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Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

MrDave's picture

March 18th

Victor paid the contractor for the repair of the building and looked skyward at the clearly new brick and windows on the third floor. As the man was climbing into his truck a red, white and blue Fed-Ex truck pulled up to the building.

The delivery man ran up the steps. "Mr Tek?" he asked.

Victor nodded and looked at the letter. It was from the lawyer in Boston. He opened the letter and smiled. The White family had agreed to sell the building. It would soon be his. Victor sat on the front steps and chuckled to himself.

He had never in 2000 years owned a home. He had had property, he still had land and buildings all over the world, but they were never home. This place, however, felt like home.

He patted the rough stone of the building affectionately and walked inside. He welcomed the chance to see what would happen. His "skin" itched where his armor had finally molted. The new armor was growing in quickly but he felt vulnerable. He could no longer rely on its protection for another month or more.

He walked into Tash's apartment and gave her a gentle hug. He was happy for the first time in a long time.

where daye disappeared to

Firefly's picture

22 February

Daye watched Ryan warily as they walked up the hall to her apartment. After leaving the clearing they had quickly made their way back to the city in Ryan’s car, a black luxury sedan that still smelled like the factory. Daye remained quiet on the ride home, needing the calm and comfort of familiar surroundings before she tackled all of the emotions swirling within her. Now, as they approached her door, Daye’s heart beat a frantic tattoo in her breast.

She slid the key into the lock and swung the door open, allowing Ryan to pass her and enter the front room. She followed behind him and shut the door. When she turned back Ryan stood just inside her living room, his gaze roaming, taking in the spread of papers on the coffee table and the laptop open beside them. The room itself was done up in soft, earth tones. The sofa and chair in sandy beige to compliment the cocoa colored carpet. The coffee table, end tables and the entertainment center were all oak, and the total effect was warm. Ryan stood for many long minutes perusing the room and then he turned his gaze on Daye.

“Amanda,” he reached out one hand to graze her cheek. Ryan saw her eyes fill with tears and inside he railed. Would she pretend to care, then? Pretend she had never betrayed him? Did she think he couldn’t remember? That perhaps he had not seen her laughing as she wielded the lash? Well, then he would use her duplicity to his advantage. Maybe he could make her suffer as he had. Let her believe that he still loved her and wind her up in her own web of deceit. Ryan smiled softly, playing to Amanda’s sensitivity. “You look so good,” he said.

“Oh,” Daye felt the warm tears rolling down her face. She couldn’t seem to help herself. Here Ryan stood alive and whole though she had thought him dead. What kind of miracle was that? “I don’t understand,” she said. “How can you be here? I thought you were dead.”

Ryan watched her. Inside he felt contempt, but outwardly he put on an air of concern and sadness. “Is that what they told you?” he asked. “Lies, my love, all lies. I am not dead, as you can see. I’m here, for you.”

“But how?” Daye asked. “I saw you being tortured. Where have you been? What happened to keep you away for so long?”

Ryan grinned inside. “I was held by the Council for years, only recently managing to escape. I came to you as soon as I was free. I have missed you so, my sweet Daye.”

“This is unbelievable,” Daye said. She watched Ryan take a step towards her, obviously meaning to pull her into his arms. She stepped quickly back out of his reach. Daye put up a warning hand to stop Ryan’s advance. “Wait,” she ordered. “I can’t do that. I’m not ready to just pretend the past few years haven’t happened. I am glad you are alive, but I’m not the girl who thought you’d died. I’m a woman now, Ryan, and I have to think. I can’t just pick up where we left off.”

Ryan seethed inside. How could she say that? She was going to pretend she hadn’t known about the Council keeping him alive to torture him and mold him and then she was going to actually deny him the chance to get close enough to exact his revenge. Not bloody likely. “You can’t mean to send me away, love,” Ryan grinned charmingly. “I’ve come back from the dead for you. Doesn’t that count for something?”

Daye smiled back at him as he teased her. She felt like she was on an emotional roller coaster. The day had been endless, her body ached, her clothes were a ruined mess of tears, soot marks, and dirt smudges. She was in no condition to decide what to do about her newly returned long-lost lover. Shaking her head firmly, she said, “Ryan, I just can’t talk about this now. I’m completely exhausted. I need to rest.”

Ryan considered arguing, but the shadows in her eyes changed his mind. He would have to retreat now gracefully if he hoped to win her good graces. “You’re right, of course. You do look so tired. I’m sorry I didn’t realize. I should just go.”

Ryan turned back towards the door to leave the apartment and Daye reached a hand out to stop him. “Can you call me tomorrow?” she asked. “I want to talk to you when I am coherent enough to do so. I need to understand what’s happened to you and how it affects me.”

Ryan turned back to look at her once again. He nodded once, decisively. “I will call you tomorrow,” he said. He leaned forward and brushed his lips across her cheek. Then he quickly left and Daye found herself all alone. She stared for a few minutes at the closed door and then moved to sit on the sofa. Dropping her head in her hands, she sat and thought about Ryan, Drew, the coven, the Council, and what she was going to do with the rest of her life.

mantheana's moving in

Mantheana's picture

24 February

The removal man had just finished lugging all of the stuff into the huge mansion. The house chilled him, but a job was a job. He had been suprised at the value of some of the items he had brought in. A grand piano, lustrous curtains, a huge four poster bed… It all seemed old. *Still,* he thought, *Mustn't involve myself in others' business.*

Then the car pulled up. An elegant and classy thing at that. The windows were tinted so he couldn’t see inside. As he peered closer at the dark window it jerked down with a whirr. An attractive, young woman looked back at him with dark red eyes.

"Erm…" her muttered nervously, "Are you Miss Ala…Alash...?"

"Miss Mantheana Alashkov?" she smiled. He shuddered. "That vould be me," she replied in a heavy Russian accent. Her voice was smooth and feminine. "Have you brought all the things in? Is it all in the right places?"

"Um… yeah." It had been a long day of pushing and pulling for him. "Now if you could just pay me we can all be on our way…" he trailed off.

"Ah… Yes. Just a minute." Miss Alashkov opened the door and stepped out. Her beautiful crimson and black dress encased her slim build, which was overlaid by a black ankle length cloak. Her face was a dove-pale flesh tone, contrasted by her dark lips. She neatly closed the door behind her and proceeded to open the back door and she stooped in.

As she backed out a bundle, which turned out to be a small child, was in her arms. The child had a sweet and calm face, her eyes lightly closed. Dark auburn hair was stuck to her face as it does when some one has been lying on their hair for some time. She was sleeping, and Miss Alashkov seemed intended on keeping her that way.

"Shhhh…shhhh…" She took a step away from the car. She was pacing slowly to the door.

Then with a fluid movement a huge creature came from inside the car. On further inspection it appeared to be a wolf-like dog, massive in size. In its every movement sinews and muscles rippled under its fur. Energy and willingness to fight radiated from the form. It stopped and sniffed the air. It turned to the removal man. Growling in a low and rumbling tone it began to circle the poor man. He started to quiver as the fur on its great back started to stand up and its ears pricked up. The wolf's lips curled to reveal a set of viciously curved teeth. He feared the worst.

"Err… Miss Alashkov?"

She stopped walking just at the doorway. "Yasha, heel!" she spoke calmly as if there wasn’t a giant wolf thing trying to eat the removal man.

He looked back at the beast. It had changed completely. Still huge, now it was cool and collected, only interested in following its Mistress.

She returned five minutes later.

"I just had to put my little Maria to…speet… err…sleep," she corrected her Russian.

"Um... interesting dog you have there…was that a wolf?"

"Oh you mean Yasha? Da-Yes, he's a Siberian… a real fighter... he's marvellous for looking after Maria."

"I expect so."

"Your money." She took a chequebook from a hidden pocket and began to scribble his fee on it. Her signature was a selection of curly Cyrillic numerals. Miss Alashkov handed him the slip of paper. As her pale shapely hand brushed against him, he felt as if he had just touched a glove of ice, so cold was her skin.

"Good night." She closed he door of the car and walked briskly but calmly indoors. The door shut behind her and the man was left by himself.

"Okay." And he walked off to his van.

Inside, Mantheana took in a breath of the air around her. The scents of the old building filled her.

"I think I could get to like it here," she murmured to herself and she walked up the grand stairway to her new room, checking on the sleeping Maria as she went. When she saw Yasha at the foot of Maria's bed she focused her ears into the frequency and found that with the acoustics of the house she could quite easily hear Maria's heavy, sleepy and soft breathing. With this information, she smiled and walked to her new room.

hospital visit

Kaarin's picture

23 February

Hospitals always gave Galen the creeps. He didn't know what it was, but it probably had something to do with the feeling that everything that could be done to help someone was being done. That in itself was enough to be a depressing thought.

Galen cast a cautious eye back into the silent room. Kate was still asleep, the adrenaline of that night’s events had worn off and left her in a lot of pain. The doctors had put her on some decent painkillers as well as antibiotics for what was the start of pneumonia, as he had suspected when they had been down in the basement together. She also seemed to be hooked up to an IV drip in an attempt to re-hydrate her.

Galen's head was still throbbing, which made focusing on the official story difficult on occasion. It was always difficult to convince the doctors to go along with a cover-up, even after other agents arrived with his ID. Galen was busy trying to convince the latest to co-operate. "I can't put that in her charts," the doctor was saying. "It's obvious just looking at her she’s been the victim of systematic abuse."

Galen waited a minute for the pain to subside in his own head. "Doctor, this is an extremely sensitive matter. If the truth goes on her records you could easily be putting her life in danger. Ms. Wiccham happens to be under the witness protection of the FBI. Word of this getting out could have dire consequences. …Or do you want your wife to find out that last September when you were supposed to be in Vermont, you spent the weekend with a Swedish masseuse named Helga?"

The doctor finally relented. He made a few notations to Kate's chart, then walked out the room. Galen glanced over towards the bed and noticed that Kate was starting to wake up.

Kate frowned slightly as she began to wake, hearing a few muted words of a conversation she couldn't quite make out. Strangely one of the voices sounded familiar but she couldn't place it until she saw the face of Agent Galen Eldridge hovering over the bed. She smiled, seeing the concern on his face.

"What happened?" she croaked dryly.

Galen helped her sit up and then passed her a glass of water. She gratefully took a sip before repeating her question.

Galen took a brief glance out the door before answering. "The official story is a gas leak on the third floor. From what I've heard, you finally ran out of energy and collapsed. Inanna called for an ambulance."

His mind drifted back to what was now the previous night, and a detail from the initial report came to mind. "Kate, I'm sorry about Lucien. It's rather obvious you two were close."

Kate closed her eyes for a moment as a wash of emotion flooded her body. She'd tried to push those thoughts away when the shape-shifters had started to descend upon Poplar Avenue. Suddenly Kate felt her heart ache with sadness; more than anything she longed to be with Luc right now. She sighed deeply, attempting to control the flood of tears that threatened to overwhelm her once more.

"Please don't ask me to talk about it... I don't think... I wouldn't be able to..." She wiped a few tears from her eyes as they began to flow freely.

"It's all right," Galen said, grabbing a chair and sitting down next to Kate. Despite his attempts at distancing himself from his work he couldn't help but feel sympathy for her. Not with what had happened in Atlanta, at any rate. "I know what you're going through. You're allowed to lose control... just don't make the mistake of trying to bury your grief."

She wiped again anxiously at the tears in her eyes, "I just can't let go, not yet. It's too much - it would drive me mad."

She took a couple of deep breaths to steady her nerves. After a moment's silence she frowned as though suddenly understanding what Galen had just said. "You know?" she paused for a moment feeling something tug at her memory then suddenly she gasped in surprised comprehension "Oh! ...Cassandra??" she mumbled softly.

A clear look of surprise came across his face at the mention of her name. He started raking his memory to think of any possible time he could have mentioned her, then remembered Serapis. Galen answered by nodding silently.

Kate grimaced slightly, "I suppose I should be used to losing those that I love by now, it seems that anyone I get close to dies." She sighed bitterly while looking around. Despite her weakened state she was desperate for a smoke - instead she drummed her fingers against her thumb and took another sip of water. "I guess asking when the pain will stop would be too much to ask?"

Galen felt his head throb again for a moment before he got a chance to reply. "It never fully goes away. A part of you deep down always continues to hurt. The big thing that changes is that it won't hurt as much. Even though you won't forget Luc, the pain does eventually fade.” He took her fidgeting hand firmly in his and gently squeezed it. “Trust me."

Inanna cleared her throat as she stood in the doorway. Galen immediately rose to his feet, releasing Kate's hand and stood away to one side. Kate smiled at seeing her friend and held her hand out towards her. Inanna strode into the room, glancing once towards the agent who had almost positioned himself out of the room he had retreated so much, and sat in the chair beside Kate's bed.

As Kate embraced her young ward she looked up to see Galen give her a quick, reassuring smile before leaving the room and the two friends alone.

Interlude: New Kid in Town

Soulless Zombie's picture

26 February

There’s the Griffith Observatory. Pointed up, it summons the heavenly stars to Los Angeles; pointed down, it captures the grit of Hell rising up through the streets. It’ll make you blink. Step back from the eyepiece. Los Angles is ancient, blasted and hateful if you know where to look. The mere sight of it can make a notoriously bad man feel better than thou; likewise terrified, a child slopping out of the womb.

There’s quite a number of things to look down on in L.A. Things to make you see that your childhood was a blessing, not a curse, in comparison. In this city there are actual, walking damnations and only the truly cursed move among them. In the day you’ve got soulless bureaucrats; at night you’ve got fattened bats that no one believes are lingering under the architecture. In the day, shoppers; in the night, corpses bobbing in Los Angeles River. By day you’ve got the raving blameless, by night the weeping painless and their lies that they are not really in pain. And by day you might spy a closed sign—can you see it through the telescope? Look a little closer now—by night you’ve got Bob’s Bar. Don’t scoff. Decidedly, you’d never find yourself in such a low place. You’re above certain scenes, aren’t you? Best set your sights for the sky and never look down again. No harm can come to the starry-eyed man who chooses to be blind.

At least that’s what Sam used to think. A few months back, Samuel Brendan Aubrey would never have guessed he’d find himself in this filthy state. Rocking the barstool and wondering how he ever lost sight of reality, he muttered to the bartender that this sure was a fine state all right. A fine mess he found for himself. But that it truly happened, he could not deny.

The pain that drove Sam into Southern California had begun the moment he caught Bill, his best friggin’ friend, screwing Bunny, his wife. He figured that she must be an ex-wife now, even though she didn’t stick around long enough to talk separation papers. He wondered how it worked, that if two people could become common-law married after seven years, could two people also become common law-divorced? Would it take another seven years for the grit and the hate to work its way through his system?

“Another?” Bob said.

Sam sighed. He'd actually been allowing himself to be served drinks by Bob Wedge, a nasty little man if ever a nasty little man there was. Greedy and grey, Bob was the worst of the worst, the kind of man that the city council would have voted out of business back home in Grants Pass.

“Thanks,” Sam said. “You’re the best.”

Bob filled a glass with cranberry juice and pushed the virgin drink up against Sam’s knuckles. “That’ll be three dollars, kid.” Sam nodded, reaching for his wallet. Three dollars later, Bob replied, “You’re welcome.”

“Kim been in tonight?”


“You know. Kim. Young. Beautiful. Kimmie. I don’t know her last name yet. I guess I should ask her that.”

Bob moved to the opposite end of the bar. He slipped a tip into his apron and cultivated a strong silence. Just when Sam figured that Bob had completely forgotten who the blazes Kimmie was, the bartender said, “Want my advice? Stay away from that girl.”



“Because why?” Sam said. “It’s a little late. I’m living with her.”

“You are, huh?”

“Well, not exatly living with. I’m in her apartment. She doesn’t stay with me, though. I guess she must go someplace sometimes. At night. All night. Every night.” Sam really sighed now. “All the time.”

“I strongly advise that you stop living with her—all the time.”

“But why?”

“Anyway, that’s just my advice.” A moment later, Bob’s open palm was hovering under Sam’s nose. “That’ll be five.”

Sam scooted back uncertainly, and for lack of a better idea, he slapped Bob’s hand with high-five geniality. Then he flipped his own palm up and waited for Bob’s many kind returns. Bob wasn’t feeling too kind. Sam let slip an awkward grin, said, “Okay. . .now you give me five. Hit me, hit me.”

Bob didn’t. He didn’t look genial at all. “That’ll be five dollars, genius,” he said.

“Five dollars?”

“With advice comes the price.”

“Well, I—” Sam couldn’t get over this injustice. Sure he was the new face in the neighborhood, but-but. . . “You didn’t tell me anything worth paying five dollars for.”

Bob dragged the cranberry juice away from Sam. He drank it down and slammed the empty glass on the bar. “Pretty-boy,” he said, “that was ab-SO-lutely the best advice anyone will ever give you in this lifetime.” He burped. “Or the next.”


Two miles away.

The street bubbled, pavement shivering, soft, as if freshly laid. Like cake it crumbled into the sewers below. Orange rocks erupted into the sky, shooting over the street lamp and showering the sidewalk with hot cinders. Next, the hole spit out a man, alight with yellow flames. He shrieked, holding a large book up high. He pushed with it angrily, as if he wanted space to reach down and lift it from his clutches. “Take this back!” he cried. “Take this back! Lord oh God damn, take it back, you goddman Thing. . .”

He dropped to his knees, his tears evaporating as his cheekbones became magma under the skin. Before his eyeballs shrivelled away he caught sight of a person on the corner. The stranger stood frozen by the violence and the burning man wanted to call for help. He pushed the book at the bystander pleadingly and he cried, “God’s doomed us all! Take it and hide it! Just don’t read it! Don’t—”

But his jaws dripped below his ears and his tongue shrivelled into the back of his throat. What was left of his body drained back into the fissure and the flames died away, bringing darkness to the street. No longer supported, the book hit the cement aside the smoking hole.

Silence fell, but for the ringing of terror in the stranger’s ears.

The stranger unlocked his knees and hurried across the street to pick up the book. The smoke was clearing. He touched its plastic-like cover cautiously but it was. . .cold. So cold that it nearly burned. On the binding he read the words, “Die Angst-Idee.” He didn’t know what language this was. Shaking, he flipped through the pages. They weren’t damaged. And these pages, by God. . .they were completely blank.

With the guilt of a thief, he slid the volume into his jacket and returned to the sidewalk, slipped around the corner, and was not seen in the neighborhood again.

drew calls about ireland

Firefly's picture

22 February

Daye woke up groggily to the sound of the phone ringing inches from her head. She was disoriented for a minute, unsure of what was going on. Then she remembered suddenly. Ryan had been in her apartment. Ryan. Not dead, not lost to her, but very much alive and standing just within her living room. When he left, Daye had sat down on the sofa to think and she had begun to cry. She laid her head on her arms and sobbed, her whole body shaking with the force of her grief. At some point, Daye must have fallen asleep. Now, she reached out and grabbed the handset of the telephone.

“Hello?” Daye’s voice was groggy.

“Amanda?” Drew’s voice came over the line, concern lacing his words. “Is that you? Are you all right?”

Daye glanced down at herself, taking in the torn and dirty clothes she still wore, covered in grass and blood stains. She could feel the thick layer of grime on her face and reaching up, the tangle of knots in her matted hair. She chuckled. “Actually, Drew, I’ve been better” she said. “But, I’ll live. Is there anything wrong?”

“No, not wrong,” Drew replied. “I just wanted to ask you…well…you see, the University wants me to travel to Ireland in April to do some research on a supposedly haunted castle. I would be gone until July.”

Daye went very quiet. Now, with Ryan back all of a sudden, she had no idea what to think. Drew was very new in her life, but she felt so connected to him. She had been thinking it would be nice to have someone to lean on during this crisis. Still, she couldn’t very well ask him not to go. She had no right to do that.

“That’s a wonderful opportunity for you, Drew,” Daye said. “You should definitely go.”

“Well, you see, the thing is,” Drew was hesitant, “I want you to come with me, Amanda. I don’t want to be away from you for months. I know we don’t know each other that well, but I like you.”

“I like you too,” Daye said.

“Yes, well, and…uhm,…I want to see you more, a lot more,” Drew answered. “I know you come from Ireland and I thought you might not mind getting a chance to visit back home for a bit and then we would have more time to get to know each other. Besides, you know a lot about the occult field. You could come with me as my research assistant. If you wanted to, I mean.”

Daye was about to refuse, but she paused. *Why shouldn’t I go? What happened with Ryan was a long time ago. I’ve gone on with my life. Besides, I need time to figure things out.*

“Ok, I will,” Daye said. “I’ll go with you. I will.”

Drew whooped in her ear, “Oh, wow, I didn’t think you were going to say yes. This is great! Really Great!”

Daye laughed delightedly, overwhelmed by his enthusiastic response. She felt better than she had all night. The talked for a while more about the trip and then about other things. When Drew hung up, Daye felt immensely better. She left the sofa and went to her room to shower. Finishing, she fell into her bed and slept a sound and dreamless sleep.

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Mantheana's picture

26 February

Mantheana walked briskly down the street. It was cold but she didn’t notice it. The bar lights flickered up ahead - ‘BOB’S BAR’. She could hear the buzzing sound of the neon from the distance. The street stank of alcohol and rat droppings. *Never mind,* she thought. *I’m gonna have to get used to this kind of thing.* She stepped into the decrepit excuse for a bar.

The entire bar was filled with assorted demons, vampires and humans. She could smell them all. Mantheana sat down on one of the barstools. The cheep plastic cover was ripped in several places. She looked over the bar table at the man she presumed was bartender. The man had a fragile and wiry build. He looked nervous and twitched edgily.

“What can I get you, love?” he asked in a whiny voice.

“A vodka.” She raised an eyebrow as he bent behind the surface to fetch her order. He stood up again with a shot of vodka in his hand. He placed it on the table. Mantheana picked it up and tipped the contents down her throat; nonetheless done with style. It was not the fire of the vodka that made her wrinkle her nose.

"Worst vodka I have had in a long time."

"Sorry Miss?"

"Not strong enough. Not like the stuff back in Russia."

"Come over from there then didya Miss?"

"Yeys. Not that it's any of your business." She answered trimly and precisely through her accent.

"Oh. Quite so Miss." Though he answered thus, Mantheana could hear that he was angling for information. Mantheana was just about to answer when a young couple burst through the door. Mantheana could smell that they were vampires. She sat still at the bar, unfazed.

“Bob,” Jem let go of Chris, “Why the hell can’t you keep things to yourself?”

“Huh?” He paused to think for a moment, “Ahh, that…” Jem glared at him for an answer then began to quiver slightly as Jem approached him. “Um, it-it’s what I-“ He trailed off realizing what he was saying, even if it was the truth. “Jem, I-I didn’t-“

Jem cut him off, “Oh bloody hell do you want me to punch you?!” Jem lifted her arm ready to punch Bob in the face when an arm stopped her.

Mantheana's shapely hand had, very quickly it seemed, grasped tightly round Jem's wrist.

Jem gave her an icy stare.

"Vell, vell," Mantheana stared back calmly. "If it isn't little Jemima!"

“Jemima? That’s your name?” Chris started to laugh from behind Jem until she turned and punched him in the chest to make him shut up, which it did.

“Human name.” Jem turned to look at the woman who appeared her age. She wore a long dark gothic gown and veins traced along her skin. “Okay, firstly, 'Jemima' - not a way to get into my good books.”

“She has good books?” Bob said quietly to himself. Jem glared once again then threw a punch into his face.

“Secondly, 'little' - another bad way to go, because well...” Jem thrust her hand forward into the woman’s face. Mantheana ducked the blow with ease and stood upright once more.

"Hmmm. I'll say this. You're attitude hasn’t changed that much since we last met Jemima."

Chris sniggered once again, "Jemima!" Jem glared back so hard, he nearly fell over.

“You’re pretty good. Anyway, back to business, we’ve met before? Enlighten me.”

"Ah. I'd say that you vere, vhat? Tventy? At that party in Paris? Come on? Don't tell me you've forgotten, Jemima?"

“Oh, I don’t see why I’d ever want to forget about going to a party with you, um, whatever you’re called…” Jem replied.

"Mantheana. Ah, I remember it vell. I was there with Mikhail and you were there with that batty little friend of yours. Ebony wasn't it? Where has she disappeared to?"

“Ahh, you’re that bitch, I remember now.” Jem smiled at Mantheana, then stopped abruptly. “You don’t wanna go into Ebony.”

"Fine, my little sabaka." Mantheana knew the tender spot that she and all things had for loss, and decided to leave that area. There was plenty more to pick on. "So, I'll take a looksy at your new little friend." Mantheana slyly looked Chris up and down. "So then it vas that cute little David man."

Chris gave Jem an off look, Jem gave Mantheana a deadly glare and Mantheana gave them both her beautiful smile that made everyone that little bit more edgy.

She continued, "And now, you're stuck with this… how do you say...? Ugmo." Mantheana raised a disdainful eyebrow.

“Hmm, you really aren’t a people person are you? Not saying I am but…” Jem walked to Chris who, through his vampiric features looked slightly hurt until Jem morphed and bit into his neck playfully. “Mmmm…” She pulled away slightly but stayed by his side wrapped in his large arms.

“Anyway, you seem so interested in my un-life, now it’s my turn.” Jem smiled at the woman that stood in front of her then stopped abruptly. “What happened to what’s his face? Mikhail, wasn’t it?”

Mantheana's elegant face suddenly turned deadly serious. "I finished vith him."

Aww that’s…really, really…sad,” Jem said without a care in her voice. “I mean you two always seemed so close. Kissing, necking and holding hands all the time. He was always buying you presents, it was just so…sweet.” Her voice was filed with sarcasm. “I bet Chris gives me better that any of Mikhail's fancy gifts...” Jem grinned at the slight discomfort on Mantheana’s face then turned once again to Chris. They locked mouths in a long kiss until Mantheana gave out a small elegant cough, which was ignored by the both of them.

"Mikhail's present's vere usually more than just multiple orgasms," came Mantheana's witty response. "The last he brought me was the most beautiful he ever gave me. More beautiful than you could ever understand."

At this they parted and Jem kicked out to her side, hitting Mantheana in the stomach.

Mantheana fell back but regained her balance quickly. "Ahh, my little sabaka, you're finally getting the hang of it, eh?"

Mantheana slapped Jem hard. It was the kind of slap one would use on a naughty child, but much harder. It was not the strength that hurt Jem, for it wasn't the strongest hit she'd had by a long way, but the speed at which it was executed caused it to sting tremendously.

Jem looked around at the small crowd that had gathered around them of lowlife humans and demons. She noticed a few of the Black Veins and sighed. *Gee, great.*

“Well I’ve been practising, plus super human strength…” Jem lashed out once more, but the blow was dodged with skill. “And what with the ‘sabaka’ anyway?”

"You're not the only one who's had some… enhancement. And as for sabaka… I think my little Jemima needs to learn her languages. And Jemima? Take a lesson from the master of punches."

Mantheana moved so fast and unexpectedly. "You can't hit vhat you can't see," she whispered in Jem's ear before moving again. "Dance like a butterfly," she ducked a blow, "Sting like a bee." Mantheana bopped Jem over the head, and came back to being in front of her again.

“Hmm, thanks for the advice, I’ll take that into mind when I’m kicking your ass next time. Oh and were you always this annoying?” Jem paused for a second, “Wait, you were.” She looked over her shoulder for support from her lover.

“Um, okay, uh, you two must have some sort of past together, but, uh can you please, sort it out outside?” Bob attempted to persuade the two to move outside.



They both spoke at the same time, the latter coming from Jem. They shared glares until Chris kicked Mantheana in the legs causing her to fall slightly.

Mantheana cringed at her bruised shin, but she was having too much fun to give into a bruise. "Ahh, now who seems stronger? Does your boyfriend always have to help you like this?"

In a quick movement, and suprising given the length of her dress, Mantheana placed a well aimed kick between Chris's legs. Chris never dreamed that those spindly-heeled boots could inflict that much pain.

"Sorry my little sabaka, I hope haven't stopped him giving you any more of his vonderful 'presents'," Mantheana chuckled.

“Bloody hell!” Chris shouted as he bent over.

“You bitch!” Jem shouted at Mantheana just as she offered a hand to Chris. When she turned to face her she was gone.

Back down the street, Mantheana strode purposefully but at a speed viewable to human eyes. Inside she chuckled with glee. She would not be going back to 'BOB'S BAR' any time soon. She was sure there were plenty of other places with decent vodka. *Hmm. What are the odds?* she thought to herself. *Jemima, a vampire. This should make life here interesting.*

She continued home.

Welcome Party

Jessica Travers's picture

26 February

Jessica stepped out of the taxi and paid the driver. She walked up to her new apartment slowly, Skye following closely by her side.

Putting the key into the lock she opened the door. The apartment was large, modern and fairly empty except for a couple of new couches and the odd bit of furniture. "They really know how to treat us gals," Jess said to herself and the dog as she took a step inside to take a look around.

Dumping her suitcases and letting Skye off her leash, Jessica found the kitchen and poured some water into one of the glasses that stood by the sink and drank it.

Jess walked back into the sitting room where she saw some flowers and a note.

Ring us when you get here.


She smiled then went to find the bedroom and unpack the suitcases. The rest of her things would arrive soon.


"Skye," Jessie called the beautiful English Setter to her side, "Walk." She grabbed the lead and keys and went out of the door.

They walked along the streets for a few minutes before reaching a park where Jess released her dog and let her run.

Jess picked up a stick and threw it for the dog to fetch and within 30 seconds had Skye and a stick back by her side.

"A lovely lady like you shouldn't be out this late," A husky voice came from behind.

"Oh, it's all right." Jess turned to face a fairly short but well built man.

"You wanna test that?" The man morphed; it was a vampire.

"Great, you must be the welcoming committee! But not really, maybe later."

The vampire stood his ground, he wasn't going to move. "Okay then."

The vamp ignored her and ran forward grabbing at the arm that now wielded the stake, punching her in the face and knocking her back. The stake to fell to the ground. Jess got up as fast as she could after the blow and kicked him in the stomach, which didn't do much except knock him off balance slightly.

"That all you got?"

A loud bark came from her right where Skye stood, teeth bearing. "Skye, back!" The dog obeyed her owner and backed off slightly. Whilst the vamp was distracted by the dog Jess had managed to splash some holy water in the vampire's face. He grabbed at his burning face - the pain was immense.

Jessica pulled another stake from a pocket inside her coat and plunged it into the vamp's heart as fast as she could. He turned to dust. Although she wasn't really built for vampire hunting she could handle them when she had to.

"C'mon Skye," she called her dog back to her side as she picked herself up and began to walk back to the apartment.

Back at the apartment she looked into the small mirror and checked her wounds. She was bruised slightly and her lip was cut but it was nothing major. *Wow, I've been in L.A. one night and already attacked by a vampire. This could be interesting,* she thought as she dabbed her lip with a towel.

Back at Bob's Bar, Minutes Earlier. . .

Soulless Zombie's picture

26 February

When Sam finally exclaimed the word, know that it was his first time using it. Back in Grants Pass, he worked in a timber mill where everyone used the word as though it were as common and wonderful as sliced bread. They’d say it, of course, hatefully, but they’d say it playfully, just the same. They’d say it as a modifier to a healthy salutation, and they’d say it at the shift’s end, waving "g'night" to Sam as he placed his hard hat neatly on the top shelf of his locker. And everyone made fun of Sam, because he didn’t use the word like they did. He always said, “heck” or “gee” or, if he was really mad, “jeez.” Back in high school, his father never let him to use the word around the house, even though Dad used the word more frequently than Sam’s co-workers ever did.

But Sam used the word tonight. It didn’t simply slip. It went for it all on its own. It started as a jolt inside his anus and shot up his spine. It did a flip around his throat and tumbled off his tongue without his say so. It was brought out into the open because of a horror Sam never could have anticipated. Even though, yes, this was L.A. But through the dim smoke of Bob’s Bar, what Sam witnessed pulled the stool right out from under him.

It started with a young girl. . .

She had first caught his eye not because she’d been dressed as though attending a Mardi Gras ball, although this did give him cause to glance over and ashamedly away. He reminded himself that he was technically still married. Heck, many of Bob’s patrons dressed erotically in one way or another.

Two of these patrons, a chick in black leather and her boyfriend, had seated themselves next to the young girl and immediately started trouble with Bob. Sam turned his back to them and listened, but frequently craned his neck to take in the sights. Right off the bat, the leather-clad girl threw a punch at Bob! Sam’s heart dropped into his rib cage. He didn’t want to get hurt. But he had to see this.

