Authors: Morgan Blayde
Tags: #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction
Bingo! Wrestler. Called it.
Teresa said, “Hmm, that’s everyone but Clifford and Deedee. Where do you suppose they are?” She glanced over to a camera on the wall. A moment later, her cell phone chimed. She answered, listened, and cut the connection. “They’re out back, strolling along the lake.”
Somewhere around here is a monitor room where geekanoids watch our every move.
I stepped away from Lillian, drawing Holy aside so I could speak to her privately. I dropped my voice, using real whisper, not one of Rooster’s variety. “Holy, find out where all the camera feeds go to. I want to know where the control room is and how many people are in the crew.”
What they might know doesn’t matter. What they can prove is different.
Holy nodded. “On it, Boss.” She ambled toward the door.
Shiva called out. “Where are you going?”
Holy called over her shoulder. “Ladies room.”
Shiva said, “I’ll go with you.”
Rooster asked, “Why do women always have to piss together?”
“It’s a survival thing. Safety in numbers. Primitive instinct.” I turned and shot Shiva a cold glance. “Go on. I’ll probably still be alive by the time you get back.”
Holy passed Crusher.
He turned and studied her sweet ass as she left.
Shiva reached him next. She thrust her massive fist into his leering face and sent him careening in a tangent, unconscious before he hit the dusty mahogany floor.
Teresa stared up at a wall-mounted camera and said, “Tell me you got that—from multiple angles.”
Her phone chimed with a response.
Lillian eased up to me. Her hand stealthily wandered, checking out my package. Her eyes went huge. “My Gawd!”
I stared at her, mock-surprise on my face. “I know, right? And I’m not even hard yet.” Though that was changing. “Let’s go find this spirited-away vibrator of yours and see if it still works.”
She hooked her arm through mine. “Oh, yes, let’s.”
“One must always play with fire;
That’s what weapons are for.”
Lillian guided me back to the main corridor, then further, into the west wing. “This area is in a better state of repair, and there have been renovations,” she said. “I’m over here.”
Before we could get to her room, a cold chill went down my spine. I saw something hideous bearing down on me. I pulled a PX4 Storm semi-automatic into my hand from my armory in Malibu.
It was a black man—who wasn’t black. He looked like he was in his late forties. Crinkly gray hair tied into a little ponytail in back, flat lips, a pug nose, chalky skin, and black eyes; not a pink-eyed albino like Holy. I suspected he had a rare genetic disorder, low pigmentation, and an allergy to sunlight. My first clue was the fact that he reeked of sunscreen. This late into autumn, the sun was mild—for ordinary people. He wore khaki pants, a satin white cape with golden trim, and under that, a Hawaiian shirt with palm trees.
I’d summoned the gun because I hate Hawaiian shirts, and because paranoia is a survival trait.
“You there, are you with the show? When are we supposed to start filming? I’ve been stuck in this hell hole for a week now. Unlike the others, I have a restaurant to get back to.”
Heels clicked on the floor behind him. A thin woman in jeans and a teal sweatshirt caught up to him. Her voice had an edge of anger. “You sound like you don’t want to be with me.”
I raised my gun and pointed it at her face. There was no need to cock the slide. I stored my weapons in a ready-to-fire state.
Lillian went still and silent except for a quick intake of breath.
The caped man pulled out his wallet. “Here, take it all. I don’t want no trouble.”
The angry woman stared at me. “What is your problem? Do you know who I am?”
“I know what you are.” My gun never wavered. I let her see death in my eyes. “Fey.”
“Her name’s not Fey,” the man said. “It’s Deedee.”
She looked human, but I trusted my nose. It told me two things: she wasn’t human and she had Lillian’s vibrator stashed on her somewhere, probably hidden—like her true appearance—under a magical glamour.
I continued to stare. “You have three seconds to show your true form, and I’m starting my count at two.”
She weaved to the side and vanished, her fey glamour showing me an illusion of emptiness. She thought concealing herself and hiding the sound of her heels would throw me off, but I had her scent. I swept my gun, keeping it on her as she tried to run past me.
“Die then,” I said.
“No, for the love of heaven, don’t,” the man shrieked.
Deedee reappeared, hands in the air. “No, don’t shoot!”
Lillian said, “Caine, what’s got into you? Deedee’s all right. There’s nothing supernatural about her. Put the little man-toy away.”
