other side of the door.
"You are my master and..." Kassie suggested in a sensual voice.
Helena and I smiled and looked at each other.
"I am your master and... You are my bitch." Michael added and I saw Helena's jaw drop slightly. "I had a dream about this"
"Really?" Kassie asked playfully. "How did it end?"
"Let's find out." Michael said and they grew quiet except for the slight sounds of kissing and undressing.
Helena pulled my arm and led me to her room, almost by force.
"So what's up?" I asked. "Are we going to play out one of my dreams too?"
"You have dreams about us, too?" Helena asked quickly as she stuck her hand in her underwear drawer.
"A couple..." I replied.
Helena quickly put something behind her back and stared at me.
I raised an eyebrow and stared at her. "What are you doing?" I asked.
"Remember when we were talking a few months back...and you asked what I wanted in the future?" Helena asked shyly.
"Yeah...you said that you wanted a large family." I replied and my heart skipped a beat when I knew where she was going with this.
"Well..." She said and cocked a hip then pulled out a small white pregnancy test and smiled sheepishly.
I stared into the test in awe as it had a small but clear positive sign.
"Congratulations, daddy." Helena said giggling.
I froze for a second. I didn't know what to say. I wasn't sure if I was ready to be a father but I managed a smiled and looked at Helena who smiled back hopefully.
"I'm going to be a daddy?" I said.
Helena grinned and nodded quickly.
"I'm going to be a daddy!" I let out and hugged Helena.
"Oh hell no!" I heard Michael say from next door.
"Oops." I said as I heard Michael quickly stand up and walk to open his door.
"Yeah, you'd better go." Helena said as I climbed out the window.
"So when are we gonna get married?" Helena asked me.
Two and a half years had passed since then. I was behind the steering wheel as I followed the navy blue minivan in front of me. I still didn't remember any of what happened but I did have a hell of a lot of nightmares.
"Don't know." I replied and stuck my left hand in my jacket's pocket to make sure the small box was still in there.
"Michael and Kassandra are married. Hell, even Iris is engaged. So is Senna. Fucking Senna, Zeke! Everyone thought that she was a damn carpet eater... But she's getting married." Helena said and looked out the window.
"Yeah... They are." I replied and turned left after the minivan.
"I don't see what the big deal is. All you have to do is ask. I won't say no...I can't anymore..." Helena suggested.
"You can still say no." I replied and parked on the minivan's side.
"Where did that come from?" Helena asked as I put the car in park.
"We're here." I announced and got out of the car.
Helena sighed and stepped out of the passenger side door.
It was night now. We drove for about two hours on directions Kassandra had printed out from the Internet. I stared at the sign that read:
Michael stepped out of the Minivan and walked to the other side. He opened the passenger side door and helped a pregnant Kassie out. She was about five months pregnant now and still looked good while pregnant, which is more than I could say about Helena. That's one thing I'll never say out loud.
The back door slid open and a little girl walked out.
She had long silver hair and a thin mane of white fur. She had a bow on her right wolf ear and on the tip of her tail. She looked around then saw me and ran into my arms.
"Daddy!" She said as I picked her up.
"Hi baby." I said and kissed her forehead. I dusted some cookie crumbs from the fur on her chest.
Terra was my only child. Helena and I agreed on no more children until we were married and we weren't yet. She had been nagging me to propose to her but I wanted for her to not expect it so I purposely ignored her whenever she mentioned it.
Two boys walked out and rubbed their eyes. Kassie bend down slightly and picked up one of the twin boys. Michael picked the other up and placed him over his shoulders. Both boys had gray and white husky ears coming out of their heads and long white tails with gray tips. Kyle and Steven were twins, they were both about three months younger than Terra.
Another car pulled up and parked next to mine. I smiled and waved at Jonathan and Christine Talbain as they smiled happily at me.
Jonathan walked out and I let Terra down as she wanted to hug grandpa.
Jonathan bent down and picked Terra up. Jonathan had turned into a werewolf and licked Terra's cheek playfully. Terra giggled and shifted playfully.
"Zeke, is it okay if I eat Terra, I'm hungry." Jonathan said playfully and pretended to bite Terra's hand.
"No!" Terra giggled.