The young girl in the crimson dress grabbed the flailing wrist so fast that her white pendant flew up over her long neck. The attack on Bob had been thwarted.

Sam centered on his empty glass of berry-stained ice and listened to the conversation that followed. The girl with the quick temper was named Jemima, which apparently came as a surprise to her boyfriend, who broke into laughter. His mistake. Jemima punched him into submission. She exhaled his name, Chris, then used the word in conjunction with an order for him to knock it off. Then, leaving Chris buckled over the bar, Jemima turned to the young girl and said something Sam simply did not understand. “Human name,” she said. She said it as though “human” was dirtier a word than the one she’d just hissed at her boyfriend.

Sam reached over and patted Chris’ back to see if he was okay. Chris elbowed Sam away. Sam didn’t press the issue. But he felt for this Chris guy, for he seemed an okay sort. He was just caught up in a all-too-familiar dictator-relationship. Sam understood.

He scooted his stool farther to the right, away from the brewing violence. He had assumed that the first time he witnessed a bar fight it would involve testosterone, not PMS. Obviously, he had to break out of his small-town mentality. L.A. sure was a crazy place.

Now things were really getting weird. Someone mentioned books, and somehow Bob managed to get punched anyway! Jemima wiped her fist. . .next, quickly tried to sucker-punch the young girl, who simply tilted her head to avoid it. This was getting good. (No, bad, bad, this is not funny, Sam reminded himself.)

“What is this all about?” he whispered to Bob.

Bob removed the bloody bar towel from his nose. “Kid, this ain’t nothin’. Spend a few more weeks in my biz, you’ll die of old age. You want my advice?”

"No, please, no thanks, no--"

“Stay away from Mantheana. Stay away from anyone who knows her. Hell, I suggest you leave town altogether.”

"Stay away from her? But that's what you said about. . ."

Bob was ignoring Sam. He did that a lot. He always seemed to be messing with Sam, telling him whom to avoid, which invariably turned out to be EVERYBODY. Bob returned the bar towel to his swelling face. With the other hand, he held out his palm, the price of advice. No wonder Sam was going broke.

“Another five?” Sam said in a huff.

“Ten. That counted as two warnings. Three, technically, but I like you. You’re okay. You get the friendly discount.”

“Thanks,” Sam said. Crushed by the oppression of what was looking to be his last night in Los Angeles, he reached for his wallet. The girls were still talking, and Chris, who obviously didn’t know when to quit, was poking fun at his girlfriend’s name again. Sam heard Mantheana use the word “sabaka.” He wanted to know what it meant. But he didn’t have an extra five dollars to place in Bob’s hand.

All three of them were standing now. Jemima and Chris were posturing in a way that threatened Sam on the behalf of Mantheana. He wanted to help her. He froze in his seat, though, sensing that she could handle even two against one. So he watched with seriousness, throwing short glances at Bob, who was shaking his head, because Sam wasn’t following his advice, now was he? And that’s when it happened, the most atrocious event that Sam had ever witnessed.

Jemima moved close to her boyfriend with a most playful look on her face. But her face changed. It plumped like a prune, and two fangs shot out of her mouth! She dropped them deep into Chris’ neck. Chris held her tenderly in his arms--as though this were an okay thing-- and still Sam wanted to jump up and save him, for blood was soaking the back of the guy's shirt. Sam also wanted to scream; he couldn't. He wanted to run. His legs wouldn't. His stool was rattling.

This Jemima was a real live monster.

The moment that followed was even more shocking than had been the sight of Bunny’s fists pulling at Bill’s ass, longing to have him deeper inside her. Jemima caused Sam to exclaim the word; he'd never before needed to. The monster's eyes fluttered open, straight into Sam’s eyes, and she knew everything that was in his heart: his past, his pain, his purpose, his fears. She had dragon eyes.

“Fuck!” Sam cried, though no one seemed to notice.

And he fainted dead away, the swirling smoke along the ceiling his last memory of that night at Bob’s Bar.

Confusion and Confrontation

Meredith Bell's picture

******Wednesday, 16th March 2005 – Birch Street******

Kate smiled softly as Galen took her hand gently and began turning it over in his own hands, fluidly running his fingers against hers and caressing the curve of her palm with his thumb. He talked sweetly, looking deep into her eyes, which looked brighter now – alive again. And then he leaned in closer, almost drawing Kate into his arms and asked her, ‘would she meet with him?’

This felt like a strange request to Kate at first. Hardly a day had passed since they had first met that they hadn’t spent in each other’s company. That first day in hospital had been but one of many. When Galen had returned the next day Kate had been surprised, the following day she had been pleased, and then the next – expectant. Even when she was allowed to return home a week later Galen had continued to call on her. They spent long hours talking on the phone, or when he came to the house they would walk out into the garden and talk some more. Kate didn’t think she had ever talked so much to one person in such a short space of time without losing interest in what they had to say.

He seemed to have such a free and intimate way about him that Kate felt like she had known him for years, not just a few weeks. He knew just what to say, just what to do when the despair or pain became too much. He held her when she cried and read to her when she didn’t feel up to conversation. He taught her how to play chess as a mode of meditative contemplation when thinking about how much she missed Luc began to overwhelm her.

Somewhere in those long days, as painful as they had been, as much as Kate had wanted to end her own life because she had felt so miserable and wretched, somewhere she had found hope. She didn’t know just what she felt for Galen Eldridge, whether it was gratitude or friendship, but what she did know was that he’d brought her back to life when living was the last thing she had wanted to do.

Now they stood in the doorway, the cool March breeze meeting with the heat from inside the house, the darkness of the night against the bright warm homeliness within the hallway. Galen holding Kate’s hands gently, almost yearningly, gazing deeply into her eyes awaiting her answer. He repeated his question.

“Kate? Did you hear me? I asked if you would meet with me, Friday night, 8ish?”

Kate’s attention returned to the present and the handsome man who stood before her, still holding her close, caressing her hand with his fingers. She returned his gaze and smiled warmly. Galen mirrored her happiness as she silently nodded her head. “Yes, I will,” she said earnestly.


Inanna grimaced as she observed the scene in front of her. Kate and the FBI Agent – Galen or something. She should know by now seeing as he’d been spending so much time at the house lately. She watched from the safe distance of the living room, peering around the doorframe at the tender exchange. She noted the longing glances that passed between them, the way their hands were intertwined, she could decipher more of what that meant from Kate than Agent Eldridge and it made her sick. Sick and angry.

And then she saw him take Kate’s hand and raise it to his lips while he placed a gentle kiss against it, and she saw the way Kate watched him perform this playful yet serious and meaningful act – the way her eyes followed his actions. Inanna didn’t like what she saw; the same tentative emotions of repressed desire and passion combined with a mutual affection mirrored in both parties.

As Kate slowly closed the door Inanna stepped forward out of the shelter of the doorway. “Well things sure worked out well for you didn’t they? This isn’t right, Catherine, and you know it…” Inanna’s voice drifted into the room.

Kate turned to see her friend standing in the doorway, a sour expression etched on her face. Kate’s own expression of happiness quickly dissolved, replaced by one of uncomfortable guilt. “Inanna, I was just…” Kate’s attempt at an excuse died upon her lips as Inanna continued to stare at her obdurately. Kate returned her gaze, feeling the bitterness of Inanna’s anger and disgust cut through her like knives. “Inanna there’s no need to look at me like that…”

“Don’t give me that!” cried Inanna fiercely. “Catherine, Lucien’s not even been dead a month and you’re dating some other guy!”

“Galen is a friend Inanna, there’s nothing else going on…”

Inanna looked repulsed. “You’re a liar! How can you stand there and lie to me like that? I’ve seen the way you look at each other, I saw you just now! All touching and gazing into each other’s eyes. Catherine, it’s disgusting. Lucien deserves your fidelity. At least wait until his body is cold in the ground before you start coming on to the first thing in trousers! You think this Galen understands you? The only thing he understands is that this ‘act of sympathy’ is the best way to get you to drop your knickers for him. What are you? The dumbest person in the world!?”

Kate slapped Inanna across the face in anger; the young girl stumbled back and held her cheek with one hand. Kate looked immediately repentant and took a few hesitant steps towards her. “I-I’m sorry, Inanna, I didn’t…”

Inanna backed away. Kate had never hit her before and they’d had some fights in the past. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes but nevertheless her temper was still raging deep inside her belly as she marched through the hall into the living room, Kate following closely behind. Suddenly Inanna stopped and turned around to face Kate, the anger in her eyes was still evident but she also looked sad and mournful.

“Please come back home with me!” she pleaded. “The coven needs you! I need you!”

“This is my home Inanna…”

“Los Angeles isn’t our home! It will never be!” Inanna’s hand unconsciously travelled to the two red scars upon her throat. “This is a dangerous place, besides you owe it to Luc’s family to attend his Requiem, you were going to be his wife Kate! Or have you forgotten that since Mr. Secret Agent Guy came along?”

“You know how much I loved Luc, how much I still love him…” Kate looked uncomfortable as Inanna’s pleading eyes bore into her. “This isn’t fair Inanna! Why should I have to choose? Luc is dead, he’s never coming back, so why should I feel guilty about getting on with my life!?”

“You know why” said Inanna flatly. “If what you were doing was right it wouldn’t feel so wrong! You’re cheapening what you and Luc had together, it’s like you don’t even care that he’s dead. Did he mean anything to you at all?” Before Kate had a chance to interjet Inanna continued. “He deserved more, he loved you so much, he gave up his life for you! Maybe you should remember that when you’re on your date with the FBI guy who we know nothing about.”

Kate stood in shocked silence as Inanna turned and ran up stairs to her room. She slumped down onto the sofa as her knees gave way to the sinking feeling inside. She trailed her fingers absently over the patch of skin on her hand that Galen had claimed with his lips only minutes before, and wiped at her tears of confusion as they rolled steadily down her cheeks.

Re: Sam Wakes Up

Soulless Zombie's picture

26 February

Los Angeles was flying by; the sidewalk, the sights, State Drive, the Afro-American Museum, a door all-a-blur. Sam’s eyes were open wide, veiny, blood-shot. The blur passed, the street passed. It was moving. No, Sam was moving. He was in a car.

“That the nigger museum?” It sickened him that the first words out of his mouth were not his own. They were his father’s, that racist jerk. Sam had never met a black person. But years of conditioning had put the idea in his head. Black people were bizarre. But since L.A. was bizarre, Sam was prepared for anything. No! Not anything—anyONE. That THING thing was definitely his father talking. Not Sam. He was certain that black people were just as fucked up as he was. Black people were human, just like everybody else.

Human. Was that a dirty word, as Jemima had implied? Heck, what was that all about? Sam remembered now, fully. He’d seen a monster. Monsters existed. Hah! In his mind. Obviosly. Fully. Fully, in bits and pieces.

L.A. was normal.

Whatever was going on, Sam was beginning to feel normal. He was in a taxi cab. And there wasn’t a hot little leather-clad monster driving. There was just a regular guy. He was fat and bald and reticent. It was normal and quiet in here. Sam thanked God, though he didn’t know God’s name, that it was quiet. The tires on the road were mute, the hum a silence.

“So, you’re awake,” the driver said. Sam read the plaque next to the cb radio. The driver was named Hesch. “Where to, kid?”

“I’m not a kid.”

“Look like a kid to me,” Hesch said, glancing in the mirror.

“I’ve been married. And kind of divorced.”

“Kind of?”

“Really divorced,” Sam added. “At least I will be as soon as I find her and kill her.”

“Got someone you want to kill, huh? No wonder Bob gave you to me.”

Sam suddenly remembered! He was supposed to be, at this very moment, in Bob’s bar. There was a girl. . .two girls. . .and a guy. . .and one of the girls was a yellow-eyed, big-fanged, nice-breasted monster-thing! Why was he here in a cab instead of being eaten by that yellow-eyed, big-fanged, nice-breasted, erotic monster thing? Why hadn’t Jemima eaten him? She ate Chris, didn't she?

And why hadn’t Bob warned him? Bob seemed to know what was up. Bob said they were vamps and demons and sabanka’s. Or something like that.

“Bob gave me to you?”

“Yup,” Hesch, the driver, said.

“What did he say to do with me?”

“Drive you home.”

“I don’t have a home. Exactly.”

“Then where am I driving you?” Hesch sounded smug.

“I don’t know! Home, I guess.”

“Where’s home?”

Sam didn’t first think of Grants Pass, which had been home just weeks before. He thought of Kimmie’s apartment, where he’d been staying for free, if you could call it free. Sam wondered.

“There’s no place like home,” Sam said.

“There sure isn’t. Where you want to go, then?”

“Kim’s, I guess.” Sam thought he was being mysterious. But the driver turned off of State Drive and headed in the other direction.

“Kimmie’s?” the driver asked.

“Yeah. You know Kimmie?”

“Who doesn’t?”

“I guess everyone.” Sam found himself jealous. But there was no reason to, because he wanted Bunny back with all his soul and heart. Still, he’d adopted this habit, since entering L.A., of taking a fancy to women and becoming jealous if he found out they only had eyes for everyone but him.

For instance, there was the woman on the Greyhound bus that he’d taken from Oregon to the bottom of California; her name was Cindy, but she’d been married and, though offering to give Sam an in-seat blow job, which he turned down, she was not looking for a relationship. He was interested in Cindy until she mentioned Brad, her husband.

Then there was Kimmie, the girl who’d offered him her apartment to live in. Kimmie was lovely, and she had Bunny’s eyes, but Kimmie obviously wasn’t planning on sticking around long enough for Sam to test his morals.

Then there was that young girl, Mantheana, who wouldn’t have given Sam a second look even had she given him a first look. She must have left after Sam fainted. Sam doubted she even noticed his embarrassing tumble to the floor.

Then, yes, there was Jemima. Jemima had given Sam a first look only, but that look still made the back of his thighs tingle. He crossed his legs and relaxed in the seat. He sure would like to meet her again—

No! Jemima was more than butter in his tummy. She was a freaking monster!

If any of that was real.

I couldn’t have been.


After a time of silence, a long time of recollection, the cab slowed. They were next to Kimmie’s apartment building. . .which was next to a boarded up building, which was next to a short building entitled “2005 Republican’s Headquarters,” which was just across the street from Bob’s Bar. They’d come full circle. Sam had too. What he’d seen had been real. If ever a real there was.

Jemima was a vamp. By that, Bob must have meant a vampire. Mantheana must have been a vamp too. A cold vamp or something. Just then, Sam wondered if Bob knew what he was talking about. All Sam knew was that the incident had happened. Even if Bob was full of it, the incident had definitely happened.

The meter read “30.03.”

“That’ll be thirty dollars,” Hesch said.

Sam’s whole self sank—not just his shoulders, not just his confidence, not just his soul—and he pulled out his wallet, knowing what he’d find. Because, while Sam had lain unconscious in the bar, Bob had taken it all.

“I don’t got any money,” Sam said. “I’m sorry.”

“You know what, kid? That’s okay. ‘Cuz I owe Bob about thirty already.”

“Dollars?” Sam said, rising into enthusiasm.


“Bob does favors?”

“Everyone does favors. And repays them. That’s how L.A. works. L.A. by night, anyway.” Sam wished Bob had explained that. Sam would rather have owed two hundred favors than the dollars he spent on juice and advice. “By day,” Hesch said, “it’s all confused with human facades. Not at night; the way is clear.”

“Human?” Sam remembered how Jemima had said 'human'.

“Human,” Hesch replied. “Listen, kid, I heard you’ve had a few rough spills this year. Wife got you down.”

“She got down with my best friend.”

“Right, right,” Hesch said, not surprised. “I feel for you, kid.”

“I’m not a kid.”

“I had a chick ruin my life once. She was a vampire.”

“A vampire.”

“She had me all up in knots. She knew everything about me. She catered to me. She knew right where the target was, just exactly totally right where to strike.”

“Sounds familiar.”

“It should. She lives right up there.” Hesch leaned over the dashboard and pointed through the windshield to the middle of the apartment building. He was pointing right about where one might find Kimmie’s apartment. “She got me involved in After Dark, then dumped my ass. Not right away, of course. Just once she forgot who I was.”

“After Dark?”

“But I got even with that bitch.”


Hesch handed Sam a business card. Sam drew it close through the darkness and read it, expecting to find something like “Hesch Cab Co.—Open All Night” and a phone number. But what appeared below his very nose was a name:


“That’s a vengeance demon," Hesch said.

“A. . .vengeance. . .demon.”

“Yeah, you got it.”

“A vengeance demon.”

“See? You’re not as dumb as Bob said you were.”


“Slow down, fly-boy. Don’t make me think you’re dumber than Bob said you were.”

“Bob said I was dumb?”

“That card is the key to your getting even with Bunny for all her wrongdoings.”

The image of Bill and Bunny flashed across the business card, but Sam was determined to look past it. He read the phone number.

“438-3836. Is this to a business?”

“Business?” Hesch laughed. His laugh was loud. It rang throughout the cab of this very disturbing cab car. “That’s not a phone number, dufuss. That’s a chant.”

“Looks like a phone number to me.”

“It ain’t. Call the number on the phone and you’ll get the easy way out.”

That only left the hard way out. Sam said, “What other way is there?”

“Ever take choir in school?”


“That’s okay. Just sing--er, chant--that and you’ll see.”

“How do I chant a phone number?”

“Read your phone, kid. Look, I’ve got paying customers waiting, is the inquisition over?” Hesch said. “Just take my advice, call that demon number, and your ex- will pay dearly. She'll pay the hard way.”

“Advice, huh?” Sam said warily. “How much?”

“You’re all paid up.”

“That simple. All paid up.”

“Not allpaid. After you, I owe Bob another twenty-nine favors. But who’s counting?”

“Not me. I just want Bunny back.”

“You mean get back at. Even the score.”

“That’s it.”

“That’s what I’m counting on. Justice exists in this world. You're a blameless kid after my own heart."

Sam opened the door, feeling both incredulous and grateful. He stepped out while reading the business card again. “So,” he said into the taxi, “this number really should. . .do something to help me?”

“Worked for me once.”

“Once? What did you use it for?”

“Getting even, stupid.”

“Oh. Getting even with who?”

Hesch shook his head. “Kimmie. Kimmie.”


“’Course! How in Hell do you think a goober like you managed to find his way to L.A. My vengeance wish summoned you.”

Hooting like a blow-fish, Hesch put on the gas and screeched from the curb. The momentum of his departure caused the back door to slam closed. Sam jumped farther back onto the sidealk. The business card collapsed within his reactionary grip. Sam didn’t know what to say. The cab disappeared. The night was still young.

March 1, 2002

Firefly's picture

Daye sat at one of the tables in front of the bookshop. She idly stirred her tea and picked at the muffin she had chosen for breakfast. Moments later, her stomach began to churn when she caught sight of Ryan approaching the table. She had asked him to join her so they could discuss things and so she could let him know that she was going away for a while. It had seemed the right thing to do at the time, but her heart beat a wild rhythm as she watched his body move while he walked. Ryan had always had a natural grace, a fluid magic to his movements that excited and entranced her. Now, with his body filled out in unthinkable ways, he moved with even more assurance. As she watched him, Daye was reminded of the times when they had been together, in his little cottage and outside under the stars. She knew every inch of him, so why did the sight of Ryan make her so nervous?

Ryan came to the table and shot her a smooth grin. He was wearing dark sunglasses and Daye could not see his eyes. He sat across from her, their knees touching beneath the tiny table. Daye watched him for a few more moments, her mind a blur of fear, longing, and confusion. What was it about Ryan now that made her so uncomfortable? Her discomfort only grew when he whisked off the dark glasses, his smile for her dazzling.

Ryan reached out and took Daye’s hand. He kept his face pleasant though he felt the hunger well up in him, touching her, smelling her, within striking distance. He brought her hand up to his cheek and rubbed it against his face. Daye shivered and Ryan rejoiced inside. She was not immune to him as he had feared. “You look lovely,” Ryan said, letting his eyes devour her.

Daye colored prettily. “Thank you,” she replied, drawing her hand back away from him.

“I know you’re still confused, but I hope we can talk now,” Ryan said.

“Yes, well,” Daye still couldn’t decide what to say to him. “Ryan, I don’t know. I want to talk to you, but I’m not sure what to say. It’s wonderful to see you…”

“But?” Ryan warned himself to remain patient, smiling indulgently at Daye.

“But, my life is very different than it was when we were together,” Daye supplied. “I have a lot of things going on and I’m a different person. I don’t really understand what you want from me.”

“I know you’ve changed, love,” Ryan sounded very understanding and patient. “I’ve changed too. I just want the chance to get to know you again. You’re the only thing that kept me going these last few years. I just miss you and I want to be part of your life.”

Ryan’s plea was heartfelt, and Daye found herself torn. She wanted to help him, to talk to him and try and work things out, but she felt awkward and unsure. This man, so like the one she had once known, made her uneasy and she wasn’t sure why. How could she decide what to do when he sat only inches from her? That was why she needed to get out of town, why she had agreed to go with Drew. Where Ryan made her antsy and disturbed, Drew had a calming effect, and that was what she needed to work things out in her head. She had to go to Ireland, to figure out what she was going to do. Everything with Ryan had started there and it was fitting that she was sure going home would clear her head. She just had to convince Ryan of that without hurting him.

“Look, Ryan,” Daye began, “I am really not sure what I want right now. I can’t seem to get my mind around the idea that you are alive after all. I need time to think.”

“Didn’t I already give you that?’ Ryan frowned.

“It’s not enough,” Daye replied. “I need to get away and figure out what I need to do.”

“What are you saying?” Ryan could feel anger bubbling up from within him. Was she going to take off now? He had just managed to find her and was finally ready to start the ball rolling on his revenge. If she left now, everything would be ruined.

“I’m going away for a bit,” Daye said. “I’m going to take a sort of vacation to think things through.”

Ryan tamped down on the fury these words stirred. If he lost control now, he would lose any edge he had. He had to pretend to understand and accept her decision.

Daye saw anger flare up in Ryan’s eyes at her words, and the dead rage frightened her. However, he fought it under control quickly, his expression caring when he replied, “I understand. I’m not going to tell you I’m happy about this, but I do understand. If you need to figure things out, then I will give you time and space to do so.”

Daye smiled fondly at him. “Thank you, Ryan. I will be leaving in a few weeks. If you want to come by and talk some before then, that would be fine with me.”

Ryan nodded. “I’ll do that. I’ll call you first, though, to make sure you’re available.”

Ryan stood then and watched Daye for a moment, before turning and striding off. Daye watched him, feeling a bit less upset and confused than when he had arrived. In so many ways, he seemed the same man she had loved. Once he was gone, she rose from the table, discarding her trash and heading into the shop. Now that Ryan had accepted her plan, she just needed to get the Council to okay her hiatus. Daye qwould call immediately, determined to settle things as quickly as possible. The Council was not known for its compassion, but with any luck, she could work something out.

February 26th, 2005.

Soulless Zombie's picture

Killroy. 438-3836. Sam dialed, his fingers trembling.

Doo-dee-doo! A grandmotherly voice filled Sam’s ear: “The number you have called cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and—”

Try again, Sam thought. He threw the receiver down and held it there. Then he lifted it once more, placed the earpiece to his cheek.

He didn’t dial the number this time. He’d been given instructions. Hesch the cab driver just couldn’t have meant sing the number, though. How do you sing a number? Just. . .sing it? Just open your mouth and let it fly? Was Sam supposed to embellish it with lyrics? That only seemed proper. Oh well. Sam gave it a shot. He cleared his throat, fully aware of the hollow quality of Kimmie’s apartment. And yet he felt watched. What if someone were to hear him? Kimmie’s walls were thin.

In a fit of urgency, he a exhaled a quick, melodic “Four-three-eight. . .” then stopped. Hm. Not bad. . .for a first cut. He sounded like an out-of-work Broadway reject, but hey, this wasn’t an audition. He tried again: “Four-three-eight. . .that’s the number that I’m singin’. . .four-three-eight. . .I shall be contemplatin'. . .this number that he gave. . .” Hm. Not bad for off-the-cuff. Cheesy, but shoot, he’d seen The Wizard of Oz almost thirty times. Now THAT movie knew how to cut the cheese. He could wing it from there.

The number than I’m singin’
I shall contemplate
This number that Hesch gave me
He said that it would save me
Over 30 times or more
The end will be 3836 and I’ll sing that for sure!

And then Sam hung up. He stepped back from the phone and waited. He watched. After a time, he tried watching, then waiting. Then he waited. Then he watched.

Hm. He picked up the phone again. He opened his mouth and tried quickly singing “four-three-eight-three-eight-three-six, my stomach cries for Bunny vengeance. . .” and stopped.


Hm. Hm indeed.

Hesch had said to read the phone. Read the phone? Crazy. But sometimes crazy was worth a try, crazy as that sounded. Sam looked at the “4” on the receiver. The letters he had to choose from were “GHI.” Next, “3," or “DEF.” He continued reading the phone until he’d gathered a mess of letters to un-jumble.

“Impossible,” he said, slamming the receiver down. He was done with this nonsense. Hesch was nuts. “He’s got me singing phone numbers," Sam said quietly, "jeez.” He was actually glad Kimmie wasn’t around to witness the idiocy. He was no closer to vengeance, though.

So what did Sam have left? Neither Bunny nor Bill were to be found in the information directory. And he’d given up the search days ago after checking the police departments in every district in L.A. Bunny was an academy graduate, but she’d applied nowhere. Bill was a computer guy; that was Sam’s only lead. How many places were there in the county that would hire a computer guy?

About a million or two.

Suddenly this Killroy tactic was sounding more realistic. And, though Sam was teetering back and forth on the whole “monsters exist/no they don’t” thing, he was willing to give it another go.

He picked up the phone and studied the letters again, trying to remember all of Hesch’s words. Perhaps Hesch had slipped him a clue. Read your phone, kid. That's all. GHI. . .DEF. . .TUV. . .DEF. . .TUV. . .DEF. . .MNO.

What did that. . .



Sam laughed the moment he got it! And that Bob guy had actually considered Sam dumb. Sam picked up the receiver, recalling the tune to "Over the Rainbow." He exhaled, then inhaled, then sang

I will. . .get GET E-VEN with that
Witch is dead
Which is-n’t all that funny
If your name’s Bunny

He hung up the phone. Not poetry, but not complete trash. At least he’d gotten the “get even” part in there. That’s all that mattered to the song. And his life.

“You rang?”

The voice came from behind Sam, and he spun around, knocking the phone over and half-collapsing on the side table. He threw his head up, now staring into the muddled brown face of a hideous creature, eyes alight, grisly hair flowing upon her bare shoulders. . .unspeakable sparkles in her dress. . .her tight dress. . .and a figure that. . .that. . .should have been grotesque. . .in a grotesquely sort of “demony” way. . .but might have been pretty. . .oh but those monstrous legs!. . .so veiny. . .so purplish. . .so long. . .so. . .so kind of rather nice-looking.

For a demon.

“Yes?” Sam asked, meaning to speak affirmatively. “I did sang. Er, rang.”

“Okay, let's not waste words. What’s the deal? Who do you want me to veng-a-fy for you?”

“My wife! Deliver vengeance upon her NOW, my demon slave!” Sam was speaking out his ass, not sure how this demon-thing was done, and his personal demon responded by raising an eyebrow. He felt awkawrd, immediately. "Um. . .please?" he asked.

“I might have known. What did she do to you, exactly? Not that it matters. Just curious. A demon likes to keep track of these things.”

“She boinked my best friend.”

“Boinked?” The demon bent down and picked up the phone and placed it on the small, wobbly table. “How refreshing. Most guys just use. . .” She whispered slyly, “The F-word.”

Sent aback, Sam felt sick that he’d used the word in the bar. That was a dirty word, used by unintelligent people. And Sam craved for others to not see him as uncouth. Then he felt sicker because he’d also thought the word earlier tonight while in the cab. Compiliments, again, of his father’s voice.

“So,” the vengeance demon said, “let’s get on with it. What exactly would you like me to do to your wife?”

“Kill her!” Sam said, needing no further pause. But then he didn’t like the sound of it. “No, wait. I want you to boil her, then kill her. No, wait, we’ve got to get Bill in there someplace."


“He’s my best friend.”

“So, like boiling your best friends, huh?”


The demon seemed perfectly content with his request. “Okay. So we boil your wife and your friend Bill.” She raised her fingers as if to snap them. But Sam wasn’t finished.

“No wait!”


“I don’t know. . .I think they should be made to apologize to me.”

“Right.” The demon raised her fingers again. “Consider it don—”

“No, wait!”

“Oh come on. . .” The creature threw up her hands.

“I think they should be made to suffer a lot first.”

“Such as. . .” the demon said smiling, “maybe by making them engender a baby that turns out to be a monster, akin to the monstrous feelings they’ve planted inside you?”

“Yes, perfect.” Sam was liking this demon.

“Say, why don't we make Bill the mommy? Make him carry their little freak-child to term?”

“Yes, yes!”

“We could give him a long, painful labor?”

“Marvelous. You understand.”

“Well okay then," she said. "Done.”

“Oh, and make Bunny have to say she’s sorry to me. Don’t forget that.”

“Too late.”

“Too late? What do you mean too late?”

“It’s done. You got your wish.”

“B-but don’t I get three wishes?”

The vengeance demon laughed out loud, and Sam felt dumb for asking. “No, oh, not at all,” she said, her words bemuddled by mirth. “Did Hesch tell you that?”

“Never mind, I guess.”

“Okay. 'Never-minding' it shall be.” She gave a bow. “Hey, cutie, it’s been fun.”

“You mean my wish is going to come true? Bunny’s going to pay?”

The demon started to say something jovial, but stopped before the first word came out. “Wait. Did you say. . .'bunny'?"

Sam shrugged.

"You did say bunny," she said. "You said it two times."

“Yeah. My ex-wife. Bunny."

“She’s a. . .bunny?”

Was there something wrong with that name? “Well, yeah,” Sam said. “Bunny Aubrey.”

“Oh my. . .”

“'Oh my' what?”

The demon started backing away, as if she were expecting to escape clandestinely out the front door. “This will not do,” she said.

“What won’t do—”

“Hey, listen, you like me, right? How I poofed in here and helped you out and all?”

“Yes. Sure. What? Should I say thanks? Okay. Then thank y—”

“You won’t tell this bunny of yours that ol’ Killroy helped you curse her, right? You won’t. . .won’t. . .”

Sam couldn’t help but share Killroy’s anxiety. It radiated from her pores. “No,” he said, “n-no, I promise I won't.”

Killroy the vengeance demon shot several guilty glances around the living room, and a second later she ceased to be present. No flash. No fireworks. She was gone. With her, she took the liveliness of a woman scorned. It was as though a vacuum had opened up in front of Sam.

He threw a hand to the table to support himself. He exhaled in shivers. Guess these vengeance demons freak out about girls named Bunny. This was insane. What was he going to do now without his. . .jeez, that had been a real live demon, hadn’t it? Demons existed. For reals. But quicker than yesterday, Killory was gone, his only hope for justice.

Sam felt his consciousness wavering again as he backtracked the events of his life. A missed opportunity for retribution, a vengeance demon, a kooky cab driver, a blood-sucking bar monster, a greedy bartender, and Kimmie, and a long bus trip, infidelity leading to that, and a back-breaking job at the mill, and all the way back to the biggest heartbreak of them all, dear old Dad.

Sam should have gotten vengeance on Dad. Too bad he didn't have three wishes.

Then it struck him. All of what had just taken place became instantly funny. A smile pushed its way into his face, displacing the queasiness. The demon had had a name. Sam found himself saying it out loud just to believe it:


Sam laughed until he cried. He slumped, dragging the phone to the floor, and he cried, laughing, and the phone began beeping off its hook, and he cried some more until the pain forced him humorlessly unconscious. There at the base of the small table he wept, he slept. And when he finally dreamed, he dreamt of crying.

Re: February 26th, 2005.

Soulless Zombie's picture

Around the block, not five buildings away. . .

Bill walked through the door, a face as white as could not exist within his dark complexion.

Bunny put down her People Magazine.


"Well. . ."

"What did the doctor say?"

"Well. . ."

"Well?" she said, growing angry.

"I'm. . ."

Bunny flashed into horror. "It's AIDS, isn't it? Oh, god, I should have stayed with Sam, I--"

"It's not AIDS."

"Well?" she said, still angrier. "What did the doctor say then?"

Bill's paleness turned to redness. Bunny waited for him to form the words.

"I'm. . ."

"You're. . .?"

Bill exhaled. "I'm pregnant," he said.

Then silence fell. Neither of them said anything after that.


