NOVEL: From Diamond to Coal, by Sol Crafter – Chapter Seven [science fiction]

From Diamond to Coal

Title: From Diamond to Coal
Author: Sol Crafter
Genre: science fiction, mm romance
Rating: teen+
Places you can purchase a copy of ARC ONE: Smashwords or Amazon
Landing page: From Diamond to Coal

Summary: William Neeley is a genius. At the age of 15 he started Cyber Angel Industries and has since completely changed the face of the modern world. From personal shielding technology to enhanced musculature to home electronics, William has a finger in every pie and is quickly becoming the world's most wealthy individual.

He shares his life with his husband, Alan Trent, and their young son Morgan.

William always strives to maintain his image of "normal life," though he is diverted at every turn. Whether he's posing half-naked on billboards, creating massive death rays, or Alan is becoming the President of the United States, or Morgan has grown wings, or he's accidentally torn a rip in the space time continuum... he will always say that his life is nothing but normal.

Welcome to his world.
ARC ONE:
Chapter One -- 2218 words (9 ms pages)Chapter Two -- 7258 words (30 ms pages)Chapter Three -- 3810 words (16 ms pages)Chapter Four -- 3936 words (16 ms pages)
Chapter Five -- 8045 words (33 ms pages)Chapter Six -- 4093 words (10 ms pages)Chapter Seven -- 6135 words (15 ms pages)Chapter Eight -- 5101 words (21 ms pages)
ARC TWO:
Chapter Nine -- 2356 words (10 ms pages) Chapter TenChapter ElevenChapter Twelve
Chapter ThirteenChapter FourteenChapter FifteenChapter Sixteen

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

“So, is this going to be my thing from now on?” he asked sardonically.

Alan gave him a stricken look and William felt a twinge go through him.

Alan looked terrible. His eyes were bloodshot and his skin was ashen but for two spots of color high on his cheeks. He looked exhausted, as though he hadn’t slept in days, or as though he had been wrung empty by terror and had nothing left to give.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” William said. His hand shook when he lifted it up and he could feel sweat dotting his brow at the effort of lifting his arm at all.

Alan reached out and caught William’s hand, holding it close against his chest. He didn’t say anything. His lips pressed together in a tight line.

William closed his eyes for a long moment, trying to escape from that expression on Alan’s face. “I’m still here. They didn’t get me.”

“But it was so close,” Alan’s voice was whispery. “You could have died and there was nothing I could do about it.”

“But I didn’t die and we’ll be more careful from now on.” William licked his dry lips and tried to seem as alive as possible. “We were incredibly lucky, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean we should give into fear and just stop living.” He saw Alan’s expression shifting and thought that maybe he was getting through to him. “I have to make jokes about it to keep from screaming.”

“I understand,” Alan said, “but it just jolts through me every time I’m reminded that I could have lost you.”

“I’m sorry.”

Alan leaned forward over the hospital bed to brush the hair from William’s forehead. “You always are.”

William frowned unhappily. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do. It made him sit there in tense stillness, just watching Alan.

They sat in silence for what felt like hours.

“You know what we should do,” Alan suddenly said, “we should have them come in and paint the apartment.”

William gave him a shocked look. Carefully, he said, “You want to repaint already? It wasn’t all that long ago that they did it last time.”

Alan looked at him. “When this is all over and whoever has been trying to kill you is caught, we are going to have the apartment painted. We might also need new carpeting and drapes.”

“Oh, okay,” William said slowly. It looked like Alan was cracking around the edges. “I’ll have James light a fire under someone’s butt. You can pick out our new paint and carpet colors.”

“How about you just stay in your hospital bed and rest and I’ll arrange everything. I do know where all your phone numbers and everything are.” Alan gave him an exasperated look. “Have you ever seriously thought about getting a personal assistant? If there was someone people could turn to when you were incapacitated, I think everything would go a lot more smoothly.

