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Deacon James: Terrible Things, part eight :iconstr8tjkt:Str8tjkt 10 8
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Deacon James: Interlude In a Cemetery :iconstr8tjkt:Str8tjkt 10 10
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Deacon James: Terrible Things, part six :iconstr8tjkt:Str8tjkt 10 12
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Deacon James: Terrible Things, part one :iconstr8tjkt:Str8tjkt 19 16

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Tracing the route I'd been brought back to the main deck, we managed to avoid being seen. The 
yacht seemed strangely empty, and I wondered how big the crew was and what they were busy
with. Given DeVille's roster of activities, it could be damn near anything.
Probably still
preparing for cast-off
, I hoped, but it felt more like wishful thinking. As it turned out, that was exactly what it was: we stepped out of the main saloon, and there
were no dock lights. I looked down the rail toward the rear of the boat, and saw the dock a
considerable distance away. Too far to swim for it, at least as far as I was personally
concerned. Further ahead of us, I heard the distant, cinematically-timed rumble of thunder.
I should have known. If you wanted to stay alive, let alone employed for very long, you did
everything you could to anticipate DeVille's desires, because, no fooling, he was
not a man
you wanted to see vexed. We had probably left the dock before I was even out of my coat.
Fuck,” I hissed, “Fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck, FUCK!” I had more fucks ready, but hands grabbed
each of my arms, while another – two? – went over my mouth and I was pulled back into the
darkened main saloon, Rudy saying “Hush!” softly in one ear, while Sharky
shh-ed into the
other. I got my shit together and gently shook them away, as the sounds of footsteps and
familiar bickering came closer.
I dunno,” I heard Gunner grumbling, “I don't like it.”
Well, you don't have to like it, we just have to do it, now shut up and come on!”

“I don't mind the guarding, Dutch, but
kids? It ain't right! We done some pretty rotten shit,
over the years – ”

They stopped, and Dutch grabbed Gunner by the lapels. “Look, ya little gonnif, you know what
kinda stuff DeVille gets into, business-wise – d'ya wanna get deeper in any o'
that, or would
ya rather take a cushier job takin' care of those kids?!”
Well... I guess takin' care of the boys is a better way of lookin' at it...”

“Naturally!”

“But what about that other guy, that short fella everyone's so jumpy about?”
Dutch put his hands on his hips, “What, the one they think is Clyde Penney?”

“Yeah,
him! I heard about him, he's – he's a baaaad man!”

“Oh, stop – how can he be Penney? And even if he is, he's so goddamn muddled and the doc has
him so full o' Thorazine, by now, he doesn't know
who the fuck he is...” I turned to the two boys. “Go hide.”But we can help!” Sharky whispered back. “I bet I can take that dumpy guy!”And I bet I can take 'em both and I am not taking either of you back with fucking bullet-
holes
in you. What did I say about doing what I tell you?!” At that point, I realized that the conversation between Dutch and Gunner had stopped. “Just
find an empty cabin, lock yourselves in, and
stay there until I come get you, now go! I didn't turn, but I did hear them moving away. I also heard Sharky whispering about short
guys with something to prove, and I thought,
Maybe my life would be simpler, if I just handed
them over and went to work with DeVille...
Maybe yes, maybe no, but I was sure it would be
shorter.
They came around the corner into the saloon, guns drawn. I grabbed Dutch by the wrist of his
gun hand, pulled his arm under mine, and levered up; I could feel his elbow joint creak and
he fired off two shots. I was trying to dance him around until the gun faced his partner,
and then I saw the strangest thing: a boy was sailing past, like Peter Pan, in a picture-
perfect stag leap, then, at the last moment, his front leg extended, his rear leg folded
under him, and he hit Gunner directly in the stomach, knocking his gun out of his hands and
folding him up like a beach chair. He staggered back to the rail, almost went over the side,
then collapsed to the deck, trying desperately to get some air back into his body.

I looked at Dutch; Dutch looked at me. “Well,” I said, “DeVille did tell you he was a dancer.”
Then I finished levering his elbow until I heard a muffled
'snap'. He got one more shot off,
just by pain reflex, but to his credit, didn't scream. He was tougher than he looked.
I was about to head-butt him, but as I drew back to do it, a hard, red cylinder shot past my
head and right into Dutch's face. I heard the crunch of a breaking cheekbone, then let go as
he collapsed to the deck. Sharky pushed by me, still holding the fire extinguisher he'd found
God knows where, and growled at him, “Don't you
ever – ” he kicked Dutch in the chin “ – lay
a motherfucking
finger – ” another kick “ – on me or my friends again!”

What could I say? The kid was rough around the edges, but he had skills and a little style.
I reached down, scooped up the .45, and tossed it overboard.
Sharky wasn't pleased about that. “Are you out o' yer fuckin' mind?! I looked him right in the eye. “Yeah, kinda. Go help Rudy clobber the other one.” He looked me up and down, and decided I had given him sage advice. Biting the nose off a mad
scientist had evidently made an impression on him. He trotted over to stand beside Rudy.
Boy Wonder in da house!” Rudy preened a little at Sharky's praise. Gunner was still gasping and holding his stomach, waving the other in surrender. “Fins! I
quit! No more, please!”
I joined them. “Lifeboats. Where are they? Now.” He waved his hand toward the stern.How many?” He tried do draw breath and had a little more success. “Three on... this side... three... on
the other.”
Fine. Now, who else is on this tub? Any civilians? 'Unofficial passengers'?” He shook his head briskly. “Just the crew, some o' DeVille's guys, and us, here.” I nodded. “So far, so good. Any extra cargo you want to tell me about? Don't say 'none,'
'cause I know DeVille – he's a multi-tasker.”

He looked like he was really starting to sweat. “He's got a buncha crates, down below, but
I – I dunno what's in 'em.”

I gave him a very dark, squinty look. “Gunner – I think you're familiar with my work, and I
don't have time to do this gracefully. Or painlessly...”

“I swear! Hand t'God! I dunno, I'm just a watchdog, they don't
tell me, I don't wanna know,
it ain't my
business!Great,” I growled. “You have about ten seconds to get your pal, there, and get the fuck offa
this boat, or you go down with it – if you live long enough...”
I was standing with the stern at my back, still getting a little light from the dock. I could
see Gunner and the boys looking at me – and then they were looking
past me, as an enormous
shadow came between us and that little bit of light. Their eyes grew large, their faces pale.

I sighed. “Well, this is just fucking
perfect...” Before I could turn, a hand the size of a frying pan went over my mouth and a soggy tree
trunk of an arm circled my torso, pulling me back into a sopping wet wall of hard muscle.
No panics,” a familiar voice rumbled in my ear, “Is Blossom!”

I went limp with relief, then gently shook myself free. “Blossom! What the hell are
you doing
here?! He shrugged. “Mishtar Brent sess follow you from hozpital, in case you need helpings, 'coz
DeVille is nashty customer.”
Did he.”

“Oh, yass. And I think mebbe you got some plan, when they take you out of warehouse, but then
I get to dock, and Mishtar Brent, he call and sess 'Go to work, Blossom,' but boat sailing,
so Blossom swimming outs and climb anchor chain.”

I was stunned. “Well, where have you been?!”

He shrugged. “I am looking for
you! Hi, boys!” He waggled his fingers in a friendly greeting.
They looked at him as though they had never had a mountain walk up and speak to them before.
Wait, if you were following me, why didn't you go after the boys, when these two assholes
grabbed them?”

He shrugged again, as though it was obvious. “I dun
see dem. Iss dark, boys are quick, didden
know vass
right boys.” He was starting to sound a little frustrated and impatient. “You are
wanting some helps or – ”
DeVille's voice interrupted him, coming over the tannoy. “Clyyyyyde... I know you're out
there... We heard the gunshots, and I thought, aaaah, who else could it be...


I turned back to Blossom. “Some helps would be incredible – take the boys and get them into
a lifeboat, and get them the hell out of here.”

“What about
us?!” Gunner squeaked.What about you?! My job is to rescue them – you knew the job was dangerous when you took it,
Super Chicken, now get your buddy and scram. Blossom, if they get in your way, do whatever
you have to do, and make it really unpleasant.”

Blossom grinned his charming grin, and I think even
I went a little pale. To the boys, I said, “Go with Mr. Blossom, he'll get you back to shore, do everything he
tells you, you'll be fine...”

Sharky was still a bit incredulous, and I couldn't entirely blame him. “
His name is
'Blossom'?!Yes, Sheldon – is that a problem?” “Uuuh – not so much. Lead the way, Blossom...” Blossom scowled, put an arm around their shoulders, and made to lead them away to the
lifeboats...

It's not too late, Clyde – we can still be friends – partners...Wait,” I said. “This is DeVille's yacht. Mister Blossom, make sure there are no traps before
you do
anything with any of those lifeboats.” Behind me, I heard Gunner gulp, as he was dragging Dutch to a standing position and draping
Dutch's good arm across his shoulders. “You don't – d'ya really think he'd booby-trap his
own lifeboats?”

“It's been a while since I worked with him, so you probably know how he is, these days,
better than I do – what do
you think?” The little color in his face drained right out: he remembered the car radio. “Yeah. Yeah, you
check those goddamn lifeboats, and check 'em
good! Right – now, all of you, get the hell off this boat. I have some business to finish.” Rudy looked at me, worried. “But – what are you gonna do?” I looked at him and saw his father, but twenty years younger. He'd been wronged, his life
nearly altered irreparably; but he still respected life, cared about things like justice and
the law, and thought they should apply to
everyone, including people like DeVille. And I knew
he was right – they
should have. But I knew from my own experience that, with people like
Anton DeVille, they almost never did.