Sid Siclid on The Subject of Bunnies
NPC Type

Diet: fresh hay, fresh vegetables, good quality pellets (min. 18% fiber), water
Bedding: absorbant material
Traits: bright, active, affectionate, inquisitive, gentle, playful, social
Common Life Range: 7-10 years
Powers: chewing and digging, alertness, litter-trainable
Length (common): up to 16 inches
Weight (common): up to 2 or 3 pounds


Bunnies (a.k.a. rabbits) and hares are just like the animals most of us know, and their types include the Eastern Cottontail, the Jack Rabbit, the Snowshoe, the White Tail, and others. They’re cute to most humans and possess “floppy legs and twitchy little noses” (Joss Whedon 2002). They are clean, docile, smart animals. This opinion holds true, even in the world of LA By Night.

However, there is one rabbit that has changed things for anyone cursed by the knowledge. To know bunnies is to love them. To know the One Bunny is to fear it.

Once a generation, quite like the Vampire Slayer, there is one bunny born with a purpose. Unlike the Slayer, who is a beacon of light, the One Bunny carries with it the potential to doom any being caught in its presence. Outwardly, the One Bunny cannot be distinguished from other bunnies; it is still cute, alert, vegetarian, and of course cuddly. But this bunny should be considered anything other than cuddly. Its dark power increases with proximity.

The closer a being—be it human, vampire, demon, or god—gets to the Chosen One, the worse that being’s luck becomes. Wallets get lost, home phone numbers get forgotten, people trip on their own shadows, and lovers cheat on lovers. All this can occur within a city block of the One. Any closer and things can become dire, lives even lost. Holding the Bunny *egads* could do more than merely kill you, it could send you writhing to depths of eternal Hell where even Satan would not venture. It is because of this that the likes of demons and gods fear crossing its path.

But what are the chances of meeting the One? Very little. About as likely as winning a world-wide lottery, actually. So rare is this happenstance that only the most paranoid among us would ever fear it. But the fact remains, such a meeting is feared. Especially by those beings—gods and demons, to name two kinds—who are drawn to climactic events. Because only such a time and place (one of great importance), as many have supposed, might summon the presence of the Dread Bunny. So if you’re a creature who finds him- or herself in a climactic event, beware. Beware of any bunnies innocently hopping thereabouts.

Sadly, though, most beings who are aware of this awful beastie will drive themselves crazy when in the presence of a rabbit--even if it is powerless; that is, even if it's just a bunny. They will often assume it is the One, and the mere idea of it will cause them great distress. How many truly innocent bunnies have been slaughtered in vain?

And even if the One is to be destroyed, another One would only take its place. Because the threat never dies, the fear has grown century by century. It never ends.

Next time you look at a bunny, how can you be sure it is not the One?

You can't.

February 26th, 2005

Soulless Zombie's picture

“Hello, Hesch,” Killroy said.

Hesch almost lost control of the steering wheel when the vengeance demon appeared in the back seat of his cab. He relaxed his shoulders, played it cool. In the rear-view-mirror, he gave her a wide, hello-ish grin showing all four of his missing molars. “If it isn’t the bad girl of all lovers scorned. I thought you’d be off giving Haley Joel Osment a cold sore for the sophomore dance.”

She nodded and put a dainty hand to her face, as if to say, True, true. She could not deny her greatness. Osment was now 16 and a heartbreaker, a love-taker. He was full of himself.

“What are you doing here?” Hesch said. “You want something?” He was sure she wanted something. It sucked when a vengeance demon wanted something from you.

“Just here to thank you for your funny little joke.”

“I didn’t play any jokes on you.”

“You wished vengeance on Kimmie. Are you saying you didn’t?”

“No. I mean, yes, I did. You know I did. So?”

“Wished that she would meet up with a guy with the potential to hurt her like she hurt you?”

“And you delivered!” Hesch turned sharply onto Poplar Avenue. He was driving blind. Where was this conversation leading? “He’s here in L.A.”

“I know. I just came from Kimmie’s apartment.” She waited for Hesch to swallow loudly before saying, “This kid you had me summon on your behalf. . .this Sam kid. . .funny how you gave him my card."

“But that was okay, right? Throwing a little business your way.”

A thick softbound book appeared in Killroy’s hand. In the mirror, Hesch watched her flipping inward about a hundred pages. Aloud, she read, “’Section 93.3: if a v-wish results in the summoning of a human being meant to unwittingly exact said v-wish upon the stated target thingie—‘”

“It actually says that? ‘Stated target “thingie”’?”

“Are you making fun of The Handbook?”

“No, no! Go ahead, continue.”

“Dear, dear. . .” Killroy said, licking her fingers and flipping the page. “Where was I: ’Stated target thingie, the human himself cannot be allowed to summon the same v-demon to exact vengeance of his own. See Section 84.3.’”

“Oh.” Vengeance demons and their complicated rules. It all sounded pretty stupid and confusing to Hesch. “So, when I gave that kid your card, it was a bad thing?”

Killroy read some more: “’Section 84.3: Punishment For Rules Infractions: Double-Demon Doo-Doo:’”—Hesch laughed out loud, but shut up the moment he saw her eyes blazing at him in the mirror—“’if called upon by a human WHO IS IN FACT currently the utility of a previous v-wish, the host demon’—that would be me, Hesch—‘will find herself trapped on the mortal plane until both vengeance wishes have run their course.’”

She slammed The Handbook closed.

Hesch didn’t know what to say, exactly, so he said nervously, “It really said all that, huh?”

“It really did.”

“I see.”

Killroy was pissed. Hesch knew she wouldn’t let him off the hook until Kimmie got her just deserts, thus allowing Killroy to return home.

“Okay, no big deal,” Hesch said. “So Kimmie will fall in love with the kid, he’ll dump her because he’s really in love with his wife, Kimmie will be scorned, then you can go back to the fires of hell. Right?”

“Right. Except I met this kid. He’s not exactly the heartbreaker.”

“Well it was your. . .uh. . .your demon-powers that got him here. He must have the potential to get Kimmie to fall in love with him.”

“Oh he’s got the potential. Just could take awhile.”

“How long could it possibly take? He’s a good-looking kid. He’ll romance her.”

“Hesch, he used the word boinked.”



“Hoo-man. Hey, I’m sorry. I am.”

“And Hesch, why didn’t you tell me there would be bunnies?”



“I didn’t know there would be, uh, bunnies. I swear.” Hesch checked his speed: 69 MPH through town. Killroy was glaring at him, so he avoided the mirror at all costs. “Are bunnies,” he said, “bad?”

“You don’t even want to know.”

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Meredith Bell's picture

******Friday, 18th March 2005 – Club Asylum******

Through the crowded room Galen could just make out Catherine’s graceful form as she sat languidly at the bar. He felt relieved, he wasn’t sure she’d even show up. He pushed his way through the throng of bodies moving rhythmically to the beat of the music and sat down on the stool next to her.

He signalled for the bartender to pour him a drink and then turned back to Kate. He had to lean in close to be heard over the music. “Sorry I’m late, the traffic at this time of night is…” he cut his small talk short as he noticed Kate’s tacit posture. Her head was turned inwards in an expression of deep contemplation and she slowly stirred her drink with the tip of her index finger. Galen frowned and laid his hand gently upon her arm, Kate looked up as though she hadn’t even noticed he was there.

“Galen, hi…” began Kate, turning to face him.

Galen softly traced his fingers across her cheek – silencing her instantly. He frowned slightly and looked into her sorrowful face for many long minutes before he spoke. “Kate? What is it? …What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, well…” Kate looked away reluctantly, “I had a fight with Inanna the other day, she isn’t speaking to me.”

"I'm sorry," Galen said, taking a sip of his drink. He knew the two women were good friends, and Kate was obviously disturbed by the fight. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Kate shrugged slightly; she didn’t want to think about all the horrible things Inanna had said after Galen had left two nights ago. She frowned slightly and sighed, looking at Galen, “Not really, she, she just doesn’t understand. I suppose… well Luc and I were kind of like family to her, and now Luc’s gone…” Kate frowned again “I don’t think she likes you very much. But then again, she doesn’t seem to like me very much at the moment either.”

Galen stopped to consider that. Even though Kate didn't want to talk about it, he could guess why Inanna wouldn't like him. She would be right to suspect ulterior motives, just not for that reason. Helping Kate deal with Lucien's death had been a kind of atonement for his sins of the past. "There's nothing I can do to help, is there?" Kate didn't answer right away, and sat there in silent contemplation some more. Figuring she might appreciate a change of topic, he said, "By the way, you look really pretty tonight.” When Kate still didn’t answer he carried on speaking. “Urm, want to get something to eat?"

Kate looked up seemingly a little confused. “I’m not really hungry” she said, still sounding rather vague and distant. She looked around the club, the music had died down while a new band set up, some of the people had gone to sit down at tables and booths around the edge of the dance floor. “Urm, do you want to sit down over there? It’d be more comfortable.”

Galen looked at Kate and smiled, taking her hand as she led him across the dance floor to a vacant table at the far end of the room. He could tell there was something else that was bothering her, but he wasn’t about to bring it up just yet.

Without thinking about it, Galen found himself holding Kate's chair for her as she sat down before sitting across from her. He touched Kate's hand as they waited for the band to finish setting up. "Kate, we haven't really known each other for a long time…” Galen inhaled deeply “…but the way I feel… …it’s like I’ve known you forever.”

Kate smiled warmly, Galen’s words made her ache inside, she wanted him to touch her and hold her and make all the pain go away. Yet she felt something else too, it made her feel ill and it wouldn’t let her forget the words Inanna had spoken only days earlier. She looked at Galen’s hand resting lightly on her own, “I know” she said calmly. “I feel the same way too.”

Galen gazed in to Kate's eyes, struck by the intensity of the blue colour, so deep and intense. He just wanted to sit there with her, like this, for the rest of the night, as the band finished setting up, performing a version of Young and Warm and Wonderful. The first time he heard that song, it was sung by Tony Bennett. Still, he could sense that something was bothering her. "Kate, something's wrong. I can tell. What is it?"

Kate grimaced slightly, she didn’t know if she should say, things seemed almost perfect right now, she knew this would spoil everything. She hesitated for a moment, then looking into Galen’s insistent eyes she finally relented – deciding he deserved the truth and nothing less.

“I got this today” Kate removed a letter from her purse and unfolded the pages on the table. “It’s from Luc’s mother, she’s… …she’s asked me to go stay with her and the rest of the family for a while.” Kate sighed heavily, smoothing out the pages in her hands. “What am I supposed to say to her Galen? ‘I’m sorry but I can’t join you to grieve over the death of your son – MY former lover because I’ve found somebody new? That’s how much your son meant to me… three weeks after his death and I’m seeing somebody else!? That’s not right, I can’t do it to him, he meant more to me than that. The truth is… I don’t know what to do.”

Galen swallowed hard, not exactly sure at first what to say. Part of him didn't want her to leave, but he also knew something about what she was going through. The part of him that knew told him not to push her. Another part of him felt he had no right at all to even ask her to stay - not with the web of deception about his work that his position forced him to weave. There was, ultimately, only one thing his conscience could allow him to say. "I can't tell you exactly what to do, Kate. Just follow your heart."

Kate had never felt so confused in her life. While Galen’s advice was completely altruistic she could sense his conflicting emotions. He looked torn, while the loose hold he had on her hand tightened ever so slightly.

“I don’t want to go…” Kate said finally. She could feel Galen’s relief as the words left her mouth it made her feel distraught because she hadn’t finished. “…But…” she quickly added, “I can’t help but feel like I’m going to be hurting more people by staying. I, I have obligations, duties, that I really should fulfil. Luc meant so much to me and…” she exhaled deeply “…and it feels like – I feel like I’m not doing that justice. Oh! This isn’t sounding right!”

Kate sighed in despair and closed her eyes tightly, trying to figure out what to do. “I really, really like you Galen, but I just feel so guilty.”

Guilt, obligation, and duty were three things Galen was very well versed in. Although he had never taken seriously the concept of an ordered universe, he had to wonder if there wasn't some bit of fate behind the timing of their meeting one another. It wouldn't make him ultimately happy – in fact it would make him downright miserable, but it was probably the best thing for her at this point. "I really like you as well, Kate," he replied. The band finished playing its current song, and moved on to For Once in My Life. Now was emphatically not a good time for that.

"I understand what you're saying, and since he meant that much to you, I - I think you should go." Kate started to say something, but he cut her off. "Don't make the mistake of ignoring your conscience now. After everything you've been through, that's not something you can afford to do. Follow your heart."

Kate couldn’t tell Galen that it was her head not her heart that was telling her to go back to England. Her heart… … her heart was hurting she wanted to stay so badly. *But he’s telling me to leave… what if… * the thoughts were running wildly through her head, she tried desperately to ignore them. There was little more left to say but Kate felt rooted to the spot.

Finally she sighed and began to rise to her feet. “Yes, well I suppose…”

Galen took her hand gently, holding her back, he rose to his feet also. “Just one thing,” he said softly. Kate frowned, she still looked confused, and slightly hurt. Galen tenderly brushed his hand against her cheek, “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I didn’t…” he drew his thumb against her lips, “…just once…”

Galen gazed contemplatively at her mouth and then leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers. Kate retreated slightly in surprise, closing her eyes as she received his kiss. Softly Galen left his fingers caress her cheek as he drew her in closer. Their nervous lips merged into one, their light breath playing across their mouths. Kate placed her hand against his shoulder and hesitated, as Galen’s kiss became more anxious and searching. Her hand slipped up and stroked the back of his neck, pulling him into an intimate closeness as their bodies brushed against one another, and she kissed him back, yielding herself up to the passion of the moment. Time seemed to stand still, the eagerness of the embrace slowly melting to a close, they pulled apart breathlessly.

Neither of them said or did anything right away, as though afraid of what would happen. Galen had tried to communicate a simple message with the kiss: please, come back. Kate lowered her head, wanting more than ever to stay, but knowing that if she didn’t go now she never would.

“I… I’m sorry,” she said. “Maybe, if we’d met at another time… …under different circumstances…” her voice trailed off as she turned to leave.

Galen felt like he should do something, say something, try to make this easier on her. He wanted to hold her, beg her to stay, but knew he couldn’t do that. He finally relinquished his hold on her letting his arms slip down to take her hand in his one last time. “I’ll still be here, if you decide to come back.” The depressing thought came to mind unbidden that she might find someone else, or simply decide not to return.

“I’m, I’m sorry,” Kate said again, turning away. She hastily wiped at the tears that welled up in her eyes, determined not to break down now. She could feel Galen’s distress and was hit by a similar sense of apprehension and unease. She looked into his face for one last time, “goodbye” she whispered.

As Galen watched her leave, he picked up his drink and sat back down. Although he didn’t know how long he sat there, his drink was warm when he went back to work on it. Then he was back at the bar with something stronger. Something about the way he was sitting there told people not to bother talking to him. “Excuse me, sir,” the bartender said after a while. “I’m afraid I have to ask you to leave. We’re closing.”

“What?” Galen said, then looked around. Aside from the staff and a few stragglers heading out, he was the only one left in the club. “Oh. How much do I owe you?” Hearing the figure, he was shocked and managed to fish the money out of his wallet. Fortunately they were understanding in letting him leave his car in the lot, and called a cab to take him back to his apartment.


Soulless Zombie's picture

Griffith park by cold, sunny winter day: there was Sam, sitting on a bench and watching the ignorant speed-walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, and cyclists flowing along the roadways. They were so careful not to disturb the manicured patches of grass. Like ants they followed their destinies. None of them were aware how easy it would be to simply step off the path. Except the toddlers, who were going every-which-way but afar, for they were tethered to their mothers' wombs by short, neon kid-leashes. Sam wished he still had a leash. That way, he'd never have strayed so deeply Hell-wise.

He’d woken this morning shrivelled up from a long night of crying. The years of repression that he’d kept locked under a boyish smile had finally broke out into the open. He hadn’t cried since that day his father kicked him out of the house—what was it?—four years ago. The day he’d turned 18. He truly wished he was a toddler once more. His father hadn't seemed so disappointed back then.

Sam was absolutely spent. He had nothing left of his emotions. He had nothing left in his wallet. He had given up all hope of finding Bunny and Bill. Even when given the chance to wish mystical vengeance upon them, he’d screwed it up. He’d managed to scare his demon away.

How does one scare a demon away? How idiotic does one have to be?

Heck, how was it possible that monsters existed in the first place? Demons, vampires, and nasty little bartenders. Somehow, Sam’s night of exhausting grief had left him feeling so mediocre that he hadn’t the strength to reject the notion that monsters were real. No doubt about it. He believed.

An old couple hobbled by on colorless, wrinkly legs. They were dressed for tennis. Sam watched them with disgust. He would trade places with them if he could. He looked up to Griffith Observatory and wished he possessed the cash to buy his admittance. He'd gaze from the mountains to the ocean without a care. But he was not up there. He was down here, penniless, friendless, alone. His gaze hit the pavement, and the scope of his life became clear.

Then there was a pair of Nike Air Bohemian cross-trainers.

Sam blinked. He followed the legs of ribbed trousers up to a waist tied off by a white belt. Then there came a fat belly pushing through the buttons of a brown-stained, blue-striped shirt, ending in a face so barmy that it couldn’t be civil. It was owned by a middle-aged man who had taken the bench next to Sam, and though the fellow was squinting painfully, his seeing eyeglasses had been tucked away in his pocket protector. The man said, “I can see.”

Sam really didn’t know how to respond to that. He’d met quite a few nutcases on the Greyhound bus from Oregon to California, and he’d learned that only way to deal with them was to change the subject to something grounded in reality and hope for the best. But the worst, more often than not, followed.

Sam said, “You’re right. You can see a lot a neat stuff from the observatory.”

“No,” the man said. “I can see.” He held up a sizable, hard-cover book.

“Oh,” Sam said nicely, as though he were talking to a pre-schooler. “Pretty book. Is that a snakeskin cover?”

“It is the first book ever written. I am reading it now. You will read it too.”

“Super. But I’ve got my own book. Here, let me show you.”

Sam pulled out his copy of Of Mice and Men, rolled tightly into a funnel shape, for it had been living in the pocket of his green coat for weeks now. “This book is great. It's written by"--he checked the binding--"John Steinbeck, you know."

The stranger nodded without interest. He began flipping through the pages of his own, much-less tarnished book. Sam couldn’t help but notice that they were all blank. Every page.

“Hm. Must have saved a bundle on printing costs,” Sam said. He would have laughed had last night not left him apathetic. “What’s it called?”

Die Angst-Idee.”

”Die. . .” Sam couldn’t pronounce it. He thought it might be French. . .or German. Or even Russian. Jeez, how was he supposed to know? He never took Crazy Talk in high school.

“Only the most adept of God’s people can comprehend its meaning.”

“'God,' huh? You’re a Christian.” Great. Another Christian. Sam figured Kimmie for a Christian, based on her soft, solicitious manner of speaking. But at least Kimmie didn't make Sam's Spidey Senses tingle.

The strange man raised his voice. “I am the contemplation among infinite contemplations. A part of the celestial process. You are now my brother in thought, for you have received IT, too. We are the truly blessed."

“Right,” Sam said, standing, smiling, waving politely. “It’s been swell talking to you, but I have to get home now—” The stranger snatched Sam’s leg. “Hey! What’s the big idea?”

Instantly, the man let go. “It is the beginning, the end. And we are in the middle, waiting for it to begin and end again."

“Okay, got to go, bye!, have a nice day. . .”

Sam spun around and slammed into a women and her walkman. “Hey!” she cried, “What’s the big idea?”

Exactly the question Sam was planning on never asking again.

An hour later, he was back at Kimmie’s packing up his clothes. The strange man had really gotten to him. His fingers had been like industrial clamps. And the title of that book kept ringing in Sam's head. He turned on Kimmie’s stereo, but while blasting Chameleon, that extremely versatile country/disco/rock/whatever band that she loved, he could not forget the words “Die Angst-Idee.” It was like a tune stuck in his head. It was going to drive him crazy, that was for sure.

Unless he could find something to replace it. . .

6:06 PM.

Kimmie opened the door. Fresh air swept in as she strode girlishly into the living room. Sam let the spoon splash into his dinnertime bowl of Rice Crispies. It had been at least three days since he’d seen her. Her dark hair looked longer, her complexion paler, her legs thinner and shinier and MAN-OH-MAN it was so good to see her. She was the apple of his life, his only reason to stay in town.

She turned down the music, moved into the dining room, and kissed his cheek, began rubbing his shoulders. Her haunting voice turned stern. “What’s with the suitcases?”

Sam stood up from the table. Then he sat down and grabbed his spoon--he didn't know if he should hug her or shake her hand--then he jumped to his feet, scattering droplets of milk. He wanted to quickly explain everything to lovely Kimmie. Gesturing with the spoon, he popped off about how he was broke, miserable, that there were real-live monsters walking by night, that there were crazy people parking themselves on benches by day—but his Crispies were the only one between the two of them who were making any sense.

Surprisingly, Kimmie didn't regard him as though he'd snapped. She threw him her lovely, white teeth and flashed those gorgeous, oval eyes. They seemed pink in the dimness of the dining room.

“Please don’t leave, Bright Eyes," she said softly. "I'll take care of you.”

“But I don’t have any money," he said. He was embarrassed to admit that he'd squandered every cent he'd brought with him. It made him feel like a freeloading bum.

“You’ll find a job. I trust you.”

“I-I figured I was getting to be a nuisance. You haven’t been hanging around. I thought maybe you were hinting."

She drew close, her lips hovering off his, and she said, “I’ve been with my friends. I want you to meet them.”

Sam shuddered. His shoulders reached for his ears, and he wanted to kiss her more than anything. Kimmie was such a tease. “Meet your friends?” he asked.

Their noses touched. Hers was cold. Her voice was colder, yet more lovely than any he'd ever heard. She said, “I think you’ll like it at After Dark.”

“I think I’ll like it at After Dark,” he replied. He suddenly felt like a Stormtrooper, and she was Obi-Wan Kenobi. But, you know?, he didn’t care. He just didn't. "But Kimmie? I'll go if you say so, but you're the only friend I think I need. This sounds crazy, but since I met you--"

“Oh, Bright Eyes," she said in a giggle. "You're so cute. Everyone needs lots of friends."

"I know, I know. I knew that."

"My friends are just going to adore you.”

Consciously, he was thinking, Anything you say. Emotionally, he was thinking, Don’t screw it up, Sam, you idiot, don’t let on that you’re a-a Goober. Out loud, he said, “Sure. Whatever.”

"Whatever? Just 'whatever'?"

"Yes. I mean 'yes.'"

"Good." Kimmie suddenly delivered; she gave him a short peck on the mouth. Sam became warm and dizzy, and she steadied him. She pulled at the waist of his corduroy pants. “Very good,” she whispered. She slipped her fingers around his waist. His jacket hit the floor. “Very, very good.” She slipped off her high heels, and with her toes peeled Sam’s socks from his feet. “Very. . .very. . .very. . ."

Terrified by where Kimmie was taking him, Sam whispered, “When d-do you want me to meet your f-friends?”

“Soon. I told them how smart you are.” Kimmie was stepping forward; he was stepping backward. She was caressing his chest, her cheek smashing his lips sideways. “So you’re going to unpack your things? Stay awhile?”





She guided him to the bedroom and dotingly put him at peace.


Mantheana's picture

Mantheana awoke. The room was dark from the heavy red curtains that framed her window, but she could hear that it was day outside. Deciding to lie in, Mantheana looked back to the night before.

Vampires. How they irritated her. Although they didn't look dead, most of them smelt it. She wondered if 'Jem' had ever bathed since the day she was sired. Probably best not to think about that.

A funny little man had fainted half way though the fight. Funny little man. Funny little man who used bad language. He looked so shocked at Jem's face. And he was actually paying Bob. Mantheana had not been around long but she could see that only idiots paid Bob. She couldn’t recall paying for her vodka. Then again she couldn't recall it being worth paying for.

She laughed at Jem's face when she had won the argument. Tied down to a man. Not a good idea…* Mind you, * she told her self * I'm one to talk * With that her mind involuntarily flicked to Mikhail. Her thoughts drifted to how it was when she woke up then.

She lay on her side, still and relaxed. The world felt calm now. She breathed. Mikhail's big hand was cold, but it felt a normal temperature to her. His fingers came over her side and stroked her stomach playfully. Then Mikhail held her close to him and she could almost feel the strength of his arms around her.

Then, in front of her, there came an immense warmth. Mantheana was brought back to reality as she realised that Maria has crawled into bed with her. A small head popped out from under the covers by her head.
"Hullo Mama." She exclaimed looking at Mantheana with her wide eyes.

"Dohbro-ye ootra." Mantheana replied

"Morning, morning." Maria echoed her mother's words. She snuggled up to Mantheana. An inquisitive look appeared on her face.

"Tell why you're cold Mama."

"Pteetsa, You've heard this before."

"Tell me 'ny way."

"Your Papa made me cold."

"Did you want to go all cold?"

"Not really."

"Then why did you let him?"

"Because he said he could make me feel varm again anyway."

"Did he?"

This was a tough question. Mantheana thought about it.
"No." Came her answer finally. "But he made me feel as if that didn't matter."

"Oh." Maria had begun fiddling with the pendant around Mantheana's neck. Mantheana plucked hit from her hot little fingers and held it tightly in her hands.

"Anyway, my Pseetsa, its time ve both got up. Ve have ballet to go through, and you have some writing to learn."

"Latin alphabet or Silly?"

"Its Cyrillic, and both I think. You are doing quite vell."

"Yes Mama. Then can we play?"

"Da. Of course Maria. Now lets get you some breakfast, eh?"

"Yes Mama. Can Miesha have some breakfast?" Maria pulled the doll's heed above the covers.


"And can she have cake?"

"Nyet. No one in this house eats cake for breakfast."

"But we just moved here." Maria was persistent.

"Oh fine then. But this is a one off occasion, understand?"

"Da, Mama."

"Good. Come on then." Mantheana sat up and got out of bed. She picked Maria up and rested her on her hip, as she normally did. She started downstairs to the kitchen.

Tash's Birthday Surprise (part one)

Heather's picture

Evening, 18 March 2005

Victor inspected the wound in his shoulder, dust still settling around him. It wasn't all that bad though it had bled a little. As he smeared a little of his healing slime into the hole he frowned, wondering at the apparent simple-mindedness of the vampire that had just attacked him. Did it not recognise a demon when it saw one?

Coming out of the shadows, it had thrust a knife at him before embarking on the traditional vampire attack of fist and fang. He'd silently thanked Tash for her insistence that he carry a stake at all times as he dispatched the unfortunate creature. Rousing himself from his musings, Victor shook his head and continued on his way.

Soon after he left, a shadow detached itself from a nearby doorway and closely inspected the ground. The hooded figure suddenly squatted, reaching out a delicate arm to pick up the knife. A small satisfied sound escaped its lips as it inspected the knife, sniffing carefully at the blood thereon. Soon nothing was left on that quiet section of street except a lone rat scratching desperately at the piles of rubbish that formed drifts against the corners of the dilapidated buildings.

11:16 pm, 19 March 2005

A warm spring breeze lifted the edges of the robes worn by the statuesque female figure. The cloak rustled dryly as it shifted and as the moonlight caught on it, it became apparent that it was made from stitched skins. Human skins. The woman stood, her bare arms raised in benediction as she surveyed those assembled before her. In a little over five hours, at the exact minute of the vernal equinox, the years of planning and preparation would bear fruit.

The gibbous moon, sinking low in the sky now, reflected highlights from the woman's dusky skin. She was old. So very old. Her hair had faded to a dull grey and skin hung in folds from her body. Then the light caught her eyes. Those eyes glittered with a determination and purpose. She would have the power she'd worked so hard over the centuries to accumulate. And her sisters – she cast her gaze once more at the dark figures below her – her sisters would also benefit. Once more she would be able to sustain them, as soon as she had the life and power of the vessel she had nurtured.

The drums beat a steady rhythm that pounded through her veins and through the earth, the piteous bleating of the waiting goats forming an eerie counterpoint. She swayed in time as her acolytes began the dance that would concentrate the powers needed later tonight. A small smile curved her lips at the memory of how easy it had been to overcome her darling Kijakazi once the demon had been neutralised.

Such a pity the ritual had to be done in this horrid place, instead of at her own lovely home on the African continent. Her own abode already had the deaths of hundreds to draw power to it, but even here she had been able to find a suitable site. It was some little way outside the city of Los Angeles but she could sense there had recently been much death and magic here. Evil hung over this glade. It wasn't old - in fact it was quite fresh, no more than a few weeks at most - but it was powerful and would do nicely.

Still, she would have been happier doing this in familiar surroundings, and she silently cursed once more at the circumstance that had drawn the elf to her vessel, preventing the girl from being raised with her sisters. She hadn't believed her luck when the couple she'd chosen had managed to produce not only a gifted psychic, but one born exactly on the vernal equinox. It was more than she'd ever hoped or dreamed possible. Her skin tingled at the mere thought – a tripling of the power gained. She would be young for so much longer this time, and her abilities would become almost godlike. Then just when her plans to orphan the girl had come to fruition that damn Fae had stepped in and inexplicably decided to take the girl under his wing. She'd had to be so careful no to tip her hand to the faery. So long as he was unaware of the girl's fate he could be dealt with.

Then this damn demon had to come along, a mere couple of months before the girl's 27th birthday. Scant weeks before the date on which she could be harvested to full effect. They'd had to work quickly to find a way to overcome him but fate had helped out there when he lost his armour, allowing them to bleed him easily. The gris-gris that she made, imbued with the demon's ichor, would keep him immobilised for days, both body and demonic essence. She delighted in the memory of his tormented eyes as he had lain there, helpless, while they dragged his precious Natasha from his arms.

Before her the dancers whirled in increasing frenzy and the gentle breeze grew to a steady wind. The moon sunk ever lower in the sky. In only a few short hours she would be young once more, and powerful. More powerful than she had ever been. And at such a small price. The life of one girl who would never have existed in the first place if not for her.

"I giveth and I taketh away…" she murmured, the corner of her mouth curving upwards.

daye and jess meet

Firefly's picture

The Council had given Jessie an address to check out, a book store in town. She found the address and wondered inside taking a look at the large volumes she passed. The shop had a warm feel, books covering every wall and a couch near the front. "Do you have any magic books?" She asked the familiar face just in front of her.

Daye looked up at the sound of the voice. She had been reviewing the shipment order for one of their book suppliers. The last time one of the sales clerks had sent it out, there had not been nearly enough copies of the second printing of a popular spy novel on the current bestseller lists.
Daye was prepared to rebuff the inquiry, figuring the "witch" to be another of the confused children that walked through the door on a regular basis. It was funny how here in America so many youth turned to the occult seeking a sense of faith and purpose.
It was as if, the more these people moved away from the religions they had once embraced, the more they sought something to replace them. Unfortunately, Daye did not approve of the use of magic as a means to fill an otherwise empty existence; particularly not by untrained youngsters with too much passion and not enough common sense.
Daye's practiced speech sputtered out before she could begin though at the sight of the woman standing before her. This was no unfamiliar misguided youth, but rather an old, welcome friend. Standing in front of the counter was a pretty young woman with long, dark hair and a friendly smile. She had on a sweater and jeans, and with her fresh scrubbed good looks, she would hardly fit the profile of a watcher, but that is exactly what she was. A watcher practically from birth, Jessica Travers was also a good friend of Daye.
"Well, would you look at you?" Daye came quickly around the counter to draw Jess into an exuberant hug. “What are you doing in L.A.?”

Jess smiled then let out a small laugh at her friends actions and hugged her back. "Ahh, work as usual," Jess replied, her face still covered in a smile. "I managed to persuade Will to let me come. So far it's been more of a holiday, what with the lack of d- erm," she looked around to see a few kids walking into the store. "I'm still training but only for a few more months.” Pausing to take a look around the small store she looked back to Daye. "Anyway, enough about my work. How are you, it's been so long."

Daye watched Jess closely as she spoke. She seemed quite happy, and there was little doubt that the L.A. situation would call for all of the resources The Council was willing to expend. All told it would be good to have another friendly face around especially one she really knew she could trust not to suddenly turn vampire or something.
"It's good to see you," Daye said. "I'm glad you could get Will to cut loose the apron strings. You’re more than ready for the field and I could use some help around here. Frankly this city is a lot busier than I thought it would be."
Daye debated for a moment and then she decided they would be able to talk with more privacy in the back. She signaled for one of the part-timers, an ancient Lit major from nearby UCLA, to take over the counter.
"We can talk more back here, if you have time," Daye said to Jess, gesturing towards the door in the back of the shop.
"Sure, I think we have some catching up to do." She followed Daye into the small back room of the bookstore. It made her feel slightly insecure but it was best. Their work was private and she didn't really want anyone to find out about it, so were their lives, they lived in a world of demons and the paranormal where as most of the population lived a normal life, in a normal world, protected from the truth.

