We make it to the inside of my warehouse successfully. However, I am drained to the point of exhaustion, leaving Michael responsible for loading her into her tank. She had started to wake up and slowly begun to uncoil herself, when Michael without any real effort tossed her over into the Olympic sized pool, large enough to make Shamu and his friends happy. I peered over into the glass and she seemed a bit confused as she thrashed about and swam in circles, and when she neared the glass, staring at me through the Plexiglass with idle curiosity. Her large black eyes staring straight through me before she opened her mouth to introduce me to a wide set of knifes for teeth. Forty feet of raw muscle is now swimming around in my holding pool. I am not worried about her slithering out, for with push of a button I can seal the top of the pool off.

I remain stretched out on the concrete flooring of the warehouse: 20,000 sq. feet of what used to be a metal processing plant. It cost me damn near a million dollars to renovate this place to my liking: a double level dungeon of pain and suffering and a habitat for my snake babies. Michael stands over me, surveying my version of paradise. “What the hell Viper? How many snakes do you have in here?” In row after row of snake tanks, varying in size and shape and placed on shelves specifically built for that purpose. “I don’t know…like 200 maybe?” I mumble, my brain trying to calculate exactly how many I have in my collection. “What the fuck did I get myself in to?” “Let’s see, I own a couple of King Cobras, a few water Moccasin’s also known as Cotton Mouths, uh.. a dozen diamond backs, a Boom Slang-which was quite difficult to acquire…a spitting cobra, I think three Taipan’s…about five or six Bush Master’s, ten Black Mambas’…” I continue to name what I could remember in my collection all to Michael’s dismay.

There is still a lot of daylight left surprisingly, and I have completely worn myself out. Too tired to feed or do much of anything else I pass out right in the middle of my warehouse. I awake to the vibration of my phone a few hours later. Damien had done his job and now I owed him. Michael has 300 years’ experience in warfare, bloodshed, and mayhem. But I can hope that his stomach is strong enough for what is about to take place next.

Michael offers me his vein and I accept it-from his wrist of course- and I do not take long to take what I need. He is always watching me with a quiet yearning, and as I can take him I can taste it in his blood. His blood is powerful, rich and laced with something that fuels every cell in my being. Flashes of memories from a past too distant for record, and in the mix of all of that, I see his face. I cannot wait for this conversation, to know about more about the man who kneels before me, offering me than just his vein, but his life. I owe him more than what he desires, and when all of this is said and done, I can rebuild a life that I had dedicated to darkness, into something guarded by the sun-with him…maybe. I seal his wound and close off all thoughts of a happy ending with Michael. I have work to do.

The sun has set, and after a few silent moments of both of us engaged in our own thoughts, there is a loud bang on the metal door, and of course screams of terror. I can recognize those screams anywhere. It’s Rio’s bitch ass, and he is not happy. I quickly slipped on a pair of black denim that I had brought along for the trip before opening the heavy door. In comes Damien, his mouth dripping with blood and flesh, dragging a very panicked Rio. His arms were tightly bound behind his back, as were his feet. Blood dripped from a huge gash on his forehead, his mouth swollen and his face bruised. His eyes widened when I came into view. “Hello there Rio,” I say calmly. “Long time no see. Did you like the renovations I made to your house?” “You stupid bitch! That is why I ordered you dead-“-“And you see how far that has gotten you. I am still here. So how have you been? Heard from C-Dollas?” He gasped at the realization that it is I whom was responsible. “You’re a muthafuckin’ psycho you know that?” “And you are a lying bitch of a man,” I say without emotion. Damien dumped him in the middle of the concrete floor, directly in front of the holding pool where Rosa swam around anxiously. She approached the side of the glass facing us, staring at Rio whose face grew paler by the minute. “What the fuck is that?” He stammered. “Oh,” I say casually piling my braids into a big bun. “I know how much you miss your homelands in Brazil, so I thought I would bring a little bit of that luster to you…That is Rosa. She is the legendary anaconda of the Amazon that is in fact the largest ever discovered. And guess what? She is all mine.” I smile, flashing my perfect pearly whites and Rio screams again in terror. “You are a sick bitch!” “Yes I am,” I declare proudly. “And you should have known better than to fuck with me Rio. How could you? You have been lying to me for twenty years! I trusted you-you of all people I trusted after everything that happened to me. I trusted you, I did all of your dirty work without question, often times with minimum pay…I killed your enemies, protected you…I am the reason why the streets feared you…and all this time you were under the thumb of the one vampire you pretended to hate so much.” “Vipe-Viper it wasn’t like that,” he stuttererd, struggling against the rope that held him tied. “It wasn’t like that…-“ “Well what was it like? Because your little friend C-Dollas told me everything-“ “C-Dollas was lying!” “Now, the man was many things, especially a liar, but I can smell a lie a million miles away. He didn’t lie. But even as death stares you straight in the face you still lie.” I turn to Damien whom was nervously pulling at what remaining skin he had on his hands and asked him to grab a chair from the back of the warehouse. Michael had disappeared and I could not blame him. This is going to be a long night.

