This is an original story I started many years ago and have since begun to revise and continue. It is actually the second piece in a trilogy of novel length stories, the first of which is titled The Prophets. I hope all of you enjoy it!
Chapter One– God Have Mercy On My Soul
Mercedes sat calmly on the side of the table, tapping his cane in annoyance. His sightless eyes were rolling in disdain as his brother ranted and Epiphany, the only girl in their little family, screamed back. Really, did they have to keep doing this? Every meal time it was something. One would think that all of the screaming before meals would lead to a serious case of indigestion. If it did, neither of them gave any sign of it. Perhaps this was just the way the alpha dogs of their household determined dominance. The idea had merit. He would have to start bringing his tape recorder to the table and taking notes. It could prove for a fascinating subject for his next Sociology paper.
“Shut up, you pompous dog! I’m sick of your stupidity!”
He would have to start bringing his tape recorder to the table and taking notes. It could prove for a fascinating subject for his next Sociology paper.
“At least I’m my own boss! I don’t have to grovel!” Merceilious yelled back, spitting the word as if it were dirty and unfit to pass through his lips.
Mercedes fought back an irritated sigh. His twin was really such a conceited drama queen sometimes. Or most of the time.
“At least I have TALENT! I’m not just some rich jerk riding on the shoulders of my forefathers!” Epiphany shrieked.
Cayden was shaking his head next to him, looking through his various books of sheet music, tweaking some old compositions. He was one of the best composers Mercedes had the pleasure to enjoy, a true prodigy. Epiphany was a fashion designer who was just opening her second line of clothing and her first privately owned store, a fact that she was exceedingly proud of. Merceillious, Mercy for short, being the older twin, had inherited a good chunk of real estate and the De Luca business empire. Jamal was sitting beside Mercedes brother quietly, steadfastly ignoring the fight. He worked as a bouncer at one of the clubs further into the city. It was what he enjoyed doing and as a single tower of bulky, rippling muscle, no one was going to dispute his hobbies. Hunter, born the son of a Duke before he was stolen away like they all were, ran the real estate aspect of the De Luca empire. He managed their variety of London estates as well as the large amount that they’d left behind in Italy. He stood as the oldest of the lot of them, at 28.
And then there was…him. Where Cayden had an affinity with music, he knew computers. Mercedes’ small, enclosed world had erupted when he had first laid hands on the technology. It allowed him to experience things he never had before, to form a network of communication that spanned the globe. His keyboards were all in Braille and he had a super computer in his bedroom, a grouping of computers all networked together to handle his various programs, websites he had created and administrated or delegated. All from the comfort of his own home. Most people wouldn’t even know how to navigate his computer lab. He had been approached two years ago to do cyber security for several high end and well to do companies. He’d even had several smaller sectors of the English government inquire after his talents. Of course, the government balked at entrusting access to their main frames to a blind, 25 year old. Mercedes listened to his brother and Epiphany argue with growing annoyance. They were a very…confrontational family. He decided rather quickly that his sensitive ears had had enough of this pointless bickering.
“Hey, Golem!” Every set of eyes turned to him and he could feel the disgust in his brother’s gaze, “You have a meeting in twenty minutes. Don’t you have to preen or something?”
Merceillious sniffed arrogantly and Mercedes could practically hear the sneer in his voice.
“Your…ridiculous references repulse me. Don’t do it again.” He said haughtily, earning a snort from Mercedes. Suddenly, his chair tipped backwards and as he hit the ground, the air left his lungs in a whoosh. Mercy’s footsteps approached with their distinct staccato clack clack, “And as for my preening, dear brother, at least I can see the face that we share.” His snarky twin shot with a verbal smirk before shutting the dining room door behind him.
Hunter was snickering and Epiphany huffed, still fuming from the fight as Mercedes stood up off of the floor. They knew better than to help him when he didn’t need it. The last one who had tried that had gotten his cane against the side of their head. He listened to Demi, the head kitchen maid, bustle in and start clearing away the dishes. She moved with a heavy but purposeful stride that the blind hacker could recognize anywhere. He tossed a glare towards Hunter’s still chuckling form and walked out of the room. His cane made it’s tap tap against the floor and the edges of the wall, showing him as well as anything could where everything was.
Mercedes didn’t mind being blind. He had never known anything else. He had been born that way due to the birth complications that killed their mother. It was years before they realized that their kind needed to experience death during the first year of life for their “skills” to kick in. He was standing just outside the elevator that Mercy had installed for him when the familiar pressure of a vision seeped into his brain. They always came on so unexpectedly, but such was their lot in life. Sometimes, he preferred to ignore the feeling until it passed or one of the others took the job. This time, however, he accepted the vision.
‘A woman’s voice spoke in an electrical fashion from somewhere above him. There was the sound of many voices all around him and he could feel the press of people wherever he was. Somewhere crowded.
“The 10:30 train is now boarding from Charing Cross to Dover. Charing Cross to Dover.”
He could hear a man whispering as if he were whispering in his own ear, standing right next to him.
“It’s over. I can’t take this any more.”
There was an odd wet crunching sound as the train screeched by and the sound of dozens of screams and panic all at once.’
Well, that’s a bad day. He heard grumbling from the dining room and Jamal’s big footsteps moving quickly across the floor.
“I’ll get it! I’m heading that way anyways!” He called to the rest of the house who immediately resumed their day to day activities.
It was pretty average here on North Audley Street. Except that they were all on the more exception side of normal. They had all been inborn with the ability to see visions of deaths moments before they occurred. They had been left with the duty, not to save lives like their counterparts, who went about calling themselves the Prophets, but to take them. The Prophets were a street gang of youths determined to save the lives they foresaw. Unfortunately, with every life that they stole from Providence, a life had to be taken back in return or the Balance would tip irreversibly. The Mortiferi, the group that Mercedes called family, were the ones who stole those lives back to restore order and they had gotten very good at what they did.
He shook off the remnants of his vision and stepped into the elevator, taking it to the second floor. He shared this floor with Cayden and Jamal, each of them with three sets of rooms of their own. It was far too much space in his opinion but Epiphany’s jibe hadn’t been wrong. They had been left the heirs of a very wealthy family and apparently, there was some ridiculous, unspoken rule that said the more money you had, the more space you must clearly take up. It was all pompous show, putting on airs but who was he to complain? He walked to his bedroom quickly, eager to be alone with his books and his computers. Down the hall, he could hear the clear sound of light bouncy footsteps.
“Mercedes! Hey, Mercedes!” Epiphany called eagerly, her bubbly voice knowing no hint of her recent shouting match.
He turned towards her, his eyes the impossible shade of freshly picked limes, unlike his brother’s much more evergreen orbs. He’d never resented Mercy for being able to see when he couldn’t. Even if he rarely showed it, Mercedes knew that his brother looked out for him. Like the elevator.
She stopped in front of him with a happy little hop, excitement boiling around her. She grabbed his hand that wasn’t occupied with his cane.
“Come out with me? We can stop by that coffee shop you like.” She must have seen his reluctance, “Plleeeeeeaaasssee?! The other boys won’t go with me and I want to go out and see people wearing my designs.”
Ah, so that was it. Epiphany had just released her new summer line and she wanted to witness first hand the fruits of her labor. He knew what that was code for. Shopping trip. With a sigh, he nodded.
“Only as long as I don’t have to carry your bags. The last time, I nearly fell into traffic.” He grumbled and she squealed happily, much to the discomfort of her latest victim.
“Ok ok, but you are mad if you think I’m letting you leave the house in that drab get up.”