Hmmm. Dee’s glamour is strong. The others never saw her disappear; that was for my benefit alone. The fey was capable of running simultaneous and opposing illusions. A rare feat.
I spoke to Deedee. “You don’t have to show them, but I need to see what I’m dealing with.”
A look of extreme irritation crossed her face. “Fine.” Her image wavered like a heat mirage. She gained three inches in height, but no more weight. Her clothes stayed the same. They weren’t illusion. The gaudy stacked bracelets on her left arm transformed into rings of polished willow. Her face lengthened and her shoulder-length brown hair became a silver cloud. Hazelnut eyes became yellow topaz. Her scent didn’t change much but did gain intensity; a smell of apples with a touch of clove.
A nature fairy
“Happy?” she whined.
I smiled. “Not yet. Give Lillian back her vibrator.”
Deedee huffed, holding out an empty hand. A hot pink vibrator materialized on her palm. “I was going to.”
Lillian shrilled. “My vibrator! It was you?” She picked up the vibrator with two fingers, careful about handling it, not knowing exactly where it had been.
“I just needed to borrow it for a while.” Deedee glanced at her caped crusader. “We were doing a little role-playing to spice things up. I needed a stake.”
“I’m a vampire.” The man spoke as if it should have been obvious. “Oh, wait…” He pulled something from a pocket as he twisted away from me. Twisting back, he grinned, displaying plastic vampire teeth. “There, see?”
I glared. “You’re not a Vampire.”
He stared with those buggy eyes. His voice deepened, going very melodious. “I am a vampire. Believe. Believe.”
Idiot thought he could mesmerize me. “She staked you and you’re still alive. Explain that.”
He rubbed the area over his heart. “Kinda hurt. I might have bruises. Dee really gets into her roles.”
“The danger made it so much better,” Deedee said. “Sex by the lake. Clifford could have gone up in ashes. He risked his undead life for me.”
“He’s not a freakin’ vampire.” I growled and flicked my hand as if throwing something. My gun vanished, flashing back into the cosmic ether, back to my armory.
Lillian stared. “How did you do that?”
“Hypnotism,” the man said. He eyed me. “You’re even better than me. “Was there even a gun really there?”
I smiled and lied. “Why, of course not.”
He nodded in total belief and held out a hand. “I’m Clifford Mason, owner and founder of Cliff’s Rib Shack. We’re big in Moscow.”
I ignored the offered hand; I already had two. I raised an eyebrow. “Russia?”
“Moscow, Kansas.” He pulled back his hand. “I’m hoping exposure on this show will help me go national.”
No longer smelling of fear, Deedee returned to his side and hugged him possessively. “Clifford makes the best BBQ chicken and pork you’ve ever tasted.”
Still holding the vibrator by two fingers, Lillian pushed open the door to her room. “Excuse me. I need to go sterilize this.”
Clifford cocked his head sideways, peering intently at me, his eyes naturally bulgy. “You never did tell me why you’re here.”
“I’m Caine Deathwalker, a paranormal investigator.”
Deedee gasped at my full name. I had a certain notoriety in the supernatural world. Her fear was back, a hint of cumin to spice her apple essence. “Demon!” she said.
“Demon raised,” I said. “There’s a difference.” Apparently, I wasn’t quite as well-known as I thought. “Tell you what: you keep my secrets and I’ll keep yours—though I don’t know how you’re fooling the cameras.”
“That calls for a high-level charm.” She fished a chained medallion out from under her sweatshirt. It was carved jade with some kind of Elvin inscription in really tiny letters; possibly an equivalent to the
tattoo across my shoulders. If I warmed that area, I’d vanish from perception just like Deedee had done, except my magic stopped scents as well. She was too used to fooling plain, ordinary humans.
Deedee put the charm away.
I asked her, “So, how did you get picked for the show?”
She grinned at me and her appearance went back to what everyone else saw. “I didn’t get picked. I just walked onto the set and made Teresa believe I was supposed to be here.”
I pressed my point. “But they’re trying for a celebrity version of a show. What’s your cover?”
“Oh, I have a garden show on cable TV. I teach people how to properly appreciate and worship their plants.” She whispered. “I’m a tree whisperer!”
“Why are you whispering?” I asked. “I’m not a tree.”
Clifford took her arm and guided her away. “Come along, Dee. I want to have a few words with Teresa.”
