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Date Posted: 09:43:38 07/20/23 Thu
Author: Comicality
Subject: (Chapter 3)
In reply to: Comicality 's message, "(S) "GFD: Ashes Lie 3"" on 09:39:22 07/20/23 Thu

"GFD: Ashes Lie 3"

Once the daylight hit...it hit hard. My body was completely wiped out, and I knew that it had an awful lot of work to do before I was even partially back in working order again. I could only hope that this old church would be able to provide us with a decent amount of cover for the next day or two. Until then...it looked like I was going to be stuck here for a while. But the sooner I got out of this place and back into hiding, the better. The last thing that I wanted to do was bring any trouble to Father McDonnell’s way.

I just wish that I didn’t have to ask him for his assistance...again.

When I woke up the following evening, I forced myself to sit upright in our bed...using my fingers to run a trace over my skin to see what parts of me still needed more work before I could claim myself to be in prime condition.

“The bullet wounds in your back are still there.” Came a voice from next to me, and I felt Jory’s gentle touch as he touched the small grooves that he found there. A great deal of the scrapes and cuts had been repaired during my sleep cycle, but the deeper wounds felt as if they were almost fresh...causing me to groan in discomfort. “I certainly hope that you weren’t planning to go outside like this. If you so much as run into an angry drunk on the street, he may just finish you off once and for all.”

“I’ll be ok. Although I do believe that I cracked my ankle when I jumped on top of that speeding train.” I said.

“Now there’s a sentence that every boyfriend wants to hear from his sweetheart.” Jory swung his legs around to sort of get his wits about him before trying to get out of bed. “Do you want some wine from the storage room? It’s not all that strong, but it might help to keep your muscles from knotting up too badly...”

But before he could get up to his feet, I took a hold of his wrist and pulled him back down to the mattress with me. I smiled at him, seeing his vampiric glow from behind his bright blue optrix...and I ran my fingers through the soft blond locks of gold curtaining the sides of his cheeks. “I can think of a lot of things that might help to loosen me up tonight. You want to hear some of my ideas?”

Jory raised an eyebrow. “Hehehe...what are you up to, Jonny?”

“You know what I’m trying to get up to.” I grinned. “Why don’t you stay here with me for a little bit longer?”

He playfully rolled his eyes. “Ummm...I don’t think so, mister.”

It felt like he was just kidding around at first...all just a part of the game. But as I lay back and let my hand travel down beneath the covers, I felt him smack it away. “What the…? Are you serious?”

“Of course I’m serious.”

“But why not?”

He said, “Well, first of all...” Jory dug his hands into one of my half healed wounds, making me wince in pain with a bit of a whimper. “...You are in no shape for any stressful activities of that nature.”

“That actually really hurt, you know…?”

“And second of all...we’re in a CHURCH, Jonny! I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of sin.”

“Technically, it’s the basement of a church.”

“Whatever. No means no. Now get up and move around a bit. I’m not going to let you mope around all night long doing nothing.” He said, but thn he leaned over to kiss me sweetly on the lips, his eyes staring into mine for an extended moment before getting out of bed.

Every time that I look at him, all I can see is that young runaway teen that I once found shivering in that alley, hiding out from the duo of vampires who were hunting him, looking for an easy snack. They could have easily found him and he wouldn’t have been able to stand a chance against their vicious attack. But...they were just street vamps, nothing spectacular. And that meant that they wouldn’t stand a chance against my attacks either. I dispatched them both in a matter of seconds and sent them limping off to whatever habitat they had found for themselves to protect them from the sun, come daylight. And when I offered that terrified boy my hand to lift him up out of the trash...shivering and wide eyed...he rushed forward to hug me tight around my chest. Thanking me profusely for saving him. Too scared to hold on to me. Too scared to let me go.

So I brought him home with me. He had a place to take a hot shower, clean his clothes, dry out his damaged shoes...and I gave him a real bed to sleep in for the first time in weeks. No park benches or subway stations this time. I really do remember how amazing he looked when he stepped out of that bathroom, all squeaky clean, hair washed, dirt scrubbed away, and one of the most adorably bashful smiles that I had ever seen on a boy before. It was like he was practically glowing, digging his toes into the carpet before softly asking me if it was ok for him to sit down somewhere. I really did enjoy talking to him. He could be extremely witty at times, and he could hit you with a few stray barbs if you weren’t listening closely enough. I could have spent the rest of that first night just hanging out and having fun with him, but...disappointingly...after everything that he had been through, not just that night but every night since he escaped the hell of the life he left behind...Jory began to yawn every two or three minutes. I could almost time it in my head. And soon he began to nod off and I was forced to give the poor kid a break and told him to make himself comfortable so he could get himself some sleep. I was going to be up until dawn, regardless, so it wouldn’t be fair to ask him to try to match me minute for waking minute. In fact, he pretty much collapsed back onto my softest pillow and was already beginning to breathe softly by the time I pulled the blankets up over him. Hehehe...cute.

