Fan Fiction Fling Voting

fanfic vote

A huge thank you to everyone who entered the Fan Fiction Fling! We had some amazing entries, and I know it’s going to be hard to choose, but do the best you can!

We have eight entries, and ten categories, how cool is that? Vote in the polls below. Need a refresher on which story is which? Check the handy links below!

Our eight stories:

 

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(A cross over is when characters from two different universes – such as Amaranthine and Star Trek – are put together in one story)

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Thanks so much for taking the time to vote! Please share and don’t forget to tell your favorite fanfic writers how much you enjoyed their work!

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Fan Fiction Fling Entry #8

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have:

Verchiel’s Wedding Day Dilemma By Sherry Bohach

Verchiel sat next to Brad and watched as Kately (her Mom gave her that nick name, she hated it, he liked it) walked down the aisle to Jorick.  He still could not understand what she saw in him.  Ok, so he was tall, dark and handsome, but he was moody and who wants peace and quiet all the time? Especially when she could have him, Verchiel.  He was fun, fast (windwalker fast) and fantastic to look at (red was so his color) what more could she want?  And after everything they had been through she was still going to marry Jorick?  What the HELL! There was defiantly  something wrong with this picture (he wanted a re-write).  As he watched he thought back to all the times over the last number of months that he was there to always help and to keep her safe whether Jorick like it or not.  Verchiel and if he was being honest a couple of others helped too, was the reason Kately was even there to be able to get married today.  And he knew Kately really liked him because every time Jorick threatened to kill him Kately always, ALWAYS, stopped him, that proved she liked him and wanted him around.

 

Their first meeting was tense to say the least, that was while he was helping (sort of) Hectia claim one of Claudius’s old dens in order to get close to Jorick.  Malick (Jorick’s master and head of the Guild, who thinks he is a God, eye roll) had sent him to find Jorick and bring him back to the citadel.  And knowing that Jorick was not about to return of his own free will, he needed a plan.  Jorick being arrested, while they were visiting Kately’s  Mom, on possible kidnapping (Kately) and murder of Patrick, her  boyfriend, was a stroke of luck.  Ok, so he made his own luck and called the police and told them where to find him, but it was so much easier this way.  Now he still needed a way to get him back to the citadel with preferable little or no pain or blood loss, especially his own.  So kidnapping Kately was again the easiest way to accomplish his assignment, he should get a medal for his creativity.   While at the citadel he made sure to keep Kately entertained and fed while Jorick was off doing whatever Malick wanted.  But, does anyone say thank you? NO! it’s “stay away from her or I will kill you!”  “Go away no one want’s you here!”  “Why are you always hanging around Katelina?”  You would almost think they really did not want him around, jealous much?

Of course landing in detention and being starved for disobeying Malick by helping Kately and Jorick, when they rescued Kale from humans that were experimenting on him, was not part of the his plan.  As a way to punish Jorick for not being obedient (surprise, surprise) Malick (Psycho with a capital P no less) brought Kately into see him, not his best look.  After being starved then having fresh blood dangled in front of you what do you expect to happen, it was instinct to feed. Then Kately biting him back while he was in a feeding frenzy was just a reflex (maybe), of course Jorick over reacted, again.   Why was he blaming him, it was all Malick’s fault.  He apologized a couple of times, wonder what Mr. Perfect would have done in his place? He did feel a little sorry for him when Malick forced Kately to watch Jorick execute Dahlia by ripping out her throat and breaking her neck. Who could blame her for screaming and running from the room, but it made Jorick feel like even more of a monster then he already did.  Verchiel talked to Kately about it and suggested that she might want to rethink being involved with the Hand Of Death (Jorick’s nick name and for good reason) if she was not prepared for all violence.  It’s hard on a guy’s ego when his girlfriend thinks he is a monster and afraid of him.  You would think that Jorick would appreciate the help, right? NOT!

And when Oren attacked the citadel, he again was just trying to keep her safe, how was he to know that the veranda railing would give way and she would almost fall to her death, he did catch her, so no harm done.

And then in Russia when he kept her from freezing to death. While everyone was arguing about whether Jorick should carry her or let her walk and hold everyone up, he whisked her (she would thank him later) into town a head of everyone, safe and warm.  Equality was good but not while you are freezing.  She even admitted that it was faster this way, which did not go over well with Jorick (imagine that, another eye roll).

On their little impromptu island vacation Kately may have protested his choice in swimwear, a very small speedo, but he knew she secretly enjoyed seeing him in it why else would she always be looking.  Jorick’s idea of beach wear? A black t-shirt and slacks, really it’s a beach?

And when Kately was taken by Samael who rescued her? Him not Jorick and what did he get? Threats! Jorick really needs to get a grip.  If they had waited for him to rescue her, Samael would have turned her and made her his concubine.  So really Jorick should be kissing his boots for that one.

And when Malick had Kately kidnapped and tortured in hopes of drawing Samael into a fight, which Samael did not see fit to attend, he had her killed.  Luckily Micah and Loren found her but almost too late, Micah had to turn her in order to save her.  At least Jorick could not blame that on him, but I’m sure he tried to think of a way.

Ok, so maybe driving his new sports car into a raging fire was not the smartest decision especially since Kately was in said car, had Micah not risked his life to dislodge the car from the stump it would have been very bad for everyone, more than his car would have suffered.

He did not want to think about how many times Kately was hurt or almost killed and usually because of Jorick,  she would be much safer with himself.   He knew if he had just a little more time with her (away from Jorick) she would see that she really loved him and not mister grumpy pants, I want peace and quiet but I’m always going to be in the middle of the action, Jorick.  How can he keep her from saying “I do”?  Being a windwalker has it’s perks, he could grab her and be long gone before Jorick could stop him.  Where could he take her? Mountains? Too cold, all though they could snuggle by a fire.  Desert? Too much sand not enough water (to play in).  Some place tropical? But where? Hawaii? Cancun? Belize?  so many choices.  No need to worry about clothing (speedo time) on the beach, yeah this is sounding better all the time.

Now to just grab her before they say “I do”.  Of course fate decided to screw with his plans, just as he was getting ready to jump up he felt someone touch his arm and he looked over to see Sharon (one of his three dates for the wedding, see a lot of people liked him) watching Katelina and Jorick with a mixture hope and sadness in her eyes.  He knew why and if he was staying around he would have helped her, but he had a bride to snatch.  He turned back just in time to see them kissing, he had missed his chance.  Oh well, when he thought about it did he really want to be tied down (that could be fifty shades of grey fun) for eternity with a girlfriend/wife even if it was Kately?  That really was a long time to be with just one person and who knew what the future would bring or who, hopefully someone who likes red and much as him.

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Check back tomorrow for the voting!

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Fan Fiction Fling Entry #7

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have:

Verchiel by Heather Comeau

Verchiel sat on a bench inside The Citadels well lit shopping mall running his hands through

his fire engine red hair, still in his suit from Katelina and Jorick’s wedding, and looking down at his monochrome black Converse, trying to figure out how he got himself into this mess to begin with.

I should have said no. Why the hell did I not say no? Verchiel couldn’t even answer his own question.

He could remember Micah stealing away Tonia, one of his three dates to the wedding, during the reception. He could remember getting bored with dates one and two and wandering away to hold up a corner of the room. He could even remember loosening the tie because it was getting too constricting. What he couldn’t seem to remember was why, when Ark came in and walked up to him with this assignment, he decided it would be a good idea.

One minute he’s standing there looking out the door, letting his mind wander, and then he saw her. A petite little thing with curves, chin length hair black as midnight brushed to the side to expose a shaved head, skin as pale as porcelain, lips as red as fresh blood. But what really got him were her eyes,

Caribbean blue with silver around the pupil. Next thing he knew Ark was standing in front of him talking and then he agreed and when he looked again she was gone. And he was going to be stuck showing the ropes to a new Executioner. Probably some arrogant rookie with an ego problem. Peachy.

I’ve got to start listening, but even he knew that was never going to happen.

He was so lost in his own thoughts he didn’t notice that a pair of platform boots was standing in front of him.

“Ummm excuse me? Are you Verchiel?” the thick southern drawl startled him out of his thoughts enough for him to finally look up.

And there she stood in black platform studded boots, skin tight black leggings, a bustle skirt cinched around her waist but open in the front, a black corset with chrome hooks up the front, and those luminous blue eyes looking down at him like a deer in headlights. Suddenly he couldn’t think, couldn’t form a coherent thought, couldn’t remember what day it was.

“Me…yes…Verchiel!” That’s what came out of his mouth.

Jorick is right. I am a damn idiot.

Sweet, I found you and only got lost three times!” The southern drawl was such an odd sound coming from this goth princess standing in front of him.

Get it together, V, this is just a girl. Just like every other girl, Verchiel cleared his throat,and even though he didn’t need to, he took a deep breath to clear his head.

“Well, you found me! So what are you going to do with me, whoever you are?” Verchiel threw in a wink for good measure.

 

“Yeah, I was warned about you,” the vampiress said while cocking her head and raising her perfectly shaped eyebrow, “My name is Raven.”

That’s when he really looked at her, as his eyes traced over her body from her head to her trance inducing eyes to her blood red lips to her beautiful neck where a pendant hung on a glimmering chain. The triple locked circles of an Executioner.

“You….you’re my assignment?” Verchiel’s mouth had gone dry so the question came out as a rasp.

At that exact moment a flirty sing-song voice came from behind Raven, “Verchiel! Are you going to be free tonight? Because, I am!” A leggy blonde walked up stepping directly in front of Raven as if she didn’t exist.

Before Verchiel had a chance to reply Raven spoke up,”Actually, he’s busy and you’re in my way,” Raven took her hand and pushed the blonde out of her way,”Bless your heart.” There was so much meaning in those three words Verchiel wasn’t sure if she was really blessing the girl or if she was going to rip her throat out. Luckily, the blonde took the hint and decided to continue on her way.

 

Verchiel blinked twice and stood up, “Well there goes my night!” as his eyes followed the blonde as she made a quick escape down the corridor. Raven arched her eyebrow while looking up at him and shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. “So, where do I sleep?” she inquired while holding up a room card she’d pulled out of her boot, “It’s almost sunrise and I’ve had a long trip.”

As he walked with her to show her the corridor where the Executioners rooms were located one thought kept repeating over and over in his head: I am in so much trouble.

 

                                                                        ****

 

            Raven opened her eyes and stretched, she wanted to roll back over and go back to sleep after the long trip to The Citadel and coming to terms with her new job. She flipped on the bedside light as she got out of bed and padded to the bathroom to get ready for her first day as an Executioner, the vampire equivalent to the police. She had been shocked when she realized that each Executioner had their own apartment space and that all of her belongings had already been set up.

After her shower Raven fixed her midnight black hair and applied her makeup, complete with winged eyeliner so sharp they could cut a man. She dressed quickly in a red corset with black lace overlay, black leggings, and the same black studded boots from the night before. She picked up her black leather duster coat and headed out the door.

Now to find my babysitter, Raven rolled her eyes as the thought crossed her mind. Not that Verchiel wasn’t attractive,with his anime appearance and shock red hair sticking up in all directions, but she had already heard tales of his odd behavior and numerous exploits. Since she had a history of falling for the wrong guys, she was determined not to let that happen again. Even if he did look like the anime equivalent of Adonis.

 

Before she could clear her thoughts she was in front of his door and knocking like a mad woman. A loud thump followed by creative expletives could be heard coming from inside, Raven tried to hide her smirk as Verchiel flung the door open.

Oh. My… Ravens mind went completely blank as she stared at the man in front of her. Verchiel was clearly still half asleep, wearing the suit pants he had been wearing the night before unbuttoned showing off chiseled abs and those lines men have that make even the chastest of women think carnal thoughts.

“Hello! Earth to Raven! Are you coming in or are you just going to stand there?” Verchiel was waving his hands in front of her face like he was signaling planes.

“Uhh…yeah. No! I’ll wait right here until you put clothes on!” Raven shook her head and crossed her arms as Verchiel closed the door. A short time later a fully clothed Verchiel emerged with a knowing smirk on his face, much to the surprise of Raven, he didn’t say a word as they walked the corridors.

“Have we gotten an assignment?” Raven couldn’t take the silence anymore as they rode the elevator to the parking deck. I thought they said he was talkative and annoying, she thought to herself as they stepped off the elevator.

“Yeah, got an email last night. It’s…” his voice trailed off as he looked around in utter confusion.

Raven turned her head to him and raised an eyebrow,”Now who needs to come back to Earth?” sarcasm at it’s finest.

Verchiel dropped his head and let out a little laugh of disgust,”Well, this is embarrassing,” his eyes met Ravens and for the first time she noticed they were violet, “my car got charred. They won’t loan me one of the SUV’s because…..reasons. Do you think you can put in a request?”

“Seriously? I thought you hit a moose?” One of the Executioners who had escorted her to The Citadel had mentioned it in passing and she couldn’t help but laugh!

“That was a different car and how did you know about the moose?! It jumped out in front of me, I swear!” Verchiel threw his hands up in exasperation.

“I don’t need to request a vehicle, we can take mine.” She threw him some keys and kept walking it took a second but she finally heard his footsteps following behind her. She stopped in front of her car and waited for Verchiel to catch up. It was no surprise when she looked over and saw him skipping toward her with a goofy grin on his face.

“Why’d we stop walking?” he asked once he reached her.

She looked up at him, and without taking her eyes off of him, she pointed to the carbon black car in front of her, “That’s mine. I bought it, you’re driving it, it’s my baby. You break my baby I’ll break your adorable face.”

 

Verchiel looked at the car and let out an appreciative whistle, his eyes going as big as saucers.

“You’re letting me drive a Corvette Grand Sport? And you’re not nervous?”

“Oh I’m nervous, but I don’t know where the hell we’re going and I’m really glad I’m nearly impossible to kill,” Raven walked to the passenger side door,” you going to unlock it or stand there drooling all over your shoes?”

After gawking he unlocked the doors and got in. As he cranked up the car he looked at her, “Did you say I have an adorable face?” Counting Bodies Like Sheep by A Perfect Circle came on the radio and she said nothing as she reached up and jacked the volume to an ear splitting level.

 

****

 

As much as Verchiel liked Raven’s choice of music he had to fill her in on the mess they were about to walk into. To avoid having his hand bitten off at the wrist he slowly reached up and turned off the radio. Raven hadn’t said much in the several hours they had been driving, but he had noticed she would occasionally glance over to check the speedometer and growl at him until he slowed down. Right as he was about to open his mouth he heard her voice from the passenger side, “Are you going to tell me what our assignment is, or is it a surprise?”

“We’re going to Champagne, Illinois. Reports have come in of humans being drained and left in Busey Woods, a nice little wooded area but still in the city. It wouldn’t be a problem except the bodies have their throats ripped out,drained of blood, and are being found by humans…who call the human police, which can be a problem when the term serial killer gets thrown around. Our assignment is to find the one responsible for putting vampires at risk of being discovered. We are to detain him and bring him to the guards that are set up at a house in the city. From there he will be escorted to the Citadel to stand trial. If he fights us and decides he’s going to resist, Ark attached a kill order to the email.” Verchiel waited to hear something from Raven but instead got silence.

“Any particular human victims?” He found it strange she didn’t ask about potentially killing someone, but about the specifics of the victims. He risked a glance over and saw her hands shaking, maybe she’s just nervous about her first assignment.

“The file said the victims were all female between the ages of 26 and 30, all around 5 foot 3, black hair, blue eyes,” that’s when an idea came to him, “holy shit, Raven, is this how you ummm became one of the fanged?”

“One of the fanged?” Raven turned her head and arched her eyebrow. He admitted to himself that eyebrow arch of hers was hot, even if she was looking at him like he was an idiot.

 

 

“If it matters, yes, only in North Carolina. There had been a story in the paper about the bodies of a couple of girls being found. No specifics, or details, and it wasn’t a big enough story in the city to get any major attention.” He noticed she took a deep breath and ran her hands down her thighs, a leftover human response to stress, she couldn’t have been turned very long ago. How did she get to become an Executioner without being a guard first?

“I was a dancer at a club in the city, I met a guy and after work one night he decided to take me to this really quiet area behind the huge cemetery there. It has walking trails and trees, a little quiet area in the middle of this super busy place. We walked and talked and found an area with big rocks so we sat down. We were attacked, I never heard or saw anything but I remember the smell of oranges with cigarette smoke mixed with something else almost mechanical. I remember being racked with pain and blacking out, I came to under one of the bridges the next night completely ravenous the body of the guy I’d been with the night before was beside me, he was dead. I killed someone who was jogging, I was so hungry I couldn’t help it. I’ve been mainly alone ever since, I managed to be found by a local coven who helped a bit and I continued dancing to make money.”

While Raven had been talking they had arrived at a hotel just outside Champagne, Verchiel sat with the car idling listening to her story. He could see how her hands shook, how her voice cracked, how her

eyes looked everywhere but at him.

She’s embarrassed by what happened to her, Verchiel felt a pang of sadness for her. Before he could stop himself he reached over and took her small, dainty hand in his. I will kill this fucker for making her feel this way, the thought shocked him. It shocked him even more that Raven didn’t pull her hand away but laced her fingers with his.

“It’ll be ok, Rave, you’ve had a long couple days and you’re hungry. Let’s get rooms and find you a snack and things will be better in the morning…er…night!” Verchiel managed to give her his best smile and then got out of the car. She walked behind him into the lobby, where the guy behind the counter gave him a weird look before telling him there were no available rooms. Verchiel could tell the guy was lying and, as annoyed as he was already, was just about to elbow the sleaze in his giant honker when he heard a polite clearing of a throat behind him.

“I’ve got this.” Raven put her hand on his shoulder and stepped in front of him.

“Hey darlin’ here’s the thing, I’ve had a really rough time and just need somewhere to rest for a couple days while I’m in town. You think you could do that for me?” That voice sounded like angels singing and at that moment Verchiel would have given his right arm to give her the whole damn hotel and every room in it. The guy behind the counter looked like he felt the same way as he bumped into the counter and handed her a room key.

“Aw, sugar, thank you.” Counter guy propped his head up on his hand as he watched her walk away, Verchiel right beside her.

It wasn’t until they got to the room that Verchiel was able to think clearly. He shook his head while she stacked up chairs and the table so light wouldn’t get through the curtains. He sat on the bed and just watched how she moved around the room, and then it all made sense.

 

“You’re a Cupid! You tricky little vertically challenged pixie!” Verchiel leaned back on the bed feeling hungover and slightly lightheaded, he heard her let out a laugh that immediately triggered him to have to adjust his pants.

