An Inheritance of Sorts Ch. 10- Faces and Places

Author’s note: This is less of an AB story and more of a story whose main character is an AB. To those who read it, I give props. To those who try to fap and fail, I give slops.

Disclaimer: I wrote the story. It’s good. I didn’t make all the characters. They’re better. If you have a problem with this, I suggest you chow on a few Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Chapter 10: Faces and Places

Dane came to himself while leaning against a dumpster. His chest still burned and his limbs ached. He was covered in slime, blood, and the primordial soup that coats only the nastiest of alleyways. He did a sniff test and promptly failed. The alley was scattered with limbs, body parts, and gore. Looking around, Dane knew what he’d be seeing in his nightmares for years to come. It looked like some unholy combination of a war zone, butcher shop, and every When Animals Attack movie he’d ever seen, but the worst part was that it was all his doing.

It was stunning. It was also stunning that cops hadn’t arrived on the scene yet and that it hadn’t drawn a crowd of gawking voyeurs.

He fell to his knees and carefully began sorting through the gore, careful not to touch anything metallic. Samniel’s transformation had left Dane feeling groggy and out of place, but Dane knew what he had to do. His eyes fell upon what he was looking for: a remarkably unstained silver coin next to a pile of refuse. Dane plucked a snack size Doritos bag from the pile and scooped the coin up, careful not to let it touch his skin. The last thing he needed was a second fallen angel taking up residence in his head. He’d be the one man cast of Full House short the Olsen Twins.

The ooze made it easier to slick his hair back. Dane took a deep, noxious breath and got his bearings. It was only a few blocks to his apartment. It was late in the day, and hopefully few people would be in this part of town. Ducking back behind the dumpster, Dane slipped off his diaper and tossed it in the trash. He screwed up his courage and went for it. Hopefully, nobody would recognize him, ask him questions, or connect him with the murder scene he was now fleeing.

He took off at a quick pace. Not a full-out run which would attract attention, but a direct walk that said I’ve had a bad day, get out of the way. His looks and odor caught the attention of one or two other pedestrians, and he blushed at their notice.

He got to his apartment building, unlocked the main door and walked the length of the first floor lobby. The Angel’s Arms apartments weren’t high class, but it was a city and they did have an image to maintain. An image that Dane’s current condition managed to ruin for the few people in the lobby. Mercifully, he was the only person in the elevator up to his floor.

He congratulated himself on successfully making it back home without being recognized. When the elevator doors opened, he realized that he’d congratulated himself too soon. Serra stood waiting outside his apartment door with a backpack in one hand, and a brown paper bag in the other. She appraised him before cocking her head to the side.

“Long day?”

“Long day,” Dane replied.

She lifted the paper bag. “Take out?”

“Take out,” Dane agreed, mouth beginning to water. The sesame chicken made the hallway smell heavenly.

Dane shuffled past her, unlocked his apartment door, and they entered. Serra made a bee line for the kitchen, and Dane didn’t say anything to interrupt her while he headed towards the bathroom. She seemed hungry, and he wondered how long she’d been waiting for him. On the way to the bathroom, Dane stooped low and snagged a roll of duct tape off one of his lower shelves.

He waited to start the water for his shower before taking the Doritos bag out of his pocket. He cocooned it in duct tape until it was about the size of a tennis ball before climbing into the shower. The hot water felt great and he scrubbed the worries, tension, and alley muck of the day away. His chest still ached a little from where Samniel had burned his mark onto him. The silver dollar sized brand was right over where his tattoo used to be, and he couldn’t help but wonder what Serra’s reaction would be if she saw it. Couldn’t the Denarian have chosen someplace less obvious? The last thing he needed right now was to lose Serra and JESU.

The ball of duct tape quivered once, and began to roll along the floor. Dane’s eyes went wide and he leaned out of the shower to grab it. It was at that moment that Serra decided to come into the bathroom while shoveling pork fried rice directly into her mouth from the container. Dane snagged the ball and managed to get back behind the shower curtain before Serra noticed.

She put the toilet seat down and sat there, striking up small talk. It was something that the couple did ever now and then, but right now Dane was regretting the lack of privacy. He had to figure out some way to stop Serra from seeing the new brand on his chest.

It was almost physically painful to turn off the shower. He interrupted her recounting of the day’s events. “Umm… Serra. Could you pass me the duct tape, and some tissue?”

“Huh?”

