Read Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess Online

Authors: Morgan Blayde

Tags: #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction

Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess (6 page)

BOOK: Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess
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She looked at me, horror shining in her too-wide eyes.  Fey fear iron.  It messes up their magic and burns their flesh.  Toxic levels can kill them.  She muttered.  “I’ll be good.”

Motion at the hall entrance caught my attention.  Crusher was back, wearing a bandage around the top of his head.  His jaw was bruised and swollen.  His jaw muscles were knotted with fury.  His glare was directed at Shiva’s back.  He stomped toward her, his fists balled and ready for use.

He’s come for a rematch. 

“This won’t be pretty,” Holy said.

Stomping closer, he yelled at Shiva.  “Hey, bitch, why don’t you try hitting me when I’m looking?”  He reached out and grasped her shoulder.  She let him spin her around, and her left hand lashed out. 
Whap!
  He flew backwards, hit the floor, and skidded ten feet.  He lay unmoving as Shiva turned to face a camera.

She yelled.  “Medic!  Man down.”

Crusher didn’t appear to be conscious.  I thought his jaw might be broken this time.  I felt sure that somewhere upstairs, Teresa was bouncing up and down in joy, staring at a monitor, going, “Yes!  Yes!”

I picked up my cards and found two queens.  My poker face was on, revealing no excitement.  My inner dragon thumped his tail vigorously.

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIX

 

“A real man isn’t afraid to pimp himself out.”

 

                                                 —Caine Deathwalker

 

 

I held my cards close to my chest and stared at the player I didn’t know.  We locked eyes.  I nodded.  “I’m Caine Deathwalker.”

He/she/it nodded. “The psychic investigator. I’ve heard.”  The voice was low, gruff but the tone leaned more toward female than male. “I’m Malevolence.   That’s my stage name.”

I waited.  Staring.

She added, “You probably know me as Malia Dunn.  I was a child actor on a popular sit-com years ago.  I’m currently fronting a death metal band called Trollop.  Rooster’s my father; at least, that’s what my mother claims.  Dad and I are doing this show together so we can
bond
.”  She said the last word like it tasted spoiled.  Her gaze sharpened.  “Hey, were you really waving a gun around earlier?”

I put on a look of utter shock.  “Would I do a thing like that?”

Chomping on some sour cream and onion chips, Deedee nearly choked as I said that, spitting out some potato pieces.

By then, the nerdy repair girl from upstairs entered the ruined cafeteria with a nurse in tow that I hadn’t seen yet.  The nurse wore white and had a cute little baseball cap with a medical insignia.  She carried a blue bag with a red cross on it.  She checked Crusher’s pupils and felt for the pulse in his neck as he sprawled on the floor. 

I looked over at Shiva.  “That’s twice now.  If he starts trouble again, I want you to break one of his legs.”

Shiva smiled like someone who doesn’t mind torturing small animals.  “It will be my pleasure.”

Malevolence grinned.  “Can I help?”

Shiva nodded.  “Got a baseball bat?”

Rooster looked up from his cards.  “Remember the cameras.  Vid gets out, it’s trouble.  You don’t want to go to jail.  Again.”

I mock-coughed into my fist, “Spray paint.” 

Malevolence looked at me, understanding shining in her eyes.  “We’d only need to take out one or two cameras.”

“Are we going to play, or what?” Clifford asked.  “And for the record, I didn’t hear any of this, but I have a tire iron I’ll rent by the hour.”

Damn.  These are my kind of people.  I guess Crusher’s been giving everybody a hard time.

It came my turn.  I held the queens, discarded the rest, and drew three new cards: a seven, four, and another queen.

My inner dragon’s tail thumped heavier, rattling the terrain of my mindscape where he dwelled between changes.  I tossed out a hundred.

Rooster glared at me.  “Trying to buy the pot?  I say you’re bluffing.”

I shrugged.  “One way to find out.”  I eyed the cash in front of him.  My dragon did a quick inspection as well.  He informed me. 
Four-hundred and fifty-three dollars and seventy-five cents … plus a cap from a beer bottle.

Rooster met my bet and added another hundred. 

Clifford matched the raise and called.

My three queens took the hand.  I raked in the pot.

Rooster slammed his palms on the table.

Malevolence sighed.  “Calm down, Dad.  It’s only money.  If you run out, I’ll give you some more.  Won’t be the first time.”