Damn Cupid hangover, he threw his arm over his eyes and groaned, Everything I’ve felt for her is because she’s a damn Cupid. Verchiel heard the door close and sat up, Raven must have slipped out to get something to eat.

He took his jacket off and grabbed the remote, after flipping through the channels ten times and determining nothing was worth watching he decided taking a shower was a better option. He went into the bathroom and started the shower, he undressed and stood under the hot water. His thoughts racing. He saw her reaction when the blonde tried spending the night with him, the look on her face when he answered the door half dressed, the fact that she let him drive her car knowing he rammed his car into a moose, she told him her story, and she didn’t pull away when he took her hand.

I feel something for her. It can’t just be because she’s a Cupid, he could feel the night coming to an end and turned the water off. He dried himself with one of the crisp white towels and slipped his black jeans back on, the last thing he wanted was to make Raven uncomfortable. He opened the door to a darkened room but with his heightened senses he could see Raven in the bed on her side, her eyes closed.  She must have picked up a shirt from a truck stop as the blanket was pushed down to her waist and she was wearing an oversized t-shirt.

She’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen, Verchiel was laying in the bed beside her before he could talk sense into himself. He turned toward her and closed his eyes and felt her move closer and press her face against his chest. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her to him, he fell asleep inhaling the sweet scent of dark vanilla, the scent of her.

 

 

****

 

Raven woke up alone the next night and dressed quickly, she was glad Verchiel wasn’t there when she awoke. She was almost certain he had no idea that when he crawled in bed with her she was very awake. Of course, now she was completely embarrassed just knowing he could walk in at any moment and she’d have to face him. Raven was so lost in thought as she buckled up her boots she didn’t notice when Verchiel came in.

“So I got more info on our case.” Verchiel said as he flopped down on the bed, startling Raven.

“Ok, what have you got?” Raven glanced quickly at him and then back to her hands, all she could think about was the feel of his hands on her lower back and the comfort of having his arms around her. Get your head straight,girl. You cannot do this, not with this man.

“Not only did our victims look similar, they all had the same occupation and, surprisingly, worked in the same place.” Now Raven was genuinely curious. Why had she been targeted? Why was she the one

he turned? Why was he killing these girls?  Was it even the same vamp?

“Rave, all the victims were dancers and they all worked at a club called Hollow Moon. I suggest we go scope out Busey Woods and then check out the strippers, I mean, the club.” Raven cut her eyes at him but his plan was solid and she was afraid she was going to jump Verchiel if she stayed in this room much longer.

“Let’s go, V. Now!” Raven practically pulled him out the door and to the car, she liked to think the cool night air helped to calm her down but, seeing as how temperature changes didn’t effect her, it had to be the fact that she was out of the tiny room putting her in close proximity with a man that weakened her resolve.

Verchiel unlocked the doors to her car and got right into the drivers seat, Raven got in and immediately turned on the radio. California Love began pumping through the car and Raven couldn’t help but rap along, she heard Verchiel cracking up so she threw in some arm movements and her best shoulder

dance moves.

“What the actual hell are you doing? A goth princess getting down to Dre and Tupac is not something you see everyday!” He was laughing so hard she could see tears in his eyes.

“Dude, it’s one of those times where you just need to throw on some gangster rap and handle your business! I can think better this way, it’s how I clear my head and focus on the problem at hand!” Raven smiled at Verchiel and she couldn’t help but notice his little smirk as he continued to drive. It didn’t take

long before she heard him quietly rapping along with the music as he drove them through the city.

“So, V, tell me something about yourself, if we’re stuck together we might as well get to know each other. And you know more about me than most at this point so it’s your turn.” Raven noticed a falter on his normally happy go lucky face. I have just made a crucial mistake, Raven bit her lip and looked out the window.

“Not much to tell, really, I don’t remember anything before I woke up as a vampire. The one that made me what I am used me as a momentary distraction. She left me on my own after she got bored and then she went and got her heart ripped out, literally, her heart was ripped out of her chest and I think it might have even been eaten. I have a sister who got turned too, but she’s off doing things and stuff and being a badass. I didn’t even know I had a sister until a short while ago. Oh look we’re here!” Verchiel practically hopped out of the car before he’d even stopped it and Raven dropped the subject like a bad habit.

She bit her lip as she walked around the front of the car to stand beside him, “Where were the bodies found?”

“Umm I believe this way.” He pointed and took off heading into the heart of the wooded area, Raven followed behind him until they reached a wooden walkway through an area with grass and plant life on either side.

“V stop, I smell something…” Raven closed her eyes and focused. She felt the tiny life forces of bugs and a fluffle of bunnies off to her right. When the wind shifted and the scent grew strong enough she was transported back to the night she was turned. The scent of Marlboro Reds mixed with the smell of

citrus and blood and….motor oil?

“I’ve got it too, Rave.” His voice was surprisingly close.

Raven opened her eyes to find Verchiel standing directly in front of her, she looked up into his violet eyes. She felt his hand brush against her face as he wrapped his other arm around her waist, his hand disappeared from her cheek to grip the back of her neck. She couldn’t see anything but his face, was lost completely in his eyes. She felt pressure on her neck and he pulled her against his body, lowering his lips to hers. She tangled her hands in his unkempt hair and deepened the kiss, in that moment Raven didn’t care that she had promised herself not to fall for him because he was all she wanted.

 

****

 

Verchiel sat alone at a table in the Hollow Moon pretending to drink a beer and hoping to catch a scent or a lead in order to find the one responsible for the Busey Woods victims, the one responsible for hurting Raven. As soon as her name popped into his head he couldn’t help but think about the kiss causing a feeling of warmth to spread throughout his chest. It took him a minute to realize there was a well endowed brunette standing beside him in a gold bikini.

“Would you like a lapdance, baby?” She leaned over on the table to give him a good view of her ample chest, which he noticed immediately were not real.

“No, I’m good thanks.” Did I really just say that?

The brunette shrugged and walked away to stand at a table of four guys before walking off into the back room separated by a curtain from the main floor area. A giant stage was set up in the middle of the floor with two 25 foot poles set on either side. Verchiel had sat through a Bambi, a Heaven, and a Leilani the DJ announcing each one before blasting music for them to gyrate around the brass poles to.

Verchiel looked around hoping that Raven would walk in, she had told him she needed to pick up a few things and then she’d be back but that was roughly an hour ago. I’d be worried but she could probably kick my ass so….. his thought was cut short by the DJ’s overly enthusiastic voice coming through the speakers.

“Alright we have a very special debut performance here at Hollow Moon! Gentlemen, let’s welcome to the stage the woman the gods graced with looks that can kill….Pandora!”

Verchiel looked around as the lights went down and the opening to Groove began to pump through the sound system. The lights came up and exposed the back of a woman wearing black hot pants, a black halter top tied around the neck and back, she was wearing black 7 inch platform heels, her hand already wrapped around one of the poles. The woman turned around when the bass dropped and Verchiel literally fell out of his chair. This was no random dancer, it was Raven. He stayed a safe distance away from the stage as he could tell she had turned her Cupid abilities to 100. Judging by the look on the men’s faces and the money being thrown she had every man within distance under her spell and the poor suckers didn’t stand a chance.

He stood back just watching her dance, losing herself in the music. Every body roll and hair flip perfectly timed, and when she felt like she had lost their attention, slamming her heels together making a loud clack to make the men look at her, the look on her face one of total confidence with the promise of sex. She was every man’s ultimate fantasy in that moment. Verchiel bit the inside of his lip and gripped the bottom of his chair, he didn’t like them looking at her and was afraid he’d start snapping necks if he let go. The song came to an end and Raven ended her set in an upside down position on the pole her arms spread to the side resembling an upside down cross.

The lights went down but Verchiel could see her collecting the money and stepping down off the stage. As she made her way through the crowd he caught the scent of cigarettes mixed with oranges, blood, and motor oil. The killer was here but he couldn’t pinpoint where, he needed to tell Raven immediately.

She wanted to bait the sonofabitch, draw him out. Verchiel was about to stand up when a breathy southern drawl whispered in his ear, “Care for a private dance, V?” He grabbed her hand and had her through the curtain to the VIP room before anyone could steal her away. Being a Wind Walker

definitely came in handy. He considered it a good sign that they were the only ones in there.

“Rave as much as I really really REEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLLLY want that dance the killer is here. In this club right now as we stand here.”

“He won’t come after me tonight. He’ll make his move tomorrow night, I could smell him while I was on stage. I couldn’t figure out exactly who it is but right now I’m the “new girl.” So he’ll wait till tomorrow. I still have a couple hours left in the shift so hang around and case the place out, maybe you can get a visual on him.”

“I’m sorry, you’re standing here half naked looking sexy as hell and I didn’t hear a thing you just said,” Verchiel looked her up and down, “and so help me if I see one man out there put so much as a finger on you I’m going to break their hands. And their face. And other parts of their anatomy.”

Raven turned away and as she walked through the curtain back to the main area he heard her laugh and saw her wink at him over her shoulder.

 

 

****

Raven changed her clothes and put her stage wear in a black oversized bag she picked up after she dropped Verchiel off at the club and went shopping. It felt great to be back in her element but they needed to get back to the hotel before dawn. She had seen him walk out after last call after watching out for her all night. She smiled to herself as she exited the building to find him sitting in the car directly in front of the door.

She got in, dropping the bag at her feet, and let out a yawn, “I smell like a bar and bad decisions, take me to a shower.”

“I thought you’d never ask!” Raven laughed as he gave her a wink and spun tires out of the parking lot.

“It’s no wonder you hit a moose with the way you drive!” She arched an eyebrow at him and smiled.

“That moose looked at me funny! He had plans, murderous plans. It was me or him and I like me, I didn’t know him!”

She busted out laughing, how could anyone think he’s annoying? He’s funny as hell!

“How many guys do you think are going to be in the doghouse when their wives check their bank account in a few hours?” She saw the smirk on his face and the side glance he gave her.

“No clue, but seeing as how I made $3,000 in six hours it’s not my problem.” She pulled the wad of cash out of her black bag and watched as his eyes grew in shock.

He shook his head as they pulled into the hotel parking lot, “I am in the wrong profession.”

She stuffed the money back into her bag as he parked the car laughing the whole time as a visual, of Verchiel on a stage dancing badly to Macho Man, popped into her head.

“What? I’d be amazing at it!” Raven shook her head as they got out and headed for the room.

After she opened the door and flicked the light switch on she dropped her bag and headed straight for the shower. She heard the sound of the bed springs creaking followed by the sound of the tv being turned on. Raven turned on the shower and undressed, the feeling of the oncoming dawn pulling on her and making her feel even more tired. She stood under the shower head letting the hot water wash off the events of the night, the smell of smoke and alcohol, the smell of various perfumes the different girls sprayed in the dressing room. She couldn’t help but feel proud of herself, her plan had worked and their target had come out of whatever hole he hid in. The killer would definitely make his move tonight, she’d make sure of it.

Her mind replayed the scene in the woods with Verchiel. Well that was an inevitable thought, she tried to push it out of her mind but she kept remembering the way he had touched her, the way he had kissed her. Gentle yet demanding. Rough yet delicate. A warmth began to build deep down in her center just remembering the way he had looked at her in that moment. She tried to squash it but her hormones were being persistent and she was beginning to wonder what it would be like if she just gave in and let it happen. She grew annoyed with herself and almost broke the shower knob as she slammed it off, she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her body. She wiped the condensation off the mirror with her hand and then picked up her hairbrush, she looked at herself in the mirror.

You’ve never even been with one of your kind, how could you even consider having sex with him?! He goes through women like you go through eyeliner! Are you trying to get your heartbroken? Stop this now. Put your night clothes on and go directly to sleep, no extracurriculars!  Raven turned around to grab the skull print pajamas she’d bought while shopping the night before but as she looked down a sinking feeling settled in her stomach, good going you left your damn change of clothes in the bedroom. Raven smacked herself in the face and flopped down on the toilet seat, what am I going to do? She knew he was still awake because she could hear him laughing at something on the tv. Ok, just be calm, a plan began to form in her head.

She opened the bathroom door a crack, “Verchiel, I left my sleepy clothes in my bag. I’m going to come out, I’m wrapped in a towel, and I need you to promise me you won’t do anything while I grab my clothes. You’ll stay right where you are watching tv and paying me no attention.”

There was a moment of absolute quiet then she heard his voice through the door, “I promise I won’t do anything but sit here and watch tv while you grab your clothes.”

Raven took a deep breath that she didn’t need, and opened the door to the bathroom all the way, she padded across the room to her bag and pulled out her new pajamas. Raven felt a breeze on her back as she stood up to find that Verchiel had wind walked his way to stand behind her so close she could feel the skin of his bare chest on her back. She closed her eyes trying to keep control of herself and not turn around to face him.

“You promised.” Her voice barely a whisper, she felt him trace his fingers across the tattoo on her upper back and down her arm.

His mouth was right against her ear, “I promised that I wouldn’t do anything until you got your clothes,” she felt his hand tighten on the fabric in her right hand, “and now that you have them in your hand, you won’t be needing them.” He pulled them out of her hand and let them fall to the floor.

She felt his fangs scrape lightly across her neck, “V, I can’t do this. I’ve never been with one of our kind.” She couldn’t stop her voice from shaking as he nuzzled her neck.

“Then we’ll just have to do this your way.” His voice was a growl as he grabbed her hand and pulled it behind her to press against his massive erection.

Every reservation Raven had disappeared when he turned her around and she saw his face. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down to press her lips to his, she felt him probe her mouth with his tongue and she yielded to him. He lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist, never once breaking the kiss. He turned around in order to lay her on the bed, Raven couldn’t focus on anything except the pressure of his hands on her skin and his mouth on hers.

He broke the kiss and Raven opened her eyes, she quickly realized the towel she had wrapped around her was nowhere to be found. Verchiel was sitting up on his knees between her legs his clothes gone, she closed her thighs fully aware that her entire body was on display. He’s even better looking with his clothes off, Raven bit her lip as she took in the full length of him.

She met his eyes as he put his hands on the inside of her knees and pushed them open, “I want to see every part of you,” the feral sound of his voice caused her to catch her breath, she’d never heard anything so erotic in her life. He brought his hand up and brushed it across her face, her eyes never leaving his, he ran his hand down her neck and to her breast where he lowered himself to take her erect nipple into his mouth. Raven arched her back and moaned, she didn’t care that this was a mistake or that he’d gloat about it later, all that mattered was right now.

She could feel his hand working its way down her body to find her center, it took every ounce of strength she had not to cry out as he massaged her most sensitive area. He raised his head from her breast, and removed his hand from between her legs, she felt his hands on her hips as he re-positioned

himself. Raven couldn’t stop the small scream that escaped her mouth as he plunged his full length into her, filling her. She clawed his back and he let out a growl that was more animal than anything else as he worked himself back and forth, plunging into her over and over again. As good as it felt it wasn’t enough for her she had the uncontrollable urge to bite him, to take his blood into her mouth and really taste him.

As if he could hear her thoughts she heard his voice in her ear, “Do it Raven, bite me.”

She didn’t understand, is this part of vampire sex? Is drinking your partners blood normal?

Please just do it, bite me, for the love of the goddess bite me!” His voice was forceful and pleading, like he was desperate for her to release him.

Raven pulled her lips back from her fangs and felt his skin give way under the pressure, at the same time she felt him puncture her neck. What happened next was beyond her comprehension, she was lost on a sea of sensation the feeling so intense she felt like she would lose consciousness. She felt wave upon wave of pleasure breaking over her and was helpless to stop it, not that she wanted to. Gradually, she became aware of her surroundings. She could feel her nails dug into Verchiel’s back, could feel the weight of him still on her, and eventually she became aware of herself. She dropped her hands to the bed feeling sated to the point of being immobile, she felt him lift himself off of her just to re-position himself beside her and wrap his arms around her pulling her close to his body.

Raven opened her eyes, “I’m sorry I bit you,” she said sleepily.

“That’s how our kind get release, Raven, we don’t need to penetrate in order to reach climax. I wanted to be inside you, I wanted this to mean something more than just sex. To me, penetration is a very intimate thing that one doesn’t do with a one stand.  You have nothing to apologize for, you did nothing wrong.”

More than just sex. Penetration is an intimate thing. She wondered how many others he’d said that line to, probably hundreds just in the last six months.

However many it might be, he’s with me right now and this night is what matters.

She began to wonder if he might be able to read her thoughts since the next thing he did was press his mouth to hers and roll them both over so she was straddling his waist.

“Round two?” He winked up at her.

“Oh definitely!”

 

 

****

 

Verchiel didn’t say anything the entire ride to Hollow Moon, but he noticed Raven didn’t either. She sat there with her black bag, her makeup impeccably done, looking like the goth princess she portrayed. He had to admit she looked beautiful. She was even more beautiful last night underneath me, he squashed the image before he could get himself into any more trouble. It had to stop, he wasn’t acting like himself and even Ark had noticed when he called for an update earlier. I did what I did and said what I said because she’s a Cupid. She’s still a newborn vampire and can’t control it, he wasn’t sure he believed it but that’s what he was going to tell himself. Once this was over they would get back to The Citadel and he would put in a request to have her moved to someone else. He just had to make it through this assignment and then he would have control of himself again.

They pulled into the back parking lot of the club, before he could get out of the car he felt her hand on top of his. Don’t look at her or you’ll lose it,he closed his eyes when she started to speak.

“Verchiel, what happened last night can’t happen again. It was a matter of convenience for you, I was there and accessible. I know that. Once this assignment is over I’ll request a transfer and it’ll be done with and you can go back to doing whatever it is you do with whoever you do it with.” Her voice was flat and each word was a dagger digging into his heart.

You were just saying the same thing you idiot, now get it together and finish this so you can get back, he was beginning to think his brain was a jerk, Quick, change the subject!

“So I’m assuming you have a plan for catching this guy, care to fill me in?” He saw Raven flinch and couldn’t believe how cold he sounded, I’m just trying to keep my head and deal with the matter at hand.

She told him her idea and he had to admit it sounded well thought out and fool proof as long as nothing went wrong. He nodded at her in agreement and watched as she got out of the car with her bag and walked into the clubs back door. He rubbed his hands over his face, and for the first time in his very long life, he wanted to be anywhere but in a strip club. He scrunched down in the seat and called Ark.

“What?” Ark’s voice was sharp on the other end of the line.

Verchiel told his boss the plan and was assured that the guards would be ready to take the perpetrator into custody or be ready to incinerate a body.

