Luke had no idea what to do. He had to get to work, he had to support his family. The freelance writer had moved his family from New Jersey to Portland, Oregon. And now he was in possession of a little boy who just happened to be a demon prince.
If it was up to him he would leave the boy with child-protective services. This wasn’t his fight. But his wife, Kelsey, was the one at home. She was still recovering from the brutal attack that left her wheelchair-bound.
Although he had no memory of the last month of their life he soon discovered the layout of their living situation. Apparently Luke worked for the local community college as a tech writer, working on blocks of texts for advertisements and course catalogs. This allowed him to work from home and for Kelsey to take online classes.
So they were both at home when a strange man knocked on their door. “Are you serious?” Luke asked. He knew the tall, long-haired man who stood before him- Remy Desilva. “You’re just going to show up on my doorstep? I thought you would have some kind of trick up your sleeve.”
Remy was the son of demonic royalty and the little boy’s biological father. “I don’t need tricks to take what has always been mine,” he said in his calm, Cajun-Hawaiian accent. “Lucas!”
The little boy came running. “Remy!”
Lucas looked so happy, it broke Luke’s heart to pull him away. “Lucas, buddy,” he said in his best attempt at a fatherly voice, “You can’t go with Remy, you have to trust me he’s a bad person.”
The little boy’s blue eyes filled with tears. “B-But Remy’s my friend. When Papa was sick and Mommy was working, he took me on an adventure.”
Remy took a knee and stroked Lucas’s cheek. “Do you remember where we went?”
Lucas nodded. “Chicago,” his little voice was trembling. “Ohio, and the water park in Wisconsin Dells. Everywhere we went your paintings made people so happy.”
“I wonder where Remy’s been for the past few months?” Luke asked out loud. His little daughter Shannon toddled to his side, looking up at him. He needed to take control of the situation in the calmest way possible.
Remy’s focus was on Lucas. “Rainbow sent for me, he said you were lonely and you missed spending time with me.” His voice was trembling with emotion. He sounded every bit like the loving, long lost, biological father.
Lucas wiped tears from his eyes. “You know Rainbow?”
Remy cupped the little boy’s round cheeks. “I sent Rainbow to watch over you.”
Luke was gritting his teeth. ‘You ARE Rainbow! You should have stayed in your axolotl form, you damn creep!’ He needed a plan.
The sound came from behind him. Luke turned to see Kelsey, in her wheelchair, holding a gun. But not just any gun. The small pistol was covered in gold script.
“I know who you are,” Kelsey said her voice trembling with rage. “Olivia warned me about you- Remy DeSilva.”
Lucas turned to Kelsey. “Auntie Livy?”
“Yes, your Auntie Livy asked me to keep you safe until your Mommy and Daddy could come to get you.”
“B-But Rainbow sent Remy to come to get me.”
Remy stood up and attempted to grab Lucas.
Kelsey did not hesitate to fire three rounds directly into Remy’s chest.
Luke took the opportunity to slam the door shut, even as he held the sobbing Lucas in his arms.
“You hurt Remy!” the little boy cried.
Luke rocked the boy in his arms, ignoring the fact that Shannon was crying as well. “Remy is a bad man.”
“No, he’s not! I want Mommy! I want to go home!”
“If you go with Remy, you might never see your mommy ever again,” was the wrong thing for Luke to say.
Lucas kicked him harder then any five-year-old should have been able to, and ran for the door.
Remy was gone. ‘Of course, he was,’ Luke thought to himself. ‘The shape-shifting con-artist needed a new plan.’
For the next few days, Lucas was inconsolable. In addition to Remy, Rainbow (the silent axolotl) was also missing.
Then one morning Luke was watching the news with his family over breakfast and they saw a piece about the local science museum. There was going to be a traveling exhibit showcasing the very cute but very endangered axolotl.
It was a little too ironic for Luke’s taste but Lucas seemed excited by the idea of seeing real live axolotls. And logically there was no way Remy could have taken over an entire museum- right?
That Saturday Luke and Kelsey took both Lucas and little Shannon to the museum. He Didn’t think this would be a problem- after all how popular could axolotls be?
The place was a madhouse; children and adults were in awe of the hundreds of specimens. All of the volunteers wore pink.
A girl with long brown hair and a kind smile approached. “Hello there! Aren’t you two just adorable!” she was only addressing the children. “Do you want to see the touch tank?”
Lucas and Shannon shrieked with delight.
“Mommy and Daddy can go get a coffee if they’d like. We have plenty of volunteers at the exhibit,” the girl was still talking only to the kids.
Lucas looked up at Luke. “Can we see the touch tank?”
“Sure.” Luke was about to follow but the girl took off with the children so quickly he lost them in the crowd. In his new-found panic Luke recalled one disturbing thing: when the girl leaned down to talk to the kids he was able to see her cleavage- she had three scars in the exact place where Kelsey had shot Remy. “Oh F–k.”
Luke turned around, with the goal of locating Kelsey, but he suddenly felt something wet on his leg. It was a pink axolotl the size of a kitten. Then two then three- before he knew it there was an army of pink, smiling faces just looking at him. He took a step back, tripping over his own feet.
In a blink of an eye, the axolotls were gone and he was collapsed on to Kelsey’s wheelchair. “Luke, where are the kids?”
Luke pulled himself to his feet. “I think Remy took the kids.” He had no reason to sugarcoat the situation.
Kelsey took out her phone. She also took out the strange gun, removing a single piece that seemed to connect to the phone like an external hard-drive. “We’ll see about that.” She appeared to have a tracking device app.
“You shot him with a tracking device?”
“Essentially,” she said calmly. “Olivia told me that if I encounter Remy- shoot to kill. I would most likely not be able to kill him, but the power of the golden gun’s bullets would remain in his bloodstream.”
On the screen was a map with a glowing yellow dot. If the dot was Remy, he was heading south at an astounding speed. “Is he heading back to California?”
“Looks like it,” Kelsey said, already turning to the exit.
“So what do we do?”
“You’re kidding right?” Kelsey sounded legitimately upset. “We go after him!”
Luke ran after her. Kelsey was too injured to drive, but managed to get out of her wheelchair, into the passenger seat. Luke picked up her chair and placed it in the trunk. “Ok, we are going to California. But please tell me you have a way of calling for back up.” By that, he meant Azzy and possibly Azzy’s super-powered angel husband.
“We won’t need backup,” Kelsey muttered.
Luke pursed his lips and nodded. “Um.. ok…I guess… tell me where to go.”