Rooster’s face softened as he stared at her.  “I know I can always count on my baby girl.”

Mal reddened in the face.  “Not in public, Dad.  I got an image to maintain, you know?”

He grinned at her discomfort.  “Sorry.  I’ll try to remember.”

Crusher was up on his feet, wavering a little.  His boomy voice carried over to our table.  “What happened?”

Malevolence yelled.  “You got your ass kicked.”

The repair girl suppressed a quick smile and nodded.  “What she said.”

“It’s all coming back to me,” Crusher said.  His sweeping gaze found Shiva.  She faced him, fists on her hips.  He stormed toward her.

Clifford muttered.  “Here we go again.”

Showing he wasn’t utterly stupid, Crusher stopped just out of punching range.  His stare looked fevered.  And lustful, as it slid down her body and back up again, lingering on her tits.  “Okay, I had that coming.  Friends?”  He held out his hand.  Waiting.

She looked at his hand, then tentatively offered her own.  Like me, I knew she suspected this to be a trick.

It was.  Once he gripped her hand, he tugged her to him, catching her in his arms.  Instead of a bear hug meant to bust her ribs, he kissed her—hard.  The surprise of it kept her from struggling. 

Crusher pulled back a little.  “Come on, baby, loosen up.  You’re so stiff, it’s like kissing a statue.”

I snorted softly. 
She’s a living statue.  Earth magic.  You’re kissing a glorified rock, dude.  A rock wit hnice tits.

Shiva did relax in his hold.  I expected her to follow up with a sudden knee to the groin.   No such luck.  She seemed to be enjoying herself.

The nurse picked up her bag and walked toward the entrance.  “Well, my work here is done.”

The repair girl stood there, watching, an avid interest holding her as if she were the one being kissed.  I knew the type.  Her idea of a fun evening would involve curling up on a couch with a romance novel and a pint of ice cream.

Crusher broke the kiss, but not his hold.  “I like a girl with fire in her belly.”

And then the ghost lights were back, pulsing, whirling around Shiva and Crusher, bathing them in pulses of multi-colored light.  One of the lights,  a purple one, wobbled over and hovered above the table—possibly disturbed by the gambling—but it flew back to the rest of the spirits, rejoining their chaotic orbits.

“This is getting old,” I said.  I gathered up my winnings, preparing to leave.

Shiva stiff-armed Crusher to clear some space between them.  She turned and came back to the table where I sat.  The lights ringed her but didn’t impede her movements.  Some of the spirits still circled Crusher where he stood, a cocky smile on his face.  With the public display of affection suppressed, the lights zoomed off, losing interest in us. 

Repair girl also turned away, heading toward the cafeteria entrance. 

I pushed up from the table.  “Back in a few.”  I passed Shiva.  She started to follow.  I held up a hand to stop her.  “Better stay here.  Crusher may want to heat up those lips of yours again.”

“I was just…”

I kept going.  “Not interested.  Holy can keep me alive while you keep an eye on things here.  If anything more threatening than spooky lights shows up, call me before kicking its ass.”

Holy walked a step behind me, on my right.  She smelled of electricity the way the air does as a thunderstorm starts to build.   I figured it wouldn’t be long before static charges crackled off her skin.  We crossed the room to the hall.  I spoke over my shoulder.  “I need a few minutes with Christie.  Give us some space once we catch up.”

Geek girl moved down the hall, toward some stairs.  I called out.  “Hold up.  I want to talk to you.”

She turned and stopped like a bunny in the headlights of a speeding car, unsure which way to hop.  I was glad she hadn’t run; that gave us something to build upon.  She angled her head as I stopped a few feet away.  Once more, the light ghosted across her glasses in a way that hid her eyes.

It’s deliberate.  She tends to occupy points in space that conceal her gaze.

“You got a name?” I asked.

“Christie.”

I drew a deep breath.  The hall smelled of dust, rot, mold, and mouse droppings.  She smelled of hibiscus and rosehip shampoo, oatmeal soap, skin moisturizer, and clove oil.  The last gave me food for thought.  I eased closer, sliding my foot ahead before shifting my weight.  It was a
planting
movement used by some martial artists to adjust or change their fighting stances. 

