Prodigal Son-New First Draft Chapters
I’ve decided to reopen this blog for a bit. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve a peace offering for anyone who wants it. Here’s a few new chapters from
As always….ALL Rights are STRICTLY RESERVED.
If there are any original “Nick Jackson” fans left out there….let me know how I’m doing! It’s been a fine line to walk but I think I finally got it right.
The Ballad of Nicholas Jackson
It was a long sad tale and he hadn’t told it for many years. If he wanted that future with her, the one dangling with so much promise just outside his grasp, then he had to tell her. Holding naked body close, praying to the Gods he believed in that it wasn’t for the last time, Nick started his tale.
Nicholas Ares Jackson was born in Athens, Greece exactly two minutes ahead of his twin sister, Colleen. In many respects, the two of them did not have a normal childhood although Nick still thought it idyllic. Calla was a gentle soul, she was very intuitive and empathetic, as such she often fell into bouts of manic depression. One day, when they were in third grade, they came home to find their mother had painted the entire downstairs purple. Not just any purple, it was electric purple. Calla said the color called to her when she was at the hardware store picking up lightbulbs so she bought 8 gallons and did the whole house in a few hours.
Once they moved to the big house in Greenbrier where the property was surrounded by thick woods, his mother could often be seen at midnight dancing naked out under the full moon in the far back of the yard. There Daniel helped her build a stone altar so that she could worship the Ancient Gods of her father’s lineage. He didn’t join in with her, Daniel was an atheist, but he didn’t prevent her nor stand in her way. In fact, Nick thought that to his father his mother might have been one very long archeological discovery, she had so many layers to it would take a lifetime to discover them all. In Greenbrier she was free to practice her religion as she saw fit and it brought her peace she stopped painting the walls purple. She started going back to school and painting on canvas. She graduated at the top of her class at the University of Colorado with degrees in Art and Art History. Within a year she was teaching at the university within two more she was the Head of the Arts Department. She had a small show here and there, she quickly started selling her paintings. It wasn’t long before she was on her way to becoming the newest darling of the art world.
Nicholas Jackson married Annabell Marie Wilkes while both of them were still in high school, in fact, they were married two weeks before graduation just after they both turned eighteen and discovered Annie was pregnant with Kiki. They got a marriage license, went down to City Hall, and that was that. When they announced what they’d done Annie’s mother was fine with it, she’d never been around much for her daughter and probably figured Annie landed herself a good fish. His parents, however, were going through a very tumultuous time in their marriage and were legally separated on the verge of divorce. Calla was heartbroken that she’d missed her only son’s wedding and Daniel was fit to be tied that Nick was throwing his life away just to have something to call his own.
The drama between Daniel and Calla came courtesy of two things; Daniel’s bastard daughter Brigid and Andrew F. Hartley, the world’s foremost art dealer.
First, Brigid was born was three months premature her mother, Onya, who died in childbirth. Daniel couldn’t leave his daughter so he brought her home and confessed everything to his wife. The house echoed with angry voices that night so much so that Nick and Colleen feared violence would break out for the first time in their usually happy home. Daniel spent months away from the family, he’d been weak while he was away and had a brief affair with Onya. He begged and pleased for forgiveness for understanding but most of all for his wife not to turn her back on the helpless little baby.
Calla detested the baby at first, she didn’t want anything to do with Brigid but Calla took the infant in. She found it in her heart to love the tiny baby who had very special needs for which Calla was totally unprepared. Brigid was deaf and mute, she never spoke a word in her entire short life but she smiled brighter than the sun. She gave the sweetest kisses with a great big smacking sound….MUH-WAH! Every time she saw her big brother. Nick loved her, even though his father was an ass, the short-lived relationship had produced the gentlest creature he ever knew outside of his own mother.
Calla and Daniel did all they could at first to patch up their married then Daniel resumed his duties with the military even though there was no need for him to do so. By that time, Calla Jackson was Professor Calla Jackson Head of the Arts Department at the University of Colorado. She made more money than Daniel even then, he could have stayed home and taken care of his own daughter. But he went off on his archaeological adventures.
That left the perfect opening for Andrew F. Hartley to worm his way into Calla’s life, into her bed, and into her mind. But never her heart, that belonged completely to Daniel Jackson no matter what came her way.