“But if I have a PA that knows all the future plans and knows everything, why does anyone need me?” William asked. “They could decide to assassinate me at any time because they’ll have the keys to all the coffers.”

Alan gave him a flat look. “Why do you have to be like this? It’s not like your money is all kept in a personal savings account or something. You have a whole accounting division that handles your money and everything. If your PA wanted to steal some money, sure, they could do it, but it would be such a small amount to the rest of your fortune.”

“I know.” William sighed. “I just don’t like the thought of someone I don’t know following me around everywhere I go.”

“Isn’t that basically James?” Alan asked, quirking his eyebrow.

William laughed. “Yeah, except he thinks computers are like possessed by the devil and I don’t think he could learn the things necessary to make a good PA. Naw, James would be perfect for the following around part, but he just doesn’t have the educational background for the rest.”

“What you should do is clone yourself,” Alan said. “You’d have a PA you were perfectly comfortable being around, the other you would know everything necessary to run the company, and it would be great.”

“No it wouldn’t,” William said. “We’d probably end up killing each other because while there was two of us, there’s only one of you. And I am very jealous about you.”

Alan leaned forward to press a kiss against William’s lips. “You don’t have to feel jealous. You’re the only one for me.”

“Ah,” William cooed, “that’s very cute of you. And by the way, it made me think about this project we’ve got going in the B Lab.” He waited a second for Alan to say something, but the other man just looked at him. “We’ve been working on what we’ve termed a uterine replicator. It’s a machine that recreates the exact conditions of the human womb. We’re thinking about offering a service whereby childless couples can have children without having to use surrogate mothers.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re not messing around with human experimentations, are you?” Alan suddenly sounded deadly serious. “You know that that’s illegal.”

“I know, and no, we’re not playing around with human experimentation. We’re just building a machine to give life; it’s no big deal,” William assured him.

“Well, whatever you’re doing, just be careful you don’t start trying to bend any laws, okay?” Alan stood up and began adjusting William’s blankets around him. “I’m a congressman and I don’t think it will go too well for me when I have to admit that yes, my husband is a convicted felon.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” William said. “So, you’re heading out?”

Alan grabbed his jacket from off the back of his chair and slipped it on. “It’s something I can’t really miss without, you know, losing my job. I should be back tomorrow. Will you be all right?”

William just looked at him for a long moment. Here was a man that was willing to miss work to stay in the hospital with him. It just seemed to make the whole situation a lot less lonely to him.

“You go to your thing and have fun,” William smiled. “Have a couple of glasses of wine with your friends and come back tomorrow to regale me with tales of rampant excitement.”

Alan shook his head. “Did you just think that when you said it, or have you been practicing that line in your head for the past hour?”

“It’s one of those things,” William said. “Whatever drugs they’re giving me, they make me a lot more verbose than I usually am.”

“You’re like a stereotypical science nerd now!” Alan crowed, pointing a finger at him.

William was glad to see that Alan was beginning to come back from his terrible shock. He didn’t want to avoid dying by an assassin only to lose Alan anyway.

“So I guess that means you have a thing for nerds, huh?” William asked flirtatiously.

Alan bent over the bed to give him a lingering kiss. “I’ll take that up with you later, but I really have to go.”

“All right,” William said. He watched Alan start to walk away. He couldn’t help calling out, “Maybe I’ll look around and find my old glasses and my school uniform. We can play around.”

Alan gave him a look over his shoulder, shaking his head. “I cannot believe you. You’re going to tell me something like that right when I have to go to work?”

“I never said I would always fight fair.” William shrugged.

He watched Alan leave, the door clicking shut behind him, and couldn’t help the smile that curved his lips.

Sure, he’d almost died, but it wasn’t like it was the first time or anything. He for sure figured it wasn’t going to be the last either.

He snuggled down into his covers. He felt horribly weak and all he ever wanted to do was sleep. It was a real chore just to stay awake.