“Finish my fucking job.”
Blossom pulled the boys away, and I turned to go below. Then I froze. It was like I had a voice in my head – which, thanks to the nanoids I may have
actually had. Man or machines, I heard DeVille's voice played back, crystal clear, full
stereo, from a conversation we'd had not long ago at all:
Clyde, you disappoint me. Or Deacon, rather – Clyde would know that when I said, 'trap,' I fucking well meant 'trap'. Some people call it paranoia, I call it being perceptive and pre- pared. How could you not imagine that I would have Rank's hospital room wired for sound and vision? And when have you ever – ever! – known me to trust my employees enough that I wouldn't
do the same for every goddamn room in every goddamn place I set up shop?!”
WAIT!” I turned back toward the stern, toward Blossom and the boys. I trotted to them. Aaaaaaaaah, he gets it...” from the tannoy, this time, but the same, sly, cello-dipped-in-
honey.
Rudy and Sharky huddled a little closer to Blossom, who looked very unhappy. I hope you never
see Mr. Blossom looking
very unhappy. Usually, like now, that means he is furious and frigh-
tened, and when he's furious and frightened... well, some very unfortunate things are likely
to occur. He put his arms around the boys' shoulders, and that seemed to focus him, a bit,
and calm all three.
I poked my thumb at whatever speakers there were back there, and said, “Yeah – that. DeVille
is a huge paranoiac, among other anti-social diagnoses. He has cameras and microphones every-
where he's gonna be, he's been watching us pretty much since we got here.”
And rightly so, young man!” DeVille's voice rang from the tannoy. “Just look at what you've
cost me in the last twenty-four hours – a major source of income – several flunkies – never
mind that they were utterly expendable, so I guess you, aaah, saved me the time and trouble
of doing it myself, with some of them – but that cuts very little ice, my dear friend,
very
little ice, and now, you've taken out my medical specialist, and you are right this minute
TRYING TO MAKE AWAY WITH MY INSURANCE!”
He shut up for a second, and even the bay seemed to go silent. Well,” he finally resumed, “I have to hand it to you, Clyde – you've succeeded where many
have failed. You have made me... angry. Very...
very angry.” Dude,” Sharky whispered behind me, “And I thought you were a fuckin' lunatic!” I felt my face go slack. The pressure inside my head had returned, seemingly after eating a
can of spinach, because it wasn't taking “No” for an answer this time, it built, and built,
as a fever swept through my body. The breeze was picking up, turning into a solid wind, the
temperature dropping noticably. Threads of lightning cracked the sky down to the horizon,
ahead of us, and the thunder followed almost immediately, we were sailing right into a storm,
and so time was running out. And still the pressure continued to build, the fever blazed,
until I felt like I was going to explode, and then...
It all stopped. Not the oncoming storm – the fever, the pressure, the panic, they all just
evaporated and blew away on that salty-fishy wind, and I knew everything was going to be all
right,
better than all right, it was going to be fine. Because, now, if only for this fleet-
ing, useless moment, I knew who I was, and it wasn't Deacon James, not anymore. Now, I had
memories that weren't mine, skills I'd never trained in, even though they overlapped with
Deacon's. I wasn't Clyde Penney, Clyde was dead, and whatever they'd made of me, it wasn't
him – that's what they'd been afraid of, that they'd given a monster a place to fade the
heat, at least temporarily, but no: Clyde and Deacon had integrated, somehow. I had some of
his memories, I had some of his skills, no way of knowing how much of either, but I didn't
have his mind.
I had his rage.

His fury at life itself, at the love and kindness and opportunity he'd either been denied or
robbed of or fucked up on his own hook, and been punished for either way. There was a lot of
shit tangled up in there, but it all coalesced into one deadly, seething rattlesnake of mad-
ness and pain.

And
rage. There was no “Mr. Hyde”, lurking in there, that would have given it some remote form of iden-
tity – there was only a wrathful, howling monster who wanted the world to burn and had an
excellent place in mind to start.

“To be fair, kid” I growled, “you were right –
I AM...
I looked up at Blossom, Rudy, Sharky – even the two useless flunkies who weren't much more
than go-fers, to DeVille, fit only to kidnap a couple teenagers, one of whom had been wrapped
up nice and tight. They were looking at me right back. I don't know what they saw, but each
of them had gone pale as the light from the distant lightning.
István,” I rasped, softly, “Do you have a gun? A knife, even?” He shook his head, a motion so small, it looked more like a quiver; his eyes were very large
in his face. “No, I – no, sir.”
Fuck,” I said, through gritted teeth. You're whispering – that is extremely rude.”
You don't know what 'rude' is, Anton,” I called out, “But you're about to fucking find out.
I know you have men waiting between here and the lifeboats – if they're smart, they'll abandon
this tub and leave my people the hell alone; if they're not, they'll go down with it. You
wanted a talk with your old pal, Clyde? Well, ready or not –
here I come! Jesus Christ...” He hadn't meant me to hear that, but that's what you get when you sink a
lot of money into something you don't really know how to operate when you're panicking. Then,
it was,
“Clyde! You're back! I just knew this would finally be our special reunion! Why don't
you and your friends, aaah, come on up to the bridge, and we'll hammer this out over drinks?”
Because they don't want to be witnesses to the conversation you and I are gonna have, Anton
– Blossom, here, could probably stand it, but the kids are too young and these other two are
just too fucking soft and stupid. This little bit of intimacy is just for us, not Blossom,
not the boys, not your gunsels, and not your crew. I'm gonna take my people –
remember that,
Anton, they are
MY PEOPLE, now – and I'm gonna put them in a lifeboat, and they are gonna row
back home, nice and safe and snug and cozy,” I raised my voice, “
and if any one of your boys
gets in the way o' that, I shall kill
every one of those cocksuckers, DO YOU ALL HEAR ME?! No response from the tannoy, but I did hear sounds from the starboard side – lifeboats were
being manned. I heard a couple shots, but my guess was that they were a couple officers try-
ing to intervene, because the lifeboats continued to lower.

I turned, pointed at Gunner. “You – lifeboats. Lead. Now.” He nodded his head in much the
same fashion as Mr. Blossom had shaken his, a wide-eyed quiver. He dragged Dutch, who was
still pretty rummy from the pasting that Sharky had given him. “Blossom, go carry the skinny
one, or toss him overboard, I don't care. You kids, stay between me and Blossom, I'll cover
the rear...”

I got no lip from any of them. Gunner led the way, Blossom followed with Dutch draped over
his shoulder, and the boys huddled together ahead of me. The lifeboats weren't as far as I'd
worried they'd be. Gunner, Blossom, and Dutch got in and started scowering it for boobytraps.
I still heard a lot of scrambling on the other side of the boat. I got the boys and myself
down there, too – if the thing blew it wouldn't matter whether they were at ground zero or
back against the bulkhead – and I joined in the search.

The bomb was right where I would have put it. For all I knew, Penney had rigged the traps him-
self, at some point. DeVille and Penney hadn't been fucking around: a brick of C4 and a
detonator. It wasn't hard to find or remove, if you knew where to look and what to do about it.
That was when a shot rang out from the next deck up. I felt the slug pass right through the
upper part of my left trapezius muscle, near my neck – a flesh wound, but I felt like it
might have cracked my collar bone, at that angle. Whoever had taken the shot was good. Not
good
enough, but he was probably in a hurry. I pocketed the C4 bomb.

I pointed at Blossom and Gunner. “You and you – get this thing in the water and get it away.
You – Rudy – call your uncle, if you have any trouble getting back to the dock, he'll be able
to find you guys.”
He looked worried. Come to that, he looked terrified. “What are you gonna – ” I looked him right in the eye and he shrank back into Sharky, who put his arms around him.
Deacon's opinion of Sharky would have softened, but then Deacon was a romantic sap, whose
softness had gotten him into this fuck-fest.

“Well, son, I made a little promise, a minute ago, and being a man of my word, I'm gonna go
keep it. What am
I gonna do? Terrible things. See ya 'round. Blossom, Gunner, get 'em outta
here, before the storm breaks.”

Lightning flashed, closer, the thunder almost deafening, and the rain started coming down as
I hopped from the lifeboat to the main deck. I could hear the lifeboat dropping as I made my
way back to the spot where the dancer kid had nearly kicked Gunner overboard. In the heat of
the moment, I had forgotten something: I'd tossed Dutch's .45 over the side, but completely
flaked on Gunner's. Or maybe I'd planned on coming back for it. It was a complicated time,
for me. But I smiled, even as I ground my teeth against the pain in my neck and shoulder,
and made sure I had a round chambered. Oh, but it felt so right in my hand.

It was
good to be back.                                    To Be Continued
Deacon James: Terrible Things, part eight
In which Our Hero is simultaneously himself and not himself, and the situation becomes, if anything, even more dangerous for all parties concerned.

WARNING! WARNING! There are adult language and content in this series, including some "naughty" language, the occasional adult situation, mention of certain portions of the human anatomy, and so forth. There will be some smooching, M/M, M/F, F/F, but no descriptions of actual sexual intercourse, though some of that may crop up - I'm not a prude, but this is not, nor is it intended to be, porn. This is (I hope) a cracking good story for grown-ups with grown-up sensibilities. If ANY of that conflicts with what you consider Good Taste, you are welcome to run along and read something else. If you stick it out, though, I do hope you'll enjoy it. I have plans for Deacon and his friends (and enemies; sinister laugh goes here), and hope you all will enjoy those developments, as well.
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PLEASE NOTE: What follows is a prologue to a forthcoming Deacon James tale. It is set in that universe, and is even set in St. Sebastian, but features none of our regulars or semi-regulars. Essentially, this is a Halloween treat for my loyal readers - you've all been so kind, I didn't want my favorite holiday to pass without dropping a spooky little something in your sack. Terrible Things will resume next week!

                                                       ***************


A chill wind blew, trailing ragged shreds of cloud-cover across the night sky. A three-
quarter moon shone down on the old, abandoned Wyldewood Cemetery, in a more rural section
of eastern St. Sebastian. The ground mist was enough to conceal most of the shorter,
plainer tombstones, but others stretched upward into the heavens – beautiful in daylight,
but now... curiously unsettling.
Tad and Scooter had brought the pledges to the older part of the cemetery, far in the back.
This would be their final test for entry to the fraternity, Tau Mu Gamma. The pledges, all
six of them, would have to demonstrate their commitment and understanding of the frat motto:
Et Fratrum, Vinctum – “In Brotherhood, Bound”. Tad took a capacious swig of his beer, and chuckled to Scooter, “Wait'll they find out how
literally that's gonna be applied! Huh-huh! How much of yer freshman year did you spend
strapped up in the attic, brah?”
Scooter gave him an evil look over the tops of his glasses. “Every night and, thanks to you,
most weekends, you asshole. If Nolan ever finds out I took the rap for you on that scratch
down the side of his car – ”
We'll both be on human toilet duty 'til Spring Break – me for doin' it, and you for squealin'
on a brother!”

“Zat so?!” Scooter's hands were on his hips – he was indignant and was seriously thinking
about snatching Tad's backwards ball cap off and flinging it into the pitch-black woods
beyond the rear wall. “You don't think I might get a
little cred for taking on the rightful
burden and punishment for a frat brother who'd fucked up hard?”
Tad grinned, twisting the cap off another bottle. “Duuude – you and I both know that Nolan
would use
any excuse to tie your ass down and button your fucking lip, as often and as looong
as possible.”
Scooter's hand went to his butt, but he stopped himself from actually rubbing it. He didn't
think it was a frat secret, but Mike Nolan was a notoriously kinky Top who would screw (and
more!) anything that moved – or that he could
make hold still for long enough. The closet
in his room was like a tiny leather shop. It had been days before Scooter could sit comfort-
ably, after that last flogging.
He squinted at Tad in the moonlight, opening a fresh beer for himself. “Yeaaaah, you guys
both being on the wrestling team probably helps
you quite a bit, too...” Tad grabbed a fresh bottle of his own, winked at Scooter, and downed the last of the current
bottle, before dropping it to the ground. “That
does provide some advantages,” he grinned.
Let's go see how the kids are doin'...”