Dane thought quickly. “I got hurt working today, and I don’t have a big enough band-aid.” It was technically true, but Dane didn’t like to mislead Serra. Still, lying was better than the alternative.

Serra passed him the duct tape an a handful of toilet paper. Dane waited for the water to drain out, then stuffed the duct tape ball that contained a fallen angel partway down the hole. He quickly patched together a bandage to cover the brand and pulled on some pants before joining Serra in the apartment’s small living room couch.

Stomach rumbling, Dane devoured a little more than his fair share of Chinese food. It was the best meal Dane had had in a long time.

“Dane, I’d like to ask for your help on a case.”

“Can it wait?”

“I suppose so.”

They ate in silence for a while, the pause pregnant. Serra’s thoughts turned to their last conversation. She’d been too insistent too fast. She’d scared Dane and she knew she couldn’t get any answer like that. She wasn’t content to ignore the problem, but she couldn’t bring it up either, especially not after seeing how much it had bothered-

“It’s right,” Dane said, derailing Serra’s train of thought.

“What?”

“It’s right. Back at your apartment you asked me if it was wrong or right for me to like diapers. It’s right.” Serra blinked. That was weird. It was almost like he was reading her mind. Dane continued, launching into a speech he’d been working on since he’d fled Serra’s apartment.

“Over the last few days I’ve put a lot of thought into it. At worst, it’s nothing more than a petty vice. Some people need smoking to calm their nerves. This helps me.”

“You’re sounding like an addict,” Serra pointed out.

Images of the demon yuppie Craig passed through Dane’s mind. “No. Some people can’t get through the day without alcohol or booze. I’m not one of those people. I could get along fine without it.”

She gave it a minute or two to process. “Could. What about the curse? Doesn’t that pretty much ensure that you have to be diapered?”

“Sometime over the last year, the curse began to wear off. I don’t have to wear them anymore.”

“So you are you going to stop? Are you looking for a cure?”

Dane winced. This wasn’t the direction he wanted the conversation to go. “I’ll take a break every now and then, but no. The point I was trying to get across was that they aren’t a disease or addiction-- I don’t need a cure. I’m fine with myself, and with some nudging from a good friend, I’ve figured out that I don’t need to hide it from myself either.”

“Hide it from yourself?”

“The curse became an excuse for me to do something I enjoyed. Admittedly, I’m going to wear less now that I don’t have to, but I’d still like to do it every now and then.”

“You’ll be wearing because you want to, not because you need to.”

“Right.”

Serra was silent for a few moments, letting this all sink in. “Okay. So what does this change?”

Dane leaned forward and took Serra’s hand. “Not much. I’m still the same person I’ve always been, now you just know a little more about me.” Dane gave Serra a smile which she was slow to return.

Serra grabbed Dane and pulled him towards her slowly. They shared a kiss before Serra brought Dane’s head to rest on the lap. She pet his head softly, realizing that this was an important time for both of them.

“I should have figured it out earlier,” Serra said, while absently stroking her boyfriend’s hair. “I mean, you’ve always needed someone to take care of you. To back you up.”

“Yeah,” Dane murmured.

Serra took a stab in the dark. “Some people like you want to have someone mother them. Do you want…?”

Dane mulled that over a bit. He didn’t want to risk pushing Serra away, but he had to admit that he’d thought about it for a while. She was older than him, by more than a small handful of years, which made him feel childish. He couldn’t get over how good it felt when she held him. She took great care of him, when she wanted to. She probably wouldn’t make a bad mommy, and this was his best chance to ask her to baby him.

“No.”

Serra felt a surge of emotion and relief. She’d finally gotten an answer to the question that had bothered her most. Her relief was tinged with… something. Serra turned Dane’s head up, and they gazed into each other’s eyes for a while. There was a moment of unease, which bridged into familiarity and acceptance. Serra laid down beside Dane and they shared a long kiss. They cuddled, nuzzled, strained a little, and rolled off the couch, bumping the coffee table and knocking over a half-full contained of pork fried rice.

They fell to kissing each other on the floor. In between breaths Serra managed to warn Dane. “I don’t like corny dialogue.”

“Neither do I,” Dane managed.

Eventually, they made their way to the bedroom. Dane’s duct tape bandage slipped a little, but Serra didn’t notice. Nobody had seen something they weren’t supposed to see and Dane wanted to keep it that way.

Just in case, he turned off the light.