He hated to admit it, but it had probably been a good time for Alan to leave. He figured he only had a few more minutes before he was going to completely fall asleep. And he hated to drop off right when he was talking to someone. It just felt so incredibly rude.

He rested his head on the pillow and wished he was back in his own bed.

The hospital had gone all out with their VIP rooms, which seemed more like expensive hotel rooms than hospital rooms. There were couches along one wall, there were vase of flowers in the dresser. And it just seemed a lot less hospital than anyone might have thought.

He would still much rather be in his own bed though. The hospital always just gave him a creepy vibe.

The room he was in might have looked incredibly nice, but in his head he kept seeing the sterile room he’d spent so much time in as a kid. There was always that sense of loneliness and despair that just kind of hung over everything, just this pall of misery. Even the doctors and nurses had reeked of it and he couldn’t help giving in to his instinct to cringe away.

It was an instinct that had always stuck with him.

William forced his eyes closed. The faster he fell asleep, the less time he would have to spend knowing exactly where he was. If he could have physically escaped he would have, but instead he would just have to imagine himself somewhere far away from here.

 

If there was one thing he hated about having been poisoned, it was the fact that now Alan was looking at everyone with suspicion. He had also declared that there would be no more takeout food until the assassin was found. William’s objections had been completely overruled when James said he liked that idea.

So they were stuck eating food made by their personal cook.

William might have offered to cook dinner himself, but he was awful at knowing what to put together. His meals were always a little imbalanced, and even though Alan had never complained, it was always kind of there. Plus, Alan was treating him as though he were made out of glass, which meant he wouldn’t let William do hardly anything. So cooking dinner was right out.

“Can James at least go and get us a pizza?” William pleaded, leaning his cheek against Alan’s chest so he could look up at him with wide eyes.

Alan gave him an exasperated look. “Fine, I trust that James isn’t going to try and kill us.”

“Yay!” William clapped his hands and jumped off the the couch. He had to pause a moment as a wave of dizziness went through him, but he shook it off quick enough to hold a hand out at Alan to keep him from getting too worried. “I’m fine,” he said.

He could feel Alan watching his every move as he hurried out of the living room toward the bedroom that had become James’ office. He tapped, and when he heard James say “Come in,” he pushed the door open. James had had another desk added to the office and now he and Byron were sitting facing each other. William wasn’t a hundred percent sure what they were doing, but he knew it had something to do with running the security department for all of CyberAngel Industries.

“Hey, Alan has finally relented. Do you think you can go down and pick us up some pizza? I’m dying for some Hawaiian.” William made kicked puppy dog eyes.

James glanced from his computer screen to the folder he had spread open in front of him. Then he looked at Byron. “Think I can trust you enough to go pick up a bunch of pizzas?”

Byron touched his chest. “You really trust me to do it?”

James quirked his lips. “You’re going to the pizza place and picking up a bunch of pizzas. It’s not exactly brain surgery.”

William watched them teasing each other as James scrawled the pizza order out on a piece of paper. They were acting like they’d known each other forever. It was actually pretty cute.

“Ooh, get some spicy chicken wings too, and Alan likes bread sticks,” William interjected.

James sighed, but added to his list. He lifted it up to read over it real quick, then handed the list to Byron. “Here’s the order. We’re not going to call ahead in case someone’s cracked the phone system. Go in yourself and place the order, wait until its done and bring it back.” He opened one of his desk drawers and riffled around before pulling out a credit card that he passed over to Byron. “Use this to pay.”

“I thought we have accounts with most of the restaurants in town?” William asked.

“We don’t want to use any of those accounts until we can be sure someone’s not monitoring them,” James said.

“You’re paranoid.” William shook his head.

“And you’re alive, and I plan on keeping you that way,” James said. “And you will do what I tell you to do as long as it keeps you safe.”

William made a face, but didn’t object. Agreeing to let James be in complete control of his safety, up to and including giving him the power to veto the places he was allowed to go, had been one of the ways to get the man to work for him. Plus he knew that James was just trying to look out for him.