This final ordeal was for the pledges to strip, tie each other to some of the larger tomb-
stones, and then whoever was left would be tied by Tad and Scooter. Their objective was to get
free, drink the two cases of Carling's Black Label, then bring the frat mascot, a large
stuffed Godzilla plushy, back to the frat house, where they would have their clothes returned
and then be allowed to join the pre-Halloween party. Preferably without getting arrested for
indecent exposure.
Scooter was a pretty laid back guy, slim but wiry, a serious Lit Major, with a minor in
History – Tad, though... Tad was a stereotype, a privileged rich kid trying to ready himself
to join his dad's company, after graduation, armed only with a shakily-achieved degree in
Business, relying on contacts, his Alpha personality, and stories from his frat days. The
only things he cared about, really, were wrestling and dominating, literally and figuratively.
No wonder Tad and Nolan got along so well. They'd probably end up going into politics.

Together.

The pledges – Sammy, Benjie, Armin, Bob, and Other Bob – were all thoroughly lashed to some
of the surrounding angels, specters, reapers and other graveyard statuary. Only the last,
Duke, remained free, standing before the others in an “at-ease” posture. Tad gave him a good
looking-over: big, especially for a freshman, a rippling mass of muscle and bone, but not a
complete idiot, if financing his Physics major with a football scholarship was any clue.
While Scooter checked the others' bonds (making a few adjustments that might later aid in
their escape; he had been through a version of this himself), Tad spoke with Duke. “Dude,
you are just fucking
massive! Are you sure you don't wanna come out for wrestling?”

Duke continued to look forward, not moving a muscle. For one so large, his voice was surpris-
ingly soft and gentle when he answered, “I don't know my own strength, sometimes, I don't
wanna hurt anyone, Sir. And with the scholarship, especially,... I just think I oughta stick
with what I know I'm good at, Sir.”
Tad swallowed a mouthful of beer, then nodded. “Fair enough, dude – gotta win dem games and
keep da grades comin' in, amma right?”

“Yessir!” Duke answered proudly.
Ooooh, Tad thought, he's gonna fit right in... Okay, then, pledge – up against the angel! And watch yer step, don't want you trippin' over
your giant dick...”
Scooter joined them. “Yeah – it's enough that Tad's trippin' over it...” Tad laughed. “I am so puttin' you over my knee, when we get back to the frat, Scoots – and
don't think I can't!” He got a tight grip on the back of Scooter's neck, with his free hand.
“Or maybe I can leave you out here to keep the pledges company?”

“Please,” Scooter sneered, “You'd have to put down your beer.”
Tad released him, still smiling. “You got a point – spankin' at home it is, then! C'mon,
let's get this big fucker tied...”
Working quickly and efficiently, that had the larger boy tied to the angel in no time,
beautifully, in an almost
shibari or kinbaku style. Scooter was pretty sure the others would
have to release him, once they got free. It was also becoming apparent that a few of them,
Duke included, were... “enjoying” the experience, from the obvious state of their growing
arousal.
And there we go!” Tad announced cheerfully. “Just one more step...” He trotted to retrieve
his backpack, in which they'd brought the rope, and produced a large roll of duct tape. He
heard a couple of the pledges groan.

“Now, now, gentlemen,” he admonished, “This is a cemetery, even if it is old and not many
people come here, anymore – that demands respect. These people are our hosts, and I think
we owe them a respectful silence. Right, Brother Scooter?”
Oh, yes, Brother Tad,” Scooter replied somberly. “We don't want to wake the dead, after all.” Damn right,” Tad nodded. “Not after the last time.” He lowered his voice a bit, and in con-
spiratorial tones, continued, “None of you guys are from here, or been here very long, so
you probably haven't heard the story...”

“Stories,” Scooter interjected.
Oh, God, yeah – lotta stories. Like the one about that foreign exchange student, Joao
Marins – South American kid. Hella smart – philosophy student. But he got picked on a lot.”
Like, a lot!” Aw, shit, yeah! Back in those days, late '70s, '80s, the hazing was seriously fucking harsh.”

Seriously!” Scooter finished his beer, looking around to make sure all the pledges were
listening and, if not terrified, at least deeply unsettled. He was not disappointed.

“Totally,” Tad continued. “But see, what nobody knew was, he was part of some Santeria or
Voodoo off-shoot cult.”
Right,” said Scooter, taking up the tale, “And when he got killed during a hazing event,
they sent their high priest here to investigate – and claim vengeance.”
And, man, did he! There are no records, because they didn't wanna panic the public or even
let on that that kinda shit was a really-real thing!”
W-what happened?” Benjie asked. Well,” Tad said, “I don't know if it's true... but the story is... he held the frat
responsible... and he came out here,
to this very cemetery...”

“This very
spot,” Scooter added. Yeah,” Tad continued, obviously getting into it. “And he performed one of their most secret,
forbidden rituals. He brought the
whole cemetery to life!

“Wait a minute,” Sammy interrupted, “I don't think Santeria
or Voodoo actually work
like that...”

Fuck if Tad was gonna let some pledge steal his goddamn spotlight. “Okay,
you get to be
first...” Moving quickly, he taped Sammy's mouth up, winding the tape a little more tightly
than necessary, three or four times around his head. “You were saying, Mr. Comparative
Religions Major?”

“Mmmph-mmm.”
That's right,” Tad sneered back, with an emphatic nod. “Anyways, every corpse out here that
was capable and whole, crawled up outta their graves and
killed every guy in that frat!

“No freakin' way,” Armin sqeaked.

Tad laughed. “Oh, dude – way! They had to close out the frat. They tried reopening it a few
times, but it was like a curse, dude. Every time, shit would just...
happen. People got hurt,
some others just, like,
disappeared. Couple guys just went fuckin' crazy. Every few years,
they'd try it again, same thing would happen. Fuck, they
still try.” He finished wrapping
Armin's mouth in tape and moved on to Other Bob.
Before he could get started, though, Other Bob asked the question that both Tad and Scooter
had been waiting for:
Um... W-what was the f-f-frat?”

Tad just looked at the boy like it should be obvious, while Scooter solemnly answered:
Tau Mu Gamma.” The remaining four were absolutely wide-eyed, a couple protesting, “What the FUCK?!” “That's
gotta be bullshit, man...” “If that was real, you couldn't just tie us up and leave us here!” Dude, we awready got you guys tied up, so we can prolly do what the fuck we want, okay?” Tad finished taping them all up, then had a wicked idea. “Hey, Scoots, you wanna go check
the backpack? I wanna smoke a joint before we head back – we can babysit these goons a
little longer...”

Scooter rolled his eyes, but truth be told, that bullshit story had even got
him kind of
wound up, in this fuck-off creepy, old cemetery, and he could use a little something to
take the edge off. When he turned to go, that was when Tad pounced. In short order, Scooter,
too, was taped up and squirming against the door of an above-ground tomb.
This hadn't been part of the plan, but it was working out just fine, as far as Tad was
concerned. Scooter wasn't too happy about it, if that look in his eye meant anything; but
he could get over it, on the way back to the frat, over Tad's shoulder. Tad knew Nolan would
back him up, maybe bring out the paddle himself! But, before going back, he wanted to drink
one more beer, smoke that joint, and wallow in the pledges' terror and Scooter's impotent
wrath for a while.
Just then, the cloud-cover broke long enough for Tad to see Scooter's eyes get big – really
big. Tad whirled quickly and, before the thin clouds dimmed the light again, saw a man
approaching from the shadows of the back wall. He was tall, dressed in white tie, black tails,
and a black cape lined with a soft, fog-gray fabric that looked slightly pearlescent in the
thin moonlight. His hair was swept straight back, blue eyes sizzling out of a pale, round
face, his lips a dark, almost liquid red above his dimpled chin.
Good eeevening, my young friend,” he said with an accented baritone. “And what brings you
and your young comrades to Vyldevood Cemetery, on such a dour evening, if I may ask?”
Though startled, initially, Tad realized that the guy was just out taking his Halloween
get-up for a preliminary spin. That
had to be it. This dude had Dracula down! Not just the
look and the voice and the manner, but everything down to that weird medal on a red ribbon
around his neck, the medal no one ever seemed to really know what was for or what it meant.
Dude – you startled the fu-, uh, the stuff outta me!” Oh,” the stranger exclaimed, “I am so sorry – you vill please forgive me, I hope?” He bowed
slightly.
Aw, it ain't no thang, Mister. We're just out here... uhm...” Enjoying a prank on your friends, perhaps?” Tad chuckled. “Yeah, kinda – between us, we're just doing a final hazing round for our frat.”
He gestured around to his bound buddies, and saw them all in a cold sweat. This was great,
better than if they'd planned it. “Just don't tell anyone, please – our dean is a little
stiff about hazing and shit. I mean, stuff.”
Dracula nodded. “Never fear, young man – no one vill ever hear of it from me, I assure you.
Ah, the playfulness and vitality of youth, eh?”
Right!” Tad grinned. “You, uh... Would you like a beer?”

The Count smiled, turning his eyes almost to slits; even so, Tad could still see those eyes
burning. Odd, how he'd thought they were blue – they were the red of glowing embers in a
dying fire. Without Tad realizing it, the stranger had crossed the distance between them
until he was standing right in front of Tad.
Thank you, no – I shall have something to drink,... shortly...” He laid a long-fingered hand on Tad's shoulder. Tad wished he had a grip that strong – but
the hand... it seemed to have the strength of iron and the approximate temperature of ice.
This close, he could now smell the man's breath – once, on a fishing trip in the woods with
his dad, he'd stumbled across the rotting carcass of a beaver; it had been there long
enough, cooking in the sun, that it was all ripe and greasy and foul. The stranger's breath
was like that, a heavy scent of rot and sickness.
Look at me,” the Count said, and it was almost like his voice was inside Tad's head. “Look
into my eyes...
Look...” Tad felt like the weed was hitting really hard. But that was impossible, wasn't it? He hadn't
sparked the joint yet. Sparks... Those eyes were still burning now, not sparks, but brighter,
hotter,... redder. Red was
all he could see. It filtered his vision, like a scene in a movie,
and that movie was of him in the frat house cellar with Nolan. Nolan had his arms around him,
holding him, pinning Tad's arms with an almost painful grip, pulling him in, so tight, so
close, they were almost one body. Tad wanted to cry out, but he didn't, because he knew if
he called out, the scene might end, and he didn't want it to end, he wanted it to go on and on,
forever. There was pain, a pain in his throat, a pain that reached right down to his heart,
his core, and it was magnificent, it was blinding, he knew as he'd never really known
anything else that he wanted it to continue, or failing that, for it to return, he would
give anything, do anything for this... this
ecstasy... Then, suddenly, he was back in Wyldewood Cemetery, the Master still clutching his shoulder,
smiling at him again, and it was like the first sunny day after a long, dark winter.
Now – fetch me your shaggy-haired, bespectacled friend. I vish to make his aqcviantance, as
vell...”
Tad went to bring Scooter. Fuck, he'd bring the head of the fucking President of the United
States, if Master asked for it. Scooter's eyes were enourmous behind his glasses, he
struggled and whimpered in his bonds. Tad thought that was silly, but then Scooter had no
idea the pleasures that awaited him in the Master's embrace – but he would learn, soon
enough. Scooter, Sammy, Benjie, Armin, Bob, Duke, Other Bob...
They would all learn...                                    End of Prologue
Deacon James: Interlude In a Cemetery
Happy Halloween, Dear Friends!

