Lost on Earth: Fateful Love

by Lily Alex

 

©2006 by Lilly Alex

 

Published in December 2006

 ©2006 by Romance at Heart Publications

 

This is a free read brought to you by Romance at Heart Magazine, and Romance At Heart Publications.  The copyrights to the story belong to Lily Alex, and the posting to Romance at Heart Magazine, and as such, no part of this book can be reproduced without author permission.

The characterizations of this book are the sole creation of the author, and belong to Ms Alex entirely.

 


CHAPTER:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  


 

Part One. Loss

 

Chapter One: The meeting

 

Robert Noirson

 

It was the usual charity benefit and Robert Noirson was bored.

***

As the Son of the Devil he could have such fun as no human being could have. But appearing as a forty-two year old respectable businessman, Noirson had to follow general rules, pretending to be an ordinary man and only his closest partners and servants knew his real status.

Not for the first time Robert Noirson had been involved in a benevolent arrangement, so he knew the entire event thoroughly. Some speeches, some performances, he would write a check. Reporters would then take some pictures.

Easy, usual, boring. Robert tried not to yawn. He was the Beast, a wild animal, and only the Power of his father made him look like a man. This was why he did not understand the most of human entertainment and he watched the gymnastic performance with indifference.

But finally the leading girl attracted his attention; he liked her stern self-confidence. Her face looked familiar. Platinum blonde, she has a petite frame, but her muscles were toned from years as an athlete. Moving with hidden energy, she was like a genie in a bottle, and Robert Noirson got interested.

"Who's the girl in the green track-suit?" he asked his seat-mate.

"It's Maria Jablonskaia, Mary J." Father Frank smiled. "Our pride and joy. She could be a professional gymnast, but the poor girl has no ambitions!"

"Everybody has ambitions," Robert retorted derisively. "Just in different walks of life. Could you introduce me to her?"

"Sure, Mr. Noirson!" Mother Augusta joined them. "Mary is a good, obedient girl."

"Obedient, eh?" Robert’s eyes narrowed. "How obedient?"

"Well," Father Frank laughed nervously. "A little."

But Robert showed no interest in this subject any more.

 

 

Mary Jablonskaia

 

Mary finished her part and looked at her tutors, talking and casting glances at her. Propping his chin up with his fist, Noirson could not tear his eyes away from Mary.

Thinking she understood his glare, Mary became irritated. She had received "offers" from some wealthy men and even women a few times. Until today her intentional rudeness had kept them at bay.

But Mary had a lot of troubles. Her tutors urged her to accept those offers, and even punished her when she refused. Mary was worried that it was going to happen again.

Father Frank waved her over. "Mary, let me introduce you to Mr. Robert Noirson."

"Hello," Mary said through clenched teeth. "How's your wife?"

"She's doing fine," Robert smiled admiringly. He extended a hand.

"Sorry," Mary's face was stern. "My hands are clammy and smeared with talc."

"It's okay," Robert kept his arm beckoned. "You've done a great job!"

Mary sighed, "I have no choice," She thought clutching his hand. At the same time she did it, and their palms linked, Robert recalled where he had seen the same face before and he involuntarily gasped with amazement.

'She is a copy of the Saint Mary!' His inner voice whispered.

Maybe even a clone... thought Robert. My Father! She doesn't know about it!

Puzzled by his reaction, Mary carefully pulled her hand away, "I told you it's disgusting!"

But the involved Noirson did not release it. He understood that this girl had been made specially for him. He had been hooked, and clearly realizing this, he was thinking what he should do now.

"Would you be so kind?" Vexed, Mary harshly drew back her arm. "Let me go!"

"Mary!" Mother Augusta gasped with indignation.

"I need to talk to you." Noirson watched Mary's reaction.

"I don't wanna!" she answered impudently. "I'm tired and sweaty, I'd like to take a shower!"

"Mary, shame on you!" Father Frank could not resist himself any more. "You're defaming our orphanage!"

Mary's face turned red and she looked down.

"Hush!" Robert uttered tenderly. "Don't shout at the poor girl, she's tired. Go, Mary, take a shower and come back. I really need to talk to you. Privately."

Mary's heart gave a lurch. Drooping her head, she almost ran away. Near the exit door she looked back and saw Noirson writing a check. All hope seemed was cast down.

 

 

The Talk

 

Robert gave Mary an amazing glance: she entered the private room just as though it was a torture chamber: "What's the matter, Mary?"

The girl tossed her face: "My tutors said, you're paying for my campus apartment from now on."

"Yes. So what?" Noirson was wonder-struck.

"You're wrong if you think I'll be obedient because of your money!" She cried out.

Robert gasped, stepped towards the frightened Mary and grabbed her shoulders.

"How could you think about me this way?" He shook the girl. "You don't know me! We just met! Why did you think this outrageous thing about me?"

"I'm sorry," Mary J. was so surprised, she even stopped weeping. "I didn't mean to offend you. I was forced..." She gazed at Noirson with curiosity as an angry roar escaped from the Robert's lips. "Are you gonna kill my tutors? You look so mad!"

"Don't worry," Noirson released the girl and grinned. "I'll be right back!" And he went away. Cheered up Mary smiled. Her composure returned.

Robert was not absent for long. When he came back, Mary saw his livid face and felt pity.

"I'm sorry," She repeated and asked. "What have you done with them?"

"Don't worry, they'll never disturb you again. I just reminded them of their bad deeds. There is a skeleton in every house."

"You can read thoughts?" Mary got interested. "Can you find my "skeleton"?"

"You've got it, birdie!" a strange smile curved the thin lips of Robert. "That fool Frank thinks you have no ambitions. Hah! You want to be Jesus's mate, don't you? You want to mate with the Messiah, eh? Why did you blush? You're a beautiful sinless Jew, so why not?"

"I'm Russian."

"Yes, you were born in Moscow. But if your mother is a Jew, you are a Jew too. Look, I'm really charmed with your self-confidence! Can I hug you or do you think I'm going to rape you?"

"No, it's okay. I'm thankful to you."

It was a father-like hug. Mary finally calmed down, she melted with a feeling of security and peace. Noirson unclasped his arms, and Mary J. felt a loss.

"Mary, I showed you I'm not an ordinary man. Now do you believe me?"

"I believe you and I will trust you."

"Mary, you are not human. You are an angel in the human form."

"Many times people have called me 'angel'," Mary burst out laughing. "But I always thought it was just a figure of speech... Wait a minute! How do you know? Are you an angel too?"

"Well," Robert faltered. "Sort of. Look, Mary, I'm a really busy man, but I want to talk to you. Could you give me two hours a day, maybe more, I'm not sure. But two hours I'll try to get. I promise, we'll meet only in public places. Is it okay with you?"

Mary nodded.

"Great! Tomorrow, wait for me in the Green Streets cafe, it's just across your street, between the McDonalds and the book-shop."

"I've got it."

"Wait for me until 1:00 p.m. if I'm able to make it, I'll come. And, I'm going to use your time so I'll pay for it, thirty dollars an hour. Is that okay with you?"

"Do you mean sixty dollars per day?"

"Some day, there may be more, if I'm able... Ah, do you want more? I'll pay you cash and you won't have to pay any tax... Oh you little Scroogette! Don’t forget, I'm paying for your campus apartment?"

"Okay, deal!" Mary smiled and shook his hand.

 

 

The first date

 

That morning Mary woke up in her new apartment. She opened her eyes and could not determine for a moment if she was dreaming or if it was real. Her entire bedroom was decorated with flowers.

She got up, ran to the living room, to the kitchen... Flowers, flowers everywhere... Even in the bathroom.

Mary called the security service: "It's 7-26. By whom and at what time were the flowers delivered to me?"

"Sorry, miss, what do you mean? Nobody came inside."

Mad, Mary threw the receiver.

***

At 11 a.m. Mary J. went to the cafe.

The table had been reserved. Mary sat by the window and took a menu. But when she saw the prices, she nearly jumped out of her chair. Mary had never visited a luxury cafe and she was astonished. Nevertheless she hoped that if Noirson had invited her here, he would also pay for her meal. Mary ordered a juice and salad, and waited. She was still very angry about the flowers and was preparing a few harsh words.

But Robert was late and Mary had plenty of time to calm down. She was looking through the window at the endless stream of people and traffic.

***

It was already 1:00 p.m., but Mary decided to wait a few minutes longer.

At 1:03 p.m. a limousine stopped at the front of the cafe. A man opened the door and Noirson quickly got out.

The eyes of Mary J. flashed with joy. For the first time in her lonely life somebody stood up for her and she felt more than just gratitude for Robert.

Mary observed Noirson speaking on his cell-phone. At about six feet tall, with dark brown hair, Robert was very slender and elegant. He moved with masculine grace. When he was turning, his refined body curved like a snake, and his stylish business suit only emphasized this likeness.

Mary involuntarily recalled the Bible: 'The Serpent, the Tempter, the First Snake.' And she smiled. Noirson impressed her, but unlike most women, she was not afraid of snakes, and she was a strong believer in God, strong enough to fight Satan.

Robert looked at his watch and entered the cafe. Mary waved, and a smiling Noirson came to her. Two hefty men followed him and sat at the next table. She gazed at them with curiosity, then playfully glanced at Robert.

"Did you send one of those guys to bring the flowers to me?" She asked. "You did grease the palm of the security guards in my building. Didn't you?"

"No, birdie, I'll explain." Noirson ordered his meal to the waitress and turned to Mary again. "I wanted your first morning in the new apartment to be special. So, I just did this!" He snapped his fingers, and Mary gasped, when she saw a cute tiny corsage of lilies of the valley appeared on her plate.

"Wow!" Mary J. admired the flowers, then looked again at the men at the next table. "Are you always with bodyguards?"

"I have to be." Robert's face was serious. "I have too many enemies."

"They are both so beautiful, I thought all bodyguards looked like gorillas."

"Not necessarily, kitten..." Noirson did not finish. He wanted to say: "I only use things of the highest quality." But he was afraid she would misunderstand this.

"Especially, that left one," Mary continued. "His face is so intelligent, he looks like a senator, or some kind of professor..."

"His name is Roger Slay, and he's more than just my bodyguard. He's my helper, my valet and butler. The man that next to him is Jack Leclerc, the chief of my security service."

"What a name your butler has!" Mary laughed. "Is he an assassin or something?"

"Something." Noirson smiled. "Look, little lamb, I have an awfully tense life. Sometimes it's just vitally necessary to have such a guy by my side."

"Cool," Mary's eyes were iridescent with interest. "And do you even take them when you're on a date?"

"Did you think this meeting was a date?" Robert stared at her, and Mary blushed. "Oh, girl, you're not just beautiful, you're smart also! It's a very rare combination, I'm simply charmed."

"Mr. Noirson, please, don't say such things. You're a married man and not supposed to have dates."

"Look, Mary, if I'm looking for a relationship to "spice up" my life, I'd call an "escort girl." I called you, because you are not an ordinary person. You were surprised with my abilities, but you have no less than I do! I'd like to teach you how to use them. So, could you, please, just call me `Robert` and not remind me about my marital status? Sweetie, it hurts badly, believe me!"

"I'm sorry, mist... R o b e r t," Mary voiced slowly, and liked the sound of his name. "Why does it hurt?"

"Some day I'll tell you... Okay, bunny, tell me, how do you like your new apartment?"

***

Roger Slay had already answered a few phone calls. He looked at his watch then at his Master. Robert was still talking with Mary and from time to time they would burst out laughing.

Roger hesitated, consulted with Jack and finally came to their table: "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but we have to go. We've been here longer than we had planned."

Noirson looked at his watch, whistled and his face showed his upset. Mary felt pity and stroked his arm: "It's okay, Robert. I have a lesson pretty soon, I have to go also. I'll see you tomorrow, I hope?"

Noirson took her hand and the she understood, he wanted to kiss it, but did not dare. Then Mary resolutely stretched her arm out and smiled with pleasure when Robert's lips touched her fingers.

 

 

Jerry

 

Sixteen years old, a blue-eyed blonde Jerry was very attractive and not only to women.

But having been very straight since he was a kid, Jerry had learned to defend himself. He worked out every day, stealing money to pay for his training, and he was eleven the first time he handled a gun.

Yet the first time he killed somebody it was only four years later. Jerry and three of his pals caught a girl on the parking lot and they raped her. If she had kept silent, they honestly would have let her go, but she started to cry and threaten them. Jerry did not like noises and he grabbed his gun and shot her down. And when one of his pals became nervous about that, he shot him too.

The teenager was surprised at how easy it was and thought that it was a wonderful solution for almost any problem.

In the meantime Jerry had just turned sixteen, but he already had a police record like few experienced criminals had, including robberies and burglaries, guns and drug trade, suspected in a few rapes and even a few murders. The cool, but cruel demeanor Jerry showed in fulfilling the orders of his boss was legendary, even among the hardened criminals.

***

That day, when the boss called for him, Jerry was happy. Just two days ago the boss had arranged a really nice birthday party for him. The boss treated him very respectably, as an adult member and the grateful teenager was ready to go through fire and water for him.

Today's task was not easy. They had to deliver "stuff", the first batch at least, but the police were alerted, and if anyone was able to do that, it was he, Jerry. He had only lived in that city for a few months and policemen had not noticed him yet.

 

 

The "operation"

 

When Ray Desross, the police officer, noticed a familiarity in the teenager's face, he immediately called out to him. The lad came close and smiled. He was very tall, almost as tall as Ray was, his big dark blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires and the policeman was temporarily dazzled. His own daughter looked very similar, and he forgot where else he could have seen that tender and child-like face before.

"Are you new here?" He asked. "I've never seen you before."

"It's summer vacation, officer." The teenager did not show any fear or worry. "I'm visiting my brother here, sir."

"Okay, take care." Desross watched him as he walked away.

Suddenly he saw Todd, his partner. He ran, he drew his gun.

"Freeze!" Todd shouted. The teenager flung himself into a side street. The policeman fired, but did not get him.

"My God!" shocked, Ray addressed to his partner. "Todd, he's just a kid!"

"Are you drunk or what?" Todd stared at him with amazement. "That "kid" killed our colleague in Cleveland! Why did you let him go?"

Desross gasped, and called himself an idiot.

***

Although Jerry had lived here just a few months, he was already familiar with this part of the city. When he realized that he had been exposed he turned and went down a dead end street with an iron-barred gate. He pushed himself through the gate. His gun got stuck between those bars, the teenager took it away and smiled, recalling "Terminator-2", the movie. He felt no fear, just pleasant excitation. No adult could squeeze through the same way.

But just a couple of blocks farther Jerry saw them again. Now one more policeman had joined Ray and Todd.

Jerry started getting angry. It was already nighttime, and the teenager grabbed the back of a passing truck and was sure he would be able get away. But today was not his lucky day. Some stupid or drunk driver turned into the one way street and the headlights of the car lit up Jerry.

The policemen shouted and grabbed their guns. The teenager jumped off the truck and saw the building with outside fire steps. He rushed up, feeling how the pursuers were getting closer and closer.

Upstairs the third policeman almost caught him. Jerry turned and shot, his hand did not falter and the hit of the bullet caused the policeman fall from the roof. Ray and Todd fired too, but Jerry had already gone down on the other side of the building.

***

Running away, Jerry had passed three blocks already, and for the first time in his life he started to panic. He was lost  - this part of the city was new to him - and he could not find any place to hide. He could not shake them off, and any second their backup would be able to hem him in.

Finally, Jerry saw a building and he noticed an open window on the second floor. He was agile like a monkey and got up very easily. The couple on the bed were making love, but he showed them his gun and the young people kept silent.

Jerry did not want to take any risks and ordered the guy to tie his girlfriend up, and then Jerry tied the youth. He closed the window and kept his eyes on the street. He was not familiar with this part of the city and was worried. He saw how the policemen passed the building and then went back, and he understood that the street was a dead end. Finally, they were gone and Jerry sighed with relief.

He gazed at the couple. The helpless girl on the bed looked very tempting. After such stress Jerry needed to relax. Lying on the floor, her boyfriend was tied securely and the teenager did not see a reason to suppress his desire. Scared to death, the girl did not even try to resist.

After, when he had got that he wanted, smiling Jerry left the apartment. He was sure luck was on his side.

But he was on duty and should have stayed alert. However, the pursuit after him made the teenager tired and that last action took away almost all his remaining strength. He felt sleepy and he disregarded the danger. Without checking he went to the street and almost collided with Ray and Todd.

He screamed and rushed to the first alley between the buildings and realized at once that he had been trapped. It was a dead end and only a big trash container was here. The teenager heard the two cops radio the other officers and he felt despair.

Suddenly a new plan came upon Jerry. He started calling the names of the policemen, he was mocking and threatening them.

"Look, kid!" Ray Desross shouted. "Don't make things worse! Just come here with your hands up!"

"Try and make me!" Jerry laughed.

Holding their guns, the policemen carefully walked into the alley. Although the trash container was really big and most adults would have trouble handling it, Jerry was well trained, very strong, and more important, he was scared and mad. The huge pile of the trash fell onto the policemen and the teenager tried to run away.

But Todd was buried just to his chest and he clutched Jerry's leg. The teenager fell down. He screamed and kicked Todd, yet the policeman did not release him. His other arm moved out from under the trash and Jerry thought Todd held a gun, but it was a set of cuffs and that scared the teenager even more.

He grabbed his gun and shot the policeman. He kept firing until the gun was empty. He did not hear Ray scream, calling his partner's name and making his way out. Jerry kicked the dead policeman again, freed his leg, and sprang up. But Desross shot a few times and Jerry collapsed. He wriggled, unsuccessfully trying to get up, and then lay still.

Keeping him on the point of his gun, Ray slowly approached. The teenager was still alive, but Desross was a professional and he understood that Jerry was wounded fatally. His childish wide-opened naive eyes urged the policeman to feel pity. He put his gun away and bent over the teenager to check him out.

And Jerry stabbed Desross in the belly with his knife. Well aimed, that strike was certainly mortal and they both realized it. They heard sirens and saw flashing lights of oncoming police cars, but it was no matter for them now. Jerry hit Desross again and again. Amazed, Ray just stared at his murderer. Desross did not understand, how he, an experienced policeman, was able to make such a mistake. He knew that he was dying and he thought about his daughter.

A smile was on the beautiful lips of the teenager. But it was a smile of death.

 

 

The offer

 

He was Beyond. And he saw numberless awful things that living human beings could not even imagine.

Many, many times he went close to those horrifying events and he felt intolerable despair and terror. But all the time something like a strong hand led him away, and he saw new and boundless nightmares.

***

Jerry opened his eyes, and at first he did not understand where he was. Suddenly he sensed pain again, he felt bandages and catheters and he realized he was in a hospital.

A man was siting near him and looking at him very attentively.

"Hi Jerry," the man said with deep low voice. "How do you like the place that you've just visited?"

"Which place?" Jerry asked with effort.

The man smiled: "It was Hell, Jerry. And you're going to that place. And all those events are waiting for you. You're dying, poor boy."

"No," Jerry licked his lips and looked around the ward. "Where are the doctors? Why aren't they trying to heal me?"

"They tried their best." The man snorted. "But they are just humans. Besides, why do you want them to cure you? You're going to have a lethal injection or get the chair. Which do you prefer?"

And Jerry wept. He cried like a child. Damn, he was a child! He was just sixteen and did not want to die.

"Oh, Jerry, what did you expect? Did you think you would go to Heaven, doing such things? Who forced you?" Robert Noirson waited for Jerry's answer with curiosity. And he was pleasantly surprised.

"You're right." The teenager sighed. "Nobody forced me. I chose this path myself."

"I like your way of thinking." Robert smiled. "So, how do you like the place that you've seen? How do you like Hell?"

"How the fuck do you know, what I saw?"

"Tsk, tsk, tsk..." Noirson shook his head. "I'm a respectable creature, boy! Don't use such language when you're talking to me!"

"Okay, sir," the teenager replied derisively. "Could you explain, how do you know, what I saw in my delirium?"

"Because, I'm the manager of that place."

The teenager stared at Noirson. "Are you the Devil?"

"No, I'm just His Son. I did not say I'm the owner of that place. I said, I'm just the manager here, on Earth and there in Hell."

"And you wanna get my soul?"

"Don't be so naive!" Robert laughed. "I already have it! With my abilities, I don't need servants at all, but I don't like to waste the Power. So, if something can be done without using that, I prefer that way. And, well, I must follow some rules. One of them is that before I "hire" someone, I have to tell him this: you can release yourself from me if you sincerely repent or commit something "noble", and..." Noirson stopped for a second and said with visible effort and spite. "And I must tell you, it happens sometimes! But I don't think you're such a person."

For a few minutes they were silent, thinking about that. The teenager checked his feelings. He really was not sorry, and more so, recalling the cop, which he killed last, Jerry sensed such anger that he surprised himself.

Reading his thoughts, Robert smirked and continued: "Here is one warning: if you die in fire, voluntary or accidentally you'll not go to Hell, you'll just not exist until the Day of Judgment, when we all will answer for our actions."

The gloomy anxiety in Noirson's voice made the teenager smile.

"Well," he said. "for everything you do you have to pay for, right?"

"Oh, you're such a brave boy, eh?" Robert's eyes glinted. "I like your personality, Jerry! I like your sense of responsibility; and here is my offer: I promise to you my patronage and caring as long as you are faithful to me. I know, you weren't so clever to be a leader, however, you're smart enough to be a good soldier. All that I ask, is your submission. So, what will it be?"

"I'm hurting." Jerry responded dismally. "I don't know when I'll be able to be in good condition."

Robert sighed. He touched Jerry and the teenager gasped. The pain was gone and these bandages and catheters fell off instantly.

Unbelieving, Jerry sprang up, raced to the mirror and threw off his gown. He stared at his beautiful, youthful body, it was healthy again and had no scars.

Very, very slowly the teenager walked to Noirson and knelt: "My Lord! My life is in Your hands!"

And Robert smiled with self-satisfaction.

***

It had happened almost three years ago.

Now nineteen years old, Jerry was the youngest member of Robert's security force. Noirson "hired" him just four months ago and it was the first time someone had gone from being a nobody to one of the closest servants in one step. Skillful and smart, Jerry was the best in the training camp and his unlimited devotion to Robert was well known.

Very tall, Jerry had a great body for his age, and it was gaining the hard solidity of full manhood.

In contrast, his clean-shaven face was still tender and girl-like. In the camp he grew his hair, and now, when his thick wavy mane, the color of fallen leaves, was loose, it flowed down below his shoulders, he looked like a viking or some kind of deity from a Scandinavian saga. But at work he always tied his hair into a ponytail. The big dark blue eyes shaded with long eyelashes, and his plum, refined lips made him even more attractive than before, and his natural, wild masculine beauty impressed people.

 

 

The impression

 

While waiting for Ron, his head partner, Jerry was lying on his bed and smoking. He did not even take off his shoes, and had lain right on the bedclothes. He observed the maid doing the room. She did not look at Jerry, and he felt vexed.

Jerry got up, came closer and lightly pinched the maid.

"Nice rump, girl!" He smiled and waited for her reaction.

She calmly turned to him and looked right into his eyes.

"Keep your hands to yourself, boy." She retorted derisively. "If you wanna boink someone, go to the building C, fourth floor."

"What if I wanna boink you?"

"I'd like to see you try!" She snored.

"Oh, yeah? Are you superwoman?" Jerry got angry. "I can take you with one hand!" He shouted, however, did not touch her.

"Go ahead!" She challenged. "I'll not resist, you mountain of muscles! I'm not a virgin, I'll lose nothing! But you will be in deep, deep shit! Mr. Noirson protects all his servants, you stupid ape!"

Jerry choked with rage, and who knows, what could have happened next, but in that moment Ron entered the room: "Let's go, partner!"

"Fuck you, bitch!" Irritated, Jerry went to the door.

"In your dreams, baby!" She burst out laughing.

Mad, Jerry spun to her, but Ron pushed him outside: "Control yourself!"

More than twice as old as Jerry, he was a little shorter than his youthful partner, however, built more solidly. Swarthy, with black hair, Ron had a thick, carefully trimmed mustache and piercing brown eyes. He was a demon in the human form, and Robert Noirson Robert had chosen him to mentor Jerry.

"Look, pal!" Ron reproachfully shook his head. "Behaving like that will get you in big trouble one day!"

"Where are we going?" Jerry wanted to change the subject.

"Wherever the Master will send us." Ron smiled and said quietly, "He's going on date."

"With that nunette?" Jerry giggled. "I can imagine!" He put his hands together as for prayer and lifted his eyes.

***

To his surprise she was wearing shorts and sports top.

He leered at her legs as usual. Too muscular, Jerry noted. He did not like that. The waist isn't bad... Mmmmmm, great tits! What a lucky guy my Master is. Jerry thought. Interesting, C size or D?

"Nice to meet you!" the girl said to him, and he finally looked at her face.

Her succulent lips and golden fluffy hair made Jerry crazy. The world around him disappeared.

"Are you okay?" this guy gave her such a strange glare that Mary was amazed. "What's wrong?"

She glanced at Robert. He did not reply, just stared at his youthful servant.

Mary J. could not even imagine how she lucky was, having been under Noirson's protection. She would have been in grave danger if Jerry had met her just one week ago.

But for him she was now taboo.

The youthful security guard kept silent, and being worried, Ron gently poked him in his back.

"Sorry, Miss Jablonsky!" Jerry uttered. "Too much sun today. I'm at your service!"

***

Mary and Robert sat at the alley bench. Ron and Jerry placed themselves a short distance away from them to watch all approaches.

"That's not fair." Jerry was talking as in delirium. "I was living in this damn city during the last four months. I could have met her first!"

"Stop it, Jerry!" Ron was horrified. "She's His girl!"

"I know..." Jerry moaned. "If she was even the President's girlfriend, it wouldn't stop me! But she's His girl... If Mr. Noirson orders me to, I'll kill her, you, myself, my own mother, whoever! And my hand won't falter, I swear! But nobody can forbid me to wait. How long have they been dating? Just a few days! Maybe He'll change His mind..."

"Don't count on that, buddy. I know the Master too well."

"Maybe they will break up! I'll be waiting... While there is life, there is hope..."

"Yeah, correct. While there is life..." Ron sighed.

 

 

Max

 

In the servant's bar Jerry took a beer and a snack and stared at the TV. He did not understand that he was watching. All he could think about was Mary.

"Hey, Jerry!" one servant called him. "Why are you so crooked?"

"Go to Hell!" Jerry snarled mechanically. He was imagining what kind of fun he could have with that girl.

"Look, buddy, it's not good for your health. You're too young to throw down a beer every day!"

"Prove it!" Jerry grinned. "In my Id I'm twenty three!"

Three security guards not far away from Jerry were whispering to each other.

"You're kidding, Max! Impossible!"

"It's true. I'll show you. Let's go, guys, you'll see!"

They moved, so that Jerry would be able to hear them.

"You know, Fred," Max started loudly. "Mary Jablonskaia has a walk around her building every night..."

"Oh, yeah?" Jerry credulously turned to them. "Why?"

"Probably, she wants to meet you!" the servant impudently laughed right into Jerry's face.

Realizing that he had been tricked the youthful security blushed with anger, yet he was not drunk enough to lose control of himself and start a fight. He was new and alone. Those guys were professionals and waited for his reaction. They were alert and Jerry did not want to be beaten.

He silently drained his glass, then got up and left the bar. Behind he heard the guffaw, but he did not look back.

 

 

The Threat

 

Three months had passed as if only a few days. "Two hours" sometimes became a whole day. Noirson started to neglect his duties and his partners finally got worried.

***

As all wild animals Robert Noirson slept lightly, and the voices in the next room woke him up.

"I said, you can go inside only over my dead body!" Roger Slay was hissing. "The Master is sleeping and my duty is to let him rest, no matter who wants to disturb him!"

"What the hell's going on?" wearing a dressing gown, Noirson came out of his bedroom.

He saw Becker, his tutor and supervisor. Stubby, but imposing and dignified, John Becker was in his mid sixties. As the President of the Noirson's Corporation, he managed all business and affairs. Besides, Becker was the uncle of Robert's wife, and Noirson got confused.

"John, I'm very tired, could we talk tomorrow?"

"No, my dear boy! We have to talk right now!"

Slay gazed at his Master. The demon in a human body, Roger Slay, was ready to do anything for the Son of the Devil, and Robert hesitated for a second. He was so fatigued that he even thought how tempting it was to order Roger to kick John out of the room and go to sleep again. But his sense of duty and respect for Becker compelled Noirson to take control of himself.

"Okay, John," Robert sighed, nodded to Slay and sat on the chair. "What's the matter?"

"Have you lost your mind?" Becker looked at his ward with rage. "When did you last read the Report?"

"Last night on my way home."

"And what? Did you call? Did you fix it?"

"I made a call. But sorry, I'm out of the Power for today, I'll do it tomorrow, I promise."

"Again? What did you show her today? Dinosaurs? Volcanoes?"

"Egypt!" Noirson tried to smile. "You know, the Sphinx..."

"Silence!" Becker pounded the table. "Did you waste twenty-four hour's portion of your Power just to impress that young thing, with whom you didn't even sleep?"

"I was really close to that today..." Robert smiled and closed his eyes.

***

It was an extremely hot day and they decided to go to beach.

However, soon Robert understood it was a bad idea. He saw the drops of her sweat and water, and grains of sand glittered brilliantly on her almost naked body, he lost the line and barely saved the conversation.

But when the vanilla ice-cream that Mary was eating, started to melt and dripped on her breasts, Noirson said to himself: "That's it!" And they left the beach.

***

Now Robert recalled those sights and moaned with admiration and desire.

"Robert, my boy, you're sick."

"All work and no fun make Robert a dull boy. I'm just happy!"

"Sir, business before pleasure! You are here on duty! Remember that! And my duty is to help the plenipotentiary of Satan whoever that is."

"And what? John, I told you, I'm tired and awfully want to sleep! I don't understand your hints!"

"Better if you will understand. None so deaf as those who won't hear. Okay, let's get it straight! I have to ask you, do you really think you are irreplaceable?"

The eyes of the Beast opened widely. "Is that a threat?"

"No, sir, just a warning."

"You don't mean it, John," Noirson asked quietly. All his drowsiness was gone at once. "Do you?"

"I do mean it, sir."

Noirson hung his head.

"Robert, please," Becker tenderly hugged his ward. "Just be a good boy, all the pleasures on Earth and in Hell are yours!"

"How about Heavenly enjoyment?"

"Robert, my darling, don't fall between two stools! It's very dangerous, trust me."

Noirson did not reply.

"Okay, Robert, go to bed, my boy. I love you, dear, and only wish you well." Becker patted Noirson's shoulders and went away.

But for a long time Robert was still sitting, thinking about this conversation.

 

 

The Proposal

 

Noirson knew that Mary had fallen for him. It was easy to make her feel love for him. And now, after Becker's threat Robert decided to take the next step.

***

When Noirson offered to take Mary for a ride in his limousine she did not hesitate for long. The huge black car, as long as a winter night, impressed her. Gary, the driver, respectfully opened wide a door. Robert gallantly helped Mary get inside.

But when the door slammed, Mary shook, she felt trapped. This was the first time they were alone together. Noirson clearly understood her concerns and sat as far away as was possible.

***

As usual, Robert gave Mary all his attention. He asked the girl about her day, told her about his day in a funny way. He told jokes and short stories, showed her some tricks and carefully gave her compliments.

He took the emptiness from Mary with a corsage of flowers. Although Mary saw it as a trick and it was not the first time, it impressed her again. But now she started playing the capricious girl. Robert smiled, woke up to her game and started rearranging the flowers. They played this game for almost an hour.

When the game turned boring, Noirson opened the bar and poured Mary a glass with red liquid. Mary smelled it mistrustfully: "It's wine! What did you do, Robert! I'll be twenty one only in the September!"

"Wine?" Noirson raised his eyebrows. "Sorry, kid." He touched the glass and the liquid changed color. Mary carefully smelled it again: "It's water! Oh, Robert, can I try to do it?"

"Yep. Try to make a soda."

"Dr. Pepper!" Mary closed her eyes and concentrated. Robert smacked her in her cheek.

"Oh!" the girl opened her eyes. "You disturbed me! Bad boy!"

"Oh, my queen! Be gracious to your slave! The doctor is here."

The liquid in the glass was brown and had bubbles.

Mary took a sip of this and sighed: "I wanna do it all by myself."

"Maybe next time, but now, would you like to see another miracle?"

Mary nodded.

"Look at the window! Do you see a reflection of my car in the shop-window? Now you see it, now you don't."

Mary gasped: the reflection disappeared. The girl felt how the car smoothly lifted into the air and turned. Mary slid along the seat to Noirson. They embraced each other, and it was their first real kiss.

Mary felt sweet dizziness. "Oh, Robert," she murmured. "I'm so, so happy!"

"My little angel, I'm happy too... We can be happy all the time. Together." He tenderly kissed the rigid girl. "Do you understand me? Would you marry me?"

Her face turned stony. She carefully extracted herself from his arms.

"I had a great time, Mr. Noirson." She said coldly. "Could you just drive me home?"

The car returned to Earth. As did Robert. He was taken aback, and he did not understand what was going on. He knew Mary loved him and did not expect to hear a refusal.

He was so visibly shocked that Mary felt pity. She recalled some stuff that she heard about a male's insides. She took his hand and pressed it to her chest: "I'll be your friend..." And added hesitatingly: "Even a girlfriend if you'll wish. If you need sex..."

"I already have a girlfriend!" Robert sharply pulled his hand back. "And if I only want sex I use a prostitute!"

Now it was Mary's turn to be amazed. Her sheepish eyes forced Noirson to make excuses.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Robert got confused. "Forget what I said! Your absurd, vulgar, unworthy of you offer outraged me more than your refusal!"

Trembling with sobs, Mary hid her face in her hands.

"Look, baby, why did you refuse?" Noirson asked tenderly. "Don't you like me? Am I too old for you?"

"Oh, Robert!" Mary stopped weeping. "You talk nonsense! You're not old for me and I... I like you... Oh, who am I kidding? I do love you, Robert Noirson. Oh, I love you so much! But you're a married man..."

"Stop!" Robert grabbed her hands. "Look into my eyes. Tell me the truth. Is my marital status the only reason for your refusal?"

"Only?" Mary was amazed. "For me this reason is not just only, it's decisive!"

"Come on, kitten! We're living in a civilized country. I want a divorce."

"Sorry, Robert, but you know, it's not the way for me: 'What God has yoked together let no man put apart.'"

"Listen, Mary, so many times you asked me about my life. Now I'm ready to tell you everything. You can't imagine what kind of abilities I have! The whole world is in my hands!

"But that is the reason why an entire sect exists, whose members have sworn to kill me. They know what there is the only one way to kill or even harm me, and it's by using one of six special made daggers. They've tried many times! I’ve captured these daggers and keep them in my prayer room.

"About my wife... I am a businessman, honey. You know our society. You have to be a family guy to have a good reputation. It's suspicious, if a man is still single after thirty. My tutor and supervisor John Becker gave me his niece Monica and I was forced to marry her. We never loved each other! It's a sham marriage! I swear! She only wanted money!"

"But you have a son!"

"We adopted Dylon, he is nineteen now."

Mary did not respond. Robert sighed and continued with a visible effort: "But I beg you, never, never you have to listen to anyone who says anything about me or my past! You know, it's possible to turn everything upside down and show it in the false light..." His voice was heavy with grief and depression, in his eyes Mary saw such a great sorrow that she promised at once: "I swear, I swear! Don't worry... Oh, please, Robert! I'll do it, honest."

He took her hands. Noirson was thinking. Having the wisdom of thousand of years experience he was able to find an exit in almost any situation, and now a new idea came upon to him.

"Mary, my little flower, would you be my official fiancée?" Robert asked. "My marriage is just civil, but I'd like to register the relationship with you in the church. If you agree, I promise, I swear, not to pressure you for sex or marriage! But I want to have rights on you..." Noirson stopped short and dared to use even the word that he was afraid the most. "I want to pronounce you as mine in front of the people and God... If you refuse this proposal too, I'll kill myself!" Robert felt it sounded too dramatic, and he thought he overdid it. But the young girl might fall for this.

"Look," Mary's face was pale. "You said so much, I need to think about it, okay?"

"Okay," Robert sighed. "Would you like to look at the dagger?"

"No!" Mary screamed, but thought about it and changed her mind. "Yes, show me."

Noirson opened the safe and took the dagger out.

"Be careful," He warned. "Don't touch the blade. It's extremely sharp."

Mary gasped. The size of the dagger shocked the sensitive girl. The blade was longer than ten inches.

"Jesus Christ..." Mary moaned. She felt dizzy and dropped the dagger.

Noirson picked it up and put it back in the safe. The girl threw himself to Robert and emotionally embraced him. She was shaken.

***

The limousine stopped at a red light. Suddenly Mary heard screams and looked through the window. A blue car swept past by their car. Pedestrians on the crosswalk dispersed in all directions. But one young man was not quick enough. The car hit him and his body rolled towards the buildings. The blue car did not stop.

Forgetting everything, Mary got out of the limousine and ran to the man. He was lying near a wall. He was wearing a cheap, but neat business suit that was now spattered with blood. He was still holding his briefcase. He was bleeding from his nose and ears.

Mary tried to check his pulse. His head lay at an unnatural angle and the girl understood it meant a broken neck. Mary turned her face and saw Noirson. He slowly came through the crowd.

"Oh, Robert! It's so awful!" Mary sighed. "He's gone..."

"I know him... Oh, my Gosh! I knew him!" a fat lady said. "He was my neighbor, Lloyd Puling. Oh, his wife, Jessica... Poor one! And his son, he's just four! Every evening the boy met his father after work, he climbed on him like a little monkey...Oh, the poor guy..."

Mary looked at Robert with tears in her eyes. Suddenly he smiled.

"Step back everybody!" his deep low voice silenced everyone. The crowd stepped back.

Robert raised both his hands: "My beloved Father, glorify your name!"

A monstrous, mighty voice answered him: "I have glorified it and will glorify it again. You are my Son, the beloved, that whom I have approved."

Some people screamed, and almost all knelt.

"This voice has occurred, not for my sake, but for your sakes." Noirson continued to quote the bible. He stepped forward and touched the dead man. "Young man, I say to you, get up!"

Everybody gasped when the man moved, sat up and rubbed his head: "What happened?"

The crowd gasped as one and then cheered. But Robert and Mary saw only each other.

" I'll be Your fiancée," Mary was talking as if in a trance. "I'll be Your wife. I'll do anything You wish..."

 

 

Like Cinderella

 

They returned to the car.

Mary was silent for a few minutes then asked: "Can you resuscitate everybody?"

"Except those who have been burnt to death. However, I can cure any burns or scalds."

"Are you... Are you... "Mary panted and started to quote the Bible: "'Really, the One... Or is there a different one, for whom we should wait?'"

"'The blind are receiving sight," smiling smugly, Robert continued the quotation. "The dead are being raised up.' Is that enough for you?"

"I can't believe," Mary was talking with unlimited pride. "You chose me! Of course, I'm sinless, but such a Honor..."

"Could you stop talking for a while?"

Mary submissively became silent.

"What time is it?" Robert looked at his watch, thought for a few seconds and continued. "Okay, I hope we have enough time. Listen, Mary, we can go to the church right now, and after our betrothal we need to be separated for a while... By the way, do you know Deborah Perkiness? She goes by the last name Niekamp now."

"Yes, she was on our team, but I've never met her personally."

"No matter, we are good friends. She invited me to her party tonight and I have additional invitation for a partner. Try to guess who I'm going to bring?"

"Your wife?"

"No, my fiancée, the girl whom I love so much. You. Here's your invitation."

Mary gasped, she felt like Cinderella.

"You should go there first. I have some business to attend to. I'll come later."

"I don't have a 'good' dress."

"There is your dress." Robert held out a box. "After church I'll drop you off, you'll have to change into your dress and rent a car." Noirson gave Mary a credit card. "Use it. It's yours now."

"How about your wife? What's her name? Monica?"

"Of course, she won't come, don't worry, sweetie. What time does the party start? Ah, 7:30. I hope we can make it."

Mary did not complain. She promised to be obedient and listen to Robert always and everywhere.

***

But she broke her word only a few hours later. She did not rent a car. She called a taxi.

When they came closer to the gate the cab driver looked back at Mary and asked doubtfully: "Are you sure, young lady? Is this the place you're looking for?"

"Did you check the address?"

"Yep, it's the same... Okay, let's try."

The surprised security guard took her invitation with suspicion. He made a call and despite her self-confidence Mary got worried.

Only when the gate opened and the cab smoothly moved along the driveway, the girl sighed with relief and put on her jewelry.

***

"Mary? Mary J.? Is it really you?" The smiling Deborah greeted her. "Of course, I was just wondering who'd come in a cab..."

"Why not?" Mary asked surprised.

"My dear," Deborah said quietly. "Nobody comes a reception like mine in public transport. It's just improper. You could wear jeans and have the same effect."

Mary's face went red.

"It's okay, hon, I do understand. It's your first time, isn't it? By the way, how did you get the invitation?"

"Try to guess!"

"It's easy. Your 'big catch', your lover gave it to you, didn't he?"

"We're not lovers," Mary retorted calmly.

"Of course, of course! The man who could give a dress worth eight grand certainly couldn't be a lover."

"What?" Wide-eyed Mary gasped. "Does my dress cost eight thousand bucks?"

"Relax, dolly, your earrings cost more."

"The jewels of course, but a dress?"

"Don't worry, babe, some collection dresses can be much more expensive." Deborah laughed. "Poor Laura, she said to me just a few minutes ago how she wanted to buy this dress, but someone already bought it. Now I know who it was. Let's go, let's go! It's going to kill her!"

Mary was upset. She felt pity for Laura. "But I can't undress, can I?" Mary thought as she calmly walked with Deborah.