Daye waited until Jess was in the back room with her. Then she shut the door and led the other woman to a seat at the small table the staff used for breaks. Once they were settled Daye studied Jess for a moment trying to decide how much she could tell her friend. Finally, she decided to feel her out first.
"Jess, can I ask you a question before I tell you what has been going on around here?" Daye asked.

Jess felt slightly worried but she didn't show it. "Yeah, sure." She smiled slightly as her friend as she looked at her.

"I need to know how much you plan on telling the Council about what you are doing here in L.A." Daye said. "There are a lot of things that have happened since I came here and not everything is something I think the Council needs to know about."
Daye hoped that Jess would understand because it would help her to be able to talk to someone about everything. Well, maybe not everything as she was not ready to discuss Ryan with anyone at this point.

"I know," She said reassuringly, "I won't tell them what isn't my business. If you choose to keep things from them, then, that's your choice." She knew this would be hard from Daye's voice. She smiled wryly as she knew this would to come down to friendship versus the rest of her life.

Daye nodded. She had hoped and expected Jess to say something of that sort. "The truth is there are a lot of people here that are working to keep the "bad guys" down. Some of those people might be considered "bad guys" by the Council. If you just listen, I think you'll understand what I mean."
Daye filled Jess in on everything she knew about what had been going on in and around L.A since she arrived. She finished up with the explosion at Poplar, which she had only heard about from Tash. When she was all done, she sat back and watched Jess.
"So, any questions?" she asked innocently.

Jess took all the events of L.A in, and was left speechless. So much had happened to Daye and her new friends in so little time. Now she had to decide what she was going to keep to herself. Daye trusted demons, half demons maybe but demons nether the less. Jess knew demons weren't always bad and humans weren't always good, but The Council didn't see this.
Jess sighed and said a quiet "No." There wasn't much more to know, she paused to think about her answer again. "Kate, she's in L.A?"

"Oh, yeah, you two know each other don't you?" Daye asked, suddenly remembering that they had been friends. "Well, she apparently came here after the "murder trial". Like I told you, there was no murder and Kate was innocent, if not the true victim herself. Serapis and his lackeys nearly killed her. She's recovering from her ordeal now. That and the loss of Lucien. To be honest, I haven't seen any of them since that night in the clearing."

"Oh my god," She whispered to herself at the news, "Are you both alright?"

Daye had just talked to Kate earlier that day, so she knew that she was doing better, recovering from the pneumonia brought on by exhaustion that had put her in the hospital. "Well, I am fine,” Daye said. "I got off with just some bumps and bruises, thanks to R...a friend. And Kate is doing better. She's in the hospital. She came down with pneumonia after everything, but she should be going home soon. Probably in a day or two. I don't know about emotionally, though. I didn't want to upset her, so I didn't mention Luc."
Daye glanced up at the clock, noticing how much time had passed. She had a lot of work to do before she could close up. Mrs. Wyldling was leaving for another assignment in a few days, and Daye had promised to have the shop in tip top shape before she had to take over permanently. She wanted to reassure the older woman that she could be trusted, so Daye had not even mentioned her planned trip to Ireland.
Daye considered Jess for a moment. "You know, I am planning to go away for a few weeks this summer," Daye said. "I don't know what you have planned, but maybe you could take over around here while I am gone. Despite the shop just being a cover, the boys back home like to keep it running in the black. What do you think?"

"Um," Jess was slightly hesitant, she'd never in her life worked in a bookstore, but she couldn't really say no to her friend. "You'll have to show me the ropes." She smiled.

Daye smiled back. Jess would be a natural. "Sure, come in tomorrow early and we'll get started. Since you know one aspect of Bibliophile, I should have no trouble teaching you the rest."
Daye rose from the table. "I, however, have to go take care of some things before it gets too late. Why don't you look around a bit, if you like?"

"Sure. I guess I'll see you tomorrow," Jess replied.

Daye left the back room, and headed up to the counter. In moments she was completely absorbed in her work. She didn’t even notice when Jess left the shop a few minutes later.


Meredith Bell's picture

******Saturday, 19th March 2005 - Morning******

At 4am Kate awoke for the second time that night and decided to pack her bags, she was going to return to England with Inanna. Afterwards she walked over to the window and pushed back the heavy curtains, the streets below were deserted. Kate felt a peace inside as she looked down at the quiet street bathed in moonlight and the pale orange glow of the streetlights.

She closed her eyes and thought of Galen, his warm smile and gentle eyes. Kate held her fingers against her mouth, she could still taste him upon her lips, feel his touch against her skin. She shivered slightly, her body tingling; Kate wrapped her arms around herself and picked up a shawl from the bed. She draped the light cloth around her shoulders and slumped down on the chaise.


Inanna had still been angry when Kate returned home that night. The anger had been rising and bubbling within her right until the point where she had stood outside Kate’s bedroom door, about to enter and let her know once more just what she thought of her behaviour. Her hand hovered over the door handle, the rage she felt inside was palpable, then she heard it, ever so slightly, a light breathy sobbing. She knelt down to the keyhole and pressed her ear against it.

The sound came again.

Inanna rose to her feet and returned to her room feeling rather guilty. She didn’t say a word the next morning when Kate appeared at the breakfast table, her eyes red and sore or when Kate’s luggage appeared next to her own in the hallway. They travelled to the airport together in silence, and flew the entire ten-hour flight back to England in the same cool, contemptuous disapproval.

LA at last!

Evalyn Toussaint's picture

***Wednesday, 9th of March, 2005...1:57am***

The street was silent and empty as Reah rode slowly down it, buildings passing her by. She kept her eyes peeled for any sign of the man, or thing actually, she’d been chasing.

It was dark, strangely enough considering it was 2am, aside from the few street lamps that lit this run down side of town. Most of the buildings looked dilapidated and half of them abandoned the further down she travelled. The alleyways between the buildings just appeared to be nothing but endless black holes. Reah could only make out the slightest hint of a dumpster or pieces of scrap from the little light the street lamps shed on the objects. The sound of her bikes engine running seemed deafening compared to the utter silence that held this city at this time of the night, although it was occasionally broken by a car that passed though an intersection, or sped off up the road. Reah tried concentrating her senses on the alleyways, as they seemed the most likely place for a creature of the dark to be lurking.

She was beginning to give up for the night until she heard a small clatter that turned her attention down the side of some bar.

Reah turned her bike around and headed toward the direction the noise had come from. Approaching the mouth of the sideway, Reah turned her engine off and silently crept up to the corner of the alley to peer around the corner.

Nothing moved, and silence was once again evident.

Reah sighed and stepped back to her bike, kicked up the stand and wheeled it into the alley, out of the light of strangers while she ventured more to where the sound had come from.

She was a good four metres in when a sudden loud crash on her left snapped Reah’s attention to a broken bottle that had smashed on the ground. Her heart raced from the sudden surprise, and she kicked herself for being so jumpy, *just a friggen bottle, and you act like you’ve just been ambushed by a gang of demons!*

Calming herself, Reah let out a breathe she didn’t realise she was holding, and bent down to pick up a piece of the broken glass off the ground…*hm, still wet! A little sticky!* Reah frowned, *drinks don’t get sticky…unless they’re soft drinks, I guess!…but why the hell would a scrubby little bar like this sell soft drinks?* She brought it closer up to her face and squinted at the sticky wet substance on the glass and her fingers. She couldn’t quite make out the dark smears in the little light she had, so she tasted the bit on her fingers.

The tang of the substance seemed strangely familiar, though she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, *What the hell is it?* Reah sniffed at it and tasted it again. Her eyes popped wide and the glass dropped from her suddenly frozen fingers, *BLOOD!!!* "Ew!" Reah sprang into action with the ritual of spitting and wiping her hands on her jeans. *Somebodies going to die!* she thought as she glared distantly through the crate in front of her. She looked back down at the ground to where she squatted, and shuffled back a bit from the broken bottle.

A rattling of more bottles in the crate above her caught Reah’s attention. *That must of been where that one fell from!* She shuddered at the thought blood being served in bottles.

She looked back up to the crate and noticed a tiny head suddenly pop out over the edge.

"Kitty!" Reah exclaimed silently in a whisper. The little black cat dropped down to the ground and began sniffing at the broken bottle in front of Her. "So you were the one making all that noise!" Reah smiled and stroked the cat as it purred in satisfaction and licked at the smashed bottle.

Not long after, Reah heard the doors of the bar burst open as two men stumbled out into the street, roaring with laughter, *they’re probably NOT men considering what they seem to serve here, they could be anything!* But one thing came to Reah’s mind first and stayed there.

She stopped patting the cat, leaving it to lick the residue off the glass, and slowly stood and made her way back to the mouth of the alley.

"Du should of heard her scream!" Came a familiar voice with a heavy German accent. Reah frowned and peered around the corner of the bar. Her face darkened when she recognised the vampire.

The two seemed to be splitting up, his friend strutting in her direction. Reah sank back into the shadows a bit more as she pulled a stake out of her coat.

Hans began to walk away from his friend and return to his crypt to pick up a couple of things, "So we’ll meet up at der club, ya?" He called back to his friend.

There was a shrill scream that answered Hans’s call, and was swallowed by the night.

Hans’s walking pace slowed, and he turned to look over his shoulder to where his friend should have been. There was nothing there. He stopped and turned around, "Hoisler?" Hans called and took a couple of steps toward where his friend had disappeared and looked up and down the street, "Hoisler! Wer bist du?" Silence answered. "HOISLER!"

A light suddenly blinded Hans from ahead, and he lifted his arms in attempt to shield his eyes from the glare while they cleared. He could vaguely hear a motor running from behind the light.

"Easy! Don’t want to give yourself a heart attack, now do you?" Reah said, then shook her head as she realised the contradiction in what she’d just said.

The voice sparked something in Hans, it seemed strangely familiar "Wo bist du?" He yelled from behind his arms, "Und war ist Hoisler?"

Reah frowned, *What the hell!* She scratched her brain trying to decipher what he’d said. *I’ll chuck in a few revs just for fun, maybe it'll intimidate him!* She smirked at how stupid that sounded even inside her head!

"Don’t you remember me?" Came the voice again, cool and confident! Hans’s eyes widened, hoping it wasn’t who he thought it was, *That girl ist mad!*

Slowly he lowered his arms and tried squinting past the light to make out the figure behind it, but the contrast between the glare of the light and the shadows of the alley made it nearly impossible. He suddenly heard a slow and smooth sound of something sliding, finishing with a *shing!* Hans spotted something glimmer and rest slightly away to the right of the light. *Das kann nicht be gut!* He scowled at the light and the girl.

Reah saw his face vamp as she drew Sharier, her katana. He darted a quick glance over his shoulder, before he started backing away to dart off. She noticed the plank of scrap wood in the distance where he’d glanced that would serve him well as a club if he reached it! "I’ll be fucked if I’m gonna let you do that!" She muttered under her breathe, as she revved her engine and tore out of the shadows of the ally, Sharier readied on her left!

Gaining on the vampire, she noticed him pass the wood and instead started kicking and tearing at a parking meter just past it! Reah shook her head *What a moron!* Although she cursed herself as well for forgetting het sunnies as the wind beat at her eyes bringing tears.

The meter began to give as Reah approached. She elevated herself in her seat ready for her strike. The last second blurred past as she reached the vampire and sliced with her katana just as he had succeeded in ripping out the meter, it caught Reah’s wheel causing her to lose control of her bike and slam into a parked car before overbalancing and sliding across the roads surface, tearing and ripping at her coats right arm, until she slowed and came to a stop in a pothole.

After lying frozen still for a while, Reah forced open her clenched shut, teary eyes and untucked her head. She was lying on her right side and holding her left arm up in the air, gripping Sharier with white knuckles, who surprisingly, didn’t have a scratch on him. She looked up to where her bike was a couple of metres away from her, and winced at the scratches she saw on it *Crap!*

She tried to move to a more comfortable position, not in a pothole, and winced at the pain in her right arm. She glanced back to where a pile of dust now littered the gutter, some of it still settling, and grinned, "Another plan, perfectly executed!" She then noticed a parking meter sticking out of a smashed window of some store. "Hmm…time to go!"

Pulling herself up, she wobbled slightly after being thrown around, then straightened out her right arm clenching her teeth, "Owie!" It was then that her left shoulder decided to dislocate. Staring blankly at nothing, she remarked blandly, "Just to top it off!", and shoved it back into place with her right arm, causing great discomfort on both sides.

She glanced back down the road to the bar and noticed the neon flickering sign, "Bobs Bar". *Interesting! But not tonight!*

Maria goes walkies. the eve. of the date daye and jes meet

Mantheana's picture

Mantheana was out again. Nights in LA were very interesting it would appear. She wasn't going back to Bob's. Mantheana was not stupid. She had heard about the place 'After Dark'. Supposedly allowed vampires and humans and anything else, but no fights. Sounded more her style.

Mantheana had left Maria at home. Night was no place for her. Maria was not alone however. Mantheana had given strict instructions to Yasha about keeping Maria alive. Nothing would lay a finger or claw upon her tonight. Of that, Mantheana was sure.

She kept her brisk pace up to the night club and stepped inside.

Back at the mansion, Maria had woken up. She had felt uncomfortable in the new house with out her mother. Not scared but uncomfortable. Her mother had told her where she was going, and that Yasha would look after her. She knew that. Maria stroked his huge neck as he lay with his head in her lap.

"Shasha?" she addressed him with the pet-name she had dubbed him with when she was younger. Yasha's ears pricked up in response.
"Shasha, I wanta go and find Mama."

Beneath his furry eyebrows, Yasha gave a look of disapproval. Mantheana would not like this.

"Shasha, I want to find her. It can't be that hard. She only wented to 'After Dark'" Maria tickled him behind the ear to try and win approval. He gave a small growl of pleasure and then she slipped her legs from beneath him and stood up on the ground. Her white cotton night-dress fell, well fitted around her little body, she picked up her doll and started towards the door of her room.

Yahsa was up in a flash, baring the doorway, trying his best to look intimidating to the little Maria. But she walked up to him and stroked his muzzle, and it was not five seconds before he gave in. Her bare feet padded softly with his down the grand stairway, and it was not long before both of them were out on the street.

Daye took one last look around the shop, pleased with how well the new arrangement was coming along. She had reorganized the whole place, creating more order and an even cozier feel.

The tiny indoor eating area was awash in fresh summer flowers and the front display window was built around a summer reading theme, complete with lounge chair and a pitcher of "lemonade." Mrs. Wyldling could find no fault and would be comfortable leaving Bibliophile in Daye's hands.

Daye herself was surprised with how fulfilling it was to work in the quaint little shop, helping to match each customer with just the right book. For a cover job, it was unbelievably rewarding. Filled with a sense of pride, Daye locked up the store and began the walk home, her spirits high.

By now Maria was a way along the sidewalk. Her little feet felt the cold of the slabs, but it didn't bother her. She was used to cold. She kept one hand on the scruff of Yasha's neck at and the other tightly around the small hand of Miesha the doll.. Yasha himself was on the edge, listening to all that he could to keep his Maria safe.

Maria had begun humming the theme of swan lake, a tune that she had been dancing to earlier in the day. Her small quiet voice broke the silence in a cautious way. She wasn't scared. She was rarely scared. But she wanted to find her mother.

Just then Yasha's ears stood on end as a young woman came round the corner. He began to race towards her, teeth bared and hair on end he was just inches away, when Maria's voice called him back.

"No Shasha. Bad boy. Heel." He came back, tail between legs, this great beast before the little child.

Daye turned a corner a couple of blocks from the shop and stopped short at the sight of a small girl and a humongous wolf coming down the sidewalk. The girl was very young, definitely no more than five or so. She was pale with dark auburn hair and a sweet innocent face. The wolf on the other hand was huge and menacing. When Daye rounded the corner, the animal came charging towards her with its teeth bared. Daye took a hesitant step back just as the little girl called out to the huge creature.

Her command carried through the street and Daye was amazed when the beast obeyed, returning to the child with its tail between its legs. Daye cautiously approached the strange pair. This little girl was far too young to be wandering the streets by herself, even with such a terrifying pet. This was especially true of this neighborhood, full of monsters and countless other evils just waiting to prey on such delightful innocence.

"Hello, little one," Daye stopped a few feet from the girl, wary of the wolf, which still seemed on edge. "Are you alright? Where are your parents? Are you lost?"

"I'm fine thank you Lady,. My Mama is out. I'm going to find her. But maybe I'm a little losted. Do you please know where 'after Dark' is?" the little girl sounded totally earnest in this request.

Daye was surprised at the girl's accent. She obviously wasn't from in or around L.A., and she was lost. Daye racked her brain for the nagging memory of "After Dark."

*Right, that's the vamp/human hang out that that ancient Eriantha chickie owns.* Daye thought. *Not the best place for a little girl.*

"Listen, sweetie, I don't think that is a such a good place for someone your age," Daye responded. "Is that where your Mommy and Daddy are?"
*Figures, they leave the kid alone to go to a vampire nightclub,* Daye almost rolled her eyes. *Probably a couple of those freaks that get off on being a vamp's snack du jour."

Maria looked a little baffled by this question.

"Nome. I'm not sure at all where Papa is. But that is where Mama said she want. She said she's not going back to Bob's acause a lady called Jem might be there, and she doesn't like her. But Mama said she was going to After Dark. So she will truly be at After Dark. Do you know the way Lady?" She started to play with Yasha's tale, her grip tightening around Miesha's hand she looked imploringly up at the woman asking.

Daye sighed. This little angel was obviously determined to find her "Mama" so she would have to take her to the club. Daye looked down at the child, who was dressed only in a white cotton nightgown, without any shoes. The weather was still pretty chilly at the beginning of March in this city. Daye shrugged off the warm sweater she was wearing over her dark green silk pantsuit. She held it out to the little girl.

"Here, you must be chilly," Daye said. "And it's still a bit of a walk to the club. If you'd like, I can carry you."
Daye held her arms out the little girl.
"By the way, my name is Daye. What's yours?" Daye asked.

"Thank you muchly" Maria crawled into the open arms of the woman. Then she took a small silver cross charm from her pocked and pressed it to Daye's face. When Daye failed to fall about screaming, she put the charm back in her pocket. "My name is Maria. This is Yasha." Her little finger pointed down and the large wolf below "and this is Miesha" she clutched the doll closer to her chest.

Daye was enchanted by the little girl. She grinned despite herself, rising up and beginning to walk towards the club. She found herself talking to the child, curious about where she came from and what she might be doing there, particularly at that time of night..
"It's very late for you, Yasha and Miesha to be out," she said. "Was it okay for little girls to wander about the city at night where you came from?"

"Hmm. I don’t think so." Maria replied. " Mama and I haven't really been to many big cities like here. I'm not scared. I have Shasha. And Miesha. And now I have you. I'm not scared." Yasha was now trotting in a trim, but menacing way directly beside Daye and Maria. He frequently glanced up at Maria, just to check that she had not somehow popped out existence with out his knowledge.

Daye was delighted by the child's response. "Well, I'm flattered that you think me so capable," Daye chuckled. They were coming up on After Dark and Daye was scanning the area cautiously. She heard the wolf's growl suddenly becoming louder as a half dozen menacing figures emerged from the alleyway beside the club. *Great, just what I don't need,* Daye thought. She bent down, placing the girl behind her on her feet. Maria was between the doors of After Dark and Daye, who faced the gang on vampires
fearlessly. "Run inside that building, little one," Daye ordered the girl. She did not turn around to look to see if she was being obeyed. "Your Mama's in there. You'll be safe."

Maria ran quickly to the door and slipped in with ease. Once inside, she felt more lost than she did outside.
She stood on her tip toes to try and get her best look around. Over in the corner of the room, about to exit, a young brown haired woman stood. Maria quickly called out:

"Excuse Me Lady, but I need some help very fast. Do you know who is in charge here?"

The lady turned round and smiled. It was a disconcerting smile, but Maria had seen many of these.

"I'm in charge here? Why do you want to know?"

"Well, one, because I need to find my Mama and two because there is Daye and Shasha are out there getting eated by vampires. My Mama is called Mantheana Alashkov. Can you help me find her?"

"Well, one, because I need to find my Mama and two because there is Daye and Shasha are out there getting eated by vampires. My Mama is called Mantheana Alashkov. Can you help me find her Lady.. um.. Lady what's your name?."

"Eriantha. Okay, come this way. And ignore any one who tries to talk to you ok?"

"Yes Miss Eriantha." Maria was lead into the main hall where it was busier. Through the hurly-burly, Maria spotted her mother.

Daye heard the patter of Maria's feet as she ran into the club. Without taking her eyes off her attackers, Daye spun her staff in front of her, waiting for them to make the first move. "Why is it you people never want to let a leady alone?" She asked grinning cheekily. "If I had known there was going to be a party I would have brought along streamers and those pointy hats you yanks favor."

The vampires circled her and Yasha, all wearing their game faces. Suddenly one attacked. The male, big and mean, leapt at Daye fangs bared. She deftly swung the staff, catching him in the jaw and sending him flying back against the building. Daye did not even have time to catch her breath when the next came at her. She could her the sounds of the wolf fighting only a foot or so from where she stood and she thanked the Powers That Be for small miracles. Daye wished she had a spare moment to gather some components from her belt pouch for a spell, but the vamps just kept coming. She prayed someone would come along to help, and that the child's pet would come away unscathed.

"Maria Alashkov! Vhere do you think you haf been? I told you to stay at home vith Yasha! Vhere is he may I ask?" Mantheana proceeded to let loose a string of incomprehensible Russian.

"Yes Mama."

Maria stood still and let her mother's rage wash into gladness that she was alright. After being tightly embraced into her mother's arms she remembered Daye.

"Mama, There was a lady that helped me get here, and when we did get here, some vampires did come and attack us, and now she's outside with Shasha, and can we please go help them?" Mantheana absorbed the information and decided positive, both of them moved swiftly to the door, Mantheana throwing a bundle of notes on the table as she left.

When She stepped outside, Mantheana was greeted by a flurry of fists, fur and fangs. Maria pointed out who Daye was and ushed Mantheana to please help soon.

Mantheana moved gracefully to strike a vampire in the face quick enough to send him flying. She nodded at Daye and continued to move around, knocking, striking and distracting vampires constantly.
Daye noticed the woman come flying out of the nightclub with Maria. Assuming this to be the little girl's mother, she was surprised to see the woman jump right into the fight. She didn't have time to gage the woman's style though. She used the
distraction to grab some things out of her pouch.

Chanting, Daye threw out her hands at the two vampires facing her and they immediately burst into flames. While they were burning, she grabbed a broken piece of a delivery flat from it's resting place on the alley ground. She wielded the make shift stake, turning to battle another of the vamps. She had been unprepared for such a large assault and there were not enough material components in her bag for more than two spells.

Mantheana ducked and dodged the vampire's blows easily. They all moved in slow motion when she was in a state like this. After what seemed like the breaking of ones nose, Yasha leapt up and tore its head off with ease, looking at Mantheana with a smug expression, he missed the vampire behind him, whom Mantheana dealt a kick as it made an attempt at stopping Yasha.

In retaliation for this foul play, Yasha was quick and enthusiastic in ending that vamp as well. As he grabbed hold of the vampire's neck and shook it violently, there was the snap of a broken neck, and then a tear and then there was just dust.

Daye fought the vamp before her, taking and giving blow after blow. She was no Slayer, and it showed. When she finally managed to stake the monster, her lip was bleeding and a her cheek wore a large red mark which was definitely going to bruise. Her
clothes were dirty and torn, and there were scratches all over her arms and neck. Daye stood in the shadow of the building as Maria's "Mama" dispatched the last of the attackers.

The last one was starting to look desperate. Of all his friends, he was the only one left. This probably wasn’t a good idea. Mantheana closed in on him with agile elegance and brought a make-do stake round in down into his heart. He gave an annoyed look and then dissolved away into the wind.

As the dust settled, Mantheana turned to look at Maria and the woman she had been fighting along side.
Daye caught her breath just as the other woman dusted the last of the vampires. She smiled wryly at Maria and her mother. "Well, thanks," she said. She stuck out her hand, saying, "I'm pleased to meet you. My name is Amanda Blaise. You must be Maria's mother."

Mantheana took the hand and shook it politely. "A pleasure I'm sure. I'm Mantheana Alashkov. I take it you've met my daughter?" Maria ran up and hugged Mantheana around the knees. Mantheana stroked her hair lovingly. "Thank you for bringing her in. I hope it vas not too much inconvenience."

Daye was shocked at the icy feel of the woman's hand. It was cool out, but not that cold, and besides she would have thought Mantheana would be as warm and winded as she herself was from the brief battle. Not to mention how nonplussed the woman seemed to be after battling vampires in a dark alley.
"I found her wandering around out near my bookshop," Daye replied. She surreptitiously studied Maria's mother. She was very pale, perhaps even fragile looking.

Mantheana seemed very young, yet there was something unusual about her. Daye couldn't quite figure it out. The woman had lovely dark hair and the oddest eyes. They were a purplish color, sort of maroon.
"It's not safe to be out in this city at night for anyone, let alone such a young child," Daye said, unable to keep the censure from her tone. "Maria refused to go home, so I brought her here."

"Thank you for that. I know it is not safe for her out here. That’s why I left her at home with Yasha. He wouldn't let anything happen to her. But the problem is he has an even softer spot for her than he does for me, and lets her get away with anything." She gave Yasha a look, and he lowered his head in embarrassment. " I shall have to hire a baby sitter next time. Vould you like to come back and get stitched up, or are you fine to make your vay home?"

Daye shook her head, pulling a card from her pocket. "No, I can take care of it," she replied. "In case you couldn't tell, I've done this before. But, I kind of figure you're new in town and don't know anyone. If you need to go out again, give me a call. I'd be happy to keep an eye on Maria." Daye handed Mantheana the business card.
"The top number is the bookshop where I work, Bibliophile, and the bottom is my home number. The address for the shop as well as my e-mail address are all there too."

"Thank you very kindly, I'll be sure to call if I need any help. Thank you again for what you did. I think I must be getting Maria back to bed now, so I will see you around I guess"
"Sure," Daye said, smiling at the little girl who was still draped in her sweater. "And I tell you what, why don't you return my sweater to the shop sometime. Then you can bring Maria by to look around and have a cookie or something."
" You must come around to our house down on Ivy Road. It’s the vun vith all the bindweed. Anyvay. Thank you and good night Amanda. Haf a safe trip home"
Mantheana picked up Maria's now sleepy body and rested it on her hip. She clicked for Yasha to follow, and started on her way home. As she looked over her mother's shoulder, Maria made a sleepy wave before, squeezing Miesha and drifting off to sleep.

Daye watched them walk away and then flagged down one of the taxis sitting in front of the club. After battling vampires, she was far too tired and sore to walk.

Problems at Sindell

Meredith Bell's picture

******Friday, May 27th, 2005 – Sindell Hall, Warwick, England******

Kate rested her head in her hands as she gazed out of the window. It was raining, again – typical weather for England despite the fact that it was almost summer time. Kate was sat in her bare dorm room in Sindell Hall – the sparse décor was just as she had left it all those months ago. The few possessions she had brought back with her from L.A dotted around the room. Clothes strewn over the old bed frame, books and bottles lining the dusty shelves and tops of cabinets. Luc’s engagement ring sat on the dresser next to the scrap of paper that had Galen’s phone number scrawled across it.

Kate had just returned from teaching a few classes on ethics to the lower schools. It seemed she’d become something of a celebrity, the tales of her exploits in America had become the most talked about subject in the entire academy. Of course she’d seemed the most appropriate person to be teaching the new initiates about ethics. Kate hated to tell them that there was no such thing as a ‘pure’ soul, nobody was a complete innocent – but despite her protests she was elevated to a status along the same line as Gaia herself! They heard her talk about people with strange names such as Vrithetek, Sorrow, Jadyn and Daye and thought they must have been some kind of powerful mages – they had to be in order to defeat Serapis who was now the most evil and corrupt of all witches. Then there was the Cloch Cosan – a powerful ancient device capable of creating a portal to other worlds. It took all of Kate’s efforts to keep their heads out of the clouds – everyday there was a new more elaborate version of events circulating the halls.

While Kate was happy to teach all she could think about was what she had left behind in L.A. Cold and rainy days like these reminded her how she missed the California sun, and how distant that entire period of her life now seemed. Memories of Tash and Victor – working with Jade at XY felt like an illusion, and Galen. Kate had been driving herself crazy with thoughts about Galen.

Thankfully along with all Kate’s usual duties at Sindell there had also been a lot of extra work to be done since she’d returned to her motherland – that meant there hadn’t been much time to dwell on the past. The Council of Elders was one member down after the demise of Serapis. The coven was also under investigation by several departments and the Ministry of the Occult. All divisions of The Coven of Sindell were being put through a rigorous series of interrogation. Anyone who was suspected of having any allegiance with Serapis or Janus were being held in a detention centre for the time being.

This meant that the coven was missing almost a third of its members. Those that had been ‘cleared’ of suspicion were left to pick up the pieces. The same workload still needed to be taken care of – which was the main reason that Kate had decided to remain in Warwick much longer than she had initially planned. She couldn’t help but feel some sense of duty and loyalty to help her coven in their hour of need. Besides she was sure it wouldn’t be for much longer. All available field agents had been re-called; similar orders were being dispatched to the outer covens across the globe. It was the primary concern that if the main coven collapsed under the audit then it would be the end for all the affiliates too. Everybody felt the pressure of keeping things running as smooth as possible. After all, spells still needed to be cast and demonic forces were always on the increase.

It already seemed that all the local demonic factions had heard of the problems at Sindell and were taking full advantage of that fact. Kate herself had been forced to return to her strict training regime, combat skills combined with active magic testing. She’d been amazed at how out of shape and weak she felt since her illness. But slowly she’d been making improvements and her strength was beginning to return.

It felt strange to be back in the old familiar surroundings of Sindell Hall. Kate had spent a large part of her life here – most of it with Lucien. His family had been pleased to see her. A week after her return they’d held a special requiem ceremony that almost the entire coven had attended. Afterwards Marion Aeterus and her two sons Kernun and Herne took Kate into their home, but finally Kate had managed to persuade them that she would be better with time on her own to think.

Besides it was more convenient for Kate to be living in the actual grounds of Sindell Hall – helping to keep their heads above water was proving to be a strenuous 24-hour task. Sindell’s officials were snowed under with the paper work flooding in from the field agents, many whom needed travel and residency permits to be allowed back into the country. Kate couldn’t help with any of that but the elders had begun to rely on her as a sort of ambassador for talks with the Ministry.

But despite everyone’s best efforts the Elders had no other choice but to beg The Watcher’s Council for help. These were difficult times, the worst the coven had seen in over three hundred years. The Watcher’s Council had stepped into the breach but taken over in the process. Things were running smoother but not in the Sindell way. Active duties were curtailed in favour of clearing up the backlog of paper work. Many of the initiates saw this as the beginning of the end for the coven, the remaining Council Elders, Christian and Hestia knew something had to be done to restore faith in their followers but for the moment they remained lost as to what that something should be.

Kate drew back from the window and straightened out her robes. She turned away from the raging tempest and gathered her books – she had another ethics class in ten minutes, it would take that long to traverse the winding corridors from the residential dorms to the Academy. Kate’s fingers hovered over the engagement ring that rested on the dresser. She only ever took it off when alone, to the outside world – and especially to Lucien’s family she still had to play the part of the grieving widow. She pushed the ring back into place and then picked up the piece of paper that lay next to it. After staring at the numbers for a while she quickly opened a drawer and dropped it inside. She closed the drawer again, she could do this, she thought to herself, she could get through all this if she just threw herself into her work.

With that in mind Kate closed the door of her room behind her as she made her way towards the Academy.

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Kaarin's picture

***19 March 2005, 11:53pm***

Love had the ability to do funny things to a person. It was capable of both elating and depressing at the same time, usually in greater measure than any other emotion. Worst of all, it was possible to fall in love and not realize it for a long time. A lost love could easily send a person in to the depths of depression. People in this kind of depression were apt to do things they would not ordinarily do, sometimes being in a state of paralysis.

