As many of you know, I participate in the National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) every November. I try to challenge myself to write things I wouldn’t normally attempt. This year, I set out to do a contemporary fantasy entitled Reality Bites. The main character, Jason Westlake, stars in a Supernatural type show. Fairly new, it’s gaining momentum. After an incident which sends him to the hospital, he starts seeing things he can’t explain. At a fund raiser for his charity, he meets someone he’s never known—his father, Lorne. His dad has a lot to say, most of it somewhat unbelievable.
They posed for pictures with him in the middle, an arm around each of them. When it was over, the assistant asked for his name and address.
“Lorne Berger.” He gave an address in Tulsa.
Jason looked as if he’d been tasered. Going pale, he went weak in the knees. Amy supported him, asking for a chair. His legs gave out, and he dropped into it. Clinging to her hand, he stared into the distance. The older man turned, obviously concerned. Dropping to one knee, he leaned in, speaking quietly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know any other way to speak to you. I’ve tried to reach you, since Bayard died. I missed you at the funeral. The guard dogs wouldn’t let me anywhere near you.”
“Does my mother know?”
“No. I thought, given her condition—”
“How do you even fucking know her condition?” Jason yelled, his actor’s lungs making his voice carry to all points of the room. Even over the band, he was heard. Leaping to his feet, he shoved his father away. “How dare you come here and speak to me like this? Like you’re anyone? Like you were ever in my life?”
“I handled this badly. I’m sorry.”
Jason wouldn’t look at him, so he appealed to Amy.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure how to approach him, but it’s imperative we speak. Immediately.”
“I think it’s fairly obvious he doesn’t particularly want to speak to you.”
“He must. I can’t emphasize how important it is. He’s been having some strange experiences, which his mind tries to play off as something else. But it’s not easily explained, is it?” His penetrating gray eyes captured Jason’s.
“Perhaps not here, in front of everyone?” Amy said.
About that time, the others arrived. There was something familiar about him, but none of them recognized him. His face bland, he held out his hand to Trip.
“You must be Trip, my brother Franklin’s son. And you’re Charlie, Edward’s second boy. You two aren’t kin,” he stated when he saw David and Sammie.
“No, sir,” David said, standing a little in front of Sammie and Amy, as if to protect them. “We’re friends of Jason’s. And you are?”
“His father. Lorne Berger.”
David’s fist shot out, hitting Jason’s father in the gut.
Breath leaving him in a harsh puff, Lorne doubled over. David was as stunned as anyone that he’d hit the man. Charlie led him off as he tried to contain himself. He was spoiling for a fight, but no one wanted that. Giving the doctor a black eye, after he’d been attacked, was one thing. Beating up a man who had given him no provocation, was quite another.
Security converged. The band stopped playing.
“No. I’m not pressing charges. It’s fine. I’m all right. No charges!” Straightening up, he waved the officers away. “I’m fine. On some level, I deserved that. It was a misunderstanding.”
Sammie asked the band to start playing again. She and Amy urged the men out of the main room, into a small conference room a few doors down.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve,” Trip began.
“Stop,” Jason commanded. “Let him talk.”
“I’d rather just speak to you and Amy.”
“Not happening,” Amy said. “It’s all of us, or no one.”
“Very well. Most of what I’m going to say, will sound like science fiction. The rest—fantasy. You’ll think I’m crazy, but I ask you to hear me out.”
They sat at the circular table, the four of them on one side, facing Lorne.
“I wasn’t there for you, and I have to explain why.” Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes. “When I was a little younger than you are now, I met the most beautiful, intelligent, cultured woman I’d ever seen. I fell in love with her so fast, we married within three months, and you were already on the way. I loved your mother, and I was so excited to be a father…. Then one night, I was jumped. Brutally beaten—bitten.”
“Go on,” Amy said quietly.