Hartley was a soulless unscrupulous creature with rock star good looks and beguiling charm, a man who could truly sell truckloads of ice to the Eskimos for a very hefty price. His only real love was money. In Calla Jackson Hartley thought he’d found the biggest gravy train ever. He was right he refined Calla to make her ready for The World Stage. In so doing, he changed her appearance—gave her a boob job she didn’t need, forced her have her thighs shaved down and her hips made smaller, then he dressed her in fancy duds that made her look like a streetwalker. Thinking the name Calla too plain, Hartley made her use her full name and only that. For a short time Calla Jackson died while Callestah lived and left Daniel Jackson. She moved from Colorado to New York City without so much as ‘good-bye’.
Hartley fed her drugs (pot, psychedelics, and most of all he got her hooked on heroin) and booze, oh the expensive booze flowed like clear mountain spring water in Hartley’s world. By the time he’d plastered her face all over every TV station, magazine, and newspaper until the entire world was salivating over her in skimpy outfits, he made her create her art in the attic of his New York City brownstone keeping her a virtual prisoner when all of them thought she was with Hartley willingly.
Hartley took the art she created and sold it for record breaking prices. As her agent, most of the money went in his pocket and not Calla’s. After all, they did have an ironclad contract that gave him full control over all of her paintings.
It was a sorrowful time in Nick’s life when he thought his whole world was shattered and his parents would never find their way back to each other. That was probably what made him marry Annie, he did love her, to this day she was the love of his life, but his father was right. Nick was looking for stability and a family of his own to replace the one he thought he’d never have again.
While Calla was in New York and then off on a whirlwind tour of the world, Nick and Annie moved into a rundown apartment, he got a job working construction she took one as a chambermaid until Kiki was born. Even though, in retrospect, his mother managed to send him money time and time again much against Hartley’s wishes, their life was hard, temptations were numerous, one night when Kiki was just a baby Nick had a loud argument with Annie over the household finances—again—Nick stormed off to drink his troubles away in a local bar. Sitting there on his fifth double-shot of 100 proof Southern Comfort and wondering now only what he was doing to his life but he’d already to done to it and if it was completely irreparable, he met Raven Lightfoot, a long, tall, cool drink of rich earthy water in a dry desert. With her crimson hued skin, those dark so large he felt he could fall into them, and a body that just wouldn’t quit. The woman had legs from the tips of her toes right up to her neck.
She was warm. She was willing. More than that, she wanted him whereas Annie hadn’t touched him in over a month.
Like Father Like Son.
His affair with Raven Lightfoot lasted two lust filled weeks of the hottest steamiest, down and dirtiest depraved sex, he’d ever known before Nick realized he was in love with his wife and he wanted to make things work with her. By then it was too late, Raven was pregnant but she didn’t tell him. Before she slunk away and he thought he’d never hear from her again she railed at him that he’d be sorry one day. She’d make him so goddamn sorry he chose mousey little Annie Wilkes with the wild blond hair over her, a woman who could never show him the pleasures that she did so willingly.
Then Raven disappeared.
Nick went back to Annie, they worked things out as he’d hoped but he called Raven’s number several times. At first he got voicemail, he left discreet messages that were never returned. Then one day the number was disconnected. Raven was gone from his life.
Nick felt relieved, almost as though the Gods his mother believed in with so much adoration had smiled on him. He thought that he’d never have to tell Annie about his indiscretion. So he didn’t.
A few months later, Daniel Jackson got up off his sorrow ass and went after his wife. He stole her back from Hartley who died a very untimely and mysterious death. When the body was found it was missing its heart. The news reports all stated it was as though someone just reached into the man’s toned chest and yanked it out still beating. Nick never thought his father capable of such a thing but knew his grandfather was. Daniel got her off the smack and moved the whole family to Scotland where they rekindled their romance. Daniel promised never to leave again and tendered his resignation with the military. Calla rebounded, she became her old shining self again, she made more art and her career took off more than Hartley ever dreamed possible.
Annie and Nick fell back in love.
For several years they all lived very happily on the grounds of the Scottish estate with its big 330 year-old stone manor house, cultivated rose gardens where Calla promptly set about building a new altar, and view of the crashing ocean lapping at the foot of 100 yard high cliffs. Nick went back to school and so did Annie, both with all expenses paid courtesy of Calla who doted on her grandchildren; Kiki and Lily (his sister’s daughter) as though there was no tomorrow. Calla thought the sun rose and set in them.
Brigid, though she’d never be what one might consider ‘normal’, flourished under Calla’s love and acceptance. Nick’s most fragile sister became a full-fledged member of the Jackson Clan. No one ever questioned her parentage, not even his grandfather, Ares, who swiftly came to understand just how damn big his daughter’s heart was.
With the proceeds for her the sale of her art, Calla built Nick and his sister, Colleen, warm homes on the estate, homes grander than they could ever hope to buy back in the States. Neither he nor his sister had any bills or worries. Their futures of comfort were assured.