 

 

Disapproval

 

When the limousine stopped, Noirson rushed out and collided with a tall young athlete on the steps.

It was Dylon Noirson, his adopted godson. Robert did not just love him, he adored him. And knowing that, Dylon used the money and the Power of his godfather as if it were his own.

"Watch it!" Dylon Noirson pushed Robert. "Where were you? We tried to find you... Oh, Devil! What happened? What are you so happy about? Did you finally fuck her?"

"Better, my poor debauched boy! I'm going to marry her! She loves me, she agreed!"

"Are you mental?" Dylon gasped. "No, it's impossible! Tell me you're just teasing me, aren't you?"

"You're human," Robert sighed sadly. "You can never understand me. Look, Dylon, I have a lot of work to do. See you later!"

And he left a shocked Dylon standing on the steps.

***

Robert finished his work at 5:12 p.m. He was so tired, he could barely get to his bedroom, and when he did he kicked off his shoes, dropped his clothes on the floor and took a shower.

The icy-cold water rejuvenated him and filled him with newfound strength.

When Robert came out, Roger Slay threw a bathrobe over the shoulders of his Master and turned the water off. Noirson strolled back into his bedroom and fell into an armchair.

"Roger," Noirson was smirking. "My dear Roger! I'm so happy! Are you happy for me?"

But the servant looked at his Master with so such a depression that the smile died on Robert's lips: "What's wrong, Roger?"

"I'm not happy, sir," the valet answered sadly. "Nobody's happy, but you."

"Don't play the fool, Roger! You are not human, you should understand me!"

"Sir, wake up, please! She is just a clone! Even twins could not be same! Mary Jablonskaia is a usual young thing, smug, rude and impudent!"

"Hah! Of course, she's not the same, she's much better!" Drunk with emotions, Noirson smiled admiringly. "Yes, she's rude, but with whom has she communicated all her life? With hypocritical corrupt tutors! With the same lost embittered orphans! With impudent girls from rich families! I was even pleasantly surprised, because, she's a power girl, they didn't crush her soul! She doesn't need me vitally, she's capable of living without me. And this is why I appreciate her feelings to me! She'll never be a burden! We'll fight together, side-by-side! That dare-devil will be a trusty comrade-in-arms!"

"'Comrade'?" Slay was amazed. "The day that Catholic fosterling discovers, who you really are, she'll kill you!"

"Shut up!" Robert lost his patience. "You're a fool! You don't understand a thing! Mind your own business! Get me a suit, I'm going to the party!"

Slay bowed low and went to the closet.

***

Noirson was putting on his pants when John Becker burst into the dressing room.

"What the hell's going on?" He screamed. "Why can't Monica go?!"

"Don't shout at me!" Robert's metallic voice forced Becker to quiet down.

John took a breath and repeated calmly: "Why can't Monica go?"

"That's better," Noirson clasped the belt. "She can't come, because I don't want to see her. I'm going to divorce her."

Becker stared at Robert.

"What's the matter, John? I do remember our contract has a paragraph about a divorce. She'll get money, I'll marry Mary." Noirson burst out laughing. Slay gave him a shirt. Robert pulled it on and sang in his hoarse bass voice, "Marry-Mary! Merry-marry!"

"Fuck that bullshit off!" Becker looked at Noirson with rage. "You can't marry that monastic slut!"

"First," Robert replied haughtily. "I can do whatever I want. And second, watch your mouth when you're talking about my fiancée!"

"What?" Becker's face turned pale. "Is that true? Dylon told me, but I just couldn't believe it!"

"Yep, we were engaged at 2:03 p.m. And guess what? Jim Spencer did it."

"Robert, my boy!" Becker gasped with fear. "What have you done? Jim's our man, but he's a real priest! Only humans can't understand what kind of responsibility they have after a betrothal!"

"I'm not human," Noirson replied calmly. Roger helped his Master with his jacket. "And I do understand."

Becker nervously took out a cigar.

"Don't smoke in my rooms!"

Angrily John shoved the cigar in his pocket.

Slay held out ties and Robert started choose a tie to match his suit. Suddenly, he intercepted Becker's glance in the mirror. It was a murderer's glare.

Noirson spun to John: "Don't even think about it!" The face of the Beast was glowing with inhuman madness.

"What? Robert, dear, what do you mean?"

"I know your thoughts!" Noirson was trembling. "If you even try to kill her I'll summon my Father! He approved and blessed my choice!"

"As you wish, Your Worship!" Becker knelt. Robert helped him to get up: "Remember, John, and tell everybody. Let's stay friends, okay?"

Becker bowed and went away.

The high spirits left Noirson. He took the first tie and mechanically tied it up.

***

"You lousy moron!" Furious Monica ran into the room as mad as a tigress in battle. "Why didn't you tell me about Deborah's reception, you idiot?"

Thirty-five years old, tall, slim and graceful Monica Noirson was very beautiful, but Robert looked at his wife with vexation and spite: "Monica, I just wanted..."

"Shut up, your stupid chatter! I'm fed up with your dull twaddle!"

"Listen to me, brawler!"

"No, you, nobody, listen to me! Do you think you could just pay me money and throw me out as if I was a prostitute?"

"You are worse than a prostitute, you brazen face!"

"Look who's talking!" Monica smiled scornfully. "You're a fool, Robert Noirson! You were always a jerk!" And she went away.

Exhausted, Noirson sat down on a stool. He tried to light a cigarette, but his hands were still shaking with anger. He thought about Mary, yet even those thoughts could not please him.

Robert wearily plodded to his bedroom. He did not even try to take off his clothes, just flopped down on the bed and turned the TV on. Noirson was too tired. He decided not to go to the stupid party. Tomorrow he would just tell Mary some lie about him being busy and not being able to get away.

If that would be necessary. Robert yawned and dozed off.

***

"Master," Slay carefully touched Noirson's shoulder. "Do you hear me? I'm sorry to disturb you. I just wanted to check with you to make sure?"

Robert looked at him sleepily.

"Your wife took a car and drove away..."

"And what?" Noirson yawned. "She can go wherever she wants. I don't care."

"Sir, she dressed up and I'm afraid she's gone to the party. To Deborah Niekamp's, sir. Is it okay?"

For a few seconds Robert was indifferently looking at Roger. Suddenly, Noirson realized what his servant had said.

"Oh, shit!" Robert sprang up. "Get a car, hurry up! Oh, crap..."

 

 

The reception

 

Mary was enjoying the party. New people, new impressions...

Only one thought made Mary a little upset. Robert had not arrived yet and Mary was wondering: will he come at all? But it was not very important.

Mary J. was not shy and did not even try to pretend that she had any experience. When the hostess Deborah Niekamp offered to play cards, Mary answered calmly: "I don't know how to play, sorry."

Her frankness impressed the women, and they decided to teach her.

"But anyway, Mary, you can't win," Deborah winked. "Lucky at love, unlucky in cards."

In the middle of the game Mary felt Deborah gently kick her under the table. At first Mary did not understand what she meant.

"Should I play a queen?" Mary asked and lifted up her eyes. She saw Monica Noirson and fell silent.

"Oh, Monica, good evening!" Laura smiled malevolently. "Let me introduce you to Mary. This is Monica Noirson, the wife of Robert and this is Robert's... Ah, what's the word?"

"That word," Monica said through clenched teeth. "Can not be used in respectable society."

Mary threw the cards down. "What do you want?"

"I want to talk to you. Seriously, baby."

"Of course, Mrs. Noirson!" Mary got up from the table. "Excuse me, ladies."

They moved aside. Minute Mary was shorter than Monica, by at least nine inches, but she daringly glared at her face. For the first time in her life the girl felt irresistible hatred. That woman had a man, whom she, Mary, loved selflessly; Robert's words sounded into her mind: 'She only wanted money!' And having been racked with jealousy, the girl did not think, was that true or not.

"Listen to me, you clever whore!" Monica started with spite. "You can have that jerk, I don't care! But I'll get my money, be sure!"

"Mrs. Noirson! If I marry him it will be for Love, not for money!"

"Give me a break, babe! What can make you attracted to him except money? He's more than twice as old as you!"

"It doesn't matter."

"May be now. A few years later, when you want sex, and he won't be able to give it to you, you'll get a young lover!"

Mary span around and quickly went to the exit and in the entrance door she collided with Robert.

"Mary!" seeing her tears, Noirson gasped realizing he was late. Sobbing, the girl ran away. Robert stared at his wife, walking towards him. She was smiling, but when she went closer and saw the look on his face her grin went out.

Not understanding what was going on, Monica was really terrified. She had never seen her husband so mad. Uncle John warned her many times not to irritate Noirson. But she did not believe him; she took the indifference of her husband as weakness and cowardice. Only now Monica did realize how wrong she was.

"You will pay for that, bitch!" he hissed to her very quietly. "Oh, you'll be very, very sorry!" He turned around and went to the exit, and the scared Monica dared not to follow him.


Chapter Two: The scandal

The death of Monica

 

It had been a long day.

The lesson neared the end and Mary J. was feeling exhausted. All her thoughts were for the coming date with Robert, but her pupils were tired and capricious, they did not pay attention and Mary strained every nerve to control them and herself.

However, everything has an end.

Mary was taking a shower when she heard the phone ringing. She flung herself out of the stall and grabbed the receiver: "Hello?"

"Hi, honey!" Robert's voice sounded with deep sadness. "I'm really sorry, but I can't come."

Mary's high spirits left her.

"Okay," She gulped. "Thanks for your call. How are you today?"

"Mary, I'm calling you from my car. I had a conference, when I was informed... My wife is dead."

Mary gasped and sat on the stool: "What happened to her?"

"She was taking a cruise on our yacht when a passing oil tanker had sprung a leak. The spilled oil caught on fire. The ship was surrounded by burning oil and sank with everyone on board."

Feeling dizzy, Mary closed her eyes. "Definitely," She pronounced solemnly. "It was an act of God's wrath!"

"Oh..." Robert choked. "Well, I'm glad that you're thinking that way. I'm just afraid some reporters will start to bother you. Please, don't talk with these vultures, silence is golden. Let me disentangle this mess, okay?"

"Gotcha, no comments." Mary smiled. She had no pity to Monica. Robert was free now and Mary felt happy.

 

 

The treaty

 

"Now it's personal." Becker's gloomy face contorted with frenzy and sorrow. Recalling yesterday's events he closed his eyes for a second.

***

Distracted with grief, he burst into Noirson's office. John probably looked scary, because Robert sprang up and recoiled towards the wall. He gazed at Becker's hands and John understood, Noirson was afraid that he, John, was going to use a dagger for revenge of his niece's murder.

Like an any trapped animal Robert was horrified and angry. He started justifying himself and threatening his tutor. His voice trembled with fear and spite. But the tragedy had crushed Becker, and he burst into tears.

Noirson now looked upset and confused.

"I'm really sorry, John," Robert hugged his tutor, and blurted out. "I had no choice..."

Mad, Becker pushed his ward away and ran from the office.

***

"Okay, Dylon, now I'm ready!" John Becker drew in a deep breath and looked at Dylon Noirson. "Tell us your plan."

The partners listened very attentively.

"It will not stop Him." Anhella said sadly. This Austrian girl was more than just a personal secretary to Noirson, her unlimited love for him was well known to the partners.

The appearance of Anhella Vixen corresponded with her name exactly. Her red hair, green cold eyes and refined features of her pretty, but cruel face were making her look like a fox.

"You're right, honey." Dylon Noirson sighed with deep compassion. "Nothing can stop Him if He's already made a decision. Sweetheart, Robert is such a fool. If I ever meet a girl like you, I'll marry her the same day."

He took her hand, but Anhella sharply pulled it back: "I'm not in the mood for jokes!"

"I'm not joking," Dylon Noirson pronounced very seriously. "And you know that."

"Look, Dylon, you're just His son for me! When will you understand that?"

"Don't say such a nonsense! You and I are the same age!"

"I'm more than six years older than you!"

"Big deal!"

"Enough!" Becker pounded the table. "You love birds can coo later! I came here, looking for revenge, not to listen to love songs! Dylon! Except troubles for us, what's the point of your plan?"

"Well, it'll be a good lesson for that brash young thing..." Dylon Noirson shuddered with hatred. "You know what? I sent a man to talk to her. Just talk! That bitch..."

"Dylon!" Becker warned. "Master's commands are obligatory for everybody!"

"Go to Hell!" Dylon Noirson shouted. "She called my man names, mocked him and finally kicked him out of her apartment..."

"She ejected your man?" Becker shook his head. "Wow! She's a power girl, eh? That poor guy! Who's this loser that's been sent?"

"It's not funny, Raymond's my best servant!"

"In that case, I'm not surprised. Like master, like servant." Becker grinned. "It was really stupid to send that British lord to talk with that Russian gangster-girl! But you always were a fool, young boy."

"And you're an old fool," Dylon spat out his words. "She terminated your niece and you don't wanna fight back?"

"I don't want a "ride to Hell", you stupid punk!"

"Quit it!" Anhella interrupted them angrily. "Why can't you two talk without quarreling? John, Robert respects and appreciates you. Dylon, Robert loves you as his own son. For me it doesn't matter what the Master is going to do with me. Oh, Devil! How I hate her! The only reason I haven't murdered her yet is that I don't want to lose Robert's favor. Well, He prohibited anyone to kill her, so we won't." Anhella smiled maliciously. "I agree with your plan, Dylon! You can count on me! John?"

"Deal!" Becker lit a cigar. "They both deserve punishment. Do it, boy!"

 

 

Raymond

 

Sam Swigart was in his favorite bar. He drank, watched TV and rested.

Sam looked plain, and usually he spent the whole evening alone. But not today: two men sat down next to him, one on either side. Surprised, Swigart glanced askance at them. One of them looked like a real gorilla, and they both were dressed too respectable for a bar like this.

"Good evening, Sam." the 'human one' said with a British accent.

"Yeah, good ... evening." Swigart wondered how this guy knew his name, but he was afraid to ask. He did not dare to ignore the monster on the left stool who appeared able to kill him in one move, and Sam clearly realized that.

"I'm Raymond," the 'human' introduced himself. "This is Doug."

Gorilla-man nodded and Swigart bowed. Raymond attentively looked at Sam. Only a week ago the incident had happened, and Raymond desired revenge.

***

Living in this country, Raymond had gotten bad treatment from yankees before. But that girl had no right to treat him like that. She was born on the other side of the ocean, like Raymond was, and her only advantage was that she was a baby when she came here, and she spoke without an accent.

Raymond was a true gentleman, and when she started calling him names like a street punk girl, he was taken aback. And fighting was not his job either. He was like a brain for Dylon Noirson, his helper and consultant. Of course, in a difficult situation, he was able to protect his Master, maybe not as a professional bodyguard could, but not bad anyway. However, he had no right to hit that insolent pudgy girl. He did not expect her to be so well trained and strong. She mocked him to her heart's content, and after, she just tossed him from her damn apartment. Raymond still got mad all the time, recalling how he slid along the corridor on his own face.

He sat and looked back at her with amazement. He could not understand how he, a forty-five years old man, had been thrown away by a small girl, who had just come of age.

"If I see you next time, I'll call the police!" She yelled and slammed the door.

Raymond was so angry that his hand involuntarily moved to his gun. He was so outraged, he was not even afraid of a "ride to Hell". But he restrained himself. He was the official plenipotentiary of Dylon Noirson, he idolized his Master and did not want any trouble for him. For Dylon, Raymond was ready to go through any torment or torture. Not looking at the alarmed security guard, Raymond silently got up and left the campus.

This plan of revenge came to Raymond on his way home, and now he was close to putting it into effect.

***

"I'm just interested," Raymond continued. "Was that your car? The light blue Buick?"

Sam choked. "What do you mean 'was'?" He gasped.

"Forget that banger! Look out the window."

Swigart looked. Oh, it was the car from his dreams: a red sports convertible.

"Here are the papers."

Unbelieving, Sam checked out the papers. All was correct. He was the owner of this fantastic new car. Suddenly the papers disappeared. Swigart uttered a cry of disappointment.

"Look, mate, you are not stupid," Raymond smiled. "Do a job for us and this car is yours. The car, a lot of money, and of course, we'll pay any bail for you."

"Bail?" Sam gasped. "What exactly is the 'job'?" Swigart asked. And added : "I've never had a problem with the law before."

"It's good, because, I have some pictures," Raymond stretched out an envelope. "Check it out!" And Raymond calmly lit a cigarette.

Sam opened the envelope.

His hands shook. It was pictures of him. How he abducted. How he raped. How he tormented. How he murdered. How he was hiding bodies. All his actions.

"How did you discover that?" Swigart mumbled. "How did you do that?" He fell into a dispirited silence.

"It's none of your business," Raymond replied sternly. "By the way, did you ever have anal sex?"

"What do you mean?" Terrified, Sam thought that guy wants to have him. "I'm not gay!"

"I mean with a female."

"Fuck is fuck," Swigart shrugged his shoulders.

"Okay," Raymond looked around and continued. "This is your task: we'll give you a girl and instructions for what you have to do. After this is done you can get that car plus eighty thousand dollars, cash, of course."

"One hundred!" Sam licked his lips. "I want one hundred grand!"

Raymond looked at Doug. Gorilla-man moved.

"Just kidding!" Swigart damned his greediness. "Come on, guys, I was just kidding!"

Doug lifted a briefcase, put it on the counter and unlocked it. Sam opened the cover very carefully. It was money. Cash. Twenty dollar's bills. Not very new. Not very ragged.

Swigart closed the briefcase. He attentively looked at Raymond: "What's the catch?"

"Well, that girl has a fiancé," Raymond inhaled. "After the 'job' is done, you'll need to hide, for your own safety. We'll give you new Ids, so you'll be able to start new life."

"Wow! Look, man, eighty grand's not a big money to start a new life. Gimme one hundred and I'll do it. I'll refuse if you won't pay!"

"All right," Raymond sighed. "Anyway, your car is gone and you need a ride. If you did not like the first car, would you like to choose another?"

Sam looked through the window. His face went pale: "But...this... This is a police car."

"Precisely."

For a few minutes Swigart sat there, thinking silently.

"It looks, I have no choice," He summed up finally.

"Of course, you have," Raymond smiled. "Just choose a car for the ride. That's easy!"

"Okay," Sam sighed. "What exactly do I have to do?"

 

 

The scandal

 

That night Mary was awakened when many hands grabbed her body, legs and arms. Somebody put a gas-mask on her before she was able to scream. Mary saw about ten men in her room. All were wearing masks. They held her gently, but tightly, she could not even move.

One man was rummaging near her bureau. Mary heard how he put some objects on the table and in the drawers.

Another man gave her a few injections. Then he checked Mary as a gynecologist would.

Suddenly, Mary heard the sound of the intercom. The man near the door pushed the button.

"He opened the gate," Mary understood. "What's going on? He opened the door of the building! What's next? Who's coming here?"

Finally she saw that man. He went inside the room, and he was the only one without a mask. He brought flowers. He put them into the vase and started to undress.

"Be careful," one of the 'masks' warned. "She really is a virgin. Here's the lubricant."

"He's gonna rape me!" Mary was horrified. "Oh, dear God! Please, don't let it happen!" She started to struggle with tenfold strength. It was useless. Their hands were as strong as stone. The gas mask muffled all her sounds.

He was very gentle, but Mary was shocked with the way that man used her.

She thought another man would do the same things, but he just closed the air-valve of the gas-mask.

When she stopped wriggling the man hastily took the gas-mask away and checked Mary's pulse. He signaled and the men in the masks disappeared.

***

Mary barely opened her eyes, and at first, she thought she had a nightmare.

Suddenly, she realized that her room was lit and full of people. Mary saw Father Frank, Mother Augusta, security, policemen and even a few reporters. She discovered herself in the embraces of a stranger. She gasped and pushed him away.

"Arrest him!" Mary cried. "Arrest them all!"

"What are you talking about?" Father Frank asked angrily. "He is the only one here, but it's more than enough!"

"What a shame for our orphanage!" Mother Augusta shook her head.

"He raped me!" Confused, Mary looked around.

"Oh, Mary! That's not fair! You said we could have anal sex, 'cause you wanna keep your virginity!" the stranger gasped. "O dear, how could you? I was obedient..."

"Did you have sex with this man?" The reporters asked at once.

"If he really raped you, why did you not call security?"

"Is he your boyfriend? What about Robert Noirson?"

"How long have you been dating?"

"I've never seen him before!" Mary was shaken. "I even don't know his name!"

"How often do you have sex with a man whose name you didn't know?" one of the reporters asked. Shocked, Mary did not respond.

One policeman stepped to the Father Frank and whispered something into his ear. The priest threw his arms up. Together they started to drive the reporters away.

"Drugs?" one excited reporter plunged to the bureau. "Officer, are there really drugs? What kind are they?"

Other reporters followed him, one grabbed Mary's hand and before the girl realized, he took a picture of the injection marks on her arm.

Screaming, Mary pulled her hand back. Mother Augusta and some of the security tried to block Mary from the other reporters.

Keeping her silence, Mary J. just sat stock-still on the bed. She had no idea how to explain what was happened.

***

On the next morning when Robert woke up, he was feeling very happy. He was in love and thinking about Mary.

He called Slay. But nobody came. It surprised Robert. He turned on the TV and wanted to call a servant again, but he had no time: it was the news report.

About her.

Confounded, Noirson changed channels...

***

The servants were waiting behind the door of Robert's bedroom. They heard Noirson burst out in curses and sounds like explosion, when he broke TV.

Robert made a call to his best lawyer and came to help Mary. She was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the drug trade. Sam Swigart had been released on bail.

 

 

Cleaning

 

Mary Jablonskaia was sitting in solitary.

From time to time she looked at the bars and could not believe her eyes. All her life Mary had respected the law and she never expected to be in a situation like this.

Mary had the right to one call, but she refused. She had no family or lawyer, and she did not dare to call Robert.

***

Yet when she heard sounds of steps and voices, and saw her fiancé she was not very surprised, but almost happy. Noirson had stood for her so many times, and she hoped he was able to help her now.

Without a word Robert entered the cell, sat down and seated Mary on his lap: "Tell me everything, dear."

Mary could not recognize Noirson's voice contorting with torment. She knew that the pain for someone you love, is far worse than pain for yourself. She felt pity for her fiancé and while telling her story she only gave him the necessary facts, without going into details. She was controlling herself, and she did not weep, and she did not say a word about her feelings.

"I don't understand, how it could possibly happen." She finished.

"But I do." Robert replied very slowly.

Mary wanted to ask him, but she had no time. The detective entered the cell and shook Mary's hand: "Miss Jablonskaia, please, take our sincere apologies! We've just received the results from the lab... Why didn't you say, it was a special powder for treatment your feet, not drugs?"

"I'd like to see, how smart you would be after having been woken at 2 a.m." Noirson smiled sadly.

"Can I see your arm, please?"

Mary slowly beckoned her hand. The detective checked her skin and quietly cursed:

"Damn! It's just birthmarks! Oh, Miss Jablonskaia, I'm so sorry about this mistake and apologize for any misunderstanding!"

"Only he who is lifeless is faultless" Noirson got up. "Let's get out of here, sweetheart!"

***

When Robert and Mary went outside reporters flung themselves at them and asked lots of questions. The bodyguards had difficulty holding back the crowd and making a path to Noirson's car.

"I'm innocent!" Mary cried out. "I told you, I was innocent!"

"What about your boyfriend Sam Swigart?"

"You damn vultures!" Mary squealed. "He's not my boyfriend!"

"Is Sam Swigart your 'client'?"

Mary blushed and burst into tears, and mad Robert barely restrained himself, but he noted that reporter and he would "work" with him later.

They finally reached the car, quickly got inside, and the limousine accelerated away.

***

"Oh, my Father!" Noirson shook his head. Mary was only able to sob.

"Honey," Robert addressed her. "I'll drop you off at the campus. Take your stuff, you have to move! This place is not safe enough! I'll give you two of my men, you know them, Ron and Jerry. Do you remember them?"

Mary nodded.

"They are both professionals, you have to listen to their instructions just as if they were mine. I'll prepare an apartment for you and I'll give you a special car that can't be burnt. My butterfly! I love you! I don't want to lose you!"

Mary embraced her fiancé and started to calm down.

 

 

Jerry and Ron

 

Noirson confronted his partners.

"Okay, who did it?" Robert pounded the desk. "I know it was you! Who organized it? Whose idea was it?"

The partners exchanged glances, and everybody looked at Dylon Noirson.

"Dad," He started very carefully. "We just tried to help you. She's dangerous. You lost your mind..."

"I'm going to marry her anyway." Robert interrupted Dylon. "Son, this is my first and last warning: only I may dispose of Mary. She is my property. And I'm going to protect her."

***

The bodyguards got up and move towards Noirson as he entered the room.

"Ron, Jerry, you are now at Miss Maria Jablonskaia's disposal..."

"What?" excited, Jerry could not believe his ears. "Are You ordering to us to be her personal bodyguards? Are You ordering it to us?"

Robert arrogantly turned his head and looked not at Jerry, but at his partner: "Ron, is Jerry drunk on his shift?"

"No, sir..." Ron punched Jerry in his ribs and whispered with anger. "Shut up, you idiot! Shut up, right now!" He turned to Noirson again: "No, Master, he's sober now. I'm controlling that, don't worry."

"It's you who should be worried, Ron." Robert's voice was calm. "It's your responsibility to keep that mad puppy on a leash. Contact Slay to get a car. Here is the address..."

"Sir, are you sure this is a good idea?"

"What are you talking about!" Jerry shouted at his partner.

"Shut up, Jerry!" Noirson stared at his servants. "I don't have to explain my decisions, Ron! What the hell's going on? Did you both crack or what? Jerry! What's the matter? Don't you like my order?"

"My Lord, my life's in Your hands!"

"And better for you to remember that, Jerry! Okay, enough talk! Move right now! I'll check you out this evening." And Noirson left the room.

"Ron," Jerry showed a drunken smile. "Pinch me! It's just a dream, isn't it?"

Ron hit the youth in the face with the back of his hand. Hurt, Jerry gasped, looked at his partner and wiped the blood off his lips.

"Is that the answer for you?" Ron asked sternly. "It's not a joke, buddy! I have a pretty bad feeling! Be sure, I'll keep my eyes on you! Let's go! And don't be in a hurry to go to Hell! Anyway, you'll get there sooner or later!"

Jerry submissively followed his partner.

 

 

Lilitta

 

Sam Swigart swept past the sign: "Welcome to California!" and he smiled.

It had taken him three days of driving and finally he had reached the State of his dreams. He had not thought yet about what he was going to do here, but he was almost happy: new car, new name, a lot of money; new life!

For complete happiness he needed just one more thing. However, he was warned that every hitchhiker, female especially, could be a trap, and he did not want to take any risk.

***

That salesgirl at the gas station asked nothing. Usually Sam did not like brunettes, however, she had a great body and he noted it.

Swigart filled up his car, took some cash and went to the cashier. The salesgirl indifferently packed his purchases. But Sam saw how she glanced at his car and she sighed.

"Wanna ride?" Swigart leered at the girl and touched her hand. Her skin was soft and hot. Sam liked it.

The girl stared at him with surprise and laughed: "And lose my job? Thanks a lot!"

"'Poor Cinderella was working and working and had no fun.'" Swigart smiled. "A beauty such as you deserves a better life."

"And you are the charming prince who wishes to marry the lady whose foot fits the glass slipper." She bantered. Suddenly she put her bare foot on the desk: "Can I try?"

Sam gasped. He had never seen so wonderful leg as she had. A tiny foot and well shaped calf, smooth knee. She smelt like the grass in a deep forest. Swigart felt that he was starting to lose control of himself. He had never been so excited.

"Come on, girl," He licked his lips and looked askance at the surveillance camera. "Don't lose your chance. Maybe you're afraid to upset your boyfriend?"

"We broke up three months ago," She put her foot down. "Ah, what the heck! Let's roll!"

"Yes!"

They laughed and ran to the car.

***

In the car they were talking "dirty" as if they were old lovers and Sam was pleasantly surprised that she loved the same things that he loved.

It was getting dark, and they decided to stop for the night. Swigart was not able to wait any longer. He turned into the first motel. Tomorrow, when they have more time, he will find some grand hotel to impress her and for his own pleasure, but to spend just one night in a cheap motel was okay too.

Sam reserved a room then parked the car in front of the building, got out and unlocked the door.

Suddenly the girl pushed him inside with unexpected power. Swigart fell down and rolled head over heels.

"What the hell are you doing, bitch?" He shouted and sat. He gasped with shock. It was not a motel room.

The huge hall was lit with a deadly green light. Sam did not see any lamps and it looked like the walls were glowing. A man was sitting in the armchair in front of Sam. A few men were standing behind him. The man was smoking and slowly inhaling.

"Gracias, Lilitta ! Muy buen trabajo!" He said with a low voice.

"Thank you, Lilitta! It was a good job!" / Spanish

Lilitta was Anhella's helper and Robert Noirson had often used that hot Mexican girl for such "missions".

Sam looked back. The girl was smiling with satisfaction.

"You lured me, bitch!" Swigart rushed toward at her, but Lilitta kicked him so fast and directly that doubling over in agony, Sam collapsed.

"Te aventaste, hermana!" the man in the chair laughed.

~ "Nice job, sis!" / Mexican slang

"You're stupid, bird-brain!" He scornfully looked at Swigart. "I knew that you're stupid. It's too late to lock the stable door when the horse has bolted!"

"Please, I have money!" Sam could barely sit. "Take the car, take the money! I won't report it to the cops, I swear! Just let me go, please..."

"How much do you have?"

"Sixty thousand! Please..."

"Where and when did you waste twenty grand?" the man asked surprisingly.

Sam gasped: "Oh, my... It's you! Are you?" He fell silence.

"Yes. I'm her fiancé. You were warned."

"Please!" Swigart crept toward Robert. "I didn't wanna do that! I swear! I was forced!"

"Oh, really? But who forced you to murder those girls before?"

"The Devil forced me!"

Robert rushed to Sam and kicked him in the chin. Swigart flew into the wall and fainted. Noirson made Sam regain consciousness with quick magical motion. Swigart looked at him and burst into tears.

"I am the Son of the Devil!" Robert pronounced with pride. "And I know He never forces people to do such things! You, humans, have to be responsible for your own crap and do not blame Satan!"

"I'm sorry!" The broken jaw did not allow Sam to talk clearly. "I'll do anything! Please, please, don't kill me!"

"How many girls begged you as you are begging me now? You did not take pity on them, why should I pity you?" Noirson inhaled. "As you sow, so shall mow, you poor nobody! I'll send you to Hell... Alive. And you'll see the things are much worse than death. You will ask for death. You will beg for it! But you'll not get it until I wish it for!"

Robert moved his hand. Sam Swigart screamed desperately and disappeared.

 

 

Sam Swigart

 

In the salon of her new apartment Mary was sitting on the couch, knitting and watching TV. Jerry made himself comfortable on the next chair and observed at his ward-girl.

***

It was only one week, during which Jerry and Ron were living in the same apartment as Mary Jablonskaia, and just that one week, changed Jerry's whole life.

He fell in Love.

Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest, however, now it was much more than just desire.

Ron was the first to notice the changes.

He tried to talk about that with his Master, but Noirson just showed him a mysterious smile: "I'm not blind, my friend, don't worry."

Ron tried to reason with his youthful partner. It was too late.

Overflowing with feelings, the youth was as if he was drunk all time and did not listen to a thing.

***

Mary and Jerry heard a light knock, looked at the door, and the girl smiled when she saw it was Robert. Standing behind him, Ron waved to Jerry. The youth sighed, got up and left the room.

Noirson entered, sat down by Mary's side and tenderly embraced her: "How are you, my bunny-rabbit?"

"I'm fine, honey." Mary was smiling. She put her head on Robert's shoulder.

"Can I change the channel?" Noirson asked. "I want to show you something."

The girl nodded. Without any remote Robert changed the channel.

Mary flinched when she saw Sam Swigart. He was cuffed. Policemen and reporters surrounded him.

"How many girls have you murdered?" they asked him. "Where did you hide the bodies?"

"How do you explain why police were not able to catch you for such a long time?"

"What about Mary Jablonskaia?"

Sam looked right into the camera. Unlimited horror was in his eyes.

"I made up this story." Swigart was talking as a robot would. "I wanted to be famous! I stole the card and broke into her room. I drugged that girl. But we did not have sex. I'm sorry that I blacked out that girl. I wished to be famous..."

"Why did you decide to confess?"

The policemen took Sam Swigart away and Robert turned the TV off.

"He's a dead man now," Noirson caressed Mary's neck and hair. "I hope this awful scandal will go away... What's wrong, sweetie?" He looked at his fiancée with surprise. "Oh, my Father! You pity him! After that he has done to you! Do you know how many girls he's killed?"

Moaning, Mary put her face in her hands.

"I'll never be able to understand you." Robert sighed sadly. "Look, kitten, please, dress up. I have to introduce you to my closest friends and partners."

"Okay," Mary took a deep breath. "I'll be ready about twenty minutes."

 

 

The introduction

 

"Ladies and gentlemen!" Robert was smirking. "I'd like to introduce to you Mary Jablonskaia!"

The partners were keeping a gloomy silence.

"Well," Robert sighed. "Let's try again. Ladies and gentlemen! Please greet my fiancée."

Bursting into tears, Vixen ran away.

"Anhella! Komm zurück!" Noirson called.

"Come back !" / German

He moved to follow his secretary, but restrained himself at once and glanced at Mary. She did not look at her fiancé and stood as still as a statue.

Lilitta followed Vixen with her eyes, then came to Mary and hugged her:

"Congratulations!"

Mrs. Ponk, the business secretary, came next. She kissed the girl: "Take care of the lad!"

"Oh, I will!" Mary looked at Robert with tenderness.

Dylon Noirson was smoking, Becker lit up a cigar.

"John!" Noirson called threateningly.

Becker sighed, come closer and nodded. Mary stretched out her arm.

"Monica was my own niece!" Becker even did not try to hide his hatred.

"John!" Robert shouted.

"I'm sorry!" Mary mumbled and dropped her hand. Becker inhaled and stepped aside.

Noirson took a sharp breath: "Well, Dylon..."

"Maybe later." Dylon Noirson did not move. He was so angry that he was afraid he'd lose control of himself. For only one of Anhella's tears he could kill. But that damn young thing was under his godfather's protection and Dylon knew the limits of Robert's patience.

If Noirson was a usual man, Dylon Noirson would take such a risk, his love to Vixen was stronger, than any fears. But Dylon had often visited Hell as an "assistant" of his godfather, and he did not want to go to that place as a "guest".

"Excuse me, birdie," Robert frowned. "I need to talk to John."

Mary nodded, and he went to Becker and started to try to reason with him again. Noirson was speaking Italian and Mary had guessed that Robert used a language unknown to her that she would not understand exactly what he was saying.

Mary waited for a while then felt alone and began to look around.

Dylon Noirson came to her. He was still leering at the girl and it offended her. She daringly stared right at Dylon's eyes. He came closer and blew smoke at Mary's face.

"I'm simply amazed," Mary said calmly. "How a gentleman, like Robert is, could raise such an ill-mannered son."

"I hate you, you mean bitch!" Dylon Noirson was grinning. "Robert can kill me, but not change my feelings about you. I'm so disgusted I wouldn't even fuck you!"

"Robert!" Mary called. "Your son is offending me!"

"Dylon!" Noirson looked back. "Please! You promised!" And he turned to Becker again.

"Yes," Dylon Noirson continued impudently. "I'm so disgusted, I wouldn't even fuck you into your fucking ass! But I was able to find someone, who was not so fussy. Did you like him? Did you have fun?"

Mary's face turned pale. She kicked Dylon Noirson in his belly and when he doubled with pain, she kicked him again in his face. Dylon was very strong. But Mary got real mad and it increased her strength tenfold. Dylon Noirson collapsed, and the girl flung herself at him and continued to kick him without any pity.

Robert grabbed her in his arms and could barely drag the enraged girl away. He had read somewhere that the strength of a kick from a well-trained gymnast is equal to a kick from a horse, and he understood that Dylon had been seriously injured.

Lying on the floor, Dylon Noirson was moaning. Becker smiled malevolently.

"Stop it!" Noirson shook Mary. "Enough! Please, please! Kitten, little lamb, flowerette, calm down! Take a breath! Relax, my little one, dolly, birdie! I beg you! Are you all right, sweetheart?"

"I'm okay," Mary sighted. "But he...Oh, Robert! It was him! He did it! He sent that villain!"

"Sh-sh-sh, honey. Don't shout... Please, forgive him! He's my son!"

"Forgive him?" Mary looked at Noirson's eyes. "You knew!"

Robert's face winced: "I'm sorry! I'm really sorry! Please, forgive us!"

"What if he wishes to screw me?"

"Mary!" shocked, Robert gasped. "What a language! It's just unworthy of you!"

"You didn't answer! Should I forgive anything?"

"Mary, did the Bible teach you nothing?"

Sobbing, the girl could not repeat. Noirson embraced her.

"There, there, my child! It's over. Don't cry, Barbie-doll! I'm going to protect you, nestling! I promise, I swear! Nobody will dare harm you! But now, could you wait for me outside for a while?"

Mary nodded. She came to Dylon Noirson and squatted near by him.

"I'm sorry, Dylon, that I hurt you. We both love Robert. Let's try to reconcile with each other."

"Go to Hell!" Dylon Noirson moaned. Mary sighed sadly and went outside.

***

"You're a fool, my boy!" Noirson bent over Dylon. "Oh, my Father! You're so stupid! My poor brave girl beat you up and that's what I should've done as her fiancé! But I love you, son! I love you so much! Please, do not abuse my feelings!"

"I love you too, Robert... Cure me, please! I'm badly hurt, please, hurry!"

"I will not cure you, Dylon, until you swear to be nice to her. You can hate her, and I can do nothing about it, but you must show respect to her!"

"No way!"

"As you wish!" Noirson was unbent.

"Are you kidding? Oh, Robert, father, help me! I'm sorry! Please..."

"Do you promise?"

"Yes, yes! I promise, I swear, as the Devil is my witness!"

"That's my boy!" Robert touched Dylon. "'Go your way, from now on practice sin no more!'"

 

 

Mary and Jerry

 

Mary ran into the corridor, fell down on a chair and pressed her hands to her face.

"Mary!" She heard a worried voice. She dropped her hands and saw Jerry.

Strange, but Mary Jablonskaia did not note his love. That hurt the youth, however, he was also glad. He was afraid that Noirson would give him another job and he would lose the opportunity to see her often.

"I mean, Miss Jablonsky, what happened? Who dared to offend you?"

"Never mind, Jerry, it's over." Mary sighed and looked around. They were alone in the corridor. "Look, Jerry. You're so kind to me. I trust you. Can I ask you something?"

"If I can answer..."

"It's about Miss Vixen..."

"Miss Jablonsky!" the bodyguard interrupted. "Don't ask any questions and you won't hear any lies."

"Gotcha..." Mary hung her head.

"Mar... Miss Jablonsky!" the youthful servant was shaken. "It's not too late! Think!"

"What are you talking about? He did a big honor to me, He chose me! I love Him, Jerry. I'll forgive Robert for anything! Because, I know, who he is."

"Who told you?" the bodyguard gasped.

"Well, Robert just hinted a few times. But when I saw, how he resuscitated the man, I finally realized who he is! What, Jerry? Why do you look at me with such a horror?"

The servant looked down. "He tricked her!" He thought. "What am I gonna do? What can I do? Should I give her a hint?" Jerry recalled the sharp metallic voice of Robert.: 'Even a little hint on my real status I'll rate as treachery and treason, and it will be punished accordingly."

"Mr. Noirson saved my life too..." The bodyguard sighed. "We all must be obedient."

Mary nodded, but Jerry's love for her forced him to drop a hint.

"Miss Jablonsky, do you remember, the witch hunts in the Middle Ages? People believed that the Devil had no capacity to resurrect people who had been burnt to death."

"I remember. It was an awful page in the history of the Church. What's your point?"

"Well, Mr. Noirson can't resuscitate people who die in a fire."

"I know, it's odd, eh?" Mary replied mechanically. The girl almost did not hear Jerry, she was thinking about the introduction. The bodyguard understood it, sighed and continued: "For this reason we, all servants, ask you to not use the word 'fire' if you wish to dismiss someone."

"Ah, Jerry, shut up! You are here to protect me, not to teach me! If you continue to disturb me, I'll tell Robert and he'll fir...dismiss you!"

The bodyguard drooped his head and became silent.

 

 

The first time

 

Mary and Robert went to her bedroom without saying a word. The girl stood near the window and silently looked outside. Very quietly Noirson closed the door, came to his fiancée and tenderly hugged her: "I'm really sorry, sweetie-pie."

"Maybe it's none of my business, but you spoilt Dylon awfully!"

"I know, nestling, but I love him so much!"

"That no reason to let him to do whatever comes into his head."

"Kitten, don't be an 'evil stepmother', he's my only son!"

"Well," Mary thought. "When we have our own child, things are gonna be different." And she continued with irritation: "Your tutor was talking to me like it was my fault that his niece is gone!"

Robert sighed and started to kiss the back of Mary's head and her neck, but the girl shuddered: "Is that Germaness really so helpful?"

"Look, Mary, Anhella is not just a secretary..."

"Oh, that I understand clearly!"

"She is my Secretary of Defense." Robert pretended that he did not get the hint. "Miss Vixen is recruiting people, she's responsible for arms and equipment. Don't be jealous of the poor girl, she loves me, but I'm going to marry you, not her. I love you, flowerette, if you wish to," Robert lied. "I'll dismiss Anhella to please you, my beloved queen."

Mary hesitated, and Noirson got worried. He would have been in a very difficult situation if she agreed to his offer. But he guessed correctly.

"No," Mary sighed finally. "I'm being stupid. Sorry, honey, do as is best for you."

"Look, bunny-rabbit, maybe you would like to move into my house right now? Really, sweetie, why waste time? My beloved, move to my house, please? Oh, my heart! It will be your house also, and very, very soon..."