None of this was going through Galen Eldridge’s mind as he walked down the dark streets of LA, head bowed over, a nearly empty bottle of brandy in his hands. The bottle had been full earlier, when the combination of hangover and depression sent him back for a second round. The decision to go on the pub crawl was finally made when word came that the Order’s local headquarters had been found and promptly burned to the ground when an attempt was made at raiding it. He hadn’t felt this terrible since he lost Cassandra, his feelings mitigated by a dim hope that Kate might return.

Galen stopped in the middle of the road as the realization that he was in love hit him. There was no way to figure out exactly when or how it happened, but it had still happened. When he continued on walking – it was hard to drive when the first thing you did upon walking in to the Irish bar was turn over your keys, then began a pub crawl – he found that he was lightly singing a Patsy Cline song. “Worry, why do I let myself worry? Wondering, what in the world did I do? Oh, crazy for thinking that my love could hold you….

Catching himself before falling flat on his face was something of an accomplishment. Using the lamppost to remain stable helped. Looking up from the ground, a familiar building stood near him. Spending so much time with Kate, he had managed to run in to Tash several times, finally learning her name as well as meeting her boyfriend. Maybe talking to her would be a good idea.

*It’s almost midnight* that internal voice of reason came up. *She’s probably asleep. Not only that, she hardly knows you, so why should she want to commiserate with you?* Reason and Galen had parted company around the same time he reached the bar at 8 in the evening. Or to be more specific, when he had reached the third bar. He was only still standing because he had only had a drink or two at each bar, then nursed them slowly through about an hour.

“What harm could it do?” Galen muttered to nobody in particular, dragging himself first up the stairs then up to the second floor of the building on poplar. The repairs seemed to be complete. He was impressed by Tash’s new door – it was a nice, sturdy looking thing that would be difficult to break down. Galen raised his hand and knocked. There was no answer, so he knocked again. “Come on, tell me you’re home.” No answer.

“Ah, to hell with this,” he muttered, and started back down the hall before noticing what condition the door was in. The frame should have been completely new, but a portion of it was broken. There was a mark on the door suspiciously like a footprint. While he couldn’t tell when it had forced, it was obvious that it had. Given what happened last time he entered a room in the building thinking was wrong, Galen was apprehensive when he reached for the lockpick gun, then dropped it and picked the lock on the second attempt. As he pushed open the door and went in, he hoped that he would not find himself staring down the wrong end of Tash’s gun. Again.

Daye's stange behavior

Firefly's picture

April 18, 2005 11:30 PM

Daye looked at the open trunks and bags scattered around her bedroom. Her clothes were packed and she was sifting through the herbs and candles in the case on her dresser. She was deciding what could be needed and what could be left behind when she came across a strange pentagram shaped amulet. She vaguely remembered Jade giving it to her before they left to go after Kate. Daye picked it up and turned it over in her hand.

Daye’s eyes glazed over and her movements became stiff. She placed the amulet carefully inside a silk handkerchief and wrapped it securely. She then placed the wrapped bundle in her carry on case, securing it beneath some of her other things. Daye stood for a moment in front of the case and then seemed to almost be waking up. She shrugged her shoulders and went back to packing.

Daye finished putting her things together and set the luggage by the front door. She would be leaving early in the morning and she didn’t want to scramble. This trip felt so right. Everything would be clearer once she got back home.

Daye and Drew Take Flight

Firefly's picture

April 19, 2005 morning

Daye grabbed her carry on bag and adjusted the dark sunglasses on her face. The taxi driver had just finished loading her bags into the trunk and she would soon be at the airport. Drew had wanted to pick her up and drive her there, but Daye had to cast a protection on the apartment before she left and she didn’t want Drew setting off the spell before they even left. So, she had convinced him to meet her at the terminal. Now, if the driver could only manage to get her there on time.

Daye sat in the back of the cab, amazed that she was actually on her way back to Ireland. At first, the Council had been so resistant of her making the trip, and she had been sure she would have to beg off. Finally, she had broken down and called one of her friends back in England, calling in a favor to get him to convince Ambrose and the others to let her go. She desperately needed the break and had sent on an abbreviated report of the events of the last few weeks, thus earning brownie points in the eyes of the council. And now she was in a taxi, pulling up to LAX and getting ready to meet her boyfriend for a much anticipated sojourn to the emerald isle.

A short time later, Daye found herself seated beside Drew in the first class section of the plane. He was holding her hand and absently running his thumb over her knuckles as he read through some papers he had brought on the plane. Daye watched him for a few moments, a feeling of unbelievable contentment filling her. She could see that he was engrossed in his work, so she let her head fall back on the head rest and closed her eyes. Within moments, she was asleep.


A violent storm whipped through the Irish countryside, keeping Daye awake in the drafty old castle. The window coverings, heavy draperies, shook and billowed in the wind and the rain beat down mercilessly on the roof above her. She sat in front of a gigantic stone fireplace, the roaring flames before her a comfort in the chill night. A few feet away, Andrew sat before the blue glow of his laptop, transcribing notes from his tattered leather binder. He was totally absorbed in his work and failed to notice when Daye rose from where she had been reclining on the plush rug. She wandered aimlessly from the room and started to explore the surrounding areas of the castle.

Daye found herself in the kitchen area, a dark room filled with various cooking utensils. The center of the room was a large wood-burning stove that the inhabitants had used in the past for most of the cooking. Very easily Daye could envision the room full of servants, stirring pots and turning meat roasting above the opened pits scattered about the room. Daye moved closer to the counter, noticing a strange object that was laying there. She leaned in for a closer look, when she heard a strange moaning sound coming from the rear of the kitchen. Distracted, she forgot about the object and quickly made her way to the back.

At the rear of the kitchen, Daye discovered a dark stairwell leading down. She descended, following the cries and sobbing she heard below. She took the twisted stairwell to another and then another, the cold and damp around her growing as she went further and further down into the bowels of the stone edifice, passing sputtering torched ensconced in the wall. The stairs went on for some time, ending on a long, dark hall, lit by only one dim oil lamp. Daye removed it from the stone niche in which it rested and carried it with her as she continued exploring.

Daye proceeded down the hall, coming to a large wooden door; she could her muffled noises from the other side. Daye pushed it open and paused in the doorway. Before her stood a large open room, filled with men and women strapped to various torture devices. Men in crimson robes stood by them speaking in hushed tones. The men wore large wooden crosses around their necks. Daye watched in growing horror as the prisoners were tormented by their captors. She saw men branded with hot irons, and women dunked repeatedly into vats of water. Daye edged further into the room, approaching a woman strapped to a heavy wooden table. She was stripped bare and one of the men was standing over her, wielding a large knife with a glowing orange blade. Beside them, there was a large fire pit and several other blades were resting in the flames.

Daye stared at the woman on the table. There was something familiar about her, something Daye could not quite place. Her features were lit by the flickering firelight and as Daye came closer, she could make out dark green eyes, pale skin, and tangles of matted, filthy red hair. The woman glared at her tormentor, and Daye suddenly placed the resemblance. This could almost have been her own mother before the wasting disease claimed her. There was an uncanny resemblance.

Daye turned at the sound of a childish giggle. Standing at the door she had just come from was a girl in crimson robes like those of the men. She was laughing, watching the various torments being undertaken. Daye was dumbfounded. The girl brushed past her, taking no notice, as she came to stand beside the red haired woman on the wooden table. The girl fixed her gaze on the woman and spoke in a malicious tone. Daye was just close enough to hear.

“So, Allyse, are you ready to tell me what I want to know?” she asked. “The acolytes are willing to go on all night if necessary. Wouldn’t you rather denounce the devil and his playthings? Tell me where you have hidden the amulet and all will be forgiven. You can go home and no one will bother you again.”

“I am not so ignorant as to believe that, Mariah,” the woman replied. “I am branded a witch. No matter what I say or do now, I will be put to death by the church. Even if I wanted to sell the amulet’s secret for my life, I could not do so.”

“Perhaps, but it will be much quicker and easier for you if you do tell.” Mariah said.” Your death can be as easy or hard as you choose.”

The woman on the table glared at the young girl. “I will tell you nothing. You will not have possession of the amulet. That kind of power, you do not need.”

The girl grew angry, gesturing for her priests to continue. “It is not your decision what I need. The church will possess the amulet and you will denounce your evil, one way or another. Flay her alive if you must, but get a confession, Brother Anton.”

One of the crimson robed men moved to the table, a wicked knife in his grip. “As you wish, Mariah.”

The girl stepped back and watched as the torture began anew. Daye watched for what seemed hours as the man wielded his knife, drawing the white-hot blade through the woman’s flesh. He peeled away sections of her skin in elaborate patterns, the wounds cauterizing themselves to insure she did not lose too much blood. When the woman passed out, they revived her with buckets of cold water. Finally, the men finished. They took their instruments and walked away from the table, leaving the agonizing woman alone. Once they were gone, Daye approached cautiously.

Daye stood gazing down at the woman on the table. She was barely conscious; her eyes held a thin sheen of tears and sweat rolled down her face. “What do they want from you?” Daye whispered to herself.

The woman turned her face towards the sound of Daye’s voice. Her eyes rested a moment on her and then she became agitated. “My child, you’re here,” her voice was weak and hoarse. “You mustn’t be here. You must go.”

Daye realized the woman thought she knew her. She took her hand and leaned forward. “Can I do something for you? I don’t want to leave you like this. Let me take you out of here.”

The woman stared at Daye in horror. “No,” her tone was filled with fear. “You must go. Leave me to my fate. If you have come, then the amulet is at last back in our possession. Don’t let Maria get her hands on it. She has searched for centuries, but you must keep it from her. We must always keep it from her. That is our destiny.”

Daye furrowed her brow. “What amulet?” she asked the distraught woman. “I don’t understand.”

The woman looked at her in shock. “Then you do not know. How far removed must you be for the knowledge to be forgotten? Yet, if you have found the way here, then the amulet is somewhere with you. Very well, then protect it. It is your duty. The duty of your family. Now, go, before they come back. They would feel you and might call her. If they did, she would surely find your shade. Here, in dreams, Maria holds power over us all. Only if you keep the Soul of Atlantis from her will her powers remain confined so.”

At that moment, Daye saw the robed men coming towards her from the entrance. There was no way she could get by them without brushing past them. She was trying to find a way to get out of the dungeon, when the woman grabbed her hand. “No, you must go!” she yelled, her nails cutting into Daye’s wrist. Daye saw blood oozing from the scratches and felt light-headed. She closed her eyes.

Daye opened her eyes and she was back on the plane beside Drew. He had dozed off, his hand still gripping hers, the laptop open in front of him. Daye extricated her hand from his embrace, and moved to put his computer away. As she flipped it closed, her eyes were drawn to her own wrist, where bright red drops of blood beaded on the skin. She took the wrist in her other hand and stared at in amazement and concern as the plane continued to cut through the clouds towards Ireland.

Mariah meets The Night Walker

Firefly's picture

April 23, 2005 late night

The Night Walker sat in a dark bar in a nice neighborhood in L.A. A pretty, young blonde watched him from the other end of the bar, and he was considering making a move towards her, when someone took hold of his shoulder in a firm grip. Night Walker turned his head slightly and met the gaze of tall, lean man in dark clothes. His eyes were immediately drawn to the glaring white collar the man wore around his neck. Night Walker looked up into the man’s eyes, dark black and cold. He shrugged off the hand so tightly gripping him.

“What do you want?” Night Walker asked, sneering.

“I was sent to find you,” the man replied. “Brother Ryan, the Sainted One seeks an audience with you.”

Ryan looked at the priest as if he were crazy. “Look, friend, I don’t know who you are, or who you’re Sainted One is for that matter, but I don’t think the Church and I have any business together. So, if you don’t mind, I have important things to do tonight.”

“But I do mind,” the man responded. “You do not refuse a request from Her Most Wondrous. Especially not for such a foolish reason as a late night snack.”

The man’s words brought Ryan’s gaze to his face. He searched for some clue as to who this priest was and what the man knew about himself. “Ok, you’ve got my attention,” Ryan said. “What is this all about?”

“If you come with me, I will show you,” the man replied. “Or rather, Mother Mariah will show you.”

Ryan followed the man to a large, dark sedan parked outside the doors of the club. He climbed into the back when the man opened the door. As he settled, the door closed suddenly and he was caught inside the small, dimly lit space. Before him sat a small vial, dark purple and uncorked. From outside, he heard the voice of the strange man.

“Take the draught and close your eyes,” the voice instructed. “Once you are relaxed, Mother Mariah will meet you.”

Ryan leaned back in the seat, grabbing the vial. He sniffed at it, noting a faint sweet odor. Ryan brought the container to his lips and tipped it back draining the contents. The cool, slightly sweet and spicy liquid slid easily down his throat as he shut his eyes.

A moment later, Ryan felt a light touch on his arm. Opening his eyes, he took in the sight of a pretty young girl sitting next to him. She was dressed in a dark, drab gown and her hair was covered with a mantle of the same color. The girl was disturbingly lovely, with perfect petite features, a soft, pale pink mouth and large, dark eyes. Her eyes were remarkable, framed in golden lashes, they were a dark, deep blue, almost black. Ryan was amazed as he gazed into them, they were ancient and evil, possessing an unmistakable malevolence. He felt a shiver pass through his body as the girl watched him with an inscrutable expression.

“Who are you?” he asked in a choked whisper.

The girl smiled then, a too knowing look. She was too close to Ryan, her hot breath brushing his skin. Ryan could smell her scent, the same sweet/spicy fragrance as the draught he had taken. “So, it is true then. The tales have faded even from legend. You do not know of me.”

The girl seemed delighted by the idea. She continued to touch him, her hand gliding over his arm, provocative and disturbing. “How delightful!” she continued. “There are so many wonderful surprises to be found in this new age. I have only begun to explore.”

Ryan was dismayed. This was no child, no innocent. Although he didn’t know what or how, Ryan recognized the evil before him, a primordial evil. This was some sort of monster from the dawn of time, unchecked by any convention he himself knew. “What do you want?” he asked.

The girl laughed, sending chills through the demon beside her. “There is a freedom of morals and a dedication to righteousness in this new world that delights me. In this time of hedonism and faith, it just may be possible for me to be a god once again. And you can help me with that.”

Ryan watched the madness in her eyes and felt a strong well of fear within him. The girl continued to touch him, running her small fingers through the stray curls at the nape of his neck. Her slender body was pressed against the side of his own. Ryan felt completely uncomfortable.

“What do you want of me?” he asked, sliding away from her.

“It is not exactly what I want of you, but rather what I want you to find for me, she responded. “Brother Ryan, I am Mother Mariah. I want you to bring me the Soul of Atlantis. I know that it is here in this city, in the possession of that woman you came to find. I need the Soul, and I need you to get it for me.”

Ryan had backed up against the door of the car, but Mariah had followed him, clambering up into his lap. She rubbed against him as he spoke and in to his utter horror, Ryan felt his body respond. Her words wove around his senses and he found himself longing to fulfill her wishes, to win her favor. Her scent clouded his senses, driving him mad with unwanted desire. “Amanda?” he sounded dazed. “Amanda has this “Soul”?”

Mariah hummed in agreement, nuzzling her face against his neck and chest. “Yes,” she all but purred, “and you will get it from her, won’t you? You will bring me this little pretty and you will earn my gratitude.

Ryan felt his body flushing with warmth, a hot tension filling him. “Yes,” his voice was desperate. “I want to please you, Mariah. I want to give you what you need.”

“Good, good,” Mariah pulled suddenly away from his body and smiled serenely at him. “This is what you seek,” she said placing her hands on both sides of his face. Ryan felt a sharp, sudden pain behind his eyes and an image formed in his mind. The image of the pentagram shaped amulet was perfectly clear in his thoughts. “Now, remember and seek, my pet,” Mariah’s voice had become low and sing-songy. Ryan felt his eyelids growing heavy and he fell back against the seat.

Ryan came awake in the back of the car alone. The strange dream nagged at him. He could still feel the touch of the girl, and see the image of the amulet clearly in his mind. He would have dismissed the experience as only a dream, yet when he climbed out of the car, he noticed Mariah’s intoxicating scent clinging to his clothing. He would search for Mariah’s “Soul of Atlantis”. He would have her gratitude. He had to.


Daye and drew grow closer

Firefly's picture

April 24th, 2005

Daye stepped out of the rented car as Drew pulled up in front of the small cottage at the end of the narrow dirt road. She felt her throat close and her eyes fill with tears as she gazed on her childhood home. For the past few days, she and Drew had explored the countryside surrounding his “haunted” castle. They had hiked lush green hills, and picnicked beside babbling brooks in cool, dark woods. Daye could not remember the last time she had felt so relaxed and at peace. Each night, Drew would find another tiny pub filled with laughter, food, music, and storytelling. He would sit across from her, recording myths and tall tales, as he held her hand and stroked it gently. Daye found herself drawing closer to him with each passing minute. She was falling in love, terrifying and wonderful.

Daye felt Drew’s hand come up to grip her shoulder lightly, offering support and comfort. She leaned back against him and he wrapped both arms around her waist. Together they stood still and looked at the tiny house before them. It was obviously unoccupied; the front dilapidated, with leaves and flowers poking through the slats in the porch floor. The front door was gone and from inside came the unmistakable sound of birds and animals that had reclaimed the home as part of the forest. The outer walls were overgrown with ivy and other climbing plants. Daye felt sad and happy all at once. Her mother would have been overjoyed that her home had returned to the wild from which it had come. Daye herself felt it was a fitting end to her childhood.

“It looks like the house is falling apart,” Drew said sympathetically. He held her tightly, pressed back against his body. “I’m sorry.”

Daye sighed, so comfortable being held by him. “No, it’s okay,” she said. “My mother would have been happy to see it. She never wanted to take anything away from this forest. She would be glad that it’s all gone back in to it. And so am I.”

Drew turned her around in his arms and she saw the soft smile on his lips. “You are quite amazing, you know,” he said, taking her face in his hands. He lowered his head and brushed his mouth across hers lightly, pulling back to gaze into her eyes. “So beautiful, inside and out,” he murmured, brushing his thumb across her lips.

Daye felt giddy, desire welling up in her at Drew’s touch. She brought both her hands up to caress the back of his neck, playing with the hair at his nape. She smiled brightly, bringing her mouth back to his for a deeper, more serious kiss. Daye ran her tongue across his lips. Drew delved deeper into the kiss, and moments later, they were lost in passion. They stood that way, kissing and touching for a long time. Finally, he drew away from her to watch her intently, both of them breathing huskily.

“We should stop,” he said.

“Why?” Daye asked.

“Because if we don’t, this is going to get out of hand,” Drew replied, his expression was a bit tortured.

“Maybe getting out of hand would be a good thing,” Daye was running her hand down his neck, toying with the top button on his shirt. Drew’s eyes darkened as he watched the passion in Daye’s expression. He laughed softly when she began to open the buttons one at a time.

“Daye,” he asked, grabbing her hand in his to still it, “are you sure?”

Daye turned her face back up to look into Drew’s eyes. She smiled sexily and pressed her body closer to his. “Oh yes,” she said, “very sure.”

Daye led Drew away from the car to a patch of soft grass beside the house. He followed her down to the ground and took her in his arms once again. Soon their passionate cries could be heard mixing with the wild sounds of the forest around them.

ryan searches daye's apartment

Firefly's picture

April 24, 2005 4 am

Ryan double checked that no one was in the hallway of Daye’s apartment building before he laid his hand on the knob. He pulled a lock pick out of his pocket and quickly had the door open. Ryan shut the door behind him and turned on a light in the living room. Ryan began a slow, thorough room by room search of the apartment. He went through every drawer, cabinet, and closet.

Hours later, Ryan stood in Daye’s bedroom staring at a drawing he had found in the sketchbook in the nightstand by the bed. It was a pen and ink drawing of himself, standing in the field by his home in Ireland. He was facing the artist, smiling and beckoning for her to approach. Ryan remembered the day clearly, standing still while Daye drew him, playfully trying to entice her to put down the sketchbook. He was surprised to find she still had it.

The sketchbook had been in the drawer next to a small, carved wooden box. Ryan sat on the edge of the bed and opened the box, hoping to find Mariah’s amulet inside. Instead, he found a box of treasures. There was a pressed flower from the bed in front of his cottage, a small pebble from the pond nearby, and a stack of poems and letters he had written her tied with a silk ribbon. Ryan untied the ribbon and held it to his face. It smelled like wildflowers and sunshine, like Daye’s hair the night they had first made love. He felt the hunger and desire gnawing at him.

Ryan closed his eyes and allowed the Night Walker to rise. He lay back on the bed, surrounded by Daye’s scent. The Night Walker sent his mind out across the ocean, following the tie that bound him to Daye. He saw her standing in front of a run down cottage in the forest. Night Walker watched, an unwanted observer, as she turned to her that man, Andrew, and made love with him in the grass. He felt rage well up in him as they touched and kissed. Suddenly, the Night Walker was back in the apartment bedroom, filled with fury. He rose from the bed and began to rampage, tearing apart the room.

Ryan left moments later, Daye’s bedroom in a shambles, the wooden box clutched tightly in his hand.

Dream of Flashbacks

Soulless Zombie's picture

Year 1991 - DAY

A thirteen year old Derek Park walked out of school located in Seoul, South Korea. While he was walking towards his apartment, he saw his friends making fun of him for being smart, also for being the only teacher's pet.

When Derek enters his apartment, he opened the door and walked inside crying in tears. His parents worried about Derek. While Derek was still crying, his parents lectured him about being brave and not to cry.

Derek hesitated and finally spoke. "Mom, Dad. Let's get out of this country. I got made fun of, all places we went to. And, I am not liking it here."

Two weeks later in the year 1991

The Park family has moved to Koreatown, Los Angeles, California. Where most Koreans live in.

Derek wandered inside of the house with amazement.

"Wow, I never had a place to stay like this. It's time to start a new life." Derek said feeling relieved.

Year 1998 - NIGHT

Seven years had passed.
Twenty year old Derek Park returned home from college. Siren sounds kept Derek's ears to attention, while he was walking towards home. When he figured out that the siren came from his house, he rushed.

"What happened?" Said Derek to the police.
"Someone by the name... Andrew Park and Cheryl Park has been murdered. Are you their son?" Said the police officer.
"Yes, I am. You guys have no idea who did this?" Derek asked.
"No, not yet. We are working on it." Police officer answered.
"Well, better hurry. I might find the suspect before you do." Said Derek.
The police kept staring at Derek for what he said, and said to himself, "Huh?"

December, 1999 - Los Angeles Police Department -DAY

At a waiting desk, Kate Lockley walked up to Derek with a file on her hand. She sat down and put her file on the desk.
"Welcome to LAPD. You've solved a difficult case of your parents mysterious murder that we couldn't solve, so we decided to hire you as partner of mine to investigate an assignment that we will be given." She hesitates for a while.
"Let's get to work." Said Kate, after the hesitation.
She stood up waiting for Derek to stand up. Derek stood up and they left.

December, 2000 - Wolfram & Hart - DAY

Gavin Park, cousin of Derek's and an employee of Wolfram & Hart, and Derek were walking around slowly so Gavin can show Derek the looks of this place.

"I didn't notice you were in LA. What do you do here?" Asked Gavin.
"I am a detective for LAPD." Answered Derek.

While smiling Gavin said. "I knew it. When we were little.. Remember you always liked to talk about mysteries." He hesitated and said. "Well perhaps, you can investigate this one."

Gavin handed Derek the file. Derek opened it and the file was about ANGEL.

February, 2001 - Near Wolfram & Hart - NIGHT

Derek had a file on his hand. Tapping the file step by step as he walked five blocks from Wolfram & Hart. While walking, he saw mysterious demons in an alley. Derek saw this innocent man surrounded by the demons. He sneaked in, trying to get a closer look at the demons. When he was about to sneak out to move to a different place to hide, he got stung in his arm by an unknown demon. Derek screamed in pain. As Derek screamed in pain, demons noticed that there's another human near them. They were close to Derek, but then flew away like a bird, by this mysterious white light. This strange magic came out of Derek's hand.

Year 2005 - Derek's apartment - DAY

He woke up from a dream that reminded him of his past. Thinking he still has the agony, he sighed.

"What just happened?" Said Derek, after the hesitation.

He got out of his bed, walked to his kitchen make a pot of coffee. When the coffee was done, he grabbed the cup of coffee, walked near to the window and stared at it.

daye and drew reach the castle

Firefly's picture

April 25, 2005 10:00 AM

We arrived at the castle today to begin recording anything of a supernatural nature. I still find it hard to believe that there are ghosts here. It is more likely that the locals have built up these stories for so long even they have started to believe them. We are going to stay in one of the empty rooms upstairs to save on travel time from the hotel, despite what Mr. Connelly said about the dangers of doing so. I am keeping this journal to record my more personal observances in case they might be useful when I write the article I have planned when I get back home.

Amanda seems so at peace here. It’s funny how the place you grew up can give you so many things, good and bad. I half expected her to be sad, finding her childhood home in ruin. She was just the opposite, joyous and full of love. Love. Strange that after only a couple of months that word comes so easily to mind when I think of her. Still, I find myself quite readily thinking it when I am near Amanda. She is very different from anyone I have ever met. She is intelligent and knows a lot about the area I study. She also seems sometimes to know things of which I have no inkling. Despite her intellect, she believes in things many others, including myself, would quickly scoff at. Amanda has a certain mystery about her, like there is a side to her I have yet to discover. The journey we are undergoing, learning about one another is one of the most amazing I have ever been a part of.


Drew looked up from the laptop in front of him where he had just begun to record his first impressions of the castle. He had heard a crash coming from the kitchen, where Daye had gone exploring. Drew closed the file and stood, calling out to Daye in the other room.

“Amanda?!” he started through the door into the kitchen. “Are you alright? Did something f…”

Drew stopped dead at the sight of Daye lying on the kitchen floor amid a scattering of ancient looking cooking utensils. Her eyes were closed and she was deathly pale. Drew knelt down beside her, feeling her wrist. Her pulse was erratic and her eyes moved rapidly beneath closed lids.

“Amanda?!” he lifted her gently, carrying her out of the kitchen into the hall. He layed her on the sofa, and knelt beside her.

“Amanda?” Drew gently shook her. “Are you alright?”

Daye stirred at his insistent shaking, her eyelids fluttering. She sat up a bit, looking at Drew in confusion. “What happened?” Daye asked. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Drew replied, pulling her into a tight embrace. “I found you lying on the floor in the kitchen. Did you fall? Hit your head?”

Daye shook her head slowly. “No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I think…maybe I fainted.”

“Fainted?” Drew had moved back to study her closely. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Fine,” Daye started to sit up and then fell back on the sofa. “Well, maybe a little light headed. I’m probably just tired, the time change and jet lag finally catching up with me. I think I’ll just rest a little. Don’t worry about me. Go back to your work. I’ll be fine.”

Drew frowned, letting Daye lie back on the sofa. He leaned forward to brush a light kiss over her forehead. “Are you sure?” he asked, starting to rise. “You don’t need anything?”

Daye shook her head, her eyes closing. She didn’t tell Drew that before she had fainted she had thought she heard moans and cries coming from behind the door in the back of the kitchen, the same door she had seen in her dream. The door which led to a chamber of horrors beneath the castle.

Tash's birthday surprise (part two)

Heather's picture

01:52am, 20 March 2005

The first sensation was pain. A sharp pain that lanced behind one eyeball and right through her head. A pain that throbbed in time with her heartbeat.

The second sensation was discomfort. She was being held upright against a post by means unknown at this point. She wasn't ready yet to open her eyes to find out. Things that felt like ropes or straps dug into her arms and legs, and one was pulled tight across her chest.

The third sensation was that of cold. A strong wind blew across her and she shivered within her bindings, scraping her back against the post. Finally opening one eye a slit, she perceived that she seemed to be completely naked. Idly she noted in passing that her bindings appeared to be leather straps. Very soft leather. Dark. Dry.

Tash slowly raised her face, fighting down the nausea that accompanied the agony pounding through her head. Evil pulsed around her. Drums beat a wild tattoo, keeping time for the frenzied dancers that whirled through this clearing.

This clearing… Tash's eyes opened wider as she recognised the place. Was she dreaming? This was stronger than any dream she'd ever had – even the one where Vrithetek had stolen her body. Her mind was filled with thoughts of blood and death and power. Her body felt all too solid and real. She tested her bonds to see if there was any give at all in them. They refused to budge.

As she watched, she realised that all the dancers were female. And all were Negro. Licking her parched lips with an equally dry tongue, Tash willed herself to keep calm. She frowned, trying to remember how she had come to be here. The last thing she remembered was making plans with Victor to go out for her birthday tomorrow night.

What had happened? Was Victor all right? Her heart lurched at the thought that he might be badly hurt, or worse. Forcing herself to breathe slowly and steadily, Tash tried to convince herself that right now there wasn't anything she could do for Victor. She had to get free first, get away from this place that stank of evil and death.

Among the pounding drums she heard voices. They rose and fell in a chant, but she didn't recognise the language. The meaning, however, she sensed. She was able to turn her head enough to look at one figure in particular that exuded power and menace. Tash could feel the triumph radiating from the woman.

A face loomed in front of her, startling her. The woman in front of her appeared middle-aged, her dark brown skin beginning to show wrinkles and a touch of grey at the temples of her lustrous black hair. She held a bowl up to Tash as she spoke in the unfamiliar dialect. Tash assumed it was an African language. The words seemed to be ritualistic. Though she tried to keep it buried, fear rose in Tash, threatening to choke her.

The woman dipped her fingers in the bowl and began painting Tash's face and body with the contents. The sharp, coppery tang was all too familiar to Tash. Blood. The woman continued her ministrations, finally running a line of blood down each palm. The warm, sticky substance slowly oozed down the skin of her hands….

The goat bleated in panic. Incomprehensible noise surrounded her, confusing her. She could smell the blood and faeces of her fellow goats and she struggled, desperately trying to avoid the fate that awaited her. Then the knife sliced through her throat, pulling and tearing at her flesh, spilling her precious blood to the ground….

Tash gasped at the vision. This was just minutes old. The blood… Combined with her own terror, it was enough to make her strain against her bonds and retch. The woman in front of her shot her an evil look as she jumped out of the way of the foul liquid. Tash was only sorry she'd missed. Right now it seemed like throwing up on these people was the only weapon she had.

The acid burn of vomit tasted sour in her mouth, but Tash welcomed it. At least it overrode the odour of the goats' blood that covered her face and body now. Nothing seemed able to stop the uneven fluttering of her heart, however. Whatever these people had in store for her, Tash had a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't be all that good for her health.

drew documents daye's decline

Firefly's picture

April 25, 2005 9:00 PM

This day has just gotten stranger and stranger. First there was the fainting spell Amanda had this morning. And now there’s the conversation we just finished having before she fell asleep. We made love again and afterwards, lying here in this strange bed, Amanda told me something about herself, something I can’t quite reconcile. She claims she’s a witch. She’s not talking about being irritable or anything. Amanda claims that she is an actual witch, with powers and spell casting abilities and the whole thing. She told me she has been training in the occult since she was a teenager. I just don’t know what to think. Amanda is usually very rational. Now this. First, she passes out in the kitchen and spends most of the day sleeping on the sofa, and now she makes this weird claim. I hope there isn’t something wrong with her. Maybe she is having some sort of delusions. I just don’t know what to think.


April 27, 2005 4:00 PM

I can’t deny what Amanda told me anymore. As amazing as it seems, she really is a witch. I saw her today cast a spell, an actual magic spell. We went out to explore the grounds. I packed a picnic lunch and we just hiked around in the woods. I wanted to get Amanda (Daye, she asked me to start calling her Daye) out of the castle. Ever since we arrived, she hasn’t been feeling quite right. She spends most of the day off by herself exploring the dungeons. Daye has started sleeping a lot during the daytime, laying down for long naps in the afternoon. Then, at night, she is restless, tossing and turning. I think she is having disturbing dreams, but she won’t talk to me about it. The thing is she seems to be pulling away from me here. We don’t talk when we’re working in the castle, and we have hardly touched at all since the first night. Despite the time Daye sleeps during the day, she is exhausted. There are dark circles under her eyes. She’s really pale, and she seemed distracted, unable to concentrate for any amount of time. If he didn’t know better, I would swear she wasn’t sleeping at all.

So, I decided we’d spend the afternoon outside. We had a great time. Just getting Daye out of the castle seemed to ease her mind so much. She was fun and happy and we really connected again. While we were out exploring, though, there was a freak rainstorm. We took shelter in a small house in the middle of the forest. I was ineptly trying to start a fire, when I heard Daye speaking a phrase in Latin. Moments later, my clothes were completely dry and so were hers. She had used magic to dry us off. Then just to make sure I had no doubts, Daye came over to me and used magic to start the fire. Actual magic! This is unbelievable. My girlfriend is a witch. Sounds like a Springer topic. I still don’t know what to think.