“So how’s Raven working out?” Verchiel wasn’t prepared to hear that question, but he had his response ready.

“Look, when I get back I want to request a transfer. Put her with someone else, I don’t care who it is as long as it’s not with me!”

“Can I ask why? Is it because she turned you down flat and your ego got bruised?”

“No. It’s because you failed to mention she’s a goddamn Cupid and I don’t think you know how hard it is to do your job with one in close proximity!” Verchiel was practically yelling into the phone and he didn’t care it was at his boss.

The silence coming from the other end of the phone made him wonder if Ark had hung up on him, he pulled the phone away from his ear to make sure he was still connected.

“Verchiel, Raven was tested thoroughly before being offered a position as an Executioner, and to be only three years made, she has impeccable control of her ability. So do you want to fucking tell me what the hell this is really about?” Ark sounded beyond annoyed and ready to hang up, “You know what, tell me in person. I’ll be there in a couple hours I was already on the way.” Verchiel heard the distinct beep of the call being disconnected.

Well, you’ve done it this time. Verchiel stuck the phone back in his jacket pocket. No, there’s no way she has that much control of her ability. I wouldn’t be acting like this if she did!

He got out of the car and slammed the door, I’m so done with this shit. He pushed it all out of his head and walked into the club, he found the table he had sat at the night before and flipped the chair around backwards and straddled it. He ordered a beer, for appearances only, from the waitress and slapped her ass as she walked away. He didn’t ignore the playful giggle she gave and he returned it with his best smile.

****

Raven looked at herself in the mirror of the dressing room, she was pleased with the black leather bustier top and hot pants. This will get his attention for sure, the only problem was she wasn’t sure if she was talking about the killer or Verchiel. She pressed her hands down on the counter that ran around half the room, You knew this would happen. You knew what you were getting into and you did it anyway. Congratulations, you became another notch on his belt. She tried not to think about the way he had looked at her, the way he felt when he took her…all three times.

“How could I be so damn stupid?” She slammed her hands down on the counter. It was then she noticed the other girls looking at her, “Sorry!”

Get it together, you have a killer to catch. You know you’re not Verchiel’s type he likes model types and you are a so not one of those! She took a deep breath to strengthen her resolve and stepped back from the counter.

“Hey Pandora, you’re up next. Good luck, the crowd is big but the money isn’t flowing!” Raven nodded her head to the blonde talking to her as she walked out of the dressing room.

After this assignment I won’t have to deal with him again. Focus.

 

Raven heard the DJ announce her and stepped up onto the stage, she closed her eyes and tapped into her ability. She felt it stretch out of her like a web and every male within distance of the stage was a waiting fly. She felt as it was about to hook Verchiel and pulled it back so it wouldn’t effect him. She had to find this killer tonight, if only for the sake of her sanity.

 

The heavy industrial beat of Closer began pumping through the speakers and she could feel the music coursing through her veins. Raven rocked her hips and turned to put her back against the pole, she trailed her left hand up her body and made eye contact with every man in front of the stage. I know you’re here you sonofabitch, come out and play, she was out for blood and she was going to get it. She spun into a climb and when she made it to the top she hooked her leg to flip upside down, she saw that most of the men in the club were now right at the foot of the stage. Right where I want them,she loosened her knee grip and dropped the length of the pole catching herself at the last minute, she used her hands to lower herself to the floor.

Time to get up close and personal, Raven crawled across the floor and up to the edge of the stage like a wolf looking for prey. She could already smell the stench of him, if she was human she probably would be sick. She rolled and crawled. Flirted and winked. She looked over and saw Verchiel at the very far end of the stage, his violet eyes staring right at her. Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement, a man with black hair stepped up to the stage and the nauseating smell of cigarette smoke and citrus with under tones of motor oil and blood hit her directly in the face.

Raven threw her legs over the side of the stage, she looked directly in his dark blue eyes and grabbed him by his open plaid shirt. She reached up with her hand and stroked his chiseled jaw line before pulling him closer to stand between her legs.

“Hey baby, whadd’ya say I cut my shift early and we get out of here?” Raven had to get the guy out of the club, away from the humans.

The guy smiled at her flashing fang, “Name’s Kyran, and I’d like to take you up on that offer.”

“I’ll meet you by the bar in 10.”

He put his hands on her waist and it made her skin crawl, he lifted her up off the edge of the stage. He lowered her down til her feet touched the floor and put his hand on her lower back. She gave him a smile and made sure to put a little extra sway in her hips as she walked away.

She made sure she was alone in the dressing room before she began to change out of her stage wear. She slipped on a pair of black leather pants, a red button up shirt,  she tied a leather cincher around her waist, and laced up her boots. Raven felt a breeze and knew Verchiel had come into the room, she watched as he leaned back against the counter and put his hands in his pockets.

“I’ve already contacted the guard they’re moving into position at Busey Woods. If a fight ensues there’s likely to be no human witnesses.” Raven noticed he was looking everywhere but at her, of course he’s not he got what he wanted now it’s on to the next.

She slipped on her black duster and was just about to walk out of the dressing room door when she felt his hand around her wrist. “Rave, I….” She really couldn’t deal with an apology right now.

“Whatever you’re about to say, just don’t. We have a job to do, so let’s do it.” She pulled her wrist out of Verchiel’s grasp and walked to the bar.

“Sorry it took so long, I got hung up in the crowd.” Raven looked over her shoulder to see Verchiel staring at her.

 

Kyran draped his arm around her, “No problem. Let’s get out of here.”

He led her to the exit, out the  double glass doors, and into the night. She felt his arm slip down to her waist and had to keep herself from gagging. He leaned down and she could feel his breath on her neck, “I know who you are, Executioner.”

Raven had no time to react and his arm came up and he tightened it around her, pinning her arm to her side and her body to him. She tried to wiggle free but it was no use, he was much too strong for her. Before she knew it the world was rushing by at break neck speed and everything was a blur. A Titan and a Wind Walker, this is bad. Really bad. Raven knew she was in serious trouble and she also knew there was no way he was taking her to Busey Woods. She was on her own and no one was going to be able to help her.

 

****

 

Verchiel stood up from the table as soon as he saw Kyran start easing Raven to the exit. In order to keep up the human charade he couldn’t move too fast and he had a sinking feeling in his stomach. Something isn’t right, this plan worked entirely to well. He sidestepped a guy in a cowboy hat and thanked the guy for the compliment when he called him a derogatory name. Once he was clear of the crowd he jogged to the glass doors and pushed them open to find the parking lot empty. It took him less than a minute to realize the guy had pulled one over on them, Verchiel saw something glinting on the ground a few feet from where he stood and walked over to pick it up. He caught the scent of dark vanilla as he picked up Raven’s Executioner necklace.

He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, Ark answered on the second ring, “What now?”

“Raven’s gone. Guys name is Kyran and he’s apparently a Wind Walker, I’ve got her necklace and her scent is all over it but I need a Tracker. He knows she’s an Executioner so he won’t be taking her to Busey Woods.” Verchiel was trying to keep the panic out of his voice, I shouldn’t have left her. I’m a damn idiot!

“ARE YOU A DAMN IDIOT?” Verchiel pulled the phone away from his ear.

There was a commotion on the other end of the line and then Ark was back, “Lucky for your ass I’m less than 10 minutes from the Hollow Moon and there’s a Tracker with me. Don’t move until I get there!”

Verchiel put the phone back in his pocket and walked over to put his back against Raven’s car. He felt a pain in his left hand and looked down to see he had been gripping her pendant so hard it had cut his palm, if anything has happened to her I’ll never forgive myself. Every second he stood there was a second lost, a second further away from Raven.  He was just about to say screw it and head out to find her on his own when a black SUV pulled into the parking lot. Ark was out of the passenger seat and in front of him before the vehicle was even stopped, his blonde hair billowing out like a halo, and a look on his face that screamed pure murder.

 

“What the hell were thinking using her as bait? This is so much fucking worse than you know!” Ark was right in his face but his tone was even. I’m so dead, Verchiel didn’t even have it in him to come back at him.

“You’re certain the guy said his name is Kyran?” Ark was looking him directly in his eyes.

“Yeah, I’m certain.”

Ark shoved a photo in his face, “Does he look like this?”

“Yeah, that’s definitely him.”

He heard Ark swear under his breath and watched as the vampire shook his head, “Kyran never travels alone. He has a mate and we’ve been after her for a while, she’s wanted on everything from kidnapping to murder.. She pulls the strings and I guarantee she’s the one responsible for the killings, he’s just the errand boy. Both her and Kyran were made by the same vampire and that vampire was completely mental. She made them in an asylum”

At that moment a vampire got out of the backseat of the SUV with coffee colored skin, a bald head, and arms the size of Verchiel’s whole body. Holy shit they’ve sent a tank, he looked up into the dark eyes of the brick wall standing beside Ark.

“I need her scent if I’m going to find her.” The vampire had an accent Verchiel could only assume was Jamaican. He reluctantly handed over Raven’s Executioner necklace and watched as the vampire tank put it up to his nose and inhaled deeply.

“I’m ready.” The tank looked over at Ark waiting for his orders.

Verchiel stood there as Ark hopped back inside the SUV, “We’ll follow you in this. You and Bradley take the ‘vette and get to her as quickly as possible.”

Bradley…like the tank, Verchiel couldn’t help but smirk at the irony as he unlocked the doors and climbed into the car. He was slightly amused watching Bradley the Tank trying to fold himself up to fit into the sports car. Once the giant vampire was sufficiently squeezed in he backed out of the parking spot and his companion rolled the window down in order to stick his head out to follow Raven’s scent.

“Turn right.” Verchiel did as he was told and gunned it out of the parking lot. He didn’t say anything to his passenger as they sped down city streets and through rural neighborhoods. It felt as if he had been driving for hours when Bradley finally told him to stop the car and park it on a side road.

“She’s in that building up there.” Verchiel followed the trackers line of vision and could make out the towering structure of what appeared to be an abandoned church.

He assumed he was supposed to wait for Ark and the others to arrive before going in, screw that I’ll burn this entire city to ashes to get her back alive.  And with that thought Verchiel sped through the underbrush and lept up onto the top of the building making no sound. He squeezed through a hole that was in the steeple just under the massive tarnished bell that looked like it would fall any minute. He found a sturdy beam high above the sanctuary and dropped into a low crouch, blending in with the shadows.

From his perch he could see Raven, arms and legs bound, laying on her side in front of what was the pulpit. Just as he was about to swoop down and grab her, he saw Kyran walking up the center aisle between the rows of wooden pews with a shrouded figure walking close behind him.

 

****

             Raven opened her eyes and immediately began to assess her current situation, she had to admit the outlook was bleak. She remembered Kyran squishing her to him and taking off at breakneck speed, she had kicked and wriggled but since he was a Titan there was no way she was breaking free. She remembered he stopped and then she felt something heavy slam into the back of her head. Raven could feel the cold metal of the restraints around her wrists and judging by the lack of movement they had to be around her ankles too. She lay perfectly still as she moved her eyes around to get an idea of her surroundings. There was a platform with an overturned podium in front of her and she could make out what would have been stained glass windows if they weren’t covered in dust and grime from years of abandonment.

Oh great, I didn’t go to church while I was alive so now I get to die in one, Raven rolled her eyes at the irony.

“Ky, I think our guest has awoken.” A feminine voice as smooth as honey echoed from behind her.

Raven rolled over to face the back of the church and saw Kyran standing next to a hooded figure, “You know if you wanted to practice Shibari I hear rope works much better,” if she could keep them talking maybe she could figure a way out of this.

She felt a dull pain in her jaw a moment before she landed hard on her side, Kyran standing above her baring his fangs.

“Shut up you bitch!” His voice reverberating from the acoustics.

“Now, now Kyran. That’s no way to treat a lady.” The cloaked figure reached up with dainty hands and pushed the head covering back. Long copper colored hair fell out of the hood and ice blue eyes looked right at her. It took Raven a second to realize she was staring into the face of a young girl, no older than sixteen.

“Kyran, come here.” Her voice was stern and he wasted no time going to her side.

Raven pushed herself back to a sitting position and looked straight into the girls eyes, “Who are you? What do you want with me?” Keep them talking. If they’re talking they aren’t killing you.

The girl cocked her head to the side, “I am known as Sapphira,” the girl smiled at Raven as if amused by her.

“You look like our mother.” Raven saw the sanity drain right out of those ice blue eyes.

“I remember you,” the voice emanating from the girl had changed from that of a mature teenager to

what Raven could only  identify as that of a young child.

”I had Kyran make you for me,” Raven watched in horror as the girl pulled her lips back to expose two empty spaces where her fangs should be,” mommy ripped mine out because I was a bad girl. Kyran wanted to kill you because you look just like mommy, but I wanted a new mommy so he made you for me. We came back for you the next night, you were gone.”

You’re looking at a vampiress with multiple personalities and her serial killer brother. I’m not so sure we’re getting out of this one.

“Brother, unchain our new mommy. She won’t run away.”

This bitch is straight up crazy if she thinks I’m going to be her “mommy.”

Raven followed Kyran with her eyes as he walked over to her. She thought she saw a flash of red hair but she knew that couldn’t be right, no one knew where she was. She rubbed her wrists after they were free of the heavy metal chain.

Raven looked to Sapphira and saw that her face had smoothed out, that sanity had returned to her eyes.

“Sapphira, I’m an Executioner, there will be a huge hunt and they will find you and kill you.” Raven spoke with complete conviction.

Kyran had removed the metal chains from her ankles and then she made her move. Raven sprung onto her back and kicked her feet up into Kyran’s face knocking him off balance so she could land on her feet. She had just enough time to plant herself on the ground before she felt herself picked up and slammed onto the floor by her neck.

“Don’t ever speak to her that way again, bitch, or regardless of what my sister says I will kill you.” Kyran was growling in her face.

Raven looked up to the high ceiling, she saw Verchiel leap from the rafters, his black leather trench coat billowing out behind him like the wings of a demented angel.

 

****

 

Verchiel saw Kyran lift Raven up into the air by her throat and slam her down. His vision turned red, he was dropping to the floor before he could stop himself.

He landed on both feet right behind Kyran, “Get your hands off of her you sick fuck.”

Verchiel grabbed Kyran by the collar, spun him around, and punched him in his smug face. It was like punching a cement wall but at least it got Kyran off of Raven, Verchiel glanced over and watched as she got to her feet and headed straight for Sapphira with her fangs bared. That split second was all it took for Kyran to take off in a blur of speed.

A titan and a wind walker, are you kidding me? Verchiel rolled his eyes. The walls, grimy windows, and murals became a blur as Verchiel ran after the psycho vampire. Verchiel passed a cement statue set into an alcove against the wall and ripped one of the arms off to use as a weapon. Nearing the back of Kyran he lifted the cement arm like a baseball bat and swung as hard as he could. He laughed as he watched Kyran bounce across the floor, like a rock on water, and come to a stop in the middle of the balcony. He heard the sound of wood breaking and glass shattering as Raven and Sapphira battled below.

He turned his attention back to the vampire in front of him,“Kyran, son of whatever sick fucker decided to make your crazy ass, by order of The Guild I sentence you to death by Executioner.”

He watched Kyran push himself up to stand in front of him, a chunk of his scalp hanging off of his head.

“Screw you Executioner.”

“No thanks, you’re not my type,” Verchiel sidestepped not taking his eyes off of his target, “Thanks for the offer though.” He gave the cement arm a little toss and caught it with his right hand, as soon as he felt his hand connect he rammed it directly into Kyran’s chest.

A scream of pure torment and agony hit Verchiel’s ears, don’t be Raven, please, don’t be Raven.

He ran at the edge of the balcony and took a flying leap off the railing when he landed he saw Raven facing the pulpit with Sapphira standing in front of her.

“Kyran!” Sapphira’s voice was so loud Verchiel thought his ears would bleed.

Verchiel took a step toward the pulpit where Sapphira stood.

“You,” she pointed right at him,”You. Killed. My. Kyran!”

He looked right at her, if he could get her away from Raven they might be able to hold her off until Ark brought the cavalry.

“Oh. I did? Was-was he yours? Lady you need to raise your standards!” Verchiel hoped that, for once, being a smartass would pay off. Her face shifted.  Not going to work, I just pissed off a  legit crazy person!

“You took my mate from me,” Verchiel could practically see the ice in the air from her words, “I shall take yours from you.”

Verchiel had no time to react  he saw Sapphira turn and smile at him then Raven was flying backwards into a pile wooden pews. He ran at Sapphira only to watch as she crashed into one of the grime caked windows and disappear into the night.

Verchiel swore under his breath and turned away from the broken window, he could hear Ark and the guard outside making their way to the church. He turned and saw Raven from behind pushing herself up from where she landed.

Kill my mate, I don’t even have a mate and I never will, Verchiel shook his head as he walked off the platform.

“Hey Rave, looks like the cavalry arrived after all the fun!” He heard the cracking of wood and knew Ark and the guard were breaking the door down.

He noticed Raven was still struggling to get out of the mass of pews, “Hang on you silly girl I’ll help get you out.”

He began walking toward her and a smell hit his nose, blood.

“Rave, are you ok?”

He watched in horror as she turned to face him, tears in her eyes, a wooden plank protruding out of her chest. He ran to her and barely managed to catch her as she tipped forward. He sank to the floor with her cradled in his arms

“Don’t you die on me,” Verchiel heard his voice crack, “you have to hold on I-I need you. Please don’t close your eyes.”

He felt Raven’s hand come up to touch his cheek, he turned his face into her palm and kissed it. In that moment he knew she was more than just some girl to him. He knew in her state there was no way she would be able to use her ability, that what he felt for her was much stronger than that.

He let out a guttural cry that shook the entire church as he saw her close her eyes.

 

****

 

Raven felt her body floating, light as a feather. She could see little orbs of light flying past her, are those street lights? She tried to open her eyes but her eyelids were so heavy it didn’t seem worth the effort. She felt a sharp pain in her chest and she remembered being in the church facing off with Sapphira, she couldn’t move like she was rooted to the spot, then she was flying.

Did I die? Is this what death is?

Suddenly she was looking into the eyes of  a black Pomeranian, running her hands through its soft cottony fur. She was in her favorite memory, sitting on the floor of her childhood room playing with Wicket, her puppy.

I loved that dog so much. She thought back to the day she had come home with her parents from a fun day out shopping, one of the last good memories she had of them all together, to find the house had been broken into. The only thing taken had been her dog, her best friend, she had been heartbroken for weeks hoping he would come home. He never did.