"Alright, but she's 99 cents a pound." I replied.
"No! Don't eat me!" Terra laughed out as Jonathan made fake chewing noises while nibbling on my daughter's arm.
Christine stepped out and hugged Helena and me.
"Hi, mom." Helena said in the kind of tone that women use to communicate that there was something wrong to each other.
Michael and Kassie walked closer and Christine gasped when she saw them.
"Michael! Kassandra! I see that two kids weren't enough? How many kids do you guys plan on having?" Christine said playfully.
"Until something that resembles a werewolf popped out of this thing." Michael said and patted Kassie's baby bump. Kassie giggled and held Michael's hand.
Steven, one of Michael's twin sons, pulled on his father's pant leg intently. "Sorry that I'm not a werewolf, dad." He said.
"I'm playing, Steven, grandma knows that. You guys have some bad ass husky ears." Michael said and patted his head.
"So where is everyone?" Jonathan asked as he looked around for everyone else while holding Terra in his arms.
I shrugged and almost jumped out of my skin when an over sized bee landed on my head. Helena gasped then made an awed noise.
"Mister, mister!" The bee said. "Do you want to buy some chocolate? They're for my school and we're getting enough for a new computer."
The bee flew off my head and buzzed in front of me.
"Alright, just don't sting me. I think that it might hurt." I said and reached for my wallet.
"Mama says that I'm not allowed to sting anyone anymore. Ten dollars a box mister." The bee said and reached into a bag.
"Ten bucks? Fine, here you go." I said and handed over a ten dollar bill. The bee handed me a box of assorted chocolates then moved to the rest of the group.
"She is so cute!" Helena whispered in my ear happily.
"She is. Is this a Dee village or something?" I asked.
"Mom says it is." Helena replied and squeaked once.
"Hey you want to make 50 bucks?" Jonathan asked when a car pulled up.
"Sure." The bee said and closed her bag.
Jonathan whispered something quickly in her ear. She looked at the car and giggled then flew over a tree and out of sight.
"What are you going to do?" Christine asked.
Jonathan simply smiled back.
The car door opened and Jeff walked out in human form. He jumped out and tucked his shirt in. Lilian stepped out as Iris opened the back door. Fabian stepped out from the other side and stared at Jeffrey.
"I could let you borrow my belt, Mr. G. It'll probably work better." Fabian suggested.
"No, m'ijo, it'll be okay. I got this." Jeff said and adjusted his shirt.
Lilian move and hugged Jonathan and Christine then the rest of us. "Damn Kassie, the bakery is open for business isn't it?"
"Trying out a new recipe, this time." Kassie said playfully.
Lilian laughed. "What if it's triplets this time?"
"Then this bakery is going out of business."
A laugh was shared and I couldn't help but enjoy it.
I saw Jeffrey walk closer and trip on a rock then catch himself and kept walking.
"Holy crap Jeff, what's that?" Jonathan yelled as the bee came down and headed towards Jeff.
Jeff cried out and shielded his head and threw himself aside as the bee flew by. It came back around and Jeff took off running.
Jonathan laughed loudly the bee came around.
"Is that what you wanted, mister?" The bee asked in an exited voice.
"You got it kid, here's the money. Hey let me get another box." Jonathan said and chuckled.
The bee handed a box over then waved goodbye and made us promise to not tell her parents about any of that.
"That's messed up, Jonathan." Lilian said.
"Why? Because he's afraid of bees?" Jonathan asked and bit into a chocolate piece then spat it out as it was coconut.
"Well that and because he might run into a tree." Lilian replied.
Jeffrey was heard screaming from the opening of the nearest woods. "There's a giant bee! There's a giant bee! There's a-" He yelled out then stopped as what sounded like a man hitting a tree echoed.
Iris sighed and started walking towards the woods. "I'll get him. He gets lost in the garage; he's sure as hell going to get lost in there."
"I'll go with you." Fabian said and walked into the woods with her.
"You're such a jerk." Lilian said dryly.
"Yeah...want some candy?" Jonathan said and held out the chocolate box.
"Sure." She said and picked up a random piece and stuffed it into her mouth then coughed it out. "Ew why do they insist on always having coconut?"
