Thursday, July 31, 2014

Note to Newcomers

The Nate and Seth series is a continuing story that includes challenge prompts. To read them in chronological order, click on the Nate and Seth Series page and follow the links. I hope you enjoy!

ETA: The story is now complete, so if you've been waiting for us to finish, we have.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Cotillion

I stood at the top of the stairs in a cold sweat. The rumble of genteel conversation below frightened me more than a pack of snapping dogs. Hounds I could quiet, but mine were secure behind an iron gate so as not to disturb the guests.

Brightly bedecked girls flowed down the steps, sanguine despite the cacophonous swirl, or perhaps because of it. We had been plumped, plucked and primped. Taught to dance, play, flirt, we were admonished above all to avoid scandal.

My sisters were too young to understand that this was not a party. It was a sale.

Esprit

Deft fingers turning ancient dial, quiet clicks echoed in Malcolm’s head.

“Hurry up!” Sal hissed.

“One shouldn’t rush delicate work.” The last tumbler fell into place, satisfying need for perfection.

“Cops could show at any minute.”

“Then you won’t have done your job.”

“Fucking ponce.”

Malcolm opened the safe and laconically placed stacks of bills into Sal’s shaking hands. The younger man zipped it up and turned away, anticipating dissipation.

Thin wire across delicate throat, pink bubbles erupting from surprised lips, Sal fell.

Bonds tucked into his inside jacket pocket, Malcolm stepped over the body and into a finer world.

I know what I know

First time Ciara woke up with a broken bone, Father demanded to know who had hurt his baby girl.

“Happened in the dream place, Pop-Pop.” She wouldn’t recant, even for a chocolate shake.

Sixth time, she came into the den dragging her leg. “Oakmen disturbed the King’s concert. They trampled me.”

Despair filled Father’s eyes. He already had a bed in the psych ward on standby.

That very night, They came for their Queen, and I watched my little sister disappear through the wall.

Nothing you say or give me will make me recant, but I do appreciate the bed.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Investment

“Bette earned her bonus the old fashioned way.” The girls in the typing pool giggle, having heard the rumors.

Pouty pink lips purse at my approach. They turn away, presenting a neat row of honey-blonde ponytails and tight French twists, pretending to be scandalized, wanting to peek but afraid of reprimand from the herd. Not one will look me in the eye, some instinct warning against it.

I am everything they fear, all curves and mounds encased in black, balanced comfortably in obscenely expensive shoes, and I did earn my promotion the old fashioned way. I purchased the right spell.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Last Supper

The restaurant hummed with conversation, clinking glass, the verse of a bayou anthem. Empty bottles testified to the heat of superb gumbo and need for distance from recent events.

Nate sopped up the last of the soup with earthy bread. “I don’t blame you for keeping it secret.”

“It seemed prudent. You hate witches. I can’t change what I am.”

“True. On both counts.”

“You had no problem with it when you needed my magic.”

“Not true.” He ordered whiskey. “So, this is our last drink.”

“Forever?”

He clinked my glass. “For now.”

Shots done, we went our separate ways.

______________

And so we come to end of Nate and Seth's story. This story, anyway. The boys are taking a well-earned rest. I suspect they'll come roaring back at some point, but probably not for a while. Even monster hunters need a vacation.

To all who have come on this journey with them, I thank you.

Bone Tired

By Colleen Foley

I came to with Marie kneeling over me, whispering a short verse in French, over and over again. I rolled to my side, coughing more blood, and saw Seth.

“My brother?”

“He wake soon. His mother protect him, give him a final gift. ‘Dis is over now. The blame is mine. I make it right as I can. You take him away from here. Go back to earthy things for a time. Eat, love…rest. You be needed again soon enough.”

Her touch on my face faded.

I sat in the gently falling rain and waited for Seth to wake up.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Full Circle

Like a marionette, I lurched toward Marie.

“Nothing I need from you, cher.” She waved her hand, cutting my strings. I fell, twisting in time to see Nate slam into the priest.

Screams overlaid music I knew well – a lullaby of childhood, a spell of protection. Free, my mother’s spirit tore through his, burning his essence in a final act of retribution.

Her ghost appeared, young and beautiful. “One last souvenir, bébé.” Icy kiss from insubstantial lips seared like fire. I slumped, gutter fallen, rain washed, a new mark throbbing just behind my ear.

