That fucking tape man. No matter what we tell ourselves, we’ll never forget what was on that god forsaken tape. It’ll haunt us all for the rest of our lives. We were up well into the early hours of the morning and we had all fallen asleep in the common area of our bunkhouse. We were woken by Johnny, who came crashing into the room clutching the tape I had told Kyle to keep a hold of

“Hey, asshats! Look what just showed up!”

Once we all adjusted and realized what he was holding, we searched up, down and all around until we found a working tape player (that whole ordeal was easier said than done honestly) and set the tape going. Already we knew that this….whatever it was, it was going to be horrid. Vile. Something only Dom would conjure up. And I regret to tell you that we weren’t wrong. There, tied to a broken mattress frame and….oh god its really, really hard to write this down because it hit Kyle like a freight train. He refuses to talk about it; even now he won’t mention Dom at all and the sight of him makes him shiver like he’s stood in the snow. But whatever Dom did to him, it looks like Dom decided he didn’t need clothes. Kyle looks up at what I assume must be the camera and the look in his eyes was haunting. Panic. Just pure panic; it was almost like he was looking directly at us. Begging us to come and save him and hope we weren’t too late. I don’t need to tell you what it reminded me of. All I thought about was getting that kid as far away from Dom as possible, then splitting Dom’s head open like a damn watermelon. I wanted to kill him, and I’ll admit that. I’ve killed before and I know what that does to someone. But for Dom? I can’t think of a single person that would miss that freak. Anyway, Kyle looked to be in pretty bad shape. Dom was making sure he broke this kid just for this little tape. And the he appeared, giggling to himself like a child.

“Oh he certainly was fresh! It didn’t take much. Just a few pokes and slaps here and there. A cut or too. Just one problem”

He wheeled back and punched Kyle right across his jawline. We all saw the tears roll down his purple cheeks. And I could see that Axel was gettin’ mad. Can’t blame him; I would’ve been willing to hold that sonofa bitch down while Axel blew his goddamn head off. He continued…

“He won’t stop crying. But I learned a whole lot! Much more than he’d tell anyone! Isn’t that right, queer boy?” He punched him again. Every second of watching that thing was so tense. And he didn’t care about the others. They weren’t a part of his sick game. He wanted to get to me and Tyler. Mostly me, but I know he wanted Ty in on it too. Then he did what was arguably his worst mistake. He issued a challenge

“I’ll give you heroes two days. If you can’t find me and this cocksucker by then, well”
He brandished his knife again, quickly slashing it across Kyle’s cheek.

“I’ll make sure he’ll never want another man for the rest his life”

Dom picked up the camera, smiled and crushed it. And that was that. But before we knew it, Axel was already out the window, rocketing his way to god knows where.

“C’mon, we’re following him!” I said, grabbing my jacket and heading towards the door

“But we don’t even know where he’s going! How are we supposed to follow him?”. Fe made a good point. But my instinct was pushing me.

“He knows exactly where he’s going. So we follow him” and before we knew it, the four of us were all in Tyler’s car racing after Axel. While I’ll admit, I wanted to murder Dom just as much as he did, I knew I had to stop him. I had made too many mistakes; mistakes I regret to this day. Mistakes that make me wake up in the middle of the night because no matter what I will never, ever forget the things I’ve done. And I wasn’t about to let him end up like me. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Even Dom. But right now, I had to talk sense into that kid. Even if it meant I had to knock it into his brain. Eventually he landed somewhere outside the city, by what looked like a run down storage place. We got out of the car and watched him climb over the gate.

“Axel! Axel, dammit wait!”

“No! I ain’t waiting! The more I wait that psycho gets closer to killin’ my brother!”

“Axel!”

I ended up tearing the gate off of its hinges. Something was telling me that he knew where he was. And like it or not I wasn’t letting him go alone. It owed it to Alice to not let anyone else I knew die. Not again. I eventually caught up with him and grabbed him

“Axel, you take another step and I’m gonna smack you so hard you’ll see Venus!”