Phillip sat at the inside of the door to his room. His walk with Kagura hadn’t gone unnoticed, and he’d earned a curfew for it. It was unpleasant since it put an end to his sneaking around. He eyed the big, old-fashioned lock on the door, and peered through it. At first he saw nothing, then he thought he could make out shapes and forms.

He knew they were his imagination, but he couldn’t help but continue to stare, his attention focusing solely on what he thought he was seeing. A girl, his age, it could’ve been Kagura, was there and he saw more skin than he ever should have. He wanted to move or look away, but he couldn’t. His mouth went dry, and he swallowed hard.

It was then that his door abruptly opened, hitting him in the cheek with the door’s ornate handle. He fell backwards as Sir Marcus entered the room to check on him.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“Getting any sleep?”

“No,” Phillip answered honestly.

“If you’re not going to sleep, I might as well show you something.”


Phillip wasn’t the only one who was having trouble sleeping that night. Tatsumi Saiga, the Japanese photographer, wasn’t having a good time. He was strapped to an operating table, in a sedated haze, with tubes and needles being attached, unattached, and stuck into him on an irregular basis. Over the last few… had it been days? Weeks? Months? He’d been poked, prodded and toyed with by a creepily pale Nazi named Dok. His attention wondered, as it did, while his IV continued to drip sedatives into his blood stream.

“Hey, Dok! I’m baaaa~ ack!” said a boy who ran into the lab. He bounced, yelled, muttered, and tried to be noticed by Dok who was busy tinkering with a small silicon chip- the latest in a long series he’d been working to perfect. For all he failed to catch Dok’s attention, he certainly had Saiga’s.

The little green and black disposable camera in his hand was the object of Saiga’s attention. He yearned to get his hands on it. It was a palpable need that had him straining his bonds. The boy set the camera on a cluttered workbench and picked up a remote control that hand far too many buttons. He pressed one with a lightning bolt sticker on it, and nothing happened.

“Schroedinger, stop playing vith that!” called Dok over his shoulder.

The catboy did as he was told, for about thirty seconds, 'til he got bored again and pressed the lightning bolt button again. And again. And again. On the third time he pressed it, he heard someone cry out and fall down just outside the lab. His ears perked and a mischievous smirk crossed his features.

In came a young man with frazzled hair and a metal collar around his neck. He was carrying a small crate which he’d been ordered to give to the Dok. Knowing that failure to follow orders meant getting shocked, he’d complied, only to be shocked several times on the trip up by the malicious Schroedinger. Jonathan cringed as the catboy moved to press the button again.

“Haven’t I told you to stop?” interjected the Doktor. “Hand that to me, it’s delicate-”

Jonathan sighed with relief.

“-you might’ve broken something,” the good Doktor finished before pressing down on the lightning bolt button again.

Jonathan’s body spasmed. He dropped the crate and fell twitching to the floor. The Doktor picked up the crate and totally ignored the slightly sizzling person who’d delivered it. He cleared aside some of the clutter from one workbench and turned to address Schroedinger.

“Have you finished?”

“I’m done taking pictures,” said Schroedinger, “Next time, make someone else do it.”

“Next time? My boy, you’re the best suited for reconnaissance.” He gave Schroedinger a pat on the head and the boy’s kitty ears immediately perked up. “Now run along while I develop the film.” Dok spent a few minutes trying to find the camera, while muttering about how low-budget the Major was getting. Sure, he had to have his zeppelin and his army of vampires, but what about the other important things in life? The Major was good at organizing ammunition, food, and machinery, but there was something wrong when mad scientists had to spend their precious time developing film.

He found the camera and left the room, leaving the semi-conscious Saiga alone with the still shaky Jonathan. There was a small pile of unopened disposable cameras on a bench, not eight feet from where Saiga lay. He knew that they were his ticket out of there, if only he could get his hands on them. The trouble was that they might as well have been on the moon.

He tried speaking for the first time in days. His throat was parched and his voice was too loud in his own ears. “Hey, you.”

“Shh…”

“Just hand me a camera.”

“I’m not supposed to talk to you,” Jonathan replied.

“Listen, you idiot. They treat you like shit here. Help me and I’ll help you break out.”

Escaping sounded like a great idea to Jonathan, until he remembered the explosive collar around his neck. Saiga watched the light in his eyes die. “No can do.”

“Why not?” Saiga yelled.

Jonathan didn’t respond.

“If you leave without helping me escape, I’ll tell everybody you talked to me.”

The younger man brushed off his borrowed Nazi uniform and left the room.