The scene shifted, she was fifteen and was backstage at her dance recital. She was about to do her first solo routine in front of hundreds of people and she was nervous, her hands shaking so much she had to put her bottle of water down or risk spilling it all over her black and white costume. She walked on stage and when the music started everything else fell away. She was free, under those hot stage lights, free to be whoever she wanted to be. I fell in love with the stage, too bad my knee blew out three years later.

She tried opening her eyes again, to wake up, but it was useless. She thought she heard Verchiel talking to her, pleading with her. That can’t be right he’s done with me, I’m either dead or hallucinating. That’s when she remembered, after Sapphira had thrown her she landed in the pile of wooden pews. She had struggled to get to her feet, she finally found her legs and-and what, what went wrong? She tried so hard to remember, right when she thought it was in reach, it was replaced by something else.

I’m dead. Really and truly dead, for real this time. She couldn’t stop herself from going there, it was the only logical conclusion she could come to. A thick fog began to form, panic started to seize her, what happened that was so bad that she couldn’t remember.

An odd calm began to consume her, she gave into it and just rode it out. She had no idea how long she had been resting in the peaceful calm but she felt stronger. She tried one more time to pry her eyes open, if it didn’t happen this time she would just stay right where she was.

Her eyes opened and she was staring up at a white ceiling. She felt the softness of a feather mattress, she smelled the familiar scent of her comforter. How did I get to The Citadel? Into my bed? What the hell is going on?

Raven turned her head and saw an attractive, but scary looking, man dressed in solid black with severe eyes and incredibly long black hair. A thin woman with blonde hair had her hand on his arm. She tried to push herself up but a sharp pain shot through her chest and she fell back onto her pillows.

“Woah there gorgeous!” Raven turned her head toward the voice and saw Verchiel smiling at her like an idiot.

****

 

Verchiel sat down on the bed beside Raven and helped to get her into a sitting position, he tried to be as gentle as possible but he saw her wince and he immediately felt bad that he had hurt her. He ran to the fridge, as quickly as possible, and back to her side pressing a bottle of red liquid into her hand. He watched intently as she downed it in three gulps. He could see the questions in her eyes and the way she kept glancing at the two other people in the room.

“This is Jorick and his wife Katelina. You were in bad shape, Rave, so in order for you to heal you needed to stay stationary. Jorick is a whisperer and he kept you in a relaxed and calming state until you were healed enough to move around.” Verchiel hadn’t realized he had her hand in his until he raised it to his mouth to kiss it.

“Actually, my wife and I were on our honeymoon with a few guests. The redheaded idiot here refused to leave us be until we came here.” Verchiel shot a look at Jorick and had to stifle a laugh when Katelina swatted her husbands arm.

He heard Raven laugh, for a second he thought he was in heaven, and couldn’t stop himself from grinning ear to ear. He noticed the look that passed between the married couple, it was a look of shock and confusion.

“That’s why he bou-” Verchiel jerked his head over to look at Jorick, Katelina had her hand over his mouth.

“Raven, it was nice to meet you but you and Verchiel have a lot to talk about. Me and my husband have a honeymoon to get back to and guests waiting, I’m sure we’ll meet again.” He watched as Katelina shuffled Jorick out of the bedroom and waited until he heard the door to her apartment close.

He still had her hand in his when he heard her southern drawl, “What happened to me? My chest hurts. How did I get here?”

He crossed his legs to get closer to her and held her hand to his chest, “Rave, you had a piece of wood go into your chest. You were lucky it missed your heart by a few centimeters and somehow missed all vital organs. You’ve been out for about two days. You’re going to have a scar that wound was bad, so unfortunately you won’t be stripping for a while.”

He watched her look down the front of the t-shirt he had put her in, “Well that’s not attractive. Where did I get this shirt?”

He felt himself smirk despite trying to play it cool, besides he had something more important to tell her.

“Well, that specific shirt is mine and I put you in it.”

“Oh Ok. Ummmmm how did I get here?”

“After Ark found a homeless dude and got some blood in you and then wiped the guys memory. I picked you up, ran out of the church, put you in your car, and broke the sound barrier to get you back here.”

“Huh. Ok, I was bleeding pretty bad, right?

“Yeah, I’ve never been so scared in my afterlife!”

“My upholstery is pretty fucked then, huh?

Verchiel busted out laughing, “You almost die and all you’re worried about is your upholstery? You silly woman.”

He dropped her hand, it was time for him to try to be serious for once, “I put in a request. I don’t want you to argue with me about it, it’s what you wanted. All I want is for you to be ok, so I did it for you. I hope that one day you will forgive me.”

He saw a look pass across Raven’s face as he got up off the bed and walked out of the room. He went over to her couch and picked up the large box he had wrapped in black glossy paper with a big black bow on the top. Verchiel walked back into her room and saw her sitting there with her hands in her lap, tears running down her face. When they made eye contact she tried to speak but if she actually said anything he didn’t hear it.

He sat down on the foot of the bed and crossed his legs facing her and set the box between them, he reached across and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“Raven. I never thought I would ever say this but…you make me not want to date a whole lot of people.”

He couldn’t read the look on her face but he figured it was somewhere between utter confusion and amusement.

“I don’t understand, you put in a request for a transfer, right? So you wouldn’t have to deal with me?”

“Oh hell no, that’s not what I put the request in for. I’m not letting you out of my sight for any reason, I want to be with you. Only you. In all ways possible.”

Verchiel waited for a response. Congratulations V, you just poured your heart out and scared the hell out of her.

Her response finally came after an agonizing five seconds, “You really want me?”

“Yes, I really want you. I never thought I’d fall for a goth princess who likes gangster rap but here I am. Can we do this, Rave? Just give me a chance and I swear to you I’ll do anything you want.”

“Anything?”

“Anything.”

“Can you have my car reupholstered?”

He felt the smile spread across his face and moved around the box to sit closer to her, he slipped his arm around her waist and used his other hand to turn her head so he could lose himself in her eyes. Her skin felt like smooth porcelain, he could barely keep himself from making love to her right there but he knew she needed time to heal.

“Yes, I will get your car reupholstered,” He kissed her nose and pressed his forehead to hers, “Are you going to open this box or just leave it here on the bed?”

“It’s not a head is it?”

The pop culture reference wasn’t lost on him, “No, Brad Pitt, it’s not a head.”

He was practically bouncing with excitement as she pulled the box closer to her and lifted the lid. At first he saw curiosity in her eyes, then pure joy as she lifted the little black fur ball out of the box.

“V, how did you know to get me a black Pomeranian?”

He smiled in satisfaction as she cuddled the fluffy puppy to her chest and stroked its fur, “Jorick was in here keeping you calm and mentioned something about a black Pomeranian in one of your thoughts. I figured you could use the company while you recover. This little dust bunny is what I put the request in for, not a transfer. Please don’t eat it, I never knew dogs could cost that much.”

“I would never eat you! You’re too adorable and fuzzy and sweet!”

He pulled her closer to him and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as Raven held the little pooch in her hands and it licked her nose. Of course that smile was short lived as Ark poked his head into the room.

Verchiel refused to move away from her as Ark walked in and took a seat in the chair next to Raven’s bed.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better Raven. I saw Jorick and his mate in the hall, they informed me that you had come round.”  His voice was all business and to Verchiel it sounded entirely too formal.

“Yes, sir. I now I messed up my first assignment but I hope I can prove to you that I am worthy of my position.” He looked at Raven in amazement, how could she think she messed up her first assignment?

“It wasn’t an ideal situation and we had no idea it would be Sapphira and Kyran. Our intel was bad but it has been dealt with. As for your reports I want them from both of you by the end of the week.”

Verchiel nodded in Arks direction there was no point in arguing with him it was part of their job.

“Verchiel, I see your request was approved. What have you decided to name the rodent?”

“Snowball.”

Verchiel had to stop himself from laughing, only his goth southern belle would name a fuzzy black dog Snowball. My goth southern belle, he liked the sound of that.

Verchiel reached for the remote on the night stand as Ark stood up to leave, “One more thing.”

Of course there is! Verchiel rolled his eyes as he pointed the remote to the tv hanging on the opposite wall.

“Since Verchiel killed Kyran, Sapphira’s bonded mate, she will retaliate. Raven, you have a target on your back right now until we can either capture her or kill her.”

He felt Raven tense up against his side, “I understand,” was all she said.

Ark nodded his head and walked out.

Time to lighten the mood, no need to stress her out anymore.

He turned the tv on then looked at her rubbing the puppies tummy, hmmmmm I wonder….

 

How do you feel about Anime?”

“V, if you don’t put Hell Girl on right now I will break up with you and have sole custody of Snowball. I will go after puppy support.”

He turned her head up and pressed his lips against hers, “You are so perfect.”

As he sat with her and watched tv he knew Sapphira would be coming for her. He knew his life just got a hundred percent more complicated. He knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he would go to the the ends of the earth to keep her safe and happy. He also knew that there was no way in hell she was going to stay on the sidelines and observe from a distance.

What have you gotten yourself into now? But he already knew the answer.

A whole lot of trouble.

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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It’s Coming….

Daniel

Fan Fiction Fling Entry #6

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have a cross over with Jonathan Harvey’s Vampire Willy:

You Can’t Make Her Love You (At Least Not Without Persistence) by Jonathan Harvey

Well, I heard they just got married and now they’re off on their honeymoon.  At first, I was a little hurt that I didn’t get an invitation. It’s just as well that I didn’t. I’ve been the beautiful Katelina’s secret admirer since way back when she was human.  Even though Jorick and I are best of buds, I believe he’s always perceived me as a threat. After all, Willy Osborn is not one to play by the rules!  Jorick and I have a unique relationship.

I remember when we first met. I was a brand spanking new fledgling vampire. Tragedy had struck. The Scourge had just slain my Lenora!  I was devastated.   I begged him to kill me too! He didn’t! He left me to my misery.  I stood there trembling with rage and despair in the parking lot of a dumpy motel called the Tipsy Turtle.  I was screaming at the Scourge, vowing that I would make him regret not killing me. Nobody is better than Axe, The Scourge, at killing our kind.  The man has skills. That’s when Jorick came out.

Jorick and his then human companion, the beautiful Katelina, had been staying at the Tipsy Turtle.  They were passing through town on one of their famous road trips. Jorick had come out because of the great commotion I was making. He knelt beside me as I still knelt beside the lifeless body of my beloved Lenora.  I thought I saw compassion in his eyes when he asked, “She sired you?”

At the time, I wasn’t sure what that meant.  Lenora had literally just turned me the other day!  My eyes were still red and burning from the tears.  “I think so. We were in love.”

The compassion on his face was replaced by the expressionless look that I have come to understand is his signature look. I’ve always wondered he would choose that look as a signature look.  It’s not his best look.   He stated, “She was a rouge.  She didn’t belong to a coven.”

I think at this point,  his plan was to put me out of my misery, because suddenly the beautiful Katelina yelled, “Jorick, you can’t just kill him!  We should help him! Can’t you see he’s devastated?”

At that moment, everything was painted with an impossible shade of surreal as Jorick and Katelina began this conversation about whether or not I should be destroyed.  Jorick turned to the girl, “He knows nothing about what he has become.  He has no support, no coven, plus I can see in his eyes that madness has taken his mind.  It will be a mercy if I end him now, Little One.” I love the way he calls her “Little One.”

I said nothing.  I was overcome with the weird feelings that had come over me.  Moments ago, I was screaming that I wanted the Scourge to kill me, but suddenly that didn’t feel like such a great idea. Not with this Jorick character at least.  This was especially true now that I had caught sight of this new angel, this beautiful Katelina!  She was in my corner! She turned to him and made a case, “What about Oren.  He’s got a coven. Why can’t he be a vassal for Oren or something? Why can’t they take him in and teach him to be a proper vampire?”

There it was.  I was a vampire!  Everything happened so fast, I had never fully realized the situation.  She named what I was and it dawned on me! I was a vampire!  I could be the greatest vampire that ever lived!  Now it was Jorick time to put in his point of view, although after hearing what Katelina had to say the only words that came out of his mouth was, “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Katelina, blah, blah, blah.”

Although I’m sure he made some perfectly valid points, Katelina was having nothing of it. “I can’t believe you, Jorick! That’s the most cold-hearted thing I’ve ever heard.  It’s obvious the poor vampire is hurting.  He needs our help!”

That’s when Jorick replied, “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  I just couldn’t believe it.  Then, just to lighten the mood and ease the tension of the situation, he said, “Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.”  Then he wrote down an address and phone number on a piece of scrap paper and handed it to me.  “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” he instructed.  Then he placed a hand on my shoulder and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  I’ll never forget that little piece of advice.  I think I’ll carry it with me until the day that I am destroyed.

Jorick turned and walked over to a car.  They were obviously in a hurry to get somewhere.  But before they left, the beautiful Katelina came up to me and placed my head in her hands.  “It’s going to be okay.  I too have recently had my life turned upside down.  If I can make it in this nightmare world,  I know you can too.”  Then she turned and joined Jorick at the car and mentioned something about being hungry and that convenient store snacks were not going to cut it.

I’ll never forget that moment.  It was the moment that I realized that Katelina had secret burning flame of desire for me in her heart.  I realized that the soul of my precious Lenora had somehow escaped her lifeless body and had somehow merged with the soul of Katelina.  I had but one option left for me if I were to ever experience true happiness.  I had to secretly stalk and kidnap Katelina.  I realized that only as my captive could her love for me grow to the fullest potential.  I had successfully kidnapped her on more than one occasion, but before our love could be fully realized Jorick would somehow find me and with a, “Blah, blah, blah” he would take my beautiful Katelina back from me.  Perhaps it’s our destiny to share.  If that’s the case, then I’m sure it’s got to be my turn soon.

Today, she is newlywed to Jorick.  It has to be hard for her to deny that secret yearning she has for me.  That’s why I have made it my mission to find my beautiful Katelina and rescue her from her own honeymoon.  I have to say, now that she’s a vampire, everything is much more fun.  The stalking, the struggle, and the capture are more of a challenge than ever before.  This will be good time.  I am sure she will be overjoyed!

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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Fan Fiction Fling Entry #5

fanfic vote

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have:

Old Friends and Enemies by DM Yates

Oren arrived home just morning light, exhausted. The search had been futile.

Etsuko hurried into the front room when she heard the door. “I was worried about you. You’ve been gone for days. Did you find who you were looking for?”

“No.” Oren’s answer was curt and he could see the hurt in Etsuko’s eyes. He ran his hand over his face. “We’re no farther ahead than the last time. Are the children home?”

“They’re both here. Jayleth arrived while I was asleep and waited until I woke. We had a nice talk about his first semester in college. He’s excited to see you. Paylin came home past curfew. You will need to punish her again, but I can see you’re very tired. Sleep, and tomorrow night you can visit with them.”

“I need to see them tonight…by myself.” Oren headed up the stairs to Paylin’s room. She had already showered and was reading a book in bed.

“I know. I know,” she said. “I’ll be grounded again.”

Oren said nothing, but walked to her bed and sat down. He placed a kiss on her forehead. “Did you have fun?”

“Yeah. We went to some new club and drank and danced all night. I forgot about the time.”

“But you kept our secret?”

“Why do you ask me this every time I go out? Of course I did. Jayleth and I would never say that our parents are vampires. Besides, who’d believe us?”

Oren nodded then became pensive. He studied his daughter’s face.

“What’s wrong, dad?”

Oren sighed deeply. “Forgive me.” Before Paylin knew what was coming, he’d bitten her. She barely got a scream out before she went unconscious.

Jayleth had heard his sister’s scream and ran to her room. It was easy for him to see what Oren had done.

“Why?” yelled Jayleth. “You gave us the right to choose and we made our choice. You had no right.” Jayleth could get no other words out before Oren was on him and bit him too. He lifted his unconscious son in his arms and laid him next to his sister.

He could hear Etsuko hurrying up the stairs and he waited. She rushed in and her eyes showed her shock and horror. “No. No, Oren san. Why?” She shook her head as she looked at their children lying there. “We agreed to respect their wishes. Why?”

“I chose to,” said Oren.

Etsuko flew at him and slapped his face until he held her hands still. “Please explain,” she begged. He said nothing and showed no emotion. Finally, she fell to the floor bent over and sobbed. “You had no right. I’ve always respected your word, but this was wrong.”

“I had every right.” He turned on his heel and stormed out of the room.

Etsuko pulled herself together, kissed her children’s cheeks, and took out her phone. When the vampire answered, she could only say between sobs, “You must come quickly. Something is wrong with him. He’s not talking and he turned our children.”

The next day,  as soon as Etsuko heard the knock, she opened the door and Jorick entered. “Welcome to our home, Jorick sama. He’s in our daughter’s room.”

Jorick nodded and walked up the stairs. He stood at the entrance to Paylin’s room and found Oren sitting on the edge of the bed in contemplation. “Still no luck?”

“None. When I got home, this was tacked on our front door.” Oren handed Jorick a folded letter, which Jorick read.

“Another threat,” said Jorick. “How many now?”

“Three.”

“Why haven’t you told Etsuko?”

Oren shrugged, but said nothing.

“It’s her right to know, and maybe she could shed some light on this.”

“I’d rather not upset her. Besides, what can she do to help us?”

“So you turned them. I would have too, but Etsuko has the right to know that someone is threatening to kill your children and return their corpses to you.”

Etsuko had just reached the top of the stairs and walked sadly into the room. “This is what you’ve been doing? Searching for someone, but you’ve had no luck?” She sat next to him on the bed and held his hand. “They are 20-years-old. They’ve lived through their childhood around vampires with no harm, and now they might die? I’m sorry for hitting you. Where have you looked?”

“Everywhere,” replied Oren.

Jayleth had just woken up. With a cry, he lunged for his father, but Oren easily threw him over his shoulder to the floor where Jorick held him down with one foot.

“You will respect your father,” said Etsuko softly. “He had his reason.”

The sheets rustled and Paylin pushed herself to a sitting position. “Why?” she asked. You agreed to let us stay human.” She grasped her throat. “I’m parched.”

“I will take care of that,” said Etsuko rushing out of the room. While she was gone, Jayleth grappled with Jorick’s leg.

“Let me up. I’m going to kill him.”

“If you agree to listen to him before you kill him, I’ll let you up,” said Jorick with a twinkle in his eye.

“I’m glad you find this funny,” said Oren.

Etsuko had come back in with bags of blood.

“Yuck. Dad, please,” said Paylin.