WARNING! WARNING! There are
 adult language and content in this series, including some "naughty" language, the occasional adult situation, mention of certain portions of the human anatomy, and so forth. There will be some smooching, M/M, M/F, F/F, but no descriptions of actual sexual intercourse, though some of that may crop up - I'm not a prude, but this is not, nor is it intended to be, porn. This is (I hope) a cracking good story for grown-ups with grown-up sensibilities. If ANY of that conflicts with what you consider Good Taste, you are welcome to run along and read something else. If you stick it out, though, I do hope you'll enjoy it. I have plans for Deacon and his friends (and enemies; sinister laugh goes here), and hope you all will enjoy those developments, as well.
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The front half of the warehouse was separated from the back by a wall with a connecting door,
directly opposite the loading dock doors. As soon as I heard the door click shut behind
Rudy and his luggage, I gave it a good look – at ground level, there were worktables, bulletin
boards, a time-clock, the usual warehouse stuff. There were windows placed high on all the
walls, including that separating the storage areas.

There was a soft light now coming through the venetian blinds that covered the windows above
the separating wall. That would be the “hanging office”, where the people who normally ran
the joint handled the business end of things. I wasn't entirely surprised, but it was going
to make the job that much... well, messier. It meant they had a backup generator. It also
meant that I was probably expected, and that didn't bode well for
anyone. I crossed swiftly and quietly to the connecting door and passed through.

This half of the building was in darkness, lit dimly by the light from the office and what
seemed to be a sea of discarded glo-sticks, spread across the floor like radioactive confetti,
in blue, green, red, purple... It was like walking into a sinister blacklight painting. It all
gave enough light that I could make out the various “stations” – a barber chair and tattoo
equipment; another barber chair with piercing equipment; a thoroughly-ravaged snack table
(with only enough demolished cake left to make you wonder what flavor it had been); several
tables with leather straps; a St. Andrew's cross; at the far end, the front entrance, closed,
no doubt locked up nice and tight. The room reeked of cannabis smoke, with a bittersweet,
acrid, “yellow” scent underlying it – they had been passing around more than mere weed. I
couldn't place it, but it might have been pumped in to keep the party-goers excited but docile.

To my immediate right, I found a steep, iron staircase, leading up to a landing that functioned
as a sort of balcony. At the top was the door to the office, the window glazed with frosted
glass, with the legend 'OFFICE' on it in old-fashioned gilt letters. With the party out here
obviously at an end, the silence allowed me to hear music coming from within the office –
amazing jazz, like a piano being played by a waterfall, silvery, glittering, perfect notes,
so fast and in such combination, one would almost assume that
two people were playing, but an
afficianado would recognize the artist immediately: someone up there was playing Art Tatum.

For a semi-human turd, he had great taste in music.

The only question, now that I knew I was expected and that there wasn't much concern over it,
was whether I went into it all sneaky-like or just trotted up the stairs and into a new world
of trouble. Without the element of surprise, I decided that I'd save my energy for when the
excrement hit the air conditioning. Up I went.
The sound of Tatum's “Somebody Loves Me” finishing up covered the sound of my entry. I slammed
the door behind me to make sure everyone knew I was there and ready to play. It was hardly a
luxury office – a dorm fridge in one corner, a few chairs, a large, heavy desk. Behind the
desk, an office chair with its back to the door, and behind that, a rack with dark monitors,
a computer tower, a stereo. At the windows that overlooked the 'coffin area' were a couple
goons in ratty jeans and leather vests over bare, muscular chests, who jumped, startled, at my
entrance. Guns similar to that which I liberated from their colleague, earlier, appeared in
their hands and pointed right at guess who.

From the office chair, came a voice like a chello dipped in honey. “And that, gentlemen, is why
Fats Waller used to refer to Art Tatum as 'God'...” The chair turned and I found myself
facing DeVille. “Did you
ever hear the like? I ask you!”

Finally noticing me, as though I were an afterthought, he stood and spread his hands. “Clyde!”
he exclaimed, “You're late!”
I didn't know who Clyde was, but felt distinctly uneasy at hearing the name. I ingored it and
said, “Sorry, Anton – I had to stop and visit a friend in the hospital.”
His smile broadened into a grin. “A friend! Oh, Clyde – if what you did to Roger is an example
of how you treat your friends, I fear to imagine how you, er, treat your enemies!” He chuckled.
I returned his smile. “Well, good news – in a few seconds, you won't have to imagine.”

He put his hands on his hips and gave me a coy look. “Ooh – why, Clyde! Are you, ah, threaten-
ing me with foreplay? Heh-heh!” He spoke like he was getting an invisible, sexy massage.

The name 'Clyde' was starting to penetrate. I found myself sweating a little. I looked at the
man I was planning to kill but couldn't remember having seen, despite his familiarity: maybe
early 40s; tall (this was becoming a recurrent theme, but at 5'5”, not unexpected); built like
a strap – lean, slim, but tough as old boots, under the glossy facade; olive skin; wavy, black
hair, swept back, but touseled and casual; dark, chocolatey brown eyes over high cheekbones
and an acquiline nose. He radiated a dark sensuality, in his tight black slacks and open-
collared, royal blue silk shirt, and had the long, graceful hands of one who would be equally
adept on a keyboard or a person's body. I imagined he would be a lot of fun in the sack,
despite his faint air of casual cruelty.

Why do you keep calling me Clyde,” I demanded, “Who the hell is Clyde Penney?!” And how did
I know the surname...?
He narrowed his eyes, as a light seemed to dawn. “Mmmm – we knew this might be an issue – and
sure enough, here you are. Tsk-tsk-tsk. What a shame, what a shame – very sad. My favorite
colleague, Clyde Penney, terror of the Dark Web... And yet,” he brightened, “here you are,
finishing the job without even realizing it, apparently!” He shook his head, slowly, in wonder.
My breath was starting to come more heavily. “W-What – ” He broke in, “Ideally, the plan was that you'd get a new, healthy body, a new identity, and
I would get some incredibly valuable tech, we'd both make a fortune, and, ah, retire from this
nasty, yet undeniably entertaining and, ah,
highly lucrative trade. But it doesn't seem to
have worked out exactly that way – pity. You really were the best at what you do – or did,
rather, at this point...”

I was fully prespiring, now. “My name is... Deacon James,” I said, haltingly. “They – they
told me...” Yes, yes, yes,” he said, waving a hand dismissively, “Of course, you are, and of course they
told you that – but you should ask yourself, Clyde – er, Deacon – just how much of what they
told you was the truth...?”

“It doesn't matter,” I rasped. “I'll get to the truth – one way or another, on my – own, if I
have to – but first – I'm going to finish off the three of you fuckers – because this – this
whole nightmare of fuckery has to
stop...” The two goons shifted nervously, glancing at each other, then at DeVille, their weapons still
pointed at me. “Oh, now,
Clyde – sorry, Deacon – y'see, you're making Knuckles and Spider very
nervous – your, ah, your reputation preceeds you, I'm afraid...”

I felt a growing, painful pressure in my head, as though someone was inflating a hedgehog in
the center of my brain. “Nervous?!” I barked. “You people have around fifty kids boxed up and
ready to ship God-knows-where, and
I make you nervous. You have a couple nine-millimeters
pointed at me, and
I make you nervous. That's really rich, Anton...”

“Oh, no-no-no,” he said, hands raised to about chest level, palms out, “
Them – you make them
nervous – not
me.” You say you know me...” I squeezed my eyes tightly shut for a moment, shook my head to clear
it, “but you know why I'm here, and you're
not nervous? Oh, you don't know me, at all.”

That winning smile returned. “Well, of
course not, Clyde!” he said, eyes now closely focused
on me. “I mean, ah – you know me, we've worked together
many times, and uh... Have you ever
known me
not to have a backup plan?” I met his gaze with a glare that would have turned anyone else to a pile of dust that was
somehow still capable of shitting itself.
Yeeeees,” he said, smiling again. “I hadn't heard from you, or received any of the reports
we'd agreed on, for some time, and I, aaah, well, I
worried about you – you know what a
worrier I can be. Not paranoid, really, just, um – apprehensive – concerned. For
you, naturally.
I mean, when we plotted this out, you were
dying, for goodness sake, and it was starting to
look like you were going to do that in a prison hospital. Very sad.
Very sad. So, you found
an, er... 'alternative identity,' shall we say, and went to the Project, and there was this
great silence for about nine months. I mean,
of course, I was concerned.” He put on his
'concerned' face.

“Ah, but then, one day, out of the blue, I discovered that a certain Deacon James, also no
slouch around the Dark Web, if I may say, was working on Roger Rank and his end of the oper-
ation. Small wonder that I became curious, no? And, as if
that weren't enough, I found that
you – or Deacon – were patching into my security monitoring systems. Extremely puzzling! 'What
could he be up to,' I wondered! Well! – ” he shrugged his shoulders, his hands spread in a
'What do you expect?' gesture, “I thought, 'Let's just give him his head, so to speak, and
ahhh, see what he's up to...'

“And naturally, the more you worked on Rank, the more it became clear what that something was.
And that the best way to get you back – not Deacon,
but you, Clyde, – was to set up a trap,
something to draw you in and give me the chance to put you back in your right mind, to make
you a useful...
colleague, again. That way, you're happy, I'm happy, we both get what we want,
and we move on with our lives.”
I fisted the sweat out of my eyes. “So, Sheldon and Rudy...”

He looked puzzled for a moment. “Sheldon...? Oh! That emo kid, Sharky, yes, yes – he's going
to make someone very happy, I'm sure, once they get him in line. You should have seen the
fight he put up, when he realized that he and Rudy weren't gonna have the smexy-times, just
go on long, separate, permanent journeys! Kid's a real livewire! And Rudy, well, the same for
him, but mainly, he's our insurance to see that his Uncle Wally and the Project mind their
own fucking business, eat the loss, and, um, just generally stay out of our fucking hair.”

I had to laugh a bit at that. “First of all, you don't know Waldo Brent – he will turn your
world
inside-fucking-out to get that boy back. Second, you missed your flight – Rudy and
Sharky are gone-baby-gone, by now. You should be more worried about whether I can dismantle
you before the FBI and assorted government operatives land on this place.”

He made a good, if rather melodramatic, show of being shocked,
shocked, I tell you – eyes wide,
index-finger knuckle slipping between his teeth. “Curses!” he exclaimed, “You have betrayed
and foiled me, you faithless dog!” The back of his hand then went to his forehead, like the
damsel in distress who cannot pay the mortgage on her poor daddy's ranch. Then, he planted his
hands on the desktop and leaned forward.

