Chapter 30: Where’s Angela & Icarus Solved
Ryo had returned to the window, while the others had fallen into silence, giving him room to himself. But I couldn’t take the quiet. There were still many questions in my head.
“What happened to Angela?”
“She remained at school,” Haru replied. “Then she went home.”
“We have to tell her,” I said.
“Tell her what?”
“About you guys.”
“No way,” Ryo replied.
“She has the right to know what’s going on,” I reasoned.
“Because I’m her best friend. And best friends don’t keep secrets from each other.”
Ryo snorted. “I’ve existed long enough without a best friend. I certainly don’t need one now.”
“Well, I do. Maybe that’s what makes me human, and you’re not.” It got quiet. The sudden silence was like a dark cloud had spilled from my very mouth. I looked around at everyone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It’s ok,” Chi replied. “We understand. We lost a lot of things when we became vampires. Even then we didn’t know what we were becoming. We were only wishing to defend our village from…”
“Can Angela keep a secret?” Luhan interrupted.
I nodded, but to be honest I wasn’t sure if she could. Still, I hated hiding so much stuff from her. It had caused enough strain on our friendship.
“I don’t think it’s going to matter before too long,” Haru said. “Everyone is going to know. At least we could prepare her and maybe have another ally.”
Ryo stepped away from the window. “I’ll tell her.”
“No. I will,” I said. I noticed Ryo shot me a look, so I explained. “She’s going to be mad enough for me not telling her sooner.”
He shrugged and turned back to the window.
“It may put her further in danger,” Haru said. “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
I nodded. “You have all trusted me with your secret. Until now, I haven’t told a soul, not even my own mother. Speaking of which, where is my mom?”
“She insisted life goes on and went to work,” Chi replied. “Haru tried to get her to take some time off to mourn, but she insisted.”
“Does she know what happened at school?”
“Not yet,” answered Luhan. “Oddly enough, no one has called to inform her.”
I shook my head. “That’s strange.”
“They may already have the principal in their pocket.”
“Or my guidance counselor.”
“Whoever their clan leader is, he is powerful,” Chi said. “ He’s spreading his influence pretty rapidly. To have lured Lazenby to the boiler room took some doing. After all, She was already under Ryo’s influence.”
Luhan agreed. “He probably has some lieutenants in training or place already. Only someone moving up in power could have done this. It was possibly someone she never thought to fear before. Maybe another teacher.”
“If they are going after every one connected to us, someone needs to bring my mom home. I don’t care what we tell her, but we need to keep her safe. If they take her, I won’t have any family left.”
“Tomoko is watching over her,” Haru said. “He’ll make sure she is protected.”
I thought back to the attack on the house. What I had seen as I looked back on the stairs, how Tomoko had changed into something dark and terrible to take on the intruders ensured me mom would be okay. But Angela wouldn’t be. She was alone at home, probably upset that Ryo had carried me off into the sunset.
“I need to call Angela and get this over with,” I said. “Where’s my cell?”
Chi turned around in her chair and picked it up off my desk. “Here,” she said and tossed it to me. I caught it easily, which surprised me somewhat. Usually I couldn’t catch anything except a cold.
I woke the cell up, thinking after letting Ang know the truth I sure would like to ship her and Ryo somehow. Before I could press her name in my contacts list, the phone rang. The screen came up with her number. “Wow, she’s calling me,” I said and answered it. “Hi Angela, I was just…”
“Icarus,” a sinister voice interrupted me. “If you want your friend unchanged and unharmed, tell your toothy friends they are not welcome here. It is time for them to leave or there will be more pain than you can imagine.”
I looked at my vampire friends and put the caller on speaker.
“We have already taken your father,” he continued unaware. “We have also taken your teacher, delicious as she was. Now who do we have to take next?” He hesitated a second. “Perhaps this blond hair morsel who secretly dreams lust for a vampire? Her hair is already turning silver from her fear.” He laughed, and if I could I would have bit him through the phone. I looked at both Haru and Ryo. Haru had a fixed grim look on his face. Ryo looked like he could eat someone for dinner. Twice.
