Chapter 68

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“That dream again?” A voice asked me.

I jolted awake. Tried to get up, but quickly discovered my hands and feet were bound to the bedposts, with a gag in my mouth.

Sadly, this was not the worst way I’ve ever woken up. I grew up with Alex, or as I used to call him, “Oh my god you lit my bed on fire again!”. Sleepwalking and nocturnal combustion make for a pretty horrifying combination.

I struggled against the restraints. No luck. And the gag did a pretty good job of stopping my scream.

“All these years, and it still haunts your dreams.”

A light snapped on, revealing the figure before me: a young incubus with a creepy smile. Or at least, he looked young, and male. But ‘cubi can change their appearance, so for all I knew, this could be an 80-year-old succubus.

“I want to have some fun with you.” He climbed on top of me.

What the hell!!? I screamed into my gag.

He burst out laughing. “Oh. Now that was fun. The look on your face.”


“Don’t scream.” He removed my gag, and then got off me. “Now then. Time to get down to business.”

“You’re the thief.” ‘Cubus. Wants to play some twisted ‘game’ with us. Certainly seemed to fit.

“Which thief? The one you were sent to capture, or the ones who betrayed your trust by running experiments on the symbiont?” He smiled. “Which case will you pursue? Who makes for the bigger threat?”

“Who are you?” If he’s the thief, then he’s not going to kill me. He wants me alive, to play his little ‘game’. So I’m relatively safe. For now, at least.

“A future friend, believe it or not.” He had the least trustworthy-sounding voice I’ve ever heard. Getting a very strong serial killer vibe off him. Not someone I would ever want to be friends with.

“Oh, we will be friends, Zack. We are going to grow quite close to each other. With time, you will come to understand me. And today will be your first lesson.” He leaned in closer. “Everything I say is the Truth.” He sat down in the chair next to my bed. “I have never lied, and I never will. I refuse to stoop to that level.”

“Forgive me if I doubt your honesty.”

“Of course you doubt me. People lie. You lie, Alex lies, Luke lies… but I do not. Lying is the most uncreative form of deception. Far better to simply set things up for people to jump to the wrong conclusions. If a known lair tells you something horrible, you won’t believe it. But a man you know will never outright lie… you will lay awake at night, trying, desperately, to find a new interpretation that will make it a less horrible truth.”

“Why did you steal that stuff? Just to play your twisted little game?”

“No. As much as I enjoy playing with you, this goes far beyond mere entertainment. As with most of my actions, I do this because it is part of a series of events that must happen. One thing leads to another, as it must. You must investigate this facility. Find out the true nature of their research. When you have done that, I will tell you where to find the stolen items.”

“And I should believe you because…?”

“Ask Luke. He will vouch for me.”

“You know Luke?”

“Oh, yes. We go way back.” He took a pill bottle out of his pocket. “Here’s a little something to help you sleep.” He forced several of the pills down my throat.

Within 30 seconds, I was out again.

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