"You kids are crazy." Christine said and took the chocolate from her daughter then stuck it into her mouth. "Coconut is good, right Jonathan?"
"That's right!" Jonathan said then shook his head and made a disgusted face when his wife looked away.
Jeffrey ran out of the woods and hid behind his wife as an older bee couple hovered out of the woods.
"Is he okay? He ran into a tree." The man asked.
"Yeah, he's fine." Lilian said and stepped aside. "He's just scared of anything with needles or stingers. No offense."
"None taken." The female said and smiled warmly.
"Have you seen a little bee girl around here? She's selling candy and stuff." The male said.
"Yeah she buzzed that way." I said and pointed higher into the cliff.
"Thank you." Said the male and hovered passed us and excused themselves along the way. They made sure to give Jeffrey plenty of room.
"Did you find Iris and Fabian?" Christine asked Jeffrey after he finally got some color back into his face.
"No... Did they go in there?" Jeff asked and dusted himself as Lilian removed a leaf from his hair.
"Yeah." Christine said.
"Should we tell them?" Christine asked.
"No, it's okay." Lilian said then took a step forward. "When you guys are done! Meet us on the top!" She yelled.
We reached the top about twenty minutes later. It was pitch black now with the exemption of several suspended women in uniform hovering overhead while holding lanterns. Some women had bird or insect wings while others floated or stood on glowing platforms.
A classical band played on the edge of the cliff, their music was light so it could be used more as background to not disturb the talking of the hundreds of different types of Darkstalkers that lived or visited.
Helena sat on the floor with Terra, Steven, Kyle and Rita, Senna's fiancé's daughter, as they tried identifying all the different types of Darkstalkers.
"There's a frog!" Rita gasped out.
"There are the bee people!" Terra said and Helena hushed her slightly so they wouldn't listen.
"Is that a penguin?" Steven asked.
"He looks like one." Helena said.
"There's a dinosaur!" Kyle, Michael's other son, said.
"I think that's a lizard." Helena replied and looked at me as if to say: See... I'm good with kids.
I put my hand in my pocket and touched the small box and smiled.
"Not yet, friend." Fabian said and patted my arm. He stood next to me and zipped his pants and adjusted his privates then sighed in relief.
"You guys are still coming over right?" I asked.
"Wouldn't miss it! Plus I got a hundred bucks that say that Iris cries." He replied.
"Against who?" I asked.
"Against Henry." Fabian said and looked passed me and wicked at Iris. He patted my arm once more and walked back to the others.
Half an hour passed and we all had arrived and found a seat.
Three German Sheppard brothers and their wives sat in a floating chunk of land in front of us. The brothers spoke in a German accent.
"There's some irony in that." Michael said as he wrapped his arm around Kassie.
"Yeah." I replied.
I moved to lie on Helena's lap. She kept glancing at me whenever I moved in any way. She's been hinting for me to ask her into marriage but she couldn't be more painfully obvious if she slapped me with a marriage license and held a gun to my head as she forced me to sign it.
"So what happens here? Why is everyone here? Is it an orgy or something?" Manuel asked as he looked around.
"There are ogres here? Where?" One of the 13 year old Oblivion twins asked.
"Not ogres, baby." Aye said. "He's talking about...never mind, you'll learn when you're older.
Lilian grabbed his son's cat ear and pulled it slightly. "Shut up and watch."
"Watch what?" Manuel asked as he soothed his ear with his cat paw.
"Can I ask you something?" I asked Helena.
"Yes." She replied and looked down at me but jumped as a series of fireworks blew up in the distended.
The people, I use that word very loosely, cheered and hollered loud enough to almost drown out the fireworks. A lion family roared in unison as the German Sheppard brothers began to howl. The wolf members of Helena's family joined in as everything quieted down and everyone made a series of impressed noises when a fire cracker illuminated the sky.
"Why do you want to get married so badly?" I asked.
"Because I want us to be official. I mean we're already at that stage, I would like to be your wife instead of your girlfriend." She replied.
"I see..." I replied and was about to actually ask her when Terra bounced happily on my stomach.
I laid her down and scratched her ear as she gasped once or twice at the illuminated night sky.
Thirty minutes passed and the fireworks died down. Most of the people were gone and we all just sat around and talked.