“Drink. You need it,” replied Oren without looking at her. Jayleth had grabbed a bag and was already gulping it down, but Payleth only stared at her bag.

“You must drink,” said Etsuko. She walked to her daughter, opened the bag, and held it near her daughter’s mouth.

For a moment, and only for a moment, Paylin refused, but the smell of the blood and her dry throat couldn’t resist any longer and she drank. Jayleth was already on his second bag.

“Tell them,” said Jorick.

Oren looked his son in his eyes. “I’ve received threats against you two. We raised you. You are our childrend. I love you too much to lose you. To be safe, I felt I had no choice but to change you.”

“But I wanted to finish college,” said Jayleth. “I could have defended myself.”

“Not against a vampire,” countered Oren. “You can attend evening classes.”

“That will take a lifetime,” complained Jayleth.

“You have that and more,” retorted Jorick.

“Not funny,” said Oren and Jayleth at the same time.

“What about me? I love to party. I love dances,” said Paylin.

“Vampires party and dance,” said Jorick.

“Name one time I’ve ever see you or dad party, Uncle Jorick.”

“We’re not the partying kind,” replied Jorick.

“Shall we leave tonight?” asked Oren.

“If you wish,” said Jorick.

“I’m going with you,” said Jayleth. “I’ll never forgive you for changing me, but I will fight beside you everytime.”

“I’ll go too,” said Paylin. “Maybe we’ll find those mysterious vampire parties along the way.”

“We will go as a family,” said Etsuko.

“I want all of you here where you’ll be safe,” said Oren.

“They won’t be any safer here than with us,” replied Jorick.

“Who do you think it is?” asked Paylin.

“Who else, but one of our long time enemies,” said Oren.

“Well, to search out all of your and Uncle Jorick’s enemies will take at least two lifetimes,” quipped Jayleth. Oren flicked his son’s forehead.

“One semester of college and you come back too smart for your britches,” said Oren.

“Oh, dad,” said Paylin with a roll of her eyes, “noone wears britches anymore.” She and Jayleth laughed.

“Get ready,” said Etsuko, “and quit teasing your father.”

“It’s my favorite game,” said Jorick.

“Don’t I know it,” replied Oren. “Fine. We all go, but keep in mind our enemies are dangerous.”

Paylin clicked her tongue. “All vampires are dangerous.”

“I’m sorry for changing you,” said Oren, “but I can’t lose another family.”

“Yeah, well, you might anyway when we run ahead of you, old timer,” said Jayleth. Oren flicked his son’s forehead again.

“It is easy to see they’re no longer angry with you,” said Etsuko. “We will find this enemy of yours, and it will be good to see old friends again too.”

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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Fan Fiction Fling Entry #4

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have:

Home by Bonnie Mutchler

Jamie leaned against the glass side of the elevator. It was very late and he was tired. They had skidded into the garage just as the sun rays had shown through the windows. And by the time they had wedged the prisoners out of the trunk (he often missed those nice big cars of the past with trunk space for a swimming pool), hustled them down to the cells and checked them in, he was only wishing for his comfortable bed with Autumn next to him. He should have called and let her know they would be in, but he didn’t like making personal calls with the other Executioners around. Especially that damned redhead who smirked and made kissy noises. Sometimes he understood Jorick’s desire to wring the fool’s neck. And who’d have guessed at that hour when he dropped his report off in the office that Eliefer would still be up and want to hear a verbal report. Of course Verchiel had disappeared as usual so he was left fielding questions for over an hour. Now Autumn would be sound asleep and he felt dead on his feet himself.

Autumn. He shook his head, wonderingly. She had tugged at his heart the moment he’d seen her dirty frightened face, looking up hopelessly from a corner of the tomb. An abandoned fledgling, not understanding she didn’t need to drain people. When the numbers had become noticeable, he and Verchiel had been dispatched to stop it immediately. They had agreed on the way the easiest thing would be to track the rogue and kill it. But then they’d found her and Verchiel had made an impassioned plea and he’d found he didn’t want to do the deed either, so they’d settled for taking her in and letting the Council decide. Long story short, Eliefer had agreed not to have her put to death if Verchiel accepted her as a fledgling, which he reluctantly had and for a few months he’d even stuck to it when he was in, then somehow he’d pestered him into double dating and that was that. He was training her with swords and about laws and vampires in general. Next thing he knew they’d become lovers and then they were living together. He still wasn’t certain about it all. Things moved so much faster now days but they also seemed to crumble faster.

The door swished open and Jamie walked down the deserted halls past empty arcades and spas to the solid door with the key card lockbox. Sliding his card down it he heard the click and followed the hall to his own door. Inside he dropped his bag on the floor, hung his long leather coat on the hook and sat down on the hall bench to pull his boots off. Stumbling into the bedroom, he gazed at the woman curled under the heavy duvet, her scarlet hair fanned out across the pale blue pillow. She looked even younger than her twenty years. He felt the familiar stirring in his chest that spread quickly to his groin. Lord, she was beautiful. He sighed, shaking himself as he turned and sat on the opposite side of the bed.

Autumn knew she was not alone even before she had clawed away the wisps of dream and sleep. Her heart pounded until it felt like it would come through her chest. She was young, practically a baby compared to the other vampires in the Citadel, especially the ones in this block, and though Jamie had promised to teach her to fight, the training had been sporadic to say the least. She took a tentative sniff, trying to peel back the layers of furniture oil, laundry detergent and other mundane household smells. It was faint at first, then stronger; the familiar beloved scent of mist and heather.

Autumn’s lips curled in a smile as she opened her eyes. Rolling over she slid across the bed, rising on her knees behind Jamie. She slipped her arms around him, leaning her head against his strong, muscular back.

“I missed you. Why didn’t you tell me you’d be home tonight?” she asked, kissing his neck.

“I wasn’t sure we’d make it, even with Verchiel driving,” Jamie replied. “It was ten hours hurtling over icy roads at breakneck speeds varying between Japanese anime pop stuff and his inane chatter. I’m not sure which is worse.”

Autumn laughed. She gripped the hem of his shirt and began peeling it off as he raised his arms, and tossed it on the floor. Gliding off the bed, she knelt in front of him, pulling off his socks. Then she unbuckled his belt and unzipped his trousers.

“You handle the rest while I get you a little pick-me-up.” She sashayed towards the living room, the tiny silk nighty moving suggestively across her hips.

Jamie grinned. He stood to remove the rest of his clothing and climbed under the duvet. Pulling the band from around the bun, he tossed it on the table and shook his hair out, the long raven tresses tumbling down his shoulders and over his pale chest. Leaning back against the pillows, he ruled himself to keep his eyes opened. Once they closed he knew he’d be sound asleep.

Autumn opened the tall, heavy mahogany cabinet in the living room. Inside was a mini kitchen. On the bottom was a small freezer and on the shelves above was a small microwave and a variety of steins, goblets and mugs. She took out the last two, making a mental note she would need to get more tomorrow, and warmed them in the microwave. She poured them both into a large silver tankard. It was one of the few things he had been able to sneak out of his family’s castle when he left Scotland. She knew Jamie hated his brother in law with a passion and was bitter against his sister for allowing her husband to lay claim to everything that was rightfully his. You’d think after three hundred and sixty some years though he’d have let it go, but she’d read somewhere Scots never forgave or forgot, and considering their history she supposed it was true.

She returned to the bedroom, pausing to take in Jamie waiting for her, his raven hair framing a perfect face, pale as ivory. Soft brown eyes gazed at her tenderly and a self-assured smirk played on his full lips. Autumn felt her heart swell. How could someone as gorgeous as Jamie want her? She guessed it didn’t matter, just as long as he did. She handed him the tankard and crawled over him to the other side. Jamie drank deeply, gulping the ruby liquid down without pause.

Autumn blinked at him when he finally lowered the mug and licked his lips. He smiled at her, setting the tankard aside and raising a well sculpted brow. “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

“What?” She couldn’t think of anything she’d forgotten.

Jamie slid deeper into bed and turned on his side to face her, taking the thin strap of her nighty between his fingers. “I think this needs to go. Would you like me to do the honors?”

“By all means,” Autumn whispered. She trembled with excitement as his hands skimmed her flesh, sliding the silky material over her head. He pulled her close, gazing into her emerald eyes. There was an electricity that seemed to flow between them as she brushed her fingers down his jaw. He leaned down, brushing his lips over hers, before moving on to her neck and the sweet spot behind her ear that made her moan. She lifted her body into him, her fist tangle in his hair, every nerve alive as his lips feathered kisses over her shoulders.

It took a moment for the insistent tolling of the phone to penetrate their brains. As a joke Autumn had reset the ring tone for the Citadel on his phone to a military marching song and was surprised he hadn’t changed it back to his bagpipes. Both groaned.  She dropped back on the bed as Jamie released her and rolled over to grab his phone.

“Yes?” he snapped. “Do you realize what time it is?” He listened a moment and then snarled. “Can’t the humans handle it? Isn’t that what they’re paid to do?” His eyes went wide. “You woke him too? You are a fool. Never mind, I’ll deal with it, but you had better be aware I will not be in favor of you furthering your career as a guard, human or vampire.”

Jamie growled. “What’s wrong?” Autumn asked.

“It appears an armed band of vampires have broken into the Citadel in an effort to free the prisoners Verchiel and I brought in. They are well armed and dangerous apparently and despite all the upgrades in security they have blacked out the system and all the computers that run the cameras are down. No one knows where they are, so the guards woke Eliefer, who has now ordered all Executioners out, which is Verchiel, Mingina, and me. I’ll have to wake them.”  He made two quick calls to the other Executioners, then pulled his trousers on and sat back down to pull his socks on. Autumn moved over beside him, grasping his arm and kissing his shoulder. Jamie kissed her on top of her head. “I have to go, mo chridhe. It will be fine.” He moved her hands and stood, picking up his shirt and pulling it over his head.

Jamie leaned down and kissed her lips. Autumn felt the cold chill of fear crawl up her spine as she always did when he was leaving. She loved him so. His strength and sweetness overwhelmed her and her chest felt like it was being squeezed until it was hard to breathe. His fingers brushed her cheek and she wanted to stop him, beg him not to go but she knew that was the fastest way to lose him. He’d warned her well enough many times what it would be like and she had assured him being with him was worth the time alone and the worry.

“Might as well go to sleep. God knows when I’ll be back.” She heard him in the living room, buckling his sword belt and then the door closed. Autumn climbed back on the bed and curled up, caressing Jamie’s pillow. His lingering scent comforted her as she fell asleep.

Verchiel was already on the top floor when Jamie arrived. The redhead had assembled about two dozen human guards and had even managed to scrounge up a few vampires from the Greater Guard. No doubt ambitious ones who thought it would look good when promotions came around. They were dividing into search squads when Migina joined them. She apologized for her delay and they separated. Jamie led his squad into the elevator and they went down to the fifth floor, fanning out to begin the search. He knew it was a long shot that they would be found before they did something that would pinpoint their location. The Citadel was huge with too many hiding places. An army could hide themselves in this place and never be found.

He felt his phone vibrate and checked his text. The message from Miginan on the sixth floor read ‘They’ve raided the restaurant kitchen and are well supplied with blood’. Great, he thought they’re going to be fully fed too.

 

Five shadowy men in black carrying shotguns clustered around the thick door, while one in a black guard’s uniform stood look out at the end of the long hall as look out. He was thin and pock marked with dark spikey hair, his lips pursed and angry. He’d worked hard years for this position and now because Raynaurd had over reached his territory and his rights by wiping out too many other covens until the Executioners had come and arrested him and his second, Gavel, he’d been drug into this. Raynaurd should have released him fairly instead of putting conditions on his freedom. He hadn’t known until he came to the Citadel that that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, but he’d sworn with blood. So here he was and he had no doubt they would all die for an ego maniac who didn’t give a damn about any of them.

Corbett held the little box in his hand and slid the card into the slot. Lights flickered on it as the number combinations played across it. A small click told him they were in. He pushed the door open moving as quietly as possible, the others behind him. He handed several others the card boxes and began working his system again on the first door.

The door clicked and the entered the darkened living room. Corbett looked around at the huge carved desk, mahogany cabinets and black marble fireplace. The couch was thick and heavy, dark leather. Along two walls were bookcases crammed with books from floor to ceiling.  He grinned to himself. He wouldn’t mind spending some time in here with a knife and an axe. Show that snotty Executioner who’s in charge.

He waved the man behind him forward and walked into the bedroom. He was almost to the bed when Autumn sat up. She gasped, reaching for the sword fastened to the side of the bed.

“Don’t.” The huge man behind Corbett growled, aiming his shot gun directly at her chest. “Out of the bed slowly, hands where I can see them.”

Autumn stared at him as she twisted the duvet around herself and slid out of bed. He would have made a great barbarian, massive, rough and unshaven.

“Drop it.” The man snarled, his mouth twisting to reveal his long fangs. “Now!”

“I don’t have anything on,” Autumn whispered. Her heart was hammering and terror gripped her. She couldn’t think of anything to do.

“Good, then we can see you in all your glory … weaponless. Now do it.” Autumn felt humiliation wash over her as the duvet dropped to the floor. If she got the chance she would personally drive a dagger through each eye before she twisted it in his heart. She heard him snigger. “At least the bastard has taste. Come.”

“Please?” she begged. Corbett picked up her robe from across the chest at the foot of the bed, quickly felt it for weapons and then tossed it to her. She gratefully wrapped it around her, tying the belt as she followed him out into the hall. Two more men with shotguns came up pushing a male vampire, tall with auburn hair and midnight blue eyes. His pale marbled chest was muscular and a pair of silky pajama pants hung from his hips. His feet were bare and his fury was palpable. Autumn thought his name was Josh and he was mate to Lisiantha. She’d spoken to them a few times in the hall. Another black clad man staggered up, his shirt tattered and scratches covering his face.

“What the hell happened to you?” demanded Corbett.

Elbert scowled. “One of them has a demon cat. I was lucky to get out with my life. It streaked out the door and was gone. I don’t know where it went but if I see the fucking thing again I’m blasting it.”

“You’re not blasting anything till you’re told,” the gruff man told him.

“Don’t you tell me, Vegger. That thing comes at me again, it’s dead.”

“Is this it?” Corbett asked. “You checked every apartment?” They all nodded. He raised his brows, but motioned them out the door, two in front of the hostages and two behind with Vegger beside them. When they reached the hall Autumn was surprised to see one of the Greater Guard join them. Her legs shook with fear and she nearly fell. Josh reached out to catch her, then snarled as the man behind him shoved the two barrels of the shotgun into his back. Autumn bit her lip. She had to be strong. She couldn’t shame Jamie.

“You’re sure no one knows about this place?” Corbett demanded.

“Positive. It’s been closed off for decades. They remodel around here constantly, or did when the old man was alive and running the place. The new boss doesn’t like spending money on nonsense. I found it by accident  myself when that bunch attacked the Citadel last winter. An explosion shook the wall board loose so I pulled it off, but once I saw it was empty I just knocked the nails back in. There’s some old benches and rubbish in it, so should be cozy for a bit.” Peter shook the heavy bag he carried in one hand, “And there’s still blood left if we need to feed again.”

Corbett nodded. He didn’t notice the silent shadow that stalked behind them.

 

Jamie moved silently along the hallway, checking the doors of the rooms that were supposed to be empty according to the information the office had sent through, his huge broad sword in his hand. He was feeling frustrated. Where the hell was Eliefer’s foresight? There were times he actually missed Malick. Yes, the asshole was a monster. He was cruel and vicious but he knew exactly what was going on in the Citadel and where everyone was.

His phone vibrated and he flicked over to text. One of the guards was informing him the further halls had all been checked. He sent back the message to go to the elevator and wait. Just as he was ready to flip back to the list of occupancies, the phone vibrated again. SECOND FLOOR, it nearly screamed with capital letters. HURRY HURRY. He raced towards the elevator, the rest of his squad speedily joining him. When the doors opened Migina’s squad was already there but they packed in anyway. There was barely breathing space. He called Verchiel telling him to take the back elevator or the stairs.

They popped out of the elevator like an explosion, reminding Jamie of the clown cars in old black and white movies. He had felt a panic set in in the elevator and felt sure he knew exactly where the invaders were. When he and Verchiel had gotten to California and the coven’s mountain compound, it had soon become clear of the trespass and murder they had been involved in for decades. They had taken the leader and his second out at sword point and one very large man had shouted, “Look to your loved ones.”

Of course they were always being threatened so he’d taken it with a grain of salt and comforted himself that she was safe in the Executioner’s block. Now he stood before the main door standing wide open and his heart sank. A sixth sense told him they were too late, but they had to look anyway. Jamie took a handful of guards and Migina with him while Verchiel stayed outside with the others. The redhead had tried to make a joke about how he was being left because he was the better man, but somehow it fell flat ad even he didn’t find it funny. Everyone was tense and angry. Someone had broken through their defenses and had dared to strike at innocents simply because their mates were upholding the law. The same could happen to them, only their mates were even more vulnerable. An example had to be made.

Jamie entered his own apartment and saw the duvet on the floor and Autumn’s robe gone. Rage threatened to engulf him but he realized he had to remain cool. Anger made people do stupid things as did fear. And for the first time in centuries he felt real terror for a woman he loved. One he had left at home, where he thought she was safe only to find she wasn’t at all. He heard Mingina swear, something she seldom did.

Moving back to the hall he met the dark eyed woman, her black hair pulled back in a braid. Some of the guards were milling around a small, almost elfin vampire with pale blonde hair and iris colored eyes.

“What’s going on, Mingina?”  Jamie asked, eyeing the girl. “Is she one of them?”

“No,” the Native American girl answered. “She apparently was waiting for Fallon to get in. He was supposed to be here last night but didn’t make it. She says he gave her a key card, which is illegal. This needs to stop! How is this block supposed to be secure when Executioners hand them out like candy to all their whor…”

Jamie waved it away. “That is a discussion for another time.”

“There’s worse.” The woman frowned. “They’ve let Aine’s demon cat out. There’s bloody paw prints so I’d say it got someone, but there’s no telling where the thing is.”

Jamie signed. “Bring the girl over so I can question her.” The guards pushed her to the black haired vampire and he skimmed quickly through her brain. “She doesn’t know anything. She heard something going on with Aine’s cat that woke her and then someone came through the front door. She rolled off the bed and hid under it. She saw a set of feet which looked in the closet and then left the room. She said she stayed there until one of the guards sensed her and told her to come out.”

