He sat still and watched the red-edged fog swirl around him.
I’m alive and I am breathing. These are solid facts.
But who am I?
I am a man. That is a fact.
I am…was married. Another fact.
Only one child. A son. I’m certain that is a fact too.
My name is.
His stomach clenched with hunger.
He pressed his arms against his stomach.
His mind stopped working.
One word became his only thought: hungry.
The fog lightened.
Wisps of a scent filtered through the red-edged gray.
He closed his mouth and sniffed the air.
Words appeared Magic-8 Ball style in his mind.
lemon. meringue. pie.
The scent touched his face and whispered words into his head.
Master. I don’t know if you remember me, but it’s me. XQ. I’m going to help you. Try not to freak out too much. I’m sorry in advance if any of this stuff scares you. I know it will scare me so be patient with me if I freak out, okay?
lemon meringue pie.
His eyes shot open as images and words and names and voices cascaded and crashed his mind.
The lemon meringue pie scent was right in front of him. It appeared to be a young woman – light brown skin, dark brown eyes – dressed in a mishmash of hospital attire. She looked at him with soft compassion.
I know her.
Master. Help me. Please. Undo everything you did to me. Let me have my voice back. Let me be free to leave this place. Please. I don’t want pretty shirtless Raven to do anything worse to you.
“You care about me?”
Antioch sat up and discovered the badness of that plan. He laid his head back down. “Why? I tried to kill you.”
She shrugged. I want my voice back. I want to move out of here with my pretty Raven happily in tow and I don’t want to worry about when you’ll send MLO after me again.
“hungry.” He licked his dry lips. “One bite for your freedom.”
“Antioch.” The sharp tone of Raven’s voice made him shudder in a far from pleasant way. “You are not to bite her.”
Missy looked up at the vampire with his asymmetrical black hair.
An unspoken moment passed between them.
Raven sighed and Antioch felt like bugs were multiplying inside his skin. “I understand. You have my permission, Antioch, but you are only to bite her wrist.”
“Uhhhh.” said Robin. “I’m thinking that ain’t a—-”
“I know what I am doing. Sir.”
Antioch looked up at her. His mouth watered as she brought her wrist down to his mouth.
He opened his mouth wide and bit her wrist.
Her hand spasmed as his fangs pierced her skin. Her hot blood poured into his mouth. It was all too hot, but he couldn’t resist.
A powerful euphoria took hold of him. It was as if every victory march, touchdown, happy movie ending, and fireworks were inside of his body, bursting at every seam to break free. He had no idea if he was still breathing and he just didn’t care.
Raven knelt beside Missy. He removed his gloves and set them on the floor.
Her mouth twitched as if she were trying not to cry.
He took her hand and gently rubbed the whitening marks on her wrist.
She bowed her head.
Raven couldn’t think of anything to say. At least, nothing that he hadn’t already said. So, he rubbed Antioch’s fang marks in silence.