When Rio is strapped in the leather office recliner, facing the holding pool where Rosa remained submerged in, it was time for some unanswered questions. “Rio, you are going to die in some shape or form tonight, “ I say standing in front of him and gazing deep into his eyes. His bald head had become glazed over in sweat, and the purple robe that Damien had drug him in apparently was his only article of clothing. Rio must have been entertaining a female guest when Damien burst in on him. What a surprise. “But how you die, depends on your level of truthfulness. Understand?” He nodded as a single tear slid down his cheek. “Now, let’s begin. I know that you have been working for Lucas for as long as I have been working with you, which means when we met you knew all there was to know about me before I told you. I know all about the Immortal Gene, what it means and now that it is activated, a part of me wishes to use you as a messenger to Lucas….” His eyes widened in surprise at the mention of the gene being activated. “How?” He asks, squirming in his seat. “Not going to tell you, but trust me I have done the research.” I continue. “Why did you leave town when I brought Kevin back after the attack in Miami?” Before he opens his mouth to answer I answer for him, slowly putting together the pieces. “Wait, let me guess: you were supposed to bring Kevin and I on a silver platter to Lucas. But you ended up having to hand only Kevin over, right?” He nods. He is telling the truth, good. “That was the whole purpose of my stint in Miami.” He nods again. “That night when we” (referring to Damien, Michael and myself), “attacked the hotel I had a brief encounter with Kevin and your sorry ass turned him into a werewolf. Why?” Rio took several deep breaths before answering. “Why Rio? If Kevin was supposed to be made vampire to act as Lucas’ second in command and you are under Lucas’ wing, why did you turn him into the one thing that vampires hate?” When he didn’t answer, I beckoned for Damien to come and the zombie-vamp’s eyes lit with excitement. Rio, in a fit of terror, spilled the beans on everything. “Lucas is trying to create a new breed of vampires. Since he couldn’t access the Immortal Gene he went with another option-werewolves. Kevin is to be the first of the experiments being done. He wants the ability to walk in the sun. Vampires can’t turn into werewolves if bitten, but if vampire saliva enters the blood stream of a werewolf, something happens-“ “What happens?” I demand, having some sort of a clue. I instantly remember the white werewolf with the blood dripping from its fangs. “They become vampire wolves, with all of the perks and abilities of both species, including the ability to walk in the sun. He is creating a serum that fuses both to inject in himself.” Now everything made sense. “And with you, C-Dollas, and whatever Lucas had going on with your record labels, it was all a plan to recruit new guinea pigs for this experiment. How successful has he been so far?’ “Viper please, let me walk away,” he pleaded. I can’t stand the sight of traitorous men who think it is fair that they beg for their lives when they have ruined the lives of many. “Let’s not do this Rio. You and I both know that cannot happen. You betrayed me, tried to have me killed in the Everglades by two werewolves, and you sent someone to my house-“ –“I didn’t send anyone to your house! I thought you were dead!” Well if he didn’t send someone, who the fuck did? “Since you won’t tell me how far he is in to his research, tell me this: where does Lucas lay his head?” “Why the fuck do you think I would know something like that?” “Because you know everything about everyone. Every mission you sent me on, you knew the victim’s address, telephone numbers, work numbers, the wife’s cell phone number, where their kids if they had any went to school, how much was in their bank accounts, and even the side bitches they were fucking when their wives or girlfriends were getting their hair and nails done! Don’t fucking play with me Rio! Where does Lucas Barnes lay his head?!” Without thinking I punch Rio hard in the jaw, cracking the bone and snapping his head back.