“What do you want from me?” I asked the caller.
“You will surrender yourself to us. You should be my queen. It has always been destined, even before they came. So you get rid of them or Angela dies. Then your mom and anyone else I choose.” He laughed again, but there was no mirth in it, only evil promise. Whoever the caller was, they were either completely turned so that none of their human self was left or…
“Are you the master?” I blurted out, suddenly afraid.
“I’m going to be YOUR master,” he chuckled, and for a moment his voice sounded familiar, yet I couldn’t place where I had heard it before.
Ryo couldn’t be quiet any longer. “You’re going to be fucking dead is what you’re going to be,” he snarled.
“Ah, speaker phone. Brilliant, Nora. Tell you what….Ryo, is it…I’m going to rip this bimbo’s head off and set it on my desk if you don’t go away. Or perhaps I’ll give her the sweet burning taste of fire like I did your history hottie.”
Before Ryo could respond, the caller hung up. I looked at Ryo, knowing he would explode into a rage any minute now. Instead he walked calmly back to the window, though his very anger seemed to permeate the room. “This isn’t going to be war,” he whispered between clenched teeth. “I’m going to massacre every last one of them.”
While Ryo was allowed to seethe quietly, I told them about the first part of the conversation, where the caller had demanded I tell them to leave or else. At this, they seemed to confer silently among themselves just by looking at each other.
“Were not leaving,” Haru said after a moment. “We are going to find them and get Angela back.”
“Then they die,” Ryo asserted.
“Not until we find their master,” Luhan suggested. “Because that wasn’t him. That was a kid.”
Any other time this would have sounded funny coming from him. He was, after all, the shortest, youngest looking vampire of our little group.
“Somebody from school?” I asked.
“I don’t think so. You probably would have noticed something off earlier. To be placed with this kind of responsibility and power would take time, unless the master thought they had exceptional potential.”
“Any other bullies at school besides Amanda and her pals?” Ryo asked, still fuming over the recent turn of events.
“No. I can’t think of anyone. No one I have a problem with anyway.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Whoever it is, we’ll find them.”
“We need to act fast or they could kill Angela,” Chi added. “Where would they be keeping her?”
Haru stood up. “The safest place would be in their lair. Wherever they make home. It would be the most protected.”
“Maybe somewhere high up,” I offered weakly.
“Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know. I keep trying to figure out why I keep getting called Icarus. This is like the third time someone has said that word to me. My guidance counselor said he was a figure in Greek mythology that was punished for flying too high or something. I was going to ask Miss Lazenby because Miss Thomas suggested I talk to my history teacher about….hey, wait a minute. Do you think she knew already? About Lazenby?”
Luhan nodded thoughtfully. “She could have been making a dare she knew would never be achieved. It’s amazing how those under this vampire master’s control like to taunt their adversaries.”
“Icarus made wings to fly,” Chi said. “His father told him not to fly too close to the sun. But he was proud and would not listen. His wings burned and he crashed to the earth.”
“Perhaps he’s saying if you hang too close to vampires….us, I mean…then you’ll burn and die.”
I looked at Haru. “Then it’s a threat, so to speak?”
He nodded. “The question is why does he want us gone?”
“And who is he?” Chi added.
“When you found Bram he didn’t give any clue at all to his identity?” I asked, knowing they had already told me his brain had been scrambled like morning eggs.
“No,” answered Haru. “He was effectively silenced.”
“To keep us from finding his master,” Ryo affirmed.
“So then we have no idea?” I asked, looking at each one of them. It wasn’t lost on me that Chi wouldn’t look at me. I remembered early on, even before my father was killed, she had suggested she might know who it was.
Before my mind could expand on that thought, Luhan spoke up. “No,” he said. “We don’t. But Icarus is the clue. The caller is taunting Nora. Daring her to figure out who he is.” He looked directly at me. “I don’t think he is referring to you as Icarus.”
“Is Icarus a clue to his own identity then?” Haru asked.
Luhan nodded, but then Ryo turned to us all, a look of revelation upon his face. “No,” he said. “It’s the location of his lair. Where he’s been hiding all this time. Icarus may have been best known for flying too close to the sun, but he is associated with something else as well.”