May 2, 2005 1:15 PM

Daye disappeared for three hours today. I thought she was down in the dungeon, but when I went looking for her, I couldn’t find her anywhere. I was frantically searching the downstairs for the fifth time when she came in from outside. She was very nonplus about the whole thing. I just don’t get it. She is so distant again. It’s almost as if whatever is in this castle is affecting her deeply.

As for the castle, I think there may be something more here than what I had previously imagined. There is a certain aura about the place. Downstairs in particular. There is a feeling of malevolence in the dungeon. I don’t know quite what to make of it. I guess I’ll just have to keep my eyes open.


May 12, 2005 6:00 PM

I finally found out where Daye has been going during the day. She has been using a little grove around the rear of the castle as a hideout. I followed her there this morning, and the weirdest thing happened. When I got there, she was walking around the area with her eyes closed, talking to herself. I just can’t figure out what is going on. When I asked her about it later, she said she had no idea what I was talking about. She even denied knowing about the grove. I can’t see why she would lie, but I don’t see how she doesn’t remember what she was doing this morning. I am going to have to keep a closer eye on her.

The other thing is that the sensing equipment I set up when we first got here has started to pick up strange energy signatures in the castle. These energies seem to be growing stronger every day. There are very strong centralized energies in Daye’s grove. Maybe the two are somehow connected.


May 26, 2005 7:10 AM

I am going to have to find some help. I woke up a few minutes ago alone in the bed. When I went looking for Daye, she was nowhere in the castle. I checked outside and found her laying in the grove. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. I tried, but I can’t seem to wake her. I’ve brought her inside and laid her on the bed. I am really worried. Although her eyes are moving rapidly behind her lids, no matter what I do, she doesn’t respond. She told me about some of her friends in the Coven in England. I am going to go through her bag and see if I can find a number or something. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even believe in ghosts and witches. Now, I have to save one from the other. Please, let there be someone who can help me with this.


Drew closed up his laptop and moved over to start rummaging through Daye’s luggage. It felt like a good idea to keep a record of everything that was happening, no matter how strange it might seem. It was possible something he had written down would be the key to helping the woman he loved. If only he could find someone with the knowledge to do so.

11am 24/02/05 Somewhere over the Atlantic....

CryingKnight's picture

Sorrow glanced up from the latest Tom Clancy thriller and looked around the Boeing, Jade was curled up asleep in the seat next to him and around the aircraft his fellow passengers were in various states of alertness. They were about an hour out of Heathrow and despite the fact that his body was telling him it was 3am Sorrow couldn't sleep.

It wasn't, however, the brilliant sunlight that shone through the window next to him that kept him awake. No, Sorrow had been unable to sleep for the past two nights since the events in the clearing. His dreams were haunted by memories of his actions that night, though it was not this that drove him to wakefulness for such lengthy periods, underneath the nightmarish images that played like film upon the screen of his sleeping mind was a faint sense of pleasure. It was that, more than anything else, which had left him so hollow eyed.

Sorrow sighed and returned to his book trying to concentrate on what should have been a compelling tale of international power politics and advanced military hardware. Instead he remembered the look in Tash's eyes as he and Jade had left for the airport. That look had been a warning that, should he return without some form a cure, Tash would take whatever actions she deemed necessary. Sorrow didn't blame her for that look, had their positions been reversed he wasn't sure he'd have been so understanding.

Sorrow glanced at Jade, they'd spent the last two nights apart though she knew he'd been having trouble sleeping. Sleeping together seemed too risky, especially after their recent trials. Sorrow reached out and brushed the back of his hand along Jade's cheek. He studied the curve of her face as tears sparkled in his eyes.

who the hell is Gnarook?

Stalker's picture

*** 28-May-05 ***

Gnarook sat wondering how he had gotten into his current situation and wondered that when the human he had helped woke if he would keep his promise.

Gnarook's mind began to wander...

*** 22-Feb-05 ***

They had been following their great leader for days through the thick undergrowth of the Gnatacrta forests, their fifteen-strong group reduced to six and the Gnatacrta were still behind them slowly picking them off one by one.

Gnarook could sense them there were only few, but those few Gnatacrta could kill them all in seconds.

Their only chance was to get to the portal before the Gnatacrta had killed them all; the Great Elder Gnamoso was sure it was not far ahead but he had been saying that for hours, and even Gnarook was beginning to lose faith in their great leader.

Then came the wall, well not a wall exactly but more of a cliff face. It was totally smooth; there was no way up or around it. Their hearts sank. They looked to their great leader but he was already seated with his head in his hands muttering something to himself.

"Where now?" Gnarook asked but there was no answer. The Great Elder Gnamoso just sat and kept mumbling to himself.

Gnarook reached down and lifted the old demon to his feet, threw him to the wall and held him there. No one tried to stop him.

"WHERE NOW?" Gnarook shouted.

The old demon looked up. "I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? Just a few minutes ago you were so confident," Gnarook said in disbelief.

"It should be here! All the power leads here!" the old demon said with a look of confusion on his face.

There was noise from the undergrowth.

"They're coming! What do we do? Where do we go?" Gnarook looked toward the old demon pleadingly.

The old demon looked up the cliff. "You can levitate objects, can you not?"

"Yes, but only objects. Not myself and not that high."

"Well, none of the others can levitate things but I can. We can do it together. We may not be able to save ourselves but maybe we can save the others and they can go forward safely."

Gnarook was shocked. Today would be the day he died and he knew no way to stop it.

They proceeded to levitate the other four members of their small party, one by one, up the cliff.

The sound was getting louder from the undergrowth and Gnarook could now smell the Gnatacrta making their way toward him and the Great Elder Gnamoso.

The Great Elder Gnamoso looked toward Gnarook and spoke. "You know I can not lift you up to the rest of the group." Gnarook nodded, and the Great Elder Gnamoso continued, "Maybe a few days ago before all this happened, but the past few days have drained me..."

"I know," Gnarook said just as the first of many Gnatacrta burst out from the undergrowth.

The Gnatacrta jumped toward Gnarook but the Great Elder Gnamoso jumped at the Gnatacrta, saving Gnarook. Gnarook instinctively turned invisible.

The Gnatacrta tore into the Great Elder Gnamoso and a squirt of blood hit the wall. The ground shook and upon the face of the wall a portal began to form. Gnarook stood in front of the portal and watched as more of the Gnatacrta leapt onto the Great Elder Gnamoso. *What can I do?*

Gnarook hesitated and started toward the Great Elder Gnamoso. *I have to help him I have to get him through the portal with me.*

The Great Elder Gnamoso looked up toward Gnarook. "GO NOW! Don't look back! Find a way to save our people from this wretched dimensio..." The old demon’s words were cut short by the fact that one of the Gnatacrta tore his throat out.

There was nothing Gnarook could do he jumped through the portal and moments later just as one of the Gnatacrta was about to follow him through the portal closed.


Gnarook was awoken from his thoughts by a moan from the car. *Hmmm, the human may have awoken. I should check.*

Gnarook walked to the car from the log he was sitting on. He peered through the window. *Not awake but his wound needs cleaning and I should probably find us more food.*

Gnarook wandered back into the forest...

Kate Arrives in Ireland

Meredith Bell's picture

******Tuesday, 31st May 2005 – Ireland, 8:49pm******

Ireland was just as Kate remembered it – cold and wet. She was glad to see something’s never changed, while she thought the weather back in England was bad it was nothing compared to that in Ireland. It was almost summer and yet here she was, stumbling through the rain and cold, her boots caked in three inches of sludge. Kate struggled with her holdall as she concentrated on not falling face first into the mud. She hadn’t brought much with her, a few changes of clothing but the rest was magical supplies and ritualistic items, candles, incense, a few powdered herbs, crystals – in fact anything and everything that she’d been able to lay her hands on without arousing too much suspicion from her fellow coveners.

Kate thought back to the conversation she’d had with Baldur – Daye’s old mentor and tutor in the mystic arts. That was little over a day ago now, but almost three days had passed since Baldur received the original message from a man in Ireland called Andrew Langley. He’d requested some kind of help with his girlfriend, Amanda Blaise, or Daye – whom he knew had dealings with the “er, Coven of Sindell, what are you witches or something?”

Baldur knew Kate had once been a close acquaintance of his former student, and was probably powerful enough to handle whatever problems she was facing in Ireland. Which was why he had called her as soon as he’d been able to. All calls, internal and external were being monitored by the Watcher’s Council, but Baldur had friends there who would turn a blind eye if he asked – and he did, frequently.

Kate silently wondered whether she would be of any help at all to Daye, and cursed herself for not taking Baldur's offer of help when he had given it. Just because she didn’t want to rely on the coven or it’s members, or be in their debt. Who was she to refuse help that was offered to Daye? This was possibly her life at risk!

She tugged at her thick wool coat; the high collar nearly covered her chin but kept the cold out. She hadn’t expected to be caught out like this, her rental car finally spluttered and died about half a mile down the road. Unfortunately she was three miles away from the nearest garage so it made more sense to carry on towards the castle and return to the car later. The sun was already beginning to set; the dark clouds rolling overhead didn’t help much either.

Suddenly Kate yelped in surprise as she slipped on the wet grass, her arms grabbed uselessly at the air for something to save herself, suddenly a strong hand grabbed hold of her, halting her fall and pulling her up to her feet.

Drew looked down at the young woman, her clothes were dripping wet with rain as was her long red hair, piled on her head in a sopping mess. He smiled and offered her his other hand. Kate took it smiling in gratitude. Once she had gained her balance Drew took her bag and they began walking.

“You must be the woman they, the er… they told me you were coming… Kathy or…”

“Kate, you must be Andrew Langley?”

“Yeah, Drew, urm, I noticed you coming from across the field so I thought I’d meet you halfway, looked like you needed some help.”

“Well, I’m glad you did, if only to save me from looking like the mud creature!”

Drew smiled, they were almost at the castle when he spoke again, “So, I guess you’re a witch too?”

Kate looked at Drew frowning slightly, “No need to sound so sceptical, I heard you were supposed to be some kind of expert in the occult, don’t tell me, you came here to prove the locals wrong, there’s no such thing as ghosts and all that?”

Drew stopped, only a few yards from the doorway. “Oh come on! You’ve got to admit! It’s all farcical! Witches, Vampires, Demons – you can’t really believe it!”

“I do believe it,” said Kate emphatically “…and so should you. Everything, believe everything you were ever told as a child – stories of all the evils that go ‘bump in the night’ - they all exist every last one.”

“Then prove it! If you’re a witch then prove it to me! Show me your magic!”

“That’s not the way things work Drew, besides, I don’t need to prove it to you, you already believe. The things you can’t explain, what’s happening to Daye, if you didn’t believe why did you call me here?”

Drew looked sadly towards one of the upper windows, “She, she’s ill, she needed…”

“If she was only ill then you’d have called a doctor not a witch! Accept the truth as it has been revealed to you, for Daye’s sake, you need to banish the doubts from your heart if we are to save her!”

They stood in silence for a long while, the rain continued to pour down, soaking through Drew’s sweater, suddenly he sneezed. Kate smiled apologetically, “Come on, lets go in, you’ll catch your death of cold out here, and you can show me Daye and we’ll see what can be done.”

The Rescue – Three Stooges Style

MrDave's picture

Galen put away the lock pick and eased open the door to Tash's apartment. The interior didn't show any apparent signs of a struggle. Still, something seemed wrong.

"Anybody home?" he called softly. "Hello?"

He continued to move slowly through the apartment, looking around and behind the couch, then raised his voice, "Hey Abbott!"

After about ten minutes he wandered in to the bedroom to see Victor standing, naked, like a statue. Something roughly circular and about two inches across was hanging around his neck, covered in a strange sticky substance.

"Uh, hi, um... I didn't interrupt anything, did I?"

Victor didn't say anything or seem to move. "I'm sorry... is something wrong?" Galen asked again.

About twenty minutes later with Victor slowly appearing rather angry, he got the idea that the thing around his neck might have something to do with it so promptly grabbed it and tossed it across the room. Touching it, he thought it felt like a hairball. The sticky stuff seemed to be blood.

Victor felt like his arms and legs were encased in lead. The harder he struggled the slower he seemed to move. He had lain in the bed helpless when Tash had been abducted. Now what seemed like hours later he had gotten only two steps closer to the door. He heard Galen enter the small apartment but was unable to shout in response. He was relieved when Agent Eldridge entered the room but after watching him stare slack-jawed at Victor's plight he was doubtful he would be much help.

When Galen flung the small magical bundle Victor fully expected to spring free to rescue Tash, but no such miracle happened. He remained mired in the magical morass that prevented his leaving the room.

As the talisman crashed against the wall, Galen turned back and hoped Victor would be moving. Still, nothing seemed to be happening. Muttering, "Well, that certainly sucked," he leaned against the wall in thought.

Another idea came to him - maybe if he moved it farther away? Or destroyed it? Better yet, why not try to do both at once? Picking up the charm, Galen stumbled from the bedroom, tripped over the sofa, found a window then tossed the charm out the window to the ground with all his might.

The vertigo was not quite enough to upset his stomach, but he did manage to prevent himself from falling. It looked like the charm bounced, and he went back towards the bedroom. "Oh... that's right... animal hair."

Trying to think of what to do, Galen decided he needed a cigarette. Getting out one of the Salems and preparing to light it gave him a new idea. Minutes later, he found his way outside and used his lighter to ignite it.

Victor could feel the lightening of his limbs. He could actually begin to see his arm move and soon his legs. It wasn't long before he was running at a pace comparable to a slow stroll around the room pulling on a pair of boxer shorts and a robe before dashing at a breakneck walking pace into the living room as Agent Galen was returning to the apartment.

"Nnnnnnooooooo tiiiiiiiimmmmmmmme tooooo waaaaaaasssssssste," he drawled, "Trrrrrrraaaaaaiiiiiiilllllll iiiiiiiissssss geeeeeeettiiiiiinnnnnngggggg coooooolllllllld!"

"Whose tail is getting sold?" Galen asked, a dead serious expression on his face as Victor began to speed up. "You'd better drive!" he called as Victor passed through the door, and followed after him.

Victor charged down the hallway and out into the street looking for the Ford Taurus he had followed before. Seeing no sign of it he looked desperately back at Agent Galen who was clutching the handrail of the stairs precariously.

"What?" Galen said at Victor's look, finally lighting his cigarette. "Just steal a car or a motorbike or something. We'll just cover it up anyway." At that moment, he lost his grip on the railing and tumbled over sideways. The nausea won the battle.

Victor slapped his forehead. *Eat him. He's already marinated!*

"Shut up!" Victor said under his breath.

Victor ran back up the stairs, vaulting Agent Galen and running back into Tash's apartment. Soon the growl of Tash's motorcycle and the pealing sounds of rubber were heard coming down the hallway. As the bike carrying Victor jumped down the stairs and skidded to a halt in the foyer, Galen's wide-eyed gape at Victor didn't deter him.

"Get on! I own the building, so it doesn't matter. Tash is in trouble, and we have to go!"

The two would-be rescuers screamed down the street with Victor's bathrobe flapping in the breeze. His nose was high in the air following the scent.

Galen was trying desperately to stay on the bike as they were flying down the street. Maybe he should not have had that last vodka tonic. Still, his thoughts kept turning back to Kate. That was the thing about drinking. You didn't get over your problems, you only taught them to swim.

To try to remain focused, he started singing again. "E volavo, volavo felice piú in alto del sole ed ancora piú in su...."

Daye saved the inventory list and shut down the computer. She had just finished and glancing at the clock noticed how late it was. *A hot bath and a glass of wine would be so great right now,* she thought. Daye had to get everything done before she left for Ireland. She wouldn't want to leave Jessica with any major headaches.

She finished straightening up and shut off the lights. She left the shop and turned around to lock the door but stopped in the middle of her task when she heard the sound of a motorcycle approaching on the street mixed with the sound of someone belting out a song at the top of his lungs. Daye turned towards the street, searching for the source of the sound.

Victor could barely smell Tash's scent anymore. If there were more side roads he would not have been riding so fast. The bike bucked a little as he snatched the brakes hard and skidded to a stop at the intersection. The smells of the city mixed with the aroma of brewing coffee and effectively masked any trail that might have been left. Victor was about to curse Galen's loud singing ... and with fists ... in frustration when he saw movement inside Bibliophile. *She can help,* he thought and gunned the bike across the road to the cafe.

Daye was shocked to see Victor and another man on the back of Tash's bike. The man was someone she recognized from Kate's rescue, but she didn't know who exactly he was. Victor was wearing only boxers and a robe. He looked sort of frantic. Daye approached the sidewalk as he pulled up.

Galen finally halted his latest musical attempt as the bike came to a stop and looked around in confusion. "Why are we stopping?" he said. Then he noticed a woman who looked slightly familiar. "Is this the person you're selling the tail to?"

Daye gave the strange man another glance at his words. She noticed that his speech was slurred and even from a distance she could smell liquor on him.

Victor's grimace was all the reply he chose to offer. "Daye, Tash has been kidnapped by ... someone. They used magic to stop me, and thanks to Agent Galen ... 'Skippy the Wonder Drunk' ... here, I managed to get free. I have a terrible feeling that we do not have much time. Can you help? Anything?" The desperation in Victor's voice was evident.

"That's A.D. 'Wonder Drunk' to you," Galen snapped, fumbling for his ID. On the third try he finally got it out of his coat. "See? They stuck me behind a desk. Oh God, I'm gonna hurl," then turned to the street and did just that.

Daye grimaced as Galen vomited on the street. There was no way he was in any condition to help them rescue Tash.

Victor gingerly stepped off the bike, careful to avoid the remains of A.D. Galen's liquid dinner. He lifted him off the bike and propped him against the storefront before wheeling the bike to the side. He turned to Daye, "Can you start by helping him?"

Daye nodded, turning towards the shop. There was a concoction in the kitchen that worked wonders on this sort of thing. Mrs. Wyldling always kept some on hand for those occasions when the young Watchers, giddy with their new found freedom, overindulged in the various bars and clubs around the city. Daye herself had never tasted it, but the people who did swore it was the foulest tasting liquid ever brewed. They also claimed that Mrs. Wyldling made it that way on purpose as punishment for them getting drunk in the first place.

Daye brought a cup full of the potion back out to the two men and handed it to Galen.

“Drink this down without pausing,” she said. While he did, Daye spoke the words of the spell to clear his mind. Although he groaned at the taste, Galen drank it down and was soon rubbing his head, appearing much more sober than only moments before. Daye felt a pang of sympathy at the distressed look on his face. The potion would eliminate the effects of his drunkenness, but he would still feel the “hangover” symptoms that normally would have shown up in the morning.

“Now then,” Daye began, turning to Victor, “Who took Tash and where did they take her?”

Victor shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know and I don't know. All I know is that this strange woman hung a hairball around my neck and turned me into the slowest moving thing on the planet."

"What did this 'hairball' look like?' she asked.

Victor held his hands in a small 2 inch circle, "It was about this big and it was covered in my blood. It definitely had fur in it and a lot of other stuff, and was packed solid."

“Ok, the magic item sounds like a gris-gris,” Daye said. “That means we are probably dealing with voodoo of some sort.”

Daye thought for a moment. “Do you have something of Tash’s?” she asked. “I can locate her if you do.”

"Tash's bike is right here, let me look," said Victor. He opened the storage compartment under the seat and saw a pair of old gloves and some papers in there. Tash's gloves were very personal to her. Under the circumstances he didn't think she'd mind losing a pair. He grabbed a glove and turned to Daye.

She took the glove from Victor and laid it on the sidewalk in front of her. She drew a circle around it with a piece of charcoal from her belt pouch. She then added some ingredients from the same pouch and a blank piece of parchment. Daye knelt beside the circle and began to chant, closing her eyes and holding her hands out, palm down, over the glove. Within moments, a map appeared on the blank parchment as the other objects in the ritual turned to ash. She stood, holding the map out to Victor.

“This is where Tash is right now,” she said.

Victor stared at the map image appearing on the parchment. He could not believe it ... the same grove where only a month ago he and the others had been rescuing Kate.

"Shit. That's two hours away. Are you up to the ride?" he turned to see Galen still holding his head and looking worse than the morning after.

Daye eyed the bike warily. That would never do for all of them. The shop van was parked in the back. They used it to run errands and make deliveries, among other non-shop business for the Council. It would make a much better vehicle for this rescue than the motorcycle.

"Uh, there's a van in back," Daye said, vaguely gesturing towards the alley. "We can use that. I just have to grab the keys from inside."

A.D. Eldridge stood slowly but more steadily than he had been. Victor seemed to be dancing in his eagerness to get going. Daye went to get the keys. Galen groaned, "What did she do to me? I feel like I was hit with a hammer."

Victor gripped his arm firmly, "Look, I don't have a lot of choice here in my allies. You and I seem to be on the same side, but this is Tash we are talking about. I don't want a lot of 'interference' from your 'official' buddies. Are we clear?"

Galen met Victor's glare with one eye open. "Listen here, I don't answer to you or your girlfriend. I am here because I am here. Still, there won’t be any official interference. They would just tell me to go home and sleep off the hangover. Which, quite frankly, doesn’t sound like too bad an idea.”

Victor waited as long as he could stand it. "No. I need your help. Will you help?" Victor gritted his teeth, "Please."

Galen knew better than to grin at a man who was grovelling, "Sure. I'll help, just don't expect me to always do it your way."

Daye emerged from the shop carrying the keys in one hand and balancing a small stack of books in the other. While she was inside she had grabbed some emergency supplies and books on voodoo. If the people who kidnapped Tash had used a gris-gris on Victor, then it was a good bet that they were practitioners of that kind of magic. Daye knew very little about the voodoo religion and so she planned to engage in a quick cram session on the way to the clearing. She had at most two hours to learn enough to help Tash. Things did not look good.

When Daye got back outside she couldn't help but notice the tension between the two men. She didn't know Agent Eldridge and frankly she couldn't care less about how he was feeling. Victor on the other hand was a friend. She wanted to reassure him somehow.

"Victor, we'll find her," Daye said. She turned towards the alley. "Let's get going. Time is probably short."

Victor climbed in the driver's seat and was in motion before the doors were all closed. They were soon barrelling at the van's top speed towards the distant grove. Victor hoped that A.D. Galen's ID would deter any police they might encounter; he could not afford any delays.

Tash's Birthday Surprise - part three

Heather's picture

04:02am, 20 March 2005

Tash sagged against her restraints. During the past couple of hours – hours that had felt like centuries – she had worried at the straps, but it was almost as though they had a life of their own. The more she struggled, the tighter they became. Her hands had lost sensation now and she was too tired to fight any more anyway. She strained to see in the darkness. The bloated moon had set about half an hour ago and the night was now pitch black. A few stars shimmered through the treetops but all she could see were vague whirling shapes and the occasional leering face thrust at her. The drums continued their frenzied pounding, unabated.

All these women seemed to share the same thoughts. Youth, power, life. They wanted these things from her. Tash had no idea how, but from what she'd seen of magic rituals recently she had no doubt they could do this. The figure Tash had noticed before, the one emanating a sense of power and evil, must be the leader. She stood apart from the frantic dancers, still as a statue. She hadn't come close to Tash yet, but Tash could feel the woman's eyes boring into her. Her gaze felt like worms crawling over Tash's skin.

Every so often Tash would hear the slaughter of another goat and fresh blood would be applied to her naked body. The layers of dried blood felt crusty and stiff. She had long since gagged up her stomach contents and now she was spent. Tired, cold, frightened and helpless. Her only hope was that they might untie her before the end. Her arms and legs were so stiff she doubted she could stand unaided, let alone fight, but she refused to go down without a struggle.

Suddenly the air felt charged. The drumbeat changed its rhythm and the dance slowed. The tall Negress stalked towards Tash, causing her heart to leap with renewed terror. This was it. The beginning of the end. Tash braced herself for whatever opportunity might present itself. She might have mere moments to act and prayed that her abused body would be up to it.

The aged woman stood directly in front of Tash. She drew a snake from beneath the folds of her cloak. Its tongue flicked out, tasting the air, tasting the blood that covered Tash. The woman continued to draw the snake forth. And continued. The snake was huge. Trying to be as objective as possible, Tash figured it had to be at least 25 feet long. The body was thicker around than the woman could hold in both wrinkled hands. It must have been wrapped around her body to have remained hidden.

Its face approached Tash's face. She drew back as far as she could from that questing tongue. She could clearly see a v-shaped mark on its face as it curled its head around her shoulders. Tash shuddered at the dry touch of its skin. It felt smooth and cool as it wound its way down her back and around her waist. Soon the entire length of the beast was coiled around her, its diamond-shaped head right in front of her face. The weight was incredible. Tash could do nothing but tremble as the python settled itself around her. She flexed a shoulder, only to have the snake tighten its body around her fractionally.

The old woman smiled in satisfaction. With the snake's breath upon her face, Tash fancied she could hear the woman's thoughts so much more clearly now. She was older than she looked. Tash felt the weight of centuries pressing down on her mind even as the reptile's weight pressed on her body. The woman's desire for youth, beauty and power was overwhelming.

Tash found herself staring into the woman's eyes, held. It stirred a memory in her. The memory of being trapped by Valerian's eyes. But this was different. A conduit seemed to open between them. Tash knew the woman's name. Ohenewaa – and somehow Tash knew that word meant queen. And she knew that Ohenewaa had long planned for this day. Finding her parents, performing the magic that would draw them together to produce a child. Ohenewaa's joy at learning of Natasha's birth on the vernal equinox. Carrying out the plan to have her family murdered in order for the priestesses to raise the orphaned girl. Her rage at Matthias' intervention. Their plans for dealing with Matthias and Victor.

Ohenewaa had a name for Tash, too. Kijakazi. Your life is due to us. This was how they thought of her. Without them she would not have been born, therefore they considered her life to be theirs to do with as they wished. Tash could see exactly what would happen to her during this ritual. A ritual that Ohenewaa had performed many times in her 593 years of life. The snake was the key. Tash felt its solid mass around her, its soft breaths upon her face. It was the link to Ohenewaa. It would draw out her life and transfer it to the voodoo queen. Through the python, Ohenewaa would become young and powerful once more and would restore the youth and power of her followers.

All this knowledge came to Tash in an instant. A part of her wanted to laugh hysterically. Even the vampires that had killed her parents and brother had been victims. Mere pawns for this crazy old witch. It was almost too much to take in at once. Her birth had been engineered. Contrived. She was nothing more than a small part of this woman's scheme to raise herself to godhood. Ohenewaa had been arranging for psychics to interbreed, trying to produce stronger and stronger telepaths to feed her growing necromantic addiction.

Tash felt lethargic. Sleepy. *Hardly any surprise – I've had a long night. Now would be a good time to just drift off into a lovely dreamless sleep. Wouldn't it be good to be free of the nightmares? Oh, yes, it would.*

She shook her head, frowning slightly. She couldn't break her gaze away from Ohenewaa's, but now she knew what the old woman was up to.

"No, I won't sleep. I won't just give in to you," Tash could barely whisper the words through her parched throat, but Ohenewaa's eyes flickered marginally in surprise at Tash's defiance.

The snake – Marali – tightened its coils ever so slightly more. Tash knew its name. She also knew that Marali meant 'essence'. Marali's breath continued to caress her face. She could feel it brushing across her skin, almost like a lover's touch. Tash could sense time passing as a palpable thing. In less than half an hour she would be dead, drained of life through Marali to Ohenewaa.

*And there's nothing I can do to stop it. Nothing. I'm helpless. I may as well just go to sleep and let it happen. Sleep would be good, soothing…*

Tash shook her head again. "Damn, you, witch! NO!"

She gasped at the sharp pain as Marali squeezed in response to her rebellion. Ohenewaa's eyes narrowed as she stared at Tash, then she seemed to come to a decision. Tash heard her thought as clearly as if it were in English, though for some reason she knew it wasn't.

*Very well, suffer if you must. It won't help you.*

They stayed that way for some time. Tash was unable to tear her gaze away from the voodoo queen, but battled to retain her own will. The python continued to breathe regularly in her face, its body warming to Tash's skin temperature. Ohenewaa stood motionless before Tash, maintaining her eye contact. The drums beat their steady pattern, the dancers moving gracefully in time to the rhythm. Tash could feel Marali sending out tendrils of its essence to trace her spirit. The reptile was attuning itself to her, waiting for the moment when it could open itself to its mistress and channel Tash's life force to the queen.

As the snake insinuated itself into her psyche, images and memories flooded into Tash's mind. Her childhood. Her life with Matthias. Her incredible connection with Victor.

Victor. Her worry about Victor made her forget her own discomfort. Was he alive? Her stomach knotted at the thought that these bitches might have hurt or killed him. She turned every ounce of her willpower outwards, wishing she could use her telepathy to project. How she wished he would appear from behind those trees over there, ready to move Heaven and Earth to save her.

*But I know that's impossible. These witches would have made sure he was out of the way. There's no hope for me, no rescue. No knight in shining armour will come galloping to save me. I may as well just resign myself to the fact that I have only a few short minutes of life left.*

Tash slumped, no longer able to bear up under the burden she carried.

Soon. The time was very near.

Through Ohenewaa, Tash could feel the movement of the Earth to that point where the equinox would be precisely aligned to her position. It would be 4:34 am when Tash truly achieved her 27th year of life.

The seconds ticked down inexorably to that moment.



Parasol's picture

“GET OFF MY GODDAMN CAR!” Parasol yelled as she came out of the Denny’s in Tucumcari, New Mexico to find a bunch of teenage no-neck monsters lounging on her baby.

“Isn’t it, like, past your bedtime or somethin’? Don’t you have homework? Or parents?”

Those hard-headed little maniacs just kept on lounging, regarding her with bodies pumped full of hormones and attitude.

Parasol sighed in front of the lot of them and calmly said, “You know, at this time of night, boys – what is it, almost midnight – there are all kinds of monsters out. Yeah. Go ahead and laugh, but you should be wiser about whose mint condition 1962 Ford Galaxie Sunliner convertible you go draping yourselves on.” She got a whiff of the head knucklehead and her face rose and her teeth grew. She growled for effect.

They screamed like girls and scattered, as they should. Parasol relaxed her face, swung the door open and swept into her favorite possession.

Parasol loved driving across the country (this was her, what, seventh trip coast to coast), but hated that since her car was so cherry it always attracted too much attention. She couldn’t bear to part with it, though, no matter how much it stuck out. She bought the car in 1962 and it was her pleasure to keep it up. They didn’t make cars like this anymore. This was a metal fortress. It just glided across the freeway like a cloud. *Mmmm,* she loved this car.

Parasol also loved driving at night with the top down, especially this part of the country. The night was always cool but the heat from the day rose from the pavement, the sand, and the rocks around her. She missed the heat of the day, the feel of the sun on her face. *But, oh well.* She put her sunglasses on (she loved wearing them at night), put the car in gear and drove out of the Denny’s in Tucumcari, New Mexico, headed to Los Angeles and Chinaka.

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Evalyn Toussaint's picture

***Wednesday, 9th, March 2005...11:34pm***

Reah awoke groggily in darkness on a hard surface. She rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times before she took in the room. Panic struck her! She sat up suddenly in unfamiliar surroundings and darted her eyes about the room for danger. *Where the hell am I ?* The daze of sleep began to wear off and memories of the past few days came back to her. She relaxed a little, the pain in her arms had dulled a bit since her encounter the night before, but there was still pain nevertheless.

She yawned as sleep continued pulling at her while she tried to take in her surroundings, concentration on trying to see through the darkness strained every last cell in her brain. Her eyes still felt as though they hadn’t rested the whole night as she tried to keep them open, her neck betraying her as it suddenly felt to weak to carry the weight of her head. Yawning again she lay back down on the ground, resting her head on a couple of her bundled up tops, she gave in to her heavy eyelids. Shivering at the chill breeze that ran along the old hard wooden floor and into the gaps allowed by her clothing, Reah tugged her coat tighter around herself in annoyance, and huddled her knees up into a ball. The shivers continued to come in random bursts, but sleep eventually claimed her once again.


Reah slumped in her chair, leaning her head in the palm of her right hand as she stared ahead to the front of the classroom listening to Mrs. Broe drone on about the universe and how it will eventually implode on itself. It was kind of pointless considering the lecture was only consisting of the word "Doomed" repeatedly. *Funny! Isn’t this something I heard on a show somewhere?* She sighed and rolled her eyes.

