Faxan slipped through the back door on shaking legs. His lower lip was numb and swollen and he tasted blood. His right eye was nearly swollen shut and he hurt in more places than he wanted to count.
All he wanted to do was crawl into his room and heal. This time had been worse than usual. He’d been jumped by a half dozen young males and they had beaten him until he couldn’t stand. Only the threat of dawn and burning alive had finally been enough to get him on his feet.
“Faxan?” his father bellowed from the front of the house. “Get in here.”
Shit. So much for making it upstairs unscathed. Shaking, he trudged down the hall to the living room. His father stood before the window, still dressed in the hated blue Wolf Guard uniform. His father was the reason he had no friends, the reason he was routinely beaten up, the reason everyone in the neighborhood hated him.
His father’s gaze swept him with open contempt. “Look at you,” his voice held disgust and loathing. “What kind of a worthless piece of shit are you that you can’t even defend yourself?”
It didn’t matter how he answered, it would be the wrong thing. His legs shook harder.
“I asked you a question.” His father’s gaze drilled into him.
Faxan looked at the floor. “There were too many of them.”
“Fucking pussy. Christ, why did your mother have to curse me with you? Seventeen years ago today. Didn’t think I remembered your birthday? How could I forget when you killed my mate? Why couldn’t you have died instead?”
Faxan couldn’t meet his father’s eyes. He didn’t need the frequent reminders that his mother had died because of his birth. His father never let him forget it and his father punished him, in one form or another, every day of his life for it.
“May I go? Please.” His voice waivered. He just wanted to escape to his room and lick his wounds.
“No. You may not. I’m not finished with you.” He stalked across the floor and Faxan backed away. His throat clogged shut and his stomach twisted into a tight knot. His father closed the distance fast and his hand lashed out, catching Faxan’s jacket and yanking him up on his toes. “God, I hate you,” his father said. Spittle flew from his lips and sprayed Faxan. His father flung him away.
He crashed into the wall then collapsed to the floor. He landed badly and pain shot through his ankle. For a moment, he thought it was broken. He moaned quietly and hoped his father was finished. He knew better than to fight back. He’d tried it once and his father had beaten him unconscious. All he could do was take whatever his father decided to dish out.
His father tromped toward him and Faxan tried to pull himself into the corner.
“You worthless piece of shit. Why do you stay here? I don’t want you. Can’t you get that through your stupid, thick skull?”
If he had one place he could go he would gladly pack his meager belongings and leave his father’s house.
“I asked you a question, you moron?”
He looked up and brushed his shaggy hair aside so he could meet his father’s eyes. “I know you hate me and don’t want me.”
“You just stay here to remind me of what I lost,” his father bellowed.
Faxan lowered his head, letting his hair hide his face. God, how he wished he had someplace he could go.
His father drew back his booted foot and kicked him in the stomach so hard that he vomited. He tried to crawl away from the mess on the polished hardwood.
“You dirty little fucker,” his father said in a deceptively calm voice. “Clean that shit up. When I come back in, I had better not see or smell anything on this floor. You got me?” Faxan nodded. His father kicked him in the thigh then spun on his heel and left the room.
Faxan curled over and let the tears fall. He couldn’t take any more. He just couldn’t. His father had beaten and degraded him for as long as he could remember. Vampires usually remained with their parents until their mid-twenties. He had no opportunities to leave. On the streets, he would have no choice but to work as a whore—there were no jobs for their kind—and he would rather die than be used like that. He couldn’t stay there any longer and he had nowhere to go.
There was no riding off into the moonlight for a happily ever after in the future for him. There were beatings, and injuries, and rejection, and humiliation, and pain, and suffering. That was his life. He’d never had a friend. He had no relatives that he knew of and no human would help him.
He lay on the floor and watched a bug scurry under the refrigerator. To his father, and everyone else for that matter, he didn’t have as much worth as that insect.
The front door banged closed. His father must be going to the corner store. He didn’t have time to go much further before dawn would break.
After a few minutes, Faxan struggled onto his shaky legs. His injured ankle gave out and he fell in a heap. He tried again and stood carefully. His ankle sent spikes of pain up his leg when he took a step but he didn’t care.
It was never going to stop. Maybe if he survived his father’s beatings and the neighborhood bullies, maybe he could get past the government’s locked down borders and make a life for himself in some other city where no one knew him. But what were the odds of that happening?
Slowly, he climbed the stairs and went into his barren bedroom. A threadbare denim jacket hung from a peg on the wall. He rooted through the pockets until he found three small capsules. He stood and held them in his hand.
He’d bought them two weeks ago. Some days, the days he was beaten extra hard, they were more tempting than others. He’d bought them to fix things, but he’d been afraid of going through with it. He slipped them into his pocket and hobbled back downstairs.
He limped to the kitchen and took a large glass from the cabinet and filled it with water. Then he measured out a generous helping of lemonade powder from the cheery yellow can. He added a bit more to cover any nasty taste. Then he took out the capsules and lined them up on the counter.
He stared at them for a moment, then twisted one open and dumped the contents into the glass, then the second one and then the third. He slowly stirred the powder into the lemonade. He gathered up the casings and tossed them in the garbage can.
The front door opened, closed.
Faxan’s gut tightened.
His father stomped through the house then he came into the kitchen.
Faxan’s gaze locked on the huge blade in his father’s hand. It was the hunting knife he carried at all times when he was on the government clock. Faxan knew exactly how it was used. The blade was serrated and slightly curved, ensuring maximum damage when it was thrust upward and then withdrawn.
He backed away from the counter.
Eyes gleaming, his father stalked forward. Light glinted off the blade. “You should have left when you had the chance you stupid little bastard.”
Faxan’s back touched cool wallboard.
His father lunged and agony tore through Faxan’s mid-section. His father jerked the blade free and stabbed him again and then a third time. His legs turned to numb rubber and he slid to the floor.
He glanced down at his t-shirt. Three patches of crimson were spreading rapidly. He tasted blood.
His father stood over him and smirked. “Fixed you, didn’t I? If there’s a hell, I hope you burn there forever.” He bent and wiped the bloody knife on Faxan’s ragged jeans. Then he turned and casually walked to the counter and picked up the glass of lemonade.
Faxan’s vision clouded as he watched his father lift the glass and drain the contents.
“Did it taste good?” he croaked.
“Son, that was the best damn glass of lemonade I ever had.” His father made a show of licking his lips in appreciation.
“That’s good,” Faxan said. His voice, like the rest of him was growing weaker. “Because that’s the last lemonade you’ll ever taste.”
His father choked, his face turned red and he strained to breathe.
“You little son of a bitch,” he gasped. “What was in that?”
“It was for me, you know?”
“What. . .was in it?”his father gasped.
“Poison.” He gave his father a lax smile and closed his eyes.
~ Nickie Asher ~
Copyright © 2011 Nickie Asher
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.