“Clyde, you disappoint me. Or Deacon, rather – Clyde would know that when I said, 'trap,' I
fucking well meant 'trap'. Some people call it paranoia, I call it being perceptive and pre-
pared. How could you not imagine that I would have Rank's hospital room wired for sound and
vision? And when have you ever –
ever! – known me to trust my employees enough that I wouldn't
do the same for
every goddamn room in every goddamn place I set up shop?!” He seemed angry
that I had underestimated him; I felt a little angry about it, too.
If you like,” he continued, as his temper cooled, “I can show you digital video – Dutch and
Gunner called me when they had the boys – but either way, I assure you that I had them
waiting
for the lads outside that diner.”
My heart sank.

He sat, again, leaning his elbows on the desk, steepling his fingers under his chin. “So –
here's what's going to happen: you can go with me and let me harvest some of that wonderous,
self-replicating tech from your system, and we can talk about eventually getting the kids back
where they belong, and I can get you some answers those people at the Project
won't give you.
Or – ” he pulled a Very pistol from a desk drawer. “I can kill you right here, harvest the
tech post-mortem, and the boys are lost. Possibly forever.”
The ache in my head had dissolved to nothing, but I was still sweaty and quivering; only now,
it was with rage. “You
do know, I'm going to kill you, yes?”

He shrugged, smiling. “It did cross my mind – it's what
I would have done. It's what Clyde
would have done. Only Clyde would have done it immediately. If Clyde were really working the
controls in that skull of yours, I'd, ah – heh – well, I'd probably be in long, bloody strips,
hung about the office like bunting, right now. But
you, Deacon...” He smiled, sadly, laughed
softly. “You engaged. That's when I knew I had you. That's when I knew that everything was
going to be fine. For
one of us, anyhow.” In the distance, I heard the warbling shriek of approaching sirens; DeVille heard it, too. He
leaned back in his chair, pointing the Very pistol right between my eyes. “Have you ever seen
what phosphorous can do to human flesh and bone? I know Clyde has. I know your nanoids can
stand up to a few pistol rounds and a well-placed knife – but I doubt even
they could keep up
with
this kind of heat. So, ahh... how does this chapter end?” He was grinning when he asked,
as though he knew perfectly well what my answer would be.

“Motherfucker,” I said softly, through gritted teeth, my gaze never leaving DeVille's. “Mother.
Fucker.”

He stood, still pointing the flare gun at my head. “Outstanding! Spider, put the cuffs on him –
Knuckles, go start the car. We need to get going before any more company arrives...”
********************************************************************************************* Knuckles and Spider had a very animated discussion over whose job it had been to bring the hand-
cuffs. For a moment, I thought there was going to be a slap-fight – I was very embarrassed for
them. Kind of sorry, too, because I
did remember how DeVille dealt with this sort of cock-up.
Two words: organ harvesting.

Knuckles ran to get the car started, and DeVille held the barrel of the flare gun in my mouth
while Spider fetched a roll of that black vinyl tape and taped my wrists together behind me,
then wrapped it quickly around my torso, pinning my arms to my sides. Finally, he wound it
around my mouth a few times. DeVille leaned in, kissed me on the nose, and said, “We'll talk
later – promise!”

Then, one on each side, they hurried me downstairs and to the back door.. The sirens sounded
much closer, now. The situation wasn't as hopeless as it looked or felt. Otherwise, I would have felt a lot more
panicky when DeVille turned, as we were going out the back of the warehouse, and fired the
flare right through the office windows. He was covering his tracks and starting with the
contents of the office. I had no doubt that, unless emergency teams intervened promptly (which,
by the proximity of the sirens, I felt almost certain, they would), every stick of wood or
paper in the joint would be ashes by morning – and that included the captive teens. Those boxes
would more than
look like coffins – that warehouse would become a crematorium. I was extraordi-
narily relieved when I heard the fire sprinklers go off, as the door closed behind us – the
blaze wouldn't spread, but everything in that office was a goner. The four men I had taken
down earlier would survive. If I hadn't killed them myself.
I was stuffed into the backseat of a non-descript luxury sedan, and joined by DeVille, while
Spider joined Knuckles in the front. I had no idea where we were going. My study of DeVille
gave them multiple options, but I was hoping for his estate north of St. Sebastian, or his up-
town penthouse. Naturally, I might as well have tried to gather my happy thoughts and fly.
I spent the entire journey on my side, facing the back of the seat, with my head in DeVille's
lap, staring right at his crotch – I didn't need to see where we were going until we arrived,
and passersby might be curious about why a young fellow such as myself was riding around in
the back of a car with his mouth all taped up; people are funny like that, I guess. Whatever
his failings as a human being, he wasn't compensating for a small penis – as he kept a running
dialog, soothing me, coaxing me, he also gave me somewhat more physical attention, stroking me,
petting me, fondling me, DeVille was slowly firming up, down yonder. His intentions for me
were demonstrably more than mere business. He ran his fingers through my hair, mumbling things
like, “Yes, yes – I know you're angry
now, but you're. Um, not yourself, right now, ha-ha –
just wait 'til I get you home, young man – we'll get you squared away and things will be back
to normal...”
I was still riding the ragged edge of rage, but I managed to contain it, for the most part. I
knew things DeVille
didn't know, and concentraiting on those things helped me keep that “Other”
– the Clyde Penney he kept talking to and about – at bay. I knew:

Rudy had called Brent before he and Sharky ever made it to the diner. Otherwise, there would
have been no sirens.
It was possible that Rudy still had the drop phone, if they hadn't searched him – and since
they were in such a hurry, I doubt they had done so. Knuckles and Spider weren't geniuses, so
I had no reason to suspect Gunner and Dutch were any better. Still, underestimating people
hadn't done me any favors so far.
And if he did still have it, Brent or I could trace the drop-phone through its GPS. But: If anything happened to DeVille before he got to wherever he was taking us, that was it for
the two boys. “Employees” (read: henchmen) at that level were expendable and would cut their
losses, before disappearing into the woodwork. Which is why I put up no fight – galling though
it was, there are times you just have to let yourself get captured to get where you need to go,
and hope for the best. If DeVille couldn't win, he would absolutely have arranged to make you
regret your victory for the rest of your life. I could have killed all three of those creatures
and tracked the boys, but there was no guarantee that I could get there while they were still
alive.
After an interminable period of meandering turns and Top 40 AM radio, we finally arrived at
our destination. The estate or the penthouse had been wishful thinking, indeed. We were at
DeVille's private dock.
Where he kept his private yacht. Charming. I hate the ocean – I had almost drowned in it, when I... Clyde Penney. Some more things were falling into place. I was shaken out of my memory when DeVille dragged me out of the backseat by my coat collar,
barking at Spider and Knuckles that he wanted to be over deep water in an hour, so, ah – don't
dawdle, boys...
He steadied me on my feet as they drove away, and we watched them out of sight. Finally, the
taillights vanished. We turned to walk up the dock and board the yacht, but stopped at the roar
of a not-too-distant explosion – from around the bend where the car had turned off, we saw
climbing flames.

DeVille sighed. “Well, damn. They
knew they weren't supposed to change the radio station –
they'd been told and told. What a shame...” He shook his head, clearly disappointed. “Ah,
well – fewer loose ends to worry about.”
With that, he marched me up to the gangway, where we were met by, I assumed, Gunner and Dutch.
Gunner was a chunky Sad Sack, while Dutch looked more like a stilleto blade dressed in a suit.
Radio?” Gunner asked.

“So it would sadly appear, Gunner. Terrible shame.”

“There are some people you just can't reach,” Dutch replied, commiserating.
All too true, my friend! Now – the boys – in my stateroom?”

Dutch nodded. “Just like you said – wrapped up all nice and snug.”

“But you gotta watch that blondie-kid, Boss,” Gunner put in with a scowl, “He's got a kick
like a mule!”
Of course – he's a dancer, remember.” Deville shrugged to emphasize the obviousness of the
concept, then started up the gangway. “Now –
this one – put him with them, then go down to
the lab and tell Dr. MacFarlane that the subjects need a heavy sedative, they're very excited.
We'll start harvesting as soon as we hit the open sea. I'm going to the bridge to have a word
with Captain Englehorn – if we're not out of here within an hour, I'm going to be extremely
vexed, and you know what I'm like when I'm vexed...”
Gunner and Dutch glanced at each other over my head, and hurried me along up the gangway. ********************************************************************************************* I was hustled down passageways (which is almost the extent of my knowledge of ship termin-
ology, which is just above “Look out the window on the left side of the boat...”) until we
finally arrived at an elaborately-carved mahogany doorway. Dutch unlocked it, opened it, and
I was thrust roughly in. They followed and shoved me onto the bed between the two bound teens.
Sharky was, naturally, still a black vinyl burrito, while Rudy was done up much like I was,
but with knees and ankles taped, as well.

While Gunner and Dutch bickered between themselves about which of them would inform the doctor
of my arrival – “I don't like 'im, he's creepy!”, “What, creepy – ya big baby, you need to
get over that, so
you go. I'll hit the bridge and see if DeVille needs anything...”, “Aw,
screw you, you always get the suck-up-to-the-boss jobs!”, “And all
you do is complain – just
go, already, would ya? Jesus...” – I managed to roll over enough to make eye-contact with Rudy.
Sharky, now behind me, wouldn't have recognized me.

But Rudy definitely did – his eyes grew large, seeing that I'd been captured, as well. So much
in that face: fear, frustration, regret, anger. I winked at him, trying to smile behind the
gag; he looked like he wanted to know what the fuck I had to smile
about. He was about to find
out. I had spent my time on the way to the yacht contemplating more than my doom.
So far, everything was going according to plan.

In my experience, that usually meant that an enormous cock-up was about to crest the horizon.
But it hadn't done so, yet.
Once the henchmen has left, locking the door behind them and bickering their way to their
respective destinations, I rolled onto my stomach and began trying to dig into my left back
pocket. I was fortunate that they'd left my coat on me because, though I couldn't get to any
of its pockets, it did a fine job of covering my ass, which had perfectly good pockets of
its own.

And one of those pockets held a pair of medical utility scissors that I'd absently slipped
there what felt like a year or two ago, at this point.
Gripping them by the blades, I nudged Rudy hard with my knee to make sure I had his attention.
He looked somehow annoyed, at first; then he realized what they were, and his demeanor bright-
ened considerably. He was quick, like his old man, too – he nodded sharply, once, then squirmed
around until his back was to me and carefully felt for the scissors. When I was sure he had
a grip on them, I let go of the blades.
He promptly went to work cutting the tape as far up my arms as he could. I hoped he wouldn't
nip too much of the coat-sleeves – I
loved that coat. Still, more easily replaced than my life
or freedom if I failed to stop DeVille.
As soon as Rudy got just above my elbows, I roled back over, sat up and pulled myself to the
end of the bed with my feet. Once there, I stood and, after some strenuous squirming and
flexing, managed to shrug my way out of the coat and tape. Moving back to the bed, I took the
scissors from Rudy and cut the gag off my face; the tape took a little hair off the back of
my neck. I slipped the utility scissors back into my rear pocket, and the tape with it – I
didn't know where or how much the nanoids had permeated, but fuck if I was going to leave any
tissue samples behind. As I had apparently (with DeVille) created this mess, I felt some obli-
gation to not create another one while I cleaned it up.
Rudy and Sharky were watching me, outrage shining bright in their eyes – what was the big
idea of putting the scissors away before releasing them, as well? I nodded, raising a concilia-
tory hand, while putting a shh-ing finger to my lips with the other. Which, of course, was the
cue for the sound of a key rattling in the lock.