A tap on her shoulder turned Reah’s attention to her friend, Leigh who was leaning across from the row of desks behind her, "Lucy’s lining up her bands of rubber." They both laughed, this seemed to make sense, although Reah wasn’t quite sure why herself.

Pushing back her chair, Reah stood up and noticed Leigh had done the same. The both made their way along row of tables behind the seats of the other students, and walked up to the front of the room to the door. Reah looked back at the class before exiting behind Leigh, she smirked at the orange light that broke through the blinds of the classroom and the states of the other students that looked ready to kill Mrs. Broe with their compasses, then there was Mrs. Broe who stood at the front of the classroom, continuing on her lecture of "Doom!" as though she didn’t realise the doom that was soon to fall on her.

Reah and Leigh strolled through the door into the noisy bar. People in lederhosen surrounded them as they tried to squeeze their way through the throng of people to the bar. Reah could barely keep from laughing at the amount of Hildas’ and Hanzels’ they were surrounded by, smiling encouraging smiles and raising their mugs of ale to the newcomers.

They reached the bar and were greeted by a friendly plump man in a clean pressed apron. Leigh signalled the bartender for two drinks, then smiled at Reah. She wasn’t sure why, but for some reason her friends smile made her uncomfortable, Reah’s smile slipped a bit. She shook her head at the ridiculousness of the thought that momentarily popped into her mind that her friend was trying to kill her!

She resumed smiling when the bartender returned and placed their drinks on the bar. Reah noticed the familiar red of the liquid and her smile immediately vanished from her face. Leigh claimed her drink and took a long gulp of the liquid. Reah nearly dry retched at the sight of her friend drinking blood…and enjoying it.

Looking around the room, Reah noticed all the other drinks in the room where also filled to the rim with blood. All the smiling lederhosen people suddenly seemed a lot less friendly, and a lot more crazy. "I want to leave!" She yelled over the noise to her friend next to her who was just finishing the last drop of her drink.

"Are you sure?" She yelled back, wiping her mouth.

Reah nodded insistently. Leigh shrugged and led her back through the throng to the stairs in the corner. A fat jolly Hanzel playing a piano-accordion, smiled and danced hopping from one foot to the other while following Reah and Leigh up the stairs. Reah scowled at the annoying man and punched him square in the nose, sending him back down the stairs.

Leigh pushed up the hatch at the top of the stairs an climbed out, leading Reah behind her.
As she pulled herself up and straighten her clothes out, brushing off the grass from the damp ground, Reah noticed it was night time already *Shit!* Looking down to where she had just got out from, she realised that the stairs leading down to the pub where gone and were replaced by a deep dark pit instead.

She jumped back from the rim, and bumped into her friend. "Hey what’s up with you tonight?" Leigh asked looking Reah in the eye.
Reah stared back at her for a little while, hesitating to answer her friends uneasy stare, "Nothing…really! It’s just late and I haven’t had much sleep lately."

Leigh smiled sympathetically before her face suddenly changed, "I’d say that’s the least of your troubles!"

Reah’s eyes nearly popped out of her head, she backed up to the edge of the pit and almost fell in backwards. Leigh laughed sinisterly at her friend as she approached her, then suddenly stopped in her tracks with a look of dismay on her face before bursting into dust. A stake that seemed to of come from no where, fell to the ground. Reah stared at, her mind a buzz.

When she looked up from the stake, the surroundings had…shifted! She was in a house, she guessed, not well kept, although it seemed all too familiar. Reah warily took a few steps forward. Dust hung in the air what seemed every where and blood stained nearly everything…
Reah choked back a cry and shut her eyes tight, "No." she muttered under her breath. Screams seemed to echo in the air… "NOOO…"


Rhea sat bolt upright on the hard wooden floor. Sweat beaded on her forehead, her heart pounded hard against her chest, and the pain in her arms was throbbing.

She gulped down the air and darted glances about her surroundings. Light streamed in through widows barricaded with planks of wood, the plastered walls were stained with murky browns, greens and greys and covered with long cracks running up from the foundation, areas of the walls were also punched in revealing the framework of the building. The hard wooden floor that had made out as her bed for the night was covered in a layer of dust and dirt, large chunks were missing out of splintered planks, and some planks just ceased to exist at all leaving long dark holes. The room was otherwise deserted and uninhabited apart from Reah and the belongings she had.

She sighed with relief at escaping the nightmare, and the recognition of her current location, then recalled the light that was streaming in through the cracks left in the barred windows. *What time is it?* Her stomach grumbled regardless of what time it might be, she was starving! Reah pulled herself up gingerly and grimaced as she flexed her shoulder blades and stretched her arms. *A chemist wouldn’t be far gone to visit either!* She gathered herself together ready to depart, then tried to remember how she’d entered this hole.

Rescuing Daye Part One

Meredith Bell's picture

******Tuesday, 31st May 2005 – 9:34pm******

Drew allowed Kate a short while to change out of her wet clothes before leading her to the room where he had laid Daye after he found her unconscious. She had not stirred or made any sort of noise. The only signs that she was alive were her shallow breathing and the continual movements of her eyes beneath her closed lids. She looked deathly pale. Drew sat beside her, taking her limp hand in his own. He swallowed against the lump of fear and sadness in his throat.

Drew turned to look at Kate, tears glistening in his eyes. "Can you help her?" he asked. "Please?"

Kate looked at Drew; she could see how afraid he was and although she wanted to assure him something could be done she didn't feel all that optimistic. Daye looked deathly pale, according to Drew she’d been this way for many days already with no signs of improvement, in fact if anything she was getting worse.

Kate sat down next to Daye, she gestured for Drew to let her go and then she took her hand up in her own. She relaxed and concentrated on keeping her own breathing slow and rhythmic… Suddenly she felt like she was being sucked down into a vast blackness, thick and viscous like molasses. Gradually the blackness subsided and a bright penetrating light flooded into the void, when everything had settled Kate opened her eyes…

She was back in the castle, only everything was different – Kate felt like she’d stepped back in time, suddenly she was surrounded by dozens of people, women in long flowing gowns and men in tall shirts and breeches. The castle itself was fully furnished, like it might have been three hundred years ago, with large oak tables and candelabras illuminating every hollow nook. Suddenly Kate heard a familiar laugh, when she turned around she caught a glimpse of Daye sat in a throne, beside her sat a tall, darkly handsome man, holding her hand loosely. Daye laughed again, and looked fondly into the man’s eyes. Kate tried to move towards her but found her feet were glued to the floor, suddenly time seemed to blur like a watercolour, her surroundings all melted together running like coloured water and swirling into a vortex…

Kate released Daye’s hand as though it had burned her. She slid to the floor and held her chest as she coughed violently. Drew crouched beside her, not sure what had just happened, as far as he could see she’d only touched Daye’s hand for a few seconds.

Drew studied the witch for a few moments. He was out of his element here. The woman he loved caught up in some sort of magical illness, and the stranger he'd sought out to help her seemingly incapable of doing so. Daye seemed somehow to draw farther away from him with each passing hour. Drew felt somehow that time was limited and he could lose this woman he had just found forever. He tentatively touched Kate's arm to gain her attention. "What can I do?" he asked. "I want to help. I need to help."

Gradually Kate began to feel better, she felt the tightness in her body slowly release and dissipate until it left altogether. “I’m not sure… what’s going on…” Kate climbed to her feet and glanced back at Daye as she ‘slept’ peacefully. “You said this has been happening for a while? …And when you found her she was talking to herself, and she never remembered any of this when you confronted her?”

Drew nodded. "I've been keeping a journal. It's here," he said. He opened up the laptop and the files, showing them to Kate. "These are my personal notes. I also have some other stuff in a file for the study I've been doing."

Kate took a while to read through some of the things Drew had given her, what she read didn’t do anything to allay the fear that she felt inside. This was bad, very bad – if the legends about the castle and its inhabitants were true then it was possible that their spirits still roamed the remains. Whether any of this had anything to do with what was happening to Daye was another question, but Kate didn’t have any other ideas as to what could be the cause.

“It’s almost as though…”

Drew looked hopefully at Kate, “Yes? Almost like what?”

“Nothing, I mean, it’s almost like she’s trapped in her dream somehow… but, I don’t know how, or why…”

"Trapped in a dream?" Drew frowned thoughtfully. "There's another legend about this place. Something about a family of witches trapping something in a dream world. The trapped evil was purported to seek out people in their dreams and control them or something. The witches gave their lives to trap it, according to the legend."

“It’s possible they were perhaps Daye’s ancestors, though I don’t know that much about her lineage. This ‘evil’ could be what did this to Daye; it’s strange that you’ve not been affected though. All we can do now is work out how to wake her up! I’ve heard of a few occurrences like this before, in those cases the person did realise they were dreaming, somehow the distinction between fantasy and reality had become blurred – so much so that they couldn’t identify one from the other. I’m convinced that Daye believes herself to be awake which is why she’s unable to break the spell, she doesn’t know that’s she’s supposed to wake.”

Drew started to pace. "What can we do to bring her out of it?" he asked. "How can we reach her?”

Kate paced the room for a little while, deep in contemplation. “Somehow we need to be able to contact Daye in her dream, if Daye knows she’s asleep she’ll know to wake up.”

“But how do we do that? I’ve tried, I’ve tried everything to wake her up!” Drew ran his hands nervously through his hair; he was beginning to lose faith that this woman could do anything other than ask more perplexing questions.

“I’ve never done it before, I’m not even sure it’ll work but it might be possible for me to project myself astrally into Daye’s dream, it might be the only way but I doubt it will be easy.”

Drew stopped and stared at Kate in disbelief. This woman was talking about entering someone else's dreams. That seemed far-fetched to him. He wanted to protest, to rant and rave that she was crazy, that it was impossible, but the last few days had shown him many things were possible that he might have doubted. His lover was a witch, her friends were witches. It was entirely possible that there were more surprises yet to come. He could run screaming in the other direction to protect his sanity and leave Daye to whatever fate was in store for her, or he could help. Drew had never been one to run. "What do you need me to do?"

“I brought most of what I will need with me,” said Kate, reaching for her bag, she opened it up and pulled out a few items. “Valerian root and thyme, combined with a few other items will make a powerful sleeping potion.”

“But Daye’s already asleep, I don’t understand…” began Drew sounding confused.

“It’s for me,” said Kate, calmly mixing the herbs and powders together in a cup. “If I’m going to reach Daye in her subconscious state I need to be able to concentrate. I don’t know how long it will take for me to pass over and I can risk being woken up half way through before I’ve had time to make contact.”

Drew nodded, his expression bleak. "Ok, I think I understand," he said. "So, is there anything I can do while you’re under? Is there some way I can make this easier?"

Kate continued to mix the potion together, she uncorked a tiny vial and added two drops of the liquid into the cup. Suddenly a light purple glow radiated from around the rim. Drew watched in amazement, although he knew various chemical compounds reacted violently when mixed together he had never seen anything like this before it all seemed so – controlled.

Finally Kate looked up; “It’s ready.” She regarded Drew speculatively, “while I’m under you need to make sure that the physical contact is maintained between Daye and I, that will be important if I’m going to be able to get through to her.” Kate was about to take the potion when she suddenly paused, the cup poised at her lips. “One more thing… if you could keep time, astral projection works by separating your astral body from your physical body – but one cannot function without the other, I won’t have that much time.”

“How long?” asked Drew, this whole plan was beginning to sound dangerous.

“About… an hour, any longer and the separation becomes difficult to… reverse.”

Drew's expression became even more distraught. "Yeah," his voice nearly broke. "Sure, I can do that. I'll keep an eye on you both. Just please, if you can, bring her back to me. I..." Drew seemed unable to continue. He turned his gaze on Daye again, his eyes full of torment and confusion.

Kate smiled softly, then quickly drank the potion down in one gulp. She almost retched it tasted so rotten. Finally she lay down on the bed next to Daye, taking her hand tightly in her own.

saving daye part 2

Firefly's picture

******Tuesday, 31st May 2005 – 10:11pm******

Kate didn’t know how long she had laid there before the potion began to take effect. Finally she felt a part of herself detach and become lighter, freer. Kate could feel her astral body suddenly shake loose from her physical self, she travelled with it, high above her body, and then as the air began to settle she fell back down, sinking into Daye mixing with her subconscious mind.

Kate awoke sharply. When she looked around, for a second she thought it hadn’t worked, she was still laid on the bed in the same room as before. On closer inspection Kate noticed how the previous moth-eaten drapes and blankets seemed restored – new. The room had been empty before except for a few dusty old trunks and decrepit chairs, as Kate looked around she saw a hand carved vanity in the corner, with all manner of shiny objects – glass bottles and a hand mirror, a luxuriously upholstered chaise rested under the window, and there were a few small tables on either side of the bed. Kate sat up to find herself alone in the room, shaking away the drowsy feeling in her head she rose to her feet and made her way out of bedchamber, she had to find Daye, quickly.

The castle was just as busy and bursting with activity as it had been the last time. Kate wandered through the maze of corridors and rooms in a daze. She hated to admit it but she was lost, she didn’t know the castle or where Daye might be even if she did.


Drew stood hovering over the bodies of the two women, his whole body tense. He glanced at the watch on his wrist again and again, waiting for some sign of life from the still, pale form of his lover on the bed. The other woman was starting to look a bit pale too. Drew wasn't sure if he should have allowed this. It might be too dangerous for both of them. He was vigilant though, as ten and then fifteen minutes passed. He sent silent prayers up to heaven that Kate could work a miracle here.


After a long time roaming the castle Kate finally saw something familiar, somehow she’d managed to get back to the great hall where she had first seen Daye with the dark stranger. Just like the last time, Kate heard Daye’s laughter – light and giddy like a child – cut through the din of the hall as clear as crystal. Kate turned and once more saw her friend, this time she was stood in the centre of a crowd of men and women, the same man she had seen sat at Daye’s side in the throne room was now stood at her side.

Kate frantically pushed through the crowds, she didn’t feel rooted to the spot as she had before, but she still felt something holding her back. This same ‘something’ seemed to be placing obstacles in her path, by the time Kate had pushed her way through one crowd Daye had moved further across the room. Kate felt a thousand pairs of eyes upon her, like they all knew she wasn’t part of this dream world.

As Kate continued to fight her way across the crowd, one of the women standing towards the side stepped into her path, blocking her progress. The woman was dressed in a flowing gown of dark blue. She bore a marked resemblance to Kate's friends, with the same fall of red hair and similar features. The woman was staring coolly at Kate, disapproval mixing with regret in her gaze. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "You do not belong in this place."

Kate looked frantically towards Daye, who had almost disappeared from her view. “You can’t have her” said Kate firmly, trying to keep the desperation from her voice. “You have to let her go, let her come back with me… don’t you understand? You’re killing her, she can’t live here with you.”

The woman turned her head to watch Daye. She looked sad, lost. "But we have waited for her," she said, turning back to Kate. "She is the only one who can set us free. She is the only one that can protect the soul. How can we let her go? How can I? She is my little one, and she is hurt. There is pain in her. I don't want to send her back to that."

*What’s ‘the soul’?* thought Kate in surprise. She looked at the woman in front of her, she was so sad and obviously in pain, but she couldn’t think of that now, time was slipping away if she didn’t get to Daye soon she might not have another chance. “She cannot set you free while you hold her in this world, and she will die if you don’t let her go. Please, there are people who love her in the other realm; they will look after her. And Daye is strong, she can protect herself.” Kate looked anxiously around the room, Daye was almost gone from this room, Kate could only see the briefest flash of red in the crowd of revellers, she turned her attention back to the woman who bared her way.

“Please, if you care about her, you have to let me take her back with me.”

The woman seemed to be fighting with herself. She struggled for a few precious minutes, Kate all too aware of the passing time. Finally, she nodded sadly. "Very well," she said. "You are right. We have so long been here that we have lost our way. No more. I shall allow you to try and lead her back. The choice, though, is ultimately my daughter's."

The woman touched Kate lightly on the arm and the room seemed to spin wildly. Without seeming to move, Kate suddenly stood in front of Daye and the handsome man gripping her possessively about the waist.

Kate felt dizzy as the room bent in and out of focus like a lens. She knew time was short, she could feel herself being pulled back. *No* thought Kate wildly, *not yet, not when I’m so close…* As Kate stood in the hallway, it began to change, one minute it was brightly lit, filled with party goers and music, the next it was dark, cold and empty - laying in ruins with creepers entwined along the walls. Kate knew that she was being torn apart between this façade dream world and reality.

Kate spun around and again was surrounded by music and laughter, she grabbed a hold of Daye’s arm, holding on tightly, “Daye… it’s me Kate… you have to listen to me… “

Daye looked at Kate, her joyful expression becoming puzzled. "Kate?" she quickly looked around her. "What are you doing here? Is there something wrong? Some sort of earth shattering crisis?" Daye laughed lightly and the man beside her joined in.

Kate frowned, the man beside Daye gave her a cool glance or superiority. Kate squeezed Daye’s arm tighter, afraid to let go. “Daye, this is all a dream, it isn’t real! You’ve got to wake up!”

Daye seemed to stumble suddenly, watching Kate in earnest. *Wait* she thought. *This doesn't make any sense.* She looked at Ryan standing so close to her, his arm tight about her waist. He seemed so real, but his clothes were so strange. And she could see her mother watching from a few feet away. Her mother? Hadn't she died, somewhere, long ago. This was impossible. Daye knew who she was. Where she was. Didn't she? "Kate," Daye's voice was suddenly very small. "What's going on here? Where am I?"

“It’s like I told you,” Kate was growing tired she could feel herself slipping away again. “This is a dream, do you remember the legends about this place? The witches who trapped an evil being that would seek to control people through their dreams?”

Daye nodded slowly. It was coming back to her. She had come to this castle with... "Oh, Drew!" Daye pulled suddenly away from Ryan's embrace. He looked perplexed and hurt. "I don't know how this happened. None of this is real, is it?"

“Drew is waiting for you, he’s scared and worried, he wants you back, will you come back? With me?” Kate held out her hand towards Daye.

Daye took Kate's hand. She looked around the room, her eyes filling with tears when she locked gazes with her mother. The older woman nodded. Daye turned back to Kate. "Let's go," she said. "There are things I need to do."

As their hands touched a rushing white light enveloped them both, their eyes met in understanding as they rushed through the light – almost as though they were flying. Moments passed and then they were back in the bedroom.

Kate sat up straight away, she felt that too much time had passed, her heart was pounding mercilessly and burning, burning like fire. When she turned back to look at Daye she saw Drew already was cradling her in his arms. Daye looked very tired and weak, still she managed to release herself from Drew’s embrace. She turned to Kate,

“We have work to do…”

Knight in Shining ... Bathrobe

Heather's picture

04:25am, 20th March, 2005

Daye approached the grove with an eerie feeling of deja vu. They had been in the exact same position not long ago, rushing to save Kate from a fate worse than death. This time, they had even less of an idea of what to expect, and the forest was dark as Hades.

Daye was not far from Galen and Victor as they strode purposefully into uncertain danger. She turned to look at Victor, her eyes barely adjusted to the darkness. There wasn't even any moonlight out here.

"Do you want me to make some light?" she whispered.

Victor pitched his voice under the drums, "Wait for it...I can see fine but that won't help you much. They think I'm out of the picture, so it won't do to have me come strolling in with the cavalry. Let me circle around. Say, two minutes?"

Daye nodded. "Agent Galen, you'd best stick by me. The "cavalry" does need to be able to see," she advised, holding off until Victor could make his way around the grove.

Galen drew his pistol and flipped the safety off as Victor started to circle around. "If it's possible, I suggest you try to make it look like an explosion in the centre. With luck, the distraction will provide an edge."

Victor darted off into the shadows in near silence although the pounding rhythm of the drums made good cover noise. He was rounding the grove where the altar had stood before when he caught sight of Tash. He paused, wondering if the dancing women in the throes of religious ecstasy were able to see in the pitch darkness. One of them could he was sure...The old woman who was standing in front of Tash.

For just a moment, Tash felt the pressure on her mind ease. A split second in which Ohenewaa seemed distracted, releasing her piercing stare for a fraction of an instant.

It was enough. Tash felt a familiar presence. Victor. Her heart leaped in something other than terror for the first time tonight. *I do have a knight in shining armour.*

Then that steely gaze captured hers once more and Marali settled itself, tightening its coils some more. *Please hurry, Victor, it's going to start in a few minutes...* Tash could barely form the thought before her mind once more was frozen in a battle of wills with the witch in front of her.

Daye waited the requisite two minutes and then began the spell. It was a complicated manoeuvre and took a few minutes to get right. She brought together some ingredients and the proper words, creating a brilliant, explosive flash of light and sound at the centre of the dancing women. When the brilliance faded it left behind a faint glow, just bright enough for Galen and her to see by. The battle should be on in earnest now that she had alerted the women to their presence.

The brilliant flash behind the old woman silhouetted Tash, the snake and her. Victor charged forward with a feral growl in his throat. He plunged his hand into her chest and reached for her soul ... and touched nothing.

The woman smiled evilly at Victor, "No, demon, my soul is not there. I traded it to the gods long ago."

Victor looked puzzled and felt the power flow into her as she raised her hands to strike him. He had seconds to respond. If he couldn’t save himself, he could at least save Tash. He reached back and grabbed the snake's head and twisted it hard. Bone and muscle wrenched and the reptile relaxed somewhat.

"No!" Ohenewaa screamed as Marali - her companion for 593 years - transmitted its pain to Ohenewaa. The old woman's eyes blazed in fury. With her waning strength she mentally commanded her damaged companion to begin.

"You are too late," she hissed at the demon. "She's mine..."

Marali's eyes began to glow. Tash stared at them in renewed horror. Hadn't Victor just killed this damn snake? She couldn't stop herself from staring into those eerie orbs, even when she felt the strength ebb from her body. The feeling was like being caught in the tide. It was tugging at her, drawing her out of herself and into Marali’s shining eyes. The snake’s head was twisted at an impossible angle, but still its body was twined firmly around hers.

“Victor,” she managed to gasp, “Its eyes…”

Daye watched Victor charge into the clearing and attack the old woman standing before Tash. He turned to the snake that was wrapped around his lover moments later, and Daye shuddered as he took hold of its head in his hand. Daye really hated snakes.

Since Victor appeared to have his part firmly in hand, Daye turned her attention back to the other witches in the clearing. They still seemed oblivious to the intrusion, but Daye imagined that luck wouldn’t hold for long. Taking advantage of the element of surprise, she lifted her staff high, speaking the magic words, and suddenly a bright bolt flew from the end of the instrument, striking one of the entranced dancers. She came quickly out of the trance, howling as she fell smouldering to the ground.

Daye spared no thought for the witch she had taken out, preparing to strike again immediately. The other women had finally begun to notice them and were beginning to retaliate. The fight was on in earnest, Daye slashing out with the heavy staff as she drew together the next spell in her mind.

Galen was amazed at how deeply the witches were in trance. Not only had they not been distracted from their frenzied dance by the light, they hadn’t responded at all. He walked up behind one of the witches and struck her with the butt of his pistol hard enough to be a knockout blow. The witch began to turn towards him, and the others started retaliating.

It wasn’t the first option, but he brought the pistol around to fire once at point blank range into the witch’s heart. All it did was slow her down. When he noticed Daye’s spell working, it became clear what he had to do, and tried to hold back the advancing witches to give her enough time to work her magic.

Victor was not sure what Tash meant until he saw the glow in the reptile’s eyes. He tried to withdraw his arm from the soulless witch but she was not allowing it. Her powerful energies drained and weakened Victor. But he was not about to release the snake. Luminous energies were barely visible between the snake and Tash's eyes. Life energies that Victor could see beginning to flow.

Victor could remove Tash's soul but the necromancy of the witch would draw it through Victor into her. Victor saw no other way to end this vicious stand off... He released the snake and snatched at its head. Talons disguised as soft manicured fingers pierced the eyes and brain of the reptile. The witch reeled and Victor’s other hand came free. The two palms slammed together and flattened the snake’s skull and sent meaty, bloody chunks flying in all directions.

Tash drew a long, shuddering breath as her vitality returned to her in a rush. Her straining neck muscles abruptly had no more resistance and her head smacked against the post. Through the ringing in her ears she heard a high-pitched wail that slowly trailed off. She opened her streaming eyes to see her beloved Victor splattered with snake gore. Behind him she saw Ohenewaa. Was it her imagination, or did the woman seem older?

Tash gaped in mounting horror as Ohenewaa’s flesh shrivelled and dried on her body. A stream of darkness seemed to connect the priestess to the fallen snake. The wail emanating from the voodoo queen's mouth gradually faded. She turned burning eyes on Tash. Her withered mouth opened wordlessly and she launched herself at Tash, grasping one of Tash's hands.

Daye was in the midst of battling off some of the women, her staff flying in a wild arc, when she noticed the sudden change in her opponents. She turned towards where Galen was fighting nearby. “What gives?” she grinned wickedly. “It’s starting to look like a Depends commercial around here.”

Galen was busy having a flashback to last month’s battle while one of the witches held him, when he pulled hard and heard something snap. The witches were beginning to age visibly and quickly, either shrivelling in to withered husks or grabbing arthritic joints.

“Holy jumpin’ mother of God in a sidecar with chocolate jimmies and a lobster bib!” he yelled in reply to Daye, then added at her confused look, “You’ve never read Sam and Max, have you?”

Victor's back was to Ohenewaa as he pulled the snake from Tash's bruised body. Only as he turned did he see the desiccated hand grasp Tash's.

"Nooo!" he cried, unable to stop the contact that made Tash's eyes roll backwards in her head.

*At least I can live in you,* was the last coherent thought Tash heard before centuries of knowledge and experience flooded her brain. After what seemed like hours but had actually been mere moments, the onslaught on Tash's mind trickled to a stop. She shook off the crumbled remains of Ohenewaa and raised her head to see Victor's face contorted in panic.

"Tash! Are you okay?" Victor grabbed her shoulders but did not untie her. He was worried for his love but he was not about to release an evil priestess into the world casually. The withered remains of Ohenewaa blew around Tash's feet like scrap paper discarded in the street. Her borrowed lives were now all repaid in full. Victor stared intently into Tash's unfocused eyes looking for recognition.

Tash could do nothing for a while except stare uncomprehendingly into her lover's concerned face.

"So many of them," she whispered. "That evil bitch killed so many girls..."

Unable to move to fall into the comfort of his embrace, Tash merely leant against the post and let the tears fall. The smell of blood and death was all around her, nauseating.

Victor had to be sure. He reached a hand tenderly into her skin and brushed her soul. The voice in his mind raged as Victor clenched teeth to keep it silent. He did not need distractions. He was searching for the taint of evil. The warming of Tash's soul poured out to him. It was still pure, uncorrupted. He could feel her anguish over the memories that rolled through her mind like a tornado. Victor felt that sinking sadness at her pain, and pulled back his hand to better free her bound arms.

The voice in his mind was bouncing around like a madman. *All those lives. All those centuries, all that pain and energy! Wow, what a feast that would make! Any one of these bimbos would have kept me happy for, oh, weeks at least! And you want to cry for your girlfriend! Oh you piss me off Victor, you have become a movie of the week!*

Daye looked around the clearing, noting that all the women were defeated. There was nothing more for her and Galen to do. She saw Victor carrying Tash away from the carnage, covered in blood and bits of gooey snake. She shivered again at the thought. *If it were me, I don’t think I’d ever sleep again,* Daye thought. She decided it would be prudent to give Tash and Victor a moment, so she stayed where she was and waited.

Galen wandered off out of earshot of the others and reached for his cell phone. There was still some procedure one had to follow, so he pressed one of the buttons on speed dial. A woman answered rather groggily on the other end.

“We have a code 17 in the same place as the last ritual,” Galen said. “And yes, you have every right to tell us ‘I told you so.’”

Victor had to stop and take a deep breath. He had to submerge the voice and calm himself. Centre. Control. Soon the rants subsided and he could continue. He held Tash in one arm and carried her to a place where the grass was still soft and green.

*I was right,* Tash thought as Victor removed the last restraint. *I couldn't stand up by myself.* The muscles in her legs and arms refused to respond to any commands. She was so relieved to be alive that for once she really didn't mind having to depend on someone else.

"I'm such a big, tough, independent vampire hunter, eh?" she smiled wanly at Victor.

Even through the residue of her ordeal Tash could tell that Victor was struggling with himself. Her smile turned to anxiety, "He's giving you a tough time in there, isn't he?"

Victor smiled. "He's being a bastard." Suddenly his smile turned to concern, 'She's not doing the same thing to you is she?"

Tash opened her mouth to answer automatically that it didn't work like that with her, then she shut it again, wondering. She cast around inside herself for a few moments. She really didn't want to dig up any of Ohenewaa's memories, or the memories of any of the hundreds of girls and women that she'd slain to stay young. But Victor was right. She had to know. Was that witch going to pop into her head of her own accord?

Eventually she answered Victor, "No, I don't think so. She feels just like everyone else in there. It's like Kate's memories, and Tempest's ... and yours ..." Tash closed her eyes for a second before continuing, "But I've also got all the women she killed. There are hundreds of them. I was just a step on the path to her immortality."

Tash shivered in the dying breeze, suddenly acutely aware that she was clothed in nothing other than dried goats' blood and bits of snake meat. Cocking her head at Victor's attire, she realised she still may be the better dressed of the two, even so.

"Can we get out of here now?" she asked.

Victor looked into the fading light of Daye's spell and saw that the last of the sisters were defeated. Galen and Daye looked as if they were lost with nothing to do. Victor turned back to Tash and kissed her, "Yes. It's time to go home."

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Kaarin's picture

***17 June 2005***

Galen Eldridge was sitting down at the table in the Department of Defense building, three other people at the table with him. The only person present who was an actual member of the department was the black man sitting at the head of the table. A 68 year old CEO of a small publishing/printing company specializing in magical texts, and a young woman who worked for the Los Angelas Police Department.

“Four people were killed in an assault by vampires last night,” the defense man was saying. “Unfortunately, someone from the press found them. We’re arranging the evidence to make it look like they died in a car crash.”

“There is some good news to report,” the CEO said. “One of my contacts has produced evidence to believe that Jennifer Bells has been aiding the Order for quite some time in laundering money. Her removal could disrupt their financial network.”

Galen sighed and took a sip from the glass of water in front of him. For several weeks after Kate left, he had been a regular booze hound. It was at that time he came to accept that Kate was gone, and probably would not be coming back. Galen had not bothered showing up to work the next day, instead taking it to reflect on his life. By the end of the day, he had come to the depressing conclusion that he had one thing at present to add meaning to his life: Majestic. He had effectively recruited himself because he came to believe in the goals of the organization, the threat of the ‘other world.’

So now, the director of operations had seemed almost determined to rid himself of the loose cannon status he had so long ago been tagged with. “How much do we know about her?” Galen asked.

“I took the liberty of pulling her credit history. Criminal record is clean. We have an address.”

“Alright,” said Galen considering this for a moment. “I’ll take care of this myself.” He didn’t particularly like having to kill humans, but rationalized that this time it was unavoidable. National security.

“One other thing,” the LAPD woman said. “The Mayor has been rather vocal about the recent vampire hijackings of blood on its way to the hospital. We don’t know if they’re doing this for personal use, sales, or both.”

“Do we have any Killer of the Dead left?” When the LAPD woman nodded, he continued. “We’ll arrange for a shipment of blood in three days to be laced with this poison. That should be sufficient.”

As Galen started to stand to leave, the defense man stopped him. “Has command given any thought to our situation? We’re stretched thin enough as it is.”

“They have,” Galen replied, starting towards the door. “They say they don’t have any extra resources to send us.”

***22 June 2005
Room 312, LA Apartment Building***

Galen was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, no ID on him at all. He took a rental car acquired under a false name to the building, and took the stairs to the third floor. It was the middle of the day, so few people would be around. Tracking Ms Bells had revealed that she returned home for lunch on a regular basis.

The elevator opened, and he casually walked down the hall to her apartment. She shouldn’t be home yet, but he knocked anyway, a gloved hand around the unregistered .38 special in his coat pocket. When no answer came, Galen picked the lock and waited inside, locking the door behind him.

Silence and the dark gave the mind a chance to wander. An open window in the other room cast shadows at odd angles around the room. Clouds moved outside, obscuring parts of the sun, which in turn made the shadows change shapes. There was a sense in which the shadows almost seemed alive, and it brought to mind other times when similar scenes had played out: waiting in the dark for a target to arrive, either alone or with someone else.

The past was interrupted by the sound of heels clicking on floor, and key turning in lock. Light spilled in to the room as the door opened, and the young woman entered. She shut the door and locked it, then started for the lights and paused, as though aware someone else was present. “Who’s there?” she asked. In answer to her question came the loud report of the gun, followed by the thud of her body and the firearm on the floor.