The icing on the proverbial cake came a few years after their move to Scotland, Calla Jackson gave birth to the triplets; Aiden, Amy, and Athena. Two years later, Annie gave birth to Danny and life was good again. It was fucking perfect with the whole family living together on the same beautiful estate.
Nick finished his studies at the University of Edinburgh and graduated with his degrees in Human Anatomy, Art History, and Biology. He intended to become a Physical Therapist then but war broke out in the Middle East and the call to follow his father’s path echoed in his mind. Nick applied to Officer Candidate School, he was accepted, and aced the entire four-year program in less than two. Then he was off, Ensign Nicholas Jackson quickly moved his way up the ranks, all the while believing he was keeping his family and his home country safe. All the while completely oblivious to the danger that lurked behind him.
All the while, in some darkened corner of the Earth, Raven Lightfoot gave birth to Nick’s bastard son whom she named Wolfgar. She raised the innocent boy to hate his father. She twisted his mind into believing that Nick never wanted him. As his family’s fortune grew along with Calla Jackson’s career Wolfgar was raised in poverty left to scrap for his next meal, with the prodding of his mother the boy began to plot revenge.
Upon becoming a young adult, Wolfgar put his plan into action. He wormed his way onto the Scottish estate as a groundskeeper and proceeded to seduce Annie while Nick was on deployment. Then he slowly poisoned Danny. The poor little boy grew sicker and sicker every day. No one knew what was wrong with him and, in the end, no one could save him. Wolfgar stood there by Annie’ side as she wept doing everything she could to save her son, he comforted her, and he smiled. The night Danny died, Annie looked at him, told him he’s was a horrible father who was never there for his family and she didn’t want him around anymore. After almost seventeen years of marriage she wanted a divorce and made it clear she had a new man, a better man, one that wouldn’t leave her so distraught so he could go off and play soldier. Her new lover, a man Nick didn’t recognize from Adam and who had to be Kiki’s age, stood at Annie’s side while Danny was lowered into the ground. He held her close comforting her weeping distraught frame and glared at Nick who seethed in return.
Killing Danny and destroying Nick’s marriage wasn’t enough for Wolfgar. Over the course of a week, one by one, each of Nick’s siblings died. All but Colleen, whom it seemed Wolfgar had taken a shine to and was saving her for another more gruesome fate. Aiden was mysteriously electrocuted on the grounds of the estate. Amy was rundown by a car in town. Athena somehow managed to drown in the bathtub of her very own bedroom. Then there was Brigid, sweet little Brigid who couldn’t hurt anyone even if she wanted to. The most innocent and vulnerable of the Jackson Clan was found naked, battered, bloodied and brutally raped on the grounds behind the manor house. She was seventeen. Wolfgar lured her
into the woods where he tortured her for hours knowing she couldn’t even scream for help.
Still unsatisfied with his bloodlust growing, Wolfgar slit Annie’s throat as he made love to her in Nick’s bed. Leaving her body behind to cool as it soaked the mattress with her blood he slunk out the door of Nick’s house and then he went after Kiki in the rose garden.
Unfortunately for Wolfgar, Kiki wasn’t alone. To this day, Nick knew that must have surprised the hell out of him when he walked through the wrought iron gates to find the rose garden lit up with burning bowls of oil filled with the heady scent of dragon’s blood that billowed like the ash from a small volcano on the altar.
It must have been a hell of a fight between Ares, Calla, and Wolfgar, and part of him was disappointed he’d missed it. If he’d been there ten minutes earlier perhaps his mother and grandfather would still be alive. There they’d been, sequestered among the roses conducting Rituals of the Dead for their lost family members. Wolfgar was unfamiliar with such rituals so he was ignorant to the fact that his great-grandfather attended with a sword at his side and so did his grandmother. Both of those swords were in Nick’s house at this very moment. The sword Ares used to defend his daughter and granddaughter graced the ancient suit of armor and nearly took off Mason’s foot a few days ago. Ares was a mountain of a man, over seven feet tall and more than three hundred pounds of pure muscle, he lived up to his namesake. He never turned away from a good fight and he never lost one until he went up against his bastard great-grandson. Nick had no doubt it was a battle worthy of songs and poems written by Homer himself. Nothing saved Ares. After shooting him several times, Wolfgar smashed the big man’s head in against the side of the stone house leaving him twitching in the throes of death.