Byron grabbed his jacket off the coat rack near the door. When he slipped it on, there was hardly any way to tell that he was wearing a shoulder holster. “I’ll be back in a little while.”

William watched him go, waiting until the front door clicked shut behind him. Then he turned to James with a grin. “So, he seems to be working out for you.”

James shrugged. “He’s a good kid. He seems to be picking things up fairly quick and I think he might be ready to work alone pretty soon.”

“Ooh, so I’ll get to have him all to myself.” William crossed his arms and gave James a serious looking. “How are you doing, really?”

“What do you mean?” James asked.

“I mean that I wasn’t the only one that almost died a couple of times, and I know you take all those risks and stuff way too seriously. Are you going to need a vacation soon?”

“Not while there’s someone actively trying to kill you,” James said. “Maybe after this is all over I might take a week or two off.”

“I’ll pay for you to go wherever you want,” William said, “you deserve a great vacation.”

“I’m going to need a vacation after it really sinks in just how many people I’ve hired and started on training. You’ve got your own small army.”

“Cool.” At James’ raised eyebrow, William shrugged. “I always wanted to have the ability to take over a small country. Having an army of my own is a step in the right direction.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re kind of scary?” James asked.

William smiled and started walking toward the door. “All the time,” he called over his shoulder. “I’ll let you know when Byron comes back with the food. That is, if he doesn’t run to you first thing with his tail all a waggle.”

He pretended not to hear James yell, “Don’t call him a puppy. We don’t want to scare him off before he’s even gotten out of his probationary period.”

William laughed and headed straight toward his bedroom. He passed Alan reading through some kind of blue congressional report, and if he didn’t quite sneak, he still managed to avoid catching his attention.

Once he was in the bedroom with the door closed and he could be sure that no one was observing, he allowed himself to flop on the bed and just shake for awhile.

It was harder pretending to be well than he had thought it would be. Honestly, he probably should have still been in bed.

William curled up on his side on the bed and gazed at the wall. Spots danced in front of his eyes and he wondered if he was going to pass out. It hadn’t happened yet, so he figured that as long as he held still he would be all right.

He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. He didn’t really want to take a nap, but he just felt so exhausted.

Hopefully he would hear the sounds of Byron coming back. He really did want some of the pizza, even if his stomach was making protesting motions now. It was just that every time he thought about eating, he remembered the horror of losing control of his body and later having his stomach pumped. His brain kept calling up an image of Alan’s worried face hovering over him at the hospital.

He hated seeing that look on Alan’s face and knowing that he put it there.

 

Sitting on the floor with his back against the couch, he fought to keep his hand from shaking as he nibbled half-heartedly at his pizza. He felt as though all the blood had been drained out of him and more than anything he wanted to lie down right there on the floor.

“Are you okay?” Alan pressed a warm hand against William’s forehead, checking for fever.

William met his concerned eyes and gave him a tired smile. “I’m all right,” he said. “I just feel kind of tired.”

“Maybe you should go to bed,” Alan suggested.

“I just want to sit here for awhile with you.” William leaned his head back against the couch, closing his eyes for a moment. It was a real effort to keep from dropping his slice of pizza and it was kind of a relief when Alan took it away and solicitously wiped his hand with a napkin. “Thank you.”

Even though it was just the two of them–James and Byron had taken the other pizzas to the rest of the staff–William still felt as though he was surrounded by family. There was just something so nice about not feeling alone.

He felt Alan brushing a hand down the side of his face and he could hear the other man breathing in the stillness. “You really scared me, you know.”

“I’m sorry,” William said frankly.

“It wasn’t your fault. But when this guy is caught… you’re not going to be mad if I use all of my pull to make sure the guy gets persecuted to the fullest extent of the law, will you?”

William opened his eyes a crack to look at him. “Don’t you mean ‘prosecuted?’”

