Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chapter 79: Addison Hears A Plea

Sat, December 5, 2074 8:15 pm: Pleasantview Grocery Delivery Service Corporate Headquarters-- Downtown, Pleasantview

WARNING: This chapter contains possible triggers. Please use your discretion.

“You wanted to see me, boss?” Jack walked into the room without knocking. He was the only person on Addison’s payroll who understood the danger of intrusion and proceeded to intrude anyway. Jack was doubly flawed by his youth and seeming invincibility. Addison was afraid that time and circumstance would cure him of both before too long.

“Lock the door behind you and take a seat.” Addison minimized the windows on his screen while Jack did as he was told. “What’s this I hear about you being offered an induction into the temple?” Jack tipped his head back against the wall and groaned.


“How do you even know about that? I just got the letter yesterday." Jack rubbed his eyes as though he were physically ridding himself of the unpleasant nature of surprises. "They want me to be a Magus. That Redding woman put my name before the Magister Templi.” Addison knew as much. He wiped a few specks of dust from his track pad.

“Pretty good for an orphan boy from the tenements,” Addison mused.

“Doesn’t it seem at all odd to you?”

"Plenty. But I think you should take it."



Something in Jack's expression looked genuinely hurt. He was breathing so deeply that Addison could see his chest rise and fall. Maybe Addison had gone about this conversation the wrong way. He knew what the stakes were for Jack. The boy had given up everything for Addison-- His childhood, his independence, his future. He had no friends. There was nothing for Jack outside of his work. And now Addison was telling him to give that up too.


"Think about it. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life staring at yourself in the mirror, wondering just who and what you are?" Jack tossed his hair away from his face, trying with difficulty to reign in his expression.

"Better than spending the rest of my life in a library with a bunch of pederasts."

"Jack, that's not funny."

"I'm not kidding." Jack cupped the back of his neck with his hands. "How long have you known about me?" Addison had been dreading that question since Jack's return from Veronaville. He sighed through his nose.

"Jackie, I've always known about you," he said.


"Your energy is abnormal." But there was more to it than that. Addison had been there for certain fragments of Jack's history-- Horrible moments that he could never convince himself Jack was ready to know about. Jack straightened his spine.


"How can you possibly see my energy?"

"I know how to look. Forget about it. Point is kid, you weren't born to run numbers." Jack snorted derisively.

"Good because I don't put my neck on the line to run numbers. I do it to support an enterprise that keeps my community from eating its self. I do it to fight a society that uses laws and prejudices and macroeconomics to strike down individuals like Olympian gods firing off lightning bolts. I do it because the whole world is fucked."


Jack's face was pleading. He didn't say as much but the message was clear-- He would go where Addison told him to go, do what Addison thought best. Whether Jack was aware of it in so many words or not, he was praying that Addison wouldn't make him leave. Addison nodded tersely towards the door.

"You're worried about our people? Then take your Townie ass to Ethelden and start fixing the problem at its source."

Jack jumped to his feet. He didn't spare a backwards glance on his way out but paused before he reached the doorknob.


"Mr. London?"

"What is it?" Jack opened the door, just barely.

"You're not my father." He slammed the door so hard behind himself that the walls shook.


April 2, 2056 12:03pm: 43rd Pleasantview Precinct-- Millhaven, Pleasantview(Eighteen Years earlier)


This situation was none of Addison's business. He pressed his sunglasses to his face and tipped back into the corner, willing himself into obscurity. His task here was to be a fly on the wall, only less obtrusive.

The interrogation room was damp and every surface of it, porous. It was the kind of place that could snatch secrets from the air and rearrange their compositions. At the center of the room, the suspect nodded in and out of sleep while his lawyer lit a cigarette. An introductory silence lingered between them. The suspect pulled his collar up over his neck and shivered.


Hollis Wyatt Dalton was only nineteen-years-old. He was one of Addison's grocery delivery boys. From what Addison knew of him, he seemed to be fairly ordinary until recent events had proven otherwise. Hollis lived with his grandmother and disabled little sister, never finished school, never stayed out late, volunteered at the local community center. He was a good, albeit unremarkable young man. Then on the morning of April 1st, he calmly marched down to the police station and implicated himself in the severe rape of his kid sister.

When Rosie Dalton went missing, initially law enforcement officials didn't give a rat's ass. She was just another Townie runaway who would eventually stumble into the loving hands of the system. Hollis and his grandmother spent forty-eight hours camped out at the precinct before Rosie showed up by the side of Valleymoor Road, badly injured and blubbering. She told the medics that she had been abducted by a thin man with sallow skin and eyes that flickered orange at intervals. It was this description alone that opened the floodgates to the cops and shrinks and if the rumors were to be believed, the RDI as well. It was also this description that caught the attention of Mortimer Goth, who instructed Addison to take an interest in the case. A few bold lies, two cops on the take and one incompetent defense attorney later, Addison managed to get access to Hollis.

