Carnival of Darkness (FaeTAL Series Book 1) (5 page)

The beefy man’s fist connects first with my stomach and then with my cheek. The metallic taste in my mouth makes me gag.

“I asked you a question bitch. When I ask you answer. Ya got it?”

I nod in defeat.

“Good. Now get ya ass up and into the cell where ya belong. I got shit to do and dealing with you will have to wait.”

His hand wraps into my hair and pulls me to my feet. I can feel strands of it breaking loose in his rough grip as he drags me across the floor. My feet can’t keep up with his long strides. Next thing I know, I’m being tossed into a pen - no that’s the wrong word, this is more like a medium-sized dog kennel. My forehead connects with the bars and I collapse to the floor.

Part of my brain is telling me to beg for mercy, to be let go. But another part, the part that believes in my cowboy’s words, is telling me to stay quiet and do what I’m told.

“Maybe a day in here will do ya some good, girlie. I’ll be back... eventually.”

With that, he leaves the room. I hear a lock click into place. My head throbs. My ribs ache, and I can no longer hold in my sobs.

Oh cowboy, please keep your word. Please, get me out of here and back to my baby.





“What the hell do you mean, the plan has changed? Nothing has fucking changed! You’ve been undercover for six damn months. We’re close, Brett. Too damn close to stop now. You will stick with the original plan.”

My eyes dart from monitor to monitor as I track the very men that could put an end to the hell that is the Carnival of Darkness. Stumbling upon these warriors may have been the best luck I will ever have. I may not know who,
or what
, the fuck they are, but I do know that they can help. I’ve seen them do it. I’ve seen them take out the nastiest fucking things on earth. Things that shouldn’t exist. Creatures that I don’t understand and hope I never run into.

“You don’t seem to understand, Mac, I can’t do this fucking shit much longer. It’s eating at me from the inside out. I don’t fucking sleep, I barely eat. I need to get the hell out of here.”

“Soon, Brett. I promise. I’ve got a lead on some guys that can help, I think. Just keep your eyes out for anything odd happening in there. I’ve found some pretty fucked up shit just outside the C.O.D and I have a feeling the two are connected. My gut is telling me that this is important. You can make it a little longer man. I know you can.”

Shit, I can’t keep asking him to stay in there. Especially if these creatures do end up being connected to the C.O.D. I’m not sure what’s holding me back from telling Brett about the things I’ve seen. Part of me is worried he will think I’m losing my shit. Hell, I’d think I was losing my shit, too, if I didn’t have all the evidence laid out before me.

“Goddamn it!” He growls and I’m almost positive I hear his teeth grinding. “Fine. I’ll keep my eyes open for anything even more fucked up than usual. But, man, I’m telling you now, if things escalate here, I’m done trying to keep my cover. I can’t keep sitting back and watching the shit these bastards do not to mention having to take part in it. I can’t even look at my damn self in the mirror anymore. I’m ashamed of the shit I’ve had to do. Hell, my momma would take my grown ass over her knee if she knew even half of what I’ve let happen.”

“I know man, trust me I fucking know. Just...” Fuck, I have to give him a heads up. “I’ve found some shit on surveillance that you won’t believe, man. If it’s connected to the C.O.D like I think it is, we are going to need some major fucking back-up. But I’m following a lead on that now. If I’m lucky and things go the way I think they will by the time we talk again I will have more for you. Contact me in two days and let's see where we are, all right?”


“Take care, man.”

I release a sigh when the click echoes across the line. My eyes go back to the five screens set up on the wall behind my desk. I’ve got two of the warriors on one screen and six of the creatures spread out on the others.

Taking the still frames of the two massive warriors, I run them through a facial recognition software that the FBI would be jealous of. I have to say that I’m pretty damn proud of my baby. Project Aquarius has been several years in the making. It utilizes open source facial recognition libraries that have been heavily modified. I’ve improved upon them vastly over the years. It has been specifically programmed to make use of multiple processors and cores to enhance multi-threading capabilities increasing its facial recognition identification to seconds rather than the hours the government programs take. I chose to write it in Python providing me scalability so that I can run it on everything from computer systems as large as main frames to devices as small as a cell phone. My ultimate goal is to have a program that can be used in the field to quickly identify possible targets for neutralization. I have worked for years to perfect this software. It has come in handy on several occasions. But none quite as important as this.

Letting the program run in the background, I pull up surveillance cameras near the C.O.D to scan for potential threats. Within minutes the program lets me know it’s found something.

“Well, hello there fellas. Let’s see what we have here.”