Alan didn’t even try to look innocent. “I meant what I said. I’m going to make sure this guy is sorry he was ever even born.”

“I’m not going to stop you,” William said. “Though I’m not sure how much of him is going to be left once James tracks him down. He’s been quietly stewing away. He’s been hiring tons of security personnel and I think he was drawing the diagrams of some kind of death machine in his office.”

“I don’t think this is something I should be hearing,” Alan said.

“Then do like you normally do and pretend I’m talking about some TV show or something.” William sighed tiredly. “Maybe I should go to bed. Carry me?”

“Only if you want to end up on your face on the floor.” Alan stood up and held out a hand. “I’ll walk you.”

William groaned and held up his hand, letting himself be pulled to his feet. He leaned against Alan’s side and was led to bed like a sleepy child. He even allowed himself to be tucked in and kissed on the cheek.

He might have demanded better kisses, but he was already asleep.

* * *

Somehow their wedding day managed to creep up on them, and the next thing William knew he was wearing a tuxedo and standing in front of thousands of people, most of whom he didn’t know. He could feel nervous acid bubbling in his belly.

“What would you do if I suddenly just ran?” he asked RJ out of the corner of his mouth.

“Well, the traditional role of both the best man and the maid of honor is to marry the bride or groom if things don’t work out. I really kind of like Jessica, so I don’t want to end up marrying Alan today. He’s a nice guy and all, but he’s really not my type.” RJ smiled and nodded at his current girlfriend who’d managed to end up with a place of honor in the first row. Mostly because William didn’t have any family of his own and had ended up grabbing whoever he knew to fill the spaces.

She smiled back and gave him a little wave. She was a pretty woman with vibrant red hair and Irish green eyes. When she talked, she sounded a bit like Audrey from “Little Shop of Horrors.” She was very sweet and she made RJ happy, which was good enough for William.

“I think maybe Alan would object if he came out here and ended up having to marry you,” William said. “So I guess I’ll just have to stick around.”

“Sorry dude.” RJ patted him on the shoulder in mock-commiseration.

William gave him a wry look. “Yeah, I’m sure you’re sobbing away on the inside.”

“It’s where my feelings live,” RJ agreed.

There was a sudden upswelling of music and William felt as though the entire world had frozen. And when Alan posed in the double doors… it felt as though everything had just suddenly clicked into place.

It was the strangest sensation to just have all his nerves melt away and to know that everything was going to be all right. He straightened his shoulders and flashed Alan his best smile, liking the way the other man seemed to light up and his steps became easier as he paced down the aisle.

If it had been left up to William, they would have just signed some paperwork and had the judge pronounce them married, but Alan had insisted on a full church wedding. So here they were, in one of the most beautiful churches in the country, putting up with a horribly public display that he probably wouldn’t have traded away for anything. Not when it made Alan so happy.

The Reverend George Oakley was resplendent in the new outfit William had ended up paying for. William didn’t quite know what to call the robe thing, but it sure was shiny and the wedding planner had insisted on silk.

William had never been religious, but Alan had been raised Catholic, and though he’d shifted away from traditional Catholicism, he really held to his faith. And though William didn’t share his beliefs, the fact that Alan could be so devout was actually kind of charming.

Alan came to stand beside him and took his hand. “Are you scared?” he whispered.

“Not when you’re here,” William said. “Let’s do this thing.”

They turned to face the reverend and the ceremony began

 

Later, William wouldn’t be able to remember half the stuff that had gone on, but he at least had the professionally filmed wedding video. In truth, the only thing he really saw was Alan, and all he knew was that Alan was holding his hand and all the lights were really bright around them.

It was probably one of the greatest days of his life.

After the ceremony, the reception involved a lot of five star food and dancing–he took great pride in being able to tell Alan that he was the one that arranged the chicken dance. Why? Because he could.

