(Elizabeth POV, Six days ago)
Why wasn’t he picking up or texting back? I’ve been trying to get in touch with Xeta all day and night. He told me him and Bruce were going off to do something, and now I can’t get in touch with him at all? Once more he wasn’t at school, no one had seen him and I didn’t see him in my classes at all. He usually doesn’t miss school…. And call it intuition if you want, but I knew something was wrong, it’s not like him, too many variables were stacking up.
I also didn’t see Bruce around either, it was odd…
I decided I would go to his home after school finished, I was too worried. I gave my parents a call about me staying over at Xeta’s and they agreed to it. I walked through the forest path I had gone on once before, looking around slowly trying to figure out where everything was again.
I remembered this clearing was the first time seeing Xeta like he was… How long has it been? A month? It feels longer I think.
Wait no, it’s not the time to get sentimental, just hurry up already!
I quickened my pace to get back to his home, taking the path like I remembered… And my heart dropped…
I noticed blood on the path now, and it seems new… My worry grew into fear, and I screamed.
“Xeta!! XETA!! Xeta please speak, where are you!?!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I quickened my pace to get to his cave, worried sick by this point. As I got closer the blood became increasingly more frequent. Once I got to the entrance I noticed bloody paw prints on the way inside, and when I ran in I saw an unexpected sight.
Xeta was there, his torso covered in bandages, him moving around frequently, almost as if he was trying to gather everything up. He had a bag, and it seemed to have everything he could carry in the bag he was using, like his computer and game system, some food, and other things. The way he moved as if I was watching a squirrel run around in an erratic panic.
“X-Xeta?” I questioned.
He dropped what he was holding at the moment, pulled out his sword, pointed it in my general direction. The look of horror on his face was something I hadn’t seen on him before, this was truly something else, something was wrong, and I didn’t need to see his expression to know that beforehand.
Another thing to point out is his sword was broken, the blade was now only about half of it’s original design.
He quickly realized that I was the one there and not an attacker.
-Elizabeth?- He asked in an almost drunken state.
“Yeah… it’s me, Xeta what’s-“ I couldn’t finish for he quickly dropped the sword, and ran up to hug me, the spike on his chest nearly hurting me but I thankfully avoided.
I looked down at his trembling form, I could feel his body shaking as he held onto me, trying to grasp whatever comfort he could get out of me. All I could do was return the hug in this moment.
We stood there for a bit, I could feel his tears stain my clothes, his sob’s sounding similar to a dog’s. I didn’t know what to say or do, something happened and I couldn’t dare ask what it was, in fact I was scared to ask.
-I’m so glad y-y-you’re here…- He said stuttering.
“Xeta… I tried to get in touch with you all this time… why weren’t you answering?” I asked.
-Sorry… I forgot to charge my phone…- he said in my head.
“What happened… what’s wrong?” I asked.
-Nothing, listen, we need to leave!- He said, starting to gather his things again.
“Wait, leave? Why do we need to leave?!” I asked starting to get scared.
-Listen it will be alright! We can just leave! We could go wherever we wanted, I have plenty of money in my account, it’s possible for me to get jobs and such, it would be just fine!- He kept going.
“Wait, Xeta stop, you aren’t making any sense, we can’t just leave! And why do we need to leave?!” I asked.
-It will be fine! That doesn’t matter, all we have to do is get as far away from here as possible, hell we could even just continue traveling, it could be so much fun! Think about it, come on we could go get some stuff from your house right now and not have anything to worry about!
He grabbed my hand forcibly, trying his best to pull me along with him, he had his bag in his paws, but now I was irritated, mad even, what was he even saying right now, it made no sense.
I jerked my arm back with enough force to pull myself away from him.
“Xeta stop it!! What’s gotten into you!?” I screamed.
-It’ll be fine! Trust me, it will be just fine!- He tried to reach for my arm again, but I didn’t let him this time.
Instead of his paw reaching it’s marked, I stepped forward, pulled my arm back, and swung it forward, the palm of my hand stinging across his muzzle. My hand stung a bit form the impact, and a loud sound echoed through the cave.