“And what is that?” I asked.
“The labyrinth. His father constructed it, just as he had also constructed the wings for Icarus. Perhaps that tells two things . The master who has come to assemble an army here or whatever is merely a pawn of a greater master. Vampire clans follow a chain of command. We may be seeing the creation of several levels of it here, but it doesn’t mean this is where it began.”
“And the other thing?”
“The master we seek is hiding in a labyrinth. It is home to him, and is probably where he holds court….and Angela.”
“I’m a little lost,” I said. “What’s a labyrinth exactly? The only one I’ve heard of is a Jim Henson movie.”
Luhan grinned. “Well you’re halfway to understanding then. In Greek mythology, Daedalus, the father of Icarus, built a huge stone maze to house the Minotaur, a fearsome beast, half man and half bull.”
Haru patted my hand. “I don’t think the beast is what’s important here. Eventually, maybe so, but right now it’s all about the labyrinth. We need to find it.”
Chi shook her head. “I’ve been all around this town since we’ve been here. There’s no maze or labyrinth in Chelsea Valley.”
This seemed to silence everyone, but it gave me the needed moment to think. “You know, maybe there is,” I said.
“Out by the lake, close to where everyone goes swimming, there’s an old mine shaft. It’s called Devil’s Hole. It’s been sealed off for years. As far as I know, it’s completely blocked, but dad used to tell me how in his college days he and his friends used to go exploring there. I remember because he said it was a maze of shafts, and easy to get lost in. He even said there was a big chamber somewhere in all that where they’d all go and smoke pot.”
“Pot,” Luhan said, a little nostalgic. “I remember that. Couldn’t stand it. I’d go to drink from someone’s neck and bite the top of their head instead. Major vampire impairment.”
“Do you know the precise location of Devil’s Hole?” interjected Haru.
“I’ve never been there. But we can find it.”
“I’m not sure you should go,” he replied.
“I’m a big girl now. I think I’ve shown I can handle myself.”
“These aren’t bullies at school, Nora. These are new vampires. Their lust for blood is uncontrollable. They aren’t like us.”
I looked around the room at my friends. “But they have made it clear they aren’t going to kill me. I’m supposed to be queen or something.”
“Like hell,” Haru said between clenched teeth.
For a moment I reveled in his protectiveness. I know most girls like to get their guys jealous, but there’s nothing hotter than a possessive vampire boy. I couldn’t help but smile inside where he couldn’t see.
“We all should go,” Chi said. “We’re going to need everyone we can get.” She looked at me and smiled. “Just don’t stake the wrong vampire.”
I know it was probably the wrong time to think so, but at the moment I wanted to stake Haru to the floor with my body. I’m not sure if Ryo picked up on this thought or if he was just getting impatient, but either way he interrupted my very pleasant daydream.
“If The Devil’s Hole has been sealed for years and is no longer in use, how did the master even know it was there? He can’t have been here for very long.”
“Someone told him about it?” Chi suggested.
“Or perhaps the master is from Chelsea Valley,” Luhan replied. “He’s been here all this time and no one has known it.”
I shook my head. “I don’t keep up with the news much, but I know we don’t get many disappearances or cattle with loss of blood.”
“He could go elsewhere for his food supply. He’s been biding his time for now, living among everyone here, but now he’s ready to make it vampire army central.”
“Maybe,” said Haru. “But if he wants to take over Chelsea Valley, I think that’s just a stepping stone to something else.”
“Right now we need to focus on Angela,” Chi reminded us. “She’s become an unwilling, and certainly unprepared, pawn in all this.
“Yeah,” agreed Ryo. “So are we going to the labyrinth or not?”
I walked over to my closet, where minutes earlier Luhan had been inspecting my clothes like an envious diva. I reached into the back of the cluttered space and pulled out my dad’s vampire kit. I slung it on the bed and opened it. I grabbed my dad’s favorite stake and a vial of holy water.
“Yeah, we’re going,” I said.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2016, 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.