Their cake was a beautiful monstrosity of white butter cream and eight different flavored tiers. He made sure to have the little grooms on top wrapped up in tissue and put aside by Byron as a keepsake. After dozens of pictures were taken of the cake.

“So, what do you think of this whole being married thing so far?” he asked Alan. They were dancing in the very center of the dance floor, surrounded by other couples, though he felt as though it were just them.

“Too early to tell,” Alan grinned.

William shook his head, then moved closer to Alan so he could press their cheeks together. He had to bow his head a little, and Alan had to tip his chin up to meet him, but it was nonetheless absolutely perfect.

“Is it completely schmoopy to say that I actually kind of liked the whole big wedding thing?” he asked.

“Completely schmoopy,” Alan agreed. “I’m glad you liked it. Today has been absolutely perfect.”

“We should get married again. It was a lot of fun.”

“You’re talking about us getting married to each other, right?” Alan laughed at William’s growl. “Kidding. Kidding. So, do you want to get out of here?”

“God yes,” William chuckled. He tugged Alan by the hand toward the door.

“Whoa, who would have thought you’d be so excited to get to our honeymoon?” Alan kept up with him though as they made their way through the crowd toward where RJ was grazing at the buffet table with Jessica. She was about a foot taller than him with her high heels on.

“Hey, dude, we’re going to head out,” William said, tapping his shoulder.

RJ looked around in surprise. “Already? The party’s barely even started.”

“Yeah, but we’ve got, you know, that thing.” William winked.

“Are we in the ninth grade or something?” RJ shook his head. “I’ll gather up the farewell crowd and you guys can do the whole run to the limo thing like in the movies.”

“No,” William said firmly. “There’s not a universe in which I would ever let that kind of embarrassment happen. Besides, security isn’t letting us do that whole thing. We’re going to creep out the back. I just wanted to let you know so you didn’t wonder where we’ve gone.”

“All right, all right,” RJ said. “I just think that maybe the whole magic of a wedding has completely missed you.”

“Whatever.” William slapped him on the shoulder. “See you later.”

“Yeah.” RJ grabbed him in a sudden tight hug, only laughing when William “eeped” at the surprising tightness. “Congrats on being the first one to get married.”

“At least you’re not offering me your condolences.” William tugged his jacket straight. “Eat enough for the both of us. I’ll talk to you next week when we’re back from the honeymoon.”

“Yeah, yeah,” RJ waved his hand, “get out of here.”

William grinned and went to grab Alan, who had wandered off to talk to some man with a bad comb over. He didn’t say anything about them leaving, just patted Alan’s arm.

“Oh,” Alan flashed him a quick smile, then turned back to the man, “listen Peter, I’ve gotta go. Call my office sometime in the next couple of weeks and we can arrange something.”

The guy’s dark eyes flicked over William, then away. “Yeah, sure. Congratulations by the way.”

“Thanks.” Alan quickly shook his hand, then turned to grasp William’s arm. They hurried toward the Employees Only door that lead past the kitchen and down a rather sparse hallway toward an exit that opened out in the parking garage.

James stuck close to them, and he had about a dozen security people moving ahead and around them. It maybe should have felt a bit claustrophobic, but William was willing to put up with it to keep from getting shot or something.

“How come the richer you are, the more desolate hallways enter into your life?” William asked apropos of nothing.

“I don’t know,” Alan said, “it’s just one of those things we kind of have to put up with.”

They waited in the hallway after James sent four guys to check things out in the parking garage. He’d already called for the car to come around.

William leaned against Alan’s side. “I’m pretty excited. I’ve never been to Australia before.”

“It’s going to be kind of a long flight,” Alan reminded him.

“Yeah, but we’ve got a private plane.” William gave him a rather dirty grin. “We can have a lot of fun the whole way there. You know, get the party started before we even get to the hotel.”

“When did this side of you start showing up and where was I?” Alan asked.

“It was always there,” William said. “And now it’s all yours.”

“Nice.”