It was his mother’s battle screams that brought Nick and his father running out of the manor house and to her aid. Being who she was, Calla charged at Wolfgar with her ritual sword to defend her granddaughter. Daniel made it to her first but he was unarmed and he was never much of a fighter. Calla was small but full of heart, Wolfgar let her over-extend her thrust then pulled the sword from her hands, he turned and ran it through Daniel’s torso. That was when Nick arrived, just in time to see his father go down. With his hands raised in the air almost as though he were trying to surrender, Wolfgar pulled the blade from Daniel’s stomach and cut off his hand before kicking him to the ground.
Before he knew what was happening, Wolfgar grabbed Calla by her long red hair, twisted it around his fist, yanked as hard as he could upward until she was pulled off her feet and then smashed to her knees.
He was too late, Wolfgar dragged blade across her throat spilling her blood on the green grass until it was red.
The angry young man heaved her dying body at Nick’s feet screaming; “How does it feel dad? I’m taking everything from you including your whore mother and slutty wife! I’m gonna get me that bitch too,” he pointed the sword at Kiki who was huddled against the stone altar.
That was when the full force hit Nick squarely in the chest. How could he have missed it? The man looked just like his mother like Raven Lightfoot. “No you’re not,” Nick hissed picking up his grandfather’s sword. Holding it with one hand he beckoned Wolfgar closer with the other, “Come on boy, come get you some.” Nick’s stream of consciousness disconnected from the rest of his body he moved on pure instinct. The two clashed swords, the clang echoed through the grounds of the estate as sparks lit up the dusk. It was immediately clear to his hazy mind that the boy had no idea how to use one. In a grand flourish of strength and skill, Nick sliced open Wolfgar’s chest but the wound wasn’t deep enough. It only served to piss him off. Dropping the sword he drew a gun and went for the easy way out. Wolfgar shot him three times in the chest, one bullet pierced his heart. It should have left him dead on the ground next to his mother and grandfather but Nick hardly felt the sting. Running on nothing but pure hatred and adrenaline Nick kept charging at him striking out with his grandfather’s sword.
Wolfgar’s gun spent and Calla’s sword now too far away from him to be of any use, he drew a Bowie knife. Taking a crouching stance, he kept low as he clutched the knife in his palm holding the blade against his forearm making it part of him rather than extension of his reach. He kept waiting for his incensed father to over-extend his thrusts but he didn’t. Dodging thrust after slash until the air around him whooped like a baby with a bad cough he knew he couldn’t keep this up for long. He had to find an opening, he waited, he watched as he taunted his father and when the split-second came he rushed at it.
Nick stepped back just a little too far and opened his body a little too wide. It was just wide enough to let Wolfgar hurl his body at him, knock his off his feet with such force the sword fell out of his grasp. The precious air in his big lungs was forced out by the merciless vice grip of Wolfgar’s thighs locked to his ribs pinning him in place to the lush grass of the rose garden.
With nearly inhuman determination, Wolfgar stabbed his father five times catching him in both shoulders and upper arms as Nick struggled to keep his neck away from the blade. One long wounded arm reaching out for his grandfather’s sword he grabbed Wolfgar’s sweaty throat with the other trying to push him off but the younger man’s strong thigh clamped harder on his ribs keeping him in place for the kill. The big blade came down for the last time as his eyes locked to his son’s. Nick let Wolfgar stab him. This time the cold steel sliced through his chest and his left lung collapsing it to nothing. There was another piece of cold steel at his fingertips. Knowing it may be the last thing he ever did, Nick’s fingers wrapped around the hilt of his grandfather’s sword, with the last bit of strength he had, he turned the broadsword’s razor sharp blade toward them.
Wolfgar’s dark eyes lit up in surprise as victory was snatched from his grasp. For half a second he unsure of the cold sensation running from his left flank to his right he didn’t know what it could possibly be but then his father turned the blade. The cold almost comforting feeling became the heated agony of a pain he’d never thought possible. As the world around him started to spin he pulled the Bowie knife out of his father’s body meaning to strike him with it again.
The younger man’s body went limp above Nick. When the knife pulled out of his lung he gave Wolfgar a massive shove sending him upward long enough for Nick to relieve him the knife as it threw him back on the heavy steel running through his vital organs. When he fell back down again, Nick sunk the blade into his throat. Wolfgar’s blood spilled over him, it drenched his hands and his face as the hot salty taste invaded his mouth before it covered his chest. Nick kept his eyes locked to Wolfgar’s watching the evil light fade from them, “Die, you bastard, die.” The man who’d taken every single precious thing in Nick’s life, fell atop of him. He was dead. Nick was glad. But all the elation in the universe wouldn’t bring his family back.