Christopher O’Neill
Age: 32
Current known residence: St. Louis, Missouri
Brad MacCarthy
Age: 29
Current known residence: St. Louis, Missouri


“Huh. Usually get a bit more info than that. But that’s okay. I can work with this.”

Aquarius is tied into the FBI database. I should be getting birth records, relatives, known associates, income tax records. Damn it! I should know the last time they took a fuckin’ shit if I wanted to. Instead I get basics. It’s like these guys don’t even exist. If I had to take a guess, I would say these were aliases and nothing more. Taking the information Aquarius provided, I dig deeper. While I keep hitting walls and coming up empty, I’m too damn hard headed to give up that easily.

“Come on... come on... there has to be something here damn it.”

After much longer than I would like to admit, I finally hit pay dirt by running the images instead of the names. Christopher was pictured, but not named, in a local news report detailing the opening of a new business venture for a multi-billionaire. I’ve seen the building a few times. These guys all seem to congregate there from time to time.

O & M Security Services.

Well, that makes sense at least. I feel like a fucking idiot for not thinking of that before. But I’ve never seen the guys actually go into the building.

This system is a fucking joke.

First, I skim through the website to find a few low level user accounts to try to compromise. Using an SQL injection I was able to assume control of their account. A quick call to tier one tech support, you know that dumb fuck that you call when you forget your password, helped me compromise an admin account. Those tier one guys are always noobs, and if you sound important enough and know a little about the website back end you can get them to do just about anything.

Now that I have admin rights I’ll upload a script to run on the shell terminal, the command line - the most basic form of computing - of the server. This will give me a backdoor into the server directly to the operating system. Once that’s in place, I have full reign over their servers and can modify their systems to do anything I need from distributed computing to storing some of my hacking tools at off site, secure locations in case mine are ever compromised.

Needless to say, once I’m in like this, I can easily grab a few key players’ phone numbers and email addresses.

Grabbing a burner phone, I shoot out a quick text to the number listed for Christopher and watch the screen as he pulls his phone from his pocket. The look on his face is pretty damn priceless if I do say so myself.

‘Boo! I see you. Smile for the cameras.’
may not have been the best thing for first contact, but it damn sure is funny. And hey, it got his attention. Within seconds the phone is shooting off with a text message alert.

Who the fuck is this and what do you want?

Who I am isn’t important right now. What is important is that if you walk three blocks up and two blocks over there are four of those ‘things’ waiting for you. Now be a good boy and take them out.

I may not be able to hear his response and my lip reading ain’t all that great, but even I know what he just muttered.

I take offense to that you know. My mother is a wonderful lady.

Christopher’s head pops up and his eyes take in every inch of the surrounding area, landing solidly on the camera I’m watching from. His eyes look like they are about to shoot flames at me. If I weren’t safely in my office, I might be a little afraid.

I will find you, whoever you are. This had better not be a fucking trap.

With that lovely thought left floating through the air, he puts his phone in his pocket and jerks his head for Brad to follow him in the direction I mentioned. I watch in awe as the two men quickly and efficiently take out the creatures without so much as breaking a sweat.

Damn, that was fast.

Nice work. I’m thinking you might just be the man I’ve been looking for. I can help you hunt these things down. I have two more on cameras within ten minutes of your location now. But I’m going to need something from you in return.

I am not a man you want to mess with.

Who is messing with you? I’m in serious need of help, not that I like to admit it, and not just anyone is going to be able to do what I need.

I will not help you do anything to harm others. We have hunted the Fallen on our own up until now and can continue to do so.

Fallen? So that’s what you call them. Anyways, head up four blocks and then go one block to your right and you will find two more of those fuckers. Might wanna hurry, looks like they are about to get into some major trouble and they won’t be alone for long. What the fuck are these things?

Thanks for the tip.

Before the message comes through the two men disappear only to reappear on the same block as the Fallen. What the actual fuck?

My jaw drops so low so quick that my momma would tell me to quit catching flies if she were here. Christopher quickly finds the closest camera and smirks at me. The son of a bitch actually fucking smirked!

Shit! What the hell have I gotten myself mixed up in? Not only me, but Brett as well. Fuck me, this is all my fault.


“What do you mean you cannot find him? How hard can it be? With the access you have through O & M we should be able to figure out the last time he took a shit let alone where one lousy text message originated! This is unacceptable. Fix it. Now!”

Kace pales and his fingers speed up on the keyboard before him.

“Yes, sire. I’ll keep digging. I’ll find him, I promise you.”

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