"I wonder who's living in our old home right now..." Lilian asked as she held Jeffrey's hand tightly around her.
"We actually gave the house to a couple by the name of Phall." Felicia said as she had Jon's hands around her. "The house was given to us by Richard's and Alexandria's parents when we first moved here. The Phall couple wrote us a letter three years after they moved in, saying that they had a son and daughter which they named after us."
"That is so cute!" Desiree squeaked.
"Dad did mention that, now that I think about it." Richard said as he let Aye re-button his dress shirt.
"I don't remember that." Alexandria protested.
"You were young and stupid. So you won't remember now that you're old and stupid." Richard said impishly.
"Ha! Ha!" Alexandria replied duly.
An hour passed and I drove back home. Helena sighed heavily once in a while as she stared through the window and into the various shops and houses that passed by.
I pulled into a gas station to fill up as I had planned. The rest of Helena's family drove by, some actually speeding up.
I paid the man inside and bought a bottle of chocolate milk and an adult anime magazine, just in case. Plus it had the Tifa Lockhart in a c-string bikini on the cover, who could say no to that... Plus I paid 40 dollars for the subscription, which I never received. I have no doubt that it was delivered correctly but a certain disappointed werewolf made sure to dispose to them in arsonist ways.
I picked up the chocolate milk and left the mart then walked over to the car and tried opening the door but stopped when it was locked.
"You're not getting in here until you propose!" Helena said. She looked like she meant it.
I smiled and stared at her. "You're not really doing this are you?"
"I'm serious! I'll sit here all night but I'm getting a proposal from you tonight." She replied.
"Come on, open the door." I said. "Terra wants her chocolate milk."
"No! Not until you propose." Helena said stubbornly.
"Now you do remember that I could do this..." I lifted a finger and the lock disengaged as the door slowly opened.
"God dammit..." Helena said and looked away as she pouted.
I smiled and handed the chocolate milk back to Terra who was sitting in the back as she hugged a blue teddy bear that Aye manifested for her.
It was a very long hour before we got home and Helena opened the door and slammed it loudly then started for the door. She didn't even notice that the other side of the street was covered with her family's cars.
"Mommy's mad...maybe you should just ask her, daddy." Terra started shyly but I hushed her.
"I know baby, but remember what I told you?" I asked. She nodded slightly. "Good girl."
Helena stood by the door and stomped her feet as she waited for me to open the door to our apartment.
I took my time, if only to show that I wasn't going to be hurried. I purposely fumbled with the keys and Helena sighed angrily and took them from me then opened the door while grumbling under her breath. She shot me a quick glare then threw the door open.
She marched in and tossed the keys to where they were supposed to be then stepped inside the dark apartment and headed towards the bedroom but smashed into something.
"For fuck sakes! Can you turn the fucking light on, or am I going to have to wait for that too?" She cried out.
I smiled and flipped the switch and saw Helena staring towards me then jumped when her entire family yelled surprise.
"What the- what's going on?" Helena asked while looking around in confusion.
She noticed a quickly placed banner that read "Congratulations!" She looked around as her brother and sister in law opened a bottle of none alcoholic campaign.
"Michael, what's going on? Why are you all here? Shouldn't you all be headed home?" She asked.
"Why are you asking me, Mrs. Itule? Ask your future husband." Michael replied and pointed at me.
Helena turned around and jumped when she saw me kneeling in front of her.
"Oh my God! You sneaky bastard!" She said and shoved me to one side. "Yes! YES!"
"Can I at least ask you first?" I asked as I got back onto my knee.
Helena gasped and held her hands to her mouth as her eyes glistened.
"So... Helena Talbain... I think I need you to tie my shoe." I said and she shoved me again as everyone laughed. "No for real... Helena Talbain. I've known you for years and even for a few months when you were a pet to an evil creature inside of me. But I would really...really like it if you would do me the honor of becoming my wife. I'm sorry that it took me so long but I was waiting for a perfect opportunity...and if you don't believe that then blame Terra."
"Huh?" Terra asked as she looked up with a mouth full of cake.
Helena chuckled and sniffed loudly and simply nodded her head quickly as she wiped tears from her eyes. "Yes...yes Ezekiel Itule, I'll marry you!" She practically yelled and threw herself around me.