Galen unlocked the door and walked out, shutting it again behind him. Outside of the building, he started for the rental car a block away, lighting a cigarette along the way. Some people smoked as a nervous habit, but his habit was born out of guilt, done mainly when his conscience was bothering him. He finished the first cigarette as the rental car rounded the corner, and immediately reached for a second.

ryan is ensnared

Firefly's picture

*****May 20, 2005*****

“A treat,” Mother Mariah purred, pushing the innocent girl towards the Night Walker. He couldn’t keep the pathetically grateful smile from his face as he grabbed hold of the child, drawing her around the face him. Her expression was blissfully vague. The Night Walker bent to cover her small, delicate mouth with his, drawing her essence out in a long, greedy draught. He could hear his mistress’s laughter, throaty and rich, as the sweet taste of the girl filled him. This was a child on the edge of adulthood, still unaware and all the tastier for her ignorance. This was like fresh nectar to him.

When the Night Walker was finished, he dropped the lifeless body to the floor and turned his gaze to his benefactor. She was watching him carefully, a hungry light in her eyes.

“Was that it then?” she asked, her small mouth curled up. “Just the thing to calm that beast within you? I had my children seek out precisely that.”

The Night Walker found himself drawn to this woman-child as strongly as ever. He knew now that Mariah was trapped in this dream world that seemed so very real to him. She could rarely affect people in the world outside, and it cost her a great deal to do so. She could use the bodies of willing servants, but in doing so, she used them up and she had no access to the powerful suggestions she possessed in the dream world. Therefore, Mariah rarely came into the physical world. To interact with her, Night Walker had to enter her dream, something which he found himself doing too often of late. He simply could not control the desire to be near her, it was like a restlessness within him; only in the dream did he feel at ease.

“What do you want?” he asked, unable to disguise the distress he felt. “Why do you keep drawing me here?”

“With the woman across the world, there is no need for you to be elsewhere,” she replied, gliding across the floor to where he now stood alone. She reached up to tease her fingers across his bare neck and cheek. Her eyes were still smoky with desire and Night Walker felt raging heat ignite within him. This looked like a girl, but his body recognized the woman inside her and responded accordingly. He was disgusted with the raw animal lust clouding his thoughts.

Mariah slithered closer, her body rubbing against him. Night Walker was enticed and repelled all at once. He gripped her shoulders hard, ceasing the sensual play she was inciting. “Don’t resist,” Mariah pouted prettily. She had been wearing a drab robe of grey, but as she seduced, the material turned translucent, revealing a petite, young body beneath. Night Walker felt his mouth go dry as she nestled against him. “Why do you deny me?” Mariah asked. “I can feel the need in you.”

Night Walker balked, trying to pull away from her surprisingly strong embrace. “You’re just a girl,” he replied. “What you want is not right. I can’t.”

Mariah laughed huskily, spearing him with her knowing gaze. “Is the appearance of this body so important to you,” she asked. “Well, if you are so put out by what you see…”

Suddenly Mariah’s body and face shifted. Where moments before a burgeoning girl stood, now there was a lush woman. A woman that Night Walker knew only too well. Her hair a radiant spill of red curls, and her green eyes smoldering, Mariah was the very image of Daye. She snuggled into his body once more. “Is this better?” Mariah’s childlike voice emerged from Daye’s mouth. “Do you feel more able now?”

The Night Walker slid his hands down from the tight grip on her shoulders to the opening of the translucent grey robe, shaking in his overpowering need. “You are perfect,” he said, dipping his mouth to cover hers and dragging her down to the floor beneath him. Inside his mind, he heard Mariah’s triumphant laughter echoing over and over.

Whatever happened to... ?

Heather's picture

Oillill was raging internally. How dare they do this to him!

He stood before the court of the Sidhe, trying not to clench his fists as they uttered their polite little words of thanks and then threatened him with dire consequences if he returned to the Earth realms.

“My Lords and Ladies, I understand my work there is done, but there are still some matters – loose ends – that I should tidy up. It would take but a day of Earth time…” Oillill pleaded, watching the impassive faces before him for signs of concession.

The deep, resonant voice answered him, “We know full well what your ‘loose ends’ are, Oillill. She is not your concern any longer – she should never have been. Your protest that you ‘knew’ she would be crucial to your task is nothing more than a feeble attempt at justification.”

Oillill opened his mouth to further entreat, but was silenced with a glare, “No,” the voice rumbled, “We are grateful to you for removing this threat, and you have earned your reward. But Earth is no longer a place we will permit you to visit.”

Oillill struggled with himself for a moment, then sighed. “Very well. I see I have no choice.” He bowed stiffly as he received a gesture of dismissal then turned and walked with a defeated slump from the hallway.

Once past the bounds of the court his stride lengthened somewhat. *Damn them. There are ways and means…* He turned to his left and marched purposefully towards a particular grove of elm.


7:37am, 6 June 2005

As they had off and on over the past few months, Tash’s thoughts turned to Matthias.

He’d saved her from the worst of the damage from the flying debris when the third floor had disintegrated, and carried her downstairs while shepherding the others out of danger. But then he’d simply vanished.


Nobody had seen him leave. He hadn’t spoken to anyone. One minute he’d been there in the street, and when she turned to speak to him he’d gone.

She knew the Sidhe had forcefully recalled him the last time. Had they done so again? Or did Matthias – Oillill, she reminded herself – decide that his duty was done and he didn’t need to be around these pathetic humans any more?

She knew, deep within her heart, that he wouldn’t behave like that. He’d always been there for her over the years. He had a caring streak that was atypical of his race. Must be from his mother’s side.

But at times like these, when she was feeling a little down, that nasty thought would bubble to the surface. It sat in her brain and she picked it over as it fermented.

What if Matthias simply didn’t care?

Tash sighed and tried to banish the notion. It had been coming to her more frequently of late, and harder to dispel.

She carried her empty coffee mug to the sink and rinsed it out. She could hear Victor moving about in the bedroom. She’d better pull herself together before he found her out here in tears again. She hated feeling so emotional and vulnerable, and while she welcomed his comfort and the knowledge that he truly cared how she felt, sometimes his concern only made it harder for her to snap out of her funk.

The clatter of the mug against the wall of the sink startled her into proper awareness of her surroundings. Though she tried not to dwell on it, she’d been sinking into these fugues more and more often. They’d only started recently. Maybe a couple of months. Just after her birthday.

Tash was still shying away from the implications of that when Victor emerged into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around her waist. He still looked and felt and smelled – and tasted, she giggled – completely, perfectly human. Wisewoman’s glamour was holding out wonderfully, despite the strains it had been put through.

The irony wasn’t lost on her that the two most important men in her life so far – her lover and her surrogate father – had both hidden their true selves. Though at least she’d known what Victor was from the start. Matthias would never have told her about himself if he didn’t have to.

Victor must have sensed her distraction. He pulled away and looked at her with that worried expression he’d been wearing far too regularly of late.

Tash smiled as convincingly as possible, “I’m fine, really.”

But still that unbidden thought plagued her. *Where’s Matthias? Why didn’t he say something if he had to go? Why?*


1:44pm, 6 June 2005

The pain was worse than he imagined. He’d been warned the journey would be difficult. But he’d never felt anything like this. And time was limited. He had hours at best.

The rough bark felt good under his hands as he used the old oak tree to help him stand upright. Gaia’s strength trickled into him, easing his distress to some extent. He breathed deeply, inhaling that peculiar mix of freshness and pollution that always marked city parks.

His form wavered and changed to that of Matthias as he strode from the park. First things first, then he could visit Tash.


3:20pm, 6 June 2005

Damn, he hated banks. Still, they had finally been satisfied that he’d completed a sufficient truckload of forms. It was done now. If he couldn’t return there was no point in maintaining a wealth base any more. But they had eaten into his available time. He had so much to explain, so many things he wanted – needed – to tell his beloved Tash.

He passed unseen through the hallways of 1318 Poplar Avenue. Something prickled his senses, very faintly. Even with his extreme sensitivity he could barely detect it, but there was definitely … something. He shrugged. Perhaps it was just the residue of the opening of the Nether Arch. He had other things to worry about right now. Like the fact that his hours were rapidly disappearing.

Impressive as Tash’s door was now, the lock still posed no barrier to Matthias. But this was something he’d not counted on.

She wasn’t home.

He stood forlorn in her empty flat, cursing under his breath. In his haste he’d not considered casting his senses out to detect her. He could feel it wearing off – the spell that permitted him access to Earth. Damn! The shaman had made no guarantees, but thought he’d be able to be here up to six Earth hours. Though he had been warned it could be as little as two. That damn bank…

The curse died on his breath. No point wasting precious time berating himself and cursing circumstance. He found a notepad and pen and began to write in his elegant, flowing script.

Several minutes later he placed the completed note on Tash’s coffee table, together with the documentation from the bank and a small box. As he finished lining them up neatly he heard a key turning in the lock.

Tash entered her apartment, her initial jolt at seeing someone there replaced quickly by joy when she realised who it was.

“Matthias!” She dropped her shopping bags and rushed towards him, “I thought you’d gone away again.”

Matthias grimaced, unseen by Tash as she hugged him hard. He held her close for a moment before drawing back and placing his hands on her shoulders.

“Tash, my darling, I haven’t much time. None at all, really. They won’t let me stay…” Matthias’ voice cracked, “There’s so much I still had to teach you.”

His soft Irish lilt had never sounded so good to Tash, until she took in his words. Her expression clouded. She opened her mouth to speak, but Matthias suddenly doubled over in pain.

“No!” she cried, “What’s wrong?”

Tash placed an arm around Matthias’ back, thinking she’d help him to the couch, but he shook her off.

“I’m sorry, I’ve no more time.” Matthias’ form wavered, became that of Oillill. “Goodbye, my Tash….”

Tash stared at the empty space where seconds before Matthias had stood. His goodbye echoed in her ears.

But he was gone. Vanished. And she knew that this time he wouldn’t be coming back.

With her door still standing open, shopping strewn over the floor, Tash sat on the couch and stared numbly into space. It wasn’t until she found the note on the table that the tears started to fall.

releasing the spirits

Firefly's picture

******Tuesday, 31st May 2005 – 11:43pm******

Daye sat cuddled with Drew in the quiet of the bedroom for a while, feeling weak and tired. It was amazing that she had spent days "dreaming" and could still feel so exhausted. She could see now how lost she had become, somehow tapping into the psychic energies that infused the castle and becoming caught up in the magic her family had cast so long ago. The spell had been designed to utilise the life energy of Blaise descendants, the family members renewing that spell through their deaths. It was that which had caused the sudden death of Daye's mother so many years before. If Daye had never come here with Drew, she might have faced the same fate. Her mother had been too far-gone to explain it to her before she died. Daye had learned other things while in the "dream". She couldn't be sure now what was real and what was part of the fantasy. The only thing she did know was that she had a responsibility, a duty to fulfil.

Daye moved away from Drew, starting to rise from the bed, despite his protestations. "Kate, I hate to ask you for anything else," she said, "but I have to help them. Will you help me?"

Kate had been reluctant to leave the room in case Daye should need her, despite the fact that Drew had wanted time to be alone. She couldn’t shake free from the feelings of pain and desperation that Kate had felt from Daye’s mother. When Daye turned to speak, Kate rushed to her side.

“Yes, I will, but are you up to this? It’s so soon…”

Drew stood abruptly, running his hands through his hair. "No way," his voice was filled with agitation. "You're not ready for any more of this stuff yet. You need to rest." Drew looked at Kate. "Will you please tell her?!" he demanded.

Kate bit her lip in agitation. She understood Drew’s concern but she also felt the need to end this now. The spirits of Daye’s ancestors were trapped in this castle and somehow Daye was the only one who could set them free. Kate looked at Daye, she was still very pale and weak looking, she was certain she wouldn’t have the strength to do what needed to be done on her own.

Kate shrugged her shoulders at Drew; “This is your call Daye. I’ll help as much as I can, but in the end it will be down to you.”

Daye nodded, placing a reassuring hand on Drew's arm. "I know," she said. "The spirits here have been trapped long enough. Whatever they were holding has escaped. It serves no purpose to continue their torment, and they are my family. I have to set them free." She turned to look at Drew, cupping his cheek in her hand, "I know you don't understand most of what's going on here, but this is something that must be done. It's something I think you may be able to help with as well, if you wish to."

Drew looked torn. He wanted to protect Daye, but he could see that she was seriously dedicated to freeing those spirits trapped here. As much as he didn't like it personally, Drew couldn't fault Daye for wanting to fulfil her obligation. He didn't know how he could help, but he would do anything he could. "Yes, I'll help you," he said. "But don't expect me to sit idly by if I think you're in trouble. I can't just let you get hurt."

Daye smiled. "Thank you," she said, brushing her mouth against his. She started to slowly walk out of the room, her gait unsteady. Drew was beside her, helping her along.

"We have to prepare," Daye said to Kate. "I have a lot of what we'll need in my stuff. I imagine you can take care of anything I'm missing. I think it would be safest if we formed a circle with Drew, don't you?”

Kate nodded solemnly as they made their way down into the depths of the lowest dungeons. The place where Drew had recorded the highest level of supernatural activity, it would serve as the easiest place for them to make contact with the spirits.

The dungeon was pitch black, Kate pulled an old torch from the wall and flipped out her lighter. The fire hungrily ignited, feeding off the stale century-old air. Kate led the way down the stairs holding the torch out in front to light the path ahead; Drew scooped Daye into his arms and carried her the rest of the way. Kate pulled away a few spider webs that barred their path down the ancient stairwell, as they approached the dungeon she halted, waiting for Drew and Daye to catch up.

She pushed the heavy solid-oak door back and allowed Drew to carry Daye in and set her down. They both looked up in alarm as the door swung shut with a loud ‘clunk’.

“Sorry, “ whispered Kate as she lit another torch and then placed them both in their respective holders on either side of the room. The fire illuminated enough of the room for the trio to make out the various decrepit instruments of torture scattered around the room; each covered in dust and in a dilapidated state of decay. “Welcome to the House of Fun!” said Kate half-heartedly, she clocked the almost terror stricken faces of Daye and Drew and smiled apologetically. “Bad joke, okay lets get started! If you wait over there until I set things in place, then I’ll call you in.”

Kate set up the ritual area quickly; it was almost midnight – the time when the spirits would be able to make the journey to the over plane much easier. She quickly drew a pentagram on the old stone floor tracing the pattern in salt then placed a tall black candle at each point – lighting them as she opened the circle.

Drew watched in wonder at the scene before him, still holding Daye tightly. Kate walked around the circle one way, then the other, all the while mumbling some kind of incantation and leaving a smoky trail of incense in the air. When she had done she threw the remains into a large stone bowl in the centre of the circle and turned to face them.

“Okay, everything is ready, let’s begin.”

Drew watched Kate's preparations with a sickening sense of dread. There was something decidedly unnerving about the dungeon in which they stood, something more than the obvious implements of torment that lay scattered about. It was as if you could actually feel the anger, pain, and misery that once ruled here. Drew could feel Daye shivering madly in his embrace and he hugged her closer. She was glancing uneasily about, starting as she sighted one area after another.

"Th...th...this is a bad place," her words were stuttered and her teeth were chattering. "So m...much pain h..here."

Kate took Daye’s hands as she led her towards the circle. “It’s okay we’ll be protected in the circle, ‘in perfect love and perfect trust’ remember?”

Daye nodded as Kate kissed her cheek and she entered the circle, Kate gestured for Drew to join them. She took his hands the same way as she just had with Daye, before bringing him into the circle she looked him directly in the eyes.

“There is no place for fear and doubt in the circle, banish these things from your heart and join us, with perfect love and perfect trust…”

Drew focused on Kate's eyes locked with his, letting her words wash away his doubts. He followed her into the circle and in a moment, he was connected to both women. He could feel a faint power thrumming through his body.

The three sat at equal points around the circle. Kate leaned forward and placed her hand over the pyre dish, she made a sweeping gesture and a slow stream of smoke appeared that gradually grew into strong crackling flames.

“The hour is almost upon us, it is time to begin.” She held out her hands towards Daye and Drew, together they closed the circle. “Joined here we form a link to the other side, we call upon ‘The Others’ to meet with us here, in this in-between – the plane between life and death. We call upon them, join us, now!”

Daye had felt her unease slip away when she entered the circle. Now, with her friend on one side and her lover on the other, she felt no fear as a chill breeze blew through the stone room. The flickering light from the torches on the wall suddenly disappeared, leaving the circle and island of light in a sea of blackness.

Drew peered around the room, faintly making out movement in the dark around them as the room filled with the sounds of rattling chains and clanking shackles. He felt surprisingly calm, trusting these two women, neither of whom he had known that long. He returned his focus to the circle, watching as Daye and Kate continued the ritual.

Kate broke the connection momentarily while she threw a few herbs and powders into the fire, “I invoke thee Midirr, God of the Underworld, hear us tonight!” As Kate spoke the flames suddenly grew, burning higher and turned an electric blue colour before dying down again and resuming their normal yellow appearance.

She once again joined hands with Daye and Drew, lowering her voice to a whisper. “You must speak this with me..." She smoothed out a piece of paper for them both to see, together they slowly began to chant the words.

“Hear our words, hear our cry,
Course unseen across the sky.
Spirits trapped in time and space,
Midirr free them from this place!”

They continued to repeat the chant several times, as they spoke the fury outside the circle grew more and more frenzied. The spirits in the dungeon grew more and more agitated. The wind whipped through the room and there now came a tormented sound, part moan, part scream. When Daye glanced up, she saw shadowing figures flying about the room. She focused all her energy on the circle, hopeful they could bring her ancestors peace.

With trembling hands, Daye picked up the athame that lay waiting in the centre, and used it's sharp blade to slice into her finger, bringing the deep red blood flooding to the surface. She extended her hand over the fire, allowing precious drops of her blood to fall into the fire. She called out in a strong voice above the wailing and the wind, "Blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, spirit of my spirit, I release you from your vow! By my word, let this service be at an end!"

There was a piercing howl that echoed around the room – the sounds of hundreds of voices all crying out at once. They whipped together around the room creating a swirling nexus of energy. As Daye’s blood hit the fire the centre of the circle shifted and seemed to open a portal of glowing light that sang with the voices of angels.

The spirits quickly descended into the light in a column of screaming fury and rage. As they departed the portal slowly began to shrink…

Drew gazed into the light, drawn by its purity. Kate quickly pulled him back.

“It would be better if you didn’t look” she said gently, “that place isn’t for you yet… concentrate on now, where we are, life is the greatest journey of all, theirs has come to an end, but yours has not.”

Drew looked back at Kate, a dazed expression on his face. He had known intellectually that there were things here he had not realised before. It wasn't until this moment, though, that he grasped how powerful and fundamental the things Daye and Kate were a part of were. He nodded quickly to show Kate that he was all right, and tightened his grip on Daye's hand as she began to cry softly beside him.

The light had all but disappeared as Kate rose to her feet and began clearing her things away. She poured the last remains of the fire into the light as it shrivelled and vanished into nothing leaving the room once again in complete darkness. Daye continued to cry, the blackness only fuelling the sorrow she felt. Kate re-lit the two torches and handed one to Drew as he helped Daye to stand.

“I don’t know about you two, but I’d sure like to get the hell out of this place...” she smiled slightly “It’s giving me the creeps...”

Just a Phase

Parasol's picture

***Date Fluid***

Volume all the way up. Song starts. Scratching turntable. Acoustic, then electric guitar. Keyboards. *Strings?! They put strings in there?!* Drums. Each instrument on its own, then together. Then that voice.

Ahhhh. Ohhh. Ohhh-ahhhh.

*Mmmm, that was a wicked time change.*

I am bottled
Fizzy water
And you are
Shaking me up

She hung her hand over the steering wheel by the wrist, guiding by that lightest touch her boat of a car, young Brandon Boyd’s tender baritone lapping at her from the CD.

You are a fingernail
Running down the chalkboard
I thought I’d left
In third grade…

She sang along harmony, waiting to scream a third step up when that big fat lyric backed by ragged lead guitar railed out from the speakers.

*Here it comes. Jesu…(hiccup)…these boys are barely barely.*

She could hear the complementary note in her head; just a third step up.

Who are you?
When will you
Be through?
Yeah, it’s just a phase
It will be over soon
Yeh, it’s just a

*Here it is. Here it is. Third step up, now.*

And I’m waiting
For it to be over

Nighttime wrapped around the car. The headlights made a heart shape on the pavement ahead. The sky was barely visible for the stars. Huge rocks split and tossed by the finger of…

*I wish I could say it.*

Huge rocks split and tossed by the elements lined the highway. Her hair flew out in the wind like Medusa’s, snakes of dead cells attached to dead flesh in the dead of night.

Parasol felt really alive.

England Escapades

Jadyn's picture

Wednesday, 23rd March 2005

Jade and Sorrow had been in England for almost a month... For Jade, the last four weeks were a big blur... Days and nights had blended into an endless, ongoing haze of futile searches and dead ends. They had scoured what seemed like the whole country for a possible cure to Sorrow's vampirism. Favours had been called in, deals had been made, countless amounts of money had changed hands in the form of bribes and payment. So far, they had achieved zilch.

The so-called "experts" she and Sorrow had been referred to for advice had mostly turned out to be hustlers out to make a quick buck. Those that weren't had been adamant in their claims that there was no known way of reversing a vampire's possession. Determined as Jade and Sorrow were, the whole thing begun to seem like a hopeless cause.

To make matters even worse, Jade and Sorrow continuously found themselves as targets of persecution by over-fervernt anti-vampire fanatics. Few seemed to care that the both of them were not truely demonic by nature. They were not 100 percent human and to some zealots, that was reason enough to be hunted down and staked...

At present, they were staying with one of Sorrow's friends, an elderly couple who owned a quiet, comfortable inn outside London. Mr and Mrs Wilson were only too happy to offer Jade and Sorrow a place to stay, and Sorrow had assured her that they were safe here... The Wilsons were discreet and had proven to him many times before that they could be trusted...


Slamming the heavy leather bound journal shut with a snap, Jade wearily shoved it back onto the shelf she'd taken it from. Eyeing the pile of grimy books that littered the table before her with distaste, Jade turned her back on them and glanced at the clock, noting with some surprise that it was barely 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

She'd arrived at the antique bookstore around 1, having heard that it had several volumes containing information about certain exorcism rites. However, the wizened store caretaker had not even been able to tell her which of the thousands of books were the ones relevant to her search. Jade had spent the last few hours picking out journals at random and leafing through them while the old man had fallen fast asleep behind the counter. *This is like looking for a needle in a hay stack! I'm wasting my time!"

Jade closed her eyes, rested her head on her hands and sighed. She felt drained, both physically and emotionally... Despite Sorrow's constant reassurances, there was never a moment that she felt totally safe, and visions of a crazed mob or a determined hunter planning both hers and Tristan's demise kept her awake at night. She knew Sorrow hadn't been sleeping well either, it was etched on the lines in his face and his exhaustion was beginning to show.

It wouldn't have been that bad if she had Tristan next to her but he had insisted that it'd be safer for them to keep separate rooms. Her big four-post bed was comfortable, but it seemed empty without him in it and Jade ached for him to just hold her close.

The frustration from their lack of results, coupled with the strain from this enforced distance was leaking through. In the past week, simple conversation between them had become impossible... everything inevitably led to a heated arguement. In a bid to prevent any further friction, they'd decided to split up the search for a cure separately today... After lunch, Sorrow had taken the rented car and driven to a remote part of the countryside to visit a Shamen a contact of his had told him about. He had dropped Jade off at the bookstore and promised that he'd be back in time to pick her up for dinner.

A small scuttling noise had her looking up... Straight into the beady eyes of a huge, hairy spider. "Eeeeeeeeek!" Jade shrieked, almost falling in her haste to back away from the table and its offending occupant. "Ahhhhhhh!" She screeched again when a steely pair of arms caught her around waist.

Whirling around, Jade glared up at Sorrow's smiling face as he raised an amused eyebrow at the 8-legged arachnid that scurried back into the shop's darker recesses. "Friend of yours?" He said softly, taking care to keep her arms pined to her sides so that she couldn't cause him any physical damage. When her eyes continued to shoot daggers at him, Sorrow chuckled. "Strange how my woman can kill demons without blinking an eyelid but she freaks out at a itty-bitty spider..."

"Itty-bitty?!?! That... that thing was humongous!" Jade sputtered. "And," she added huffily, "I did not freak out... It startled me... Nothi-" She cut her sentence off as what Sorrow said registered. "Your woman?"

It was then she realised what was happening. For the first time in weeks, the humour on Sorrow's face wasn't forced. And he had taken her into his arms and was now holding her tenderly, something he hadn't done at all recently.

"Aren't you?" Sorrow's lips quirked. Without waiting for a response, he lowered his head for a lingering kiss that made Jade's knees go weak.

*Please let this mean that there's been good news... We could really use it right about now.* "I've missed you... So much..." She whispered. Sorrow's emerald green eyes darkened and his grip around her tightened. "I've missed you too darling..."

"What happened with the Shamen? Was she able to help?" Jade was careful to keep her voice steady. They'd suffered so many disappointments and setbacks already, she didn't want to raise her hopes up too much.

"Yes." Sorrow nodded. Then, glancing over at the caretaker who was awake and watching them with apparent interest, he said, "I'll tell you over dinner. Mrs Wilson's expecting us."


They ate alone. Seeing that Jade and Sorrow evidently had something they needed to discuss in private, their hosts had left to have their evening meal elsewhere...

As they polished off Mrs Wilson's excellent shepard's pie, Sorrow filled Jade in on his visit to the Shamen and what he'd learnt. "I think we can trust her. This isn't a hoax... I took the liberty of checking up with my contacts at the Society. The Scrolls of Erishkigal are listed in the Society's records. The details of the Scroll's inscriptions are a little vague but the gist is that they contain certain rites of exorcism... This could be exactly what we've been looking for..."

Jade bit her lip, her brow furrowing as she deliberated over everything she'd been told. Sorrow had skimmed over what exactly the exorcism rites entailed but she'd heard enough to know that they were painful... and extremely dangerous. *Well... Beggars can't be choosers... We're not exactly spoilt for choice with alternatives here! Cures for vampirism are as rare as hen's teeth... But... God... Tris could die...*

Sorrow's eyes were shadowed. "I know darling... My only concern is the blood-draining process she described. Not many people could lose that amount of blood without bleeding to death... The Shamen said something about the use of leeches... Sorry..." He covered Jade's hands with his when she winced.

They sat in silence for a little while, lost in thought, before Sorrow spoke again. "It's the only choice we have my love... I can't go on living with myself if I don't get rid of this demon inside me... Not after everything I've done." Images of Inanna and Lucien tore at him and he fought back the overwhelming guilt. "Risky as it is, I have to give this a try..." His voice was determined.

Knowing his mind was made up, Jade simply said, "I'll go pack. We'll leave for Marsa Alam first thing tomorrow morning."

Sorrow touched her cheek tenderly. "I know people in Cairo. We'll fly there first and enlist the help of my friends in getting to Marsa Alam... Egypt's not a place where we'll want to wander around on our own..."

Jade nodded and stood up. As she made to leave the room, Sorrow's hand on her arm stopped her.

"Jade... Will you stay with me tonight?"

Mid-Season One: Jul 06, 2005 - Aug 06, 2005

Evalyn Toussaint's picture

***Thursday, 10th March, 2005...3:39pm***

Reah stood outside the bar…*Bob’s Bar was it?* She looked up at the sign above her, "Yup…Bob’s Bar!" She was barely able to suppress a shudder at the memory of the broken bottle from the night before and its contents. *You don’t pick candy bars up off the ground to eat them! Tell me WHY I picked up a broken bottle and tasted its strange looking substance!* Reah spat on the sidewalk as when the taste seemed to return to her mouth. "Never again!"

She stepped up to the wooden doors and attempted to push them open. They didn’t budge. "Not surprising…being daylight and all!" Reah jumped back down the few steps and decided to look for a back entrance, although before she took two steps the doors swung open and some unpleasant man entered the street, wondering off in the opposite direction of Reah. "What the…" She walked back up to the steps and noticed the sign on the doors just above a long handle. "Ah! ‘Pull’!"

Reah obeyed the sign and proceeded to pull the doors open.

The bar was dimly lit and Reah wrinkled her nose at the smell that soaked the place. A few patrons were situated around the room, and a wiry man that seemed to be going bald stood behind the bar, wiping down the bench. None of the people looked up from their drinks when she entered *Too busy looking in their drinks for the miraculous answers that will fix their lives!* The man behind the bar, however, looked up and watched her as soon as she entered.

After glancing casually around, Reah made her way up to the bar. "What can I get ya?" Asked the man.

Reah tilted her head and judged the man in front of her, "I’m looking for Bob."

"I’m Bob."

"You’re Bob!"

"Last time I checked!"

"Oh!" Reah sounded slightly surprised. "O…kay!"

Bob leaned forward slightly and paused in cleaning the glass, "Is there a problem?"

"What? Oh…no. I just thought you were…you know."

Bob raised an eyebrow.

"A fat man!" Reah paused for a moment while Bob continued to stare at her. "But that’s beside the point…. You serve blood to vampires!"

"Um, yeah! And?"

Reah noted to kick herself later for not planning this confrontation beyond breaking in…and considering the bar was open, even that didn’t get to go as planned! "Nothing, it’s just sick is all!" *Nice recovery Reah! Maybe next time you could stamp your foot and stick your tongue out!* She groaned, slumped onto a stool and thumped her head on the bench, "Ow!" Reah raised her head from the bench, rubbing her brow, "This is not professional!"

"It’s money! That’s all that matters!" Bob resumed cleaning the glass, "And I don’t need some teenager coming in here giving me a lesson on how to run my business!"

"Huh? I wasn’t talking about you and…I’m not a teenager! I’m twenty-one!" Reah glared at Bob, "So you can at least make yourself useful and get me a drink!"

Bob plonked the glass he’d been cleaning on the bench, "Waddya want then?"

"Ew! Not in that! God knows who or what’s used it, not to mention what’s possibly been in it!" The taste returned, she shuddered. "Besides, I wouldn’t be able to afford it if I wanted it!"

"Well then why’dya ask me to get it if ya can’t afford it?"

"Because I believe you deserve to be pissed off!"

"How about ya go get a job and come back when ya have money?"

"Well I’ve only just arrived in town! So unless you know of any jobs going…?" Reah shrugged.

Bob stared at her. Wether he was thinking or not, she couldn’t tell. It was a while before he spoke again, "There is actually some new Italian guy was in here the other day! Said something about starting a new business. I think he was lookin to find someone to hire!"

Reah stared at him blankly, "And why would you be helping me?"

A fake smile crept onto his face, "I’ll sleep better at night knowing I made a difference in someone’s life!"

"You serve blood during the night!"

"Morning, whatever!" He shrugged and paused looking at Rhea, "Look, you either want the job or you don’t!"

She judged the man in front of her again. He was wiry, fake, obviously a snitch and looking out for his own benefit, and he smelt funny! *What the hell! You’re already living in a hole and have only $34.45 in your wallet!* She sighed, "Ok! Where do I go and what’s his name?"

Bob scrawled a name, address and number on a napkin and handed it to Reah. She grabbed the napkin off him and folded it into a pocket inside her coat. "Thanks mate!" *Like I’d ever be mates with him!* She gave Bob a fake smile of her own.

She looked down to Bobs hand that was wavering palm up above the bench, She looked back at Bob with a look of concerned worry on her face. His hand began gesturing more violently. *Like I’m gonna give you money!* "Are you alright there? Your hand appears to be spasming in some sort of fit! You should see a doctor about that!" She smirked despite trying to maintain a straight face.

Bob was getting angry, "Money! You pay me! I gave you information…you give me money!"

Reah stared down at him, "No way would I give you money for something as meagre as this! Besides what money do you think I have? I’m looking for a job remember!"

Bob snatched her wrist, gripping tightly, "You’ll pay me! No one gets free information!"

Reah flicked her wrist around, gripped his fingers and pulled them back to the point of breaking in one smooth motion.
Bob went up on his tiptoes, "But then again…you’re new in town! Think of it as a complimentary gift to welcome you!"

Reah smiled and let go of her grip on Bob’s fingers, "Gee thanks! That’s so sweet of you!" She turned her back on Bob and headed towards the exit. "Oh by the way. I think you’re gonna be short now of two customers!" She grinned as she pushed the doors open and made her way back out into the afternoon.

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