They waited. And waited. And waited.

William glanced at his watch, then turned to James. “We’ve been waiting out here for an awful long time, haven’t we? Maybe you should call those guys and see what’s going on.”

James adjusted his radio. “Donner? Fitz?” There was no reply, just the hiss of dead air. “Donner? Fitz? Please reply.”

William felt uneasiness go through him. “Maybe we should go back the way we came?”

“Yeah, let’s do that.” James shared a look with Byron, who began herding them back toward the reception area.

It had felt like it only took a couple of seconds for them to get to the door, but it seemed like hours hurrying back down the hallway. William could hear his heartbeat thudding in his ears and he kept hold of Alan’s hand, not wanting to be separated if something happened.

James strode ahead to open the heavy security door that lead into the kitchen. Only when he pushed on it, nothing gave. “I think it’s locked.”

“How…” William licked his lips, glancing around nervously. “How could they do that? I thought you left some guys in the kitchen to keep a handle on things.”

“I did.” James drew his gun, holding it two-handed and pointed toward the ceiling. “There’s no way someone should have been able to lock this door.”

“What are we going to do?” Alan demanded. His grip on William’s hand was a bit too tight, but William didn’t even think to object. He just moved closer to his new husband.

“There’s a stairway down the other corridor,” James said, leading the way.

They trailed after him with a grim faced Byron bringing up the rear, his own gun drawn.

William hadn’t realized how maze-like all the same colored hallways were and more than anything he wished he had a weapon of his own. He hated feeling helpless.

They passed by several doors until suddenly the hallway ended with a heavy door with STAIRS painted on the front in large Army green letters.

“Here we are,” James said.

He approached the door with what should have been ludicrous caution, except that when he pushed it open, there was a loud CRACK! and plumes of noxious smoke filled the hallway.

William covered his mouth and nose with his hands, but couldn’t help choking and coughing. He squeezed his eyes closed at the stinging pain and felt tears trickling down his cheeks.

Then all the lights went out.

In the darkness, William felt Alan wrap his arms around him and start guiding him toward the door. William was coughing so hard he was glad to be led into the relatively clearer air of the stairwell.

He coughed hard, half-bent over, and wondered if he was going to throw up. His lungs felt like they were on fire and his eyes stung horribly.

It took him a long moment to realize that he was the only one coughing.

Giving one more hacking cough, he spit to clear his throat. He raised his eyes and found that it wasn’t Alan that had lead him to safety. It was a man in a gas mask. He was just kind of standing there, his eyes terribly calm behind the mask. He was holding a big knife.

William stumbled away from him, his movements graceless as he tried to hold in his coughs. “Wha… Who are you?”

“You’re a disgusting worm,” the man rasped. Even through the mask, he sounded like a three pack a day smoker. “The world’s golden boy… Heh, I’m going to show the world exactly what you’re made out of. A piece at a time. Do you think dear Alan is going to find you nearly so pretty when you’re all chopped up?”

It was the image of himself all chopped to pieces that forced recognition on William.

He’d never seen the man himself, since he’d never been caught. But he could still remember the horror of coming home one day and finding Melissa spread out across the bed and the floor. Her face had been nearly untouched, but the rest of her…

“You… you’re the one… you…” He couldn’t even talk. He could feel his whole body trembling and he had to cough, but he kept his eyes locked on the man–the monster.

“She was a sweet girl,” the man mused, “much better than you deserved. So I took her away.”

William felt his gorge rising, but he fought it off. There was no time for him to fall apart now; he would save it for later.

“She was a real sweet girl,” the man said. “She tried to fight me. Then she tried to say that you were going to come and save her. Right up until the end, she was sure you were going to swoop in and save the day. I almost hated to disappoint her.”

When the man stepped toward him, William backed away. But there wasn’t much room in the stairwell and it was pretty much a given when his back hit the wall that he was going to end up slashed with that razor sharp knife.