"Hey, she knows my name." I said playfully as she chuckled by my ear. I looked and saw Iris start to cry with joy as Henry Josèphe handed a hundred dollar bill over to his brother.
She pulled back and I pulled out the ring from my inner pocket and placed it on her finger. Everyone clapped and whooped.
"She's your problem now Zeke!" Michael said and hugged both of us.
We all had some cake and wine after several handshakes and hugs. We played some music and stayed up to five Am, and I was grateful that my nearest neighbors were either out of town, deaf or too drunk to realize what we were doing.
"Where's your backpack? Here! I put ten dollars in your pocket. Now be good!" Helena cried out as she hurried Terra out of the door.
"I know, mommy, I know! Sheesh..." 5 year old Terra said as she ran towards the bus that was waiting for her. Helena stood by the door and stared as her daughter jumped into the school bus for the first time in her life. I leaned on the frame behind her and wrapped a hand around her shoulder. She took my hand in here and kissed tenderly as we both waved goodbye to Terra.
"She's getting so big, Zeke." Helena sighed and sniffed.
"Yeah she is." I said and stared at my watch.
"You're going to be late if you don't leave." She said and walked back in and finished packing my lunch.
"Hi dad!" A boy said as he walked down the stairs in his pj's.
"Caleb, what are you doing up, let's take you back to bed." I said and picked up my three year old son. Helena and I got married half a year after I proposed and we quickly got into making child number two and three.
"Kirah woke me up; I think that she's hungry." Caleb said.
"Alright, come on." I said and carried him upstairs.
He was back asleep when I placed him back into his bed. I smiled and turned and looked into the crib where 13 month old Kirah kicked and stared as she sucked on her pacifier. She smiled as the mockingbird started moving on its own, I wasn't causing it this time.
Helena wrapped her hands around me then handed me a lunch box that had a generic male anime character with a very large sword in the cover.
"You're going to be late." She reminded me.
I turned and kissed her. "I know. I'm just admiring our children. I'm so glad that you're with me."
"I'm glad you got around to asking." Helena replied and walked downstairs.
I turned and closed the door, as Caleb started sucking his thumb, then made my way downstairs and picked my keys up.
"Have a good day." She said cheerfully.
"You too! One for luck." I said and kissed her again and rubbed her stomach.
"Number four is on its way. We should talk names when you get back." Helena said.
"Yeah..." I replied and walked into my car, waved goodbye and drive off.
I passed Terra's bus and honked twice then smiled at my daughter and drove off.
A cop car pulled up behind me and flashed its lights on and off. I sighed and looked back and smiled.
I pulled my hand out the window and flipped the officer off. He laughed and drove next to me.
"Zeke!" Henry Josèphe said as he matched my speed. "BBQ tonight, everyone's coming! My house!"
"You got it!" I yelled and smiled as Henry sped up and turned the corner. Henry was one of the few members of, what was considered, the family that wasn't in a real relationship. He had gone through four girlfriends and none had worked out. I tried hooking him up with Luna but neither will be the first to admit that they like each other.
I thought about everything as I walked inside of my office. Some acoustic music played on the radio as I sat down.
I stared at my computer's screen screensaver that had the words "Zeke Itule, Nanadrophy" written in silver as it jumped back and forth on the screen.
My boss walked in and smiled at me.
"Hi Zeke!" She said.
"Hey, Emilia." I replied.
"What's up? How was your weekend?" She asked as she set her laptop down. "Are you and the Mrs still coming over for dinner next Friday?"
"Yeah of course, wouldn't miss it." I replied.
"Do you guys have a name for number four yet?" She asked as she leaned on the doorway.
"Not yet no, she wants to talk about it later." I replied.
"Damn Zeke! You guys need a hobby."
"We have one, it's called sex."
She laughed and walked into her office. "So is everything good with you two?"
"Yup... All is good." I said as I looked at a picture of Helena as she held a baby Caleb in one hand and tried combing Terra with the other. "All is good..."
Thank you guys for reading! This might or might not be the last of the series, like I've mentioned but it might not be the last story I write. Please let me know if you would like to read more of The Talbain Tail series.
Once again, thanks for reading.