I ran my fingers along Father’s steam powered teeth, furrowing my brow. So delicately designed, so intricately forged, it was remarkable. A chill trembled up my spine as I pushed down on a molar and all the teeth rotated. Click clack click. I trailed my hand up the steel plate that had been his cheek and traced the rivets with the very tips of my fingers. My fingers followed the steely crease of his cheek up to his eyes. They were soulless orbs now, even more so than when he still was breathing. I touched one of the smooth bronze balls and it spun in the socket, an insane globe careening through space.
hand touched my shoulder, nearly flattening me. I reached up and
grabbed one of Gregor’s thick stony fingers and squeezed it as
tightly as I could. He reached down and closed the lid of the black
hatbox we were keeping Father’s head in.
“We’ll be there shortly Nod. Only two more stops and we can head home.”
nodded wearily. It had been a long day.
had taken control of the Disciples with Father’s death. He called
for a reformation of the faith. The Disciples of Adam were to become
The Order of the Upgrade. Abraham had convinced many of his flock
that their simple crusade for conversion was not the way, that Adam’s
death was proof of it. Their way was to demonstrate the superiority
of The Upgrade through the defense of Chrysalis Falls.
were unconvinced. Adam’s flagellant concubines were the most
outspoken against Abraham. They had stormed off, splitting the air
with electric tendrils, swearing to uphold the true faith that Adam
2.0 had purveyed. They would remain true to their master until his
triumphant return and the death of this new heretical Order. Of the
eight in Father’s harem, seven fled, taking roughly a third of the
Disciples with them. Against my suggestions and his better judgment,
Abraham refused to kill them on the spot. More work for me later, I
leaned back in my seat and glanced crossways at the Wulf brothers.
Both Mr. Jonathan and Trevor were wearing their human faces with ease
now. Trevor was flirting with the twins on his left, while Mr.
Jonathan was too enraptured with Rebecca’s eyes to even notice
where he was, let alone that anyone but her was around him. The
Wrecking Crew was napping in the luggage compartment. They had worn
themselves out killing Disciples during the fight with Adam. James
had almost run out of knives, as scary a thought as that was.
I have to go in?”
your account the funds are going to be deposited in. We don’t
the E-Rail came to a stop, we exited the train directly into West
Worthington’s science wing. Jorgensen met us in the lobby. He was
wearing a ridiculously lanky body this time with a handlebar mustache
and paper white skin.
afternoon. You have a delivery for us?”
if you don’t intend to take the credit for it, you toothy little
ink body sneered and lidded its eyes.
kid, I don’t like this anymore than you do. If I want to keep this
job, and I do, I have to play nice. So do you. Now just hand over the
head and we’ll get your account credited the bounty.”
will be no handing over. You can take all the scans of it you want,
you don’t get the real deal. If you want to up the price, we’ll
consider it. This bounty is for his death only, not any of the
know I can’t authorize shit, even if I am head of security for
you better start running your scans.”
handed Jorgensen the box and smiled nastily, my mouth curling into a
sneer. He snatched the box away and shuffled off down the corridor.
will be attending you, so I advise no treachery.”
halted a moment and it was all the time needed for Trevor to drop a
small pistol down his sleeve and put it at the base of the ink body’s
spine… right behind the back of Jorgensen’s real head.
admit, I was surprised when they were back only an hour later. Trevor
winked knowingly at me, and I smiled. Jorgensen wasn’t smiling, but
he wasn’t grimacing either.
be damned. You did it.”
course I did. I wouldn’t have claimed to otherwise.”
Worthington is very impressed and your account has already been
credited the ten million on the bounty.
you kindly for the business. We’ll be in touch. Everyone, we’re
leaving. One more stop for the day.”
stood and stared at us as we walked away, Trevor handing the hatbox
back over to me. He had to be wondering where we were heading to now.
That was fine. Let him worry that we were selling technology to East
Fredricksburg or someone else. That was fine.
“Is the hole almost done Gregor?”
nodded and open the hatbox one last time. I lifted Father’s head
from the velvet lining and handed it to Mr. Jonathan.
you do the honors?”
nodded to me and let his wolf face and claws sprout free. He slipped
his straight razor from his pants pocket and sliced around the top of
Father’s metal skull. Mr. Jonathan’s blade, as always, slipped
through the steel with ease. The cap of Father’s head came off and
Mr. Jonathan looked inside.
just as you thought Nod. His heart, both eyes, and his teeth are all
inside and appear to be well preserved.”
the top back on his head and give him back please.”
Jonathan somberly put the cap back on Father’s skull and handed his
head back to me. I kissed the top of his head and knelt next to the
hole Gregor had put in the ground next to Mom’s plot.
do it Michael. You’ve led this family longer than I have. I won’t
second guess you.”
night, Father. Wherever you are now, I hope you find Mom and can burn
yourself free of Adam 2.0. We lower your remains into this grave in
the coffin you made for them so many years ago. Good night, Father,
dropped into the grave and set his metal skull in the middle of the
hole. Gregor lifted me back out and began to push the dirt back in.
It was over.
2.0 was dead. My Father was dead. I
smiled a little to myself as Rebecca wiped the tears away from my
only hoped he and Mom could make amends.