Friday, November 30, 2012


After discovering she was pregnant, my mother hid for a time in a brothel. Looking to understand her death, I’d ended up in the same place. The madam knew nothing of magic but told me stories I needed to hear. And taught me restraint.

When Nate recovered, I’d insist he send her a thank you card, as those lessons prevented me from jabbing him with a sharp object.

I slammed on the brakes and sat, focusing on the chirp of crickets. Waiting.

“Why the fuck would I give a witch my blood?” he spat.

That stung.

“Because I’m your brother.”


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creeping Death

by Colleen Foley

Seth's spell galled me to no end. The fact that I could do nothing really pissed me off. But I felt like six layers of crap on an already ugly wall. Even Seth's touch had hurt.

“What the hell kind of magic did this?”

He glanced at me and shrugged. "Dunno, closest I can taste of it is Voodoo, but even that's not quite right.”

“OK, Emeril. So if you can't taste it, how do we figure out what it is? It's invisible, even to you.”

“For starters.... blood test.”

“Stop the car. Right now.”


Turning Point

Eyes closed, I let the rune form in my mind, flow down my arm, and slip from my fingertips onto the lid of the wooden chest. I’d tuned out the sound of traffic and the pinging of whatever ran through the pipes. Nate’s labored breath was my focus, a wheezing metronome, winding down too fast. I finished warding the box and turned to him.

“This next part is going to suck.”

“Because it hasn’t so far?” He laughed. It devolved into a coughing fit.

“Not like this.”

“At least if you kill me, the pain will stop.”

I didn’t know if that was true, but he didn’t need my opinion on the afterlife. Or un-life, in this case. Watching my brother die would be devastating. Killing him again if he rose would be worse. And harder.

“Hey, Seth? You know what you’re doing, right?”

“Magic is my thing, remember?” I couldn’t lie to him outright, but dissembling was okay. “I’ve got this.”

“I just wanted to be sure.”

I wanted that, too, but I’d never tried to remove a zombie curse before, and the source of my lore was sketchy, at best.

“Keep looking in my eyes, okay?”

He screamed as I withdrew the knife and tossed it in the box. When I closed the lid, Nate collapsed. Black goo oozed from his wound. I packed it with ritual herbs, laid him down in the circle, covered him with sigils, and settled in to wait, machete in hand.

NOTE: This is is out of the regular story time-line, taking place some time in the future.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Highway to Hell

I had the gall to believe I could trick Nate. Most spells are invisible, protection runes notwithstanding. He shouldn’t have noticed a change. It wasn’t a cure, after all, just a quick trick to slow the rate of infection.

“What did you do to me, you son of a bitch?”

Dodge. “Took control. Get over it.”

“When you touched me, you got that smile I only see when you think you’re being clever.”

“I’m fucking brilliant, what’s your point?” Honest, vain, distracting.

“You’re up to something.”

“It’s called science. Hence, our destination.” We had a lot of road to cover.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


Keys wrested from reluctant fingers, I consigned Nate to passenger. If a stasis spell occurred in the exchange, he needn’t know. It was that or listen to him pitch a fit, and we’d squabbled enough lately.

My ethics diverge from the norm. The world is not black and white, but shades of – no, not grey – yellow and green and red.

Always red.

Blood is power. I needed Nate’s…and a dark field microscope.

“University, it is.”

Engine rev muted Nate’s reaction.

I answered anyway. “To identify the illness.” And magically track its maker, but he didn’t need to know that, either.


Saturday, November 10, 2012


by Colleen Foley

Grey-green smoke wafted upwind as the crop burned.

“Smells like chamber pots in hell.” I chuckled, aimed, and fired one round at the biggest fruit still not burning. It died in a satisfying spray of tumor and tomato guts.

Seth gave me a What the shit? look and diverted me, pointing skyward. "Okay, Mr. Myopic, focus! What if it's airborne?”

I headed for the car.

“Call Jimmy from the road. We'll figure it out. C'mon, chop chop.”

“Nate, what're we doing?”

“We're gonna find whoever did this and make tomato soup out of them.”