They went back into the hall. Jamie assigned two guards to take the girl back to her own apartment and then looked around at the others. “Are there any trackers among you?”

“I am sir.” A tall, willowy brunette stepped forward in a new black uniform. “My name is Aimisa.”

Jamie cocked an eyebrow. “Well Aimisa, let’s start.” The girl nodded and began studying the carpet and sniffing the air. He hoped she was really good because with this mob it was going to be hard finding the scents to follow. He had already lost them.

His phone vibrated again. This time it was Eliefer’s  private number He flipped to the message, as the others did on their phones. ‘Six figures, unused space, I see a battle with firearms. Be careful.’

Aimisa was standing at the mouth of the hallway. She pointed down the long corridor towards the stairs. “Um, this way sir.” He nodded and they all followed.

 

They had managed to pick up two more hostages along the way, human cleaners who had had the bad luck to be in their path. The chubby raven haired girl with black gothic make up seemed mostly excited and ready for an adventure. Autumn suspected she’d join the other side just as easily as not. The guy looked about twelve. He had big ears and round terror stricken eyes. The moment he’d seen the guns he’d flicked off the floor cleaner and put his hands up.

They sat on the dusty pink padded bench that had been pushed in the back corner of a small square space cut out of the storeroom of a bridal store. Behind them was a huge antique coal or wood furnace covered in rust and cobwebs. Across from them on another bench sat Elbert, still patting his wounds and applying saliva. A shot gun rested between his body and his elbow on the left side. A muscular blonde with his hair slicked back and a tiny Hitler mustache rolled his eyes as he paced back and forth in front of the hostages waving his gun back and forth and rolling his eyes.

“That’s disgusting, man. People do that when they are five not two hundred,” he muttered with a strong German accent.

“Go to hell, Klaus. No one cares what an ex-Nazi thinks. Go back to Germany where you came from,” Elbert snarled.

“Shut up, both of you,” Vegger growled. “As far as I’m concerned you can both drop dead as soon as Raynaurd and Gavel are free. We’re going to go call from another location in case they can track our phone now. Myrick is in charge until we get back and there better not be any trouble or screw ups while we’re gone. Got it?” All the men nodded. Vegger and Corbett went out through the space they had created by removing the board and put it back in place. Autumn could hear them pounding the nails back into place with something metallic. A dagger handle maybe?

Peter sat down, his face in his hands, rocking back and forth. “This is all going to end badly no matter what we do. If anything happens to that woman or man they’ll make sure we suffer a hundred years of hell. Eliefer may not be as evil as Malick but the Executioners are the same. I say we make a deal and get out of here.”

Myrick whirled around to face the guard. “You lily livered coward! You’d stab your own in the back? Leave Vegger and Corbett to take the fall for this while we make a deal, and I’m sure that would include you being put somewhere safe and cozy.” He narrowed his cold blue eyes. “You made a blood vow to come whenever you’re called and do whatever you’re asked.”

“I was tricked into that,” Peter growled bitterly. “You know that isn’t how it’s supposed to work. Once the blood debt is paid I was supposed to go my own way in peace. God knows the debt was long enough.”

“You gave your vow and you’ll keep it, or I’ll see you dead on the floor. Do you understand? Do one thing to jeopardize this mission, you’ll be the first one on the pyre if I have to die to see to it,” Myrick snarled, wadding the front of Peter’s shirt.

The guard flashed his fangs and jerked loose. They eyed each other angrily for a moment then Myrick walked back to the two by four frame the boards were nailed to and leaned against one of them.

 

The phone vibrated. Jamie checked his text message as they continued down the stairs. ‘They’re on the phone.  They’ve demanded the release of the two prisoners recently brought in or they’ll kill the hostages.  We have the tracking system up finally and have pinpointed at least some of them walking along the terrace on the fifth floor. Eliefer says the battle will take place in the disused space still. He warns the time has nearly gone.‘ He cursed. They were doing the best they could.

The stairs ended with a heavy door in a narrow hallway next to a shabby night club, a human wiped tables while another swept the floor in the blue light glow. They passed on and followed a maze into the shopping area passing shops and “tea” rooms, taro rooms and pet salons. Jamie was beginning to question his tracker’s ability when she paused, checking the floor and frowning.

“Two have gone on to the atrium. They went inside with the others but they’ve left again,” Aimisa murmured.

“We know they’ve separated,” he answered quietly. “The hostages are our main concern.”

The girl nodded and led the way into the shop, through it and into the back room, nodding towards a wall in the back. A memory stirred of random coal furnaces built in after the Guild had changed to electric heat back in the1950s.

Jamie sniffed and caught the smell of five males and the gentle rain and lilac of Autumn.  He also knew any minute those inside would catch their scent. He nodded and everyone prepared their weapons, then he kicked in the board. It split in half creating a huge gash and knocking Myrick flat on the floor. For an instant those inside stood frozen, then one streak followed another as the kidnappers came to life.  Elbert raised his weapon, swiftly aiming at Josh’s chest. Just as he pulled the trigger the first streak landed in a ball of fur and claws and teeth.  The man screamed as shreds of flesh and cloth rose into the air.

Verchiel, the second streak, landed in front of Klaus who had turned and taken aim at Autumn. The katana he was swinging took off the German’s head neatly. It flew in an arc splattering blood behind it and landed on the floor next to Peter.

Meanwhile Migina had stepped forward and using her ghost hand abilities had gathered the shot from Elbert’s discharge and threw them at the former guard.  They went through his face and chest. Jamie extricated Myrick, cursing and fighting all the way, from beneath the shattered bits of the board. Myrick snarled and suddenly Jamie saw the dagger flash in his hand. Autumn screamed and Jamie grabbed Myrick’s wrist and twisted until a sharp crack was heard and the dagger fell to the floor.  He pulled both hands behind the man and Verchiel twisted bands around the kidnapper’s wrist.  Elbert was still screaming and rolling the cat screeching and tearing at him, while Peter howled from the wounds covering his face and chest, as Migina twisted bands around him.

The floor cleaner had fallen to the floor, blubbering, while the Gothic chick had latched onto Josh with a death grip. Autumn felt stinging scratches on her face and touching them, drew her fingers back with blood on them. She watched mesmerized as her lover fought briefly with Myrick, and once the criminal was under control, walked over to the heaving cat/man fight still rolling around the narrow space.  Frowning, he started to reach into the heaving battle when Verchiel stepped over.

“Want me to get that?” The redhead grinned wriggling his fingers. “I am a bit faster.”

“By all means.” Jamie stepped back, just as Autumn launched herself at him. He caught her, pulling her tight against him, her arms flying around his neck. Her lips clamped on his in a passionate, half hysterical kiss. When she finally stopped for air he touched the three scratches on her face, wiping the blood away with his thumb.

“Are you all right?” he asked huskily.

“Yes. I knew you’d come.” She gazed up into his chocolate brown eyes, usually so gentle. Now she saw a burning rage in them.  “There are two more.”

“Yes. I know. We’re going to go get them now.” He looked over her shoulder. Migina had Peter on his feet , though the man looked ready to swoon and with good reason too. Being a member of the Greater Guard he knew what he could expect for betrayal of his office. What was left of Ebert would need carried away. Myrick was still snarling but that was something a few good knocks on the head wouldn’t cure. In their midst was the redheaded Execution with a few battle scars, holding Satan by the scruff of his neck.

“Migina, you’re in charge of the prisoners. I’ll take Verchiel, Aimis and Luther with me.” He named two Greater Guards. “Take the rest with you. Once the prisoners are locked up the human guards can go back to their regular jobs.  The Greater Guards are dismissed.  Someone take that damned cat to Aine’s and make sure the latch is on when you leave it there.  I think for now the hostages should wait in the office. I don’t want them in harm’s way again. “

Autumn wanted to argue. She wanted to go home, curl up in their bed, hug his pillow against her, but she nodded. In the movies women always argued and they ended up dead or getting their lover killed. Jamie was over 300years old, so he knew what he was doing. He leaned down and kissed her on top of her head and then, squeezing her briefly, left with the other three behind him. Verchiel paused long enough to turn and give her a wink and a merry wave.  Migina formed the guards in two groups, one encircling the prisoners, the other around the hostages. She took her place at the rear and they moved towards the elevator.

Stopping at the third floor, Migina motioned the guards around Josh, Autumn and the two humans to get off. The others continued onto the sub floor and the cells below.  Their footsteps echoed as they marched along the white marble floor so hastily that she could not really take in the paintings that lined the walls. They came to the hub in the hallway. The hall to the left led to the audience chamber where she had watched Jamie several times during trials, however they turned right, stopping in front of a highly polished wooden door with frosted glass. Across it was emblazoned ‘Office’ in gilded letters.

The black clothed guard in front dismissed the other guards and then led the four through the door into a small area partitioned off by a re-enforced glass and wood wall. In the glass were two sliding panels the height of the counter behind where two human guards sat in cushioned desk chairs. Stacks of paper, phones and radios marked it as a working desk, while behind the guards were banks of file cabinets that rose to the ceiling.

The guard leading them went over and spoke quietly to one of the guards behind the glass. A hidden door popped open and they were ushered into the office space and back through another door into a pleasant room with several overstuffed recliners, scattered small tables and paintings on the wall. They were told to make themselves comfortable.

Autumn fell into the first chair she came to, curling herself up and reclining back. She watched, amused as Josh tried to extricate himself from the Goth girl who was clinging like ivy to his arm and chest. One of the guards came in and pulled blankets out of a chest. They weren’t necessary of course, but they were somehow comforting. She was so tired. It must be close to noon by now. Her chest tightened as she thought of Jamie still out there, still in danger. Weariness washed over her. She struggled to stay awake, but she felt as though she was sinking into the softness of the padded chair and she fell immediately to sleep.

 

Jamie padded along silently behind Aimis, up the stairs. They hadn’t dared to walk through the atrium where they could be seen from the terrace, so had taken the back way, coming out near the old chapel which had still not been repaired  after it was destroyed during Jorick’s fledgling’s nonsense and Malick’s betrayal.

They moved down temporary vampire housing, basically motel rooms for visiting vampires. Further over were apartments for those who lived in the Citadel permanently;  guards, technicians, secretaries, clerks, bankers and a hundred other  jobs that kept the place going. Aimis stopped when she reached the corner where the hall connected to the terrace. Jamie moved in front of her and peeked around. He could see Vegger leaning against the railing. Corbett was pacing back and forth, his shot gun hanging loosely under his arm, shouting into a cell phone. It was obvious that the man was becoming suspicious with the delay.

The Executioners and Guards held a quick conference, half mentally and half sign language. Finally everyone agreed. Jamie and Verchiel took another quick look out, then Verchiel shot off faster than eye could capture him, crashing into Corbett, sending the gun and the phone flying. Jamie was right behind him. Vegger whirled and fired off the shotgun towards Jamie, who curled into a ball, doing a flip and landing with his sword drawn in front of the huge man. Vegger grabbed the barrels of the gun and began swinging it at Jamie like a club. Sparks flew as the sword blade connected with the shotgun. Jamie felt the powerful strength of the man as they clanged and fought back with a series of quick blows of his own.

Corbett was up again on his feet, drawing an 18 inch hammer from a sling on his belt. One end was blunt the other a pointed spike. Verchiel twirled and smiled as he spied the weapon, taking another run at Corbett, grabbing his elbow and spinning him around.

Corbett was so furious flecks of spittle flew from his mouth as he roared, “Stop it, you asshole! Fight like a real man.” Verchiel just laughed and turned around, spinning the man again. Aimis had stepped out pulling out two of the five throwing knives she had fastened to her belt. She threw one, catching Vegger in the shoulder. The big man grunted and stumbled for a moment then made another lunge at Jamie.

“This can end,” Jamie announced, swinging his sword. “Right now, before one of you dies.”

“Right.” Corbett sneered, his eyes narrowed. “We all know the wise and wonderful Guild will forgive and forget. “ He turned, keeping Verchiel in his sight as the redhead circled him.  “But I don’t mind dying, knowing your bitch is bleeding right now with a hole in her chest. For once one of you can hurt.”

Verchiel grinned. “Sorry, man, but you’re mistaken. Autumn and the others are tucked up safe out of your reach. Three of your friends are in cells and one is dead. Now be good little villains and put down your weapons.”

Corbett loosed an unearthly howl, making a series of clumsy jabs with the pointed end of his hammer. He moved like a madman, totally out of control. Verchiel darted around the corner and Aimis loosed two more knives in rapid succession.  One went through the front of his skull and the other in his leg. Blood ran down into his face and he shook his head trying to clear his vision. Meanwhile, Michael, the other guard had moved up with a small crossbow behind Vegger, the arrow aimed directly at his heart.

“It’s time to quit now. Drop your weapon,”  the young man said quietly.

Vegger snarled, hesitated, then dropped the gun. Jamie pressed his sword against the man’s thick neck, quickly reading through his brain. “There are no other weapons. Take your first prisoner, Michael.”

His bright blue eyes lit up. “Seriously, Sir?” Jamie nodded as Michael quickly put the bands around Vegger’s hands.

Corbett had slammed Aimis against the wall behind them, cracking a window and beating her chest with his hammer. Verchiel raced up behind him slashing his katana. Corbett’s head flew down the hall spraying blood across the carpet and walls. His body stood there for a breathless moment before it fell to the floor and Aimis came down on top of it.

Jamie was there in a moment. He lifted her up, assessing the damage. Her ribs had been shattered and several broken bits had torn through her lungs, still it appeared her heart was intact. “I think she’ll be all right. Verchiel help Michael with his prisoner. I’ll contact the infirmary to come for Aimis and clean the mess.”

“Okay.” Verchiel  grinned. “I’ll let you handle Eliefer and the office then.” He waved to Michael and they headed towards the elevator with the prisoner.

“I’m sure you will,” Jamie muttered.

 

Autumn stirred and opened her eyes as Jamie lowered her down into their bed.

“Shhh,  mo leannan. All is well. Sleep.” She snuggled into the pillows and reached up to him.

“Are you hurt?”

Jamie smiled. “It’s not my blood. I’ll shower and join you. It’s been a hell of a night. I love you.”

“I love you too. Tomorrow I’ll show you,” she murmured as she drifted off.

Jamie stood gazing at her for a few moments and realized how very much he wanted to protect and care for this beautiful woman.  He realized it was far too late to try to not get in too deep. To reserve some part of his heart so he wouldn’t be devastated if it fell apart. Very few relationships lasted forever, but who knew? Maybe this one would. He only knew for once he felt like he was home.

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

my sig

 

Fan Fiction Fling Entry #3

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have a crossover between the Amaranthine Universe and Barbara G Tarn’s Vampires Through the Centuries:

Indian Moon by Barbara Tarn

“What’s the problem?” Verchiel asked, feigning lack of interest.

He had noticed something was wrong as he stepped into the Guild’s restaurant. Looked like the Guild had just awakened to some sort of problem by the gathering of Executioners around a table.

Ark glared at him, but Jamie was kind enough to explain.

“Looks like there’s been a coven war between unaffiliated vampires. We didn’t even know there were vampires over there, to be honest.”

“So how do you know it was vampire activity?” Verchiel asked.

“They called them with local names, but they still sound like vampires.” Jamie shrugged.

“It’s not the Guild’s business to investigate on some so-called demons,” Ark snapped. “I don’t want to go to India to check on somebody else’s mess!”

“But they’re vampires! If they left all those fanged bodies out in the open, our secret will be discovered!” Jamie said.

“Unaffiliated, unknown vampires?” Verchiel’s attention perked up. “India? Would you like me to go have a look and report back?”

Ark and Jamie stared at him. He wiggled his eyebrows and smiled innocently. Ark scowled even more.

“Try not to make a mess as usual,” he muttered, looking away.

“Of course, Ark!” Verchiel made a mock military salute as Ark stormed off.

Jamie shook his head, amused. “Verchiel, you might be in over your head this time,” he said. “Here, read the article.”

He offered his phone open on a web page of the Hindustan Times that cried out “Rakshasa bodies found at Chittorgarh” with even a picture of charred remains with obvious fangs.

“Wow!” Verchiel commented. “And it’s not the Guild’s business? Damage control and all that stuff?”

“Technically it’s not close enough to any of our guilds to be a problem.” Jamie shrugged. “They think it’s their legendary demons, not vampires… So if you want to put your nose in it… I didn’t tell you anything.”

“Of course.” Verchiel grinned.

“Good luck,” Jamie said before leaving too.

Verchiel had a quick breakfast, looking for that same article on his own phone to read it all, then headed for the Guild’s transportation offices. He needed a flight and a driver. Ark had probably warned them that he’d show up, because they didn’t object to his request.

The closest airport was in Udaipur – the Maharana Pratap or Dabok airport, where the Guild’s plane could land better than at international airports. The airport was relatively new, having started operations in 2008, and quite small, with only one asphalt runway, one boarding gate and four check-in counters. It could handle up to six hundred passengers during peak hours of touristic season, but it was empty and closed at night.

Verchiel drove to the Guild’s airport and climbed on the private jet ready to take off. He spent his in-flight time researching the place.

The former capital of the Kingdom of Mewar was now only a tourist destination, with most buildings in ruins across the length of the fortress. It looked like there were still a few nice things standing – those sculpted towers and some temples – but the fortress closed at night and had the opening times of a museum.

Verchiel imagined the first morning tourists finding those bodies and chuckled. Maybe someone even posted a “selfie with the rakshasa“! The article said that the fort was closed after the findings and he’d probably wouldn’t find much when he got there.

The bodies had probably been taken somewhere in the city below the fortress before being sent to some bigger place to be examined, but he could see the battleground and look for clues up there.

The flight took about nineteen hours. It had to cover over 7800 miles and at some point it became daytime for him, so he drifted off to sleep.

The crew awoke him with a glass of blood, saying they were almost there. He checked the time – 2pm Iowa time, but it was half past midnight local time. He wouldn’t have to wait in the plane and could get to Chittorgarh immediately.

The only person waiting outside the airport building was the driver hired to reach Chittorgarh. A skinny Indian man with closely cropped hair and mustachios opened the passenger door of a classic white Ambassador.

Verchiel sat on the back seat inhaling the smell of the old car. It was a beauty and a blast from the past. Clunky and dependable and somehow romantic.

“Welcome, sir. My name is Santosh, and I’m your driver.” The old engine started with a sputter, then died, then started again. “You are lucky to have found one of the last commercial cars in use! This classic beauty has been handling Indian roads dependably for many years!” The engine roared and the Ambassador slowly started moving away from the airport. “So, you want to visit Chittor?”