Mary sensed something different in the intonation of Robert's voice and how he hugged her. She stared at him. He was looking at her inquiringly, his eyes glowed with desire.

Mary knew, one word or gesture and Noirson would submissively take his hands away as had happened many times before.

However, now Mary smiled and embraced her fiancé.

***

Jerry went close to Mary's bedroom. The door was closed and he lifted his hand to knock. But he stopped short: he heard sounds.

Jerry felt his legs give way under him and he leaned against the wall. He realized at once that was going on there, behind the door, and he was struck to the bottom of his sensitive heart.

He heard her panting voice: "I love you, Robert... I love you, honey..."

It was more than Jerry was able to stand. He gasped, and clutching his head, rushed to the servants room and fell onto the couch.

"Jerry!" alarmed Ron snatched out his gun. "What? What happened?"

"Nothing..." the sense of duty forced Jerry to talk. "Everything's fine..."

Ron gazed at youth and walked away. He went back very soon and sat near his partner.

"Jerry," Ron said softly. "You're a fool, what did you expect? You knew they loved each other! Oh, Devil! You weep! Buddy, you should've known, it'd happen sooner or later!"

"Yes, I am a fool." Jerry did not open his eyes. "Can I have a beer?"

"You know the rule: no alcohol during a shift."

"Ron, you can't imagine, how I'm hurting! I'm such a fool... Damn, Ron! I need to drink! I feel like I'm dying, Ron! Please, I need a drink! Just a couple of beers, eh? We have a few bottles here, in the fridge. Please, Ron! I'll still be in control, I promise."

"Okay, you poor thing," Ron sighed with compassion. "Go to some bar, get drunk and fuck some whore, it should work... I hope... Come on, pal, get out of here! I'll cover for you."

Sobbing, Jerry thankfully squeezed the hand of his friend, sprang up and walked away.

But before he left the apartment, the youth peeped down the corridor to Mary's bedroom.

The door was still closed.

 

 

In the motel

 

Jerry heard his cell phone ringing. He tried to open his eyes, but an awful headache did not allow him to. He moaned and crept to the sound. He fell down off the bed, fumbled around, finally found the phone and pushed the, button: "Hello?"

"Wow!" Ron barely recognized Jerry's voice. "Are you alive, partner?"

"I'm not sure." Jerry wheezed. "Where am I?"

"You ask me? Okay, buddy, wait for a while. Relax, I'll make you... Is that better?"

The headache was almost gone. Jerry sighed, opened his eyes and looked around.

"I'm in a motel." He saw a girl was sleeping on the bed.

"Which motel?"

"I don't know." Jerry rubbed his head.

"No matter. Get your butt out of there! We're moving. The Master had just left. I told Him that I sent you on some errand. I don't think He believed me."

"Okay, I'm coming. Thank you, friend." Jerry hung up and gazed at the girl. He could not recall how he got her. Should he pay her money or just lie: 'Later, love! I'll call you!'

He quickly and quietly dressed and tied his hair into a ponytail.

She was still asleep, and Jerry counted out the usual twelve hundred, and looked at the girl again. She was really pretty, and he added an extra a few bills more. He put the money on the bedside table and left the motel.

On his way home Jerry finally calmed down and cheered up.

Youth does not feel upset for a long time, and the Love never loses hope.

"I'm a real fool." Jerry was thinking about Mary and Robert. "Why did their fuck get me so? He popped her cherry. Big deal! She's still sexy, and the Master will still be busy... Maybe, she'll "go out" even easier now? Damn, why can't I just stop thinking about her? Ron is right that stupid love's only bringing me trouble..."

 

 

Mary and Slay

 

Mary Jablonskaia was checking her new apartment in Noirson's mansion. She planned to live in that house for not just a few days, so she wished to have comfort and service. Aspiring to power, Mary finally got the opportunity to boss people around and she enjoyed it.

Mary J. was smart enough, she knew her fiancé liked a romantic style, so she left the decor of bedroom and salon as it was, however, she ordered the decor of her other rooms be changed.

"Mr. Noirson doesn't like the modern style!" Roger Slay objected.

Mary haughtily turned her head: "Aren't these my rooms?"

"Sure, Miss Jablonskaia!"

"So, change it!"

The other servants stood around whispering to each other, and Slay got angry. Most of them were humans, and they could not understand his fear of that girl. Her face was like a permanent reminder of the inevitability of the Final Punishment, and Roger was surprised, how his Master could dare see that face by his side and was even able to kiss it!

Mary looked at the two ranks of her new servants and maids. Jerry was glad when her eyes stopped on his face for a second. Naive, he did not understand that she just knew him better than the others.

"Tell everybody to wear name tags, until I remember you all." Mary told Slay.

"That's an absurd order, and I will not fulfill it!"

"I'm sure you will!" Mary spun to him. "I want all servants to wear name tags in this place! Even Robert's servants too!"

"It's a respectable house!" Roger was indignant. "Not a shop!"

"Great! Order classy tags then! I don't care!"

"It's a stupid order and I will not fulfill it!"

Mary stared at the butler, and he started trembling.

"You can't force me here, on Earth!" He whispered to her.

"Do I have to go to Heaven to force you?" Mary slowly went toward Slay. He did not move and was shaking with fear and hate. "Or maybe I have to send you to Hell for you to learn how to behave? If I wish to, you all would walk around stark naked!"

"I agree!" Jerry smiled. Everybody laughed.

"Shut up, you idiots!" mad, Slay shouted.

"What the hell's going on?" nobody noticed Noirson come into the corridor.

"Your butler has refused my requests!" Her upset plaintive voice sounded with tears, and a deadly silence reigned at once.

Robert slowly turned to Roger. Mary could not see the face of her fiancé, but she saw, how Slay fell on his knees, and she smiled with triumph and pleasure. Mary felt his hatred, and, honestly, Roger Slay aroused the same feeling in her soul.

"Don't worry, honey," Noirson kept his eyes on his butler. "I'm sure, it was just a misunderstanding and he'll do his best. Am I right, Roger?"

"Yes, Master!" Slay mumbled with effort. "Forgive me, my Lord!"

Robert turned to his fiancée and tenderly kissed her lips: "Do anything you wish, my love!" They exchanged glances and went to her apartment.

Not looking at the servants, Roger Slay slowly got up.

"Order name tags," He told his secretary. "I want all people to get those damn tags before the evening! Everybody, back to your work!"

The servants went different directions. Jerry sat on the chair, sighed, and stared at the door of Mary's apartment. It was his job and his Fate, to just wait and wait, and wait...

 

 

Jerry's fight

 

The youthful bodyguard was too emotional to hide his feelings well.

Noirson's people already noticed them. It was a permanent reason for jokes. Other servants teased and sneered at Jerry, and only a few persons did not make fun of him.

Having been new, the youth in the beginning tried just to ignore the servants' mockeries.

But the tension was increasing and after Mary Jablonskaia had moved into the Noirson house, a crisis became inevitable.

***

In the common security's cafeteria Jerry took his meal and sat at the free seat.

"Hey, chap!" the servant across the table grinned. "Today is not your shift, is it?"

The youthful bodyguard did not look at him and was silently picking at the food on his plate.

"What are you gonna do, poor you?" the security could not calm down. "Go, get plastered again!"

"Leave this lad alone, Carl!" Ron sat next to Jerry.

"Oh, yeah?" Carl screwed up his eyes. "I'm just amazed at that cocky fellow. Strange, why the Master hasn't dismissed him yet?"

"You're human and can't understand us!" Ron gazed at Carl. "You're dumb! Even God the Creator can't control the Love!"

"Give me a break!" Carl snored. "It's not 'Love'. That young buck just hasn't fucked enough!"

Jerry slowly lifted his head and looked right into Carl's face.

"What, big eyes?" Carl giggled. "What are you staring at? The Master placed at our disposal a lot of free whores, but you want His girl, eh? Do you think you're the best or what?"

"My fuck and my thoughts are none of your fucking business."

"Do you think so? Look, boy, I have a useful "pain relief" for you. As her bodyguard, you have to have her picture. So,..." And Carl gave the very short and expressive advice, how on the youth should use that photo for reduction of desire. "Do it twice in day, all "love" will be gone!"

The blood rushed into Jerry's head and he did not hear Ron's warning call. Toppling over the table, the youthful security flung himself at Carl.

A professional, Carl blocked the first attack, but the next hit of enraged Jerry reached Carl. His friends came to Carl's assistance. They grabbed the youthful servant, and Ron hoped that this would stop the fight.

But Max had a grudge against Jerry for a long time. He was the first to start mocking Jerry, and he could not miss his chance to get him. He lashed out at Jerry and punched him a few times. Kicking him with both his feet Jerry threw Max off, and now Max's pals rushed forward, and then Ron stood up for his partner.

Ron had his own friends here, and he counted on their help. He realized that the 'bar brawl' would become a total battle, however, he was too attached to that nervous, brave youngster, and he could not just watch him get beaten.

Just in time, Ron blocked the strike that would certainly have knocked Jerry out.

Choking with blood and curses, Carl slowly got up. His hand slipped under his jacket, but Jerry did not wait until he took out the gun or knife. Growling, the youthful servant threw off the men holding him to the right and left and grabbed his brass knuckles.

It worked like a signal. Everybody snatched out their weapons, and now nobody listened to their chief Jack Leclerc, who unsuccessfully tried restore order, and the real combat took place.

Thoroughly mad, Jerry noticed nothing.

He beat Carl unmercifully until the security collapsed into unconsciousness.

He beat other servants, trying to stop him, and he did not feel their reciprocal hits, and he only stood still when a cold muzzle was pressed against his temple, and he heard the sound of a gun cocked near his ear.

"You idiot!" Roger Slay had a gun at Jerry's head. "Would you calm down or have I gotta swat your stupid brain out?"

Jerry dropped his brass knuckles and slowly lifted his hands.

"The Master has just come back," the butler took his gun away. "Report to his office immediately!" Roger turned to Jack and asked very quietly, so that only his partner could hear him: "Why do they have weapons in their common places? It was prohibited five years ago!"

"Look, pal," Leclerc was livid, he was shaken. "We've had no trouble a long time..."

"Now you have it!" Slay interrupted with anger. "You know, how I hate you, humans! The human had provoked the fight, and the another human had started the fight, and then another human continued it! It's your responsibility, buddy! But you are my partner and friend, and I'll cover for you today. But don't count on it next time! I'll change the tape... We'll have to sacrifice Max to save your butt. I don't think it'll be a big loss. I'll "take" him, and give you my man instead of him. But remember, in future! If the Master wishes to have Jerry, we must accept it! So, keep your thugs off him!" And continued loudly: "Okay, humans are your department, Jack! Go, "work" with them! Owners of human bodies! I'll "work" with you later, be ready! But you, Ron, you come with me right now."

"I'll go with Jerry."

"What?" the butler roared. "Is that a riot or are you two just crazy?"

"Mr. Slay, sir, it was my fault. I didn't warn Jerry that any fights between servants are prohibited."

"Well, well, well..." Roger looked around at the ruined hall and hissed very quietly: "Then all the more, moron, come with me. We're both not humans, and we've been working together for such a long time. Be sure, I'll give you much easier punishment than if you report to the Master."

"I'm going with Jerry! That's my fault and my responsibility!"

"No, pal," Only now the youth noticed his various wounds. Especially severe was the one on his shoulder. Jerry understood somebody had shot him, but who and how it had happened, the youthful servant did not remember. Trying to stop the bleeding, Jerry squeezed his shoulder. "No, pal, you did warn me, I just wasn't obedient."

"Don't be a fool, fibber," Ron smiled sadly. "It's very touching that you try to cover for me, but also stupid. You're gonna have a "ride to Hell" in that case!"

"How about you, partner?"

"I'm afraid you're both gonna have it!" the butler bellowed at them. "Jerry! To Mr. Noirson's office! Ron! With me! Or I'll order the others to drag you!"

"Good luck, buddy!" Ron sighed and followed Slay.

***

Noirson jumped out of his chair, when bruised and wounded Jerry strolled into his office. Barely keeping his feet, the youth could not stifle his moans, and Robert cured him first of all, then took the videotape.

***

"Wow!" Noirson played the videotape again and again. "Oh, my Father! Damn, Jerry! You have been trained to fight my enemies, not my servants! Oh, dear Devil, what a mess!" He pounded the desk. "Why do I have to waste the Power to cure you all after such scrap?. I can't see clearly... Who's the guy that started beating you?"

"It was Max, sir."

"Max? But Roger told me... Ah, whatever! Anyway, you started that fight! Why did you get so mad? You're not drunk now, are you?"

"No, sir. But Carl had said some bad things about Mary Jablonsky."

"Oh, really?" Robert's face became darker with anger. "He's a dead man, be sure. Okay, Jerry, first warning to you! Thank you for trying to defend her name, but in a case such as that you should report not fight! Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Great! Jerry, I strongly recommend you to be a good boy. And remember! A second 'warning' does not exist! A second mistake will call forth a "ride to Hell". And my Father will teach you, how to behave."

Jerry blanched with horror and nodded.


Chapter Three: The new attempts

The factory

 

Mary Noirson was visiting a furniture factory again.

She was married only seven months ago and enjoyed her new status. The youthful woman visited her husband's plants and factories and felt proud at being pleasantly treated with respect by every worker.

That factory was her favorite. She liked the mixed smell of wood, sawdust, glue, engine oil and varnish, the noises and organized bustle.

Today the head manager, who usually accompanied her, was very busy and asked Michael Alter, his assistant, to show Mary around.

Mary gazed at the assistant with curiosity. He gave her a strange, mysterious glance. It was not a sexual look, it seemed like he met someone well known. When Alter shook her hand, he held it a little longer than was necessary, and Jerry, standing behind his lady, barely restrained his jealousy.

Mary felt strange. Yet she loved her husband their family life was too nervous. To counterbalance it, when she was next to Michael she sensed a deep peace and calm. He was illuminated with hope and trust. It was a boundless ocean of Love, and Mary melted into unlimited enjoyment. And only two words: "Heavenly happiness" could explain her feelings.

Alter lowered his gaze, and something like a strong hand led Mary down, back to Earth. She tried to resist, she did not want to lose that wonderful sensation. Suddenly a soft, but resolute order sounded into her mind: "You're here on duty!" Amazed, Mary looked at Michael attentively. His lips did not move, and only showed a sad smile full of compassion. And Mary took this phrase as her own thought.

"Well," She sighed, and surprised herself, hearing her cold official voice. "What was the reject percentage yesterday?"

***

They had the usual talk on business matters.

Jerry listened very attentively, but he did not understand Alter's explanation. Mary asked lots of questions, Michael patiently answered, and youthful guard felt confused. He did not think of himself as dumb, it was just not his field of life.

After his fight, no servant dared to mock him again. He even got new friends, and his strange, hopeless love for the Master's wife, was now taboo for jokes. Jerry was too young and emotional to get real respect, but now the servants realized how dangerous he was and tried do not irritate him.

And now, Michael Alter caused Jerry to feel offended again. Mary was visibly interested speaking with the assistant and the youthful bodyguard involuntarily recalled how her face became bored all the time when he, Jerry, tried to talk with her.

***

When Mary was ready to leave, Alter changed the subject and for a while they discussed the difficulties of the people's lives.

"Of course, Earth is a tough place to live," Michael sighed. "But we all have here our own duties."

And Mary fell deep in thought.

 

 

Robert and Jerry

 

Jerry was cleaning one of his guns when Robert entered the room. The youth got up and smiled. He idolized Noirson and was happy to see him. Jerry had just finished his training in the camp and now he waited for the job his Master would like to give him.

Robert walked around Jerry, standing in the middle of the room. Noirson gazed at the youth very attentively then ordered him to undress until nude.

Jerry obeyed, and Robert checked him out from the top of his head to his heels, like a customer checking a horse before buying.

"You can put your clothes back on." Noirson stepped aside. "Jerry, I see, the two and a half years that have passed since I got you, were very fruitful. You're in great shape, and I've been informed about your successes in training. Well, you need to study more, but I have a good teacher for you. I know how disciplined you are. So, I hope, Ron will not have a problem with you. You have to listen to him, as if me. I'll take you to my personal security."

Excited, Jerry gasped. He never dreamed about it, he could not believe his ears.

"Okay, Jerry," Noirson smirked at his reaction. "Now tell me, what kind of car do you want? Just, please, not a red sports convertible."

Confused, the youth blushed. It was exactly that he wanted to ask for. Robert sighed understandingly.

"Jerry, a new metallic "Mercedes" will impress girls no less, believe me." He said, dropping his voice. "And it will not attract the attention of police as easy. I can untangle any mess, but I don't like to waste the Power, remember that!"

"Yes, sir!"

"Good boy! Well, do you like my watch?"

Jerry scanned the Rolex like a professional: "Wow!" He grinned. "Four grand for sure."

"Shit, Jerry! It's more than twice as expensive, if you buy it!"

The youth kept smiling.

"Well, Jerry, they will be yours, if you can get them from me. I know, in your past, you did that a lot of times. I'd like to see it. Can you do the same thing now? I hope, you didn't lose your "qualifications" and didn't forget how you used to do that? Still got it, eh?"

Taking this challenge, Jerry smugly smiled. His self-confidence was no less than his Master had.

"Come on, show me your best!" Noirson stood in the middle of the room. The youth slowly walked passed him.

Suddenly he made so fast motion that if Noirson was a human he could not react.

But Robert clutched Jerry's arm. And in the next moment the muzzle of a gun was pressed to Noirson's cheek, and the tender girl-like face of the youth instantly turned to a cruel mask of a cold-blooded killer.

But he came to his senses at once, gasped, and, dropping the gun, Jerry fell on his knees.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" He was shaken and panted with horror. "I did it mechanically! I love You, my Lord! I didn't mean to harm You!"

"My dear boy," Noirson smiled tenderly as he helped Jerry to his feet. "You couldn't harm me, even if you fired. You did everything great and this watch and the car are yours, as I promised. Pack your stuff, I'll send Ron to pick you up."

***

It had happened almost a year ago. Why did Noirson recall this episode now?

Because Jerry entered his office with the same angry and gloomy face. A look of spite and irritation were glowing in the eyes of the young servant.

Noirson knew about Jerry's love for his wife, but it doubled the efforts of the bodyguard, and Robert did not want to change the situation.

Jerry emotionally started talking about today's visit to the factory. He laid it on thick, and Noirson sensed it. However, Robert loved his youthful wife too much and did not want to take any risk. Taking the receiver, he made a call.

 

 

Michael Alter

 

The next day Mary Noirson went to the factory again and almost collided with Michael Alter in the entrance. He handled a briefcase.

"Where are you going?" Mary wondered. "What happened?"

"I'm fired," He smiled.

Mary's face blushed with anger. Although she was not with Jerry today, she did realize at once, whose report was the reason for the dismissal.

"I'll fix that!" She said resolutely. But Michael shook his head.

"Don't do anything. Anyway, I have a different job now. I worked as a carpenter enough." Alter's voice was so significant, that an amazed Mary stared at him: "I don't understand…"

"When did you last read the Bible? Don't you remember, who was working as a carpenter before he started his Main Job?"

 "Jesus Christ!" Mary gasped.

"Bye, sister!" Michael tenderly touched her cheek, and kept smiling as he went away.

 

 

The monks

 

They were summoned from around the country. Ten men, all die-hards.

The youngest, Steve Farringer, was twenty-six. The oldest, Patrick, the leader, was fifty-three years old. Though all were Christian, they belonging to different denominations. Just one subject was common for all the monks: they all had experienced dogfights. They were ex-Army Rangers, Police Officers, NAVY Seals, SWAT, Marines. Kevin, who had joined them the last, was a former commando.

Now Robert Noirson was careful like never before and it was necessary to use professionals for the next attempt to kill the Beast.

***

The cenobites got a wonderful chance to do it, when Noirson married Mary Jablonskaia. Almost every Sunday she visited the local congregation, and the monks decided to act with the local pastor, Father James.

For this mission Daniel had been chosen, because Father James was an inveterate gardener and Daniel graduated a college as a landscape technician.

Daniel had meetings with the pastor a few times. Yet for a long time the monk did not dare to speak the Truth. Only when he and Father James became friends, Daniel told the pastor everything and asked for his assistance.

Father James believed him, but the priests had different opinions about Mary Noirson and her knowledge about the real status of her husband. Finally Daniel and James compromised.

"I'll talk to her," Pastor James suggested. "And we'll see, what we can do, okay?"

"Deal!" worried Daniel agreed unwillingly. "But be careful, if she's on his side, you could be in serious trouble.

 

 

The dog

 

Today Mary Noirson was planning to meet Pastor James. She was ready to go, when Robert entered her room and told her to come with him.

"Honey, I have a meeting..." Mary was upset: Pastor James tried to talk with her many times, but something always happened that prevented their conversation.

"Big deal! Just call and cancel it!"

Mary dialed the number and waited for an answer.

A loud clap of thunder outside startled her: "Oh, no, it's raining again!"

"Heavy rain, sweetie-pie... Come on! How long do I have to wait for you?"

"Okay..." Mary sighed and hung up the phone.

***

Pastor James was closing the doors of his greenhouses behind the church. From time to time he looked at his watch. Mary Noirson had not arrived yet and he was afraid he would miss her. Nevertheless the storm forced him to go outside and take care of his plants. An ice-cold, strong wind made the rain even worse.

When the pastor closed the last door, the rainwater was running like a river.

Suddenly he heard a low growling sound. The eyes of a huge black dog glowed at Father James through streams of rain.

The pastor slowly crossed himself. The dog showed its long bright white fangs. It looked like a smile. A scornful smile.

Farther James got angry. He resolutely stepped to the church, but the dog jumped towards him and snapped its jaws just a few inches from the man.

The pastor recoiled. He had no weapon to protect himself. Keeping his eyes on the dog, Father James started to move around the greenhouse. Suddenly his foot slipped. He threw up his hands, lost his balance and fell down into the hole.

Only now Father James remembered this well that he asked to be dug yesterday. The pit was about fifteen feet deep and the rainwater had already filled it halfway. Almost choked, the pastor unsuccessfully tried to get out. The water and dirt mixed together, and he was not able to swim in the mire. He tried to climb up, but the walls were too steep and slippery.

He realized, he was doomed to be buried alive in the mud.

Suddenly, an idea dawned upon him. Father James snatched a big cross that he was wearing and thrust it into the wall. The cross stuck firmly, and now he had a chance to hold on until someone would be able to help him out.

The dog above roared with disappointment.

***

Daniel was driving very carefully. The wipers were almost useless. And the monk was thinking, driving under the sea would be easier than driving in such a rain.

He parked, cringed and got out the car.

The parking lot was empty. Mary Noirson's car was not there either and Daniel thought: "It means she hadn't come again or she'd come and didn't listen to James and had already gone..."

Daniel went to the door of the house and knocked.

No response.

Getting worried, Daniel carefully open the door and called out to Pastor James. Nobody answered, and the monk entered inside.

He heard a sibilant sound and went to the kitchen. The teapot was boiling and almost all the water had evaporated.

Daniel turned the stove off and ran outside. He called Farther James. He heard a weak response and ran to the sound.

"Look out!"

Daniel barely kept his feet. He saw the hole and gasped. He knelt and looked inside.

"Mary Noirson..." the pastor was panting. "The dog..."

"Later! Later!" Daniel took his jacket off. "Hold on!" He held one sleeve and put the jacket into the pit. Father James reached out his hand and tried to grab the another sleeve.

Suddenly huge fangs thrust into Daniel's back. The monk did not expect the attack. He screamed and dropped the jacket.

The dog bit him again, but Daniel punched the beast in the nose, and the animal jumped aside. It roared with hate.

"So, this doggie Mary Noirson has sent to us instead of herself." Daniel smiled and took out his switchblade. "Oh, you are a bad dog! Come on! Show me what you got!"

The dog looked at him very attentively, however, did not try to come any closer.

The monk took off his shirt. He watched the dog and started to put the shirt down into the pit.

"Please, hurry up!" exhausted, Father James begged. "I can't hold on any longer!"

The dog leaped to the monk. Daniel dodged the strike and smiled with triumph: he felt the pastor grab the sleeve.

Howling, the dog attacked the man again. The monk hit the animal with the blade, but this time his action did not stop the beast. The huge jaws squeezed Daniel's body. The monk screeched yet did not drop the shirt.

Daniel again and again hit the dog with the knife with one hand and pulled Pastor James up with the another hand. The beast gnawed his shoulder and the unbearable pain drove Daniel insane, but his desire to save his friend helped him stay in control.

Suddenly the dog changed its tactics. Releasing its victim, it lunged at the pit. The monk was not able to prevent it, and the fangs of the beast tore the shirt. Daniel heard the scream of Pastor James and sound of a splash, as the priest fell down into the mire again.

The man and the animal continued their mortal fight.

"Brother!" the voice of Pastor James sounded with despair. "Give me absolution!"

Daniel had no time to answer; the dying beast made one last effort and clutched the man at the groin. This time the intolerable pain caused Daniel to pass out.

***

The ice-cold rain helped Daniel to regain consciousness very quickly.

The dead body of the dog was lying on top of Daniel. He pried open the jaws of the beast. The awful pain made the monk dizzy, yet all he could think about was Pastor James.

Crawling to the pit, Daniel looked inside. Only a dead motionless hand clutching a cross was above the mud.

The monk looked long at it. He stared for a long time. Then he screamed, damned Mary Noirson and asked God to send her the worst punishment ever.

Moaning and sobbing, Daniel could barely drag himself to the building and call an ambulance.

 

 

In the office

 

"Honey," excited, Mary entered her husband's office. "I found a companion for me!"

Robert looked at his wife with confusion. After the dismissal of Michael Alter, Mary felt very lonely. And a few months ago she asked her husband to find a companion for her, and until now, he had not done it yet.

All Noirson's faithful people were his slaves. They were only employees officially. But of course, Mary did not know about it. Instinctively the servants were afraid of their lady, most of them hated her for that, and the woman sensed their feelings to her, although she did not understand their reasons.

"You did?" Noirson smiled. "Great! Who is it?"

"Hannah Williamson."

"Who?" Robert got amazed. He quickly checked the names of his people. "Who the Hell is she? Where did you find her?"

"I met her today, when I attended that benevolent party..."

"Oh, now I can imagine her! How many times do I have to repeat? You have to avoid contacts with those religious freaks!"

"Robert! I am a Catholic myself and you met me on the same arrangement!"

"Okay, okay, sorry, kitten. But why did you choose her?"

"Oh, honey! She's a kind, nice girl! She wants to go to college so much! But she has no money..."

"Sweetie-pie, I can't pay a scholarship fees for everybody. She can join the Army."

"No, she can't, she's a Jehovah's Witness."

"What?" Noirson jumped out of his chair. "Are you crazy? I can't allow the "witness" to live in my house!"

"You said it's my house also..." Mary looked really upset and Robert relented.

"I am a Catholic," Mary continued. "And I don't like the religious ideas of the Witnesses either, but they don't steal or handle weapons. They don't even smoke! Why should we be afraid of her?"

Robert did not reply. He had just one, but awfully important reason: his real status, however, he could not tell Mary about it.

"Okay, bunny," Noirson finally sighed. "If you wish to..."

Mary's face lit up with a happy smile.

"Just order her not to speak about her beliefs with my people and especially with me! Deal?"

"Oh, honey, thank you!" touched, Mary walked around the desk and hugged her husband. "I love you so much!"

Robert's eyes flashed. He pushed the button on the intercom: "Mrs. Ponk?" Noirson panted. "I will be absent for a while, for any reason."

***

Anhella Vixen had just entered the secretary's room and heard those words. She gasped and sorrowfully glanced at Mrs. Ponk. She realized at once what it meant. How many times Robert had pronounced the same phrase, holding her, Anhella, in his arms! Vixen's Aryan blood was raging. She desired to grab her gun, burst into his office and kill them both. But she knew it was impossible. And a few seconds later her love for Robert finally overcame her jealousy.

Pressing her portfolio to her chest, Anhella slowly went to the private waiting room and saw Jerry. The bodyguard was staring at the door as a dog would while waiting his master's return. He looked at Vixen questionably. She sadly smiled to her fellow sufferer.

Understanding, Jerry blushed and lowered his eyes. Pretending not to worry, he took the first magazine and browsed through the pages. This sight relieved Anhella's pain. She was much luckier than this poor guy. She knew how Robert appreciated her.

***

The door opened and Mary Noirson strolled into the waiting room.

Her face was burning with happiness and satisfaction, her hair was done carelessly and her clothes were disordered.

She forgot about everything, and she did not even see Jerry sprang up toward her.

"Mrs. Noirson!" his voice was trembling. "Wait for me!"

"Ah, Jerry..." She yawned. "Take me home."

"But we'd planned to go shopping!"

"Shopping's boring!" Mary sang. "I wanna take a shower... Maybe a massage..."

"May I massage you?"

"Of course not, you silly thing." Mary smiled tenderly.

"Why can that male, that outsider, touch you again and I'm expected to just watch it?"

"Which male?" Mary sleepily looked at her bodyguard. "You're raving, buddy."

"I mean your masseur..." Jerry mumbled hopelessly as he followed his lady.

***

Noirson was smoking. He smiled when Anhella Vixen entering his office.

"Komm zu mir, Mädchen!" He tightly hugged his secretary.

"Come to me, girl!" / German

"Ist dein Raport schon fertig, Fräulein Vixen?"

"Is the report ready, Miss Vixen?" / German

"Ja," Anhella sleeked the disarranged hair of her Master.

"Yes." / German

"Du solltest dein Hemd wechseln. Es ist nass." She said calmly.

"You should change your shirt. It is wet." / German

"Danke, lieb," keeping a smile Noirson got up.

"Thank you, dear." / German

"Bereite die Papiere vor. Ich bin gleich zurück." He told her.

"Prepare your papers. I'll be right back." / German

Before he left, Robert looked at his secretary with gratitude:

"I can't imagine, how could I work without you!"

"I can't imagine, how could I live without You." Anhella thought.

 

 

Hannah

 

Unfortunately, Robert was right when he was afraid to allow the Jehovah's Witness to live in his home.

Hannah Williamson was doing her standard weekly preaching. She and her friend were standing near a subway station and tried to talk with people. They "caught" Father Christopher and started discussing the Bible.

Although Mary prohibited her companion to tell strangers where she was working Hannah used her employers as an example during the conversation. She did not use their names, but suddenly Father Christopher guessed who she was talking about.

"God is helping us himself!" the priest thought with excitement. He called Hannah aside and told her everything.

"I don't believe you!" Hannah was shaken. Then Father Christopher gave her a card: "My dear daughter, when you are sure, contact me! Just, please, be careful! I beg you!"

And he left the appalled Hannah.

***

In the middle of the night Mary Noirson woke up in her bedroom.

For a few minutes she just laid in the bed thinking about her companion. About a week ago something happened with Hannah. She shunning contact with Robert, and with her lady she spent all the time talking about the Apocalypse. Despite her religious education Mary did not like that kind of talk.

Strange, but without any reason, a deep worry seized youthful woman. Trembling, she got up, put her robe on and went to the corridor.

The security guard was sitting on the chair, reading a newspaper, and looked at his lady with surprise: "Where are you going, ma'am?" He got up. "It's almost 3 a.m.!"

"Is my husband okay?"

Security nodded: "Yes, ma'am, I got some information just a few minutes ago. He has a meeting in building B. Do you need to contact him?"

"No, I don't wanna disturb him," Mary still thinking about her worry. "Where is Hannah?"

Suddenly the security smiled: "The mouse in the mouse trap."

Mary's legs gave way under her: "What are you talking about?"

"Well, your companion should have known that the Master's "prayer room" is off limits for everyone," his voice sounded with a hidden spite.

Mary gasped and ran along the corridor.

***

Although anybody could get into that room, only a few persons knew how to get out.

Shuddering, Hannah was sitting on the floor in the "prayer room". She was trapped and clearly realized it. Clasping her knees she was waiting, and dreading every second, thinking that the Beast would come inside.

The door opened and the girl barely swallowed her cry of terror.

But it was Mary Noirson. Sighing with relief, Hannah sprang up and ran to her lady.

"How could you!" Mary cried. "I helped you, I trusted you, I thought we were friends!"

"Mary, I..."

"It looks base, mean, vile!"

"Mary, you have to listen me!"

"Shut up, betrayer-girl!"

"Mary, your husband..."

"One more word and I'll call him!"

Hannah fell in silence.

***

Silently they went to Hannah's room.

"Take your stuff," Mary ordered. "What's necessary, no more than one suitcase! I'll be back." Soon Mary returned with another suitcase: "Let's go!"

***

The bodyguards started to argue with their lady, when she demanded to drive Hannah all by herself. They barely compromised.

Mary Noirson drove her companion and bodyguards downtown, stopped in front of the "Hilton" and told one of them to reserve a room. One bodyguard got out of the car and went into the building.

A few seconds later Mary ordered the another bodyguard: "Check the left rear tire out!"

"You have a computer for this, ma'am!"

"What's going on?" Mary burst out angrily. "How dare you disobey me!"

When the bodyguard got out and bent to check the tire, Mary Noirson pushed the gas pedal and the car accelerated away.

The bodyguard took a jolt. But he came to his senses at once, cursed, then took his cell-phone and made a call.

***

"Okay, girl," Mary looked in the mirror. "We have about thirty minutes. Do you know a place that is safe enough to hide?"

Hannah nodded.

"Good, you need it. In this suitcase is sixty thousand, it's enough to study in some good university. Just do not put more then two or three thousand in the bank at once. Do you have any cash with you?"

"Fifty-three bucks."

"Okay, take a taxi," Mary stopped the car. "I don't wanna know where you're gonna hide. Good luck and good bye!"

"Mary, your husband..."

"I said, good bye!"

"Good bye, Mrs. Noirson..."

***

Robert asked nothing about Hannah and this surprised Mary, however, she did not dare to start talking about it. This subject was now taboo.

***

When Myron heard the knock on the door he opened it at once. He was sure it was one of his friends.

But it was an unknown white girl and Myron felt how the blood rushed into his face; as he was only wearing underpants.

Hannah leered at the almost naked tall black man with amazement and confusion. Kindness and surprise were shining in his big tender eyes, and Hannah calmed down and dared to ask: "Is this apartment 218?"

"Yes."

"Does Father Christopher live here?"

"Yes, miss... Who are you?"

"I'm Hannah Williamson. Father Christopher gave me this address. Can I come in?"

"Oh, my God!" Myron stepped aside. "Sorry, of course! I just did not expect your visit; it's so hot today and we have no air-conditioner. Excuse me for a second, please."

He came back wearing a cassock.

"Are you a monk?" Hannah gasped.

"We are all monks." Myron smiled.

"Wow! I thought, you're a football player or something like that..."

"Well, in high-school I used to play football..."

And the young people entered into a conversation.

***

When all the cenobites had gathered, Hannah told them how she lost her job.

"Heartless witch!" Kevin said about Mary Noirson.

"No," Hannah was confused. "She saved me from the Beast, she told me to hide and gave me this money..." Hannah put the suitcase on the table and lifted the cover. "Sixty thousand bucks!"

Somebody gasped, somebody whistled.

"I wanna give this money to you for your sacred mission." Hannah continued. "Please, let me join you."

The cenobites exchanged glances.

Kevin took the suitcase and fiddled with a bunch of bills: "Gee!" He laughed. "It will be real fun to kill the Beast using his own money!"

"But, Hannah, how about you? Your dreams, your future?"

"While the Beast is alive nobody has a future." Hannah looked around. "Please, let me stay with you. If he hasn't found this place yet it means it's safe enough... Please?"

"Welcome aboard!" Patrick, the leader, resolutely shook Hannah's hand.

 

 

Hannah and Myron

 

For a few months Hannah lived in the same apartment as the cenobites.

But lately the monks began noticing some changes.

***

The friends were resting in the common room. Some were reading while others watched TV. Kevin worked out on the machine. Patrick, the leader, was checking the bills. From time to time the cenobites looked askance at Hannah and Myron and exchanged glances.

But talking selflessly, the girl and the young monk were seeing only each other.

"Hey, guys!" Patrick finally called them. He could not concentrate. "Wanna go to some bar or for a dancing? Why just sit here?"

Confused, the young couple looked at him.

"No," Steve Farringer sadly smiled. "Better if they stay home; the city is very dangerous at night."

"Hey, girl!" Kevin got up and wiped sweat from his face. "Bring me some soda from the fridge."

Myron leaped at Kevin and grabbed his T-shirt: "You milky bone! Do you think she's your maid or what?"

"Myron! Buddy," Kevin calmly smiled. "Are you okay? I just asked her as friend and roommate!"

"Sorry, Kev," Myron released Kevin. "Just watch what you imply when you're talking."

"Really, Myron, let's go for a walk," Hannah took his hand. "You're tired and nervous."

Her eyes sparkled with a smile. And the young couple went away.

***

It was late night, when Myron carefully oozed into the bedroom. He tried not to wake his roommates. Myron did not turn the light on, undressed and quickly hopped into his bed. He did not notice that nobody was asleep, but everybody was pretending to be asleep. They heard how he was gasping. It was the breathing of happy man. And their hearts were filled with light, tender envy.

***

That five-bedroom apartment had three bathrooms. But, of course, for eleven people it was not enough. Richard moaned, when Hannah cut the line and rushed past him to the bathroom.

"Every morning!" Greg was next after him. "It's not funny any more. Christopher, it was you, who found Hannah! And now what?"

Worried Myron slowly came close to the door and carefully knocked: "Hannah, are you okay?"

"Leave her alone, she's okay," Richard's voice sounded so confident that Myron got confused and quickly went away. An ex-army surgeon Richard was professional physician.

The monks exchanged glances: "Are you thinking, what I am thinking?"

"Gosh, we have a situation here."

"What's going on?" Greg gazed at them. "What are you talking about?"

Christopher explained and the young monk gasped.

Patrick, the leader, peeped down the corridor to make sure Myron could not hear them, then turned to his friends: "Today come home about twenty minutes early, we need to talk about it. Not a word to Myron, okay?"

 

 

Saint Valentine's Day

 

Usually the monks returned home one by one. But on the February 14 Patrick, the leader, arranged the common meeting at the neighboring cafe.

When all cenobites had assembled, Patrick smiled and the friends exchanged glances.

"Well, Myron, we know about Hannah."

Ashamed, the monk tried to say something, but he could not find words.

"It's okay, Myron, we're all glad to see that you and this wonderful girl are happy together. All of us invested all our money into our sacred mission. Hannah did it also. But now you need money for your baby. Well," Patrick looked at the other monks. "This month we all saved and pooled our pocket money, and, well..."

"Surprise!" the monks all exclaimed together. Myron gasped. His friends put a huge elegant corsage of flowers, a small box and a gift certificate on the table. Myron opened the box. It was a wedding ring.

Seeing that, the couple at the next table giggled.

"Oh, brothers..." Myron looked around. "I'm so thankful! I'll never forget this! God bless you all! My dear friends! I want all of you to be there when I propose to Hannah."

"We will!" Kevin smiled.

"I've gotta call her..."

"No, let's surprise her too!" Farringer suggested.

***

The high spirited friends went to the apartment building and went up the stairs together.

The door of the apartment was slightly open.

The merriment left the men instantly. Now they were soldiers on the alert again. They pricked up their ears and took out their guns.

Myron's face turned grayish brown: "Oh, God, please, no!" He held the bouquet and a bag with the gifts.

"Stay behind!" Patrick, the leader, ordered quietly.

Obeying his signals, the monks took their places and prepared.

On the leader's command Kevin threw the door wide open. Holding guns ready to fire, the monks stormed into the apartment.

They realized at once that they were too late. The apartment was completely ruined. The walls and even the ceiling had been splattered with blood.

"Don't let Myron come in!" Patrick shouted.

But the young monk pushed his friends away and ran into the apartment. He gasped and dropped the flowers and the bag.

"Hannah!" He screamed. Calling her name, Myron rushed from room to room.

Blood was everywhere. He ran to the kitchen. And there he found her. It... All that remained of the woman whom he loved...

"Happy Valentine's Day!" blared from the wall, written with blood and red drops oozed down towards the floor.

 

 

The town

 

Finally, good luck smiled upon the cenobites. They found information about this town through the Internet. Just about one hundred miles from the city and thirty miles to the next town. Five years ago all citizens left this town without any visible reason.

Patrick, the leader, and Victor checked the town out. The church in the town was still in good condition and all communications were easily set up. It was very lucky for the cenobites. And they used it.

After Hannah's awful death they moved here, but they still spent almost all their time in the city, searching for ways to reach the Beast.

 

 

The cat

 

Victor's parents were animal lovers. A lot of pets surrounded him from the first day of his life. His mother especially loved cats. Different colors, but most of them were short haired, and Victor liked them. One black cat was his favorite. Every time, when he was lying in the bed, night or day, the cat came to him and lay by his side. It purred very loud and melodically, and Victor loved to pet and caress it and feel its small muscular body.

***

He was on his shift when the awful fire had happened. Both of his parents and almost the all animals died. His favorite cat was gone too.

However, some cats ran away, later he saw some of them in the local shelter. As a policeman, Victor often delivered street cats and lost dogs there, and he wanted to believe his pet survived that fire.

After the tragedy Victor became a monk, yet he still loved animals and dearly wanted to have at least one of them.

He finally had the opportunity to have a pet when the monks moved to this town.

Because of permanent danger, the monks preferred to stay in the same building, near the church and leave the other houses empty. It was 6:35 p.m. and Victor went for a little walk. He went slowly along the streets, as he had done many times in his town. Abandoned buildings looked strange and gloomy.

Suddenly a tiny black animal ran near a house. Victor noticed it, and sighed, recalling his pet. Although he knew, how careful any cats, especially street cats are, Victor mechanically called it: "Here, kitty-kitty-kitty!" To his surprise, the cat came to him.