“Nazi asshole!” Saiga called after him. It echoed down the hallway and seemed to follow Jonathan all the way back to Rip’s quarters. He felt guilty about leaving the man behind, but he wasn’t in a position to help him out.


Back in Peru, three floors below Phillip’s mansion was an enormous and cold chamber, built of stone and dirt. A large ornate door, covered over in serpents and faceless forms dominated the southern wall, while tall doorways and carved lithographs could be seen on the other three walls. Phillip Bishop stood at an altar made of green stone and caked together with reddish mortar.

He held the Spear in his hand raised high, ready to bring it down into the crevice and do what Marcus wanted of him. He’d open the door, unleashing the sleeping god that laid behind it, ensuring the future of humanity.

He brought the spear down quickly, and dropped it to the ground. The Spear clattered to a stop three feet from a furious Marcus’ tapping foot. He strode over to his young ward and backhanded him, splitting Phillip’s lip and throwing him to the floor. Phillip was confused, and Marcus’ tirade didn’t clarify anything. It was just supposed to be practice.

“I brought you here because I thought you were different. Worthy. Every human on this planet is a selfish, arrogant gnat. And I thought you were different. The only reason why people do anything is because it benefits them. They seek rewards, balm to their egos, and useless accolades. I see that I was wrong about you. You need motivation. You need a reason to do what’s right and good. You can’t just do it now, you have to make me wait!”

Sir William Marcus kicked Phillip in the ribs, and rolled the boy over onto his back. He fell on top of Phillip, his abnormally long fingers wrapping around the boy’s neck.

“Is this enough? Is this want you want?”

Phillip struggled and almost lost consciousness when Marcus jerked back, and off him. Phillip’s eyes lolled in his head, and he caught the image of his abusive mentor being lifted bodily by the back of his coat by the delicate woman in charge of Phillip’s care.

“Leave the child alone, please,” she said. It was an order, not a request.

Marcus looked around, wild eyed and not comprehending. “If I could open the door, I would’ve done it years ago. It has to be him, of his own free will. We need him yet.” He didn’t expect an answer, and he didn’t get one. He took a deep breath then tried and failed to smooth down his hair.

“Get him ready for tomorrow. He can’t remember any of this.”

“We can’t just keep doing this, sir. Eventually he’s going to snap, or worse. There’s only so much of someone’s life that I can take, and your hurting him this time means that I’ll have to take a bigger chunk than normal,” Elizabeth, Phillip’s appointed caretaker said.

Marcus whirled on her. “I summoned you. I called you here, and I gave you that boy. Do what I say or I’ll send you back to where I found you, you insignificant succubus!”

“Yes… sir. Did you remember to issue the invitations like you promised him? Phillip requested that his family be there for the big moment, and he’ll be glad to do what you want once they get here.” Elizabeth picked up Phillip’s unconscious body and easily carried him to one of the room’s three entrances. Before leaving she shifted Phillip’s weight and turned to address Marcus once more. “You’ve waited patiently for years. Give him a few days.”

Marcus’ patience was running slim. In a terse voice, he answered her, “I’ll go do just that.”

Raving to himself all the way back to his office, Marcus grabbed an armload of masks from his shelves and swore that he’d punish Elizabeth for her impertinence. Once her job was done, he’d bury her in the deepest, darkest pit he could find.

Marcus slipped his purple fluorite mask over his head and rifled through the papers on his desk. He came up with a family portrait of the Bishop’s some years before the family broke up.

He focused on the bearded face and plad shirt of Phillip’s father before ripping a hole in the air. It would lead him to the place where Mr. Bishop spent most of his time. For most people, it was their home or bedroom. For Mr. Bishop, that place happened to be his garage. Marcus switched to a black and red mask made of dyed rabbit fur. His body changed, becoming leaner, quadrupedal, and growing fierce claws and fangs.

Mr. Bishop chose that moment to enter the garage, a Coors beer in one hand, and an old baseball cap in the other. He wiped his brow, and put the hat on before trying to flick on the light. His hand never made it to the switch.

Marcus vented his anger on the old man, before pulling off his mask and paying special attention to Mr. Bishop’s face.

It was a simple manner to step from the garage and to Ms. Bishop’s bedside. She was sound asleep. Marcus put on a green mask, carved into the shape of a nest of hornet’s face before waking her up. He stung her to death, careful to leave her face unmarred. He was more careful with her face than with Mr. Bishop’s because it was more worn with laugh lines, and had seen more of life.