I just sort of sat there and watched for the rest of the night. I turned on the TV, but there was nothing more captivating than the soothing comfort being broadcast from that boy as he slept. I didn’t want to admit it, as it felt both silly and reckless...but I think that I actually fell in love with him that night. After all of the training and the fighting and the death that I had seen since my crossover into darkness...he was the only one who could immediately take the screams away. The only one who reminded me that I had a heart to break.

When I began to tire out myself, I made sure to leave a note behind for Jory before laying down at his side.

”When you wake up today, I know that you’ll be confused. Just follow these three rules, ok?

One – Don’t go anywhere outside!

Two – Do NOT attempt to open the shades covering the windows!

Three – If I seem cold, or you can’t wake me up...DON’T panic!

I’ll explain tomorrow at sunset. I promise.”

I put the note in a place where I was hoping that it would be the first thing he saw when he woke up in a few hours. I’d just have to keep my fingers crossed, as I was taking a really big chance with my life here. I can’t imagine what he’s going to think when he sees me lost in my daily hibernation...but what else was I going to do? Handcuff him to the bed?

That was quite a few years ago...and he still has that note tucked away with the rest of his personal possessions. Sentimental value, I suppose. And whenever I look upon him, I’m always reminded of that first night...how beautiful he looked to me...and how not even a hint of that beauty faded or lost its novelty. He made me so very happy.

“Where are you going?” He asked, coming back with two bottles of wine for us to share, worried about me getting out of bed only to get myself back into trouble again.

“Don’t go getting all mousey on me.” I said, carefully putting on my shirt to cover my bruises. “I’m just going to go upstairs and talk to Father McDonnell for a bit. To thank him for allowing me to come back after being missing for all these years...and to maybe find myself a reason to keep playing this deadly game. It’s weird, knowing that the one thing that you’re good at is the one thing that brings you the most pain.”

Giving me a gentle hug, Jory said, “Sometimes we have to settle for being the best person we can be. It’s all we can do. It’s not always in the results following our actions...sometimes it’s just in our efforts to make the best choices we can.”

“That might have been good enough at one time...but I’ve got a lot more to fight for now. And something much more special to protect.” I kissed his lips. “I have to live for both of us now.” Then I finished getting dressed and got ready to go back upstairs to the main alter of the church. “I’ll be back in a little bit. K?”

“Ok.” He agreed.

“Don’t get drunk.”

“Hehehe, no promises on that one, babe.” He smiled at me, and I went up the steps to see if I could finally reconnect with an old friend.

Stepping into that giant room with super high ceilings and the darkness of shadows in every corner...brought back memories of the days of old. At least for me. I was surprised to see that the candles were still lit, everything cleaned up and put back into its proper place, just in case someone came by looking for some level of salvation this late in the evening. The church was empty for now, but I suppose that anything was possible, right?

“Does this mean that you’ve managed to hold onto your faith after all this time?” Came Father McDonnell’s voice from behind me, walking down the center aisle with a stead but cautious approach.

“I guess you could say that I never really lost it...all things considered.” I turned to see him face to face, “My apologies for being away for so long. I didn’t have much of a choice, I’m afraid.”

“Is that what seems to be troubling you?” He asked. “It’s of little consequence to me, personally, I assure you.” He gave me a warm smile, and waved his hand over to offer me a seat in the front pew. “I figured that you’d be coming back this way eventually.”

“I thought it to be the lesser of two evils to stay far away from this place. I was worried that the shadows chasing me would end up settling here. Just like they did everywhere else I dared to travel.” I sat down, and the priest was gracious enough to join me. “You’ve got some gray hairs now. Heh...I never thought that I’d see that on that babyface of yours.”

“Well, I was barely a few years above being an altar boy when we first met. And just joining the priesthood when you...made your choice to follow a different calling of your own.”

Feeling a pinch of sadness in my gut, I tried to brush off the comment and simply keep talking. I don’t think that he meant any kind of offense by it...I just didn’t know how much I really wanted to say when it came to choosing darkness over daylight. “We you with him? When he died?” I asked.

