Part 10

(bad language, references to a sexual relationship)

Dak’kon checked his cellphone it was 9:12 am. He had 12 new messages and 2 missed calls. He’d turned the sound off his phone the first night and never bothered to turn it back on. He hadn’t once thought of contacting his friends. Even now he closed the phone without checking his messages. He’d never been much of a phone person and he’d accounted ahead of time for his whereabouts. Most of the messages were probably invitations for sex anyways.

Xyven was in the kitchen preparing the days meals, at least theoretically. There had seemed to him a schism in the man’s personality between day and night. If there was ever a good time to approach the man, it was right now and that was precisely what he intended to do. Nikolai was hiding something from him, even if inadvertently, and it was necessary that he have all the facts before attempting to handle, what was at best a completely impossible situation.

“I need to talk to Xyven and I’d rather not do it drunk. Will you open a portal for me?” Dak’kon asked turning his attention back to Nikolai.

“I can’t stop you can I?” Nikolai sighed out all the air from his lungs, his posture visibly deflated. “Alright but I feel I should at least voice my objections. I have dealt with the demon on a few occasions and he’s clever so I doubt he’d be careless enough to let his identity slip. He has powers too if he decides to pursue you full force there isn’t much chance of escape.” Nikolai made some valid points and yet Dak’kon knew they could not go on living this way. A confrontation was eminent and indeed necessary if he was to learn more.

“Probably not but he was pretty chatty yesterday and who knows he might let something slip.” Dak’kon had made up his mind to do this, despite the danger. So far the demon was keeping his distance, toying with him, and he hoped that the charade would continue a while longer. He wasn’t suicidal. Cocky maybe. Curious yes.

“How will you avoid breakfast?” Nikolai asked and it was clear from his fidgeting that he was uncomfortable, scared even. He had every reason to be and there was little Dak’kon could do to console the other man. There was no use thinking too much about his own fears, he needed to keep his mind as clear as possible.

“I don’t plan to avoid it. I’ll take my time eating it and extract all the information I can from him. There is just one thing I haven’t figured out how to escape if he drugs me again. Do you have anything that could stun him?” If Xyven was a demon it seemed unlikely he would be able to physically overtake him, even if he wasn’t Xyven was a big fucking guy and he’d be no match for the man drugged.

“Whose to say he’ll give you the same thing? There is no way to know exactly how long you’ll have before the drug takes effect. I do have something though. Something your grandfather gave me. He didn’t tell me how to make it or even what it was but he said it would buy me time if I ever got caught.” Nikolai walked over to a small table in the corner and opened the bottom draw. After a few minutes of hesitation he came back with a small phial of purple fluid. “All you have to do is break the glass when you want to use it. The demon will be stunned for about five minutes. I’ll wait for you.” Nikolai said reluctantly handing over the flask. Dak’kon held the bottle up to his eyes, the liquid had a curious shimmer.

“Wait for me in the bedroom I don’t want to risk him sensing you. I’ll use this at the first sign of drugs in my system. Last time he caught me off guard this time I’ll be careful.” Dak’kon slipped the bottle into his pocket.

After getting dressed Dak’kon headed to the kitchen (making sure to transfer the bottle). Xyven was there, right on schedule, fiddling with something on the stove. He’d noted nothing unusual about the man’s appearance and when he entered the man received him without any obvious signs of aggression. The chef appeared to be in good spirits.

“Hey, breakfast will be done in a bit. Have a seat.” Dak’kon took the same seat, stealing himself to the uncertainty. He was sitting some sort of record for interest in other people’s fucking business. There was a part of him that just wanted to sit staring silently at the black window but he couldn’t waste his time like that anymore.

“Did you ever get out yesterday? You have that sex glow about you.” Xyven said looking up from the frying pan.

“Not sex, more like a very intense dream.” Dak’kon was startled by the other’s observational skills but he did his best not to show it.

“A dream huh? Every time I spend the night in this place I end up having nightmares.” Xyven commented flipping the fish in his pan over. He still hadn’t figured out if there was actually a human being in the chef’s body or if the demon was just messing around with him.

“Yeah what kind of dreams?” Dak’kon asked trying to keep his tone as neutral as possible, the last thing he wanted to do was arouse suspicion by going into full-fledged interrogation mode. Xyven didn’t strike him as the patient type.

“There’s this entity stalking me. Whatever the dream I can feel it, right there on the very edge of my perception. Like a malevolence. As the dream continues it gets closer and closer. It’s patient but relentless. By the end of the dream it’s right on top of me and then bam it swallows me up.” The chef said and though he laughed it was empty, and meaningless like an echo. “The thing is sometimes when I am wide awake I look into that mirror in the bathroom and its all black and distorted and I remember that dream.” He continued, fish done he started to plate up breakfast. This time it was Japanese-style rice, miso soup, mackerel, a side of simmered vegetables. Dak’kon was half Japanese on his father’s side but having never met the man he’d never eaten anything like this for breakfast. He wondered absently if Xyven had made this specifically for him?

“Looks like the old man got into your head a bit.” Dak’kon didn’t know how long he’d be able to maintain consciousness after he started eating, he had to get to the point. “You ever witness anything else out of the ordinary while staying here?” He asked taking the dishes from Xyven and organizing them around himself.

Xyven returned to the stove after serving him. “I told you I didn’t believe in that shit. The weirdest thing around here was the people.” Dak’kon got the feeling the other wanted to say more on the subject but that he required a bit of prodding.

You have a captive audience…so tell me about them.” Dak’kon offered lifting up his first mouthful of food. Once the man got going he would slow down.

