Chapter 10:

The Byproduct of Madness

Love and Destruction

     As exhausted as they were, they still had to take the extensive trip back to the city afterwards. By morning they parted ways and went about their lives as per usual, though Sylas had a pep in his step and could tell Actavio had a slightly lighter aura than usual. If he helped, even a bit, then that’s all he could ask for. At least for now.

Sylas flicked on the lights to his messy apartment and turned on his TV to his new and favorite channel: Actavio. While he was fast asleep during his period of illness, Sylas took it upon himself to install cameras and microphones in his apartment and car; although the car only contained a mic. He also copied both his house and car keys so he could visit Actavio whenever he wanted but only when he was at his studio apartment. Breaking into his actual home he knew was a death sentence and he wasn’t that reckless.

Some muffled part of him did feel guilty and a bit insane for doing so but he justified it all in the name of love. How else was he supposed to break Actavio’s walls? He’d never let anyone in, so Sylas would just have to invite himself.

Actavio seemed to only use the black sedan for personal matters as after it was parked it stayed stationary for a few hours before he entered it once more by himself. After a couple of minutes worth of driving, the microphone picked up voices. Sylas sat on the couch, smoke in hand as he listened.

The car doors opened and shut in sync along with rustling.

“Hi Dad!”

“Hey Dad!”

His daughters, Cynthia and Celia. Their voices were indistinguishable so Sylas wasn’t sure who exactly was speaking between them.


Nolan, he could tell by how meek the voice was. It seemed a bit closer, probably in the front passenger seat.

“How was school?” Actavio shifted the car into drive as he spoke. There was a faint sense of elation in his voice and it brought Sylas to a smile.

“Oh my God Dad you’ll never guess what happened, so this guy–”

“CiCi shut up!”

“Guy?” His tone stiffened.

Ah, there’s the inner dad coming out. Picturing Actavio’s reaction along with the words nearly made him choke on his cigarette in laughter.

“It’s not what it sounds like!”

“Okay yeah, whatever, so Dad! There’s this guy that wanted to ask Celia out and and–!!” Cynthia starts giggling uncontrollably, “He-hhaha! Got us mixed up!! So he asked me out instead!”

“It’s not that funny!”

“Oh why? Because he got all embawassed~”

The mockery manages to get a chuckle out of their father, who clears his throat to try and muffle it.


“I’m not laughing.”

“You are!!”

“Come on Celia, he’ll get over it he’s a big boy.”

“Whatever Cici!”

Finally, the twins settle down, although Cynthia’s giggles and Celia’s muffled shut up can still be heard.

“What about you, Nolan?” Actavio pauses again to clear his throat. “How was school?”


“Have you been making friends?”


Their father sighs, adopting a tone that is both stern and comforting. “Nolan.”


“I told you before that it’s better to make friends now rather than when you’re older.”

“I-I know…”

“But? If you have something you want to say then say it.”

Nolan takes a few hesitant breaths, then after a period of time speaks up, “I-It’s hard. People either make fun of me, or are scared of me because of…you know.”

“Cynthia and Celia don’t have this issue.”

“Because they’re social butterflies!” He momentarily raises his voice, then immediately retracts back to his sheepish behavior. “S-Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell…”

Actavio sighs again followed by more rustling; possibly ruffling his hair.

“Try joining a club of sorts. People are scared of things they don’t understand, so I imagine they don’t know much about you and go off of what they do know. Show them you’re your own person with your own interests, and that you’re more than just my child.”

There’s no audio. Nolan likely responded in a nod.


By the end of their conversation, the girls become rowdy once more, going off on all sorts of topics ranging from food to fashion. Sylas switches off the TV, letting the family have their privacy for the time being.

He relaxes into the couch and envisions Actavio: doting father of five. It made him a little bit jealous of his children in all honesty. Just by existing they received his love and affection, but Sylas? He was stuck working day and night trying to get Actavio to even look his way. If they weren’t there, maybe this would all be so much easier. He did say he was strained as to the attention he can give. If he removed everyone else from his life, then he could give Sylas all he had.

Sylas blew the toxic fumes to the air above him, watching as it dispersed.

It was a thought.


     Actavio’s matches today didn’t have the same flare because all Sylas could think about was his current dilemma: his children. He didn’t even realize when Actavio’s fights concluded and subsequently exited as he was too lost in thought. On one hand, it was nice to see how happy he was with them, and on the other, they had everything he didn’t. How long would he have to be chasing after Actavio before he’d look his way? How much did he have to do to gain his attention? It felt like that night out of the city didn’t even occur.