Addison had barely mentioned this case to Mr. Tricou; he was so convinced that the girl was disturbed or mistaken. Flickering eyes were not a physical feature that existed for any type of Fae or vampire. And now that the brother had turned himself in, Addison felt that his belief was confirmed. There were no mysterious thin men hauling little girls through the mire. Just Hollis Dalton, an uneducated Townie kid whose brain had snapped in the worst way possible.

Jerry Hamilton, Hollis’ somewhat jittery attorney, leaned against the table to tap his ashes into a grimy ceramic dish. He took one long drag of his cigarette and scrunched his brow in concentration before exhaling.


"So tell me, Holly—What do you think you’re doing here?” Hollis kept his stare averted. He shrugged his shoulders in response to the question and Jerry’s annoyance seemed to pique. “Oh, so now all the sudden you don’t know? Care to take a guess?” Hollis remained silent, studying the cracked cement beneath his boot. Jerry pushed himself up off of the table. “Alright, fine. I’ll tell you what you’re doing here-- You’re detracting police efforts away from the investigation of a very serious crime, and they will book you for that. Now, I know that this whole mess has been extremely traumatic for you and your family--" Jerry halted in the middle of his sentence, interrupted by Hollis’ harshly glaring eyes.

"You don't get it, do you? I did it! I did it! Don't you think I would fucking know if I did it?" His shrill outburst echoed across the room. I did it. This was the voice of a man who believed what he was saying, regardless of whether it was true. Jerry raked his fingers through his sandy hair and pulled in frustration.

"Who the hell buys that? Rosie's testimony doesn't even support--"

"Rosie is confused, Jerry. She's simple. Not right in the head." Hollis tapped himself forcefully at the temple to illustrate his point. Jerry crossed his arms over his chest, allowing himself a moment to fume. He then picked up a clipboard and dropped it noisily on the table in front of Hollis.


"Here, take a look at this hospital report,” Jerry said, slamming his hand down on top of the document. “You're going to tell me that you did this shit? Snatched your twelve-year-old sister up by the hair with so much force that large chunks of it came out by the root? Dragged her for four miles into the swamp where you then proceeded to tear off her shirt, drench it in mud and use it to stop her mouth? You did this shit? Sewed the corners of her lips shut? Beat and raped her then left her for dead? She had to have skin grafted onto the backs of her legs where she was dragged and you're going sit here and tell me you did this?"


Hollis’ eyes were fixed on the clipboard. His breathing came in a series of short, strangled gasps. Addison tried to maintain the appearance of neutrality though he knew that no one was looking in his direction. Anguish contorted Hollis’ features as he tugged at his shirt, his fist tightly balled over his heart but somehow, his suffering seemed self-indulgent to Addison at this stage. He’d hurt a child, his own sister, and there was no amount of pain that Addison could think to put this boy through that would make amends. Maybe Jerry wasn’t convinced of Hollis’ guilt but Addison knew that he did it. He knew it just as surely as Hollis himself knew. Jerry snubbed out his cigarette on the surface of the table.


"Now it’s true that when things happen to the people we love, we sometimes feel compelled to blame ourselves. But a kid like you who has always kept his nose clean and worked hard to keep his family going, well someone like that doesn’t do things like this.” Jerry tapped the hospital report with his index finger. Addison watched as Hollis’ eyes began to lose focus. Hollis Dalton, the delivery boy from Millhaven, was no longer there in that room with them. Still, Jerry did not appear to notice. "I am willing to do everything in my power to help you but you gotta gi-- Holly?"

Hollis was drawing circles on the table with his fingertips and humming. Then he parted his lips and sang just loud enough that Addison could hear from where he stood. It was an old song, one that Hollis Dalton was probably too young to know.

"I ought to cross you off my list but when you come knocking at my door, fate seems to give my heart a twist and I come running back for more. I should hate you but I guess I love you. You've got me in between the devil and the deep blue sea." Hollis smiled down upon his creation-- One hundred invisible circles decorating the faux wood table. He met Jerry's confused stare, no longer smiling but tragic. "When he took over, he brought me with him. I was there for every second of it, and there was nothing that I could do. There was nothing that I could do."



  1. Wow, that was some powerful writing, Pen. Absolutely tragic and dealing with difficult subject matter, but you pulled it off beautifully. Poor Rosie and Hollis :(

    Was Jack's conception premeditated on Orion's part? Not referring to the rape as a whole, just the fact that he got her pregnant. Because I would suspect that if Orion wanted to get someone pregnant, he could make sure it would happen--and if he didn't, then it wouldn't.

  2. Thank you, Van! This was a difficult thing to write but going over it again, I still feel like I could have spent more time with it. *ponders*

    And you are absolutely correct-- Jack was not intentional (but at the same time, Orion did nothing to prevent Jack from happening). Although, if Orion knows that Jack exists today, I'm sure that he's rather pleased with himself. Jack complicates things and nothing is more fun for Orion than complicating things. But come to think of it, the only entity that Orion ever meant to father was the daemon of lies (her name escapes me right now-- I have to go into my written notes). She is his daughter with his sister, the word that he incited her to speak.

    I almost want to go more into depth with that but you probably don't need the amount of detail that I am thinking in right now. :p