“Hell yeah, I am very interested in the history of that place,” Verchiel answered, looking outside at the darkened landscape.

“Ah, plenty of history, sir! Rani Padmini and the jahuar, Maharana Pratap, the greatness of the Kingdom of Mewar… will you want to visit our capital too, sir?”

“If I have time when I finish my business in Chittorgarh,” Verchiel answered.

“Ah, yes, we will reach Chittor in a couple of hours. At night I cannot go very fast. As you can see there are no lights and the roads aren’t very well kept… Have you booked a hotel in Chittor?”

“Not really, why?”

“The fortress won’t open until 9.30am, we will be there long before that…”

Verchiel shrugged. “Yes, well, just drop me at the main gate, whatever the time will be. Do you have a phone number? I’ll call you when I’m done.”

Ji, sir.” The driver looked puzzled, but stopped talking. The radio was playing some local song in the background.

“Can you pump up the volume?” Verchiel asked. “This sounds bouncy!”

“It’s a Bollywood song, sir. Do you know Bollywood?”

“Er, no, I’m afraid I don’t.”

Then the bouncy music filled the Ambassador and Verchiel sat back, his head bobbing with the catchy rhythm.

The car was cruising in the dark when suddenly it hit something. Santosh braked with what sounded like a curse and got out of the car to check.

Curiosity won and Verchiel opened the passenger door to see a black cow sprawled on the asphalt.

“I killed a cow!” The driver was desperate. “Sacred animal!” His frenzy was comical in Verchiel’s eyes.

He approached the animal and noticed it was still breathing, albeit clearly very close to actual death. Why let it suffer? Verchiel was hungry and he decided it would be nice to have a snack and spare the cow some pain.

He dipped his fangs in the cow’s neck and sucked. Delicious. Then he realized two things: one, the cow was now definitely dead and two, the driver was speechless and wide-eyed. Verchiel hoped his whispering abilities wouldn’t fail him now.

“Get in the car,” he said gently. Santosh gaped at him. Verchiel concentrated some more and the driver snapped out of his state to sit at the wheel like a robot. Verchiel pushed the cow to the side of the road and climbed back in the Ambassador. “Shall we go?” he asked, cleaning the blood on his chin with the back of his hand.

Again Santosh seemed to snap out of some kind of daydream and quickly glanced at him before putting the car back in motion. Verchiel relaxed again in his seat. The snack had showed up at the perfect time!

***

Chittorgarh slept under the moon when the Ambassador stopped at the first gate at the base of the steep hill. Verchiel got off the car and waved Santosh good-bye. He’d call him when he was done.

The Ambassador wouldn’t go well up the long ramp, but Verchiel got lucky. He saw an auto-rickshaw that had probably dropped someone at a nightclub and was still around at 2am. Verchiel waved him to stop and asked to be taken up to the fort, burying the driver’s protests for the ungodly time with green banknotes. He didn’t have rupees, but dollars seemed to be even better.

The tuk-tuk climbed at it maximum speed the long ramp, which made Verchiel hold on where he could has he was shaken and bumped on the back seat, laughing out loud for the exhilarating ride. But the driver stopped after the seventh gate, near Rani Padmini’s palace. That was where tourists were dropped and got their tickets to visit – during the day. The driver spoke a very bad English, but it was obvious he wouldn’t go any further.

Verchiel sighed and got off the auto-rickshaw, hoping he wouldn’t need the rest of the night to cover the 700 acres area and find the place where the battle had happened. He was a Windwalker, but if he had to sniff his way around… should have been a Tracker instead! He waited until the sound of the tuk-tuk vanished down the road bend and looked around.

He smelled something right there, but it was almost gone. Still, he’d have to rely on his nose to guide him to the place where a bloody battle between strange beings had taken place. It had been only 24hours, surely there was still something lingering in the cool night air…

He caught it almost immediately and started walking on the narrow streets of the fort. Luckily he had to cross the narrow side of the fish-shaped fortress instead of having to cover the whole length. Almost at the other wall he found a small temple built under a tall tower covered in sculptures. Checking the monuments on his phone, he realized he had reached the Kirti Stambh, where the smell of blood was still filling the air.

There were no charred bodies in the grass around the two buildings and monkeys seemed to avoid that place, but there were a dozen people seated on the staircase that took to the temple entrance with a couple perched at the high entrance of the tower.

None of them smelled like mortals, but not all of them had the same smell. One had graying hair, and a couple looked Chinese. Some looked European, others were definitely Indian. An interesting bunch of mixed night creatures who only seemed human.

“Hello there!” Verchiel greeted cheerfully, startling them.

One jumped up immediately and bared his fangs threateningly. “Who are you?” he asked. He wore modern Indian clothes and had strange yellow eyes.

“Name’s Verchiel and you?” the redhead answered, unfazed by the display of strength. Yes, they were definitely vampires, but they weren’t all of the same brood, and definitely not of his own.

A brunette came forward and put a hand on the man’s shoulder. She had blue eyes and wore a long, colorful gown and a short-sleeved shirt that made her look like a hippy.

“I think he is another bloodsucker,” she told her companion. “But I cannot tell where he comes from. Mixed blood, I presume.”

“I come from America,” Verchiel answered. “You?”

“I was born here seven hundred and fifty years ago,” the man answered. “My name is Rajveer.”

“Care to tell me what happened here last night?” Verchiel asked, glad to finally getting answers.

“Why?” Rajveer retorted. “None of your business!”

“Actually, it’s everybody’s business when mortals find vampires’ bodies,” Verchiel said. “Did they take whatever was left from your battle?”

Rajveer exchanged a glance with the woman. “Yes,” he admitted, looking uncomfortable. “But we will retrieve them.”

“Good! Still, I’d love to know what happened. I belong to a Guild of vampires and we’re trying to keep our existence under wraps. We can’t really afford to have rogue bloodsuckers, like she said, making a mess around the world.”

“There is a vampire guild?” The brunette looked surprised. “In America?”

“All over the world,” Verchiel replied. “There’s one in Europe and…”

“We never heard of them,” Rajveer snapped. “We came here because Menka issued a challenge to me. She waited for nighttime in the basement of Rani Padmini’s palace, where my wife died centuries ago.”

“Who the hell is Menka?”

“She’s an Asian vampire,” a pretty blonde came forward, followed by another Indian young man. Both wore jeans and a T-shirt. “They are different from us.”

“So the battle was between your coven and this Menka’s coven?” Verchiel asked, skeptical.

“We’re not really a coven, but when she challenged me, we asked for reinforcements. That’s why other fledglings of our maker came from all over the world,” Rajveer explained.

“And the survivors are all from your side?”

“No, we spared some of them,” Rajveer said flatly. “Even though they’re venomous demons.”

“They do not speak English,” the brunette said. “Thus thou cannot ask them anything.”

Verchiel stared at her. “Shakespearan actress?” he asked.

The blonde giggled. “No, that’s real Elizabethan English! Although she’s much older than that!”

“Ah, I see. And where are you from?”

“The Netherlands. I’m a baby in this second life compared to them.”

“The Netherlands? I know a guy who was also born there – a few centuries ago, that is!” Verchiel chuckled. What would Jorick think of these people? He should have asked him and Kately if they wanted to tag along. Although they were so busy, what with Kately turning…

“Will you leave us alone?” Rajveer asked with a worried frown.

“Of course! Unless you need help retrieving those bodies, that is.”

“How old art thou as a vampire?” the brunette asked, skeptical.

“Er… it’s not nice to ask. Just be aware that I’m vampire security, so if you need anything… I’m not really a Whisperer, but I can get by…”

“A what?” Rajveer stared at him wide-eyed. After some explanation, he relaxed. “Oh, I’m a mind-reader too.”

“But can you influence people?” Verchiel asked.

“I haven’t tried yet. Probably.” Rajveer shrugged.

“How did you get here?” the blonde asked. “Do you have a private jet?”

“The Guild has one. Where did you spend the day? Inside the temple?” He pointed behind them at the quiet group still sitting there.

“It’s too small to hold us all, and it’s still in use. No, we went inside the Kirti Stambh,” Rajveer snapped. “After we’ve honored our fallen companions, we will leave. And we don’t need your help.”

“Rajput pride,” the blonde said, amused. Rajveer glared at her, but she chuckled.

“Sorry, I’m a bit ignorant of Indian history,” Verchiel apologized. “I have no idea of what you’re talking about.”

“Never mind.” Rajveer huffed. “We will retrieve the bodies before the mortals start studying them. And I will try to control or wipe the minds of whoever saw them from up close.”

“And delete all the pictures on the internet?” Verchiel asked, skeptical. “You really need some help with that…”

“The pictures were taken care of.” The voice startled everybody, but made Verchiel snort.

“Sorino, what takes you to India?” he asked, bored. “Are there any treasures buried in these ruins?”

“Maybe.” Sorino stepped forward, followed by Kai. “He has taken care of the online proofs,” he waved at the scarred boy who simply nodded. “If they get rid of the bodies and wipe the minds of the witnesses…”

“We will. Somehow.” Rajveer said, determined.

“Are you a Sisodia?” Sorino asked him.

“I’m a Guhilot of Mewar, why?”

“Do you have access to the Maharana of Mewar?”

“I haven’t asked. We went through Udaipur on our way from Mumbai but I haven’t tried to get in touch with the descendant of Rana Ratan yet.”

“I’ll help you with that mind-wiping if afterward you come with me to Udaipur…”

Verchiel rolled his eyes.

“What’s in it for you, Sorino?” he asked. “Really, what are you actually after?”

“Since you ignore Indian history, why should I tell you?” Sorino replied with his usual contempt.

“I know the Koh-i-noor is in England. Therefore you can’t be after that.”

“The Koh-i-noor is bad luck for men,” the blonde said, amused. “Although you’re already dead, therefore it can’t kill you again.”

“It’s in England, not here,” Sorino snapped. “I want Bappa Rawal’s lance. It holds the same power as the lance of Longinus.”

“Who is Longinus?” Rajveer asked, puzzled.

“The Roman centurion who pierced the side of our lord Jesus on the cross,” the brunette answered. “Bappa Rawal had a lance? Did we miss something about the origins of the Guhilots with Bran?”

“The founder of our dynasty obtained the lance, bow, quiver, arrows, shield and sword that made him invincible from the sage Harit Rishi,” Rajveer said. “But his weapons were lost! Nobody has them!”

“They surfaced again during the struggle with the Mughals,” Sorino said. “Not all of them, but the lance and the shield have been in Sisodia hands since the 17th century. I have no use for the shield with its embossed sun, but I want the lance.”

“Don’t you have enough with the Spear of Destiny?” Verchiel snorted. “Besides, you’re a Whisperer, you could convince anyone to give you that!”

“Since there’s an immortal descendant of the first owner, I’d rather have his cooperation,” Sorino retorted. “Do we have a deal, Rajveer?”

“If you help me finding Bappa Rawal’s sword,” Rajveer answered, determined. “I’d love to have that!”

“Deal.” Sorino offered his hand and Rajveer clasped it, making Verchiel roll his eyes.

“We’ll never get done in time,” he muttered.

“Let’s go to the place where they took the bodies,” Sorino said. “Time to do some mind controlling work!”

***

As dawn approached, they all went back to the fortress and the Kirti Stambh. The 72-feet tower was closed to tourists. There were six floors, but only the third and fifth had very small windows, so they stayed mostly on the staircase away from the scorching October sun. Verchiel counted fifty-four steps to the top, then went back down before sunrise.

The lowest floor was as sculpted at the outside, with statues in special niches formed to house them. The stone eyes of the Jain pantheon didn’t keep him awake, though. But he awoke hungry the following night and Rajveer and his friends took him and Sorino to feed on the colonies of monkeys that lived in the fortress, mostly Hanuman Langurs with gray fur and black faces. There were also goats and the some wandering cows, although Rajveer forbade them to touch the latter.

Then Verchiel announced he’d call Santosh and ask him to take them to Udaipur. The Ambassador could easily sit him and Rajveer and even Kai and Sorino.

“I have my own driver,” Sorino snapped, glaring at him. “I’ll take Rajveer to Udaipur.”

“I’m going with him,” the brunette said. She looked quite possessive of the yellow-eyed vampire and Verchiel assumed they must be a couple.

“So who’s coming?” he asked cheerfully. “We might as well pile up into two cars…”

The locals quickly consulted among themselves in a mix of languages that felt totally alien to Verchiel’s ears, then Rajveer turned back to face them.

“Only me and Kaylyn,” he said, taking the brunette’s hand. She looked quite proud of herself, which made Sorino scoff.

“You let your woman in command?” he asked.

“Elder sister. One century and a half older. She is more powerful than me,” Rajveer answered with a sheepish smile.

“Bran made thee for me, so we could live happily ever after,” she replied, blowing him a kiss.

Rajveer grinned and nodded. “Shall we go?” he asked, looking alternatively at Verchiel and Sorino.

Both took their phone and called their drivers at the same time. Sorino’s was called Pappu, which sounded weird. Verchiel glared at him.

“I found them first, I’ll take them to Udaipur.”

“They’re working with me, I’ll take them!” Sorino scowled back.

“We’ll see you there,” Rajveer said. “We are not too fond of modern means of transportation.”

“Meet you at the gate of the royal palace of Udaipur,” Kaylyn added with a smile.

Verchiel and Sorino gaped as the two of them waved good-bye to everybody and started running along the narrow street and across grass to climb on the walls. In a few seconds they had vanished beyond the battlements.

“Are they climbing down the walls?” Verchiel asked, shocked.

“Yes, they like to go in and out from the walls.” The blonde giggled. “They’ve been doing it for centuries…”

“Cool!” Verchiel was amazed. He realized that Sorino and Kay were already headed for the gates and their car and decided to get moving. “See you!” He waved good-bye to the local vampires and rushed back down, faster than the arrogant vampire.

“Take me to the royal palace of Udaipur, fast, fast!” he told Santosh, still chuckling to himself.

Sorino’s car was newer and faster, so it passed the Ambassador on the road to Udaipur. Verchiel cursed under his breath. Maybe he should just run ahead, or Sorino would leave him out of his deeds. And if Rajveer and Kaylyn could run from Chittor to Udaipur, so could he. Windwalker’s perks.

“Stop the car,” he ordered. “You’re free, I don’t need your services anymore.”

He quickly dropped some money on the front seat next to the driver and was out of the Ambassador before Santosh could protest.

He ran ahead along the road, not knowing an alternative, and soon passed Sorino’s black car. He met Rajveer and Kaylyn on the shore of Lake Pichola as they headed for the City Palace that towered over their heads.

Constructed across four centuries by the Maharanas of Mewar, the palace stood tall over the lake and incorporated several palaces and structures to the complex. It had numerous balconies, cupolas and towers that overlooked the lake, a mix of Indian and Mughal architecture that was the jewel of the Venice of the East.

“Sorino is coming,” Verchiel announced cheerfully as they headed for the Big Gate. “I’m faster. And I didn’t even kill a cow on the road!”

“Who did?” Rajveer asked, puzzled.

“My driver, Santosh, on the way to Chittorgarh.” Verchiel chuckled. “Black cow in the darkest of the night… Perfect timing for a snack!”

Rajveer glared at him.

“What? It was an accident! And it would have died anyway…”

Rajveer growled, then Kaylyn elbowed him and he looked away.

“Let’s go,” she said, grabbing Rajveer’s arm and resuming the stroll. They walked up to the gate chatting amiably.

“Are you going to climb the walls to get in?” Verchiel asked. “How did you do that in Chittorgarh?”

“It’s good exercise,” Kaylyn answered, amused. “Back in the day, the gates were closed against invaders and the only way in or out of the fortress at night was by climbing those battlements.”

“So you’ve been to Chittorgarh before?”

“At the end of the thirteenth century… we left after the first jahuar because Rajveer was mad at us.”

“We?”

“She was with our maker. I do not wish to talk about him right now.” Rajveer looked serious and even Kaylyn’s smile vanished.

Verchiel decided not to press on. Sorino joined them at that point, fuming.

“You wretched redhead,” he muttered, scowling at Verchiel who smiled innocently back.

“So, where do we look for the weapons?” Rajveer asked, brightening again.

“The Maharana side of the palace.” Sorino pointed beyond the gate.

Climbing and jumping and moving stealthily in the sleeping palace was a lot of fun. It was was just as beautiful inside as it was spectacular from the outside. Decorations of delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and surplus of colored glass showed off the opulence of the era. There were a lot of interesting things in the living quarters of the local king, but Verchiel was very busy keeping an eye on Sorino, more than Rajveer.

The weapons of Bappa Rawal were kept in the Maharana’s bedroom. He was snoring softly and the vampires moved around him like shadows. Verchiel watched as Sorino and Rajveer quietly opened a carved wooden chest and pulled out a few wrapped items.

Kaylyn kept an eye on the sleeping mortal, ready to seduce him back to sleep with a bite while Kai waited in a corner. The thieves nodded at each other and stood, each holding something, while Sorino closed the wooden chest.

Verchiel waited until they were under the moon to express is curiosity.

“May I see what you got?” he asked.

Rajveer proudly unwrapped a medium length double-edged straight broadsword with a blunt tip, used principally for hacking, that looked ancient but also quite well preserved. Sorino showed him only the tip of a pointed steel head of a lance that had been taken off its shaft.

“What era did that Bappa guy belong to?” Verchiel asked, frowning at Sorino.

“According to the Ekling Purana, a text composed at the end of the 15th century, Bappa Rawal abdicated the throne in 753 CE,” Sorino answered.

“And they had steel weapons at the time?” Verchiel insisted.

“That’s why this lance is so special,” Sorino retorted. “Even that blade,” he pointed at Rajveer’s loot, “is too well preserved for an 8th century sword.”

Even Kaylyn nodded, impressed. Verchiel shrugged.

“Fine, whatever. Do we head back home?” he stared at Sorino who sniffed.

“You go report to your superiors, Guild underdog, I go where I need to go.”

“Sorino… I didn’t come here because Ark ordered me!”

“I know, you came here because you wanted to.” Sorino smirked. “See you, Verchiel. Bye, Rajveer.”

Verchiel watched him leave and huffed. “What an asshole! Do you have any of that in your covens?”

“Sometimes.” Kaylyn half-smiled. “Nice meeting you, Verchiel.” She offered her hand.

“That’s it? We’re splitting? Oh, man, that’s tough!” Verchiel pulled both of them in a group hug. “I’ll miss you guys! You seem to be quite nice to hang out with!”

“We may come and visit some day,” Rajveer said.