Of course, it was not his cat, it was a very young animal, about six or eight months old. Victor thought this was why it came to his call and allowed him to take it in his arms.

But when he came close to the church, the animal started to show worry and finally jumped off his arms. Victor did not want to force it to stay. He knew cats did not like new places. He went to the building and took a few pieces of chicken, then came back. The cat was still there. Victor fed it and smiled with pleasure, watching how the hungry animal was eating greedily.

Since that time the cat started to wait for him every evening and Victor was feeling happy. Tracy was an inveterate cameraman and recorded how Victor fed and petted the cat and played with it. But probably the film was defective, because instead of images of his new pet, there were just black shapeless spots.

Victor very much wanted that cat to lie in his bed, as he had in his town, however, the animal never came close to the building, where the cenobites now lived. And finally Victor asked Patrick, the leader, about permission to spend nights in another house. Patrick did not see anything wrong and allowed it.

Victor chose the house near where he met the cat the first time.

That night he lay down on the bed in that house and called the cat.

The animal looked confused. It seemed it was concerned and hesitated. Once it even hissed at the monk, and Victor thought with worry, maybe it was sick.

But finally, the cat jumped onto the bed, curled itself up into a ball and started purring, and Victor smiled with happiness.

***

Patrick and Tracy slowly passed the house.

"I can't understand Victor," Tracy shrugged his shoulders. "How can he sleep here, alone, in a ghost town, with a black cat..."

The friends involuntarily looked at the building. Strange, reddish light glowed from the bedroom window.

"My God!" Patrick gasped. "It's a fire!"

They ran into the house and burst into Victor's bedroom.

They stopped, they screamed with horror, and they then realized, why the citizens left this town, after such a monster took up residence here.

It, what bent over Victor, was not a cat, not a panther, not a woman, not a She-Devil, not a Sphinx. It was all of them at once.

Its tender girl face was turned to the monks. The glowing slanted eyes of the creature did not show any fear. Bright white fangs flashed into its mouth when it licked its succulent lips. Swishing its long snake-like tail, the beast stretched its limbs, and the cenobites saw its huge claws.

The monks grabbed their guns and started shooting. Their bullets, made from church silver, should kill any creature whether from Earth or Hell.

Its screech made them deaf for a while. Victor sprang up and the monks stopped firing, and they were afraid to wound their friend.

Victor gasped, he stared at the creature, wriggling in the middle of the room.

"Why did you shoot it?" He asked them.

The friends became confused. Really, why? It did not harm Victor, and probably would have not. But it looked so unusual... So scary... Yes, looked.

A light smoke rose from it and now only a motionless body of a small dead cat was lying on the floor. Victor took it into his arm, hugged it and cried bitterly. The friends looked at him with compassion, but only animal lovers would be able to understand his grief.

 

 

The party

 

"Guess what!" The friends had never seen Richard so excited. "I met an old friend, Thomas Dufour, we studied together in the medical college, and now he is a physician for some of Noirson's servants!"

The monks gasped.

"Richard, does your friend know who Robert Noirson really is?"

"No, and I didn't risk telling him; tomorrow the Noirsons will have a party. Tom gave me an invitation and I can bring one of you with me!"

The monks all started talking at once.

"I'm coming!" Kevin suggested.

"No," Patrick, the leader, objected. "You hate him too much. Don't forget, whoever goes should be able to shake his hand, smile and not think about our mission."

They discussed this until nighttime.

***

Richard and Steve Farringer greeted the Noirsons without any troubles, but now they had another problem: Dufour really missed Rick and kept talking non-stop. Time was running out, and the friends had not a chance to do the business that they had come here for.

Suddenly Robert Noirson came closer and looked at them very attentively. He gazed at Farringer and then at Richard: "Which cat, can I ask?" He heard something and got interested.

The monk shortly repeated to him the story about Victor's pet. Robert listened with visible curiosity.

"Yes, these filthy creatures come to Earth sometimes!" Noirson said after Richard had finished. "Maybe this is why I don't like cats. Independent and mysterious. Dogs are easier to handle. Well, it was a really nice tale! Thank you, gentlemen!" And, smiling, he walked to another group of his guests.

All three of them were silent for a while. Thomas started to talk again. But Farringer felt incapable of keeping conversation anymore. He needed action. Mumbling a few excuses, Steve quickly left.

 

 

Farringer

 

Steve remembered exactly where the "prayer room" was: poor Hannah told the monks all the details about Noirson's home.

But the third floor was closed to visitors. When Farringer went upstairs he saw security blocking the entry. Hiding behind window drapery the young monk wondered what he could do now.

Suddenly Steve heard a beeping sound. The leader of security took out a cell-phone.

"No, sir," He said into receiver. "Nobody's here." He listened for a while. "Yes, sir! Over." He put the phone back into his pocket, signed to his detachment and they went away.

Farringer could not believe his luck. Hastily, but carefully Steve went along the corridor.

"Fourth door, fourth door... There it is. Oh, God, help me!" Very gently Farringer touched the doorknob, turned it and pulled. The door opened. The heart of the young monk was beating wildly. He came inside and put a small doorstop under the door to prevent it from closing.

Finally he saw the daggers. Lying in a cross shape, they were decorated like museum exhibits: the glass, effective lighting, scarlet background...

For a few minutes Farringer just stood stock-still and observed. This sight bewitched the young monk. His sense of duty helped him to take control of himself. He sighed as if he had just woken up, resolutely stepped forward and started thinking how he should take the glass off.

"Do you think it's so easy?"

Steve's heart had stopped for a second. He slowly turned towards the voice.

Standing on the threshold of the room, Robert Noirson lightly kicked the stopper.

"Do you think I'm stupid?" the Beast looked right into Farringer's eyes.

"No," Steve smiled sadly. "I think I am."

The young monk was not scared, just upset that he had failed and probably ruined the entire mission.

Robert closed the door and Farringer shuddered. The young monk was angry with himself: his strong and healthy body did not want to die, and Steve could not stop trembling at the thought of being tortured.

Noirson was doing something in the dark corner and it seemed he had forgotten about the trespasser. The Beast's back was turned to the monk, and Farringer glimpsed at the daggers. A tempting idea came to his mind: "Maybe if I break the glass and grab the dagger... If I do everything fast..."

But the young monk restrained himself. The glass was probably armored and Steve did not want to look ridiculous by uselessly knocking on the glass, and give the Beast a great reason for mocking him.

Robert turned to Farringer. The thin lips of the Beast curved into his sly smile: "No, boy, you are not stupid."

"Don't call me 'boy'!" the young monk tossed his head with courage. "My name is Steve Farringer!"

"Poor brave boy," Robert sighed. "And are you ready to die?"

"Yes, I am!"

"But if I haven't killed you yet why do you think I'm going to murder you now?"

"I broke into your property, if I had the chance, I'd get the daggers and I'd kill you!"

"You want to die, poor boy. But you shouldn't blame yourself for what happened."

Confounded, Farringer kept silent.

"We have something in common, kid," the glowing eyes of the Beast pierced deep into the human soul. "Even I was not able to protect my girl from being raped."

The old pain squeezed Farringer's heart. The awful unforgettable sights flashed into his mental vision: her moans and cry, their laugh, his own helpless despair.

The young monk closed his eyes and said with effort: "Your girl had been raped just once and he didn't kill her."

"I see your point," Robert lit a cigarette. "But as a monk, you should believe, when you die you'll be together again. But if Mary is burned I'll lose her forever! We belong to the different levels. Do you want to know, why I married her? Look!" Robert stretched out a small board. "This picture is about two thousand years old and it, probably, is the best. It's your Lady, the mother of your Lord."

The young monk took the board with a reverence, but he was disappointed: her face looked familiar, however, a lot of women look the same, even Farringer's ex.

"Still no bell." Steve shrugged his shoulders.

"Humans!" Noirson snorted. He took out a cell-phone. "Honey," He said into the receiver. And Farringer got amazed how tenderly the Beast's voice sounded. "I'm in the "prayer room", could you, please, come here for a second?"

Being interested Farringer stared at Robert with curiosity.

A few minutes later Mary Noirson went to the room and surprisingly looked at Steve. Robert stepped to his wife: "Kitten, don't move for a while!"

Mary obediently stood stock-still. Noirson touched her head. The cloth covered up the woman's hair, her evening dress turned into a loose gown. Realizing what Robert meant Farringer gasped. The young monk slowly came closer to the amazed woman, knelt and reverentially kissed the edge of her clothes.

Noirson waved his hand and now Mary was into the modern dress again: "Thank you, my darling, for your help. You can go now."

***

For a few minutes the males were silent. Farringer slowly got up.

"It's impossible, you tricked me, I can't believe..." Steve shook his head. "How They did it?"

"For what They did?" Robert smiled. "'This is the question.' Well, you can go too. I think your friend has already started worrying about you."

"You're letting me go?" Farringer amazed.

"Yes!" Noirson opened the door. "Get out of here before I change my mind!"

Expecting some dirty trick the young monk slowly went past the Beast. But nothing happened.

***

Steve was at the downstairs, when he heard the low deep voice of Robert: "Farringer!"

The young monk looked up.

"Remember, boy, what you have seen today. Remember!"

***

Farringer almost ran to Richard, who was still chatting with Thomas Dufour: "I'm sorry that I interrupted you, but we have to go now!"

Dufour tried to say something, but Steve grabbed the hand of his friend and dragged him away. The monks left without saying goodbye. They did not talk until they got home.

***

"Well?" Patrick, the leader, asked. The cenobites were waiting for Farringer's report.

"I had a talk with him!" Steve was shaking. "I was talking with the Beast!"

The monks exchanged glances.

"So?"

"It's impossible to steal the daggers, but it will be blasphemy even to try to kidnap Her! It will be sacrilege! Why are you staring at me? If I tell you why, you will not believe me!"

"Steve," Patrick tenderly touched Farringer's hand. "You're seriously stressed, we'll talk tomorrow, okay?"

Richard, the doctor, gave Farringer a tranquilizer, and when the young monk fell asleep, the cenobites had a talk. They were not able to trust Steve Farringer any more and decided to act immediately.


Chapter Four: The kidnapping

The abduction

 

Mary Noirson was on her way home when it happened.

A big elk jumped out from behind some bushes. Mary screamed.

Reacting instantly, Ron turned the car. They definitely hit the animal, but it was just lateral collision. The elk flew high and landed behind the vehicle. Sliding on the road surface the car spun around a few times, and Ron barely avoided a crash. He stopped the car on the very brink of a ditch.

The bodyguards cursed and looked back at his lady: "Oh, sorry, ma'am! Are you okay?"

Mary nodded: "I was buckled up," She said with effort.

"You damn moron!" Jerry roared at his partner. "Why did you turn? The glass is armored! It would have withstood the hit! A stag! Big deal! We could hit an elephant without any damage to the car! Why did you turn? You could've killed us all!"

"Go to Hell!" Ron snarled at him. "I've been driving longer than you've been living!" He tried to explain his actions, but Jerry could not calm down. The bodyguards started to discuss how necessary that maneuver was. The young servant was shouting and Ron was justifying himself very aggressively. Mary stopped this wrangle.

"Shut up, you two!" She trembled with stress. "Get out of the car and check the deer out! What are you staring at me?"

The bodyguards did not dare disobey their lady. They muttered as they got out. Jerry went to the elk. But first of all Ron squatted near the car. Confused, he could not understand why the car lost contact with the road so easily.

To his unpleasant surprise, the road surface was covered with oil.

Ron frowned. It was disorder. This was a private driveway, and if some of Noirson's people spilled the oil here, they should have taken care of it, at least warned other drivers. The road had a turn here, and to avoid crossing the oil was impossible. He moved his hand to take his cell-phone, but Mary opened the window: "Why are you dawdling? I said, check the deer out!" And Ron did not make the call.

Mary waited inside the car.

Soon Jerry came back: "That stupid stag is already dead."

"Take it home!" Mary told. "Robert is able to resuscitate it!"

Jerry sighed and walked back to the elk. Ron was waiting next to the animal, he took his cell-phone to call and report, but Jerry started talking as usual, very emotionally, and diverted Ron.

A few minutes went by as Mary observed how her bodyguards discussed her order.

Finally she was tired of waiting. She got out of the car and went to her bodyguards.

Ron looked at the sound of the slamming door. "Return to the car immediately!" shouted he.

Only now Mary recalled instructions that Robert had given her. In any situation like that she have to stay inside the car and keep the doors locked. Mary turned around.

Suddenly she heard two strange sounds. It sounded like someone clapped hands twice. Mary looked back.

She saw Jerry fall down. She saw Ron's body trembling and wrenching on the road.

It was so awful that Mary did not realize what was going on. She forgot all instructions and disregarded the danger to her own safety. She should have to run to the car, but, full of compassion, she rushed to her bodyguards.

The monks had planned it all differently, however, Mary herself made their task even easier.

The woman bent over Jerry and saw the blood stream from his broken head. In the same instant she saw men running towards her.

Kevin was closer than the others. Yet Mary had prepared herself. She grabbed her gun and fired a few times. But Kevin's armored vest withstood the bullets, and Mary was taken aback for a second and did not react to Tracy's strike. The monk swatted her gun out. She kicked him and tried to escape.

It was too late. She was hemmed in by the cenobites.

If they were ordinary attackers Mary Noirson could have fended them off even in this situation. Since she was a kid she had been trained in some methods of self-defense. Her strong legs and weighty horned brass knuckles were capable of causing severe injuries.

But these men were professionals. And was more so, they were fanatics. Even the monk she knocked out still held Mary's arm.

Enraged by her resistance the cenobites beat the woman even after she had fainted. They handcuffed and tied her, then put her into the van.

 

 

The information

 

Noirson and his partners discussed their next operation.

"On the whole your terms and conditions are acceptable to us." Smiling, Robert was checking the papers again. "What is the delivery date of the equipment?"

Suddenly a beep from the intercom interrupted him.

"Mr. Noirson, sir," The voice of Mrs. Ponk sounded confused. "If you would, please, could you answer? Line one, sir."

"We're having a conference!" Robert roared in temper. "I ordered you not to disturb us!"

"I really sorry, sir! But he said it's an emergency!"

"Nonsense! Connect us!" Robert took the receiver. "Speak! Noirson is here."

The reply was like a boom of thunder.

"We've got your wife. Wait for our instructions."

That was all.

***

"Robert! Robert!" Becker shook Noirson's shoulder. "What happened? Talk to us! Say something!"

Robert looked around. He was glad to see only his friends and partners.

"Where are the Hungarians?" He asked surprisingly.

"I sent them off, we'll continue later..."

Thankful, Noirson clutched the hand of his tutor.

"You were in a stupor," John whispered softly. "What's the matter, dear?"

"M a r y ..." Robert's voice was hoarse. "She has been kidnapped..."

"I knew it!" Becker shouted. "I knew something like that would happen! This marriage was the stupidest act in your entire life!" He stopped short and asked with worry: "What are their demands?"

"Probably, that I must come alone with the daggers." Noirson answered very calmly.

Becker threw up his arms. Anhella gasped. Dylon burst out laughing.

"Oh, in that case, good luck to them," He said sarcastically. "Of course, Robert's just crazy about her, but to commit suicide for sure? Give me a break!"

"Will you go?" Anhella was shocked.

"I don't know," Noirson sighed and lit a cigarette. "I don't know yet."

Deep silence reigned in the room.

 

 

In the church

 

In triumph the monks brought Mary Noirson into the main building.

Myron did not take part in the operation; he waited at the church. And now, when he finally saw Mary Noirson, he could not resist his urge for revenge. He rushed at Mary and swiped at her face. Then Daniel kicked the fallen woman.

"Stop it!" Farringer flung himself to them, but other monks grabbed him.

"I suggest we kill her," Myron's voice was stern. "If he wishes, he can resuscitate her."

"No! Listen to me!" Farringer screamed.

"Let's fuck her first!" smiling, Kevin threw his jacket off. "Who wants to be next after me?"

"Brothers!"

The cenobites were startled, as if woken from a fright, and gazed at Farringer.

"I made a decision to become a monk after my girlfriend was brutally raped and murdered. I was forced to observe that! And they held me as you are doing now!"

The confused monks released Steve.

"What happened to you, brothers? We are not criminals, we are priests! Kevin! You're a monk! How could you even think about such things? Daniel, agree, you have no proof that it was Mary Noirson, who sent the dog! What if you're wrong? Do you remember: 'Do not avenge yourselves, but yield place to the wrath of God. '"I will repay", says God'! Myron, the Beast killed your innocent girl. Because of your desire for revenge, do you want to commit an act just as abominable as him? My beloved brothers! Recall! 'Not paying back injury for injury or reviling for reviling, but, to the contrary, bestowing a blessing!' The whole Bible's teaching us forgiveness, but we... Look at this woman! Was it necessary to beat her up so brutally?"

"She was fighting like ten mad witches!" Kevin shouted. "She tried to pop me!"

"Everybody has right to defend himself! 'Stop judging that you may not be judged!' Only God knows, if she's innocent or guilty, but I know, the death of her husband will be a deep tragedy for her..."

Half-stunned, Mary heard the speech of Farringer as a low hum. But the last phrase was awful that she came back her senses at once.

"You!" Mary had barely sat up. Her hands were still cuffed behind her back. She attentively glared at Steve, and she recognized him. "You visited us as a guest! You were in the "prayer room"! Mean spy!" She hit Farringer in his stomach with her head.

He gasped and stepped back. The hate in her eyes hurt the young monk much worse than her hit.

Kevin laughed: "Steve, you need a long spoon to beat her with!"

"Please," Mary beseechingly looked around. "I beg you! Torture, rack, kill me! But take a pity on him! Oh, be merciful! In the name of God..."

"Don't use that word!" Kevin slapped Mary. "Your dirty lips were kissing the Devil's offspring!"

Mary spat into his face. Her saliva was mixed with blood. Kevin choked with rage. He wanted to hit the woman again, but suddenly Myron stopped him: "Enough! Steve is right. Let's use her only as a bait for him..."

"A bait?" The thought that she, Mary, could be the reason for the death of her beloved husband, made the woman lose herself.

Her insane cry amazed and even scared the monks. She burst in curses, she was calling the names of her attackers, she was damning and threatening them.

The men kept silence.

Mary Noirson screamed until her voice became hoarse. Then she began to weep sorrowfully. All hope and strength left Mary. Without any resistance she allowed the monks to take her out.

Kevin stayed alone in the middle of the room. He was very disappointed and angry, he still desired revenge. Suddenly somebody touched his elbow. It was Tracy. He held a video camera.

"It's a pity that I had no camera, when we caught her. It'd be fun to show the tape to the Beast!"

Kevin intently looked at his friend: "I have a plan..." And Kevin smiled.

 

 

Kevin and Monica

 

Nobody knew that Kevin had a personal reason when he agreed to take part in the hunt for the Beast.

He started to hate Robert Noirson many years ago. Although they were of the same age, that guy had everything that Kevin desired for himself: money, power and... Yes, a beautiful, sensual wife. Monica Noirson.

Since he was a kid, Kevin had to think about every cent he spent, this was why he joined the Army. Everything was fine, but during one operation the vehicle that Kevin's friend drove, accidentally crashed, and they all got a few injuries. Honestly, the driver was drunk as a skunk, however, it was not reported and did not get into the newspapers.

Monica Noirson had visited them in the hospital. While a reporter took some pictures, she held Kevin's hand. Kevin felt her thin, refined arm. He sensed the nervous energy of that beautiful graceful lady, he recalled the reports about her deeds in the charity field. And he thought, probably for the hundredth time, why do some guys have everything in life, and others have nothing?

Monica was sensitive enough to notice his feeling. Or maybe, she was just pleased with his sincerely rapt gaze. Anyway, it was not necessary, but she petted his head, and uttered passionately: "Get well, my hero!"

***

Because he was afraid to become a laughing stock in front of his friends, he had never kept the reports about Monica, nevertheless, he read any and all information he was able to get his hands on.

He met her again almost a year later. His unit was to leave the country tomorrow, and Monica attended this engagement. Kevin dared to remind her about their previous meeting. And the woman, flattered by his attention, gave him an invitation to Noirson's party.

***

When he saw her wearing the evening dress, enraptured Kevin just stood still for a few seconds, and barely compelled himself to let go of her hand. He thought that Robert Noirson can touch and kiss this fantastic woman whenever he wishes. That thought made Kevin feel insane, and he flinched with jealousy and hate.

During the party he continually admired the woman. Beaming under the bright electric lights, Monica looked exquisitely charming. Very tall, almost as tall as her husband was, elegantly dressed Monica Noirson moved with regal grace.

"Princess, princess..." Kevin whispered with delight. He dearly wanted to talk with her. But a lot of people were around them all the time, and vexed Kevin had no chance to do that.

Kevin kept his eyes on Monica, and he was finally rewarded for his patience. He noticed Monica slip out of the hall and he followed her.

But Monica went to a part of the garden closed to guests. Yet he was well trained and despite his evening suit, he was able to get inside also.

Struggling through the shrubbery, Kevin was looking for her. Suddenly he heard voices.

"Why did you run away?" She asked.

"I'm tired of seeing and talking to people." Robert Noirson answered dismally. "And I want to smoke."

"Give me one."

Kevin finally saw them. Just snapping his fingers, Robert lit her cigarette and smiled. The Son of the Devil was proud of his abilities, and he liked to show them.

"Knock off your tricks!" Monica nervously inhaled. "You know I hate it!"

Kevin was surprised, as he did not know who Robert Noirson really was.

"As you wish, your majesty!" Robert's face became gloomy again.

"Why such sarcasm?" Monica asked with irritation in her voice. Moonlit, she looked even more beautiful than inside the building. The wind was moving the leaves and branches of the trees, and mysterious, fantastic shadows turned Monica in Kevin's mind into some kind of goddess.

"Listen, I wanted only to be alone for a while. Why did you come here?"

"Just interested to see where my hubby was hiding."

"Now you know. Could you, please, go back to the party? It's not nice to leave the guests without hosts."

"Look, today I met a guy. He remembered me from our last meeting, and it was almost a year ago!"

Kevin's heart jumped with happiness. He understood, Monica was talking about him.

"I'm glad." Noirson yawned and looked at his watch. "Oh, we really have to go back to "work". Let's go, my darling."

"Don't interrupt me, you rude fellow!"

"Sorry, honey!" Robert bowed theatrically. "I didn't know it was such an important speech!"

"Knock it off! Knock it off!! Knock it off! You moron!" Her ringing voice trembled and Noirson frowned: "Why do you shout at me?" He hated high shrill noises. Well, most males do not like such sounds.

"Your permanent mocking," She yelled at him. "is driving me crazy!"

"Just driving? I thought, you were already mental." Robert threw aside his cigarette butt and smiled arrogantly.

Hiding behind some bushes, Kevin barely restrained himself. He desired to beat up that cocky nabob. How could that bastard mock this wonderful woman! For her, Kevin was not afraid of scandal or even jail. But he knew, that security were very close, and they would not allow him to do that. And it would be stupid to be arrested or even killed, without any chance to be with her.

"That guy remembered me, and..."

"What's your point? I remember you longer than he does!" Suddenly Noirson burst out laughing.

"Who is more crazy, you or me?" Monica scornfully looked at her husband. "You stupid jerk! Do you ever listen to me?"

"Oh, my darling! If that guy is so impressed with you, go screw him!"

Kevin's eyes widened in astonishment. He did not expect a respectable man to use such language. But Monica's next phrase was like cupid's arrow had struck his heart.

"Maybe I will..." She drawled.

"I don't care." Robert looked at his watch again. "Crap, I'll go. You can stay, if you want. You can go to Hell if you wish! You've spoilt my rest, you damn witch!"

"You spoilt my whole life, you stupid clown!"

"Oh, really? Say it to anyone but me! You greedy rat! Nobody forced you to marry me! You were not a pauper-woman!"

"If I knew, what kind of creature you were, I'd never have agreed! Even for all the treasuries on Earth!"

"Don't lie!" Robert stared at his wife. "You knew who I was and still am!"

"I mean, if I knew, how you were going to treat me..."

"How?! What do you want?! I'm showing respect to you!"

"Exactly! Showing. You heartless monster! I'm your wife, after all!"

"I'm glad."

"For what are you glad? Are you listening to me?"

Without an answer, Robert turned away and slowly went to the building. Still talking, Monica followed him.

Trembling, Kevin was alone in the garden. He was so shocked, he just stood still there for a long time. But he could do nothing now. He decided to take a vacation, and somehow meet Monica again and talk to her.

***

He was able to get a furlough only four months later.

Excited, he was packing his stuff when he saw a TV-report about her death. He realized at once that it was murder. And the following scandal only added fuel to the fire of his hatred. The smug faces of Robert and his fiancée were driving Kevin crazy. He resigned and swore to avenge Monica.

He pitied Myron very much and could not understand why he had stood up for Mary.

 

 

The torture

 

Later that night Kevin persuaded Tracy to act.

All other monks were absent; sleeping or preparing for tomorrow's battle. Mary Noirson was locked in a separate building. Her arms and legs were tied to the bed. When Kevin and Tracy went inside, they could do with the helpless woman whatever they wished.

And Kevin did it.

Mary was wearing a modern chastity belt. But even this could not stop him, and only made him even angrier.

He used Mary for his revenge during the entire night. And Tracy recorded all these actions onto videotape...

***

It was 5:26 a.m. when Farringer woke from a deep sleep. His first thought was about Mary. He got up and went to check her out.

A few minutes later Christopher ran to the other monks.

"Hurry up!" He screamed. "Steve and Kevin are fighting! We've gotta stop them! They're gonna kill each other!"

All the monks rushed after him. First they saw Kevin and Farringer.

Kevin was almost twice as old as Steve was. He competently defended himself against the younger monk, attacking him with dreadful rage.

"Stop it!" Patrick, the leader, shouted. "Immediately!"

The monks grabbed Farringer. Kevin continued smiling. He did not even try to start a fight again.

"Look what they have done! What they have done..." Steve spoke, holding back sobs. Suddenly, he burst into tears, to the other monk's confusion.

Only now the cenobites looked at Mary Noirson and gasped.

Her face was swollen with tears and beatings. Her mouth was torn, lips had been skinned. A wide wound was bleeding on her body; her skin was torn off in the shape of a cross from throat to navel and from one nipple to the other.

Greg turned away and threw up. The monks released Farringer. He ran to the woman. Sobbing, Steve started to hastily untie her. Some cenobites helped him. They carried Mary Noirson into the major building.

There was a deep morose silence for a few minutes.

"Come on!" Kevin started. "For the whore that she is, it was just stretching her limbs! Remember those reports about her? Even after the betrothal that bitch continued to fuck with other men! She's a druggie and druggist. She organized the murders of Robert's first wife, Pastor James, Hannah and, I'm sure, many other innocent people. Come on, brothers! That dirty animal deserved things much worse than what we have done! But for one major reason I did it for this." Kevin showed them a videotape. "Step by step, every action..."

"Why, Kevin?"

"I'm not sure that the Beast will come just because of our first threat. But if he sees that, his jealousy, I hope, will conquer his care and prudence."

 

 

Kevin

 

It was the longest night in Robert's life. Nobody was sleeping.

Sitting stock still in his chair, Noirson was giving necessary orders. Becker and Mrs. Ponk were making calls, gathering people and forces. Anhella was coordinating their actions.

As usual only Dylon was doing nothing. He sprawled in an armchair and polished his nails.

***

It was 7:16 a.m. when Mrs. Ponk called Noirson. He sprang up and turned his computer on.

It was Kevin. He was smiling: "Good morning, bastards! Did you have a pleasant night? We really had."

"You're welcome!" Robert was trembling with hate. "Because it was the last night in your fucking life!"

"For your bitch it could be the last night too. So, we tried to make it special. Sorry, we did it without your permission."

"What are you talking about?"

"Sweet wiffie, pretty body... You should've also put a doggie muzzle on your bitch to protect her better."

"What do you mean?!" Robert's face went livid.

Kevin showed him the videotape: "Would you care to watch it, smart ass? The total recording could take a couple of hours, but this is just a summary, about ten minutes."

Noirson spun to his partners: "Everybody out!"

"But, Robert..."

"I said, get out!"

The partners went out and waited behind the door.

They heard Robert's moan. They heard Noirson's roar. Finally they heard Robert's curses.

Then the partners dared to go back into the room. They saw Noirson in a rage like never before. Kevin was still smiling.

"Welcome back!" He said, when he saw Robert's partners. "What a pity, you've missed a few very interesting shots!"

"Shut your fucking mouth!" Noirson shouted.

"It, sorry, your wiffie has already had it!"

The partners exchanged glances. Robert sucked in a sharp breath and took control of himself.

"No matter!" He grinned malevolently. "I swear, I'll butcher you all in the next few hours!"

"How about your female?"

"You can keep her, I don't care!"

"Bravo!" Dylon applauded. Noirson bowed theatrically.

"Oh, really?" Kevin screwed up his eyes. "Check this out!"

The camera moved and now the partners could see Mary.

Robert looked down. Anhella gasped. Becker dropped his cigar. Dylon whistled.

She was naked. Only the ill-starred belt was on her body, covered by uninterrupted bruises. Her cross wound was horribly inflamed and still bleeding. Mary was handcuffed to a tank.

"This is gasoline," Kevin explained. "And this is a wick. One spark will be enough. What are you gonna say now?"

Shocked, Noirson and his partners did not respond.

Mary mumbled.

"Oh, how touching!" Kevin laughed. "This overfucking bitch still calls you even in delirium!" He stooped and kissed Mary's mouth.

The partners turned away. Dylon pressed his hand to his lips to hide his smile.

Robert's hands clenched into fists: "Never ever do that again!"

"Try and stop me!" Kevin laughed. He stooped to the woman again, but Mary was already conscious. She hit him with her head and kicked him with both her legs. Kevin disappeared from the screen.

"That's my girl!" Noirson whispered admiringly.

Mary watched Kevin. Suddenly she saw her husband on the screen of the monitor. Her eyes flashed with embarrassed gladness.

"Oh, honey..." Mary gasped. She smiled, but in the next moment the horror contorted her face. "Don't listen to them!" She cried out. "Don't come! Forgive and forget me! Don't..."

Appearing, Kevin knocked her out again with the butt of a machine gun.

"Leave her alone!" Robert screamed. "I'm coming! I'm coming! Just leave her alone!"

Kevin smiled with triumph and turned off the computer.

***

"Oh, Kevin!" the other monks came inside the room. "It was awful!!"

"I told you it was the only way. You could see, he was hesitating."

 

 

The decision

 

Robert fell down in his chair and pressed his hands to his face.

"What did you say?" Enraged Becker shook Noirson's shoulder. "What, damn you, did you say?!"

Robert looked at him beseechingly.

"No!" shocked, John stepped back. "Don't even think about it!" Becker nervously lit a cigar.

"John, John, please! You've got to help me! Oh, please, John, help me!"

"No way! Our task is to help the Devil rule the world! But not to help His son commit suicide!"

"If you help me, maybe I'll be able to release her and stay alive?"

Anhella uttered a cry. Mrs. Ponk disapprovingly shook her head.

"I don't want to even listen to this crazy talk!" Becker shouted.

Enjoying to see Mary's suffering, Dylon even missed Robert's agreement to go to her aid, and now he was surprised: "What are you talking about?"

"That loony wants," Becker yelled, "us to help our enemies kill him for sure!"

Dylon stared at Noirson.

"Look, Robert," Anhella stared tenderly. "Your duty is..."

"Fuck you!" Noirson sprang up. "Fuck my fucking duty! Did you see, what they have done to her? That's because of me! And I will not leave her with them! And that's all!"

"Well," Dylon was talking very seriously. "It's even worse than I thought. I think, we have to tie him and lock him in a safe place. When Robert comes back to normal, he'll be grateful and thankful himself."

This threat gave courage back to Noirson.

"Try it!" his voice was calm.

***

Robert was striding to his "prayer room". Clamoring servants and partners were surrounded him. They shouted, asked beseechingly, entreated, threatened. Anhella blocked the door by herself. She knelt, she looked at her Master and lord.

Noirson recalled Mary. He "saw" Her... kneeling and glancing at him... Her golden fluffy hair tickling his thighs... And her lips...

At the same time Robert recalled the video clip that Kevin had showed him...

Noirson was familiar with that kind of gag. When it was pushed into the mouth, behind the teeth, the victim could not scream or close their lips. The lips... Tender, soft, sweet, succulent lips... Her lips.

Groaning, Robert pushed his secretary away, rushed into his "prayer room" and locked the door. People shouted, yelled and knocked from behind the door.

Yet when their Master finally came out everybody fell silent. Continuation was useless. Noirson had already made his decision. Nobody could stop him now. The crowd knelt.

"My dear friends!" Robert sighed. "I have to... I must go. Sorry. If you will not help me, I'm dead and that's for sure. But I will go anyway. If I'm to be killed before I'm able to release my wife, you must save her in remembrance of me. In that event I give you my permission to murder Mary. Just don't leave her with them..."

Some of the servants moaned some of the females sobbed. Robert saw Jerry. Shocked, the bodyguard gazed at his master with such grief and perplexity that Noirson lowered his eyes.

"I promise, dear friends, to be careful and not to risk more than is necessary." Robert resolutely raised his voice. "I promise you a victory! My Beloved Father and Lord, help us!"

"Amen!" The crowd responded gloomily, but with hope.

 

 

The deal

 

When Noirson finally arrived at the church, he felt irresistible fear. For a few minutes he just was sitting motionless inside his car. He looked at the church and could not compel himself to move.

"Don't go!" Anhella moaned. "I beg you!"

Very, very slowly Robert got out of the car. This feeling that controlled him, was stronger than fear, stronger than any sense of duty, stronger than his will to live.

"Jerry!" Noirson called, and the servant went close to his Master. Robert looked around to be sure that only Jerry could hear him. "You're a fool! Do you really think they would not murder Mary, if even I prohibit that? Oh, my girl! You can't imagine what that bastard did to her! But my servants can do things much worse. If I'm killed I can't prevent that! If I'm killed you're her only hope. Do you understand me? Can I count on you?"

"Yes, Your Worship!" Jerry knelt and pressed Robert's hand to his lips. "Don't worry, my Lord! I'll do it at any price, I swear!"

Noirson patted Jerry's shoulders then slowly walked toward the church. First he was barely plodding, but the building, a fight and danger were getting closer and the Robert's courage was getting stronger and his steps became resolute.

***

Robert strode into the church, oozing self-confidence.

They were waiting for him. The mortal enemies stared at each other.

Steve Farringer was not here and Noirson's face darkened. After their conversation in the "prayer room" Robert counted on Farringer's assistance. Noirson saw how the young monk was impressed, and he hoped Steve would help him to save Mary. All alone Robert was almost certainly doomed, he understood this, but he had no choice.

"Where is she?"

"Where are the daggers?"

Noirson showed them a bag.

"How can we be sure they are the real daggers?" Greg asked.

Smiling scornfully, Robert took out one dagger. He stretched out his left hand, calmly skinned his little finger and showed them a bleeding scratch.

"Is it a real scratch?" Greg would not quiet down.

"'Unless I stick my finger into the print of the nails, I will certainly not believe...'" Robert quoted with sarcasm. "Come on, "Thomas", come to me and put your fucking finger into my blood!"

Greg did not respond.

"Okay, where is she?" Robert started to lose his patience.

"First give us the daggers."

"Release the woman then I'll give you the daggers."

"No deal!"

"Go to Hell!" Robert burst out with rage. "What's next? Wish to see my hara-kiri? Don't try to get more than I'm able to give!"

The monks exchanged glances.

"Can you trust me?" Patrick, the leader, asked. Noirson looked at him attentively.

"Okay, I trust you." Robert answered finally. "What's next?"

"Pick someone else as well."

The piercing eyes of the Beast tested the men with animal-like penetration.

"Him." Noirson pointed at Victor. That guy was able to take care of such a monster as his cat was, so Robert hoped this animal lover had enough restraint and patience to communicate with him also.

"Well, only I and Victor will come closer to you. We'll take the daggers and we guarantee not to try to kill you until you cure the woman."

Noirson hesitated.

"We swear!"

"I have one condition," Robert took a deep breath. "You must guarantee not to attack me before Mary leaves the building and is not less than thousand feet away."

The monks exchanged glances.

"Five hundred feet. In case of an explosion this distance is safe enough."

"Deal! Something else?"

"Now Victor and I will come to you to search you."

"Don't even think about it!" Noirson stepped back towards the exit.

"Okay, could you take your clothes off. We'll check them and return them to you."

Keeping silent, Robert undressed himself until nude and threw his clothes to the monks. His naked body was so amazingly beautiful, even to men, that the monks admired it involuntarily.

"Well, we'll take your cell-phone... Now you can put your clothes on." Christopher stepped forward.

"Don't come any closer!" Noirson screamed.

"Sorry!" Patrick took the clothes and neared Robert.

Trembling, Noirson dressed. He felt angry that the monks saw his fright. That is why Robert calmly stretched out his hands when the monks started to demand to handcuff him.

"Who killed Hannah?" Myron asked. "She or you?"

"Not she, not me...Well, my people did it. Problem? Didn't like the Valentine's present?"

Myron flung himself forward. The friends grabbed and held him. He twitched: "Oh, damn you, the Beast, damn you!"

"You're an idiot!" Robert burst out laughing. "I'm already accursed: like Father, like Son! Or do you think you are able to curse more terribly than God? Look, boy, I swore to kill anybody who'd even try to tell Mary about my real status. However, I ordered them just to murder, the details were up to Anhella, and even I think she overdid it. Well, that nazi really doesn't like when races are crossing, but for me all people are the same. Guess why? In Hell all people have the same sufferings! And we've got your Hannah, you're a poor thing! My Father has got her! And in Hell we can use it! Do you want to know how?"

"Myron!" Patrick sighed sadly. "Do not listen him; he's a liar like his accursed father. And you," He turned to Robert. "If you wanna be able to cure your woman, let sleeping dogs lie!"

"By the way," Victor asked. "How are you gonna cure her? You can't use your Power inside a sacred building. Can you?"

"No, I can't. But when I'm curing or resuscitating someone I'm "borrowing" a different Power. What are you staring at? Yes, only God the Creator has the Power to give life. And that kind of Power will work even in your holy pig pen!"

Greg slapped Noirson: "Watch your mouth!"

A monstrously strong reciprocal hit from the Beast threw the young monk off. Other cenobites rushed to Robert, but Victor and Patrick resolutely stepped forward and made them stop.

Richard, the doctor, checked Greg out. The young monk was lying on the floor and moaning.

"Bastard!" Richard stood straight. "You broke his jaw!"

"O-o-o-h," Robert drawled. "I'm really sorry, because I wanted to break his neck!"

Victor was holding the monks. Patrick turned to Noirson and whispered sternly: "Do not play the fool, Beast! I can't guarantee your safety if you will not shut up right now!"

Smiling, Robert handed over a bag with the daggers.

 

 

The Fight

 

When Mary saw her husband, unarmed, handcuffed, surrounded by the monks, she screamed in desperation. Farringer released Mary. The woman fell to the floor. Steve helped her up. He propped up Mary and helped her to Robert.

Noirson stretched out his arms. He made magic motions with his hands. He was able to cure his wife in a few seconds, but first he needed to understand exactly what was going on.

"That wasn't in our deal," Robert looked at Patrick. "But may I just hug Mary and say goodbye to her?" Noirson's voice trembled. The woman burst into tears.

"Of course."

And Mary fell down to be held in Robert's arms.

"When Farringer opens the door you must run as fast as you can," Robert whispered. "Don't look back, remember the wife of Lot."

Steve gave Mary a T-shirt and shorts. She dressed quickly and hugged her husband again: "I won't leave you!"

"Look, kitten," Robert was smiling and talking very quietly, yet he knew that Farringer could hear. "If I'm killed my servants are going to butcher you. And I'm not sure whose death is going to be worse in this case..."

Farringer blanched. He already felt guilty about Mary's torture. He was thinking that he should have stayed with her at night to protect her. And now the thought that the daughter of Saint Mary, Her clone, Her copy! would be brutally murdered, like his girlfriend was, this awful thought horrified the young monk. Besides, Steve recalled what Robert's people did to Hannah and his hair stood on end. If the Beast said the truth, and it looked so, a punishment for Mary Noirson would be even much more severe than Hannah had got, and Farringer realized that.

Robert had reactions as fast as an animal. Victor lunged with a dagger. Noirson grabbed his wife and placed her under the strike. Mary shrieked when the dagger's blade ripped her arm from the shoulder to the elbow.

"Is that your fucking guarantee?!" Robert shouted. "I can't cure wounds from those damn daggers!"

"I'm sorry," Victor quickly gave the dagger back to Patrick. "I didn't mean to harm her."

Everybody was shocked that Noirson had used the woman to cover himself, but Mary was happy to take the hit that was intended for her beloved husband. Steve made a decision. Now he was sure that Robert did not lie about his permission.

Richard, the doctor, dressed Mary's wound and opened the exit door. The woman ran away. Patrick, the leader, distributed the daggers.

And then Noirson lashed out at Kevin and smashed his head with the handcuffs. Robert's feelings as an outraged husband increased his inhuman strengths. The monk collapsed and released the lighter he'd been holding.

The cenobites attacked the Beast.

Noirson dodged, but Victor grabbed his arm and swung with a dagger. At that moment Steve Farringer threw Victor off.

"Thanks!" Robert smiled. "It's about time!"

"I'm doing it for Her, not for you!" Steve replied sternly.

"I know." Noirson broke his handcuffs with one movement. Then the monk and the Beast started to fight together as best friends.

"B e t r a y e r !" Christopher shouted and shot. Robert covered Farringer with himself and the bullets did not reach the young man.

"You saved my life!" Steve was amazed.

"S u r e !" Noirson laughed. He heard the sound of engines. "It's our "cavalry"!"