Monday, November 05, 2012


Retrieving gloves from the car, I paused to draw protection runes. Invisible, they still crawled over my skin like ants.

When I returned, Nate was standing. Naturally. He solves problems by chambering another round – or ordering one. With no way to divert fear, he faked bravery.

“No spells,” he warned.

“This isn’t witchcraft. The flavor is wrong, corrupt.” Traumatic myopia drove me to reveal secrets I shouldn’t. “I can’t cure you.”

Red lines blossomed under his skin. “I thought tumor fruit was a myth.”

“Apparently not.”

“Then before I die, let’s torch this crop and hunt down whoever created it.”


Sunday, November 04, 2012


When they were little, he’d teased Sasha about her carrot-red hair and freckles.

Karma is such a bitch.

She leaned against the wall, auburn curls swept into knot, sweater falling over one shoulder to reveal her long neck and sinfully tempting collar bone. He wished for nothing more than to let his tongue play connect the dots with freckles he’d once maligned, while his fingers explored her fine skin.

She smiled at him as if sensing his arousal, then turned to reveal a deliciously toned ass as she stalked to the bar. Normally, he’d pursue without hesitation, but this was not his usual quarry. He took a second to think before approaching her.

It did him no good at all.

“Jason Stillwater.” Her rich voice was his undoing. “This must be kismet.”

“Welcome back, Sasha.”

“So, you remember me.”

“When we were kids…”

“…we never finished playing doctor. That’s what you mean to say, right?”

He swallowed his apology.

“No time like the present.”

She led. He followed. Mouths locked, she fumbled the door open and kicked it closed behind them.

“Now,” she said, “you’re all mine.”

For the first time in his life, Jason Stillwater was the one taken.

A bit of a change for me, topic-wise, this is an entry in Rebecca Grace Allen's Sinful Sunday challenge.

ETA: Apparently, the judge liked it! Totally shocked.

Friday, November 02, 2012


by Colleen Foley

Back on the road felt right. The farm Jimmy had sent us to looked deserted but well-kept. Perfectly normal, really. I still couldn't figure out why we were there. He'd handed us a slip of paper, told us to check out the produce, then stalked off to his library.

When Jimmy says check, we check.

Yep, row upon row of gorgeously fecund tomatoes.


Seth gagged. "Dude. That's ....”

I nodded. “ A tumor tomato.”

Lucidity slipped. I saw red. Then black. Then nothing.

"Nate? Ah, dammit!"

I regained consciousness slowly. Seth’s anxious gaze confirmed my fear. I was infected.


Thursday, November 01, 2012


When I was young, Nate protected me from others at school. He didn't know I could and would stop them. We were all damaged, so his defense was precious.

Under a blood-moon, we swore oaths of brotherhood. He meant every word – then and now – but he suffers for it.

“Seth,” he says, “you awake, lucid?”

I open my eyes, nod.

“We’re coming up on the farm. Are you with me?”

I hate that he has to ask. His mistrust grows like a tumor, but removal must wait. I tap my magic, check my gun, and follow him into the darkness.


Boiling Point

They used the water cage to keep him isolated, though it hadn’t been designed for such purpose. I’d tried to explain the flaws in their plan, but they refused to hear me. I quit soon after.

Now, I watch the flames rise, along with those who’d been blissfully unaware of David Hagen’s incendiary “gift.” That’s how he saw it, why he’d come to us for help controlling it. I’d had ideas about that, too, but they’d chosen to lock him away.

Anger increases his abilities. I probably should have mentioned that. I search my soul for remorse and find none.


Harsh words slap like hands, flat and callous, incomprehensible.

“A ritual,” he explains.

He smiles, like when we first met, just days before my life changed. He’d stuck with me, even so.

“This is a sacred place.”

I stare at wood-slat walls, decorated with leather harnesses and ancient harvest blades.

“My family farm,” he supplies, as if that might increase my appreciation.

“My life’s work, to restore it.”

I’m barely lucid, as usual. “I’m not able help you.”

“Lindsey, your body is riddled with tumors. Here, at least, your gin-soaked blood will do some good. One last sacrifice. For love.”