Killing humans had become sort of a hobby for Dervinias. It wasn’t that he despised them so much as he detested their weakness. The human condition. Their flimsy bodies and limited minds. The way the creatures were swayed by a television commercial or a beautiful temptation. Every time he slaughtered one, the best part came right before they died. The moment each person realized how much more could’ve existed in their menial lives. It filled him like a drug. And he wanted more.

With billions of humans to choose from, and more born every second, his options were limitless.

In truth, Dervinias had bigger plans for the defective race. After two hundred years of immortality, he’d had plenty of time to make plans, form secret alliances and set up Earth as the planet he would rule. Very shortly, all the pieces would be in place, and then he could begin.

For now, it was enough to demonstrate his power over them. Tonight a man by the name of Thaddeus Holstrom needed to lose his family. He and his irreverent employers had to be taught a lesson. Stalking him and his absurd government group—A.L.T.—proved too easy. Finding his little family and ending their lives—a pleasure.

Thaddeus and his family lived in Westbrook Run, a quiet neighborhood in the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Filled with children, evenly trimmed hedges, and two parent families, everybody knew everybody. From the outside, this neighborhood appeared perfect. For the most part, the appearances were true.

Except today. Today Dervinias would change all that.

Innocence had already been murdered. Another death would now begin. If only humans weren’t so naive. So trusting . . . 

“It’s time to make you bleed.” Dervinias spoke reverently. The terrified woman, Judy, had been bound to her dining table. She’d been forced onto her back; pale hands tied in front, mouth gagged with a black strip of fabric. Frightened eyes flicked back and forth between Dervinias and the five blue-robed figures. Off to the right sprawled her two dead children, Alice and Henry. Their bleeding bodies face up. Eyes open, mouths frozen in terror. The smell of death and furniture polish saturated the air, almost solid enough to touch. 

The five in navy blue stood in a semi-circle behind Dervinias. As leader, he wore white. A large hood covered each of their heads. Long bell sleeves hung together at the wrists, where those in blue had their hands clasped. Their robes were long and made of terrycloth. A ridiculous material, but it served its purpose. The statuesque forms of his followers hummed continuously, heads bowed. 

The table Judy had been tied too appeared to be made of oak. It was thick and held stable by two large-columned pedestals. Heavy. Substantial. Dervinias traced a hand along the intricately carved roping which trimmed the edge. It would serve as the perfect altar.

A large, glittering chandelier hung over the table, in the center of the room, basking everything in light. Golden curtains were closed to keep out the daylight and deafen the sounds of mortal destruction happening within. Plush white carpet covered the floor beneath their feet. 

Judy whimpered, a sound like a baby kitten crying for milk. Dervinias pushed a stray strand of hair off her tear-stained face. Judy’s mewing egged him on, as did the harmonious humming of his followers—an inspiring melody.

In monotone, he began the first words of his sacrament. “Your blood is weak. Death will bring new life. This sacrifice is to honor those who live forever. Our species. Humans believe they are above all. I take your life and the lives of your children to prove otherwise. As a reminder to those who pursue us. We cannot be destroyed. When the time is right, Earth will be ours. We are The Order of Eternal Fire.”

From beneath his robe, Dervinias retrieved a large knife. It gleamed in the chandelier’s light.

Raising the knife, he drove it into Judy’s chest, the sound of flesh parting around its sharp edges like a shovel forced through wet dirt. 

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