Blane reacted quickly, his leg thrusting out and catching Nathan as he moved forward. As a result, the knife swept down and plunged into Steff’s shoulder, rather than his heart. Cassandra screamed and reached out, only to have Casey grab her and pull her away from the ensuing chaos.

Nathan kept his hand on the knife, following Steff to the floor. Blane let out a yell and reached for a cast iron pan, hanging from a rack above the stove. It came down on the back of Nathan’s head with a pang! sound which didn’t seem like a good sound for a head to make. The blood started flowing immediately, gushing forth as only a head wound could do. Steff fell back with a groan, using his right arm to push Nathan off him, twisting to avoid dislodging the knife.

Nathan lay face down on the floor, alarmingly still. Without letting go of the frying pan, Blane held out his left hand, clasping Steff’s right and pulling him up. He rested the skillet on the stove and rummaged in a cupboard to the left of the door, pulling out gauze and tape.

“You keep it in the kitchen?”

“I usually need it as close to the front door as possible. More often than not they don’t give me any trouble but every so often someone took some krav maga classes at the rec centre and considers themselves Bruce Lee or something. It makes for a bit of a challenge now and then, but nothing I can’t handle.”

Cassandra realized they were casually speaking of Blane’s victims and her stomach turned. She watched without speaking as Steff put a hand on the knife handle while his brother prepared the gauze and opened a bottle of what looked like vodka he’d pulled from the same cupboard. Herb- no Steff, she was having a hard time with the switch- gritted his teeth and met his brother’s eyes. They nodded at each other and Steff pulled the knife out of his shoulder with a roar. Blane liberally poured the alcohol on the wound and Steff’s lips curled back, his teeth biting down on a scream. The knife dripped blood onto the floor while his shoulder was bandaged tightly. They each took a drink from the bottle. It was obvious this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. Steff offered the bottle to Casey, who took it and shrugged when Cassandra glared at him.

“After everything that’s happened, you’re going to get mad about me drinking? I’m sorry but I am well past the point of being concerned about my health. Or anything else for that matter. Everything I know is backwards. At this point, you could pretty much tell me anything and I’d believe it’s all true. God’s an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow…”

He took a swig and then coughed violently, unable to contain himself.

“Holy…that is not vodka!”

“No, it’s pure grain alcohol. You think I’d use vodka for a medical procedure? That seems irresponsible.”

They all froze as there was a noise from the floor. Nathan stirred, his moans giving way to groans as he tried to unpeel himself from the floor. When he had barely lifted his chest from the ground, Blane leaned down and grabbed him by the hair. As he lifted him, Nathan let out a shriek.

“Welcome back, fuckwit. Not sure what you were thinking, attacking my brother like that. So much for fanboy fealty. Probably would have been better for you if you’d just died on the floor there. However, you didn’t and so now I get to make an example of you. But not here, there’s already been too much blood spilt on this floor. I’m going to have a devil of a time getting it clean. No, let’s go. Outside. When I’m done I can stack you like cordwood, along with your friend out there.”

Nathan stammered, his voice shrill and pleading.
“But I’m…I’m like you. I’m dark! I’m a killer!”

Blane’s grip on his hair tightened and he pulled him close as Nathan tried to twist away, tears in his eyes.

“No son. What you are is meat for the beast. You wanted to see where the monsters live? Lucky you, getting exactly what you wanted.”

Photo by Neil Rosenstech on Unsplash