Timing is everything.
I kept behind the door as it opened. The 50-ish man who entered was tall and rigid, in his
charcoal gray, double-breasted suit. When he turned to close the door, I saw his expression
was a combination of boredom, sneer, and just general male resting-bitch-face. His eyes seemed
sleepy, until he realized he was looking right at the guy he was supposed to sedate. Then, he
woke right up.
I bumped the door shut with my hip and went for him as he raised the hand with the syringe. I
grabbed his wrists, dropped, and pulled him forward into the wall. It bloodied his nose, but
he didn't drop the syringe. I gripped a little harder – nothing; I gripped as hard as I could,
and felt the bones of his wrist shift. He had been about to call for help (I like to think;
witty sinister banter could have been as likely), but the pain made him gasp in a deeper breath.
I yanked down hard on his wrists, which once again introduced his face to the wall.
This time, he did drop the syringe, and of course, it rolled away. By the time I saw where it
had gone, so did
he. We both lunged for it. Look – you've seen this bit in a hundred movies: I get it, he gets it back, I get it back from
him, he gets it away from me, head-butts, knees in the junk, bites, snarls, etc. The usual.
And to the snotty old bastard's credit, things were close – he had a height, weight, and reach
advantage on me. He ended up stretched out on top of me, trying to pin one wrist while his
other hand bore down on me with the syringe, cap off the needle, thumb on the plunger, while
I gripped his wrist, trying to keep him from sticking the fucking thing in my neck.
This part of the plan wasn't going quite as smoothly as I had hoped – honestly, I hadn't fore-
seen having to wrestle a syringe away from, literally, a mad scientist. But I'd been pushed 
around a lot, most of the day, and I'd had just about enough of everyone's shit.
It crept closer. He was grinning like his inner lunatic was getting a day out it hadn't expec-
ted. “
Trust me,” MacFarlane hissed, “I'm a doctor...

“Yeah?” I said through grinding teeth, “Well –
have some of your own fucking medicine...
Before I knew I was doing it, I'd locked my teeth on MacFarlane's nose, sideways, the bridge
between my teeth, while he shrieked like a steam whistle. It distracted him enough that he
forgot about the syringe, and with a quick twist, I turned his fist and rammed that goddamn
syringe right into his temple. Right down to the syringe barrel. And pushed the plunger.
For a moment, he shook like someone with a high fever in a hard, freezing wind; then he went
limp and dropped onto me.
I pushed his body aside, spat out a lump of bloody cartilage and skin and gristle and snot,
and leapt to my feet, spitting. Of course, DeVille had a wet bar in the room – I charged it,
snatched up a bottle of Grey Goose, gargled a mouthful, spit it out on his carpet, took another
mouthful as my just reward and swallowed it.
Then I looked at the boys and found them staring at me like I'd just – well, like I'd just
done what I'd done. I wiped my mouth with the back of one hand, while the other retrieved the
utility scissors from my back pocket. Working quickly, I cut Rudy from his bonds and handed
him the scissors to deal with his tape gag and then go to work freeing Sharky.

I was peeling the last of the tape from my coat, when I heard Sharky's voice from the bed,
behind me.

Dude!” he exclaimed, “For a little guy, you're fuckin' savage! I looked at him as coldly as I could, still pumped full of adrenaline, disgust, and vodka.
“You have
no idea,” I said quietly. “But thanks.” He seemed confused, not quite sure how to respond. Finally, he said, “Thanks. For, like,
y'know... comin' for us.”
It sounded sincere, genuine, but I was still bubbling and trying to think out the next step
in my masterplan. “Don't thank me – thank
him,” I said, nodding at Rudy. He's the one who
saved you a looong ocean voyage.”

“Dude – ”
Not now, man, but believe me, we are going to have a conversation, later – ” GUYS!” Rudy hissed, “Can we do all of this, later?! We need to get outta here!” I know, but who IS this dude?!” My name's Deacon James, and I work with – with! – Rudy's Uncle Wally,” I said, pulling on
my coat. “I'm gonna get us out of here, one way or another. I wish we had that damn drop
phone...”

Rudy sat up straight. “The phone!” He began digging at the crotch of his jeans.

“Wait, wait, wait – are you about to pull a cell phone out of your pants?! Didn't they take
it when they grabbed you?”
He produced the phone. “Nah, dude – I made that call as soon as the door closed behind me –
Uncle Wally says 'Hi', by the way – and I was gonna put it in my pocket, but trying to balance
him,” he glanced at Sharky, “I ended up shoving it down the front of my underpants.”

My chin was about level with my navel. “Those two chumps didn't search you?”

“Sure,” he said, blushing a bit, “But not – y'know –
down there. They did get a little grabby
though, when they were carrying us.”

“I bet,” I said, moving to lock the stateroom door, then turning to take the phone from Rudy.
There was only one number, the one I needed, and I hit the speed dial.
It was answered immediately. “Rudy?!

“No, it's Deacon, Rudy's – ”
Where the hell are you?! Where the hell is my – where's my nephew? BRENT!” I barked, “Cool your tits and get it together. Rudy's fine, all things considered.
We're on DeVille's yacht – it's like a floating hotel. What I need you to do is trace the GPS
on this phone. We're still at his dock, right now, but we might be at sea, by the time you
get anyone here, and you'll need to be able to find us.”

I head him snapping instructions to someone, then he was back. “Okay – it's in the works.
What's the plan on your end?”

“I can't tell you that, right now.”

“You have no idea. Do you.”
Hey – this has been a very troublesome day, okay? I think I've done very fucking well,
considering it was a last-minute gig!”

He sighed. “Okay, granted, you're doing this on the fly...”

“Exactly. Thank you. Besides, I do have the bones of a plan. Sort of. Basically, get the boys
off the boat, then settle with DeVille.”

“Wait – 'boys'?
Multiple boys?! What the – ” Two boys. Just go with it. Gotta run!”

Deacon, godda- Saving the battery, just in case,” I said quickly, then ended the call. I turned back to the boys and tossed the phone to Rudy, who caught it deftly. Okay,” Sharky said, “So, whadda we do, now?” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, decompressing, centering myself, focusing; think-
ing that another belt of that Grey Goose would be mighty tasty, just about now.
Now,” I said, “You two are gonna follow me, stay close, stay quiet, and do exactly as I tell
you. Clear?”
Crystal,” they said in unison. They looked at each other. “Jinx!” they said. Gentlemen – now is not the time. And you – ” I said, pointing a finger at Sharky, “Rudy
talked you up pretty good, but if you're still harboring any thoughts of giving us up to
score points with DeVille – ”
He looked at me, aghast. “DUDE! That asshole just wrapped me up an' tried to ship me to
fuckin' West Kakalakistan or some shit! You think I
knew about all this? No fuckin' way!” All just an innocent kinky-teen-sex-club – that it?” He had the grace to look a little embarrassed and angry at himself; but he was honest about it.
“Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah.”
Okay,” I nodded. “Okay. But we're still all having a conversation about this later.” With Unca Wally,” Rudy said quietly.
Ooooh, yes – definitely Unca Wally. Mostly Unca Wally. Now, come on...” And we slipped quietly from the stateroom, locking the door behind us with MacFarlane's key.



                                      To Be Continued
Deacon James: Terrible Things, part seven
In which Our Hero finds events taking new avenues, and not necessarily for the better.

PLEASE NOTE: As we are fast approaching Halloween, in celebration, I am posting a double helping, this time! But savor it, me hearties - the end is near...