Her breath caught.  Her head dipped as she glanced down.  Her hips angled in reflexive response.  Yeah, she had some training, and I was guessing she knew her way around a sword.  High carbon steel blades can rust, so they are routinely kept lightly oiled with clove oil.

“What’s your style,” I asked.

“Katori Shinto Ryu, sorta.”

“Sorta?”

She shrugged.  “I’ve never actually stepped foot in a dojo.  I’m self-taught.  Started off with lightsabers when I was a kid.”

I took a guess.  “You do a lot of Power Rangers cosplay?”

“Yeah, and YouTube tutorial videos are helpful too.”

I grinned at this untrained swordswoman, imagining her lithe curves in a skintight pink Power Ranger suit and a visored helmet, throwing high-energy punches and kicks around.  She probably knew just enough to be dangerous due to her unperfected style.  Novices can be deadly to real professionals, but she had me interested.  “You’ll have to show me some time, but that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.”

She lifted an eyebrow.

“I know you guys are recording in places you shouldn’t be.  I know you’ve got video of my bedroom encounter with Lillian.”

She tensed up.  “You’ll need to talk to Teresa about that.”

“Eventually.  Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not going to sue or file criminal charges.”

“Criminal charges?”  Her eyes got huge.  Her glasses slid down nose.  She used a single finger to push them back into place.  “Wait a minute now—”

“Don’t worry.  I’m not going to hold you responsible.  In fact, you have an opportunity to earn my gratitude—and a big chunk of cash.”

She glanced at the camera behind me, and lowered her voice.  “How big, and what am I supposed to do for it?”

I countered with a question of my own.  “How good are the microphones installed around this place?”

She touched a box hanging on her belt.  A green LED light came on.  “This area is now offline.  I have a remote control system override.  My privacy is important to me.”

“Then you’ll understand my desire not to have footage of me fall into the hands of the show.  If my recreational activity with Lillian were put on the internet, I’d acquire way too many stalkers.”

“Yeah, I can see where that might be embarrassing.”  Her face warmed with a blush, telling me she seen the recording in question.

“When I’m done here, I’m going to want you to erase me from the system and destroy all hardcopy—except for those you’ll make for me.”

“That could cost me my job.”

“Not if you don’t get caught. Oh, and I want a jamming box like yours.”  I could do the same thing with my Demon Wings tattoo, but flicking a switch was better than burning up magic unnecessarily.

“I’m sorry I can’t—”

“Ten thousand dollars.  And if you lose your job, I’ll get you a better one.  I have unbelievable contacts.” 
Meaning none at all. 
I smiled with deep sincerity.  “Trust me.”

Her flush deepened.  She stepped closer, peering into my eyes.  Despite her shy demeanor, there was a fierce hunger in her eyes.  “I’m going to want something else, as a bonus.”

I let the smile drop, offering her a predator’s stare—my negotiating face. 

A shudder went through her.

“What?” I asked.

“I want to scream…”

“Huh?”

“Like Lillian.  I’ve never screamed in my life—in bed, I mean.”  Her whispery voice went husky with need.  “I need you to fuck me.  Make me your slutty bitch.”  Her gaze slanted away.  “I don’t want to live my life without ever having …
that.
  I’m sorry, but it’s a deal-breaker.”

I kept my face straight while laughing on the inside.  “You’ve got me over a barrel, so fine.   Ten thousand dollars, and five hours of soul-withering passion, and you’re my agent on the inside.  Deal?”

She didn’t look me in the face, but nodded agreement.  “Deal.  For another thousand, I’ll tell you where the bodies are buried.”

I arched an eyebrow.  “You’ve got dirt on people?”

She shook her head side to side.  “Not blackmail, I’m talking about real bodies.  Teresa says we can’t alert the police to our find; they’ll come in and shut us down while they do an investigation.  Teresa says we’ll lose too much time.  She plans on alerting the authorities the day we wrap up, pretending to make the discovery then.”

Real bodies.  This could be the reason spirits are haunting this place.

“Can you take me there without Teresa figuring out what we’re doing?” I asked.

“Tonight,” she said.  “Meet me in back of the building, and don’t tell anyone else.  The fewer people that see us together, the safer I’ll be.”

“Sure.  Let’s make it midnight.”

“Why midnight?”

“Seems appropriate, somehow.”

“Okay. I’ll be the one in the black Power Ranger costume.”

BOOK: Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess
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