He clearly understood that he and Farringer would not be able to stand a long time versus professionals. Besides, the cenobites had a majority. Robert protected the young monk from ordinary weapons, and Steve protected him from the daggers.

But retreating, Noirson tried to find a way to reach the lighter. If he could blow up the building, all the people inside would be killed and he, Robert, would be able to pick up the daggers without any trouble. The problem was, the Power of the Beast did not work inside a church, and Noirson needed a lighter to light the fuse of the tank.

Suddenly Daniel realized it.

"Don't let him get the lighter!" He screamed.

Having been exposed, Robert raced to the lighter. Riddled with bullets, Steve collapsed. Three monks grabbed Noirson at the same time. One of them kicked the lighter aside, it flew off into the other corner, and Richard quickly picked it up. Robert screamed with disappointment.

The cenobites held him very tightly, but when Noirson saw Myron with a dagger, he twitched with tenfold power. Men could not hold the Beast. He tore himself from their hands and kicked Myron in the face.

Jumped on from behind another monk threw Robert down. Noirson shook him off.

As any animal, Robert knew that his only chance to survive was to keep on his feet. He tried to get up, but the half-stunned Myron rose with great effort and shoved a dagger into Noirson's knee. Myron had avenged, partly at least, the death of his beloved Hannah: it would have been possible to hear Robert's screech miles from the church.

***

In the camp Noirson's people heard that and exchanged glances with terror. Mary crossed herself, and the crowd burst out with indignation.

"It wasn't him! It wasn't him!" the voice of Mary was trembling with despair. "Oh, dear God, please, no!" Mary looked around with dying hope. "Oh, please, tell me, it wasn't him!"

"It was him." Anhella replied sternly. "It was his voice. Let's hope, he's just wounded." She took a deep breath. "Anyway, people, we must do what we have to do. Back to your work people, back to work!"

Weeping violently, Mary buried her face into Jerry's chest. Petting her back with one hand the bodyguard, however, checked his gun with the other hand. He did understand Robert's hints and he was ready in case of his Master's death to kill Mary himself and save her from a new torture. Jerry could imagine his own fate in that case, but it was no matter for him.

***

Now, wounded, Robert Noirson could not get up and barely evaded next strike: the dagger almost reached him. Just in time Noirson rolled away, and the blade only skinned his chest. Robert screamed desperately calling his people. But nobody came, and now Noirson concentrated all his remaining strength on the fight.

Apparently, his struggle was over. His enemies surrounded him. They pressed Noirson to the floor, he could not even move.

"For James!" Daniel thrust a dagger into Robert's palm. "Remember your dog? You sent it to him! I killed your dog, and you'll be next!"

Noirson was already exhausted and had no more physical power to even moan. He saw the monks lunge with the daggers for the last strike. Hope and courage finally left Robert. He closed his eyes and thought about his Father.

Suddenly Noirson heard the sounds of a machine gun. The pressing hands disappeared. Robert could not believe that it was all over and he had survived. He faintly opened eyes and rose to see who rescued him.

It was Lilitta. She handled a machine gun. Robert's people bent over him. They were smiling and talking. But Noirson saw only Lilitta, he looked at her with unlimited gratitude: she was the first person to come inside. It was her shots, which stopped the monks and threw them away.

"I saved you!" Her face was shining with a smile. "I had dreamed about it my whole life!"

"Oh, really?" Robert asked and lost consciousness.

***

Noirson came back from a deep faint when a hot airwave lifted and hurled him onto the floor. The monks, who were still alive, blew the church up.

Robert looked around. Everything was on fire, however, a flame capable of harming the Son of the Devil just did not exist.

One dagger was impaled through Noirson's hand. He pulled it away. The awful pain almost knocked him out again. Another dagger was stuck in Robert's knee. He tried to take it away too, but the unbearable pain became intolerable, and Noirson left it as it was.

Robert saw a rifle and, using it as crutch, got up. Shuffling his feet, he stumbled out of the church.

But he stopped for a few seconds near the dead burning body of Lilitta and sighed.

 

 

After the fight

 

When the explosion rumbled, everybody screamed and spun toward the sound.

One helicopter had been destroyed instantly, the second helicopter was enveloped in flames and crashed into the forest. The third and fourth helicopters had time to turn away and were not damaged.

Everyone was shouting and talking. They knew that all the people who died in the fire were gone forever.

One woman flung herself at Mary and clutched her shoulders: "It was my son!" She yelled and shook Mary. "My only son!"

The enraged crowd came closer.

Jerry pushed the woman away and covered Mary with himself.

"Leave her alone!" He held his gun ready to fire. "No one can touch her without the Master's permission!"

"We already have it!" the crowd stepped forward.

"We're not sure yet that Mr. Noirson is gone!" Jerry tried to talk calmly. He was afraid that everybody would attack them at once, and he could possibly have no time to kill Mary. "Come on, people! I'm sure the Master blew the building up himself... Poor woman, remember: 'Take your only son and then offer him up as a burnt offering.' You have done it for our god, and we're all proud of you!"

The woman burst into tears and plodded away. But she turned around and screamed at Mary: "Damn you, Jewess, damn you! Oh, dear Devil! Please, send to her the same torment!"

"Shut up, you stupid hag!" Jerry shouted with rage. "Did you forget the Master's command?"

The sobbing woman trudged away and mingled with the muttering crowd.

Suddenly, someone screamed: "They're carrying Him! They're carrying the Master!"

The crowd was disturbed. Jerry grabbed Mary and pressed the muzzle of the gun to her stomach.

"He's alive! He's alive!"

Jerry sighed with relief and released Mary. She ran to her husband.

She saw him and gasped. Covered with blood, he was moaning, groaning and wriggled in the arms of his servants: "Mary! Where is she? The daggers… pick up the daggers! Hurry!"

Mary fell into despair again, but Jerry put his hand on her shoulder: "Don't worry. If He hasn't died yet He's gonna be okay."

Mary glanced at her bodyguard with gratitude and went close to her husband. Noirson grabbed her arm. His hands were extremely hot.

"Honey," Mary tried not to cry. "How are you feeling?"

"It hurts, baby, it hurts badly!" Robert was talking with great effort. "Oh, dear Father, how it hurts!"

Mary broke into tears and pressed her face to his burning cheek.

"Forgive me!" She whispered.

"It's okay, kitten, what's done can't be undone... Hey, have you picked up the daggers yet?"

"Mr. Noirson, sir," Jerry came closer. "I understand this it's not the best time for asking. But how about Ron? I haven't seen him yet..."

Robert looked at the bodyguard with sadness.

"I'm sorry, Jerry. I couldn't make it. They used silver bullets. In case with you it was no matter, but as you had known, Ron was not a human. He's gone."

Jerry's face went pale. He looked at his lady.

"He's gone..." the bodyguard repeated, shocked. "The deer... It was just a stupid stag!" He shouted at Mary. "And Ron was killed just because of your whim to have that damn stag alive!" He bit his fist, forcing himself to become silent.

"Ron is not the only one," somebody said aside.

"I'm sorry," Mary mumbled. "Oh, Jerry, I'm so sorry!" She timidly looked around. Everybody gazed at her with visible hate and powerless spite, and Mary lowered her eyes.

"I knew how he was important to you." Robert continued. "If you want, I can resuscitate him in a dog's body."

"N o !" horrified, Jerry stepped back. He felt dizzy.

"As you wish." Robert shrugged his shoulders. "Come to me later, you'll have to get another partner."

"Is that necessary?"

"Hell, Jerry, of course! And you know that!" Jerry was disappointed, and Noirson sensed it and got angry. He dropped his voice and added with irritation. "You stupid boy! I'm upset with his death no less than you do! He controlled you perfectly! Now you have to be responsible for yourself! Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir." Jerry sighed. "May I go now?"

"Yes! Prepare a car, take Mary home... Damn you, Teddy! Did you pick up those fucking daggers?"

The servant took a deep breath: "Sir, we could find only two..."

"Are you kidding?" Robert rose. "Did you count my daggers?"

"No, sir, they are third and fourth."

"You're an idiot! I need all six! Is that clear?"

"Oh, Your Worship!" Teddy was trembling with terror. "Pl... Please, forgive us... We're still looking... And, sir, we'd... found... only nine bodies."

Robert stared at the servant.

"That's impossible." Noirson fell back. "How could that happen?! How could you let him escape! Find him! Find him!" Robert choked with curses.

"Yes, my Lord! Of course, sir!" Teddy stepped back and gave Mary a glare full of hate.

"Mr. Noirson, sir," Doctor Akherman said very seriously. "It's necessary to take the dagger away. But it's stuck very firmly. So, sir, can we count on your courage?"

Robert licked his dry lips, nodded and thought: "It's so easy to be brave when you have no choice."

"Are you crazy?!" Mary yelled. "Do you really want to take it out without any anesthetic?"

Everybody looked at her in amazement, and Mary blanched: "Oh, my God!" She recalled that any drugs or pain relievers are not effective on her husband.

"Let's do it!" Noirson nodded. Mary saw the drops of sweat on his face. His sufferings, her feeling of guilt were a real torment for the woman.

"Do you wanna hold my hand?" Mary suggested.

"Yes, yes!" Robert clutched Mary's arm, but released it at once. "No, I'd hurt you..."

"It's okay. I love you, honey..."

"No, no, I love you too." Noirson grabbed the sheet. "I'm ready."

Mary saw how doctor Akherman put a piece of rubber into Robert's mouth. Slay gently moved Mary away and placed his hands on Noirson's temples. Other servants held Robert's body. Doctor Akherman clutched the grip of the dagger: "Ready?" And the servants strained their muscles.

His body shuddered horribly. His face contorted with intolerable pain. He was choking. Roger quickly took away the rubber, and a nurse put an oxygen mask on Noirson's face. Doctor Akherman and the nurses started to work on Robert's wounds.

Noirson gritted his teeth, wrenched with the agonizing pain and vexation. He thought that his friends were right. Mary is dangerous. He lost so many devoted people. But only now he realized the major problem: he lost some of the daggers.

Mary had to observe all the horrible sufferings of her beloved husband, who had already risked his life for her. Seized by compassion, Mary came closer and touched Robert's hand.

"Mind your own business!" Doctor Akherman shouted. Mary recoiled frightfully.

She watched how doctor Akherman and the nurses helped her husband to rise. Slay gave his Master a cup. All together they were helping Robert drink. His hands trembled, and his teeth were knocking on the brim of cup. Dark red liquid splashed and spilled over the brim and dripped on Noirson's arms and chest. It looked like ketchup or tomato juice and Mary tried not to think that it could be something else.

Doctor Akherman and the nurses helped Robert to drain the cup and lay down again.

The remedy was effective. Noirson stopped tossing and his breathing became steadier.

Sobbing, Anhella bent over and looked at Robert. When he took a deep breath and opened his eyes, she started to caress him; she kissed his face and hair...

Mary watched them with amazement and jealousy. Of course, she knew that her husband and his secretary were lovers, but Robert had never shown that before.

"Hey, you German rat!" Mary could not restrain herself any longer. "He's my husband!"

Doctor Akherman and the nurses looked at her with surprise. Anhella tossed up her wet face.

"Yes, he's yours, you Jewish Princess! And I hate you for that! Du Russisches schwein! Look, whore, what you have done! Even a concentration camp would be too good place for you! Die, bitch! Go back to your fucking Heavens!"

"Anhella!" Robert wheezed barely. "Halt die schnauze! Bitte..."

"Watch your mouth! Please..." /German

The secretary pressed her hands to her face and ran away. Moving very slowly Mary occupied her spot. Doctor Akherman and the nurses indignantly looked at their lady.

"So," Probably, for the first time in her life Mary lost her self-confidence. "How are his wounds?"

"Well, some wounds are really severe," Doctor Akherman sighed. "Especially the left leg. I'm afraid, Mr. Noirson will limp for the rest of his life."

"W h a t ?" Mary gasped.

"His left leg will not be able to bend any more."

Mary recalled how they were dancing, skiing, playing tennis together. Mary recalled the light sliding walk of her husband. And she damned herself.

"Is his life in danger?" Mary asked with worry.

"Yes!" Robert rose. "Thanks to you, my darling! Now my life is in permanent danger! Any time I can be murdered! Could you imagine the sufferings I went through before I finally got the daggers! The last one almost killed me!"

"But I..." Mary mumbled confusedly.

"You should've to stayed inside the car! You should've to stayed in the car!" He shouted with spite. "Stupid doll! Stay-lock-call! Stay-lock-call! Easy instructions! They could do nothing while you were in the car! Why did you come outside? Was your butt tired of sitting or what?"

"Mrs. Noirson!" Doctor Akherman told uneasily. "You better go home. Now!"

Mary did not dare disobey.

Only in the car she put her face on her palms and burst into tears.

 

 

The daggers

 

Megan heard the knock on her door. She went nearer and moved the curtain aside. She gasped, she did not want to open it.

It was a man about forty years old. He looked terrible. It seemed he had just visited Hell. Covering soot and blood, he clung at the jamb of the door with one hand, and held two long daggers with another.

"Open it!" He called hoarsely. "Please, in the name of God! Please, open it!"

Megan hesitated. She had no reason whatsoever to trust that stranger. But she dared to open, when her golden retriever started whimpering and scraping the door. She deferred to the senses of her pet.

Megan opened, and the man came inside. He fell onto couch and covered his face with his hands. The girl looked at the daggers with horror. Yet she calmed down at once. Her dog came to that man, pushed him with its nose and started waving its tail. Although the man was deep in thought, he mechanically petted the retriever, and the girl understood, whoever that man was, he really loved animals, and knew how treat them.

She took the phone to call ambulance, but the man gasped: "Don't call! Please, don't call! I won't harm you, I swear!"

"I just want to help you," Megan put receiver in its place. "Are you okay?"

"I'm okay," the man scratched dog's ears and involuntarily smiled. "But I really need help."


Chapter Five: Love and punishments

Jerry and Francine

 

Jerry was a respectable person now, and it was below his standards to visit a bar like that as a guest, but the Master had given him an errand, and so Jerry had a little "talk" with the owner of the place.

He was ready to go when the people in the bar became disturbed. He looked to enter and saw her. That girl would not be called a beauty, but she was a Female. Oh, damn, she was 100, no, she was 1000% female.

She walked like a hunting panther, and her spotty close-fitting clothes only emphasized this likeness. She silently came to the counter, and sat on the stool.

Jerry quickly searched the girl. He found a lot of imperfections. She had amazing legs, however, her muscular buttocks were too large for her leanness. Her belly was visibly soft, the breasts were too small for Jerry's taste, and the arms were too thin. She dyed her hair a bright purple, and her coarse bangs covered half of her face. She had a sharp shaped chin and big sensual mouth. Her long nose and piercing eyes made her looked like a lynx. The challenge and love of freedom shone in her glare. And all this together made this girl fantastically attractive for males. "What a cat!" Jerry felt going crazy with desire.

He already had his mission completed, so he had time for a little fun. He loosened his hair, shook his head, and went close to her.

The man on the next stool looked at him with spite, lowered his eyes and moved away. Jerry casually sat in his place, and struck a pose.

"Nice night, sexy!" He smiled to her.

"Don't waste your fire, big boy." She did not turn a hair. "It will not work on me."

"Oh, yeah?" Her soft French accent excited Jerry even more. "What will work on you? Money? If you wish to, I can buy this bar and give it to you as a gift. Wanna?"

Not looking at Jerry, she gave him the some very stern advice, as to how he could use that money in another way.

"Tsk-tsk-tsk, oh, girl!" Jerry kept smiling. "How could those beautiful lips possibly pronounce such awful words?"

Ignoring him, she took out a pack of cigarettes. Many hands, holding matches and lighters stretched out to her, but Jerry just snapped his fingers and lit her cigarette. Any magic actions in public were prohibited for Noirson's people, however, to impress her Jerry would take any risk. She looked at him with newfound interest. And he took the emptiness from her with a rose.

She accepted the flower and gazed at the stranger. He was wearing nice stylish clothes, he was very beautiful, but his big naive wide-open blue eyes, with long eyelashes impressed her most of all. That guy stared at her with such visible desire and admiration, he looked so young and emotional that she thought if she refused, he could cry. Or kill her. Or kill and cry. Or cry and kill. And she relented.

"I'm Francine," She smiled. "What is your name, magician?"

 

 

Jerry's offer

 

That was just fantastic, it was simply beyond reality...

***

Francine silently took the glass from the bedside table. Her long bangs had stuck to her sweaty forehead and the girl moved them aside with a brush of her hand across her face.

"Marry me!" Jerry asked her and surprised even himself.

"My dear boy," She sighed. "I can't marry every male who likes to have fun with me."

"But I don't want you to just go," Jerry smelled her bright purple hair, and he laughed with delight.

"Try and stop me!" Francine derisively looked at him.

"Why, do you have a pimp? It's very dangerous to work alone." Still leering at her body, Jerry played with the ring on her pierced navel.

"Look, I've never fucked anyone for money, I didn't and I will not!"

"But I wanna help you... Such a life, what you have, can get you in big trouble one day! You can be raped or even killed, you can get hepatitis or even AIDS, how about that?"

"If you're scared tomcat," She snorted. "Why did you boink me without a rubber?"

"My boss can cure me from any disease." Suddenly a new idea came to Jerry's head. "Do you wanna get a job with Him? You can have fun, nice guys around you, no one will force you to have sex!"

"Except your boss, eh? I know that kind of man! They think they can buy everything with their damn money!"

"It's not only about money. He can guarantee real impunity for all his servants! I could rape you, I can kill you! And my Master will cover me! Do you wanna have the same patronage?"

"Who is your boss?" She was astonished.

"Well, I can't tell you now, we have to talk about that with his butler first."

"And that butler would wish to see, how I can "work", eh?"

"Don't worry, he's not like that, he's not even human." Jerry gave Francine a mysterious smile.

"Cool," She burst out laughing. "It could be fun!" But her face became sad again and she started tenderly caressing his thick wavy mane, the color of fallen leaves. "You can't imagine, how alone I feel by myself..."

"Unfortunately, I can..." He recalled dead Ron, thought about Mary, and he hugged Francine again.

 

 

Jerry's discovery

 

A doctor put twenty six sutures in Mary's wound. It healed very quickly. Unlike her relationships.

The next three months the woman spent as if she was in Hell.

Now Robert was shunning her. The servants saw this and now they did not even try to show respect to Mary. Tormented with her guilty feelings, Mary had no idea how to remedy this situation. Even Jerry did not forgive his lady. His new partner Rich was not bad, but he could not replace Ron in Jerry's heart.

***

Today, as usual, Mary Noirson was working out in their gym. She was lifting weights when one weight fell down on her wound. Someone had cut through the bar. It could not injure anyone seriously, but it did hurt. Mary screamed and burst into tears.

Jerry was observing his lady. When Ron was killed, Jerry thought he would never be able to forgive Mary. However, yesterday...

***

Jerry did not know exactly what happened to Mary in the church. When he came into the common security's salon, he saw the other guards watching something exciting.

"Guys, look who's here!" one of the security shouted. "Come on, boy, you're gonna like it!"

Jerry looked and gasped. It was Kevin's videotape. Who and how this was obtained? Jerry had no idea. But it was no matter.

It was Mary. And Kevin.

And Kevin was tearing her skin. Her wonderful soft tender skin! Even the thoughts about her skin were making Jerry excited. And that guy tore that skin!

He skinned her breasts! For only one touch of her exquisite breasts Jerry was ready to die. And Kevin skinned them! He was wrecking them!

This sight made Jerry dizzy. He closed his eyes and heard the laughter of the other guards.

Jerry rushed forward, threw down the VCR, kicked it off the table. The servants shouted with indignation, but nobody dared to try and stop him.

The VCR broke to smithereens. Jerry grabbed the videotape, broke it too, crumpled the film and ran out of the salon...

***

In his apartment Jerry burnt the film and got drunk as never before.

He forgave Mary for Ron's death: "He knew what he was risking. It was his job, his duty..."

Jerry tossed in his bed. Nightmares tormented him all during the night.

It was Mary... In his dreams she called his, Jerry's name. He tried to help her. But she and the monks were in a room with the walls made of armored glass. He knocked, kicked, beat, throbbed the glass. He was powerless to help her. And he saw, watched, observed her and her suffering...

It was awful... It was horrible... It was worse than death.

***

Jerry came back to reality when Rich poured ice cold water over him.

Jerry sat, he was unable to say a word. He was in such a bad condition that Rich had used the Power to make his young human partner capable of getting up.

"Do you hear me now?" Rich shook his head disapprovingly. "G'morning, boy, it's our shift."

 

 

The declaration

 

It had happened just yesterday. And now Jerry observed her... His beloved one.

Mary was sobbing. He stepped toward her.

Mary looked at Jerry and understood that something horrible happened to her bodyguard. She stopped crying: "What's the matter, Jerry? What's wrong? Something with your family?"

"I have no family." Jerry came close.

"With someone whom you love?"

"Yes!" Jerry stepped forward again and suddenly grabbed her shoulders. "It's you, Mary! And I love you!"

Mary gasped.

"I love you, sunnie!" Jerry was talking as in delirium. "I love you, you tiny bird! I love you, Thumbelina! Oh, sunnie! Don't cry!" He tried to kiss her, but Mary's face turned stern, and she pushed her bodyguard.

"You're drunk!" Mary looked at him with indignation. "Get out of here and send a substitute! You cracked boozer! Today I won't allow you to work with me!"

"I'm sorry," Jerry released his lady. "It will never happen again."

"I said get out! If it happens just one more time," Mary took a deep breath. "I'll dismiss you!"

"J e r r y !" a servant called him. "Mr. Noirson wants to talk to you. Right now!"

***

"Well, well, well," Noirson was smiling. "It's going too far, eh?"

"I'm sorry, sir..." Jerry sighed. "But it's your fault!"

"W h a t ?" Robert raised his eyebrow. "Are you raving or what, you drunken moron?"

"You!" Jerry could not calm down. "You don't appreciate this wonderful woman! She's suffering! You're ignoring her! The servants are mocking her! Did you lose your daggers? It's Teddy's fault! That fool let him escape. Not Mary! She got a punishment too severe! If you can't forgive her then divorce her! Kick her out of your house! Even kill her! But don't torment her!"

"Finished?"

Jerry became silent.

"Only John can teach me, only my Father can command me, and only God the Creator can force me!" Robert nervously lit a cigarette; inhaled a few times and continued more calmly. "You're a very good servant, Jerry! Probably, the best bodyguard that Mary could have." Robert sighed. "And this is why I forgive you for your crazy talk. I know your devotion and I appreciate it. Now get out! Get some rest and come back to work tomorrow, fresh and clean."

Jerry hung his head and went to the exit.

"R e m e m b e r , J e r r y."

The security stopped and looked back.

"I can forgive even adultery for physical reasons, but not spiritual. You can go, Jerry, and keep Mary... Keep her for me."

***

Confused with Jerry's emotional declaration, Mary went back to her apartment. Suddenly she heard the talk of her maids.

"Did you see Jerry today?"

"Nope, why did you ask?"

"Yesterday he saw the tape, of that, what those guys did to our lady. He ruined the salon, beat up fifteen men and got awfully drunk. Rich could barely wake him."

"I'm not surprised. Everybody knows that Jerry's just crazy about her." the second maid responded indifferently. "How many years they have been married? She is probably the only one who doesn't notice!"

"I'm sure, she just pretends!"

"I don't think so. None so blind as those who won't see..."

Mary came inside and the maids became silent.

 

 

In the gym

 

The next morning Mary tried to make up with her husband again.

When they were having breakfast Mary calmly asked a question. Noirson did not reply. Mary touched his hand. Robert shouted at her.

"Enough!" Mary cried. "Please, honey, forgive me! I'm sorry! I'm very sorry! Why do you torment me? You saved me, risking your life!"

Noirson stared at his wife.

"Did I have choice?" his eyes grew narrow. "If I was sure that guy would not rape you again, maybe I would not come at all!"

Mary's cheeks blushed with shame and she hung her head.

"It's simply mean to reproach me for that!" She mumbled.

"This is not a reproach, just an explanation. You are my property!" He said with spite. "So, only I can dispose of you!"

Feeling tired, Mary slowly got her feet and staggered out.

***

It was time to work out in the gym, but Mary found that her track-suits smelled disgusting. Angry, she put on her swimsuit and went to the gym.

After going inside, Mary looked around and she saw Jerry. He looked so upset and embarrassed that Mary felt pity for him.

"I'm sorry," Mary came closer. "I was so sharp with you. But you were drunk..."

"Now I'm not!" Jerry hugged Mary and blew in her face. The woman gasped and closed her eyes. She melted in his arms.

"Sunnie?" Jerry carefully kissed her lips. Suddenly Mary responded and embraced him...

Not believing that what he had desired for so long, was finally getting closer, Jerry tenderly put the woman on the sports mat. She was kissing and caressing him as nobody had before. Her face was red, she was panting, her body was trembling eagerly.

***

Jerry wondered how in the beginning he could not like her strong muscular legs. Her thighs were squeezing his temples now; her scent, her taste made Jerry drunk.

And he got lost, he forgot about everything... Even about the surveillance cameras slowly moving around the gym.

***

Security guards were chatting. They were laughing. Suddenly one servant screamed: "Shit! Eric!! The gym!"

Eric looked, gasped and snatched a receiver: "Mr. Noirson, sir! Security. Code Three! I repeat, sir, Code Three." He pushed the buttons. "Do you see it? Hello?"

"I'm watching."

"Do you order us to make him stop?"

"N o."

"It's not too late yet, sir."

"It's none of your business! Turn off your monitors. Only the gym's monitors! And control that nobody, I said, nobody! would enter the gym, until I order it! Over."

Eric put the receiver in its place, turned off two of the monitors and looked around.

"She's dead."

"He's dead."

"Two dead bodies."

"A "ride to Hell".

And the servants nervously laughed.

***

At the last moment Jerry recalled other women that he'd had before. He did not want Mary to get any infection.

"Just a second, sunnie..." He quickly took out a condom.

Jerry was taller than Robert was, almost twice as big. The woman in his arms was moaning, her body was curving with his motions.

Jerry wanted to make her satisfied. And he restrained, controlled himself, despite a painful strain that hurt even his belly and small of his back.

Only when Mary screamed and he felt her shudders, Jerry allowed himself to enjoy the moment. The woman whispered something, but at this instant the young man was not able to realize what she said.

***

It was over. She was smiling. Her eyes were still closed. Jerry was embracing her. He had never felt so happy. The love and tenderness overwhelmed the bodyguard. He admired this woman, he adored her. If she did that, maybe she will divorce Robert and marry him, Jerry.

Jerry was imagining. He "saw" their wedding, honeymoon, the first born. More kids, looking like little versions of themselves. To wake near her every morning. To eat food made with her hands. To kiss her any time that he wanted...

Unconnected dreams about their life were growing in Jerry's mind.

"Do you love me?" Jerry tenderly kissed her lips. "My sunnie, my birdie, do you love me?"

"Of course, I love you, Robert..." Suddenly Mary said and finally opened her eyes. "Oh, honey, I love you so m..."

They stared at each other. Something happened with the young woman. She was sure that she had made love with her husband.

At first Mary did not even recognize the man who was on the top of her and inside her. Also she had never seen her bodyguard with loose hair. His mane amazed the woman.

She screamed and pushed him.

Jerry sat back and the woman crept away. Her face writhed with horror, aversion and disgust.

"M a r y..." shocked Jerry mumbled.

"Stay away, S a t a n !" She yelled crazily. Sobbing, she ran away.

Jerry closed his eyes. His heart was broken, the dreams were destroyed, his happiness was spoilt irretrievably.

'R o b e r t '

That was what she had called out during orgasm. But in that moment Jerry's mind had been bewitched with enjoyment and had not registered what it was.

"She just used me!" Jerry moaned. "She used me for her physical function... as a toilet!"

Jerry cursed and pounded the mat: his masculine sense was outraged. Lucky Mary ran so fast. He could kill her.

"H e y , l o v e r - b o y !"

Jerry heard. He opened his eyes and looked back. It were Slay, Jack, Rich and some other servants.

"Will you come by yourself or have we gotta drag you?"

Without a word Jerry got to his feet, put his clothes in order and tied his hair into a ponytail again.

He went without any resistance. He knew, everything you do you have to pay for. Jerry wanted to get drunk again, but he used his Master's property without Master's permission, and it was time to pay for that.

 

 

The "invitation"

 

Noirson was smoking.

"Well, Jerry," He inhaled. "Did you enjoy my spouse? How about: 'Neither must you desire your neighbors wife'?"

"It's the God's command not Yours!" Jerry retorted defiantly.

"Good one!" Robert burst out laughing. "Poor, smart, brave boy. So, does she love you?"

"No, sir..." Jerry hung his head. "She only loves You."

"And had used you instead of a vibrator, eh? Dirty bitch." Robert winced and sighed. "Slut. When I married her, everybody was against it. But I thought she was no ordinary female... Just think, Jerry! I risked my life for that piece of shit! Thanks to her I'm a cripple, and any time now I could be murdered!"

"Kill me, My Lord!" the young servant fell on his knees. "Send me to Hell alive! Just forgive me..."

"Don't worry, Jerry, you'll keep your job."

"But, sir..." the bodyguard was amazed and got up slowly.

"Look, Jerry, I don't want anyone else to screw my crazy wife. She needs protection. Who can do it better than you?"

"I beg your pardon, sir, but I loathe her..."

"Good! It's a way for your revenge against her."

While Jerry was thinking, Robert came to him. Crippled, Noirson had to walk with a walking stick.

"Just yesterday you, Jerry, asked me to forgive her. How about it now?"

"Sir," the face of the security was red. "I'll never ever again dispute any of your commands, decisions or orders. I swear."

"Any?" Robert screwed up his eyes and touched the bodyguard.

Jerry did not move, he was shaken with horror.

"Mr. Noirson, sir," He mumbled with effort. "I'm not gay."

"Do you want to say I am gay?"

Shocked and taken aback Jerry kept silent, and Robert smugly smiled.

"I was watching you, Jerry, you were great," Noirson was caressing his young servant. "Would you come to my party tonight? I guarantee you'll have fun: drinks, drugs, pretty girls-sex kittens. If the best woman on Earth turned out a whore, then let's use professionals. Maybe we'll be able to forget her mean act." Robert tiptoed and kissed the guard. "Would you come?"

"Why not? Do I have a choice?" A ghostly smile was on Jerry's trembling lips. He had never been so disheartened. His strength, his training, his weapons were powerless in this situation. Even a suicide could not save him.

But the worst of it was that Jerry did not expect such a move. After having sex with his Master's wife, the young servant understood that a "ride to Hell" was unavoidable. He prepared himself to be beaten, he was ready to be tortured, even to be butchered. But that kind of punishment would be much worse. And his Master knew it.

"Of course, you have a choice, Jerry!" Robert grinned. "I invited you nicely. Be a good boy, and it will be "family" business..." The insinuating voice of the Beast's voice became visibly threatening: "I don't think you want the other men to join us."

Jerry choked. His legs give way under him and his hair stood on end. Noirson had enough servants to force Jerry to do whatever he wanted or had planned to give, and the young bodyguard was smart enough to realize it.

"Oh, my God..." for the first time during those years, thoroughly despaired Jerry had used that word.

"What, Jerry? I am here. I am your god. So, will you come by yourself or have I got to send an escort for you?"

"I will come, sir!" collecting all his courage, the young security responded like a soldier. He tried to keep at least visible dignity, and the majestic Son of the Devil valued it. Yet anyway Noirson could not let such a deed go without punishment. No husband could.

"Of course, sir! It's a big honor for me!"

"That's my boy!" Robert tapped Jerry on his shoulder. "Dylon and John will come too. So, welcome aboard, D'Artagnan! Take a rest until this evening, Jerry." Noirson limped to the exit. "You were the laughing stock for my servants. Now they will all envy you."

 

 

The "forgiveness"

 

Mary ran to her apartment.

She felt dizzy, she felt sick. On the stairs she fell down and threw up. She saw servants, she recalled the surveillance cameras in the gym. Being racked by unbearable shame, Mary got up with great effort and ran again.

She burst into her apartment.

A few years ago Robert gave her contraceptive pills especially for a case like that. The woman could never imagine that she would ever need it. Now Mary could not even remember where she had put them.

Whining with horror, Mary was pulling out drawer after drawer and throwing her stuff on the floor. Finally she found the pills and checked the expiration date. It was next month. Mary tried to read the instructions, but her hands were shaking uncontrollably, she was unable read a word.

She saw '2' and hastily took out two pills, grabbed a decanter with water. Her teeth were knocking on the brim, water splashed and spilled over the brim and dripped on Mary's arms and chest. She heard somewhere you should take two pills before and two after. She swallowed two more. Now she got frightened that she had taken an overdose and poisoned herself.

Suddenly, Mary recalled that Jerry had used a condom. But she was not sure. She was too shocked to recall or think clear.

A deep depression seized the young woman. She plodded to the bathroom and took a shower.

"What have I done?" Mary was amazed with herself. "How could it happen? Anhella called me 'bitch' and 'whore'. But I'm much worse. How could I condemn her? She loves Robert and was never unfaithful.." Mary recalled Monica's words: 'You'll get a young lover!'

"No!" Mary moaned. "It was an accident! What happened to me? Am I going crazy? Oh, Robert, honey, I love you! I love you so much! I love only you..."

Mary did not even try to dry herself and slowly returned to her bedroom and then saw her husband. He was sitting on the chair and propping his chin up his fist. He looked at her.

Mary screamed and fell on the floor.

***

When Mary regained consciousness, she found herself on her bed. Robert was sitting close by her.

"I agree to divorce." Mary forced herself to talk. "Or you can kill me. I won't resist."

"Why? Do you love him?"

"N o!" Mary cried. And explained quietly. "I'm just no longer worthy of being called your wife."

"Mary, darling, remember the Bible's story: 'Let one of you that is sinless be the first to throw a stone at her.' If he was able to forgive that woman then I can do it too."

"She was not His wife."

"Hmmm, do you think he would not forgive that woman if she was his wife?" Robert was interested. "Live and learn. Anyway, Mary, 'Go your way, just from now on practice sin no more.'"

Mary started sobbing.

"I'm sorry, baby," Noirson continued hypocritically. "I left you without attention for such a long time. But I had to intensify my security... And my wounds... They still hurt..." his voice trembled very naturally. He knew that his "noble forgiveness" will cause Mary to suffer much worse than any extremely brutal punishment he could give her. And his plan worked: the woman wailed hysterically. She was seized with nervous paroxysm.

It had never happened before and even Robert got worried. A little.

He called for doctor.

 

 

The punishment

 

Jerry came back to reality on the couch in the anteroom of Robert's apartment.

He recalled all the events of the party and he flinched. He wanted to get drunk again, he wanted to forget all that horror, he wished death upon himself.

He was amazed to see the midnight moon. Tonight Jerry had spent so many hours in his own personal Hell, the worst hours of his life, but in reality it was just a few minutes.

***

Jerry felt a burning shame, when he recalled his own trembling voice: "Oh, please, my Lord, don't do it to me! I beg you!"

"Don't play the fool, Jerry! You did understand what I invited you for! Are you mocking me? What's the matter? Don't you love me?"

"Oh, I love you, Master, but... in another way."

"Okay, Jerry, I'll give you a chance to show your love... in another way also. But now, just shut up, relax and don't bother me any more! Pay attention to your girl! Enjoy!"

'E n j o y !'

It was worse than death.

***

In the middle of the party Jerry broke down, ran to the restroom, locked himself in a cabin and burst into tears.

Noirson went after him and started to console his young servant.

"I do understand how her mean act distresses you." Robert sighed intentionally. "I'm very disappointed in her too."

Finally Noirson urged Jerry to come back to the party. And the young servant dared not disobey. He thoroughly washed his face, looked at his reflection, and for the first time in his life Jerry damned his beauty, which he was usually proud of. An awful thought came to his head, maybe it was not only his devotion and success in training that Noirson took him into his personal service.

In the hall he grabbed the first goblet and drained it in one gulp.

Bertha, the girl, came to him and touched his shoulder: "Are you okay?"

"Stay away from me..." Jerry did not want to see her, the witness of his disgrace and humiliation. "Leave me alone."

"I can't, my duty at this party is to be with you. But I understand your feelings." Bertha sighed. "They did it with me so many times, but I do remember how awful it was at first."

"You were a virgin!"

"Yes, forever, every party, because I died as a virgin. When my Love tried to rape me, I ran home and poisoned myself."

"Are you dead?" Jerry leant back.

"Are you alive?" Bertha wondered. Jerry rushed to Robert: "My Lord! She's dead!"

"And what?" Noirson smiled. "We are all dead." And he kissed the shocked Jerry on the mouth.

***

Jerry closed his eyes. The party was the perfect punishment.

He idolized Noirson, and he was not able to refuse to his Lord and god, even when Dylon had "joined" them; joined impudently, impertinently, without any questions, and turned Jerry's nightmare into a real Hell.

Anyway, any resistance would be useless. Jerry constantly watched the others, serving at this party. He could not ignore them, he remembered Robert's warning. He honestly tried to be obedient, but he threw up and wept with despair. Kneeling and finally crushed, he was only able to sob, dreaming of any kind of death for himself, to free him from this suffering, as if it would bring heavenly enjoyment.

"Daddy!" Dylon called capriciously. "Your boy has refused me!"

"Oh, really? Jerry, is that true? I can't believe it!"

"I tried my best!" Jerry gave his Master a pleading look. "Oh, my Lord, forgive me! I can't, I just can't! Be merciful..."

"I'm sure you can. You did it to my wiffie, you've done it to me, so, you can do it to Dylon also."

"You said, it would be "family" business..."

"Sure it is!" Noirson hugged Dylon and kissed his lips. "Who can be closer than my son?" And they started caressing each other.

Shocked, Jerry stared at them with amazement, and he felt like he was going insane.

"Problems, sir?" Slay came to his Master.

"I don't know, Roger. Jerry doesn't want to please my son. And I thought, maybe he wants to please you? For a start, eh, Jerry?"

That threat horrified the young servant. He summoned all his courage, and until the end of the party he fulfilled all orders without dispute, without thinking, like a robot would.

***

Shown his submission, Jerry just avoided a much more severe punishment. He understood that, but that thought did not console the young bodyguard. He felt awful hatred to Mary Noirson and he damned her and his own feelings to her.

Entering the room, Jack Leclerc, the chief of security, carefully touched Jerry: "Sir, (the servants had never called Jerry 'sir' before.) Would you like to go to your apartment? You need rest for tomorrow's shift."

The envious, jealous respect that Jack was showing, pleasantly surprised Jerry and he felt a shameful pride.

 

 

Mary gets her punishment

 

After her morning shower Mary went back into her bedroom, and blushed and gasped when she saw Jerry: "Is it your shift again?"

"Now everyday is my shift." his voice sounded lifeless.

"What's wrong with you, Jerry?" Mary stepped forward and looked at her bodyguard with worry. "What happened?"

"Thanks to you, I was killed." Jerry was talking with unlimited sorrow. "Mr. Noirson sent me back. You trampled my heart, Mr. Noirson has fixed it. We are not just the Master and slave any more. We are fellow sufferers, we are friends."

Mary started trembling: "I need to talk to Robert..."

"He's busy now."

"I said, I wish to talk to my husband!"

Muttering, Jerry took out a cell-phone: "Mr. Noirson, sir? It's Jerry. She wants to talk to you. Yes, I told her, but..."

Mary snatched the phone: "Robert! We need to talk, right now!"

"Look, baby..."

"We've gotta talk!"

"Okay, okay, your majesty! I'm coming!"

Mary returned the phone and fell into the armchair.

***

When Robert entered, Mary jumped up, Jerry bowed and left the room.

"Now what's the matter?"

"What have you done to Jerry?"

"Well, I just showed him that the relationship between men can be much better than between men and women... What are you staring at me? Wake up, kitten! In the our country it's not condemned any more."

"How could you?" Mary shook her head. "You knew, how straight he is! Poor Jerry, how he was shocked!"

"Come on, girl, he's of age. He has to be responsible for himself."

"He loves you, Robert! He loves you so much! But you abused it!"

"Enough!" Noirson lost his patience. "That you have done to him is much worse than what I did! I said it like a male!"

Mary's face turned red and she looked down.

"I abused his love! How about you, my dear? You didn't abuse his love, just used it, eh? If you, my darling, were in such heat, you could use some screwer! I have a lot of them among my servants!"

"I didn't need a screwer!" Mary cried, she was shaken. "I wanted to feel desired and needed! I wished to feel love!"

"Really? Well, in that case, why did you make such faces after? I watched it!"

"'Cause, I wanted to get it from you." Mary felt tired.

"Look, baby, your lover-boy will be okay, don't worry. Everything is difficult before it is easy. I was gentle, girls were helping. Though, Dylon...Well, you know Dylon... But John didn't even touch him..."

"John? Dylon? Girls?! Oh, Robert! Did you have an orgy again?!"

"Yes I had!" Robert replied defiantly. "But you lost your right to reproach me for that!"

"Leave me alone." Mary closed her eyes.

She heard Robert leave the room.

She heard Jerry's footsteps.

Before Mary realized what was going on, the bodyguard grabbed her and twisted her arms behind her back. He pushed the woman onto the bed. Mary fell to her knees, her chest and face were pressed against the blanket.

"What are you doing?" Mary screamed. She was wearing only a light bathrobe.

Suddenly she understood.

"No, Jerry... Stop it! O-o-o-h!! Help! Robert!! Rich! Somebody help me!"

"Shut up!" the bodyguard grabbed her hair and pulled her head up. "Shut up, you dirty slut! Mr. Noirson has permitted me to fuck you whenever I want, any time, any place! And I'm just using his permission!"

"L i a r !"

"When he comes back you'll be able to ask him yourself!"

Mary cried bitterly.

"What's the matter, dear? I thought you liked to have sex with me! You did enjoy it, didn't you? Or, maybe, you like this way better?" Jerry moved.