His head bobbles around in a daze, his mouth swelling even more. Michael appears out of nowhere looking like a million bucks as always and I really could do without his presence right now. Rio mumbles something unintelligible and I grab him by the shoulders and force him to look at me. “Rio, tell me where Lucas’ lair is.” “Lucas…Louisiana,” he struggles to spit out from a useless jaw.  Louisiana! That makes sense. The fucker has a soft spot for the state and that is where my adoptive family’s originates and where all of this bullshit started. “Where in Louisiana?” I demand. “He has a mansion, near the swamps and the mausoleum. That is all I know.” I know exactly where that is. My father used to visit Louisiana quite often  and he often spoke of one his private client’s estates-the mansion, and now I know which client and why.

I take once last look at Rio, and regret ever thinking for one second that he was my friend-or something close enough to it.  His head slumps to the side, his mouth agape and drooling uncontrollably. “You have two options,” I say stooping down to his eye level. “Option number one: I feed you to Ms. Rosa over there. She is starving and let’s just say she had a rough travel.” He struggled against the rope in a desperate attempt to escape, and Damien and I look on in amused delight. “Option number two,” I continue, “You have already met Damien.” I point to Damien, whom is standing next to me with a huge toothy grin, fangs fully extended and dripping with saliva. “Damien has been quite lonely for some time now since his maker met his unfortunate demise, and upon meeting you at the Hotel in Miami, Damien has taken an extreme liking to you.”  Rio takes one look at Damien and releases an ear piercing scream. “Well that is no way to treat someone who has a crush on you,” I scold making it clear that I am enjoying every second of this. “Viper please!” He begins to sob. Huge drops of tears stream down his faces as he begin praying in his foreign tongue. “Prayer is not going to save you Rio. So what will it be? You can spend the rest of your life as his bitch –“ I say pointing to Damien whom is rubbing his hands together greedily. “Or you can find yourself in Rosa’s starving belly. Now what will it be?” Rio continued to sob, and I almost felt bad for him. Almost. “You have ten seconds Rio otherwise I will decide for you…10, 9…” “You said you would give me the mate of my choosing and I choose him!” Damien exclaimed excitedly. Fuck it. I will have to find Rosa something else to eat before I send her back home. “Well, Rio consider this your lucky night. You will not find yourself in the pit of Rosa’s stomach, although personally that would have been my first choice. However, do not get too excited. When I turn you and you don’t transition into a zombie-vamp as Damien had become, you will still find yourself as Rosa’s date and Damien will be out of luck.” I turn to face Damien whom is prancing around with joy. “I cannot wait to taste your sweet dick in my mouth,” he coos, forcing Rio to dry heave over the side of where he was strapped. “Seriously Damien, I do not need to know about your plans. Whatever goes on between you two love birds is none of my business.” “Well before you turn him,” Damien said stroking himself through his torn scrubs. Michael frowns with disgust. “Fuck dude, take that shit elsewhere.” Rio fights against the robe to no avail. “You know what?” I say stretching. “I will leave you two alone. Hopefully, Damien doesn’t forget about how badly he wants you as a mate and kills you in the process.” I motion for Michael to follow me. “No! Wait!! Viper!! Nooooo!” Rio shrieks; his eye wide with terror as Damien continues to pleasure himself in front of him. Michael pushes the metal door, holding it open for me to walk through like the gentleman he is. I don’t even bother to face Rio. I simply call out behind me, “It won’t hurt so much if you actually allow yourself to enjoy it.” With that, Michael closes the door behind us, and thankfully my warehouse is sound proof. I had grown tired of listening to Rio scream.

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