I wasn’t done yet, I quickly took my arm against his neck and pushed him towards the wall of the cave, holding him against it. He wasn’t really resisting my assault, maybe because he cared, or because he didn’t want to hurt me. He looked at me in the eyes, his smile no longer existing. The expression he made was someone of sadness, and pain, something I know quite well… Neither of us had any right for our actions here…
I gently let him go, and he slumped down the wall, his tears dripping from his eyes. He no longer was looking at me, just wallowing in his own pain. Seeing him like this was unbearable… I did the only thing I could do, I sat down beside him.
We didn’t have to talk to know what the other was thinking, all we had to do was be there for the other. I placed my hand on his paw, and he gripped my hand the best he could. After that we just sat for a while, doing nothing but try to calm down from the ordeal. I don’t really know how long we sat there for, but it was needed if we were gonna be able to have a decent conversation.
As if to break away from our dreams of peace, Xeta spoke words that did more then actions ever could.
-Bruce is dead…- He said.
I looked at him, his muzzle still dropping down. My eyes widened at the statement he just made. Not knowing how to respond I just stayed quiet, and waited for him to continue.
-I killed him…- He continued.
“What…?” I asked, having trouble speaking.
-They found us out… We were looking for more stuff on those people who did this to me… and they got to Bruce’s family, he was forced to take an injection, and turned into something like me… He had no control over his body, and tried to kill me. I had to put him out of his misery…- He explained to me.
I had no words to say, it was just like what had happened with me, they’re going after the people he cares for… that’s why he wanted to…
-We need to leave… they’ll just keep coming… they’ll… I can’t lose you…- He held his head in his paws, -I don’t want to lose you… You’re all that’s left…-
He wasn’t wrong… He’s lost everything… I’m the only thing he has left to care for, so…
“Ok… We’ll leave,” I said.
-What…? But you…- He tried to say.
“But nothing, you’re all I want as well, even if we cant truly be together, we can stay by each other’s side, now and forever, we’ll leave, but on one condition,” I said.
-What is it?- He asked.
“We finish school, once we graduate, that’s when we’ll leave, I’ll ask for a car for graduation, and that will be that,” I said.
He smiled weakly, -You don’t have to do all this for me…-
“I want to, no matter what, I want to,” I said.
He looked at me, tears streaming down his muzzle, a kind and sad smile filling his face, “Thank you!”
“Xeta… what about Bruce’s parents?” I asked.
-They were apparently supposed to be let go… but…- he tried to say but couldn’t finish.
“If they were let go, we should go see them…” I said.
-Wait, I don’t think they- He tried to tell me but I cut him off.
“Don’t you think they deserve to know what happened?” I asked.
-Will… will you come with me?- I asked.
“Well… isn’t loving someone supposed to mean you support them?” I asked.
He smiled, and he pulled out a phone, it wasn’t his though.
“Who’s phone is-“ I started to ask.
-Bruce’s, he left a message for his family… and a phone number connected to those people…- He explained.
“What…? Then why are you not-“ I started to ask but was cut off.
-I’m not getting anyone else killed over a vendetta,- I said.
“Ok… Let’s go then…” I said.
-Alright,- he said back.
He carried me to the address, and thankfully he disguised himself. Bruce’s home seemed really nice, and we walked up to the door, and knocked on it.
The door was cracked open, and we could see an African American woman, who looked to be in her late 30’s.
“Yes?” She asked.
I spoke first, “You wouldn’t happen to be the mother of Bruce would you?”
“Who’s asking?” She asked.
Xeta let his disguise fade in front of the woman, -Ma’am… Bruce already told me what happened,- he pulled out his phone.
Her face grew from scared to shocked.
-Please… we need to talk about this…- He said.
She closed the door, we heard some unlocking sounds, and open the door.
“Please, come inside…” She said.
We entered the house, and his father and mother were both here. His mother’s hair was in knots, and her dress wasn’t anything special. The father looked in shambles, absolutely devastated.