It was like a switch went off in William’s brain. Every part of his being was screaming out that there was no way he was going to let things happen like this. No way at all.

His throat still tickled and burned, so he didn’t even try to give out a defiant yell or anything. He just let instinct take over, letting all the training he’d put himself through have free reign. It was oddly freeing.

The men that had trained him might have questioned his form, but they would have applauded the result. A truly epic win.

With a couple of flashing fists and a jabbing knee, the knife had been sent spinning off to clang against one of the rails. The man howled in pain as William broke his arm in two places then hit him with a palm strike in his sternum, cracking bone and pulpating muscle and tissue.

There was a clatter of footsteps and the door was flung open. In charged a bunch of his personal security with James and Byron stumbling after.

“Freeze!”

There was some confusion when they realized that he was the one standing, and his attacker was supine.

“Mr. Neeley, are you all right?” one of the men asked, stepping toward him.

William waved at his eyes, not wanting to touch them and spread the reaction. “I think so. My eyes and lungs are burning, but I’m all right.”

He let himself be hustled out of the stairwell, James striding after him. He found Alan being restrained in the corridor.

Alan broke away from security and rushed over to wrap his arms around William. “You’re all right. Oh, God, you’re all right.”

“Yeah, he wasn’t so tough when he wasn’t trying to hit me from far away.” He could tell from the ashen look of Alan’s face that he was quietly panicking. William pressed his hand against Alan’s cheek. “I’m all right, I promise. But we should probably get ourselves checked out by the medics.”

Alan shook himself. It was as though he were coming back from somewhere far away. “Yeah, let’s go do that.”

William stuck close to Alan as they were taken out of the corridor and into the parking garage where an ambulance was waiting. James went with them and Byron was already sitting on the bumper of a second ambulance, a clear breath mask over his face. A medic was flushing his eyes with saline solution from a long tube attached to a plastic bottle.

William wasn’t too surprised to find himself in the same position not long after. A quick eye flush, some oxygen, and a ride to the hospital.

What a way to get married.

/ CHAPTER

If you’ve been enjoying this story, why not pick up a copy to own of “From Diamond to Coal: Arc One” for $0.99 from Smashwords or Amazon. I would really appreciate your purchase.

From Diamond to Coal

Title: From Diamond to Coal
Author: Sol Crafter
Genre: science fiction, mm romance
Rating: teen+
Places you can purchase a copy of ARC ONE: Smashwords or Amazon
Landing page: From Diamond to Coal

Summary: William Neeley is a genius. At the age of 15 he started Cyber Angel Industries and has since completely changed the face of the modern world. From personal shielding technology to enhanced musculature to home electronics, William has a finger in every pie and is quickly becoming the world's most wealthy individual.

He shares his life with his husband, Alan Trent, and their young son Morgan.

William always strives to maintain his image of "normal life," though he is diverted at every turn. Whether he's posing half-naked on billboards, creating massive death rays, or Alan is becoming the President of the United States, or Morgan has grown wings, or he's accidentally torn a rip in the space time continuum... he will always say that his life is nothing but normal.

Welcome to his world.
ARC ONE:
Chapter One -- 2218 words (9 ms pages)Chapter Two -- 7258 words (30 ms pages)Chapter Three -- 3810 words (16 ms pages)Chapter Four -- 3936 words (16 ms pages)
Chapter Five -- 8045 words (33 ms pages)Chapter Six -- 4093 words (10 ms pages)Chapter Seven -- 6135 words (15 ms pages)Chapter Eight -- 5101 words (21 ms pages)
ARC TWO:
Chapter Nine -- 2356 words (10 ms pages) Chapter TenChapter ElevenChapter Twelve
Chapter ThirteenChapter FourteenChapter FifteenChapter Sixteen
Harper Kingsley

About Harper Kingsley

Author of slashy sci-fi and fantasy. Watches a lot of TV.

Posted on August 8, 2012, in Free Stories, Novels, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.