I swam, ruefully, back to Japan. The plan to swim to Seoul was only complicated by the many boats who would no doubt be surrounding the area. They were looking for him, Primus was looking for Jared. I’m sure Primus thought the Siren got to him first and probably issued a recon project of some sort. That or in Primus’ vengeance for Jared’s defiance he ordered that both he and what was left of Lilli be fed to her.
I thoughtfully unwrapped my cell phone, delighted that it had been kept dry through the entire ordeal and called Angeli.
I sank to my knees then sat cross legged on the sand wishing I had spent more time with her before I left. Not just so that she’d be more likely to help me now, but because after seeing the Siren take her form I honestly missed her.
“I messed up I think.” I blurted out as soon as she answered the phone.
“I’m curse so I’m used to it.” she said sighing but still happy to hear my voice. Her voice sounded as happy as my own would have, had Lilli called me after pouring my heart out to her. I knew how she felt. And more than that, how I wanted to be worthy of those feelings.
“I’m an idiot and that trumps being cursed.” I continued. She laughed and waited to hear my request. “Maybe I just called to say hi and to hear your voice.” I offered waiting for her stillness to subside.
She didn’t believe me.
“Maybe I didn’t realize what I had and made the same mistake Jared had with Lilli only to find that I really can’t imagine life without you nor do I want to.” I continued.
“You’re an insufferable flirt. What do you need?” she said, though happy I had offered something in the way of an excuse for just leaving the country without saying good bye to her.
“I need to know that you will wait for me.” I finally said.
“Bullshit.” she said in disbelief.
“I can appreciate why you’d think that. But, the longer I’m out here alone looking for answers I’m not supposed to have, the more I find that I’d rather be somewhere with you instead. Unfortunately, my task is still undone and it may take a few days.” I explained.
“I’m not such a flirt that I will have replaced you in just a few days Bryan.” she said defensively.
“I never said you would. But, you are gorgeous and wonderful and I know I’m not the only guy who knows that. You should hear how longingly other men and vampires speak of you. Just give me one last chance to make it right, now that I’ve got my own emotions figured out. I don’t want to lose what we could have together and quite frankly, spending time with you is the only thing I have to look forward to.” I said as though talking to my best friend.
“But I’m cursed, like literally cursed. You’ll see my face and run for it remembering why you never wanted me in the first place.” she whined.
“Not likely. Thinking of you and how beautifully you have cared for me has been the one thing to keep me sane. Perhaps that is the trick of defeating your curse. Maybe it had nothing to do with love but with not being sane without you. That’s an effect of love right?” I chuckled still vying for her affections.
“Do you love me?” she finally asked after thinking quietly for a moment or two. My phone chirped quietly of a dying battery.
“I love what could be with you.” I answered.
“Close enough. Call me when you get home.” she said and hung up… my battery died a second later so I was grateful I had not hung up on her.
I felt the strength I needed to finish this dreaded bloody mission I had set myself on, making Angeli my goal. I had to race against time to help my best friend, but my reward would be to finally give in to how much Angeli cared for me. Affection I’m totally shocked that I return so fully. I’d go home now if I could… but, the Siren would go after Angeli if I did. She’s got eyes and ears on land and is probably watching me now.
The boat I stole was no better than a dingy. A raggedy dingy at that. I rowed quickly until I somehow drifted to the mouth of the Han River. Once in South Korea, I went to the Incheon Airport and used the facilities as well as various stolen luggage to get ready. I found a phone charger, a new outfit, watch, shoes, everything I’d need to be a presentable rock star. I left the airport with paparazzi flashing at me and women clamoring and straining to get a peek.
My apologies to the celebrity I stole from. But, he does have style. No one knows I’m not the real entertainer and Toro will hardly think anything of a pop star sighting at an airport. My boss won’t think I’m here. Once my phone was charged and I’d found a decent snack in the form of an adoring fan (who will survive because I only drank about a pint), I called Jared.
“What the hell took you so long? A couple of hours meant like midnight at the latest not the next day man.” Jared blared at me over the phone.
“I have to stop in California and Bali as a result of coming here so shut up. You don’t want to know what it’s like to have a demon damn near swallow you. Now, where are you and Lilli?” I retorted irritated that he had no consideration for what I had just been through.
“Where in Seoul are you?” he said.
“About two miles from the airport.” I answered looking around carefully for Primus’ informants.
“In the loud outfit?” he said sneering.
“Shut up.” I answered searching for him. We can see up to a half mile away so he must be close.
“In the ice cream shop two blocks down. I asked around to find our contact and they said to come here.” Jared told me and hung up.
I walked casually down the street as though I owned the place, happy to be so close to home. I grew up in Busan back in the day and vowed I would not set foot in my homeland unless absolutely necessary. But, it’s good to be home and among my father’s people. Mother insisted that I not return after she bit me.
To my shame, my father grew old alone. Mom had been seduced by a vampire and refused to part with her 27 year old son. I couldn’t very well say no as she threatened to drink dad. And about 40 years later I found him dying and surrounded by ghosts. Who knew vampirism ran in the family? Relatives I had thought long since dead reunited to wish him well in the next life refusing to grant him the immortal gift of damnation.
Mom left him because he refused to be bitten anyway. I left when I refused to watch him become her dinner, and then mom pissed off Primus and got exiled to somewhere. I’m still looking for her. But, I have a feeling she never gave up being a trouble maker.
Imagine my surprise when her name was stenciled in Korean on the back wall of the ice cream parlor.
Jared sat nervously in a booth.
“I don’t know what brought you here but we need to get the hell out.” I told him looking around and waiting for the trap to be sprung.
“Why?” he said as he joined in my uneasiness.
“I have a feeling my mom owns this place.” I told him.
“Why would that be a bad thing?” Jared asked surprised.
“She has a thing for dragons.” I whispered and made my way to the back room where Lilli’s headless body laid trembling.
“What!?!” Jared said shocked.
“Yeah, she’s banished from Primus’ fort, but that had nothing to do with this side of the world.” I told him as I wrapped her body in a thick blanket and threw her over my shoulder.
Jared grabbed the ice chest containing her head and hand and as we walked back out to the dining area it was eerily empty with the door closed, locked, and the open sign turned off.
“Hello brother.” A voice I had not heard in a very long time hissed as me.
“Shit.” I sighed.
“Is that any way to greet your brother?” he continued.
Jared stood fiercely angry and ready to deck me for being a relative. I’m sure he felt his trust had been misplaced. He must have met Bob.
“Did you decapitate my best friend?” I asked angry yet sarcastic.
“Oops.” He said grinning.
“Fix it.” I snarled at him.
“Fine, but I want the medallion you promised the Siren.” Bob jeered.
I really didn’t care. I’m sure the Siren and Bob would get along quite well. I have every intention of drowning him off the coast of Bali while he’s wearing the medallion so every promise I’ve made so far will be kept.