“Mom, dad, who’re they?” We turned around to see a girl around eight or so.
“Just some people we have to talk to, go play for a while ok?” Bruce’s mother said.
“Okay,” she walked back to her room.
We all sat in the living room in an awkward silence, not knowing what to say or do.
“You… were with our son last night?” Bruce’s father asked.
-I was… so those people kept their promise?- Xeta asked.
“Yeah… they did… you’re the creature Bruce was supposed to kill, right?” His father asked.
-Yeah… I am…- Xeta said, his ears drooping down as he did.
“Is our son…?” his mother started but couldn’t finish.
Xeta looked down, -I’m sorry…-
His mother started to sob quietly, now knowing his son was gone.
“How’d it happen?” Bruce’s father asked, having trouble speaking.
-They made him, take this injection, turning him into a creature like me, but he had no control of his actions, he wasn’t even your son anymore before I did what I had to, I’m so sorry this happened, I wish I could have stopped it…- Xeta handed his father the phone, a recording on it.
They played the recording, and Bruce’s voice played, “Hey guys… it’s me. I wanted to record a message for you, just to know, that this decision was mine. I already know the outcome, I’m not going to live through this, and it’s not like it was a very easy decision for me to make. Xeta, if you’re hearing this, you stay alive, no matter what, and I only have one thing to ask, is to give this recording to my parents. Now, this part is for you guys… You probably think I’m an idiot or something, but in all honesty, I knew what I was getting myself into.”
“I was the one who urged him to fight, because I felt it was right, but after seeing the outcomes, the attack on the school, the deaths, I started to realize I’ve made a bad decision, but even still, it was mine, and mine alone. I am, once again, making a choice, and this time, it’s to save you all, they’ve given me this shot, and that is a part of the contract I made to keep you guys alive, I wont be me anymore, so no matter who wins in the fight you’ll lose your son.”
“The choice, of either keeping my live, or saving yours, and Lila’s, there was no greater choice I could make, it almost felt relieving in a way, it was like I decided this is how it would end, it was like a freedom…”
“Also, one more thing, on this phone is a file, it’s a single number, and the information I was able to find out about this number was just enough, to know who caused all this. Give my phone to the police after hearing this, they’ll be able to handle the rest from there.”
“I’m really sorry, I know, that this is going to hurt all of you, but please, just try to understand, and don’t blame Xeta, please, he’s already lost everything, it was my choice to help, it was my choice to get him started, and it will be my choice on how my life ends… Mom, dad, Lila, I love you all, oh and Xeta, make sure you keep that girl happy, later guys, we’ll meet again, at some other time.”
The recording ended, there was nothing more to say or do.
-I’m sorry,- Xeta said again.
“Stop… please… We’ll listen to what our son’s last words were, so please… Just let us be,” His mother said.
“Thank you for your time,” I said.
-Thanks…- Xeta said.
“Yeah… thanks,” His father said.
We both walked out of the house, being sure to lock the door on our way out, and we decided to just head back to the cave. Xeta went ahead and prepared us both a meal, it was hard to eat after that night, but we managed somehow. We decided to just relax, and tried not to worry about everything. It was hard not to, but we had to, so we could survive. All we had to do, was make it to graduation… that’s all we had to do.
(Officer Veil POV, Present)
I entered the evidence room to go find the phone Xeta had mentioned. Looking through drawers I finally found the right piece of evidence, strapped on some gloves, and opened the file. All I found was a phone number… Wait, maybe…
I got onto a computer and looked up the number, but it didn’t associate with a business or corporation. So that only meant one thing, cell phone. I had my teams get to work on tracking the phone, while also compiling it with our suspects who worked for these so called, “Reapers.”
I’ve never been the type of person to lose my cool, but after hearing the stories and pain these people have cause, I think I’m about at my boiling point… I even want them dead, and I want it to be slow. I know the feeling of someone’s life being ruined, and they’ve ruined countless… They will pay, even if I have to use my bare hands. Xeta may not have been able to get his revenge, but I’ll gladly do it for him.