At this time the pain was intolerable. Mary gasped and felt dizzy. She could not even cry any more.

"How do you feel now? I've read somewhere that the way in which a woman had sex the first time, she'll love the most. Is it true? Answer me, bitch!"

"You're hurting me!" Mary panted. "Have you cracked or what? You mean bastard! I'm your lady! I'm ordering you to stop it! Oh, Jerry, please, you've gotta stop... I beg you! I think you injured me... I'm hurt, I'm telling you! Stop it! Oh, Heavens, how it hurts!"

"H u r t s ? Your asshole hurts? How about mine?" Jerry blurted out and that made him mad like never before. "How about my soul?! Is it insensitive? Or do you, whore, think that only bodies can be hurt?"

"I can't believe you said you love me!"

"Oh, I do! I really love... to fuck you, Mary Noirson!"

***

Everything has an end.

Jerry finally left the exhausted woman. He unhurriedly took his clothes off, lit a cigarette, made Mary comfortable on the bed and lay down by her side.

"Come on, birdie, let's fly!" He inhaled and started roughly caressing the woman. "I have lots of plans of how we can spend time... You've gotta be an obedient girl! 'Cause, if you're not, I can punish you. Who's gonna protect you?"

"You're right," Mary opened her eyes and looked at him with hopeless depression. "My husband betrayed me. My bodyguard raped me... In the whole wide world nobody protects me."

"Oh, Mary!" Jerry gasped and sat back. "What have I done? Oh, I'm sorry, sorry! I'm really, really sorry! Oh, sunnie, please, forgive me! I got mad, I wanted revenge..."

"Are you happy now?"

"N o."

"Anyway, 'the man that handed me over to you has greater sin'," Mary sighed and looked at the man who twice had her, but whom she saw totally naked for the first time. He was awesome, so tall, powerful, athletic, he had a great muscular body. Mary was even surprised that it did not excite her. "Strange, you worked with me for a long time, but I never asked you, how did Robert find you?"

"My story is very usual." Jerry said with bitterness in his voice. "Almost all Robert's servants came to him the same way. I had good, honest parents. But I wanted action, I wanted adventures! Alcohol, drugs, guns, stealing cars... Some other stuff.." Jerry blushed. "A cop shot me. I was dying in the hospital when Robert came and offered to give me life. But my life would belong to Him. I just was sixteen! I wanted to live at any price! I agreed..." He smiled confusedly: "You know, I've never told anyone about my first day in the training camp. But I do clearly remember that..."

 

 

The training camp

 

"Fights are prohibited!" the chief of the camp said with irritation.

The teenager and his future roommates were gazing at each other. There were five youths, all were at least three years older than Jerry was, but it was the youngest group in all of Noirson's camps.

Four of those guys grinned.

"Fights are prohibited!" the chief repeated with a threatening voice. He addressed it to the stern faced guy. "I'm warning you, Bernard! The Master himself sent that lad!" He pointed Jerry.

They stopped smiling and the teenager cheered up. They would not dare kill or cripple him, and he was not afraid to fight.

"I've got it, sir." the guy answered calmly. And Jerry understood that Bernard ruled the room.

When the chief left, they slowly walked towards the new guy. They went round him like a pack of sharks circling its prey, and from time to time they glanced at Bernard. He lit a cigarette and still searched an alert Jerry.

"Well, well, well," started one of the youths. "I didn't know that they're gonna turn the camp into a kindergarten."

"Now you know." Jerry grinned.

"Oh, such a brave boy, eh?"

"No, it's a girl..." Another youth tenderly petted soft cheek of the new guy. In the next moment he was thrown off by Jerry's punch. He did not expect that leggy teenager to be so strong.

"Never! Ever! Touch me like that!" Jerry's boyish voice broke, and he trembled with rage. "If you don't wanna have your own dick in your fucking mouth!"

"Chill out, mad coyote!" Bernard rejoined. "We're not fags!"

"That's good!" Almost professionally Jerry blocked the baiting jab from another youth. It was not a real strike. It was just a test of his readiness, and Jerry felt it and did not hit back. "I'm a peaceful guy!" He voiced with a challenge. "'Cause I don't want Mr. Noirson to waste his Power, resuscitating you!"

"By the way, how did the Master get you?"

"It's none of your business!" Jerry was still very angry, recalling the operation, which he had failed.

"I asked you nicely, wolf-cub!" Bernard stared at the teenager.

"A pig capped me..." Jerry did not want to go too far.

"Why? A heist? Did you boost a car or rip a some place off?"

"I had forty eight bags of angeldust with me! They weren't mine, and anyway I couldn't leave them, having been alive. Yes! He did cap me! And next I sent him to Hell, to follow both his damn partners!"

"Wow!" Someone whistled. Bernard smiled.

"Join the club, Wolffie!" He stepped forward and shook Jerry's hand.

***

"...We had been trained like gladiators." Jerry flinched. "You can't imagine, how They treated us and what They taught us! Well, that was my first day in the camp. Would you like to hear about my last day? The final test was pretty hard." Jerry grinned. "Even for us. They put us one by one into the pool with a shark. A Great White shark, which hadn't been fed for a while and it, was very hungry. The only weapon allowed was a knife. The task was to not just try and kill that fishie. When you killed it, they sent you another shark. The task was to die, fighting to the last breath, and to not show any fear. Mr. Noirson was sitting in his chair watching us. After the test was done, He resuscitated His future soldier and sent the next guy into the pool. I was the best!" Jerry pronounced proudly. "Only the fourth shark got me. And I was lucky, it bit me through with one bite. I died, screaming: 'I love You, my Lord!'"

Mary closed her eyes.

"I was lucky!" Jerry repeated, his voice was trembling. "'Cause the man, who had been sent next, wasn't. The shark bit off his foot. He tried to get that damn fish. He really tried! I don't know, maybe that shark wasn't hungry, or it was sick, or just lazy! But it didn't attack him as usual. A few minutes later it bit off his hand with his knife. Just one hand! It bit and bit just small pieces! And that man finally fell into despair. For him it'd have been better if he just drowned, but he asked for help. He started to scream, he begged us! Mr. Noirson only watched. That man cried, and that shark... Oh, Mary! It was so awful!"

The woman sat up and stared at her servant. She forced herself to listen to him. She knew her husband could act brutally, but she did not expect such cruelty.

"It was so awful, that even we were riled up! But Mr. Noirson turned his head and looked at us." Jerry tried to mimic Robert's haughty gesture, and Mary involuntarily smiled. It was a real royal motion, and only her husband was able to do that. "He looked at us, and we fell into silence at once. We all belonged to him. We were his slaves, and we chose that way ourselves! But one man jumped into the pool..."

***

"Scott, come back!" Robert rose. "It's not your turn, moron!" He laughed. "Leave that loser!"

Scott tossed his head: "Mr. Noirson, sir, please! He can do it! Just next time! Please, give him a chance! I'm sure, he can do it!"

"I said get out! That's an order!" Robert's face became darker with rage. "I will not resuscitate you, if you dare disobey me!"

***

"And He didn't..." Jerry moaned. "And after Mr. Noirson looked at us again and asked: 'Okay, any more heroes here?' He was visibly angry, and we all kept silence and nobody dared to lift his eyes. Then the Master lit a cigarette, sat down in his chair again and sent the next guy into the pool...Those who graduated this camp were not ordinary humans any more. We're killing machines, we're perfect soldiers! We're afraid of neither pain nor the death. But some things are much worse than death..." And he hung his head.

"I didn't know that." Mary was shaken. "I didn't know a thing about your past. I've never thought... Oh, poor boy..."

And she embraced her bodyguard. It was a hug of pity only, without any sexual feeling. And young man sensed it and became upset.

 

 

The "love triangle"

 

"Look, guys, I almost forgot..."

Suddenly Mary and Jerry heard Robert talking as he walked into the bedroom.

"...I wanted..." Noirson stopped. He saw them. Embracing each other...

Mary jumped off the bed: "Is that true?"

"Look, I just..."

"How could you?" Mary shrieked. "It's base, mean, low act!"

"It's not I who started that, babe!"

Mary fell silent, staring at her husband.

"I just thought that you are a young, healthy, sensual female. If you need sex so much that you were even able to forget your marriage vows, maybe the man whom you had chosen first..."

"You did not forgive me, did you?" Mary asked very calmly.

"I did forgive you." A sarcastic smile curved Robert's thin lips. "You're still my wife." Noirson looked askance at his servant. He was putting his clothes on. "Jerry, I'm a little surprised. I just didn't expect that you were going to use my permission... so soon."

"Your Worship!" Jerry knelt and started to talk emotionally and resolutely. "My Master, My Lord, My King! Be gracious to me, I'm a nobody! I do love Mary, please, allow me to marry her. Please! I beg you! I'll do anything for that!"

Amazed, Robert stared at the young bodyguard and then looked at Mary; he was waiting for her reaction.

"You're a fool, Jerry." Mary sighed as she sadly shook her head. "After such a nightmare, what you've done to me, I've lost all my feelings for you."

"A-a-a-h!" Robert spun to his wife. "You did feel something, didn't you?"

"M a r y !" Jerry gasped. Suddenly he thought, though long overdue, he should have told Mary about Robert's permission instead of just using it. Then the woman, being outraged by this mistreatment would be able to leave her husband. But now it was too late.

As usual Noirson guessed correctly. He knew his emotional young servant too well and almost did not risk it. Robert wanted to be sure, that Mary would not go away with Jerry, and his plan worked. And now, realizing this, the bodyguard moaned and damned his lack of restraint.

"Shut up!" Mary yelled. "Shut up, you two! I hate you both! You gang of bandits! Go to Hell! I'm leaving this Goddamn house right now!"

"You'll leave this Goddamn house only when I wish it!" Robert retorted haughtily. "You're my property, my prisoner, my slave-girl!"

Mary stared at Noirson. She knew her husband too well. She clearly understood that it was impossible to force Robert that way.

"As my husband you must protect me not only against enemies," Mary tried to talk calmly. "But from your friends and servants too! If you don't wanna divorce me, I demand respect!"

"'Demand'? Baby, I don't like this word."

Mary closed her eyes. She fell into a trance: "I order you to do this for the name of God the Creator."

Robert uttered a screech full of frenzy. Mary got frightened: she had never seen her husband so infuriated. "Oh, my God! He's gonna kill me!" She thought.

But Robert took a deep breath and gained control of himself again.

"Jerry," Noirson was panting as if he had taken a long run. "I'm sorry, but my permission is canceled."

"But, sir..."

"I'll explain that later. Call all people, I've got to talk to them."

"Master..." Jerry was shaking.

"Could you," enraged Noirson shouted, "just get your fucking ass out of here and do what I said!"

Jerry ran away.

Robert stepped to his wife and grabbed her shoulder with such strength that Mary's head shook and her teeth chattered.

"If you ever, ever, ever! Ask me like that again, I'll kill you!" He shouted in her face. "I swear! I'll kill you!"

"Who are you?" Mary's curiosity was stronger than fear. "At first I thought, you're some kind of wizard. Next I thought you're the Messiah. Finally, I thought you're an atheist... But you are a believer! Oh, my God! You are a really strong believer... Who are you?" Mary started to tremble. "Who are you?"

"I'm your husband." Robert released his wife. "And I'll show respect to you, my darling." And he went away.

 

 

The prayer

 

"Let someone smile," Jerry thought, as he slowly walked along the corridor. "Anyone, come on, smile at me, and I'll kill you."

In that house it was impossible to sneeze without being noticed, and Jerry hated it. Everybody knew about yesterday's "affair" and the following party. Jerry looked right into the eyes of every servant and maid, but nobody smiled, and more so, on all the faces he saw strange respect and fear, and he did not understand what was going on.

He went to guard room and stared at the schedule of guard's shifts. Jerry tried to concentrate, but he heard whispering and he felt that he was starting to lose control.

"That lucky guy..." Jerry heard. He rushed to the security, he grabbed the guard, he hit him.

Everybody was afraid of Jerry. However, everybody had friends. Although no one dared to hit the young bodyguard, pals of that guy and own friends of Jerry very gently made him stop.

"You're not a homo, Al!" Jerry screamed with pain in his voice. He tried to get that guard, but other servants hold him securely. "How could you call me 'lucky?'"

"Why did you get mad?" When the fight had began Jack Leclerc, their chief, came from his office. "Al's right! We were all surprised, when you got the promotion instead of a punishment."

"P r o m o t i o n ?." amazed, Jerry looked around. Everybody was gazing at him with such jealous envy that he became confused. Two awful thoughts came to Jerry's head. First, maybe he did not love his Master enough. And second, even much worse thought: "What if it is a promotion? What if He would like to "invite" me to all His parties?"

Shocked, Jerry tore himself from guard's hands and ran to his apartment.

With unlimited despair he looked around; he knew, they would not allow him to burn himself to death.

Jerry fell on his knees.

"I'm sorry!" He whispered. "I'm so, so sorry! O dear God! I'm only twenty-four! You, having the wisdom of billions of years, take a pity on me! Oh, Powerful One, forgive me! Please, dear God, terminate me!"

He thought about Mary.

"She doesn't love me, and I myself made her hate me!" Jerry looked up with hope. "Nobody would be upset, if I go! If you think I have been punished enough, if you really can forgive me even after all my actions, please, please, just terminate me!" He closed his eyes. He believed and trusted, he hoped lightning from sky would strike him, or a huge fist would smash him like a bug.

But nothing happened.

He heard the knock. Jerry slow got up and opened the door.

"Are you sleeping?" It was his partner Rich. "Mrs. Noirson wishes to go shopping... What's wrong with you, Jerry?" He looked at his human partner with suspicion. "I don't feel you. I have no contact with your soul!"

"And what?" Jerry sighed and took his coat. "It's, probably, because of my promotion. Let's go, never mind." And they left the apartment.


Chapter Six: The discovery

Megan

 

Feeling glum, Mary was morosely browsing through the flowers. Jerry was next to her and she felt burning shame and vexation. Yesterday that guy really "made" Her, this morning he brutally raped her, after that he told her a lot of awful things, and his nonsensical, absurd request-proposal amazed the woman.

It was just too much for two days.

"Are you okay, Mrs. Noirson?" Megan, the salesgirl, asked carefully. Mary lifted her eyes and squeezed out a smile: "I'm okay, you?"

"I have a problem," Megan was shaken. She was scared to death, but her love forced the girl to do this.

Victor impressed Megan from their first meeting, when he knocked on her door, and she saw him, covered in soot and blood, clung to the wall with one hand, and held two long daggers with another.

They got to know each other, and during the months of their communication they became real friends. Only lately Megan realized, she had more than just a friendly feeling to Victor, however, she never dared to talk to him about that.

Engrossed in his mission, twice as old as she was, Victor had gone through so many ordeals and tragedies, he was a monk and a fanatic, and Megan was hiding her feelings. She did not want to be a burden to him, and she was ready to sacrifice her life to help him.

She introduced Victor to the local pastor, Father Warren, and priests told her the truth about Robert Noirson. Shocked, the girl believed them at once. Mary was a regular customer of the shop, where Megan worked. They met often, and the sales girl ventured to try and inform her.

"Can we talk for a while?" Megan questionable gazed at Mary. "Just a few minutes, please?"

"Sure, Megan!" Mary forgot about herself. "What's wrong, dear?"

"It's too personal," Megan looked at Jerry. "Can we talk privately?"

They went to the staff's room. Jerry checked the room out, locked the window and closed the curtains. He nodded to his lady and went away.

For a few seconds Megan kept silent. The task that the girl had was not easy. Keeping her promise, Mary Noirson avoided all talk about her husband, so the sales girl decided to start from afar.

Megan told Mary the entire Antichrist's story, from his birth to his marriage. She carefully avoided using any names of people or specific places. Megan wanted to tell Mary the whole story first. In the same way she prepared a few articles to show Mary Noirson. It was not the first time the Son of the Devil came on Earth.

Mary believed all the proof was very conclusive. Very, very carefully Megan started to talk about recent events: "He murdered his wife, because he met a young girl and wanted to marry her..."

"It's awful, Megan!" Mary Noirson sighed. "You know, I'm the second wife of Robert, his first wife died in an accident."

"Yes, the Beast made his wife's death look like an accident." Megan dared to talk specifically. "The Antichrist is so powerful; do you think it was difficult for him?. to set fire to oil?"

At first Mary Noirson did not understand.

"He burned his wife, because, if she died any other way, you were able to ask him to resurrect her! But he wanted to be free. For you."

"Shut up!" Mary sprang up. "It's not true !"

"It is true! Check these articles again!"

"Enough!" Mary Noirson resolutely went to the exit. "It's slander and I don't wanna listen to it!"

"You've gotta believe me!" Megan tried to hold Mary Noirson. But the woman pushed the salesgirl away and rushed out.

Megan did not know what to do now.

The scarlet curtains were closed and the bloody shades scared the girl. She desired to see sunshine again. She pulled the handle, the curtains moved, but did not open. Megan looked attentively. The thin wire was tangled in the loops.

Megan took a chair, put it on the windowsill and climbed onto the seat. The loops were right opposite her face. Megan started to disentangle the wire.

Suddenly a huge black spider fell on her hand.

The girl squealed and threw it away, but with this sharp movement she lost her balance. Megan hit the windowpane with force and fell out. Her head slipped into the one of the loops and the girl hung in the air. Because of the weight of her body the loop tightened, the sharp wire thrusting deeper and deeper into her neck. It worked like a guillotine.

Finally, the headless body fell to the ground near the wall and a few seconds later the head, oozing blood, fell onto the snow.

***

Mary was on her way home.

Jerry and Rich kept silent, but somehow Mary was sure that they knew about the subject of the talk that she had in the shop. Mary closed the glass between herself and the bodyguards, she wanted to be alone.

She turned on the TV and the first thing she saw was a news report. Some quick reporter had already found out about Megan. He was excited, but tried to talk with visible compassion.

Mary gasped when the reporter showed the remains of the salesgirl.

Suddenly the TV turned off all by itself, yet she had seen enough. Mary Noirson had no doubts anymore.

 

 

Victor

 

They watched the news report without a word being said.

"I give up." Victor mumbled, putting his hands on his head. It was him, Victor, who escaped with the daggers, and now he was living in the house of the local pastor, Father Warren. "I've lost all my friends and now that poor girl has been murdered... Maybe we're wrong? Maybe it's impossible?"

"Pull yourself together!" Father Warren resolutely got to his feet. "God will help us!" He said as he walked away.

Shocked with Megan's awful death, Victor just sat there for a long time. Luckily, Victor did not know about her love for him. He could lose his mind. Deep in thought, the monk did not hear the pastor leave the house.

The ringing phone gave him a start. Victor answered it. Some woman asked for Father Warren and the monk called for his friend. There was no answer from the pastor. Victor mumbled a few excuses and hastily put the receiver in its place.

He got worried and quickly went from room to room. Father Warren was not here and Victor started trembling. An awful suspicion crept into his soul. He ran to the bedroom and pulled out the drawer, where they kept the daggers. His worst fears were realized; the drawer was empty.

Gasping, Victor grabbed his coat and rushed out of the house, but in the anteroom he collided with an unknown man.

"Sorry, I have to go!" the monk wanted to run again, however, the man took his hand and stopped him: "Calm down, Victor! You can do nothing, it's too late..."

Amazed, Victor stared at the stranger: "How do you know? Who are you?"

"My name is Michael Alter," the man smiled. "Can we talk?"

"But it's so stupid! We've gotta stop him!" exhausted, Victor sat on the couch. "He wants to do it alone! We are professionals! And we couldn't kill the Beast!"

"Of course you couldn't," Michael sighed. "No human can. Besides, do you really think, if you kill Robert Noirson it will clean Earth off Evil?"

"Oh, God! Oh, dear God!" Victor screamed with tears in his voice. "I can't stand it any longer! I have to do something! Please! Please, tell me, what do I have to do!"

"Sh-sh-sh!" Alter smiled and sat next to the monk. "Don't shout! Our Father in Heaven can hear even weak thoughts, it's not necessary to cry out loud to be heard."

Victor gazed at Michael. This man was emitting unlimited calmness and hope, and for the first time a sense of deep peace filled the monk.

 

 

At home

 

The car stopped and Jerry opened the door and helped Mary get out. She looked into his eyes: "Did you know about that?"

"W h a t ? !" the question took the bodyguard by surprise. "What are you talking about, ma'am?"

"Of course, you knew." Mary Noirson sighed.

She plodded to her bedroom and fell down on her bed. She felt no fear, just an awful emptiness.

Mary was not surprised and did not get scared when she saw her husband.

"Well," Robert smiled sadly. "What are you going to do now?"

Mary shrugged her shoulders.

"Want to kill me?"

Mary silently shook her head.

"Okay, sweetheart, but we both understand that it's impossible to pretend that nothing happened."

Mary closed her eyes and tears ran down her cheeks: "I love you, honey... Oh, God, forgive me! I still love you, Robert."

"G r e a t !"

The triumph sounded in Noirson's voice amazed the woman. She stopped crying and looked at her husband very attentively.

"What, Mary? You're smart enough to understand what you have to do for me to be with me forever."

Unlimited horror seized the young woman: "What?"

"Renounce God, divorce or die." He said casually.

"No," Mary gasped. "You don't mean that, do you? It's possible for us to still be spouses! The Bible said: 'wife, do not leave your husband... For how do you know, but that you will save your husband'! It's the First to Corinthians 7:12-16! I do remember this!"

"No, my darling, you did not!" Robert retorted irritably. "In the seven-twelve it says: 'yet he is agreeable to dwelling with her.' But I'm not! I can't allow a potential betrayer to live in my house!"

"I won't betray you!"

"You already have!"

"Okay," Mary closed her eyes. "I'll write a letter, where I'll show my death as a suicide and you won't have any troubles or problems..."

"Stupid Catholic fosterling!" Noirson looked maliciously at his wife. "I don't need your bit of paper! I'll just make your heart stop or burst some blood vessel that's all! Nobody will suspect me!"

"Yes," Mary quietly laughed. "Sorry, honey! I just forgot who you are."

Robert felt deprived of strength. As usual her submission put out his anger.

"Kitten," his voice was tender. "I'm really sorry, but you leave me no choice!"

"It's okay, honey, do it. I was happy with you, I'm not afraid to die."

Robert closed his eyes and started to concentrate.

But he did not "see" Her. Surprised Noirson tried again, but suddenly he realized that they belong to different levels, and Robert called himself an idiot.

He opened his eyes and for a few seconds he thought about how to explain to his wife what happened. He did not want to show her his powerlessness.

"Sweetie," Noirson finally found the means to say it nicely. "I'll need a letter to explain your death. I can't kill you with my Power, because I love you too much."

Mary smiled through tears: "I've never imagined such a situation! You're gonna kill me, but I'm feeling happy!"

"I'm glad." Robert said mechanically. He took out a syringe. "Just a little shot. You'll fall asleep that's all."

Mary stretched out her arm and did not even flinch, when Noirson made the injection.

Robert massaged her skin and for a few minutes he sat near his dying wife, holding her hand and checking her pulse. It was getting weaker and started to break off... Gone...

Noirson sighed. He slowly got up and hobbled away.

Robert touched the doorknob when he heard a sound. For this room it was an impossible sound. It was a hoarse moan.

Noirson turned back. She was tossing in the bed. Robert could not believe his eyes. He slowly limped to his wife.

Mary Noirson opened her eyes and looked at her husband reproachfully: "Why did you resuscitate me?"

Robert screamed with fear. He snatched out his gun and shot the woman. He kept firing until the gun was empty. Her wounds disappeared even faster. Noirson threw away the useless gun.

"Please, no more!" Mary slid down off the bed covered with her blood. "Please, no more! Please..." Squeezed with horror she tried to hide herself from the glowing eyes of her husband.

He rushed at her, he kicked her. He knew now, he was not able to murder her anyway and this thought drove him crazy. Mad with hatred Robert kicked and trampled the woman, whom he kissed and caressed so many times.

He beat her until he became exhausted. Noirson stumbled and fell down on the floor near his wife. He gazed at her: she started breathing again.

Mary got up on all fours, crawled, sprang up and ran away.

 

 

In the forest

 

Deep into their private forest Mary Noirson started to understand reality again. She looked at herself and got horrified. She was barefoot and almost naked, wearing only blood stained rags. The snow was almost knee high.

Confused, Mary looked around.

"What am I gonna do now? What can I do? Go home? No way!" She decided resolutely. "Go to the police? It's very tempting, but also naive and stupid." She remembered how easily Robert changed her police record and evidence.

Yet for a while she enjoyed dreaming about this kind of revenge. Mary Noirson imagined her husband under examination, in the dock and finally in jail.

But the memory about the awful scene that Robert made, took her last strength and Mary sat down straight into the snow: "Interesting, if I freeze to death will it be a suicide in the eyes of God or not?"

Her soul desired death, however, the young strong body did not. A few minutes later the intolerable cold forced her to get up. She cried with pain and despair. She ventured to go home.

"I'll just warm up and take my stuff. He won't refuse me, I'm sure. Maybe he's already sorry for his lack of restraint... He loves me, maybe we can make up?"

Thinking this way, Mary Noirson struggled forward through the forest. She was surprised how easily she was able to wander here.

***

It was getting dark, the short winter day neared the end. Mary and Pastor Warren went out on this glade at the same time. It was him, who persuaded Megan to inform Mary Noirson. Now he decided to act himself.

For a few minutes the woman and Father Warren just gazed at each other.

"W o w !" the priest said finally. "Do you wanna take revenge yourself?"

Mary Noirson found it funny, but she was so frozen and tired, she had no power to even smile.

"It's none of my business to judge him." She was talking with great effort. "And it's none of your business either!"

"Oh, is that so? That's a nice way of thinking! You were raised in a Catholic orphanage and you don't wanna kill the Antichrist?"

"God the Creator is powerful enough. If He wishes, He's able to destroy Robert."

"But we are tools of God!" Pastor Warren took out a bag. "I have the daggers!"

Mary gasped.

The sudden low mad roar caused the Pastor to look back. He had never seen such dogs.

"They are wild African dogs," Mary licked her lips and looked around with worry. "They are able to eat up a whole human body; a skull, hair, big bones, everything! But they don't dare to attack you while you stay close to me... What are we gonna do? Oh, I know! The back gate is just a few yards from here! I'll open it for you, then you'll be able to escape! But give me the daggers! I can't forgive myself that he lost them!"

Pastor Warren did not respond.

"Look," Mary neared him. "Robert knows you are here. I'll help you, just give the daggers to me!"

"You asked for it, you got it!" the priest snatched out the dagger and hit the woman in her chest. Not expecting this, Mary did not protect herself. The dogs howled with rage. Pastor Warren heard the sound of engines. "I can't reach the Beast, but I'll kill you, She-Devil!"

He hit Mary Noirson again and again.

"R o b e r t !" She screamed and tumbled, but Pastor Warren knelt and continued his bloody action until a searchlight lit up the glade and a burst of a machine-gun fire threw the priest into the snow.

Jerry was the first to reach Mary. He quickly checked her out, gasped and looked back at his Master. Noirson waved his hand and the snow disappeared from this glade. Then Robert limped closer and bent over his wife. His face became clouded.

"What are you waiting for?" Jerry gazed at his Master with hope. "Cure her! Hurry!"

"Shut up, Jerry!" confused, Robert was thinking. "Calm down!" He touched Mary's neck. He could not feel her pulse. He turned to Slay. "Take her to the hospital, maybe it's not too late."

"What are you talking about?" Jerry clutched Noirson's shoulder with such an impulse that Robert barely kept his feet. "At least half of her wounds are fatal! If You don't cure her, she's gonna die for sure!"

"You mad dog!" the face of the Beast distorted with inhuman anger, he pushed his young servant away. "How dare you touch me? Have you finally cracked or what? Control yourself!"

The servants carried their lady to the helicopter. Jerry went near her. He massaged Mary's wrist, he panted with sorrow: "Hold on, baby! Please, sunnie, don't die! My love, my life! Oh, please, hold on..."

Robert trembled, he was not able to suppress his jealousy any longer.

"Kill him!" Noirson whispered to Slay. The valet took out his gun.

"Nicely," Robert emphasized.

The servant nodded, stepped forward and pressed the muzzle of the gun to Jerry's back.

Roger Slay was a professional, the young bodyguard did not even realize that he was dying. Even while dying, Jerry still held the hand of the woman whom he loved more than his own life, and the servants could barely unclench his fingers.

They left the bodies of the Pastor and Jerry on the glade, and the wild African dogs had a great supper that night.

 

 

Again

 

Doctor Akherman walked quickly along the corridor. He was just wearing a surgical gown and the nurse ran after him tying it up.

The assistant saw the doctor, rushed to him and started to whisper emotionally. The eyebrows of the doctor rose with amazement.

"We told Him," the assistant was swinging his arms. "Of course, we connected her, and of course, it's useless... It's just impossible..."

They reached the ward.

Doctor Akherman saw his team. Everybody looked confused and alarmed. Leaning on his walking stick, Robert stood next to his wife and tenderly petted her hair.

Doctor Akherman looked at the monitors, checked out all the connections, then looked again.

"Mr. Noirson," He said finally. "I'm very sorry, but Your wife is dead. We can do nothing."

Robert turned his head and looked at the doctor. It was a gaze of a wounded animal: a pain and rage glowed in the eyes of the Beast.

"Do something!" Noirson told him. "Just try!"

Doctor Akherman shrugged his shoulders, and this gesture killed the last hope in Robert's heart.

The doctor and the assistant whispered to each other. Any efforts would be useless, and they all understood that. But they did not want to have a "ride to Hell", so they had to show some activity to please their Master and Lord, and avoid his anger.

Usually the use of the defibrillator impressed observers.

The medics gently moved Noirson aside, prepared, and the discharge tossed up the body.

Everybody looked at the monitor.

"A g a i n !" Robert did not order, he pleaded.

They tried again. And again. And again.

The assistant helplessly glanced at the doctor, and he looked at Noirson.

Robert kept silent. Doctor Akherman came to him: "I'm very sorry, sir. She's gone."

"You fucking doctor!" Noirson grabbed doctor Akherman. "What have you studied in the last quarter of a century since you graduated!"

"S i r !" Doctor Akherman hissed with anger: Robert wounded his professional feelings. "Miracles are Your department, not mine! Ask Your Father! Ask the God, if You dare! But not me! I'm just a human!"

Robert released the doctor.

"Leave us." Noirson hung his head.

The assistant took the useless mask away from Mary's face. The team turned off the equipment and left the ward.

***

Noirson bent over Mary and tenderly kissed her cold, motionless lips.

"I wished her death." He whispered. "But I wanted to kill her myself. That's not fair!" Enraged, Robert tossed his face. "Cruel God! Did You want to double my pain? You have done it! Are You satisfied? But that's not fair! She's my wife! She's my property! She belongs to me! Only I can dispose of her!" Noirson grabbed the body of his wife. "Give her back! She's mine! She chose me; she loves me, she wanted to stay with me! She's mine..." His voice broke with sobs. Noirson carefully put the dead woman back on the table.

Robert knelt. Humbling his pride, he ventured to use the prayer that only angels are able to use. He did not promise to change himself, he just admitted he was powerless.

When Robert came back from the trance, he looked at the woman first.

Nothing happened. Noirson got up slowly.

She sighed. Robert stood stock-still. She moaned.

Noirson gasped with happiness: Mary opened her eyes.

"Robert..." It was her last word, it was her first word. She saw her husband. "You! You saved me! You resuscitated me!"

Suddenly, Noirson realized that now he got the only and, probably, last chance to save his soul. If he openly recognized the domination of God, he, Robert, will be saved and everything will be forgiven of him.

But it meant he had to renounce his Father, whom Noirson loved more than himself.

If Robert showed God's act as his own, he would be doomed for sure. That kind of sin God did not forgive even to Moses.

Noirson hesitated, however, not for long.

"Yes, my darling," He said resolutely. "I did it."

"But why?" Mary cried. "If you don't trust me, why are you doing this?"

"Because, I love you." Robert bit his lip. "Oh, Father, how I love you!" He yearned to hug her, but did not dare.

Mary understood his feelings and opened her arms: "Come here, honey!"

They embraced each other as a drowning person snatches a life buoy.

The whole World: Earth, Hell and Heavens were against them.

"We were living together and those were happy years. If we don't try to change each other, if we just leave everything as it was, we can be happy again."

Who said it? He or she? Maybe they just thought the same thought. But it was the deal, the agreement, the treaty and the pact.

"How much time do we have?" Mary asked.

"Matthew 24:36, do you remember, sweetheart? 'Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels nor the Son, but only..'" Robert did not dare to continue.

"...'But only our Father in heaven.'" Mary finished the quotation. "Well, let's just love each other as long as we can..."

 

 

The maid

 

A few days later Mary dared to ask about Jerry. She did not want to upset her husband, so she decided to ask her maid.

Today was Francine's shift. It was Jerry who found this Canadian girl, besides, Mary overheard some servants say he was Francine's pimp, and she addressed her.

The maid stood still then slowly turned to her lady. The white headdress on Francine's bright green hair looked like snow on the grass. The girl changed the color of her hair again. She was doing that every week with more and more frequency. Mary could not understand why and this irritated her. The maid stared at her lady, and did not reply.

"What?" Mary felt vexation. "Are you a little slow? Where is Jerry?"

"Slay gunned down him, and the dogs ate him up," the girl said with a cold voice.

Mary hung her head. She felt awfully guilty, but she thought it was the best solution for all three of them.

"And it happened because of your heat!" the maid continued impudently.

Surprised, Mary gawked at the girl.

The cat-like Francine's eyes glinted underneath her long green bangs. She looked like a lioness gazing through reeds, and the amazed Mary even thought Francine had lost her mind and was going to attack her.

"Disappointed?" the maid did not turn a hair. "Did you want to fuck again?"

"Are you drunk or what?" Mary gasped. "How dare you talk to me like that?"

"Pourquoi pas?" the girl asked calmly. "Why not? Did you think he only fucked you? Hah! He didn't fuck Joanne and that's because she's a lesbian! Of course, after such a hubby that you have, you certainly need some nice sturdy guy, eh?"

"Get out of here, you crazy whore!" Mary yelled at the maid.

"I am a whore, am I?" Francine snored. "What about you, my lady? I am not married, I didn't promise any man that I'd belong to him, and only him!"

"Yes, I am your lady!" Mary haughtily looked at a livid Francine. "I'm not surprised that horny youngster had fun with probably every female in the house. But Jerry loved me, and no one can dispute that!"

"Loved?" Francine laughed intentionally. "My poor naive boy just wanted to taste the Master's stuff! Well, it was not the first time your hubby shared a female with his servant, eh?"

"Big deal!" Mary's eyes grew narrow. "As I know, you were able to seduce even your own daddy, you slut!"

"I am a slut, but I'm not a hypocrite!"

"Your stupid screwer was just a slave!" Mary cried out. "And I can use our slaves, however I want!"

"Well," Francine smiled. "And I can do whatever I want with your hubby!" Keeping a smile, she left a shocked Mary.

***

At the diner Mary ate, not looking at her husband, and Noirson got worried.

"What's wrong, honey?" He asked finally.

"That cranky Montreal mam'zel made a scene with me." Mary did not lift her eyes.

"Oh, Francine surely could!" Noirson involuntarily chuckled with delight. Mary tossed her head, and Robert did not have time to change the composure of his face. His laugh died instantly under her mad glare. The jealous spite in the eyes of his wife surprised and even scared him.

"I don't wanna have her as my maid anymore, and I want you to order that no prostitute can leave the building C without permission from now on!"

"Look, kitten," Noirson replied uncertainly. "I will order that, don't worry! But Francine... She's not a usual slave-girl, she came here voluntarily, she has a contract..."

Mary stared at her husband, and for the first time in their communication Robert sensed her Power. Without a word she got up, and went toward the door. Noirson hastily moved to follow her. Mary stopped, looked at her husband, and he carefully hugged her.

"I'll do anything!" Robert kissed the stern face of his wife. "Anything, that you wish for!"

Mary smiled. She beamed like the sun, and Noirson embraced her tighter. They were together, she was with him, she was his, she belonged to him, and Robert moaned, enjoying that feeling.

 

 

The new page

 

Mary Noirson was in the waiting room, watching TV and browsing through some magazines. The young woman was waiting for the results of her tests and was very worried.

***

The first weeks after their reconciliation had passed as if only a few days and were like a second honeymoon for the Noirsons. Mary and Robert spent all their free time together, and they were not thinking about the future and not recalling the past.

Mary did not ask her husband about Jerry, and Noirson was glad. The Son of the Devil, he lost Jerry's soul, and was very surprised when he discovered that. Well, it was a usual defeat, and, as he said at their first meeting with Jerry, it happened sometimes. But it still hurt, and Robert did not want Mary to know about that.

So, the Noirsons lived happily together like newlyweds and were enjoying each other like never before.

This was why when her "regular days" did not come Mary Noirson got worried. She was afraid that their reckless sexual life could be reason for some injury or trauma.

***

The nurse called her and Mary Noirson went into the office of Dr. Sarah Northberg.

They were alone in the room. The doctor gave her a significant silence and Mary was scared to death.

"Mrs. Noirson," doctor Northberg started finally. "I am a female also, so I think we can understand and help each other."

Least of all did Mary expect to hear that.

"Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. I will not ask a lot, just triple your usual payment check to me that's all."

"Why? What's wrong with me?"

"You're pregnant, Mrs. Noirson."

Mary gasped. The Noirsons did not use any contraception during those years and she had almost lost all hope of becoming a mother. It was a sharp change from worry to happiness that the young woman could not say a word.

"Don't worry Mrs. Noirson," Sarah Northberg continued confidently. "We can do it without informing your husband."

Mary's eyes opened widely.

"The abortion at this stage is very easy. You can come here tomorrow and I will fix everything."

"Are you raving?" Mary gazed at the doctor. "What are you talking about? I won't have an abortion!"

"Really?" Now it was the turn of the doctor to be amazed. "Look, I know your husband very well and I strongly recommend you do not test the limits of his love for you."

"Enough!" Mary Noirson got to her feet and left. As she was leaving she looked back.

"You need a vacation, doctor!"

"You need a punishment, stupid!" Doctor Northberg mumbled with rage and she picked up the phone.

***

At home Mary ran to her bedroom, jumped on the bed and embraced herself.

She was overflowing with happiness. She closed her eyes and started to say a thanksgiving prayer for herself. Mary was so impressed that she fell asleep despite it being daytime. That had never happened before and her sleep was very light.

She woke up when Robert came into her bedroom and heavily sat into the armchair. His face was so sad that the woman did not dare to smile.

"What's wrong, honey?" Mary asked with worry.

"Doctor Northberg called me."

Taken aback, the woman kept silent.

"So," Robert sighed and continued with a unnatural smile. "Well, Jerry had done a great job, eh?"

"What do you mean?" Mary gasped.

"Don't be so naive, baby," Noirson did not look at his wife. "You did not become pregnant all those years with me, but when you got another male..."

"No!" Mary screamed with despair. Now she understood the doctor's hints. "He used a condom..." Her face blushed, the racking shame squeezed her throat. "And the second time... Oh, my God! He didn't... I didn't think... No... It was just a few minutes. Maybe less... I don't know! I don't remember! It's no matter, finally! Do I have to explain why? You bastard!" She yelled at her husband. "It was your fault! During my life I've been raped three times because of you!" Noirson did not reply and she burst into tears. "Oh, what am I talking about! Oh, I'm sorry, sorry, honey! But anyway I was on those pills..."

"Kitten, no contraceptive is one hundred percent safe." Robert looked at his sobbing wife with compassion. "And sometimes it is enough to have intercourse to become pregnant. That son of a bitch! I did warn him, honey, honest!" Noirson sighed. "I'm very sorry, my little lamb, but you have to have an abortion."

Mary stared at him, and Robert got confused.

"Look, bunny, I forgave your "affair", but I can't forget! It still hurts, babe, sorry! If you keep this child, it will be a permanent reminder. You know, I'm hot tempered! It will be hell for all of us. Please, try to understand!"

"I understand." Mary replied tiredly. Suddenly a new thought came to her. "We've gotta have a DNA test to find out! Maybe God will be merciful to us and it's your child?"

"Merciful? My child?" Robert repeated with bitter sadness. "I have the chromosome set of the snake. This is why no woman on Earth can be pregnant to me. But you're not an ordinary human being. Who knows, maybe we can mate... But in that case, if it really is my baby, it's going to be a monster; a cross between a human and an animal."

It was too much. Mary lost consciousness.

***

When she opened her eyes, she saw her husband speaking on the phone.

"11 a.m.? Great! Yes, she'll come. Thank you." Robert put the receiver down and turned to his wife. "Are you all right, sweetie-pie? Tomorrow, 11 a.m. Trust me, baby, it's the best way in any case."

He came close to Mary, bent over to her. He started kissing and caressing her, but the shocked woman looked at him with so such grief that Robert stopped at once.

"I'm really sorry, honey." He tenderly petted her hair. "I'll see you tomorrow."

He kissed her one time more, stood up, sighed and stumbled out.

***

For a long time Mary Noirson laid on the bed. She was thinking.

She knew that it was impossible to leave this house without being noticed. But she decided to save her child at any price.

"Of course, it's Robert's child, no doubts." Mary said for herself. "Monster..." the woman closed her eyes. "But it's my blood, my flesh...If God sent it to me... My long awaited baby, I won't kill you, don't worry! I'm sure, your father will accept you some day."

Resolutely rising, Mary started to prepare for tomorrow.

***

Mary Noirson did not come down for breakfast. Her husband was able to read her thoughts. She waited near the window and when she saw Robert's business car, she waved her hand. Noirson waved too and the limousine went through the gates.

Mary pressed her hands to her face: "Forgive me, honey..."

She did not cry, but her heart was broken.