“Why are you even stopping me!?! If it were Tyler or Felicity you’d wanna kill this fucker too!”

“Yeah I know that but-“

“THEN LET GO OF ME!!!”

“Axel you know I won’t”

“WHY!?! HE’S GONNA KILL KYLE!!!”

“He won’t”

“HOW DO YOU KNOW EINSTEIN!?!”

“Because he’s scared of me. That’s why he’s taking others”

“Wh….wha-“

“Its complicated but I promise you. I will not let him kill Kyle. But I know you know where he’s gotta be. Or you at least have an idea right?”

He nodded. See? Told you; my guts never wrong. Almost.

“Then you have me with you. And the others won’t say no to going with you. But you’ll leave him to me”

“But!-“

“Listen to me kid. Whatever you wanted to do to him, forget it. I know you’ll kill him because you have the power to do it, but that’ll make you more like him than you’ll want. And you won’t ever forget that feeling and it’ll haunt you like a phantom for the rest of your life. A phantom you can’t get rid of. So you leave him to us, understood?”

He nodded again, looking rather defeated. I lead him back to the car and we squeezed in, having him give us directions. He lead us to a small wooded, area which housed a small warehouse. He told us it belonged to his uncle who owned a shipping business, but this particular one got shut down. So he, Kyle and a few friends used it as a sort of weekend retreat for a while until they just up and abandoned it.

“If Kyle really told him stuff, then he’d have told him about this place. He’s hiding somewhere we know. I’m sure of it”

A quick search of the place proved both Kyle and Dom’s absence. But that didn’t stop us from trying a few other places but, no luck. The whole situation was stressing us all out, let alone Axel. I couldn’t imagine the shit that was going through his head. The closest person I’ve ever had to a brother is Tyler, and even now I still consider him family, just like I do with the others. But this? This is different. Tyler dying would send me to a dark place, but Axel? He’s never felt that urge before. The absolute urge to strangle the life out of another human being. And like it or not, I refuse to let someone like him; someone who has his whole career ahead of him to fall into that pit. We searched all day and no luck. We ended up back at our bunkhouse, frantically going through maps and sightings and any single piece of evidence we had. Johnny went though that tape over and over again because he swore he’d seem that room before, but he couldn’t figure it out.

Again, we spent the night searching, panic washing over all of us. Axel hadn’t come out of his room. It was evident he was alive, since he was pushing the plates of food we gave him out the door when he was done. I felt so sorry for him. Genuinely I did. I wanted to talk to him, you know, since I was the one training him up and all but my mum always taught me; when someone doesn’t want to talk to anyone, they need to talk to themselves first. Self honesty and self confidence walk hand in hand she used to say. Axel needed time to believe what I said. To believe that he really could save Kyle. So I decided to let him figure that out on his own. So I left him to see it through. He’s a tough kid; maybe even tougher than me, and I believe that one hundred percent.

I joined the others in the common area, all of us still desperately going through clues and such. I watched them all work, and for a while it almost seemed like they were machines. Total robots going through as much as they could in what little time we had. Then, Johnny piped up and to our semi relief, he had an answer

“I got it! Its the Sun Woo place in Chinatown!”

“You’re absolutely sure!?” Tyler inquired, looking absolutely desperate for anything

“I’ve been through that place more times than you can count. I’m positive”

“Team! We’re heading out!”

Tyler nodded at me to get Axel, but I gave him a pretty plain look that told him everything he needed to know. So we were a man down but that wasn’t going to stop us. But luckily for us, a certain engineer had finally gotten her field license, and King Steel and Jackie, or should I say, SoundStorm, met us in our way out. And damn was she kitted out. Her armour was pretty high tech and was covered what looked like speakers.

I’ll say this

She’s a part of the team now and we love her to bits. And she helped us get Kyle back and put the hurt on Dom. I promise you guys will love it. Although I still have a long way to go with this. I just hope you’ll enjoy it til I finish. I gotta go now. Hero stuff. Stay safe ya hear?

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