“Do you have a phone?” Verchiel asked them.

“Our fledglings do. Give us your number, we’ll call you if we come on your side of the world.”

Verchiel tried to learn more about who the fledglings actually were, but couldn’t get a straight answer out of either of them. They probably thought they had told him enough already.

“Fine, see you around,” he muttered, unhappy. He better head back for the airport if he didn’t want the sun to find him out in the open.

The lake glittered under the starry sky and he stared at it for a moment, as Rajveer and Kaylyn’s smell slowly vanished around him. Strange couple. Strange vampires. Maybe he should investigate more.

The sky started coloring with orange hues. Verchiel cursed under his breath and rushed back to the airport at Windwalker’s speed.

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

my sig

Fan Fiction Fling Entry #2

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have a cross over between the Amaranthine series and… well…whatever she decided to name it:

World’s Collide by Julie Arlene

Dominique refused to let them break her. They may have won the battle, the war even, but they wouldn’t see her flinch. They’d taken her best friends, her army, and her victory, but they wouldn’t take her pride.

The redheaded bitch sighed. “Dominique, don’t make us do this.”

“That’s Mistress Dominique to you, wench.” Her name was Keera, but Dominique refused to dignify her with a name.

“Very well. If that’s the way it’s going to be.” The bitch turned to the Dragonborns, “Do it.”

A rush of energy filled the plaza and a portal opened up behind her. The high born dancer stepped forward and cut the ties to Dominique’s wrists. She paused, and a wicked smile crossed her face, “This is for Katja.” With a swift move she drove the stiletto into Dominique’s shoulder and twisted, hard.

“Catalina!”

The redheaded bitch had someone else to be upset with now. How darling. Dominique
laughed through the pain. “What a lovely parting gift. You have my blood now. I’ll be back.”

With that, she turned and stepped into the portal, choosing to go on her terms rather than be forced. The portal closed behind her and she hurtled forward through the blackness.

——————

Red hair glinted in the moonlight. A lithe figure slipped handily through the trees. Some thought forests were creepy at night, but Verchiel didn’t mind. Vampire status had some perks – and some drawbacks. He couldn’t remember what sunlight felt like. Moonlight did just fine though.

He was hoping Jorick and Katelina hadn’t returned from their honeymoon yet. He needed some more time to deliver the perfect “gift”. The bag in his hand wiggled. Jorick would be so upset and Katelina would be thrilled – he hoped. It was perfect. Annoy Jorick with both the gift AND the fact that Katelina would love it. Absolutely perfect.

A tremor gently rocked the ground under his feet. He was in Florida. There weren’t supposed to be earthquakes in Florida. The tremor became stronger, the intensity causing fruit to fall out of the trees. A rush of cold, wet air hit his face with the force of a hurricane and the world went black.

The annoying squawking of an unknown bird species invaded the blackness. Verchiel made a mental note to check what it was and if the blood was any good. Just the sound alone could drive one mad. Moving slowly, he shook his head to clear it. He was on his back, with a wicked headache. The bag! Where was the bag? Easing his head up, he saw it laying under the base of a tree, still tied shut. Stupid weather had better not have killed his surprise.

Verchiel stood, looking around carefully. He had a reputation to maintain after all, and it didn’t involve being knocked unconscious by a hurriquake or whatever that weather was. Why Jorick and Katelina wanted a cabin in the middle of a godforsaken swamp, he had no idea. It did make the surprise more fun though. They wouldn’t expect someone to come all the way out here and drop something off.

He gingerly picked up the bag, and smiled when it jerked and yowled. Good. It was still alive. He checked his surroundings one more time, and turned back toward the cabin. A few steps and he came to a dead halt. The warm, intoxicating smell of human blood hit him with a force not unlike the hurriquake from minutes earlier. This was no ordinary human blood. This was old.

Too old. And different somehow.

Verchiel turned off the path and followed his nose, the smell becoming more intense and
intoxicating with each footfall. Definitely human. Definitely alive. Definitely old. Too, too old. It felt like the wrong century kind of old. That made no sense. There was something else he couldn’t place. It was just not quite right.

He ducked under a heavy bough and leapt gracefully (he thought) over a downed tree and stopped short. A small, fresh crater was blown out of the soft earth. In the center, a petite, curvy brunette lay unconscious, blood seeping from a deep wound in her left shoulder. She was wearing some sort of a clingy, iridescent silver gown that was somehow still pristine.

Verchiel shook his head. He could puzzle over the mysterious gown later. For now, he needed to get that warm, curvy body somewhere safe. He now had a live sack and a live human to deal with. On top of that, all this warm, live blood was making him hungry. This was going to be a long night.

Sighing, he scooped the poor waif up into his arms, and increased his speed toward Jorick and Katelina’s cabin. He wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with her, but he couldn’t leave her for dead. Not because he was softhearted. He scoffed slightly to himself. No, it was definitely because one couldn’t let something that gorgeous bleed out. If she was going to die, she was coming back as a vampire. Something this beautiful had to be preserved.

He rounded the last bend and found himself in front of the cabin. Hopefully Katelina had
something other than white sheets and towels. He was going to need to do some serious
clean up.

The brunette in his arms stirred slightly. The bag had gone from wiggling to struggling with a vengeance. He felt like a juggler in a three ring circus. This was not working. Verchiel set the bag down on the stoop with a small thud and attempted to gracefully shift the brunette over his shoulder. As he picked Jorick’s lock, he mused that it probably looked a bit more like tossing a sack of potatoes over his shoulder and then standing on one leg trying to keep his balance. Jorick might even crack a smile if he could see this. Maybe, but not likely. More likely was going to be Jorick’s resolve to kill him after he discovered Verchiel had turned his sanctuary into a rescue hospital for some damsel in distress. Even more likely was the probability that resolve would increase when he found the wedding present Verchiel had procured for Katelina.

Someday Jorick would appreciate his taste in the finer things in life. Or he wouldn’t. Either way, Verchiel was having too much fun to stop now.

Stepping into the cabin, Verchiel headed straight for the linen closet and found a practical denim quilt. Tossing it over the overstuffed plaid couch, he deposited the brunette on top.

Returning to the porch, he acquired the bag and took it straight to the small bedroom at the back of the cabin. He pulled a rather adorable sand filled box and tin of tuna fish out of his backpack. He opened the tuna and set it near the box, then opened the bag. A rather pissed off looking kitten exited the bag and skidded to a halt. He looked up at Verchiel and hissed. Verchiel shook his head in amusement. He’d rescued the damn thing from drowning. You’d think he’d be a little more grateful. The little beast shook his fur out and glanced around the room. The tin of tuna drew him like a beacon. Katelina was going to have way too much fun with this little bugger. Verchiel exited the room, shutting the door behind him. Time to deal with the unexpected guest.

The brunette shifted slightly at his touch, mumbling something unintelligible. Verchiel decided to take that as a good sign. At least she was still alive. Verchiel examined the wound in her shoulder. It was deep. Looked like there was some damage to the muscles and ligaments. Not that he was a medical doctor or knew what he was doing, but this didn’t look good. He hoped she was right handed and wouldn’t mind drinking a little vampire blood. He didn’t know of any other hope for that arm unless he took her to a human hospital and that would be hard to explain. Then again, establishing a connection with an unconscious human who couldn’t consent was also hard to explain. Shaking his head, Verchiel decided the risk was worth the reward. Maybe she’d be grateful. He raided the medicine cabinet for wound packing supplies.

Gauze, wound cleaner, antiseptic and adhesive wrap were in ample supply. Returning to the couch, he nicked his wrist with his pocket knife and forced a little blood down her throat, careful not to choke her. He then cleaned and bandaged the shoulder the best he could.

Covering her with a warm blanket, he stood and took full survey of the cabin for the first time. It was cozy, he decided. A fireplace was centered on the main living room wall and was flanked by huge bookcases. Leather bound tomes filled the shelves. Jorick did love his old books. The overstuffed furniture was an ugly shade of plaid, but comfortable to sink into. The kitchen was minimal. Not like they needed much. A hallway lead down to the bedrooms, a large master suite with a gorgeous soaker tub, and a smaller guest room, where Katelina’s surprise awaited her.

He preferred more opulent settings, but this seemed like it would suit Jorick and Katelina just fine. They liked quiet and simple. And this was certainly hard enough to find to ease Jorick’s paranoia. Verchiel figured most Executioners wouldn’t venture out here to find someone. Especially given the appalling lack of cell phone service. He couldn’t even get enough signal to download the updates for Angry Birds. The lack of amusement wasn’t helping his slightly hangry state. He checked the refrigerator, which look suspiciously like someone had raided a blood bank. At least it was well-stocked. He popped the lid off a bottle and chugged it cold.

A moment later he regretted the decision not to heat it. Too late now. At least he wasn’t
feeling like eating that gorgeous thing on the couch anymore. At least, not as a food source.

He wandered back in and started a fire in the fireplace. Plopping down in one of the
overstuffed leather chairs, he attempted to relax. Firelight danced over perfectly tanned skin on the couch across from him. Despite his attempt to have good intentions, Verchiel couldn’t help but stare. A small, perfectly round freckle, the curve of her cheekbone, the form of her body, that dress. Verchiel found himself lost in thought about who she could possibly be and how she’d landed in a god-forsaken swamp in Florida.

~~~~~~~

Floating was a unique feeling. Warm, cozy, snuggly. Dominique felt the weight of gravity
pulling her back to reality. Wherever she was, waking up didn’t sound like fun. As she felt the world pulling her back down she stretched her arms. Her left shoulder was extremely stiff and a little sore. She couldn’t remember why it was a so sore. She tried to sit up but her head was spinning.

“Easy there.” A smooth, masculine voice broke into her thoughts.

“Viktor?” Dominique struggled to sit up. “Viktor?! I thought you were dead.”

“Slow down sweetheart. I don’t know who Viktor is, but you took a pretty good beating before I found you.”

A handsome redhead came into focus. Definitely not Viktor. By the Goddess, she missed him.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Verchiel.”

“Dominique. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“I assure you, the pleasure is mine.”

“How did I get here? And where is… here?”

Dominique looked around at the rustic cabin. A roaring fire lit up a huge rock fireplace. Hewn log walls were covered with gorgeous artwork. Windows were closed up with indoor shutters. What was this place?

“This is my associates’ cabin. They are on their honeymoon, and I was dropping by to check on their place – and drop off a wedding gift.”

Dominique nodded, “That was kind of you. What exactly is a honeymoon?”

The redhead raised his eyebrows, “A trip you take after your wedding to celebrate.”

“Oh. So where am I, what part of the Continent am I on?”

A small smirk crossed his face. “Dollface, you’re in Florida.”

“Florida?”

“Florida. One of the 50 United States of America.”

“The what?”

“Where are you from?”

“Clearly not here.”

“What year was it where you were?”

Dominique’s confusion was growing by the second, “Why does that matter?”

“Just humor me, Dollface.”

“1853, the Age of the SunDragon.”

“It’s 2015 here.”

“What age?”

Verchiel laughed. “There aren’t ages anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You time travelled, Dollface. Whatever that hurriquake was you caused, somehow, you time travelled.”

“Time travelled? Hurriquake? What is a hurriquake?”

“Whatever got you here shook, rained and crashed down like the biggest combination of an earthquake and hurricane I’ve ever seen.”

“I don’t know what that is, but I can explain the phenomenon. It was a banishment portal, created by the Dragonborn.”

The eyebrow quirked again. “Now I’m the one who is confused. It seems you not only came from another time, but possibly another dimension, if that’s possible.”

“This is a lot to take in.”

“That I can understand. So, what happened to bring you here?”

Dominique sighed. “That’s a very long, complicated tale. That you likely wouldn’t believe.
Dragons, mages, wars.”

“Dragons? That’s intriguing. Are you a mage?”

Dominique snorted. “Absolutely not. I am an elemental witch. A chemist really.”

“A witch. That explains a lot.”

“Such as?”

“Well, in the interest of full disclosure. I’m a vampire. And your blood smells funny. Also, I may have had you drink some of my blood, so you wouldn’t die. So now your a witch with vampire blood in you, and I’m not really sure how that will affect you.”

Dominique tamped down the instinctive anger. “You did what?”

“Let’s focus on you for a moment here,” the charming smile was back.

Dominique shook her head. “I suppose what is done is done. At least it didn’t kill me.”

Verchiel smiled, “I appreciate your understanding. So, why don’t you tell me that complicated story of yours.”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

“The beginning is always a good place.”

Dominique sighed and nodded, “It started with a prophecy…”

Verchiel grinned wryly as he leaned back and settled in. “Doesn’t it always.”

~~~~Dominique’s Story is Continued in Book One… of whatever I’m naming my series!~~~~

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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Fan Fiction Fling Entry #1

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have:

Micah’s Sweet Treat by Amy Wilson

 

“Hey, Pipsqueak! Hurry up, would ya? I ain’t got all night! I’m dyin’ over here,” Micah gritted through his teeth. He was Loren’s lookout while he fed, and Loren looked out for him, in turn. Yeah, the kid turned out to be pretty useful, both as a fighter and a friend. But tonight, he was getting on Micah’s last nerve. They’d been hunting in their usual territory for over an hour before they finally found a donor they could feed on without drawing unwanted attention. Donor…that’s what Loren started calling them after the final battle. If that wasn’t bad enough, he didn’t want to drain them dry anymore, either. “Just enough to satisfy us, then we let the donor go. We shouldn’t keep killing innocent people if we don’t have to,” Loren told him. Micah argued with him, reminding him of what they were and how the real world worked, but he couldn’t reason with him. And now, here he was, starving to death while Loren took his sweet time.  “Fuck that,” Micah muttered under his breath. As he turned to pull Loren off the donor and dig in, he caught a whiff of something that stopped him in his tracks.  His head spun until he found the source; it was coming from a bakery down the street, and his feet were moving before his brain caught up with them. They’d passed the place a thousand times on their way to and from their hunting grounds, but he’d never given it more than a sideways glance. A few minutes later, he found himself standing outside the door of the bakery, trying to get his head together.

Through the front window, he saw the source of his weakness. Hot damn, he was right. A freshly baked sweet potato pie sat on the counter–the rich, nutty scent drawing him in, making his mouth water. He cursed himself for letting it get the best of him. He knew he should get back to Loren, but he was still annoyed with the kid; plus, he was a glutton for punishment, and he wanted to pretend he could have his favorite childhood treat just one more time. His granny used to make it for him every time he came to visit. That old woman spoiled him till the day she died, and he took pride in letting her. He was devastated when she passed on, and her death played a part in his decision to take his own life. She was the last person on this earth who truly loved him, and when she was gone, he had nobody. He felt an old ache start in his chest, work its way up, and force its way out through his eyes. He looked up at the clear, night sky and blinked back the tears, willing the ache to go away. The faint sound of a woman humming a tune he didn’t know brought his eyes back down to the interior of the little shop. There was the humming woman, weaving around the chairs as she made her way to the pie on counter. Her curly, strawberry blonde hair bounced against her shoulders as she moved, and her green eyes were looking at the path she took instead of at him. That gave him time to look the rest of her over. He couldn’t tell anything about her figure because of the frumpy clothes she wore, but she looked to be in her late twenties, and probably only stood as tall as his shoulders. She stopped humming and paused briefly when she finally noticed him standing there, then resumed her song and started in his direction. He was entranced by her simple melody, and he couldn’t pull his eyes from the sway of her body. He was trying to figure out if there were curves under those baggy clothes when the door suddenly opened, and her bright, green eyes locked on his. “Hey, there, sugar. Sorry to keep you waiting outside, but I closed up early and forgot to put up a sign,” she said with a quiet, southern draw as she gave him an apologetic smile. When the only response she received was silence, her smile wavered, and she rushed on to say, “I wasn’t expecting anyone, and business was slower than usual, so I put everything away already. But…I do have this sweet potato pie, and I just took it out of the oven. It’s not much, but, if you’d like some, you’re welcome to it,” and she stepped aside to let him through. Micah didn’t move from his spot on the sidewalk, but instead crossed his arms and opened his mouth to tell her how incredibly stupid and dangerous it was to invite him in. But, before he could get a word out, he was stopped short by a thoroughly confused Loren. “Micah! Seriously, man, that’s not cool! Why’d you bail on me? What are you doing? Did you already-“ 

“No,” Micah interrupted, wondering if Loren even noticed the woman standing in the open doorway. “Not yet. Look, I’m sorry, man…just go back to the house without me. I’ll hitch a ride later.” Loren stared at him like he had three heads, and then slowly shifted his gaze to the wide-eyed woman holding the door open. A mischievous grin sprouted on his boyish face as he looked to Micah again, and then back to the woman. “Hi, I’m Loren! Sorry, I didn’t see you there until now. If my buddy, here, is giving you trouble, just say the word and I’ll-“ 

“Scram, Pipsqueak…don’t make me embarrass you in front of a lady.” Micah was preparing to beat the smirk off of Loren’s face when he heard a muffled giggle escape from the bakery. Narrowing his eyes, he turned slightly to catch a glimpse of the giggling woman. She was leaning casually against the open door, with one hand on her hip and the other trying to cover her smile. He knew it was there, though…the sparkle in her eyes gave it away. Much to his surprise, he couldn’t stop the corners of his mouth from sneaking up into its own little grin, and he was rewarded for it when she dropped her hand from her face and let her smile stretch from ear to ear. They were still smiling at each other when Loren spoke again; Micah had actually forgotten he was there. “Ok, ok. I get it. I’ll see you at the house, Micah. Have a good night, Miss…?” Loren turned to Micah for assistance with her name, but Micah could only shrug and shake his head. “Josie,” she offered, still smiling as she pushed herself off from the door. “You can call me Josie.” 

“Josie,” Micah whispered to himself before speaking to her for the first time.  “Well, Josie, as much as I’d love to take you up on your offer, there’s something else I need to take care of. I’m sorry.” 

“Well, Micah,” she said as she moseyed back into the restaurant.  “How ’bout a rain check, then?”  Micah nodded without hesitation, and he caught the blush on her cheeks as she shut the door and bid them goodnight. As they turned to leave, Loren let out a long, low whistle, and earned a punch in the back from his friend. Micah looked back at the little shop over his shoulder before heading out into the night to finally find his dinner. He wondered what Josie would be doing tonight…wondered what he would’ve been doing tonight if he’d stayed. One thing he knew for sure: he would take Josie up on that rain check soon. He let another small grin spread slowly as he murmured to himself, “I’ll have my pie, and I’ll eat it, too.”

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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  • Goddess of Night

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