One Hundred and Forty-Five…

Poetic

One Hundred and Forty-Five: Poetic Justice

This chapter contains really disturbing content. And the title has nothing to do with Azura’s situation.

Screenshot-474

Shadowvale always looked strange surrounded by fog whenever the sky was otherwise bright with sunlight.

That morning was no exception. And Hunter, the only creature hyper-sensitive to the sun, was able to walk outside and greet Azura.

Screenshot-436

Excited, sad, weary, euphoric. Four emotions entwined as the family reunited after defeating Nicholas Ashworth and his goons.

Azura especially looked sad.

Screenshot-434

Mila overheard what she told Reznik:

“There’s no way my baby survived when I almost died myself. I went forever without breathing. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Her heart sank for Azura. Instinctively, Mila touched her own growing belly causing gentle fluttering movements inside.

There but for the grace of God.

Screenshot-440

“I got here about an hour ago,” Hunter informed Azura. “Ash called and told me what happened. She said your dad called her and needed me to examine you. I can’t tell you how sorry I am, but you are lucky to be alive.”

“I’ll be even luckier if shit stops happening. I swear if one more thing happens, I’m leaving this town. I really shouldn’t give it another chance,” she said.

Screenshot-441

Mila barely noticed Lucifer slipping through the doorway.

“I haven’t felt the baby move since it happened,” Azura muttered. “That’s been hours ago. I wish I would’ve been the one to kill Nicholas.” Her voice was suddenly filled with anger.

“All that matters now is he’s dead,” Reznik said.

“So is my baby.”

Screenshot-442

“Yeah. Well, we’ll see what’s going on in there,” Hunter interjected. Reznik squeezed his daughter’s shoulder.

Mila heard Lucifer’s paws tapping across the floor. She rushed into the house to give him a hug.

untitled - Copy

Hunter took Azura into the master bedroom to do the exam. He carried a small digital device used to detect fetal heart rate.

Reznik went with them.

Screenshot-445

Their muffled voices slipped through the doorway. Sometimes Mila understood what they were saying.

At one point she peeked through the windows, praying for Azura’s baby to be okay.

Screenshot-447

Hunter massaged all over her tummy. Then he shook his head, expressed disappointment on his face.

“I already know it’s dead.” Azura cried. “Just do the doppler-thingy and get it over with.”

Screenshot-448

“It’ll be alright, Azura.” Reznik stroked her hair.

“No it won’t. My baby’s dead. God’s punishing me for hurting my first baby.”

“No, sweetheart. That’s not how it works.”

“How do you know? You don’t know shit.”

Mila couldn’t stand to watch any longer. She joined Lucifer in the family room.

Screenshot-451

Cody held Paris on the sofa. Ashton lounged in the wicker chair, fidgeting.

Screenshot-450

Mila leaned on Lucifer as he embraced her. Every so often he took a bite of hamburger from a platter shared by everyone.

There was nothing to do but wait. Silence was heavy and thick with anxiety. Time slowly, painfully ticked away.

Any second there would be news concerning Azura’s baby.

Screenshot-453

Lucifer softly snored after dozing. That’s when the news came.

Azura screamed. Lucifer grunted awake.

The bedroom door flew open and a necklace shot out.

picasion.com_60833dea96b3966e62b20941923ec16c

It was the necklace Nicholas had given Azura. Outraged with the news of her baby, she must have ripped the jewelry from her neck and tossed it.

Screenshot-460

She tore through the threshold throwing her hands up, sobbing.

“Azura, you knew there was the possibility—” Hunter began.

“I don’t care! Leave me alone.”

“You’re lucky you survived. You can go on to have more children.”

“Stop saying I’m lucky! I’m anything BUT lucky!” Her shoulders heaved. “Now I have to give birth to a dead baby!”

Screenshot-462

She didn’t begin to calm down until her father grabbed her, cradled her in his arms.

Reznik hushed her. Azura’s cries died down and she stopped trembling as much.

Then she mumbled something that Mila would never forget…

Screenshot-466

“Every single man in my life has hurt me. In one way or another.”

Mila knew Azura also thought of Reznik as one of those hurtful men. Her hints to the fact weren’t so subtle.