 

 

Martin

 

Mary Noirson kept a smile until her new bodyguard Martin Rawlins left the ward. Then her face became stern and concentrated.

At first Mary called a taxi.

From her purse she took out a rope, a fishing line, and a prop. She opened the window and looked outside. She planned just to get down, but now she saw that a garage building was very close. It was even easier.

Mary fastened the rope, got outside, jumped, swung and landed on the roof of the garage without any troubles. She pulled the rope, quickly rolled it up and then pulled the fishing line. The prop fell out and the window closed.

Mary took all her stuff with her to trash it later.

Mary Noirson got down to the street just in time, the cab arrived, and she did not even lose a minute. She knew that a pursuit would start very soon.

***

Shocked, Martin looked around the empty ward. He took out his cell-phone: "George, we have a problem..."

When his head partner came, they both together checked the ward.

Finally George looked at Martin Rawlins with suspicion: "I hope, you did not help her escape?"

Martin's face was pale.

"Okay, call the Master, and pray to His Father that Mr. Noirson won't send you to Hell alive."

***

Robert arrived half an hour later.

"What the hell's going on?" He looked at the bending George and kneeling Martin. "I didn't understand a thing in your crazy report. Where is my wife?"

Rawlins was able to only moan. George took a deep breath: "Sir, we have no idea."

Noirson stared at him.

"Martin left her here, for only about three minutes, but when he went to check her out, she was gone."

"Are you raving or what?" Robert shouted. "What do you mean 'gone'?"

"Sir, she just disappeared."

Now it was Noirson's turn to be surprised.

He looked around, went to the window, lifted the frame, looked outside and gazed at the garage roof.

"Was the window locked?" Robert spun to the bodyguards.

Everybody looked at Rawlins.

"Martin, did you check the window?"

"It's the seventh floor!" the servant mumbled.

"So, you did not..."

"M a s t e r!" Rawlins screamed with despair. "I'll find her! I swear!"

"If you, moron, were so stupid that you lost her, do you think you are smart enough to find her?" Noirson snorted. "Take him!"

Two of Robert's men stepped forward, grabbed Rawlins and disappeared.

"Well, George," Noirson lit a cigarette. "Why did you teach Martin so bad?"

"Oh, My Lord, be merciful!" the servant fell on his knees, he was shaking with terror. "He was my partner for only a few weeks..."

"But you're an experienced bodyguard! How could you make such a mistake! You should've checked that damn window first!"

George hung his head with hopeless depression.

"Well, it's human to err. George, you worked with me for a long time. I know your devotion and I appreciate it. This is why I give you a chance: find her within seventy-two hours or I'll send you to follow Martin. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir... Thank you, my Lord..."

Suddenly a new thought came to Robert. He grabbed the hospital phone.

"I need all information about calls from this phone for the last twenty four hours," Robert listened. "Thank you." He put down the receiver and looked at his men. "Fellows, we have a clue, she called a taxi to the address on the next street. Okay, people, let's go!"

 

 

Plans

 

"Oh, really?" Dylon Noirson was speaking on the phone. "Have they split up?" Dylon thought for a while. Smart and skillful, Raymond was Dylon Noirson's best man, and Dylon used him for all the difficult missions. "Look, Raymond, when she's tracked down, I wanna be the first to get the information. Do anything, but I wanna be informed before Robert. Do you remember, how she mocked you as she kicked you out her apartment? Now we both have a chance to avenge us! But don't put Anhella in that! I don't want any trouble for Her! Do you understand? That's my man!"

Dylon put down the receiver and smiled. He was very excited with his new idea.

***

Anhella Vixen gloomily browsed through the information. Slay and Raymond were waiting for her instructions. The situation was awfully absurd. All three hated Mary Noirson mortally, and desired her gone forever, however, their sense of duty forced them to do their best to find her and send her back.

Roger Slay got the instructions first. But before he left the office, he stopped near the door and gazed at Raymond. Slay did not have the same abilities as his Master had, yet he was not human, and sensed that Raymond was blocking his mind as Dylon Noirson had taught him.

Now Roger realized that Dylon Noirson had projected something. And it would certainly be no good for the Master's wife. And Slay hesitated for a second. But his loyalty to Robert overcame his own feelings for Mary Noirson.

"Raymond," Roger said finally. "You have to warn your master!"

Dylon Noirson's helper jumped, glanced at Slay and did not reply.

"You both would be in big trouble if I report that to Mr. Noirson!"

Anhella turned her head and attentively looked at them.

"Mind your own business and I'll mind mine." Raymond mumbled with effort. That monster in a the human body scared him to death, however, his devotion to Dylon Noirson was stronger than any fears.

"Yes, Roger," Anhella supported him. "Go, we all have a lot of things to do."

Her voice sounded so significant that both males stared at the secretary.

"I don't want the Master upset, you stupid humans!" Slay got angry.

"I said, you can go!"

Her metallic voice made Roger smile.

"Dear Miss Vixen," He responded. "Don't try to scare me, little girl. Be sure, if you get a "ride to Hell", I'll be the first to greet you." The humans kept silent and he left the office.

Raymond sighed with relief.

"Okay," Anhella licked her lips. "What does Dylon think up?"

Raymond took a decanter with water: "Please, don't you start too, lady. Let's just work, all right?"

The secretary smiled: "Okay." She understood.

 

 

The pursuit

 

Mary had no experience with escaping and then avoiding recapture. She thought that if she changed a few cabs and went in different directions on "Greyhound's" it would make tracking her difficult. She was wrong. More people saw her. She used wigs, but Noirson's men had different pictures of her. People easily recognized her. The ring around Mary was tightening.

***

Mary had a lunch in "Wendy's", when she noticed them. If she was not so alarmed, she would not understand a thing. However, she had been married to Robert for too long, and she knew too well what it meant when people slowly passed someone.

Mary calmly got up and went to the restroom. Two girls followed her.

Mary stood in front of the mirror and pretended to check her make up. She ribbed her lips and put her hand into her purse as if to get a lipstick. But she grabbed her brass knuckles and knocked out one girl.

The second girl blocked Mary's attack; she was a professional, however, she dared not to hit back the wife of her Master. For a few minutes Mary and the second female fought without a sound, but Mary dreaded every second thinking that the girl would call for assistance.

Suddenly Mary noticed another woman come from a stall and she pushed her attacker. The opening door hit the girl in her back, she lost control for a second and Mary's punch reached her. The woman from the cabin looked around with horror.

"Help me to tie them!" Mary held the woman at the point of her gun.

They did it using pantyhose and scarves. After, Mary also tied the woman, and left from the window.

She raced towards the bus, it was already moving away and Mary felt despair, but the bus driver noticed her and stopped, and opened the door and the woman quickly got inside.

***

On the "Greyhound" Mary took out her pocket tourist guide. Worried, she decided that when she got into the next town she would take a train.

 

 

The bus

 

"Are you sure she's on this bus?" Dylon looked down with doubt. The helicopter was flying over a highway. "Well, let's check it out."

***

When the bus suddenly stopped Mary had a scare. But she saw men in police uniforms and almost calmed down. Her husband was so powerful and had enough people, he would not ask for assistance from the officials.

Men in police uniforms came aboard the bus: "Sorry, a prisoner has escaped. Please, prepare your Id."

Mary took out her fake driver's license. Robert taught her some tricks, and the license looked like a real one.

The man in police uniform took her Id. Mary called all her self-confidence and calmly gazed at him.

"Thank you, ma'am," the man returned her license and checked the next passenger.

A few people had no Id. They got out of the bus. Mary looked through the window at how the man in uniform sat in the police car and started working with his computer. She was angry and worried about this delay, but she was glad that they did not take her.

The man inside the police car made a call: "Sir, she's here."

"G r e a t!" Dylon giggled. And the helicopter flew away.

A few minutes later the bus continued the interrupted trip.

***

A gasoline truck was coming in the opposite direction. Dylon Noirson stared at it. The truck driver fell asleep.

The vehicles were getting close to each other. Suddenly the truck turned and hit the bus. The bus driver did not expect it and had no time to react. The vehicles slid on the road and collapsed into the ditch.

A few seconds later the explosion sounded and Dylon smiled with triumph.

 

 

George

 

Robert was checking the papers when the door of his office opened without any previous announcement. Noirson rose with wonder.

It was George. He crept into the room on all fours. He stopped in front of the desk, put his face on the floor and covered his head with his hands. He was not able to talk.

Robert looked at the door and saw Anhella. The countenance of her face struck him. Noirson fell into his chair. He understood. He took the receiver and made a call.

"Yes!" Becker's voice became tender. "Oh, my poor boy! I'm so sorry! But it's not my fault."

Robert closed his eyes: "Deliver him to me. Deliver Dylon to me."

"Oh, I will!"

Noirson slowly put the receiver back and looked at his secretary:

"Verpiss dich, Hexe!"

"Get out, witch!" / German

Anhella lowered her eyes and closed the door.

"G e o r g e !"

The servant lifted his head. He gazed at his Master like a dog that knew it was his fault.

"I said, if you want to get my absolution you have to find her. "Alive or dead". You did find her. So, I forgive you. You can go. I'd like to be alone for a while."

Relieved, George sprang up and was off the room like a shot from a gun.

Robert put his elbows on the desk and buried his face in his palms.

 

 

Freedom

 

When Mary Noirson opened her eyes she thought she was in Hell. Everything was enveloped in flames. Dead burning bodies were piled up on top of her.

Uttering shrill screams, she made her way out of that nightmare.

Outside she fell onto the road, and an oncoming car barely avoided hitting her. The woman driver jumped out of the vehicle: "Are you okay?! What happened?"

Without a word Mary opened the door and sat on the back seat of the car. The woman sat on the driver's seat and repeated her questions.

"Drive!" Mary said hoarsely. "Please, just drive out of here!" Mary was surprised that her purse on the neck chain and her shoes were not badly damaged. But the wig and her clothes were gone. Only soot and ash covered her body.

The driver continued to talk and Mary lost her patience. She snatched her gun: "Drive!"

"Oh, my Lord!" the driver pushed the gas pedal, the car accelerated away and the driver cried. "Please, don't shoot, I have three kids!"

"I'm sorry!" Mary quickly hid the gun. "I don't mean to harm anybody, I just want to save my child."

"Your child?" the woman looked at her strange passenger with newfound interest.

"I'm pregnant. My husband was forcing me to have an abortion. But I got away and now he's after me. This accident ruined all my plans..."

"It's just a miracle that you survived a blast like that!"

Only now stricken Mary Noirson realized exactly what had happened. Mary recalled, how she rose from death in her room.

"He wished my death..." She could not help her tears. "Maybe he blew up the bus?"

"I need to make a call," Mary looked at the woman. "I'm sorry that I scared you. If you don't trust me, feel free to drive away, but if you believe my story, please, wait for me. I really need help." She wanted to open the door, but the driver stopped her: "You can't go out wearing only that!" The driver took off her coat and jeans.

Mary looked at the woman with gratitude, dressed and got out of the car.

***

When Robert heard the sound of his personal phone, he got surprised: the number on the display was unknown to him, but it was a direct call.

Noirson pushed the button: "Hello? Who is this?"

"Robert..." Mary could not talk, sobs choked her. She heard how Noirson exclaimed: "You're alive! My baby, my kitten! You're alive!" His sincerely happy voice dried up Mary's tears and she smiled: "I will pray for you, honey." Mary sighed and hung up.

"W a i t!" Robert gasped, but the phone was already dead. He looked at the number, quickly checked the map...

But suddenly a new, devilishly tempting thought came to Noirson. He bit his forefinger and thought for a while. Finally he snorted, resolutely took the receiver and made a call.

***

In the mall Mary bought underwear, clothes and a suitcase. She went outside and smiled when she saw that the car was still in the parking lot. Mary put the suitcase into the trunk and got in the car.

"Thank you for waiting for me."

"My name is Paula Rattle," the driver introduced herself. "What is your name? I mean, what name should I call you?"

Mary smiled: "Mary Vasquez." She shook the hand of the woman.

"I'm a teacher in the local elementary school," Paula continued. "I'm meeting a lot of people, maybe someone can help you. For a few days you can stay with us, I just worry about your gun..." Rattle laughed. "Gee, maybe you're a criminal, maybe you're even one of the most wanted persons, but for some reason I trust you! What's going on with me?"

"Look Paula, it's okay, I'll stay in a motel. All I need is information. Can I count on you to help me with it?"

 

 

Males

 

"Go, go!" Becker pushed Dylon in his back.

"Don't touch me, old fart!" Dylon Noirson snarled. He looked at Robert with worry.

Noirson was keeping silent.

"Did you wanna see me, dad?" Dylon smiled ingratiatingly.

"I wanna kill you, son." Robert mimicked him. Dylon Noirson gasped and Becker laughed: "As you brew, so must you drink!"

"You were warned!" Noirson shouted and pounded the desk. "Give me just one reason why should I forgive you?"

"I love you, father!" Dylon knelt. "She left you, she was unworthy of you!"

"Is Francine worthy of me?"

Partners gasped. Dylon got up: "What do you mean, dad?"

"I asked her to marry me and she agreed."

John Becker exchanged glances with Dylon Noirson, and they both burst out laughing.

"Robert, my boy, why?" Becker shook his head in amazement.

"'Cause she doesn't wanna fuck him!" Dylon smiled impudently. His insolence got back to Dylon Noirson when he as usual, got away with everything. "That's why, I'm surprised that she agreed. She doesn't care about money and you, dad, are too busy and old to fuck her enough."

"Did she say that?" Robert felt how the blood rushed to his head. "That bitch, eh? John is not too old, Roger is not too old, eh? But I am, am I? Mmmmm..." He moaned. "Oh, fucking bitch... But in that case, why did she agree?"

"Probably, because she's pregnant." Becker shrugged his shoulders.

"W h a t?!" Robert jumped from his chair. "Why didn't anybody tell me?"

"You didn't know? It's about four months now."

"Oh, shit ... Any suppositions about the lucky father?"

They all burst out laughing together. And for a few minutes they browsed through possible candidates. But the list was too long and the game became boring. It could even be Jerry, he was Francine's pimp after all. Noirson was surprised himself, why in this case with Francine that the chance of Jerry being the father did not hurt him, as the pregnancy of Mary did.

"Well," Robert finally sighed. "I've gone from the frying pan into the fire, but no flying from fate. I can't get away from being a daddy. So, how should we arrange my wedding?"


Chapter Seven: The ordeals

Francine

 

The headline caught Mary's attention. She saw the name of her husband and grabbed the newspaper.

It was a report about his wedding. Mary felt her legs give way under her: "He knows I'm alive... And in spite of that, he got married! He got married less than two months after!"

The picture on the front page amazed Mary: the bride with bright blue hair opened her wedding dress. The censor put a black box on her breasts, but everybody was able to guess: she was not wearing a bra.

However, it was not the Francine's action which shocked Mary, but Robert's face. This sight struck the woman to the bottom of her lovefull heart. Noirson looked at his bride so enthusiastically, with such a visible adoration and admiration that Mary fell as though dead.

***

At first Mary sensed the smell of liquid ammonia. She coughed and opened her eyes. She was lying on the floor in the shop, the salesgirl massaged her wrists and a crowd was gathered around. Mary still clutched the newspaper.

Without a word, Mary got up and went to the cashier, paid for the newspaper and even waited for the change.

After Mary left the shop, she dumped the newspaper into the first trash can.

 

 

The Children

 

A vociferous cry from the newborn sounded so loud that the glass windowpanes trembled and tinkled with resonance.

"What a baby!" Robert exclaimed, watching the nurse. She was struggling, trying to swaddle the child.

"We need a bigger table! Don't drop her!" he warned, worried. The girl kept howling and kicking. She was not crazy - when the medic left her for a second, the baby stopped crying, yawned and stretched.

"What an independent person!" Robert chuckled with admiration.

Francine's moan reminded him that it was not over yet. He turned to his wife with impatience.

If the girl is so strong willed, he thought. What about the boy?

There was silence when everybody saw the next child born. Weak and feeble, he was obviously ill, and Robert grimaced with disgust and disappointment.

The boy did not make a sound.

"What happened?" A concerned Francine rose to see her child. "Is he alive?"

The doctor did not respond.

"I don't think we should try and keep this wuss," Noirson said with antipathy.

"No!" Francine screamed. "In the name of God, Robert, help him!"

Noirson roared with anger. Then approached the boy and touched him.

The child croaked faintly. The woman fell back, sobbing, and pressing her palms to her face. With a glum look, Robert neared her. She grabbed his hand, and squeezed it gratefully.

"Thank you," she whispered, and for the first time Robert sensed her tender feelings for him.

"Oh sweetheart!" He barely knelt next to her. "Please, don't cry! You just should have not asked me like this..."

"Cure him!" Francine said, not looking at her husband. "Make him healthy!"

Robert paused. "I can't change his DNA," he confessed finally. "And if he's sick with a natural reason no angel can help him."

"He has a chance," the doctor assured. "He's not injured, he's not mentally sick, he simply has a weak build."

The medics took the children away, leaving Robert alone with his wife.

"I'll find the best pediatricians," he said, kissing her arms. "The best doctors in the world! I'll do all that I can! For you... For your kids... For our babies..."

"Please, promise, you'll never harm them!" Francine looked deep into his eyes.

"I swear!" he uttered impulsively. "I swear to the Devil!"

***

The next morning when Noirson woke up Francine wasn't next to him.

Not worrying yet, he went to the bathroom, then checked her apartment.

She wasn't there either, and his smile disappeared. He called Slay.

"Where's Francine?"

"She told me she was going to surprise you," the valet said, and this explanation dispelled Robert's concern.

***

After his lunch, Noirson tried to call Francine again.

But there was no answer from her apartment or from her car. Her cell phone was turned off and all Robert's suspicions returned to him.

"Who's working with her today?" he asked Slay when they got into his limousine.

"I'll check," the butler answered. Anhella was in the car too and they continued their business talk, but suddenly Roger's face darkened, and Robert didn't finish his phrase, gazing at him. "What happened?"

"She ordered the shifts to be switched," the butler explained. "But just now her car was reported found with Bernard's partner tied up inside. They used Holly linens, and he, as a demon, could not take them off. I'm afraid, sir, she escaped."

Listening to this, Anhella couldn't manage to block her mind.

"It's not the same!" Robert replied to her thought. Bitterness sounded in his voice. "Mary ran away because she loved me, and Francine... Why does she treat me like this? Wait a second, did you say Bernard helped her?"

"Yes sir."

"He's Jerry's roommate from the training camp?"

"And his best human friend."

"Damn!" It explains everything!"

"But you have her children. You can use them as hostages."

"No, I can't." Robert said through clenched teeth. "She took my word to take good care of them. Smart move! She knew, I'm not a human, I can't break my promise."

"We'll find her anyway, I swear!"

***

They did it. But it was too late.

"This is not her! This is not her!" staring at the charred corpse, Noirson repeated as if in delirium. The body was burnt beyond recognition, but he saw a ring on her belly. "Francine, my love! No..." He touched the ring on her pierced navel, he recognized it, and he shook his head. "How did it happen?"

"She was drunk and smoking in bed... We're very sorry!"

***

It was a deep tragedy for Robert. It was not just a loss, it was a defeat.

 

 

Mary lives alone

 

While looking for a job, Mary had moved a few times.

But finally, good fortune smiled upon her. Mary found it. A monotonous and uninteresting, minimum wage job, however, they paid for health insurance covering pregnancy and childbirth and in her current situation that was the most important thing for Mary.

Besides, this plant had its own day care with fifty percent off for employees. Though Mary was still using Noirson's money for herself, she was not sure about using it for the child, whom he did not want.

***

Mary worked not only fast, but skillfully. She had often visited the factories and plants of her husband, and Robert and his managers explained to her how to practice management. Now Mary used her knowledge.

And moreover, outraged with his marriage, having been racked with jealousy she ventured to use some secrets that Noirson had shown her before.

The manager noted her great job and reported that to the owner. Mary got a raise and promotion just three months after she started work. The owner had a talk with her and even promised to send Mary to courses for management training.

That conversation was on Friday and a joyous Mary decided to have a little celebration for herself.

In the grocery story she chose a pizza. She loved pizza. However, she was gaining weight. It was a natural process in her condition, but Mary worried about every pound. She had no opportunity to work out every day, as she had done at home, yet she tried to stay in shape.

Finally she decided to take a small vegetarian pizza. Tomorrow would be Saturday, no work. So, she will just walk for an extra two hours.

"Hello!"

She turned her head and frowned. It was Matt Gratton.

Mary was young and pretty, and despite her pregnancy some men tried to get know her, but she replied so sharply and sternly that they did not repeat their efforts.

Only that guy still kept hoping. Somehow he understood that the woman was suffering a lot, and he felt pity for her and did not mind her cold treatment.

"May I help you with your purchases? It's not good for you to handle heavy bags."

"It's none of your business."

"Why are you always so rude to me? I just offered to help..."

"I don't need any help. It's a weekend, and I'm tired of seeing and talking to people. I wanna be alone. Could you, please, just let me be?"

"Yes, it is a weekend. Do you feel no loneliness? Is it not boring to spend a weekend all alone?"

"I'm used to being alone."

"How about your family?"

"I have no family..." She recalled Jerry's the same answer and got angry. "To become pregnant isn't necessary to have a family!"

The pain in her eyes and in her voice upset Matt, and his tender feelings to her became even stronger.

"But I just..." He started.

"Look," Mary interrupted him. Her voice sounded tired. "If you ever, ever! try to talk to me again, I'll report you to the police for stalking me!"

He gasped, looked at her with sad reproach and slowly walked away.

Mary sighed. Her child moved inside her and she smiled. It was the only thing in her life now that was bringing her pleasant feelings.

 

 

Christina

 

On her way home Mary thought not about Matt, but about Christina, a Jehovah's Witness. She met her here at the plant. Recalling Hannah, Mary did not refuse to talk with Christina during lunch time and sometimes after work. Christina visited Mary together with her friends and soon Mary got to know all the people from the local congregation.

Mary did not try to become close friends. All her life she felt alone and, as she said, she was already accustomed to this. But those people were thoughtful to Mary, they were interested in her life and helped her. And two weeks ago Mary hired Christina to clean her house, because it started to be difficult for her.

***

Mary parked her car, took the first bags and went to the kitchen door.

Suddenly on the steps she heard some sounds. Although the lights were turned off, somebody was in her kitchen and in the salon.

Mary stood still. After the wedding of her husband, she realized that the search for her was over. But she had too many bad experiences in her life. She was always ready to fight. However, she was pregnant now, and she thought about retreat. But she saw some shadows on the window and understood, whoever they were, they were around her.

She decided to go forward.

Christina and her friends heard Mary entered the house. When she stepped inside the salon they all exclaimed together: "Surprise! Baby shower!" and lit the light.

Everybody was shocked. Mary held the gun ready to fire.

She looked around the decorated salon, saw the confused faces of her well-known friends, then she understood and, gasping, she dropped the gun.

***

Touched to the bottom of her soul, Mary finally relented and since then she started taking part in regular Sunday meetings of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

 

The child

 

And again Mary found good luck.

At the meeting she met a doctor and she dared to talk to him about the problem disturbing her during the previous months.

"I got a huge dose of radiation the first month of my pregnancy," Mary's face was red. She hated to lie. "And I'm afraid, my child will be... mutant."

"Pray to Jehovah," the doctor looked at Mary with deep compassion and gave her his card. "I'll deliver your baby and I will be ready in case your apprehensions come true."

***

Mary called him just one week later. It was her time and the woman was scared to death.

She had an easy delivery.

Nevertheless, when Mary gave the last push and finally felt how the doctor took away her child, the intolerable horror squeezed her and she did not compel herself to look at her baby.

"Congratulations, Ms. Vasquez," Mary heard the doctor's voice. "It's a boy."

Mary slowly opened her eyes. He was human.

The happiness overflowed from Mary's heart, but one bitter thought spoilt all her joy: "It means, he's Jerry's son..." And she burst into tears.

Mary missed her husband dreadfully, she forgave him and hoped to get him back some day. And now this hope was gone. Mary remembered their last conversation too well. "Why should a poor innocent child suffer, because of his mother's lust?" Mary hugged her son and closed her eyes. "Good-bye, Robert, good-bye, my beloved Beast..."

 

 

Mary and her son

 

Two months had passed since she gave birth to her child.

During the past three months Mary has been taking part in afternoon meetings in the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses. However, she was still a Catholic. Mary had baptized her baby, and every Sunday morning she visited the local church.

It was Monday afternoon, and Mary was preparing herself and her son for the meeting. She washed the dishes after lunch, and started changing her son.

The child gazed at her, and his blue eyes, shielded by long eyelashes, searched his mother's face.

Mary shuddered.

"How he looks like his father!" she whispered to herself. "Will I ever be able to get accustomed to it? He is my son first of all!" Mary made an effort to compose herself, and continued her task. But when their eyes met again, she had to stop.

If I'd known for sure that you were Jerry's son, I would have had an abortion, she thought, feeling a hot wave of anger rise in her soul. Then she chastised herself: No, how could I even think about that! Poor child!

Why didn't you breastfeed him then? A mocking voice in her head teased her. Go on, let Jerry's lips touch your body again. You did enjoy it, didn't you?

Mary straightened, her eyes closed, and felt tears coursing down her cheeks.

"Reminder..." she moaned. "Oh, Robert, what the right word did you find?" Her thoughts went to Francine. "Why did you marry her? How could you, Robert?! Did you want to punish me? But I already have been punished enough. Oh God, forgive me my sin..."

She tried to say a prayer, but the image of Robert appeared in her mind. She saw his sly smile, his thin lips, curving like snakes, his long sensual fingers. She felt his charming touch and caresses. She fell into a dark fantasy chasm and all her love and burning desire tormented her like a hellish flame.

A meowing sound brought her back to reality.

She looked at the boy, and for the first second, she could not make the connection between her dreams and this child, who was obviously demanding her attention.

Summoning all her sense of duty, she forced herself to continue her routine.

Mary changed her own clothes, checked her purse and hesitated for a while. Then she picked up her firearm and had a long, hard looked at it.

Why do I have it with me all the time? she thought, skillfully spinning the gun. She swung it, checking its weight. No one is after me. It's a small, peaceful town. It’s so stupid to take it to a meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't handle any weapons, why should I do this?

So Mary put the firearm into the drawer, locked it, and then took her son into her arms and left the house.

 

 

The gun

 

They had already sung a song and one of the men pronounced the open prayer. Another man took his papers and went to the central table to deliver his speech.

Suddenly the door of the hall opened widely, and people in black leather clothes ceremonially walked inside. They all held machine guns, and they carried with them a big cross.

The leader, a stern faced girl, came to the central table and took the microphone.

"Hello!" She smiled. "Do you think, you serve God in the correct way? How can you do that without that?"

With her signal, her people placed the cross in the middle of the hall.

"So, anyone of you, can come here and kiss this?" the leader pointed to the cross.

For Jehovah's Witnesses it was impossible, however, Mary was a Catholic and did not see anything wrong in such an action. She calmly got up, put her son on the bench and walked to the cross. She kissed it and silently went back. She had read somewhere that with terrorists you should show your submission for your safety. She was worried sick and the only, but painful thought was running through her head: "Why did I leave my gun at home today?"

"Okay," the leader girl looked disappointed and was taken aback for a while. "Well, you serve your God, eh? But we are serving to the god of Earth! We are serving to Satan the Devil!" The attackers all shouted together and some of them shot.

People became panic stricken. Women grabbed and embraced their kids, men stepped forward covering them. Some people rushed towards the exits and even to the windows, and they were the first killed. Other people bunched in the middle of the hall.

Mary whispered to woman next to her: "Hold my son, please." She passed the child to her. Mary checked the distance to the closest attacker and lunged at him.

The youth did not expect that, and she grabbed his machine-gun. Kicking him, Mary threw him away. Other attackers shot, but Mary flung herself onto the floor, she rolled over and sprang up, and she avoided being killed or even wounded. The skirmish had begun. Men grabbed chairs, women fell down, covering their children.

If anyone except Mary, just one more person, had a gun, they would be able to beat off these attackers. But she was alone, she could not control all enemies, and when one smart guy flung himself into the crowd and grabbed her son, Mary was not able to prevent that.

She stood still and dropped the machine-gun. Now they could force her to do whatever they wanted, but they did not need her submission, they wanted another action.

Yet at first Mary did not guess that he was going to do, even when this guy took out his switchblade.

Mary thought it was a nightmare, no, she just died and she was in Hell. She saw the blood of her son, and she heard screaming all around. But she did not utter a sound. She could not breathe at all.

Suddenly she recalled the woman, who lost her son in the blast, after her, Mary's, kidnapping. She recalled how that woman damned her: 'Oh, dear Devil, please, send her the same torment!' and she thought: "Why did her god accept her prayer, and my God did not?" And she laughed hysterically. She howled, losing herself, and spun to the attackers.

"Do you think you serve the Devil in the correct way?" Mary shouted, her eyes were sparkling like emeralds. "You have no idea about Devil! You," She turned to the closest guy. "They kicked you off the school team! Why do you think the Devil will punish them? They were right! You should not smoke if you wanna be a sportsman!"

"How do you know?" He gasped.

"You!" Mary addressed the next girl. "Your parents did not pay attention to you, eh? Do you think if you do these things it will be revenge for their indifference?"

The girl recoiled.

"Shut up!" the leader girl screeched. But Mary did not hear her.

"You," She went toward the next member of this gang. "Your parents gave you anything that you wished for! Do you think the Devil will give you more?"

Livid, the girl did not reply.

"You," Mary looked into the eyes of another guy. "You wanna serve the Devil for money and impunity! Hah! His father," Mary pointed the body of her son. "He had the same thoughts! He did just one wrong act! And his Master fucked him, and killed him, and wild dogs ate him up! Wanna have the same fate?"

"How do you know our thoughts?" the youth mumbled.

"My husband has taught me to do that!" Mary arrogantly looked around and pronounced with insane pride. "Because I was the wife of the Satan's son! I was the wife of the Son of the Devil!"

"You're a liar!" the leader girl yelled.

"Oh, really?" Mary spun to her. "I'm a liar, am I? How about you, my dear? You're not a liar, are you? You're trying to pretend to be so strong and independent, but all you want, is to get your boyfriend back! Hah! It's so naive! If someone doesn't love you, I mean, really doesn't love you, you can dance, standing on your ears, but it won't make him give his love to you!"

"Make her stop! Make her stop!" the leader squealed. Her people dragged Mary to the cross, she did not resist, she almost did not understand what was going on, it was no matter for her now. But before she fell into non-existence, a last thought came to Mary: "Why did I leave my gun at home today?"

 

 

In the hospital

 

Detective Philip Cranston was sitting in the ward of the local hospital. He was looking at the unconscious woman on the bed and waiting for her to wake.

What happened yesterday was too horrible for a small town like Green Valley. The local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was attacked by a gang of Devil worshippers. This woman tried to organize a resistance to them and they cut out her tongue and crucified her.

The evidence showed that the attackers had a Black Mass.

Yet nothing was known for certain. The attackers committed a common suicide, and almost all people in the meeting were murdered. The victims, who had survived were in critical condition or had gone insane.

All the children in the building had been sacrificed to the Devil. This woman (Philip checked the papers) 'Mary Vasquez', also lost her baby son. Her hands and feet had been mutilated during the crucifixion, but in comparison with the other victims, she had been injured least of all. And the detective hoped she would be able to explain exactly what had happened if asked questions she could answer with yes or no.

***

The woman on the bed opened her eyes and looked at the detective with amazement: "Where am I?"

Cranston gasped: "You can talk? But your tongue..." He checked his notes.

"Where is the body of my son? Give me the body of my son!" the woman repeated in delirium. She recalled everything. She tore the IV catheter off her hand and got to her feet.

"You can walk!" the detective was amazed.

"Are you surprised?" Mary snored. "Have you ever read: 'The lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry...' she did not finish the quotation. "Well, it's Isaiah 35:6…" She burst into tears. "My perfect body is a damnation to me! Why can't I just die?"

"Ms. Vasquez, I'm doing the investigation into yesterday's incident, can we talk ?"

"Where is the body of my son?"

Mary pushed the button to call a nurse. But the doctor had already come to the ward.

"I demand my son's body!" Mary screamed. "I have the right to have it!"

"Easy, Ms. Vasquez!" the doctor was astonished even more so than the detective was. "We will give it to you, don't worry, just a little bit later, okay?"

"No! I wanna have it right now!"

Her persuasions did not work, Mary still demanded the body of her child and the doctor finally told the nurse to bring it to the ward.

Mary grabbed the box and wanted to lift the cover sheet, but the doctor stopped her: "Please, Ms. Vasquez, don't do it. No mother should see such things."

Mary was frozen with terror: "Did they burn him?"

"No, but..." the doctor stopped short: an almost happy smile lit Mary's face.

"I'd like to be alone, I heed to make a call." Mary carefully put the box on the bed and took the receiver. "Could you, please, just leave me for only a few minutes?"

The doctor nodded to Cranston and they both left the ward.

Mary dialed the number.

"Hello!"

The exhausted woman heard the voice of her husband and closed her eyes.

"Hello?"

"Robert..." She stopped for a second. "I have no right to ask for my son back." Mary recalled the story that the salesgirl Megan had told her. "Because of my husband millions people were killed, I deserved such punishment..." But it was her personal sorrow, and her heart did not want to hear the mind.

"Oh, my honey drop! How are you?"

"Robert, I'm in Green Valley..."

Noirson did not understand.

"Fuck you, Robert! I am in the Green Valley!" In her grief the woman did not realize that even her husband was not able to know about every event on Earth.

"And?" Noirson asked, confused. Suddenly he gasped, he only now understood her. "Oh, my Father! Have you been there? Are you all right?"

"I'm okay, but they murdered my son! Please, Robert, resuscitate him! Can you resuscitate him? Robert?!"

"I'm checking," Noirson was talking very slow. "Yes, I can do this, but I have to ask your permission."

"What do you mean?"

"Little lamb, did you forget who I am? If I resuscitate somebody, his life has to belong to me."

Mary's heart broke. The world around her disappeared. She was all alone in the boundless vortex of intolerable suffering. But she chose that way herself.

"No, thanks. The price is too high," Her voice sounded lifeless. She recalled a disheartened Jerry sitting on her bed. She clearly remembered a hopeless despair in his eyes. "Like father, like son? No way!"

"Sorry, darling," She took a breath. "I just can't afford it, never mind..."

Noirson did not reply and Mary thought he got offended.

"Robert, honey, you've gotta understand me."

"Unfortunately, I understand you too well."

"Look," a new idea came to Mary. "Can you restore at least his body?"

"Yes, sweetheart... Check it out."

Mary carefully lifted the sheet: it seemed the boy was just asleep.

"Mary? Kitten, did it work?"

"It worked."

"Just say a word and your son will be alive again."

"Stay away from me, Satan!"

Deep silence reigned into the receiver.

"I'm sorry, my beloved Beast," Mary felt burning pity for her husband. "I forgot, it's your duty to tempt people. But with me, please, don't be offended, if I reply as the Bible has taught me... Well, thank you for your help. Bye..."

"Wait! Please, wait! Just let me tell you!."

"What, honey?"

"I don't want you to lose your mind or die with your sorrow, would you come home? Come back, sweetie-pie! I missed you a great deal!"

"I've seen how you missed me."

"What? Ah, I've got it. Look, I just..."

"If you're gonna say you didn't love her I won't believe you."

"I did love her!" Robert cried out. "But she's gone! She's gone forever! And she left the kids... Mark and Ann... Of course, they have baby-sitters and nannies, but they need Love. If you don't, who can give it to them? You lost your mother too, you should take pity on the poor orphans. Mary, I want you home so much! We all need you."

"You want me to baby-sit her kids?" Mary could not believe her ears. "And you think that will relieve my pain?"

"No, honey. But if you will take care of my children, it will be not only be pain relief. It will be a life buoy."

Mary closed her eyes. She could only weep.

"They are not your kids, are they?" She asked with effort.

"No, sweetheart. But I love them as my own."

"You wanna say, if you, the Beast, are able to take care of these human cubs, I, as an angel, should take care all the more?" She snorted and sighed.

"I want to say, I believe in you and in your heart. I missed you badly! My kitten, my dear little bunny! You were always special to me. I swear. Always."

"I missed you too..." Mary sobbed. "Okay, I'll get home as soon as possible..."

"What do you mean? Why not right now?"

"I wanna bury my son first."

"Do you want to cremate him to be sure I can't reach him?"

Mary did not reply, but her silence was a consensus.

"Okay, flowerette," Robert sighed. "Do as is best for you. Just remember, you have a home and the doors are open for you all the time."

"Thank you, sweetheart..." Now Mary felt able to withstand her anguish. "I'll be back."

 

 

At the cemetery

 

It was dreary, melancholic autumn drizzle. Sitting near the freshly made grave, the woman was motionless.

All the other people had already left when Matt Gratton dared to come to her. After her threat, he did not contact her, and had only seen her from afar, but everybody knew about the tragedy. He hoped that in her grief she would be glad to see someone, who sincerely loved her. And Matt knew, whether they would be together or not, he would never forget this woman.

"I'm so sorry about your loss."

Mary slowly lifted her head. She was wearing a hat with a very thick, dark veil and he could barely see her face: "Ah, it's you, trouble maker!" Her voice sounded with a smile, and Matt was astonished. He thought she had lost her mind, but she explained... She explained everything, and broke his heart forever.

Just three short phrases: "I made up with my husband. I'm going back to him. My flight is tomorrow, 6:32 a.m."

Matt kept silent, and Mary sighed: "I'm sorry, I know you liked me."

"I loved you." He replied with bitterness. She touched his hand, then slowly went to her car.

Gratton dearly wanted to see her face, just one, last time. To see her sad stern face, her amazing lips and her mysterious kaleidoscopic eyes.

He saw, how she got into her car and took her hat off. Something was different, something was strange.

Matt walked to the driveway. He waited for Mary to drive past him, then looked at her.

He gasped, he damned his act. He felt dizzy and he realized that the horrible sight, which he had just seen, he would remember for the rest of his life.

Mary saw Matt Gratton near the road. She saw his shocked face and wide-open eyes. She smiled, waved to him and turned the car. And she did not see how Matt pressed his hands to his face and sat straight on the cold and wet ground.

 

 

Mary is back

 

Tomorrow would be Thanksgiving, and Mary Noirson wished to celebrate this family holiday with her husband.

***

Security were notified and opened the gates without any questions.

When Mary finally saw the house, where she had lived for so long, she could not hold back the tears, and only now she realized, how she missed her life here.

***

A servant opened the cab's door.

But when he saw Mary, he gasped and stepped back. His face blanched with horror.

"Hi Jim!" Mary sadly smiled at his reaction. "Didn't expect to see me again, eh? Well, I'm back."

The security guard jumped up from his bench, quickly opened the door and Mary entered the building.

The first maid dropped her tray. All the servants recoiled from Mary Noirson as if she was a ghost. The elevator operator stared at his lady and pushed the button.

Finally, Mary reached her apartment. She smiled when saw fresh flowers, it meant Robert was waiting for her return.

Mary had not passed the anteroom yet when she saw a creature.

It was horrible, terribly emaciated. It's gray mane was done into a careful coiffure. It had a dreadful mask instead of a face: wrinkled pale skin fitted close to the skull, the livid lips, and deep crow's feet around lifeless eyes.

Mary shuddered and leaned back, and the creature moved, and in that awful moment the woman realized the reason for the servant's fear.

Very, very slowly Mary Noirson stepped forward and touched the cold surface of the mirror.

Since her son's death Mary had not paid attention to her appearance. She was washing herself, brushing her teeth, doing her hair mechanically. Now Mary stared at her reflection and could not believe her eyes.

She heard how her husband almost ran to her apartment, and she felt a burning shame, when he shockingly gasped: "Oh, my Father!"

Mary Noirson was still a woman and she would like to see any reaction, but that. Now she looked even older than her husband and involuntarily noticed it.

Noirson tenderly hugged his wife, brought her to the living room, seated her on the couch and sat by her side.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, my honey drop!" Robert slowly moved his hand. He recovered natural color to her hair, removed wrinkles. He admired the job that he had done: now Mary looked exactly as before her escape and he embraced her again. "Look, little lamb, I can't alleviate your grief, but I'm able to make you forget everything. Do you want to?"

Slowly shaking her head, Mary refused the offer.

"As you wish, my little one," Noirson got up with a quiet moan, his crippled leg still hurt when he moved. "Let's go, I'll show you my kids."

***

Mary looked at the twins with indifference.

But she made an effort and compelled herself to take care.

"Why did you make their rooms on the north?" Mary looked around. "You should move them to the south or east side. Children like plants, they need natural sunshine."

"I knew you'd know, what we'd have to change! I will check for rooms for the kids... Go ahead, sweetie-pie, you are in charge now."

***

Until that evening Mary coordinated the servants actions and saw that things were done.

The children were moved to other rooms, part of the furniture was changed, part was removed. Mary checked the schedule and decided that tomorrow she would talk with every nanny personally.

***

When the twins were in beds, Mary sat with them and forced herself to sing lullabies for them.

Mary could not help her tears, but when the children finally fell asleep, she looked long and hard at their calm, peaceful and happy little faces and suddenly she realized why Robert called this process a "life-buoy".

However, recalling the first reaction of her husband, the woman felt shame again.

She went to her apartment and checked out her dressing room. Everything was as before her escape and Mary took shower and changed the clothes. She carefully did her make-up, loosened and brushed her hair.

She heard a light knock on her door and Robert looked inside: "Kitten, come here! I have a surprise for you!"

Mary obeyed.

A refined dinner was served into her salon. The windows were opened and the warm wind from the lake was waving the flames of the candles.

"Welcome back home! Let's celebrate!"

Mary looked at her husband, his eyes shone with desire, and she was startled. She almost forgot about that side of a marriage. However, she knew Robert too well. If he did not understand her feelings, her refusal will make him upset or even offend him.