“About those floating lights?” she asked.
I called after them. “What floating lights?”
They didn’t stop, or answer. Maybe I made them nervous. I shrugged. A moment later, Lillian was back. “That was a fast boil.”
“I just went with a sanitary wipe; didn’t want you cooling your heels too long and maybe wandering off.”
She grabbed my arm and tugged me inside her room. The original decayed walls had been replaced with fresh drywall. Three walls were painted a garish pink. Behind the tufted headboard of the bed, a patch of wallpaper assaulted my eyes with its peacock feather pattern. The poufy quilt added a counterpoint of rich burgundy cherry. A cherry wood armoire had been wheeled in. There was an old-fashioned vanity with an oval mirror suspended between carved, wooden horns. And a three-tier crystal chandelier hung over the bed. Just the thing for swinging maneuvers.
A quick sweep of my eyes reassured me there were no cameras in here to catch the blow-by-blowjobs. For a TV exec, Teresa seemed to have a few boundaries.
What happens in bed should stay in bed.
A space heater produced an island of warmth as Lillian tugged me toward the bed. My foot kicked a stack of paperbacks on an area rug that looked like it might have come from a polar bear—but the scent told me it was synthetic fur.
“Just a sec.” I stopped and picked up one of the books. The back cover had a picture of Lillian Black-Rose and a blurb. I read:
She was an insatiable slut who devoured men like chocolate kisses. He was a creature of the night cursed with two sets of reproductive organs. It was a match made in hell for all who knew them…
I huffed, laughing to myself.
My kind of book.
I turned it over. The cover art showed a shirtless man with long dark hair and abstract tribal tattoos on his torso. His blue eyes smoldered with lust. Helpless in his arms, a swooning redhead in a ripped bodice waited to be ravished. The title of the book was
Lillian smiled brightly. “My new book. It’s 500,079
in Amazon’s paranormal romance listings.”
I forced a tone of sincerity. “Your folks must be so proud.”
“Mom is. Dad would be happy for me, but he was hit by a bus one night coming home from a whore house. Really, it’s what inspired me to write.”
“I bet you’re good at it, but if you draw from real life, I hope you change the names to protect the guilty.”
She leered at me, kicked off her shoes, and began to peel herself out of her dress. “Move it, boy.”
I dropped the book and shed my clothes, more than willing to help her with her research. I expected that the next book would feature a demon lord with a dragon sized cock.
Lillian’s lowered glance absorbed my raging hard-on. Her lips pursed. Her eyes gleamed with avarice. She reached out and reverently stroked my length. “This should be licensed as a deadly weapon.”
I was used to fucking supernaturals. They weren’t as breakable as ordinary humans, still, I hadn’t yet lost a sexual partner in the throes of passion. “Don’t worry, I can be gentle.”
Hand on my cock, she guided me to the bed. “Not too gentle, I hope.”
I picked her up, swiveled, and dropped her onto the bed, watching her bounce. She gave out a little girly scream. I was about to pounce when the room brightened with the appearance of multicolored balls of light. I would have called them Will-o’-the-Wisps but they were tangerine sized with no smell or
of magic. As if sex were off-limits, they formed a whirling cage around me, streaks of cyan, amber, amethyst, and rust.
My rampant cock complained.
Oh, come on! Just give me the green light already.
“Damn, not again.” Lillian pushed up on the bed and walked on hands and knees to its edge. She slid her feet to the floor and stood. Ignoring the whirling cage of lights—and me, too—she walked to the armoire and opened it. The inner door had a row of pegs. One peg supported many strands of necklaces: one of beads, others silver, others gold, even a Native American looking fetish with bear teeth. A second peg held up a silk robe of eye-searing fuchsia and midnight green fabric. She slid into the ugly robe, belted it, and walked around the ghostly disturbance to the hallway door.
“Uh, where are you going?” I asked.
She turned to look at me. “It’s no good. The Sex Police are here. Those damn lights won’t let anyone have a good time. Once I get far enough away, the lights will lose interest and leave.”
Drawing a surge of raw magic across my dyed skin, I warmed my
tattoo. A cutting, wrenching pain came, as if someone had drilled a well through my upper torso, pushing my tattered heart through my spine. The phantom sensation ghosted away. I held out my hands and watched them burst into flame—very hot dragon flame.