I guess you never actually met your grandfather. He was an alright guy. Pretty fucking funny when he was drinking. Bad taste in music though. He performed exorcisms, actually got paid for it too. If he didn’t believe in the shit himself I’d say he was one hell of a con artist. Anyways he comes back from this one job and he’s got this creepy ass stature with him. You know the one in the foyer? After that he became reclusive, sullen almost. He’d disappear for days at a time. Hauled up in one of those secret rooms no doubt. The only person he really talked too was Nikolai.” Xyven grew silent and at first Dak’kon thought he wouldn’t continue.

Nikolai was more of an enigma though. When we first met the guy barely said a word to me. He just kinda of watched me out of the corner of his eye. He came off as being really innocent but I reckon that was some kind of act given what follows. He always spoke about himself in the 3rd person and he was amazed by everyday objects. Once he moved in he never left. Never went into the city. Never called home. Never talked about his past. No last name. Nothing just a blank fucking slate. I guess he had amnesia or something. I asked your grandfather once where he came from and he looks at me and says ‘I found him’. What the hell does that mean he found him that’s not something you say about a grown man, a dog maybe but not a grown man.” Xyven seemed to have warmed to the subject, apparently the issue with Nikolai had been weighing on his mind for a while.

You think the old man abducted him?” Dak’kon asked this was definitely news to him but how could he dispute it given how little he knew about his grandfather.

I don’t know. Nikolai seemed happy here or maybe he was just happy in general. Then one day the guy just up changes his whole persona. He started expressing an interest in me and by interest I mean a sexual interest. The sex was incredible, best I ever had. He had this ability, like some kind of empathic thing. Everything was just amplified I don’t know how to explain it.” Dak’kon picked slowly through his breakfast even though it was delicious. The sensations in his dream had been intense, rivaling anything he’d ever experienced in life.

There was one other thing that struck me as odd. I had seen every inch of that man’s body and he was perfect. No scars. No moles. No beauty marks. Nothing. Like a doll. Except his eye. When we first met he had matching green eyes. Greenest eyes you have ever fucking seen. But then one of his eyes just up and turns black, even the white part. I asked him about it later. You know what he told me? Not a damn thing. It was like that with him.” Xyven said sighing in frustration. When Dak’kon thought back on it he couldn’t remember seeing any imperfections on Nikolai’s body either, though unlike Xyven, he hadn’t seen every inch. There were other things that jived as well, namely the empathic abilities.

Dak’kon was half-way through his meal, so far he felt more or less okay. The plan was to leave as soon as he was finished, sooner if he noticed any symptoms. If he got lucky he wouldn’t even need the safety measure. Would Xyven really try to poison him a second time? “And all that wasn’t enough to convince you huh.” Dak’kon said jokingly.

The only thing it convinced me of is that I’d put up with just about anything for great sex.” The sound of meat searing in a hot pan was sobering. He returned his attention to his food.

What about you? Where are you from?” Dak’kon asked did Xyven suffer similar gaps in his memory?

Alabama.” The man did not elaborate, apparently he found talking about himself boring.

What happened to your accent?” Dak’kon asked taking a sip of his coffee.

I lost it, on purpose.” Apparently the man’s past was a bit of a sore point.

How did you get interested in cooking?” The man appeared to have a genuine interest in food maybe the other would warm to the topic of his past if they kept things neutral.

Funny thing really. I used to sell drugs. I didn’t just sell drugs I designed them and I was good at it. My specialty was aphrodisiacs. I was cocky though and that’s how I got arrested. They put me to work in the kitchen. I liked it and after I got out I started looking for work as a cook. Most people were put off by the record. I almost went back to selling drugs just to make ends meet. Then I met this old dude Douglas Hannigan. He was an ex con, he’d turned his life around opened up one of those mom and pop joints. He decided to give me a chance. He was a real hard ass but he was a good teacher. Things were good for a while, I learned a lot from him. He even paid for my education. He was going to leave me the restaurant but then these punks torched the place during the night. If the police hadn’t gotten to them first I would have killed them, kids or not. We started rebuilding the place bit by bit but he never really recovered from the loss, died about two months later unexpectedly. He never got around to making out a will and it turned out that he had some legitimate kids that he was estranged from, they got everything.” Xyven answered never pausing in his recollection. The man was certainly bitter about what happened but it seemed to Dak’kon that he was too resigned to exact vengeance.

For the rest of his meal Dak’kon continued to peel away layers of the chef’s life. The man had a younger brother Xerxes, a firefighter still living in their hometown, he was married with two kids. He also had a younger sister Xanthippe she was a meth head and a prostitute. His dad was a drunk. His mom was a heroine addict. He didn’t go into details about what probably was a shitty childhood but it was apparent that Xyven recalled everything with reasonable clarity. He didn’t note in their discussion any of the peculiarities he’d seen on the previous night and Xyven made absolutely no reference to the encounter. At some point during their discussions the chef opened the back door to show him the snow. There was about a foot, that was problematic. Xyven did not react to the sunlight and even offered to help with repairing the house since he couldn’t go home anyways. He asked the man to help clear out the unused bedrooms for all the good that would do.

Dak’kon finished his whole meal without getting sick. What was going on exactly? The list of things he couldn’t explain only seemed to increase. Most of it could be unraveled with logic, it was the bits that could not that propelled him on this wild goose chase. The turn in the weather made it unlikely that he would make it to the city anytime soon. His grandfather’s driveway was miles long, wilderness all around. The back roads might not even be plowed. Dak’kon stopped by the bathroom first to brush his teeth before heading to the bedroom. Nikolai was waiting on the bed.

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