Mary hesitated, but her gratitude and love forced her to hide her sorrow.

***

Only much later, when he was satisfied, and, happily smiling, he fell asleep by her side, only then the woman crept out of bed, ran to another room, and, falling into the armchair, she burst into tears.

She quietly wept during the night until morning, when the maid came to her and said that the twins were awake.

Then Mary resolutely wiped her eyes and went to the children's rooms.

***

The twins demanded lots of attention, the "life buoy" worked, and just a few months later Mary was not capable of imagining her life without these kids.

 

 

The star

 

How she loved Him! For these short, rare minutes, when He belonged to her, and only to her, Anhella Vixen was ready to sacrifice the entire world.

"Pass me the cigarettes." smiling with satisfaction, Noirson looked at his watch.

Suddenly the door opened and Dylon entered the room. He blushed and turned back, but Robert called him: "Come here, son!"

Not looking at Vixen, Dylon went close and sat near his godfather. The secretary got up, walked to the mirror and started putting her clothes in order.

"What's wrong, son? Did you want to ask me something?"

"Sorry, I didn't know, you were busy," Dylon Noirson responded dismally.

"No, I'm not... Now..." Noirson laughed and lit a cigarette. "So, what did you want to ask?"

"Nothing." Dylon did not lift his eyes. "I changed my mind."

"Why are you so crooked?" Robert looked at his godson with concern. "Are you all right?"

"I'm okay, I'm okay!" Dylon Noirson sprang up. "I said, nothing's wrong!"

Suddenly Noirson guessed. He glanced at his secretary and then back at Dylon.

"Strange," Robert said surprisingly. "I know you like Anhella. Why did you never ask me to give her to you?"

They both stared at their Master and Lord.

"Yeah, good idea!" Noirson smiled. "Anhella, it was a really nice session, could you do the same things for my son?"

Without a word Vixen stepped toward Dylon Noirson. To please her beloved king, she would even do it with a crocodile.

"You don't understand!" Dylon shouted and ran out of the room.

"Moron." Noirson shrugged his shoulders. Anhella came to him, knelt and tenderly kissed his haughty face: "We have about forty minutes before the conference."

"I'm not sure, honey," Robert sat and looked at his watch again.

"But I am," and she embraced him.

***

Vexed, Dylon Noirson walked quickly along the corridor. He was thinking about Anhella and shuddering. "Whore, whore, rotten whore..." He whispered. He called her all the bad names that he knew, and even made up a few more, but now he wanted to weep.

Suddenly he collided with another man. Dylon cursed, however, the man did not react. He stared through the window. His mouth was open and his face was pale with horror.

Dylon Noirson looked too and gasped. In the day sky a new star was shining. Strange, not usual, it looked more like a searchlight, and Dylon's hair stood on end.

***

Noirson started to talk, then he stopped soon. Although they had a conference, nobody paid attention. The partners whispered to each other, glanced at windows and nobody listened. Only Becker kept silent. But he did not look at his ward.

"Quiet!" Noirson pounded the desk. "What the hell's going on?"

His partners turned to him. They all looked really scared and Robert got angry: "What? Never see a supernova?"

They lowered their eyes.

"It's not an ordinary star," one of them dared to say.

Mad, Noirson stretched out his hand. The man screamed. He shrank, shrank, shrank, and finally a black cockroach fell on the floor and a security man trampled it.

"Any more astronomers here?" Robert stared at his partners. "You bunch of morons! Miserable cowards! You all know to whom you belong! Nobody forced you to come to my side! You chose that way yourself!"

They kept silent, however, it was not a silence that meant consent.

"Okay, back to business! May I continue?"

He started to talk again, yet his partners were still too nervous, and Noirson ordered the windows closed and lights turned on. Only then the atmosphere had become less tense, and the conference took its normal course.

 

 

Dylon

 

Dylon Noirson was in his office in the central building, just a few floors above where Noirson's office was. He went to the window and gazed at the new star. It was evening already and surrounded with other stars, the new one looked less scary as it did during the day. But, anyway, that stupid star made him nervous. He knew a good way to calm down, and he made a call.

***

The girl was riding him very nicely, but suddenly she squealed, fell down off him and, grabbed her clothes, she ran away.

Amazed, Dylon sat and looked back.

An unknown man was standing in the middle of the room and looked at him. Dylon Noirson stared at the stranger. He could not understand why the girl was so frightened, and how that guy got inside without any announcement.

"Who the hell are you?" Dylon shouted and hastily put his clothes in order.

"You used a wrong word." the man replied calmly. "It's you who belong to Hell, not me."

Grinning, Dylon Noirson pushed the button to call security.

But nothing happened. The intercom was dead. The smile disappeared from Dylon's lips.

"Could you calm down?" the man continued. "I have to talk to you and it won't take long."

Frozen with terror, Dylon Noirson did not respond.

"Why are you so scared?" the eyes of the man were sad. "I did nothing to you. I've never harmed anyone, I didn't and I won't."

"Who are you?" Dylon finally squeezed out.

"My name is Michael Alter and it is my duty to save the greatest number of people, that is possible. Although you're the one of the most hopeless persons for salvation, I want to try at least."

"You're a liar!"

The man slowly went to the window and lifted his hand. The star moved. Now it looked like it was directly above the building.

"Can your godfather do that? You always count on his Power. What if he lost it?"

Dylon Noirson gasped. His hands were trembling while he was making a call.

"Robert?" Dylon cleared his throat. "Daddy, are you okay? I need a bit of the Power, can I?"

"Son, I'm out of the Power for today." Noirson's voice sounded uncertainly. "Is something wrong? Could your business wait until tomorrow?"

"Never mind, bye!" Dylon dropped the receiver and looked at Alter with horror.

"I won't contact him." Michael sighed. "He's just doing his duty, and it's not for me to blame or judge him. My business is human beings only, and I'm warning you. You don't have much time. I'll show you something." And he stretched out his arm to Dylon.

Suddenly Dylon Noirson saw daylight. He was hiding behind a desk. Two of his men were next him, one on each side. They were firing, they covered him.

But one of them was killed. And a few minutes later, the second man collapsed too.

Dylon Noirson panted with fear. The men in uniform rushed at him, and the woman whom he, Dylon, loved followed them. Her wonderful strict face was resolutely cruel. Dylon Noirson stretched out his arms to her: "Anhella! I love you! I did it for you! I wanted to be first in your heart!"

She did not turn a hair, just waved her hand, and with her signal the men in uniform grabbed him, and threw him through the window. He fell out with a fountain of the fragments of the broken glass.

The awfully long flight down, down, down... sixty two floors!

S m a s h ! ! !

Dylon screamed and saw himself in his office again. Michael Alter was looking at him with deep compassion.

"I don't want this to happen to you." He sighed. "There is no escaping from fate, but My Father can change it. If you will help. You have twenty four hours. Think about what you have to do to save your soul."

Dylon kept silent.

"I want to explain it better. I know you're stupid, and I don't think, you did understand. But I have no right to do that. I'm just a tool, I'm a soldier. Good bye, Dylon." And the man disappeared.

Dylon Noirson was shaken. He pushed the button to call security again.

Now, the beeping sounded.

Suddenly his helper Raymond ran to the office. Some of the security followed him, they all looked shocked.

Dylon gazed at Raymond with perplexity. Composed, restrained as a true Englishman, Raymond usually controlled himself perfectly. But now he was trembling, his face was distorted with horror.

"Did He contact you?" Raymond screamed and fell on his knees. "Did He talk to you?"

"Shut up, you moron!" Dylon shouted at him. "No time to lose! Listen to my plan..."

Raymond listened with amazement.

"You did not understand a thing!" He interrupted his Master. "You have to confess! Repent, sir! Pray! Let's show our penitence!"

"You're an idiot! I'm sure They want deeds, not words! Actions speak louder!"

"I don't remember even one prayer!" Raymond was close to tears. "Oh, God! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! Oh, forgive me!"

"Kill that fool!" Dylon screeched. And, when the security fulfilled his order and dragged Raymond's body out the room, he continued more calmly: "Ralph, you're in charge. We have just a few hours. Let's do it right now!"

 

 

The Good-byes

 

The day began as usual.

Mary was with the kids. Ann started to take her first steps and the woman was happy and excited. She held the girl's hands and smiled. A blue eyed blonde, Ann was as cute as a doll, and everybody admired her big eyes, with long eyelashes, and her plum refined lips. Her wavy hair, the color of fallen leaves, was so thick that Mary had to spend almost half an hour every day brushing it.

Mary also watched Mark. The boy was sitting and knitted his brows. Observing his sister's efforts he was intently sucking his toy and from time to time knocked it on the floor. His coarse ash-brown shaggy hair and cat-like eyes made Mark look like a lynx-cub. He looked exactly as his mother, Francine, did, and in the beginning, it was very unpleasant for Mary. But now she was too attached to these twins, and she did not even think about their biological parents.

***

Suddenly Robert peeped into the room. He looked confused and was taken aback.

"Kitten," He asked uncertainly. "Could you make a breakfast?"

Mary looked at her husband, but he lowered his eyes and the woman did not dare to ask. She called Natalie, her helper, and told her take care of the twins.

***

Mary went downstairs.

Now she was amazed and confused also: the building was empty.

Usually a lot of people were walking around, the servants, security, maids, couriers and cleaners. Steps and voices could be heard even in the middle of the night.

But now a deadly silence and stillness filled the house.

***

They ate without a word being said.

Robert lowered his head and did not lift his eyes. Mary observed him with concern.

"Do you remember these reports about the new star?" Noirson asked suddenly. "It looks like it is directly above my central office building. My partners are frightened. But worst of all I did not get the Power today. I don't know what's happened and I don't understand what's going on..."

"Robert," Mary finally dared to talk. "Don't go to work today! I see, something is definitely wrong! I have a very bad feeling! Please, stay home today!"

Noirson looked at his wife like a wounded animal would.

"I know, sweetie-pie, but I have a responsibility. Anyway, you can't fly from fate." Robert barely got to his feet. A terror struck Mary, she could not move. "If something happens to me, please, forgive me and don't leave the kids."

"Oh, honey!" Mary burst into tears. "Don't say such things! I have nothing to forgive you for! I love you and our kids. I will be with them to the end, I promise."

"Good!" Noirson anxiously hugged his wife. "Good bye, my little one, good bye, my dear girl..."

 

 

The search

 

When Robert drove away, Mary decided to search around.

It was a difficult task. Though Mary was not able to check out all three huge buildings by herself, she wanted to try.

***

Almost running, Mary went along the corridors, peeped into rooms and halls.

Nobody was here.

It seemed all the servants had disappeared at once. Clothes, equipment, decorations were in their places, but the people were gone. Same effect the N-bomb was able to do, but Mary drove this wild thought away.

***

Mary went outside and looked around to choose where she should go next. And she saw what her husband did not notice, because he had gone through the garage.

The bush near the entrance looked strange. Mary went closer and moved the leaves apart...

What she saw, shocked her in spite of seeming ordinary: there were cars covered with camouflage nets and tree branches.

Mary stared at the cars, they were not her or her husband's cars and Mary guessed it was the servant's cars. Suddenly, a new thought came to her: "If the cars are here, what is in the servant's garage?"

She rushed to the garage, and found the gate locked from inside. It amazed the woman.

She tried to get inside through the basement, but the corridor was blocked with rocks.

Getting crazy with worry Mary ran outside again and attentively checked the walls. She saw an air vent. It was very high, and Mary had to go to another building and get a ladder.

 

 

In the garage

 

Mary was worried: she crawled into impenetrable darkness a long way. She even started thinking that she was lost. But she heard voices and moved towards the sounds.

Suddenly she fell through a hatch and slid down.

Her gymnastic training helped her again. Desperately, she clung to the smooth walls slowly reducing the speed of her slide down. But to go back this way would be impossible.

She fell somewhere outside, however, landed without any trouble. She looked around and understood at once that she had finally reached the garage. Mary was not very surprised to see almost all the servants. The people crowded around her, there was no room to move.

When they saw their lady, everybody started to talk at once. Some of the servants shouted, some of the females sobbed. Mary could not understand a thing.

"Shut up! Shut up!" Mary screeched. "Q u i e t ! ! !"

The crowd gradually became silent.

Anhella made her way forward. The face of the secretary was wet with tears.

"D y l o n !" She looked at Mary and could not help her sobs. "He betrayed Robert! He got a warning that the Son of God is gonna come soon and he intended treason! We've gotta stop him!"

"Where are Slay, Jack and Becker?"

"He murdered them..." Anhella was not able to cry any more.

"Why are you staying here?"

"There is a bomb on the door."

Mary gasped: "How about Sylvan? He is a specialist!"

"Of course, he was killed too, you stupid Jewess!"

"Halts Maul!" suddenly Mary shouted at her.

"Shut your mouth!" / German

"Don't call me names!" Staring at the secretary, Mary was talking with a metallic voice. "I love Robert no less than you do and I'm worried sick about him as his wife!"

Vixen lowered her head: "I'm sorry, Mrs. Noirson."

"It's okay, Anhella, I do understand your feelings... People, yes, it's true that the Son of God is gonna come soon. But believe me, He was betrayed Himself, He will not accept treachery. If you decide to leave Robert, do it. Nobody will condemn you, I guarantee. Just do not go to Dylon's side! So, who wants be with Robert to the end?"

Less than half the people moved forward, the others stepped back.

"Well," Mary gulped. "But I have to warn you, Robert has no Power any more, if someone is be killed, Robert will not be able to resuscitate them."

Now the small detachment became even smaller.

"Anhella," Mary felt desperate. "What are we gonna do? We don't have enough people to fight!"

The secretary thought and slowly replied: "I know how to get more people. But anyway, we are trapped here and can't get out."

"Let's try!" Mary resolutely went to the gate. She saw the bomb and hesitated for a few seconds. But her self-confidence helped her to take control of herself. Mary closed her eyes and started to concentrate as Robert had taught her many times.

"It worked!" Mary heard the happy Anhella's voice and opened her eyes.

The small lamp on the bomb did not blink any more. Mary stretched her arm out and quickly tore the wire. Nothing happened and Mary pushed the open button. The door slowly lifted, and the crowd burst out with cheers and happiness.

"Miss Vixen," Mary said with effort. "Do it. Call people. You are in charge. As usual. As always."

Anhella's eyes flashed with gratitude and she kissed the hand of her lady.

 

 

The treason

 

When Robert went to the small conference hall he saw almost all of his partners.

They were disturbed, alarmed and nervous. When he entered the hall everybody fell into silence and despite all his self-confidence Noirson got worried.

"Where is Becker?"

Nobody answered him.

"I will be in my office." Robert lowered his eyes. The partners glared at him like hungry wolves stalking their prey.

***

Noirson was working on his computer when the door of his office opened without any previous announcement and the people confidently walked inside. Robert turned his head and realized at once that it was a mutiny.

The people stopped close to his desk.

"Mr. Noirson," started the bravest one. "We got a warning that your Power is gone. We don't want to be terminated with you. We recommend you to be reasonable and surrender without useless resistance."

Scornfully smiling, Robert put his guns on the desk.

"H u m a n s !" He snorted. "How typical! Did you want to have good stuff only? But for everything you have to pay for! You don't want it? Great! What can you do to me? Although I'm a cripple and all alone, I'm still able to get you all, including my... your stupid security."

"Don't be so sure, daddy," and Dylon Noirson stepped forward from the crowd. "How about if we use this?" And he showed him the dagger.

It was a knockout. Dylon had guessed correctly. His godfather would not shoot him even now.

Robert Noirson was keeping silent and did not move, then security slowly came closer and carefully took his guns.

"You're a fool, my son." Robert said calmly. "Anyway you'll go to Hell, and be sure, my Father will avenge me."

"We'll see about that!" Dylon Noirson spat out his words. Two of the security grabbed Noirson and dragged him to Dylon. Dylon Noirson laughed.

"Oh, how long I have dreamed about this!" and he slapped his godfather.

"I always knew you were a coward." Noirson sadly smiled. "But now I'm so disgusted I wouldn't even spit on you."

"And I always knew that you would try to be like him. And now I'll give to you an opportunity to be in his shoes!"

With Dylon Noirson's signal his men carried inside a big cross. Shocked, Robert kept silent.

"Well, we have no mountain near, but the central meeting hall is just a few floors above. So, daddy, take it and carry it, and I'll watch you."

Noirson sucked in a sharp breath and collected all his courage.

"Make me!" He challenged.

"Oh, is it gonna be like that?" Dylon stabbed Robert's shoulder with a dagger. Noirson flinched, yet did not move.

"Oh, you're so brave, eh?" This time the blade only scratched the cheek of the Beast. Robert was shaken, but did not move even when the next strike skinned his neck.

Dylon got mad.

"Do it, you fucking prick!" Dylon Noirson hissed. "Or I'll cut your balls off !"

Noirson did not move.

Dylon lunged with a dagger. Robert gasped with pain and fear and looked at his legs. The deep scratches were bleeding on both of his thighs.

"Next time, daddy, I'll lift my hand a little bit higher. So, do it, fuck you! Do it right now!"

Robert glanced around, but he did not find any support.

Without a word, Noirson shouldered the cross.

***

He fell, probably for the tenth time. With horror Robert looked up. He had never realized how many floors there were between his office and the conference hall.

"Even He had help!" Noirson's voice trembled with despair.

"He had," Dylon Noirson said calmly. "You will not!"

"Why, Dylon, why? I loved you like my own son! I forgave you such things as nobody else!"

"I'm tired of being second!" Dylon Noirson hissed right into the face of his godfather. "But I'm gonna tell Them, I did that to save my soul." And he smiled.

"Dylon, my boy!" Robert gasped. "You're crazy! Kill me if you wish! Torture me, if it pleases you! But don't lie to Them! It's useless! It's deadly dangerous! It's the worst thing that you can do! I know! I know Them better than you do!"

"Shut up!" Dylon shouted with rage. He slapped Noirson a few times. "I hate you! For my dead mother! She always was kind to me! For Anhella!! For my pointless life! You damn monster! What kind of creature did you make me? Do we both go to Hell? Great! Go first!"

Those hits could not harm the magic body of the Beast, but the insane frank confession of his godson hurt Robert's soul and racked his heart, and that was much worse than any physical pain.

***

Robert did not walk into the conference hall; he crept. He was not able to get up and just dragged the cross along. Noirson was so exhausted that he had no power even to moan when his former friends and partners crucified him with the daggers. They placed the cross in the middle of the hall and then took a few photos.

***

Robert slowly lifted his head and looked around. He was alone.

He desired death for himself, but he was bereaved an opportunity even to commit suicide. Helpless and all alone, he could only wait for what Fate would send to him next.

 

 

The victory

 

When he first heard the sounds of gunfire, Noirson thought he had just imagined them.

But the shooting came closer, and now he was able to hear shouting and screams. A few times the building trembled with explosions.

Noirson stared at the door.

His faithful people finally rushed into the hall and he could not believe his eyes.

***

Doctor Akherman had finished treating Robert's wounds when screams of delight announced the arrival of the woman who made this victory possible.

"Long live the Queen!" Noirson heard.

The nurses helped him to rise and he saw his wife. His people knelt; they looked at Her with adoration.

Mary Noirson bent over her husband and kissed his lips: "Are you okay, honey?"

Robert nodded.

"Is your Power back?"

He smirked. An elegant corsage of roses appeared on his chest.

"Oh, sweetie..." Touched, Mary took the flowers. Then she looked at her husband with hesitation. "Robert," She dared finally. "I'm leaving..."

"I understand," Noirson replied very slowly.

"No, I love you, honey, but..."

"…for the kids it will be better, if you all leave the city until I untangle this mess," He finished the sentence for her. Mary smiled. Her husband did understand.

"Take some people," He said. "I want that for our children to need nothing."

"By the way," Mary caressed his hair. "Becker will be here soon. He was alive, he had just been arrested."

"And Dylon?"

"Anhella reported he killed himself. I'm sorry, honey."

"That fool," Robert sighed. "You know, I was able to forgive him!"

"Wanna resuscitate him?"

"No, kitten. Now My Father will take care of him," and Noirson smiled sadly.

 

 

The conclusion

 

Mary checked all the vehicles out and went to the red mini-van.

The kids were securely placed in their seats in the back and Natalie was between them. The huge dog was lying on the floor in the middle of the van next to a bodyguard, and a second bodyguard was sitting on the front seat.

Mary smiled. She took the drivers seat and resolutely drove away.

A column of vehicles followed her.

 

 

The hidden page

 

Jerry opened his eyes, and at first he did not understand where he was. He sat up, looked around and found himself sitting on the snow in the middle of a moonlit glade. He gasped as he recalled everything. Two unknown men stood near him. One of them stared at Jerry, while the other man helped someone get up.

Jerry checked himself. He saw his clothes covered with blood, and he was astonished. He felt no pain, and did not find any wound. But Jerry thought about Mary, and he wanted to die.

"Don't worry," the closest man smiled. "She will be okay."

"Oh, yeah?" Jerry amazedly looked at him. "How do you know?"

Michael Alter did not reply. A dog stood next him, and the man petted its head. Suddenly Jerry saw that the man being helped up was Pastor Warren. Jerry sprang up.

"Calm down," Michael shook his head. "You already have killed him once. Did it change anything?"

Jerry became confused. He checked his own feelings, and was surprised. He had no hate for that damn priest.

"Who are you?" Jerry looked at Alter, and stared at the blood stained snow. Then he thought he understood. "The Master has "dismissed" me, didn't he? So, I'm dead, and going to Hell, eh?"

"No, Jerry," Michael replied calmly. "I will explain, but it will be a long talk. First of all, let's get out of here." He stretched out his hand, and the bodies of two lambs appeared onto the glade, and hungry African dogs rushed at them.

***

In the car, Jerry looked through the window at the house, where he had lived for so long, and he sighed. His previous life was gone, and he realized that. He was not able to imagine his new life. But he trusted. He trusted.


Part Two. Together

Foreword

 

A sturdy, young looking woman walked closer to check out her daughter.

The small, thin girl climbed up the huge old tree, and the shocked woman gazed at her. The woman was not worried about her daughter's security. The servants were standing around the tree, ready to catch the girl, if she fell. But like a little monkey, the girl bravely jumped from bough to bough, hanging and swinging on branches, and her loud happy laughing spilled out into the air.

"Ann!" the amazed woman called her daughter. "Is the gym not enough for you?"

"It's a tree, mom!" the girl wondered why her mother did not understand the difference. "A tree!"

"You should've been born a boy, my dear!" the woman said, shrugging her shoulders.

That phrase aroused unpleasant memories in her heart, and the woman's face clouded with dreamy sadness. She sat down on the ground, and petted-smoothed out the grass.

"Only he called me 'sunnie'..." She whispered. "Why only him? I'm a blonde, that name fits me perfectly..." She sighed. "My first sin, forgive me, you silly, naive boy..."

The girl shouted, calling her mother, but the woman did not look at her.


Chapter Eight: At home

The family

 

At seventeen years old, Ann Noirson liked to swim. She tied her thick, wavy mane, the color of fallen leaves, into a ponytail, put swimming goggles on, then jumped into the pool. She swam fast, going from end to end a few times. After, she floated on the water and relaxed. Small waves slowly washed up against her strong, athletic body.

"Ann!" She heard. She opened her eyes, and looked up.

Frowning, Mary Noirson gazed at her: "Is your homework ready? I don't think so!"

"Mom, I need some rest," Ann drawled with a plaintive voice. "I'm tired."

"Oh, poor girl, eh? Where is Mark?"

Ann shrugged her shoulders. Mary saw a servant help her husband get into the pool. He swam and laughed with enjoyment. Robert Noirson was in great shape for a man in his mid sixties. But he was crippled.

The daggers were a damnation to Robert, he could not cure wounds from them. Although more than eighteen years had passed since Mary's kidnapping, his knee was still motionless. Besides, his hands and feet had been mutilated during the crucifixion that Dylon Noirson, his adopted godson, organized. And now swimming was the only physical activity which brought Noirson pleasant feelings.

"I bet I'll be first!" He threw out a challenge and began swimming for the far side of the pool.

"Oh, yeah?" Ann rushed to follow him.

Mary watched them with a smile.

"Who was first? Who was first?" Ann screamed as she reached the wall.

"Sorry, honey," Her mother replied. "There was too much water flying everywhere. I didn't see."

"That's not fair!" Ann splashed her father. He laughed and splashed her back.

Mary called a servant, whispered something into his ear, and looked at her husband and daughter again. They were talking now, and Mary liked times like this. She loved Robert, and knew Ann greatly respected him.

"Let me go!" sounded an indignant voice.

The servants carried a youth. It was Mark, Ann's twin brother. But slim and lean, he looked totally different from his sister. Now he unsuccessfully tried to tear himself from the hands of the servants.

They threw him into the pool. Mark hastily got out and ran to Mary.

"Stop doing that!" He shouted. "I hate it!" His hair had stuck to his wet face and the youth pushed it aside with a quick brush of his hand.

"Son," Mary smiled. "It's not good for your health to spend the whole day in front of the computer."

"But I even didn't close the program!" He yelled. His cat-like eyes glinted with anger. "I can lose the results of my day's work!"

"Oh, sorry, honey! Run then, sweetie!"

Mary looked really upset and Mark relented. He hugged his mother and kissed her cheek.

"Mom, sorry that I shouted at you! I promise to do some exercise, maybe swim. I just want to finish that part."

"I understand," Mary smiled as she followed him with her eyes.

 

 

The son

 

It had happened when the Noirson children were fourteen years old.

Mary was in her office in the central building downtown when she saw a TV-report. An awful accident had taken place. A gasoline truck had sprung a leak. The spilled fuel caught fire, and the blaze had spread to nearby cars. The Noirson children had at their disposal special cars that could not be burnt, because the Son of the Devil, Robert Noirson, could do many things yet he was unable to resurrect people who died in a fire.

But even so, Mary snapped when the camera zoomed in for a close-up of the accident. It was her son's car. The door was open, and she saw some charred corpses inside.

And she screamed. She did not hear her voice even though startled people on the street involuntarily looked to where the horrible sound had come from. When the secretary and security ran into the room, Mary was lying on the floor, without a pulse, not breathing, dead like the last rock on Earth.

***

"Mommy, mommy, mommy..." She heard through the gray emptiness. "Oh, mom, please... Dad, do something!"

"I can't, kids, sorry!" Robert's voice sounded with despair. "We belong to different levels..."

Mary opened her eyes, and the Noirsons gasped with gladness. But their smiles died instantly. The woman on the bed glanced at her husband and daughter with indifference, and gazed at Mark. But it was not a usual look. It was like a tunnel from Beyond to reality. No thoughts, no feelings, no emotions. "I'm dead." Mary saw her son. "Thank you, God! I'm finally dead."

"Mom, please!" Mark was shaken. His ash-brown bangs fell onto his eyes, and he shook his head, trying to put them back in place. "I'm alive! I wasn't in the car! I went to check out this new shop. They were waiting for me. That's why the door was open. Mom?"

"I ordered that damn reporter killed!" Robert petted his sobbing daughter. "Mary, honey? Are you okay?" He shook his head. "I don't think she hears us... Oh, my Father! We lost her..."

Mark took the hand of his mother. She stared at him, and the teenager did not lose hope. They were all still talking, however, the woman did not reply, she did not move, and finally Ann fell into hysterics, yet even after that Mary did not look at her and showed no reaction.

Robert took his daughter out of the room and called his son. Mark released the hand of his mother, but he grabbed it back at once as unlimited horror and despair flashed into Mary's eyes.

And Mark stayed. He held her hand and kept talking non-stop. He recalled their shared moments, he was making plans. Although he wanted to cry, he smiled and tried to joke. When he was tired of talking, he just petted her hands and hair, and he kissed her motionless face.

***

The nurse unsuccessfully tried to feed her ward. Mary only kept her eyes on her son, and did not open her mouth. Mark took the mug.

"Mmmmmm, yum-yum!" He demonstratively tasted the soup. "You're a big girl, aren't you? You won't upset me, you capricious girl?" He gently pushed down her lower lip with the spoon, and the woman submissively drank the contents.

***

Mark told the servant to put a bed next to hers, and he did not leave his mother at night. He took his residence in that room, and Robert dared not to force him to change his decision. Noirson was sure all the efforts of his son would be useless, but he loved his wife and Mark, and he did not want to separate them.

Three months had passed, and nothing changed. Robert tried to talk with his son, but Mark did not listen to a thing.

***

It was late at night. Mark was playing a game on his computer when he heard a moan. He sat still, then slowly turned to the sound.

"Mark!" the woman repeated louder. She stretched her hands to him. "You're alive!"

And the teenager sobbed and rushed to his mother.

***

But only two weeks later the woman recognized her husband and her daughter, and almost one year had passed before Mary finally returned to normal.

 

 

The daughter

 

The Noirsons had one of their usual receptions. The weather was warm, but not hot, and so the food was served outside on the central lawn.

Wearing a false smile, Mary came to her husband.

"Where is Ann?" She hissed angrily. "Where is that trouble-maker? Mark is here! Everybody's asking me, and I'm tired of making excuses."

Suddenly they heard screaming and looked at the noises.

Ann, on horseback, galloped through the tables. Guests scattered in all directions. She was wearing a spotted bikini and the pelt of a leopard dangled off her shoulders.

"Mary, please!" Robert looked at his wife with worry. Her face was contorting with indignation looked. Mary closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath.

"Ah!" She smiled, made a welcoming gesture, and said, loudly addressing the guests: "Here she is!"

The girl jumped off the horse and slapped it. The horse rushed forward, however, the servants caught it at once and struggled to take the hot animal away.

Ann hugged her father and wanted to do the same with her mother, but Mary grabbed her hands, tiptoed and brought her face close to Ann's.

"You crazy thing!" Mary hissed, keeping a nice smile. "Of the all parties, you're doing something to embarrass us! When are you going to grow up?"

"Ma! It's just too boring... I don't like these people..."

"You don't like people then live in a zoo!" Minute Mary was shorter than her tall daughter by at least a foot. She had to look up to scold her daughter, and Robert chuckled to himself, thinking it funny.

"Look at yourself!" Mary continued. "You savage! Go make your home in the jungle!"

"Honey..." Noirson looked at the guests and then at his females. "Let's talk later, okay?"

"Later she will be punished," Mary released her daughter. "Enough talk!" And she walked to the tables. Ann gazed at her father with an apologetic smile. He shrugged his shoulders.

"It's okay, my tiger-cub!" He gave her a wink. "I promise to visit you when you're under "arrest". We could even have some trip. For you, my baby, I will not hesitate to waste even a twenty-four-hours portion of the Power!"

And they both laughed with mutual understanding.

 

 

The capybara

 

The next day, late in the evening Robert oozed into his daughter's apartment. They exchanged a few gentle punches, and guffawed.

"Amazonia!" Ann exclaimed. "Take me to the rain forest!"

"Honey, you've visited that place five times! Let's go to Africa, eh? India?"

"I want to catch a baby capybara, a wild one," the girl specified. "And keep it as a pet."

Robert glanced at his daughter with a smile.

"Anything you wish for, my princess!" He took her hand, made a magic motion, and they dissolved in the air.

***

Sometime later, the Noirsons reappeared in the middle of the room. Happily smiling, Ann held a juvenile capybara. The animal was trembling, however, it did not try to bite.

"Oh, dad!" Ann said adoringly. "It was just wonderful!"

"Give me that stupid piglet," Noirson demonstratively frowned. "Let's hide it before your mom discovers us!"

The girl held out the animal, but it jumped, slid down, and ran away.

"Catch him!" they gasped at once.

The terrified capybara rushed from the room, and Ann ran after it. The piglet pushed the door and Ann screamed, as it was not locked and opened wide.

She heard shooting. Forgetting everything, Ann flung herself at the guard who tried to kill that strange animal.

"Stop it, you idiot!" She cried. "Stop firing!"

The dogs rushed downstairs. Taken aback, Robert looked around. He saw Mary and her mad gaze totally confused him.

"Make them stop!" Ann sobbed hysterically. Mary grinned. She understood.

Robert frowned, and whistled. The submissive dogs left their victim. But lying downstairs the piglet was torn to bloody pieces. Ann buried her face on the chest of her father and wept violently.

A servant picked up the dead capybara and questioningly looked at his Masters.

"Robert!" Mary's voice was sternly calm. She slowly walked towards her husband and daughter. "Take that animal, resurrect it and return it to the place where you got it." She came close to them and whispered quietly so that only Robert and Ann could hear her. "And if I ever catch you disobeying my orders again you will both be very sorry!"

Not looking at Mary, Ann kissed her father and went to her apartment without saying a word.

 

 

Angie Belanger

 

Her husband had treated her awfully. So after three years of their marriage, she killed him. Robert Noirson had rescued her from the gas chamber, after she had lost consciousness and just before she died.

At twenty-four years old, with long, straight black hair, this Philippine girl was very pretty and Robert planned to send her to the bordello for his officers.

But first of all he wanted to check her out.

"It's your job now," He said after he had his way with her. He waited for her reply with curiosity. Everybody showed different reactions, from hysteria to hopeless despair.

She smiled: "Thank you for saving my life!" She started tenderly caressing him, and her soft, slightly slanted eyes, the color of a ripe cherry, caused Noirson to feel strange. She looked at him with visible gratitude, and he got confused that he was not gentle with her. Her shy timidity aroused something like pity into his soul, and Robert decided to keep her girl for himself for a while. But it was a new page in his life. This Philippine girl touched such levels in his heart that even Mary had never reached.

Now Noirson was rather afraid of his wife. Resolute, smart, and sly, during those years Mary took her husband in hand, and all his servants and business also. She was an angel in the first generation, and now her abilities were as powerful as Robert's own. Noirson released that genie from the bottle, but he lost control, and he did not even remember the moment that she had taken over the leadership.

However, that was one of the reasons why Robert had married her. Mary was a stern, yet fair person. And Noirson was not afraid that she would "dismiss" Angie or hurt her.

Yet Robert did not want to test the limits of Mary's patience. He still was very attached to his wife, and he was sparing her feelings, and he tried to hide his relationship with Angie Belanger as much as possible.

 

 

Mark and Angie

 

This girl was a new laboratory assistant, and her apartment was next to the laboratory. Mark took liberties with servants, so he entered without knocking.

And he stood still. He saw his father. Naked Angie was sitting on the bureau, and they were kissing and caressing each other.

Without a word Mark spun around and wanted to go away, but he found the door of the apartment locked.

Glum, he looked back. Confused, Robert walked to him.

"Son," He started uncertainly. "We have to talk."

"About what?" Mark turned to his father. And Noirson was unpleasantly surprised, even shocked, seeing how much this guy looked like his biological mother. Francine had never loved Robert, she did not even try to pretend, and those memories still hurt.

"What, daddy? Don't you have enough whores?" irritated, Mark pushed his bangs aside with a quick brush of his hand across his face. "You can use your servants any way you want! Of course, mom is not so young! She could only be your daughter, not a grand-daughter!"

"You shouldn't say such things." Noirson's voice quavered, and Mark felt guilty. He went closer, and hugged Robert.

"Sorry, dad! I'm really sorry! I just don't want mom upset."

"Me either, son, believe me! But we're both males, we should understand and help each other!"

"So, she's so good, eh?" Mark screwed up his eyes. "May I try?"

Robert tried to squeeze out a smile, but he could not.

"Oh, dad!" Mark looked at his father with amazement. "Is it so serious?"

Noirson lowered his eyes. Mark shook his head and went away.

 

 

Gleb

 

Ann was lying down on the grass. Her tutor was telling her about some plays by Shakespeare. Of course, Ann was not able to read or even watch that. So, the tutor was telling, trying to keep Ann's attention.

However, the girl did not listen. Those romantic stories were great, but she wanted to have her own. A lovely May evening, a charming twilight, the fragrance of the flowers and the fresh grass stirred her strong and healthy body. Ann sensed a deep, powerful call, but naive and light-minded she felt like a drunk, and did not understand what was going on.

Ann saw an ant, and crawled to follow it. She kept her eyes on the insect. Suddenly she heard shouting and she lifted her face to see where the sound was coming from.

Ann saw her father's soldiers. There were about twelve of them, all young, and new - they were still training. Wearing T-shirts and sports pants, they were all very attractive. Repeating motions again and again they looked like robots, and Ann smiled. Though they saw her, they were disciplined enough and did not turn a hair.

One guy got Ann's attention. He was wearing a white T-shirt, and his hair was almost the same color. But when the sun shone, his hair was shot with gold. His piercing brown eyes glanced at the daughter of his Master for just a second.

Ann got up, and the leader noticed her. He shouted, and the soldiers stood still.

The girl went closer, leering at these guys. She stopped next to the blond, and stared at him. All new servants had to wear name tags, and she looked at his tag.

"Gleb?" She asked.

"Yes, Miss Noirson." He responded calmly. His accent surprised the girl.

"Where are you from?"

"Moscow, Russia." his voice sounded with sadness.

"Like my mom!" Ann gasped. He kept silent.

"Show me your head!" She told Gleb. His brows lifted.

"Yeah, check him out!" someone suggested. "Maybe he has cooties!"

Everybody laughed. Gleb blushed, looked at Ann with spite, but submissively bent forward his head. Ann snorted.

"Wow!" She was amazed. "It's your natural color! I thought you dyed your hair!"

"In Moscow only punks do that!" He retorted maliciously.

"But you're not in Russia any more!" Ann haughtily smiled. "Are you an immigrant?"

"Your Father gave me that big honor. He took me into his personal security service."

"Oh, you're so good, eh?" She leered at him again. "Can you lift me?"

He snorted and grabbed her into his arms at once. He did not expect her to be so heavy, but he was well-trained, and an idea came to him now. He put Ann down, and grinned.

"Take your shoes off!" Gleb screwed up his eyes. "If you can keep your feet steady, I can lift you much higher!"

Ann obeyed, and got on his hands. He stretched his arms up above his head. Ann kept her balance. She looked around and laughed with enjoyment.

All soldiers lifted their hands also, and Ann carefully walked on their palms. Of course, she finally fell, and, of course, many hands caught her.

Ann saw the face of Gleb above her left shoulder.

"Kiss me!" She told him. Everybody fell silent. Gleb hesitated for a second, but resolutely bent and kissed her cheek.

The girl sprang up, and ran skipping along.

"Wow!" Gleb heard. "Lucky you!"

"Attention!" the leader shouted. Obeying his orders, the soldiers went back to training.

 

 

Gleb and Ann

 

They had just started to kiss each other. A very tempting idea came to Gleb. To marry the daughter of an American billionaire. Heh-heh! If she became pregnant from him, maybe her parents...

But suddenly someone loudly knocked at the door, and a servant entered, ordering Gleb to come with him.

***

Sitting side by side, Mary and Robert stared at Gleb.

He forgot, Ann's adoptive parents were not humans, they were able to read his thoughts, and send him to Hell with one motion of their finger. And now, realizing that, the youth blanched, and fell on his knees.

***

Only one week later Ann dared to ask her father about Gleb. It was her and Mark's birthday. She got a lot of presents, but it was not those she desired.

"Sorry, honey!" Robert glanced at her. "Mom ordered him sent to Hell."

Ann screeched, and burst into tears.

"I'm really sorry!" Noirson hugged his sobbing daughter. "You know, that your mom is thinking about sex without marriage!"

"Okay! We can get married then!"

"No way, dear!" Robert objected. "I want you to marry a man who's going to love you, not your money!"

"Gleb loves me!"

"Maybe... How can you be so sure?"

"Yes! How can I find out if you took him away from me!"

"Your mother..."

"I'm eighteen now! Have you ever seen an eighteen year old virgin?"

"Your mother was twenty one!" Robert smiled.

"My mom was a nun!" Ann shouted angrily. "I mean a normal girl!" And she wept bitterly.

"Okay," Noirson sighed. "I'll send him back!"

Ann's face went light with a smile.

"But!" He continued. "You have to listen to your tutors first. Second, hide your relationship from your mom. Deal?"

"I love you, dad!" Ann looked at him with adoration. Robert waved his hand, and Gleb appeared in the middle of the room. He glanced at Noirson, and knelt.

"Thank you, my Lord!" the youth mumbled. Ann threw herself to Gleb, and embraced him.

"Happy birthday, honey! Have fun!"

Robert left. He closed the door, and saw his wife. And they exchanged sad smiles.

 

 

The boyfriend

 

"Aren't you tired?" Gleb leered at her big slender body. They had been dating about two months already, and her insatiable nature was starting to scare the young man.

"Nope! With you I can do it the whole day!" Ann kissed him.

"You're a horse, girl!" the youth smiled. "But if you neglect your homework, your mom will start suspecting something. Wanna see me dismissed again?"

"She won't!"

"You know your mom. Look, sweetheart, for you I'm not afraid of a "ride to Hell". But I thought you loved me and don't wanna lose me. Was I wrong?"

"You're right," Ann sighed. Lazily she got up and started dressing. "Get out of here, buddy!" She peeped into the corridor: "The coast is clear!"

Gleb kissed her lips and quickly went away.

Yawning, Ann took her papers and turned on her computer. She was really attached to her boyfriend, and she did not want any trouble for him.

***

"Everything's fine!" Ann watched with vexation, as Gleb checked her homework. "Quit it! You're a bodyguard, not a tutor!"

"I almost graduated Moscow University." Gleb retorted coldly. "I'm not just a thug. And I won't go with you, love, until I'm sure you're done!"

Ann growled. But Gleb did not mind.

"Okay, honey!" He said finally. "What did you think up for the evening?"

"Take me to a some dirty cheap bar!" Ann drawled dreamily. "But not one of daddy's bars, okay?"

Gleb leered at her. He was glad, she could not read his thoughts.

"And don't bring anyone else!" Ann told him.

"No way!" Gleb made a curved smile. "Jeff at least. My dear, it's too dangerous!"

"Scaredy cat!" Ann pushed him. "You're a coward!"