“Your father had many people in the area who loved him dearly, Jonathan. He was many things to many people...but one thing that he could never be...was alone.” He replied. “It was a beautiful service. I made sure to oversee the arrangements myself. He would have been proud.” That’s when he turned his head to look me in the eye. “You...would have been proud. I can promise you that.”

“I don’t doubt it. Not for a moment.” I said, my voice trembling as I did my best to swallow the emotions running through me at the moment. It was like thick surges of tar in my veins. “I should have been here. I didn’t mean to stay away as long as I did. I think that some of the terrible things that I was a part of began to catch up to me much faster than I ever could have expected. I ran away. I never should have run away. Not from him.”

Father McDonnell patted me lightly on the leg to calm me as the first tear or two began to drip from my eyes. “Your father was proud of you, Jonathan. Every step of the way, both in daylight and in darkness...he always spoke about how much he wanted what was best for you. You might have been far away, but he kept so much of you in his heart at all times that I doubt he felt any further away from you than he would have if you were in the next room.”

“I don’t know if that makes things better or worse.”

“How do you mean?” He asked.

“The things that I was asked to do...to take part in...they were wrong. I simply couldn’t do it anymore.” I said, lowering my head. “The gift that I was given wasn’t meant to enslave my own kind. I refused to use it to help them in their nefarious plans and have it corrupt me the way it corrupted them. And that’s when they turned against me. That’s why I ran away.”

“These people that you speak of...are they the ‘Elders’ that you talked about?” He asked.

“Among others, yes.” I told him. “A brand new era is coming for us all, Father. That includes you. I thought that I could stop it, or at least get them to see the coming evil that was sure to spread through these streets and eventually throughout the rest of the world if they could just stop trying to hold it back and let it happen. But their power means too much to them for them to share with anyone else. And I may be a key player in helping them to maintain an oppressive amount of control. They’ll drain me dry and toss me aside like trash on the side of the road...and I just don’t know what to do from this moment forward.”

“So that’s what all of these wounds and bruises are about, is it?” He asked.

“They know that I’m alive, Father. And they’re not going to let me leave here without a fight.” I said, and clenching my fists in frustration, I added, “I know that my father wouldn’t approve of this. Any of this. But I’m thinking that I might have to do something...not too ‘Christian’ to get them to leave me alone. Regret will just have to come later.” I looked over at him, and I said, “So much for keeping a hold on my faith, huh, Father?”

He paused for a moment, and said, “Perhaps this is the part of your journey that will test you most, and reward you best, in the end of all things. The road we travel isn’t always meant to fit into moments of ease and comfort. How could we learn much of anything if they did?” He told me. “I’m reminded of a passage from Proverbs. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’ Faith is meaningless if it isn’t tested. Tempered by fire and sharpened with the sparks of friction. If you were given a gift, dark as it may be...perhaps it was for a reason.”

“I’m not sure you really understand, Father McDonnell. People will get hurt. Or worse. I can only handle these people in one of two ways. One is to destabilize...the other is to terminate. I have a new life that I want to build outside of this madness...”

“Choose or be chosen...”

“What are you saying? Are you telling me to go through with this???” I said, my face frowned up. “I was looking for guidance...”

“You were looking to justify a decision that you had already made for yourself and the one you love, and go through with it with my blessing.” He said abruptly. “You know that I can’t do that. I can understand, I can sympathize...but this is the life that you willingly made yourself a part of. I can only pray that you are able to find the best way out of it that you can, while keeping your soul in tact. I can offer you nothing else.”

I have to say that I was disappointed. I wanted more from him. Come sort of confirmation that I wasn’t going to completely lead myself down the path to ruin and possibly drag Jory’s golden heart down with me. And yet...something about the way he was talking reminded me of my own father, and our discussions about finding our own way without looking for someone else to give me just enough permission to lay the blame on if everything went to shit. I assume that Father McDonnell probably got to know my own father just as I did while I was away. Hiding out, no longer in contact. Hell...he might know him ever better. And I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t slightly jealous about it.

I stood up from the pew, and crossed myself as I walked past the altar. Turning to look over my shoulder, but not make eye contact, I said, “I need a bit more time to heal. But I promise that Jory and I will be out of your way as soon as possible. Another night. Two more, tops. I’ll be able to defend myself again after that.”

Father McDonnell said, “I’ll always be here...whenever you need me.”

“Thanks, Father. But I’m pretty sure that we won’t be needing your basement any longer from here on out.”

His response?

“I wasn’t talking about the basement, son.”

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