Nate coughed blood, then was still.

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Take Down

By Colleen Foley

Laveau’s words were music to my ears. Seth reached for the jar in my hand. Almost too late, I batted it away.

“No! Help her. I’ve got this.”

For once he actually listened. As I steeled myself, one mark flared. I howled in pain, launching myself forward. She dropped her hand, her power guttering, as I plowed into his chest, driving us both to the ground.

“Thanks for playing, douche bag. Here’s your souvenir.”

Grinning down at him, I shoved the bottle into his open mouth, slamming my other hand under his chin. Teeth and glass shattered onto his tongue.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Danse Macabre

The dead child gained no entry, the only tattoo for which I’d paid finally proving its worth. Frustrated, he reached for Nate. I reached for salt, and the boy dissolved with petulant cries. Other spirits approached. I could not dispatch them all.

Marie’s child thrashed in a vulgar parody of dance, beat set by throbbing bead. Madame Laveau had been crowned Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and the queen judged her son unworthy.

I wondered if my mother, spirit loosed from glass, would find me wanting. Compelled, I lunged for the wretched jar, seeking salvation or damnation. Either would do.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Final Countdown

By Colleen Foley

Marie Laveau appeared as Seth’s magic petered out. She held a bead, large, red/black and pulsing. It shot from her hand to hit the houngan in the chest. He screamed as it rooted into him like a parasite.

“You dare take da power I give you and use for it for dis? For petty revenge? And you call me whore? I …made …you.”

Everything slowed then, like viewing interactive performance art in some bugfuck mad gallery.

She never took her eyes from her son, but she spoke only to me.

“You are both out of time. Do it now, boy.”

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Last Stand

The Houngan howled. Spirits sporting wounds that laid them low raced toward us, a gallery of suffering turned to hate and madness. Unmarred women, all Black, all in white, encircled him, suffocating my flames.

Spells pouring from inexpert lips slowed vengeful phantoms for precious seconds, but all knew I would shortly fail. Beads of sweat joined rain in an attempt to render me blind, subtle redirection from better-skilled opponent.

Ghosts reached out, desperate parasites seeking to be housed in a living body, even for a moment. A young boy won the race, touched me, cold. Magic stuttered and was still.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Calling the Tune

It’s a measure of how far gone we were that neither moving magic ink nor the dead queen of the undead elicited even a squeak from Nate. In the back of my head, that worried me. In the front, I was frantically trying to disengage before my wards returned to their maker.

Fate, a capricious bitch in the best of times, was having none of that.

Magic surged through me, words from my mother’s book coming fast from my tongue. I had always been her instrument. Fire rose around the tainted priest. He laughed, moved forward, and was held fast, burning.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Maestro

By Colleen Foley

I palmed the vial, taking care that the Houngan not see. Seth seemed a bit more stable as my marks bled…into him?

Now I needed to elicit a chain of particular responses, one instrument at a time, building, becoming a symphony, or this was all going to go to hell.

“Why drag us back here? You could have finished this at the house. I know you were there.”

He smiled indulgently.

“So that capricious whore could see the end, of course. Because she denied me.”

An outraged shriek pierced the sounds of wind and driving rain.

She was coming.

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Feedback

Everything tangled, fingers clumsy, movements sluggish, clothing cumbersome.

“Get it together,” Nate hissed.

I lurched to him. A burning sensation ran down my arm where it brushed his. He jumped back, cursing. Then he pulled his gun and shot the priest in the head.

Discordant howling filled the graveyard, spirits crying out for bodies once inhabited.

The Houngan, unharmed, touched down. “My turn now.”

I leaned against Nate, using the shock loop to break the priest's spell. I relinquished the vile vial, then blinked the rain from my eyes. Nate’s tattoo was moving, color bleeding towards me, filling old scars.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eureka

by Colleen Foley

I grinned, shaking my head as I watched him rise.

“Dude. Floating? Isn’t that kinda grandiose?”

Seth looked sharply at me as the thing chuckled softly.

“You will learn respect. Mother and son will be together again, her soul inhabiting his body. Their talents, hers tainted by what she did, his so pure, will struggle against each other. That perfect discord will create such power as you have never seen. It will be mine to control and this time I will not be stopped.”

In that instant, I understood everything.

“All this talk has become cumbersome. Give me the jar.”

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