Screenshot-455

Lucifer gently brushed his fingers across Mila’s stomach. It was an unspoken expression of gratitude.

Yes. Thank goodness our baby’s still alive. Our family’s intact.

Our life goes on, while others’ lives seemingly fall apart day after day. 

Before it gets better, how much worse will it become?

Screenshot-475

This question would be answered within a few months. Disaster and heartbreak wouldn’t begin to describe it.

Yet, there’s always that silver lining.

Always.

untitled - Copy

Azura’s delivery went smoothly. Aside from the tragic circumstances of stillbirth.

Screenshot-484

Very few days had passed. Those days leading to the birth had been emotionally excruciating.

It was over. An ending that seemed so permanent, final. Probably because it was.

He belonged to the angels now. Maybe that was better than being raised by vampiric ones.

Screenshot-66

She never wanted to endure that torment again. Azura’s tiny child had torn apart her body, or so it seemed. He’d shredded what was left of her heart. And there were no joyful cries of a healthy newborn to follow. No special, wonderful, precious prize to hold at the end of her ordeal. Only a dead, dark solemness that permeated every crevice of the bedroom and entire house.

Yet no one cried. Neither did Azura. What was the point of shedding more tears? She’d already wept so much she didn’t figure she had any tears left.

A happy ending would’ve been much appreciated but it wasn’t to be.

Would it ever?

Screenshot-495

Hunter showed the infant to Reznik. Azura’s father peered down at the baby.

“Do you want to give him a name?” Hunter asked.

Screenshot-499

“If you’re asking me, no. I don’t want to name him. I don’t want to hold him. I don’t want to look at him,” she said.

Hunter sighed.

Screenshot-501

“I understand, Azura. But you might regret that later.”

Screenshot-479

“I can’t talk about it right now. I just want to forget all of this happened.” Easier said than done.

Screenshot-491

“Name him, Reznik.”

Screenshot-497

“Stephen Samson Haas.”

Hunter gave him a look.

“As far back as I can remember, my great-grandmother Cooper taught me stuff about the Bible. I have no idea how I could remember some of this stuff but I do,” Rez explained. “Samson is a heroic name, and in the Bible, Stephen was a martyr who died for his beliefs. I think it’s a fitting name for a child who died during war. In a way he died so his mother could be free. Being a Haas, I’m sure he could’ve achieved many great things in life.”

Yes. As long as he never lived in Shadowvale. Azura blanched.

Screenshot-6685

Stephen would be buried that night.

Screenshot-504

Lance listened as Reznik and Hunter discussed exactly where to bury the infant. Hunter asked about a mortuary-type service.

Vaclav was somewhat cold about the whole thing. He gazed out the doorway into the courtyard.

Screenshot-506

“I want him buried next to Aubrey’s mausoleum. There’s no point in any sort of memorial. He probably doesn’t weigh any more than three pounds.”

Lance was disgusted. His father acted as if the baby were a miscarriage. Insignificant.

“And… what about a casket?” Hunter asked.

Screenshot-508

“Why don’t you go into town and buy one? This is Shadowvale. People who are already dead die every day and night, sometimes even come back again. You can always find a coffin. Not to mention that some old-fashioned elders still use them to sleep in.” Vaclav reached into his pocket and tugged out cash.

Hunter didn’t take it.

Screenshot-503

“Of all times to act like a condescending prick, you chose now?

Vaclav said nothing.

“I’ll pay for the casket myself,” Hunter growled.

Screenshot-502

“Fine.” Vaclav shoved the money back into his slacks. “After Hunter gets the coffin, I want you to bury the child since he’s your grandson.” He regarded Reznik. “I want him buried close to the oak moss tree. That would be a nice spot.”

Reznik shrugged. “I understand you want me to bury my own grandson, but I appreciate not being ordered around like some child. And whether or not he’s buried beneath the oak tree, that should be my choice and not yours.”

“Very well. Bury him wherever you wish.” Vaclav’s eyes tossed razors at his son. Reznik shook his head.

Screenshot-510

“As for you, Lance, I want you to help Reznik. Hunter should find a proper casket in a few hours.”