He had to preserve her dimples just right. After all, it was Phillip’s fondest wish that he see their faces again before he changed the world, and Marcus had every intention of granting it.

Marcus took another look at the photograph before he donned the purple mask again. The last person was Phillip’s older brother, a skinny guy with black hair and a knowing half-smile. Marcus crumpled the picture and threw it. He hated that cocky look. Of all of humanities sins, arrogance was the greatest. Once his plan came together, it would be the first thing he attacked: the knowledge that some things in life were permanent and the arrogance people drew from it.

Sometime soon, the sun wouldn’t rise in the morning.

Marcus tore open a hole in the air and stepped to the place where Dane spent most of his time. He found himself standing in the lobby of a large if somewhat tacky building. A woman in garish magenta lay asleep at the receptionist’s desk, and Marcus ignored her for the moment. He pulled off his purple mask, revealing his strained and sweaty visage. He was getting old, and using so many masks so quickly stretched him thinner than he would’ve liked. The building he was in was obviously a large business of some kind, so he’d pretty much missed the mark on this one.

He reached for the red, flaming mask which he’d demonstrated for Phillip. He put it on, became and left a message for Phillip’s cocky brother.


That morning, Dane woke up early and put on a loose shirt. Serra rolled over and snuzzled the warm impression in the sheets where Dane had been. He made his way into the bathroom, where he changed his duct tape bandage and fished the fallen angel out of the shower’s drain.

When he came out of the bathroom, Serra was standing in the living room, by the small coffee table with a cell phone to her ear. Dane expected her demeanor to be warm and soft, much like his. Instead, she was all business. Naked, but all business. Given that she was on vacation, Dane figured there were two options: neither of which involved going back to sleep.

It was difficult not to admire Serra as she flicked the phone off and dug a large manilla folder out of her backpack. She held it to her chest, much to Dane’s disappointment. “This is the case study that I wanted your help with.”

Dane mumbled an affirmative before going into the kitchen on a quest for the black nectar of life. “Go on…”

“Well, the trouble is that things got real complicated real fast. The request was simple enough, but the subject went missing. A week ago we found a witness who says he was grabbed by a bunch of people in a white van.”

“Wow… sucks to be that kid.”

“That’s not the half of it. The people who took him are extremists of the worst kind.”

“Religious fundamentalists?”

“Former philosophy instructors.”

“No shit?” Dane said, before burning his tongue with some coffee.

“Well, only one of them is. Also has a Doctorate in Archeology, Socio-Cultural Anthropology, and he’s published a list of papers longer than my arm. He was Knighted for his contributions to the UK some fifteen years ago before he had a mental breakdown and retired with a small fortune to Peru.”

Dane whistled, Serra continued. “He bought a small town and keeps the locals happy and heavily armed.”

“Why buy an army, when you can grow one?”

“He’s spent the last ten years hunting down people, rare masks, and other eclectic things. He’s totally obsessed with improving the human condition in whatever way he sees fit. Some of the improvements that he’s helped finance over the years include fighting in the Congo, supremacists in Europe, car bombs in Sudan, and both sides of the Pakistani/Israeli conflict. Each time the pattern was the same: buy the mark’s trust, get what he wants, kill the mark.”

“Sounds like the kid’s been nabbed by a real basket case.”

“In a nut shell, yes. Whatever he’s been working towards, we think this kid he kidnapped is the last piece of what he’s been looking for.”

“Do we know what he’s trying to do?”

“Something bad.”

“Okay, so why do you want my help? Wouldn’t sending in a bunch of our wrathful types be our best bet?”

“With an army of hostile, well-armed locals? It’d be a blood bath.” Serra gestured towards her cellphone. “Besides, last night, you received an invitation burned into JESU Corp.'s front lobby.”

Dane set down his coffee. “What?”

“It’s because the case study that I wanted your help with-”

Serra hefted the manilla folder and handed it to Dane. He took a look at the photograph clipped to the top of the folder and immediately recognized the cheerful face with a slightly emo haircut. Dane’s numb fingers dropped the heavy folder onto the coffee table, scattering pork fried rice all over the carpet.

“-is your brother’s.”

End Chapter 10.

Please provide advice, critique, and cookies.

…and there’s the second longest chapter of AIoS to date. Was the AB conversation between Dane and Serra awkward? Funky? Worth editing? Is Marcus becoming villain enough?