The only thing that managed to disrupt his thoughts was the sudden burst of the private room’s door. Speak of the devil.

Actavio was standing in the doorway with a pair of apologetic security personnels behind him; he had thrown something—someone—to the ground. A member of the Vultures, judging by their tattoo. Blood and bruises soiled their appearance enough to the point that they looked like a large splotch of dyed cauliflower on the floor.

“What the fuck is this?” Even from all his coverings, the furious blaze of his hazel-blue eyes radiated across the room.

“What happened?!” Lorraine was the first to ask.

“What do you think happened? A group of five of them came at me the second I left the building, all claiming that it was ‘Revenge against Sly Fox’.”

He was predominantly looking at the orchestrator and didn’t even acknowledge Sylas’s existence until Lorriane had done so.

Just as confused, he cautiously rose from his chair and observed the body before looking back at Sylas, where Actavio’s eyes followed.


“I didn’t fucking do anything if that’s what you’re about to ask me.”

“Yes you did! I told you not to touch that guy!!”

“And what, let your little champion die slowly because you’re not working fast enough?”

Actavio’s burning glare stays locked on the delinquent until he relents.

“Lorri, give us some space would you?”

Albeit with a questioning gaze, he complies and leaves the room to the pair.

The instant the door shuts Actavio snaps, “What the fuck did you do to him?”

“Interrogated him, what do you think?” From his ever-worsening glare, Sylas keels more. “And then peeled off his nails, why?”

“You’re an idiot. You didn’t even bother to take off your jacket, did you?”

“Why would I?”

“You are constantly walking around with a target on your back, and I would have hoped that you knew that by now.”

“How was I supposed to know that he was gonna rat to his friends?!”

“You’re either stupid or oblivious or both. Now they’re convinced that we have some connection to each other.”

“And we don’t?”

“Don’t fucking start with me. Do you think that you can go prancing around just because I’ve exchanged a few words with you? Don’t make me laugh.”

“It wasn’t a few words and you know it.”

His glare molds into a mixture of anger and repulsion. With a click of his tongue and turn of his heel, Actavio attempts to exit, finding no point in conversing further until Sylas desperately reaches forward and grabs his hand.

“Actavio, listen please–”

In a flash he swats away his grasp.

“Don’t fucking touch me. Until you fix this mess you’ve made, stay the hell out of my life.”

Back turned, Actavio flung open the door and pushed past the awaiting Lorriane without so much as a word or glance, leaving Sylas to only watch as his love faded into the crowd.


     Sly Fox’s appearance was denoted by a few trademarks: his fox hood, tail-like scarves attached to the hip, and one more item. A pair of steel claws that one might mistake for jewelry. Unless he had violent intentions planned, he typically didn’t wear them.

The Vultures always desired to be the largest street gang, but Sly Fox stood in the way of that. They had an unspoken agreement not to interfere with each other so for a while they convinced themselves that they were content with their position, then an opportunity arose. And he made it his mission to rectify that mistake.

The routes their leader Gerard took were well known—at least to him so he knew which areas to avoid. With rather ease, Sylas located him in an alleyway with some of his members. Just four. Nothing he couldn’t handle.

In the silhouette of the night the only part of his figure that they could make out was his adorned fox hood and a glimmer of steel under the light of the moon. Their voices trailed off to silence and shifted to mutters all repeating the same words: Sly Fox.

Between them Gerard stepped forward. A small, pale man who looked about as deranged as he walked. One could easily see how they got their name, and their reputation.

“Sly Fox! Buddy! Ruffle your feathers did we? See you got your fancy claw things there.”

Behind him his men started to gather, brandishing different forms of melee weapons. No guns. Not a surprise. The Merids had a tight control on firearms.

Sylas wasn’t smiling. Only the uncanny glow of his amber eyes spoke.

All it took was a single stride forward before they understood that he had no intentions of negotiating or compromising and so they rushed forward to shield their leader but dropped to the pavement just as quickly. Without hesitation Sylas dug his claws into their necks and in a swift tear ripped their throats like a frenzied beast that only sought for death and survival with an inhumane lack of sympathy.

Gerard pleaded for his limbs to cooperate and move to defend, but his mind was stunned into petrification. He collapsed onto the floor by his lifeless companions; some still gurgling their last.

The fox knelt down and lifted his chin, blood transferring from his hands and onto his skin. A slow, stretched smile came to his lips.

“Ruffle your feathers, did I?”

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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