“After that, I started seeing—things. Impossible things, which shouldn’t exist, but did. Shortly after that, my Uncle Gilbert came to me. He told me something that was too bizarre to believe, but too accurate to ignore.” Pressing his lips together, he shook his head. “It’s beyond strange. Our family has a gift—or a curse, depending upon how you choose to look at it. That job you have on your TV show? We do that in real life.”
“Excuse me? You’re telling me that we hunt monsters? There’s no such thing as monsters.”
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
“You’re quoting Shakespeare to me? Really?”
“I think the point he’s making, is just like the ghost was,” Amy said very quietly. “You mean that it’s real, right? Demon possession, ghosts, vampires, werewolves?”
“Yes. And much more.”
“What bit him?”
“You believe him?” Jason was incredulous, not wanting to think it was real.
“Can you explain it away? Because I can’t. You’re not the only one seeing things, okay? I didn’t say anything, because it’s been making me feel crazy. The reason I came in to your room, was because I saw something in the garden—something that terrified me!”
“You never said,” Jason began.
“Hello! Crazy?” she made the crazy gesture by her head.
“You’ve seen things, too,” Lorne said.
“You didn’t say what bit him,” Amy insisted.
“I believe it’s the same creature that bit me, waking my powers. A succubus named Greta. She’s unearthly beautiful, seductive, and she feeds—”
“I know how she feeds!” Jason yelled. “Did she do to you what she did to me?” He gestured at his fly.
“No, then again, I didn’t try to get away. You were able to fight her off, I couldn’t.”
“Your uncle explained all this? How did he know?” Sammie asked.
“There’s one hunter born to every generation. For his, it was Uncle Gilbert. I’m the one from ours, and you’re the one from yours.”
“Why me? Why now?”
“I wish I knew. All this time, I haven’t been able to discover that. You’re lucky, you’ve already had your training.”
“It’s a TV show, Lorne.”
“I know that, son. But they research the creatures and techniques carefully, using a series of books. You know, you’ve read and referenced them yourself.”
“You mean those weird books that sit on my character’s book shelf?”
“Yes. Did you ever look at the author’s name?”
“Gilbert Something—Shit! Uncle Gilbert?”
“Yes. He used his mother’s maiden name, Hendrickson. He was also the black sheep of his family, the outcast. It pleases me that you don’t follow that pattern. You are well loved, with loyal friends and family.”
“Why are you here?” Jason demanded.
“You may have the skills, but you don’t have all the knowledge that you need. Now that you’re awakened, things will come after you. You and your friends have to be prepared—especially Amy.”
“Why especially me?”
“Because you’re his chosen mate. You’ll fight with him.”
“Mom didn’t fight with you!”
“Your mother couldn’t accept what I’d become. She refused to be a part of it. Perhaps, had she not been pregnant, she would have been. Too much was coming against me, and she wasn’t a fighter. The only way to keep you both safe, was to leave. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I went to Bayard, asking him to watch over you both, protect you. I didn’t expect him to marry Elizabeth, but it was impossible to be around her, and not love her. It broke my heart, but it was best for you both. I couldn’t have provided the stable, loving home that he did. My job takes me all over the continent, protecting strangers. I couldn’t be here to take care of you, the two most important people in my life.” He fought tears, firming his mouth, blinking hard.
“Do you believe this shit?” Trip asked angrily.
“I do,” Amy said softly.
“Every word,” Sammie said.
“Yeah,” Jason sighed, obviously not wanting to.
“I’m the only sane one in the room!” Trip rose, pacing.
“You’re the only one refusing to believe what’s right in front of us,” Jason said. “Why shouldn’t this shit be real? There’s so much lore and legend, it has to have a basis in fact. Just because we don’t want to believe, close our eyes to it, doesn’t make the ghoulies and ghosties leave.”
“Exactly,” his father said. “And you need to know how to recognize an enemy before it gets you.”
“Why didn’t you come to me before, warn me?”
“Because it could have been one of your cousins. Typically, it doesn’t go from father to son, but skips around. This time, they chose you.”
“Who chose me?”
“I thought that would be obvious, son. The monsters.”
©2019 Dellani Oakes