WARNING! WARNING! There are adult language and content in this series, including some "naughty" language, the occasional adult situation, mention of certain portions of the human anatomy, and so forth. There will be some smooching, M/M, M/F, F/F, but no descriptions of actual sexual intercourse, though some of that may crop up - I'm not a prude, but this is not, nor is it intended to be, porn. This is (I hope) a cracking good story for grown-ups with grown-up sensibilities. If ANY of that conflicts with what you consider Good Taste, you are welcome to run along and read something else. If you stick it out, though, I do hope you'll enjoy it. I have plans for Deacon and his friends (and enemies; sinister laugh goes here), and hope you all will enjoy those developments, as well.
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I followed the alley to the rear of the warehouse where they were holding their little sock hop. 
It might or might not have been insulated (it should have been, but some people are cheap-
skates); either way, I could hear Rob Zombie inside, beginning to sing about a living dead
girl. By now, they should have received the majority of their crowd, but I was sure they would
still have people on the front door. Besides, I was a backdoor man. As it were.
The back of the building had a short flight of castiron steps, with a handrail, leading to a
metal door. A security light hung over head. The loading dock doors were closed, for now, but
trucks would be backing up for their load They had a man on watch back here, too.
Big fella. Shaved head. Not as tall and broad as our Mr. Blossom, but a stout chap, nonetheless.
Probably around 6'4”, maybe an inch or two taller, in his boots. His silver Spandex muscle
shirt advertised that he spent his copious free time at the gym. He was also one of those jerks
who wear their sunglasses at night.
I looked at him and thought: Power bottom. He hadn't seen me – too wrapped up in his SmartPhone. I ducked into a gap between the building
and moved toward the front, until I found what I was looking for: an external high-voltage
junction box, with metal pipes emerging from the top and bottom, connecting the warehouse to
the transformer. I didn't have the time or inclination to shin up a utility poll, and I also
didn't want to take out the power for the entire block. I was just grateful that I didn't have
to go look for it on the other side of the building.
Working quickly, making sure to keep my grip on the rubber part, I managed to pop the cover
open. Then, still watching my grip, I used the hooked end to pry out the wiring. There was a
crackling flash, and Rob Zombie immediately shut up.
I trotted back to the rear, and found the security light out, the door thoughtfully propped
open, and the watchman gone. So far, it was all Goldilocks: everything was just right. I nipped
up the steps and into the rear of the warehouse, closing the door behind me and shooting the
deadbolt.
Only to find myself three feet away from the watchman. With his shades off, he was using the
flashlight app on his phone, and gazing into the fusebox, utterly mystified. He looked up at
me, startled by a situation that required even more thought.
Uh – are you here for the party?” I stepped forward quickly and said, “You're adorable,” just before I swung my left foot into
his crotch. That doubled him over, bringing him into better range as I brought the edge of the
pry-bar down on the back of his neck as hard as I could. There was an audible... How to describe
it? Sort of a wet combination of a “snap” and a “crunch”. My point, here, is he went down like
as load of wet laundry, and he wasn't going to be getting back up on his own power, even if he
was still alive.
His phone landed face-down but, by some miracle, didn't break. It provided enough light that
I could still see. In fact, I could see with surprising clarity. Probably the nanoids doing
their magic, because I could see three other men further in, and they were absolutely blind.
Mikey!” one of them called, “Who the fuck are you talking to? Get the goddamn lights back on,
before DeVille comes down!”
I moved through the darkness like a shadow among shadows. One went down after a mushy-sounding
crack on the back of the head.
Who's there?!” another called out, “Mikey?!” I heard a round being chambered. I swung for the
cheap seats, and he went down, too. I took his pistol – a Ruger SR9 – and slid up behind the
third asshole. A swipe at the back of his knees brought him to a kneeling position. I grabbed
his hair and put the barrel against the base of his skull.
Mikey had to step out. Don't worry about him, because he can't worry about you. Slim kid,
showed up here with Sharky. About five-foot-nine, curly blond streaks on top, cropped at the
sides and back. Road-cone orange socks. His name is Rudy. Where is he?
NOW.” Who's asking?” he said, sounding very unsteady. He wasn't used to being on this end of the
conversation and didn't quite know how to handle it.
Look, mate, if you're stalling 'til someone else comes in, skip it. You can get through this
with a nasty concussion and a stretch in the fucking pen, or they can take you out in a body-
bag – I'm outta fucks and good with it either way.” I kneed him in the back and rode him down
to the floor. “I just want you to save me some time. Now –
where...” I drove his face into the
floor, “
...IS...” I bounced him again, “...that FUCKING...” again, and this time, I heard his
nose break, “
...KID? He spat blood out; I might have broken a couple teeth, with that last one – I can be a little
excitable.
Heez id wud o' duh fuggin' crates! Ogay?! Who duh fug are you? Be glad I'm not the Angel of Death, motherfucker – which crate?” I pulled his head back for
another bounce.
Dew stagg! Aggez duh wall – ” He gestured toward the far wall. “Boddub row, ah duh floor!” Beautiful,” I said, not even breathing heavily, “Now, you'll have stories to tell your new
husband, in prison.” I thumbed the safety on, let go of his hair, and brought the butt of the
Ruger down hard. He took a nap.
I got to my feet and took a better look around. The wall he pointed at... Jesus, there must
have been fifty long, coffin-like crates stacked there. More, if there was another row behind
them.
In the corner near some stairs, I saw a forklift. Behind me was a heavy table, with a
body on it. I retrieved Mikey's phone and went to the table.
It was Sharky. He was coccooned in black vinyl tape, from his collar bone down to his ankles.
So much for honor among human traffickers. His mouth was taped up good and tight, but at the
moment, he didn't seem very chatty – his eyes were open, but droopy and glazed.
I turned back to the crates and figured the one on the bottom at the front would be Rudy. I
picked up my pry-bar and pocketed the Ruger. Before crossing to the stacks, I saw a work bench
on the other side of Sharky – not much there, besides cases of tape, but I did see a pair of
utility scissors. If they'd been as thorough with him as they'd been with Sharky, I'd need them.
The last thing I wanted was to return Brent's son to him with scrapes and gashes all over him.
I looked forward to facing DeVille more than I would have answering to Brent about damaged
offspring.
I trotted across to the crate and knocked softly, saying, “Rudy? You in there?” I was answered by muffled squeals. Then more from another crate. Then more – from a lot of other
crates. Fuck me... The cops would have to deal with them.
I went to work with the pry-bar and pulled the lid up. There he was, same as Sharky, but in
silver duct tape. No tears, but there was no mistaking the terror in his eyes. I leaned down
to help him sit up...

And the little darling pulled his knees up and fired his heels into my chest, launching me a
good ten feet across the room. If he had been drugged, the drugs had worn off.
I pulled myself to my feet, thinking what amazing things dancing did for the legs. I stretched
my shoulders, taking in as deep a breath as I could; I felt my ribs reseat themselves in my
sternum. “Aw,
fuck,” I grumbled, “I am gonna be so sore, tomorrow...”

I returned to the crate, where Rudy was trying to sit up and... what? Make his escape? Who knows,
maybe he could hop really fast.
Hey – hey,” I said, “Relax! I work with your... your uncle, Uncle Wally! I'm trying to get
you
out of here!” He looked at me like I'd just announced that I was newly arrived from Mars. I peeled the tape
away as gently as expedience would allow. He spit out a soggy Nerf ball and said, “You work
for my uncle?”

With,” I corrected him, “I work with your uncle. Now, hold still...” I went to work with the
utility scissors.
What about Sharky?” he asked.

“What about him?”
Snip-snip-snip...

“You're getting him out, too, right?”
He bought the ticket, he can ride the ride.” But you totes gotta help him, too!”

I looked at him, annoyed. “I totes don't
gotta do shit, except get you safely outta here,
kiddo. And what do you care? He delivered you here, to these assholes,
for sale. Remember?” He squirmed and shifted, so I could work more quickly. “You don't understand, dude – he didn't
know they were gonna do
this.” Oh? So what did he think was gonna happen?”

“He just – look, we have some common interests,
okay? He...”

“He
what...?” He wouldn't look at me, just scowled. He was kind of cute, with that frown-y face. There was
a lot of his father in it. “We just – we both like tie-up games. He thought they were just
gonna tie me up, and we'd... you know...”
I got it. Romance had changed, since I was in high school. Presumably, anyhow. I still didn't
remember that far back.
You two were gonna make out. Is that it?” He still scowled into his lap. “Do you think I would have done any of this, anything like this,
if I didn't
trust him? I know's he's kind of full o' shit about some stuff, and a smartass, and
a jerk, sometimes, but... he has his moments...” He smiled a little. Then he finally looked me
in the eye, the smile gone, Sad Orphan Pout engaged. “He's got a good heart. I
know it.” He has his moments...

I sighed, “Kid... Rudy...” I slipped the utility scissors into my back pocket.

He squirmed out of the last of the tape. “And besides, if anything happens to him, my parents
will find out, and they'll wonder where
I was, and there will be SO MUCH SHIT! Oh, eff em ell,
do they already know? If Uncle Wally already knows – ”
Never mind what Uncle Wally knows – or how he found out. We can all sort that out, later. If
you want to rescue Sharky, you'll have to carry him. Can you do that? 'Cause I'm on a pretty
tight schedule, here.”
Sure – I have to lift people all the time – I'm a dancer!”

“I'm aware,” I said, rubbing my sternum. I helped him out of the crate. “Listen –
listen
there's an all-night coffee shop about three blocks from here. Take him there, get a booth in
the back, and call your uncle. Take this,” I handed him my drop phone. “There's only one number
in the contacts – that will get you directly to him. Tell him that Deacon said, '
Now', and to
put some fucking wings on it. Have you got all that?”

Rudy repeated it all back, practically word-for-word. “Good,” I said. “Now, go get your boy-
friend and get the hell outta here...”

“He's not my boyfriend!”

“Kid – look around. He's your fucking boyfriend – now,
GO!

A chime sounded in my pocket. Mikey's phone. “Get him and
run! NOW!
He went to work, struggling a little with getting Sharky over his shoulder. I pulled out Mikey's
phone, and read the text message:


Michael –- where are my lights and music? Come up to the office at once.
Rudy,” I said, pulling the Ruger from my pocket, “Do you know how to use a pistol?” My – oof!” He shifted Sharky's weight on his shoulder. “My dad has some guns, but I think guns
kinda suck.”

“Agreed,” I said, “but not as much as getting boxed up and shipped to some pedophile in Cairo.
Take this, keep the safety on unless you have to use it. Now, scram – this place is about to
start poppin'...”


                                      To Be Continued
Deacon James: Terrible Things, part six
In which Our Hero saves the day - sort of - to a point - and the plot thickens...

WARNING! WARNING! There are adult language and content in this series, including some "naughty" language, the occasional adult situation, mention of certain portions of the human anatomy, and so forth. There will be some smooching, M/M, M/F, F/F, but no descriptions of actual sexual intercourse, though some of that may crop up - I'm not a prude, but this is not, nor is it intended to be, porn. This is (I hope) a cracking good story for grown-ups with grown-up sensibilities. If ANY of that conflicts with what you consider Good Taste, you are welcome to run along and read something else. If you stick it out, though, I do hope you'll enjoy it. I have plans for Deacon and his friends (and enemies; sinister laugh goes here), and hope you all will enjoy those developments, as well.
Loading...

Mature Content

This content is intended for mature audiences.


or, enter your birth date.*


Month

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An hour later found me all sharp and shiny – showered, fed, equipped – and strolling up the 
hospital corridor to an old pal's room. It was almost bereft of patients and staff, and the
officer guarding the room (an older cop, with many years of experience) decided that he had a
yen for a cup of coffee and invited the nurse at the nurses' station to join him, hardly
glancing at me as I rounded the corner. The people in IT, back at the Project, had been
recording the security cameras between the hospital parking lot and my destination since I
stepped out of the shower and asked them to do so; on my arrival, I texted them on my drop-
phone, at which time they patched into the camera network and began feeding them the recorded
video. Virtually no one would know that I had been there. Or what I had done. A few people
would, obviously, know or at least suspect, of course, but I had a feeling that no witnesses
would be coming forward. IT had also fixed me up with a white lab coat and an “official” I.D.
badge.
I stepped into the room and quietly closed the door behind me. The man in the bed was a mess. Hospital cuffs at his wrists and ankles, to prevent his escape,
assisted or otherwise. He was under a light blanket, propped up a bit, asleep, chest rising
and falling slowly and evenly. No snoring, so I assumed they had set his broken nose. He wore
a stabilizing cervical collar to prevent him moving his head. He was also in a cast from his
jaw to his hairline, with two eye-holes and a slit opening for his mouth. A large wad of
cotton and gauze was taped to the side of his head, about where his right ear should have
been; maybe they found it. He had a lump under the blanket, where they had installed a P.E.G.
tube so he could eat – difficult to chew with a broken... well, a broken
face; and a feeding
tube up his nose would be problematic, since it was reportedly
very badly broken. I just don't
know how people can get themselves into such scrapes so carelessly. Tsk-tsk-tsk.

He had the television set to Nickolodeon at a low volume. Fucking
Nicklodeon. I gently moved the call button and the television remote out of reach. I didn't want any
embarrassing interruptions or distractions. Then I quietly pulled up a chair and sat down.
I looked at him, there, and thought of the lives and families he'd destroyed, the children he
had ruined, selling them off, through DeVille, to monsters around the globe. I was less
curious why I had attacked him in that alley than how I had managed to do so without killing
him before Brent showed up with the tranq pistol.
The clock was ticking. I smacked one hand down heavily on his thigh.Rrrrrrrggggggssshhhhh!”Hi, Roj!” I said softly but brightly. “How they treatin' ya, buddy?”

He squirmed, but wasn't going anywhere. I don't know how long it had been between the alley
and waking up at the Project, but it had been plenty of time for them to treat him.
GLURRRRRGHK!”Oh, don't you worry – I have you all to myself for a few minutes.” I patted his thigh and
took a deep breath. “We have a lot to talk about. I need to ask you some questions, and you
need to answer them for me, honestly, toot-fucking-sweet. Are we together on that, buddy? Er –
squeak once for 'yes', twice for 'hurt me some more'...”