Screenshot-511

“Why?” he muttered.

Screenshot-507

Why? Because I told you to. I won’t have you sheltered like Lucifer was. In fact you’ve already been sheltered enough. You’re sixteen, it’s time to experience the realities of living in an undead society.”

Screenshot-505

Huh? I know what it’s like to live in undead society. Christ, I live it every single day.

Screenshot-516

Hunter dropped off the coffin and left. Reznik carried the baby, gently placed him inside.

The infant was entirely too small for the casket. Lance remembered what his father said: ‘He probably doesn’t weigh more than three pounds.’

Screenshot-520

The whole scenario was very disturbing, affecting Lance deeply.

He’d brought an old stuffed toy to put in the coffin.

Screenshot-519

Lance stepped over and set the toy next to Stephen.

Screenshot-522

“I’m going to say a few words from the Bible, I guess.” Rez glanced at his brother. “Give me a minute while I think.”

Lance didn’t respond.

Screenshot-531

“He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. He said ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.’ Er, something like that.”

Lance’s hand cupped his mouth as he peered down.

Screenshot-533

“I hope you rest in peace, little one. You’re now one of God’s littlest angels.” Rez prepared to close the top. His eyes met Lance’s.

“Are you crying, Lance?”

“Fuck you.” Lance rubbed his right eye.

Screenshot-543

“Yeah. Well fuck you too, half n’ half.” Half n’ Half was a name Reznik called Lance as a child. It meant ‘half-brother’.

Lance rolled his eyes.

Screenshot-549

They stood in silence for a little while.

Lance tried not to disperse any more tears. He also cursed Rez. How in the hell doesn’t he show more emotion than this? It’s crazy.

Screenshot-559

Rez slid into the grave. Lance carefully lowered the coffin to Reznik’s open arms.

He tucked the container inside the grave’s stony crevice.

Screenshot-562

Rez climbed back out. Daylight approached.

Screenshot-584

Working tirelessly, Lance filled in the hole.

Screenshot-586

“You okay?” Rez asked.

“No.”

Screenshot-592

A stone became the temporary marker.

Screenshot-588

Over the following days, seedlings would be scattered throughout the area.

Screenshot-593

Within weeks it flourished into a beautiful patch of land. A new legitimate headstone accented the plot, along with a fountain.

Lance had planted the seeds which grew into lush grass and flora… and gave away yet another toy he once loved as a little boy.

Screenshot-595

Screenshot-596

“Never ceases to amaze me how much you’ve all grown and changed.”

Screenshot-602

“Each one of you have your own personalities, though you all share similar traits. Similar attitudes about certain things.”

Reznik observed his father. He’d been acting weird lately for some reason.

Screenshot-604

“Even, dare I say, similar interests and desires as your parents. Especially you, Reznik. Sometimes I could swear we share the same brain.”

Screenshot-617

“What are you talking about, Dad?”

“I’m talking about family heritage. I’m talking about family loyalty and how it can evolve… change. Sometimes for the worst.”

Reznik’s heart pumped faster as his smile dissolved.

Screenshot-606

“I don’t blame you, son. One could say it was merely poetic justice.”

“Stop playing games and tell me what you mean,” Reznik demanded.

“I understand that things change over time. That’s why I’d never blame you. Not really.”

Screenshot-623

Lauren strolled into the room. Reznik thought he would faint.

What? Where did she come from? When did she come back?

“My love, Vaclav.” Lauren drew up to him.

Screenshot-624

“Yes. I’ve missed the sound of your voice. I’ve missed everything about you,” he said. “I thank God you came back to me.” Vaclav turned, grabbed and pulled her in for a kiss.

Screenshot-618

Confused as ever, he didn’t know what else to do but watch.

‘I don’t blame you, son. One could say it was merely poetic justice.’ His father’s mysterious proclamation replayed over and over until it was understood.

Lauren had told Vaclav about her sexual episode with Reznik.

Screenshot-627

Despite this, they kissed. Endlessly.

Screenshot-628

Screenshot-635

“Hi Reznik. Don’t worry, your father forgives you for what you’ve done.”

Screenshot-638

Advertisements