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The Bad Ones(10)
Stylo Fantome

“Fine.”

“No more fighting, Masters.”

“No more.”

“And no more funny business. I heard something about a fire a couple weeks ago, your name was -”

“Got it. Let's go.”

Con didn't bother waiting, he turned and led the way out of the gym.

Being a teenager was a strange process, Con had always felt. He didn't feel young. He didn't feel any particular age. He felt like he was always going through the motions, always pretending to be something he wasn't; something he didn't want to be, anymore.

The only time he felt real was when he was doing something wrong. And not like cutting class or cheating on a test. Like setting Chuck's car on fire. Or the time he'd beaten the shit out of some guy, after a game in a neighboring town. Or when he'd kissed Dulcie. Only when he was completely letting go did he truly feel free.

So sitting in the office, listening to his dad yell at both the principal and himself, Con didn't feel real. He felt like a paper doll, just sitting in a chair, waiting for his dad to pick him up and move him. Tell him how to be, tell him what to do, until the moment came when he could be himself again.

After the principal had been reminded of exactly WHO Con's father was, and exactly HOW valuable Con's arm was to the town, they left. The elder Masters went home in his own car, and Con followed close behind in his truck. He didn't want to go home. He wanted to find Dulcie and finish what they'd started. Whatever the hell it had been.

It was a human sacrifice, and she was offering herself to your altar.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Constantine!?”

Con sighed as they walked through their front door and his father instantly began yelling. It wasn't a surprise. Once upon a time, Jebediah Masters had used his fists to keep his son in line. But then Con had gotten bigger than his dad, and he'd never been afraid to hit back. So the striking had taken a back burner to preaching. His father could talk and talk and talk – before becoming mayor, he'd been a very successful lawyer.

“Don't you talk to my son that way!”

Ah, Mrs. Masters joined the fray, complete with martini in hand. She, unfortunately, was not bigger than her husband, and her face sported fresh bruises to attest to that fact. It didn't bother Con – his mother had been an absent figure in his life, spending most of her time in bigger cities. When she had been home, she'd always turned a blind eye to the hitting and shouting. Defending Con now, it was just ammunition against her husband. Another reason to yell at each other.

While the two “adult” Masters screamed and shrieked at each other, Con sat down at the head of their twelve seat dining room table. It had been set for the holiday season, complete with garland laced with purple tinsel and orange candles burning down the length of it.

He stared into a flame while he listened to his parents argue. Parents. More like animals. It would explain a lot, really. A harpy and a snake, snarling and hissing at each other. Trying to draw blood, but neither brave enough to actually do it.

Con was brave enough, though. He was a different kind of beast.

Just burn it all.

He reached out and tipped over the candle that was directly in front of him. The flame flickered as it hit the table top, but didn't go out. The pillar of wax rolled into the garland, which quickly caught on fire. The plastic tinsel acted like a fuse and it was only a matter of seconds before the entire runner was up in flames.

Con wasn't a pyromaniac, not at all. Fire was just quickest and easiest. He'd set Chuck's car on fire simply because he'd had a lighter on him. If he'd only had a bat, he would've beaten the shit out of the car. If he'd had a gun, he would've shot his parents. But all he had was a flame and a thought, and without bothering to dwell much on either, he set their dining room table on fire. While he watched the flames grow and spread and drip down onto an expensive Persian rug, his mind was miles away.

I wonder what Dulcie tastes like. I wonder if she'd let me bite hard enough to find out.

5

No one knew Gary Eckland existed, let alone listened to him, so word never got around about Dulcie and Con's private little moment. No one would have believed it, anyway. Half the time, even she didn't believe it had really happened.

News about the “fight” between Con and Chuck did spread around, though. Some stories claimed Con had beaten him to within an inch of his life. Other tales claimed Chuck had almost won, and Con had just gotten in a sucker punch. No one knew the truth, except for Dulcie and Con. She wasn't talking and Con was suspended, so the stories went unchecked.

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