He squeaked once. His eyes were really too swollen, still, to open all the way, but he made a
good effort.
Sweet!” I beamed. “Okay – this,” I said, raising one hand, holding the objects, “is a notepad
and a pencil. You want to be careful with this, because if you break the point, I don't have
a pencil sharpener with me. Ah – are you right-handed or left-handed?”

He wiggled the fingers of his left hand, and I put the pencil in them. I opened the notepad
and put it on his left thigh.

“Okay – now – I had to really think about what would constitute a speedy and effective penalty
alternative. I can't really, um, 'realign' your face, on account of the cast – that's on me,
I suppose. Sorry. Not
that sorry – I mean, c'mon, you fuck kids eight-to-twelve years old.So, then, I thought I'd bring my pipe tool – it's great! It's like a Swiss Army knife for
your pipe. One arm has a little spoon on the end for digging out the dottle, another has a
sort of flat little foot on the end, for tamping down the 'tobacco'of your choice. And the
third arm is a sort of probe, so you can stir the coals or poke little holes to improve the
air flow. Now,
that little sucker is sharp as all get out, let me tell you. I made sure of it.
Anyhow, I wondered which of those little arms I could fit furthest and easiest up your urethra.
But I figured that, under the circumstances, they'd have you fitted with a catheter, and sure
enough, here we are...” I'd seen the bag when I came in, and it had recently been emptied.
Good thing, too, because now, it was almost a third of the way full again. I hoped he wasn't
getting dehydrated.
Then, I thought maybe a little juice to encourage your cooperation,” I said, pulling a full
syringe from the lab coat's breast pocket. “Just a little cocktail I learned about in – well,
it's not important, but you
do do a lot of business, there. Some Scopolamine, a little Halcion,
just a pinch of cocaine,” I wiggled my eyebrows. “Various other herbs and spices. The kind of
stuff
you usually put in your Halloween candy. Trouble is, I don't know for sure what medi-
cations you're already on, or what your drug allergies or tolerances are... I'm a little
embarrassed, but I was in a serious hurry, because as you probably know, there's a 'do',
tonight. But I didn't want you dying on me, pal – not until we had our chat...”
His eyes were on me, but he was tapping the pencil against the notebook. Glancing down, I saw
that he had already written something:
DONT KIL ME ASK I placed my hand to my heart. “Why, Roger,” I gasped, “you wound me! As if! When have I ever...
oh. Right.”
I leaned in, no trace of my former jollity in my face. “Now, then, first things first: where
is this 'wrap-party' being held tonight?”
He grunted or possibly groaned, as he scribbled:

TONIGHT?Oh! Right!” I said, as it suddenly dawned on me, “They moved their schedule up, since our
little disagreement. But I don't think they've had time to move the location. So – again – for
the last time – where's that party happening?”

I TOLD YU AREADY!Did you, now.” He squeaked once for “yes”.Huh. Well, I can't fairly argue that. But how 'bout you tell me one more time – just because
we're pals.”

HEL KILL ME!What? Kill my buddy? Who would do such a thing?”

He growled in his throat and scribbled:
DEVIL'Devil'? Oh, him! Your penmanship is execrable, but your spelling is very apt. Look, you told
me before, you can tell me again.” I stood and leaned in close, making sure he could see my
face and
believe me. “DeVille might very well kill you – eventually. But you take a moment and
think about what
I'LL do to you, if you don't tell me what I need to know. By the time DeVille
gets to you, he might be doing you a favor.”
His eyes never left my face. He gave a ragged sniff, which must have hurt, a whimper, and his
eyes began to well up with tears. He scrawled out an address on the notepad.
Terrific. May I congratulate you on the wisdom of your choice? Well-done. Forgive me if I don't
shake hands, but even a creep like me has standards.
Now then,” I said, folding my arms, “I want to know where your records are. ALL of them. No,
no – don't insult me by denying it. You're smart enough to keep backup on all DeVille's oper-
ations as insurance, and you might even be smart enough to hide them reasonably well. But what
you're not is, tough enough to not tell me exactly where they are. You might hold out on the
cops, but then the cops are kind of constricted by stuff like rules and the law and like that.
And the one thing you are
absolutely not is, in a position to hold out on me. I'm in a fucking
hurry, now, chum, so you need to decide where you want to finish the day: here, in this room,
or in a drawer down in the morgue. Tick-tock, motherfucker.”
Snorting and coughing and whimpering, he scrawled down the name of a bank, a safe deposit box
number, his code word, and the location of the key.
I took the notepad. I took the pencil. I put them away, and took a deep breath, releasing it
slowly.
Then I picked up the syringe and walked around the bed to his IV. I'd thought his eyes were
open as wide as he could get them before – imagine my surprise, then!

I worked the valve on his drip to shut it off, then unplugged the tube that went into his arm.
He began to squeal and squirm.

“Shh,” I said quietly. “If I really wanted you dead, I'd blow into this good and hard two or
three times. But I want you alive to stand trial and testify against DeVille and his organiz-
ation. If you cooperate, you might get out of prison alive, someday. Maybe. So, no – no killing
pedophiles, this evening. But I need you to keep quiet for a while, so Daddy can take care of
some business...”
I emptied the syringe into the tube, slipped it back into the valve, and restarted his drip.
There was a
little Scopolomine in there, and a little cocaine, but mostly it was enough LSD
in solution to take him on an ugly ride for a day or two. I had every reason to suspect that
it would be a really, really nasty trip.
When I left the room, Roger Rank, professional pederaste, was coughing and sobbing like a
barking seal. I don't know if I felt more embarrassed or disgusted.
And I still can't decide how much was for him and how much was for myself. I keep telling myself
that he'd bought that and he'd have to be the one to pay. I was just the delivery boy.
Mr. Hyde – in action. ============================================================================================= I phoned the information on Rank's records stash back to the Project, for them to handle while
I was busy elsewhere. That safe deposit box turned out to hold three, count them,
three
16-terabyte external hard drives. They went to work copying them off for 'anonymous' delivery
to the FBI, Interpol, and several other similar organizations around the world. Uncle Bad-Touch
and his friends were going away – probably not all of them, and I'm sure there are more such
Monster Clubs out there. But it would be something. Anton DeVille, on the other hand...
He knew people. I mean, knew them. Powerful people, people of significant influence, who also
probably had barns full of cash, as he no doubt did himself. There was every chance that snake
could and would just disappear and pick up where he left off, elsewhere, and the whole fucking
thing would start over. Business as usual.
If I let him. I hate to admit it, but I had a little trouble restraining Mr. Hyde, back at the hospital.
The callous side of me insisted that it was just that I was on very short time. The current
side of me reinforced that by insisting that I had to be... I hesitate to say “better” than
that, but it doesn't set the bar very high. I simply had to be better than Mr. Hyde, but that's
an even lower bar. At the bottom of it all, I guess I wanted to keep the murders to a minimum.
Because Deville and Mr. Hyde were going to meet. I didn't like DeVille's chances. ============================================================================================= I ditched the lab coat and I.D. in the backseat of the car, then drove to the address Rank had
given me, and parked in an alley two blocks away, just an innocuous, rusted-out, green 1973
Nova. Not even worth vandalizing, let alone stealing. Until you had a look under the hood,
anyway, because that decrepit beast could go like a goddamn scalded cat. I swapped my Bass
Weejuns (I wore black socks with little duckies on the ankles, if you're interested) for a
pair of Blackhawk ops boots. I abandoned my dress shirt to the back seat, revealing a snug,
black t-shirt. I slipped into my black leather car coat, with enough sneaky pockets to make
Batman proud – he had a utility belt; I had pockets. Get over it.
With all that on top of the black stretch jeans I'd had on under my doctor's slacks, I was
hoping I struck the proper balance of sexiness and pretention, in case I ran into anyone I
didn't need to immediately put down. I took a quick look in the rearview mirror, spit in my
hand, ran it through my hair and spiked it up. I got out and flipped up the front seat –
another sneaky feature for some things I didn't want rattling around in the trunk. You know,
weapons and other tools, and... well,
stuff. Yes, there were guns, but I didn't really like
guns. They could come in handy, but it was too easy to start relying on them all the time,
and that could make you sloppy. I couldn't afford to be sloppy. I selected a flat pry-bar
about the length of my forearm, with a thick rubber grip between the ends. Sturdy enough to
accomplish my goals and light enough to use as a weapon, if necessary. It would also fit neatly
up my coatsleeve, if I had to make it disappear, and still be handy enough to bring it out
to play.

With that, I locked the door, put the keys in my pocket, and took a deep breath, letting it
out nice and slow. I had thought, on the drive to the 'venue', that my heart would be pounding
in anticipation and maybe a little fear – nope. Business as usual. I had done this before.
Sort of. In another life. Like it or not, that other life was haunting me. I hoped it would be
just enough to get the job done.
Here we go...

To Be Continued
Deacon James: Terrible Things, part five
In which Our Hero descends further into becoming a danger to himself and others - mostly others.

WARNING! WARNING! There is adult language and content in this series, including some "naughty" language, the occasional adult situation, mention of certain portions of the human anatomy, and so forth. There will be some smooching, M/M, M/F, F/F, but no descriptions of actual sexual intercourse, though some of that may crop up - I'm not a prude, but this is not, nor is it intended to be, porn. This is (I hope) a cracking good story for grown-ups with grown-up sensibilities. If ANY of that conflicts with what you consider Good Taste, you are welcome to run along and read something else. If you stick it out, though, I do hope you'll enjoy it. I have plans for Deacon and his friends (and enemies; sinister laugh goes here), and hope you all will enjoy those developments, as well.
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:icongregorionegaard:
gregorionegaard Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2018  New Deviant Professional Photographer
Thanks for the llama!

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:iconstr8tjkt:
Str8tjkt Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2018
No, no - thank you! :)
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:iconxtcgm:
xtcgm Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2018
Thank you for favouring Caught Speeding
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:iconhgtilove:
hgtilove Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2018
thank you for your watch :D
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:iconstr8tjkt:
Str8tjkt Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2018
Thank you, for all your very hot posts! I hope you'll have a look at the story I'm posting in installments, Terrible Things, when you have a chance, and let me know what you think!
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:iconsilvernecromancer:
SilverNecromancer Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2018
Thanks for watching. Sorry about your friend
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:iconstr8tjkt:
Str8tjkt Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2018
Thank you. I keep thinking what a gruesome way that is to go - and then a week and a half before anyone even found you? Scary, creepy... heartbreaking...
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:iconsilvernecromancer:
SilverNecromancer Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2018
Yeah, it is. And again, really sorry about that. Must've been awful.
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:iconstr8tjkt:
Str8tjkt Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2018
I hate to imagine - for anyone, really, but Diana was such a nature-lover... [sigh]
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(1 Reply)
:iconwhiteravenlord:
WhiteRavenLord Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2018  Student Writer
HEY!

HEY YOU!

YOU WITH THE FACE!

Happy birthday dawg. B^)
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