Tuesday, December 31, 2013

No/Holding Back

Pure instinct: my hand shot to Nate’s temple. Satisfying to see his head bounce off glass. Too obstinate to be knocked out, though.

Second prong: magic. It slid over scars, filling bumps like trenches, red, then black. It craved free reign – I craved it - but distention leads to bursting, and the world didn’t deserve that. Neither did Nate.

“I want credit for you still breathing.”

His swelling eye narrowed.

“Last time someone attempted to make me a human sacrifice, it didn’t work out well. For anyone. So, go ahead, try to convince me why this time will be different.”

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Next

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Calculated Risks

by Colleen Foley

I patted Seth’s shoulder and grinned widely at him.“Sit tight, little brother.”

I kept my visit with Kaia short by necessity. She told me what I needed to know and warned me about the cold stone. Truth was, there was going to be no varnishing Seth’s ass with logic on this one.

In the car, I leaned close, and whispered, “Do me a favor, hold off on murder long enough to just listen, OK?”

With that I leaned him forward and slapped him hard on the back.

The stone popped neatly into my hand and the world erupted red.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Means to an End

My magic threatened to erupt. “Pull over.”

Nate ignored me.

“Pull over, or I fry the engine.” Energy balled between my shaking hands.

He complied. “Why not threaten to kill me?”

“Unvarnished truth? You wouldn’t care as much.”

“Look, Seth…”

“Call Kaia. There has to be another way.” I slammed the door, walked away. Magic released left a blackened crater.

“Feel better?” Nate asked when I got back in.

I opened my mouth to answer. He popped a cold stone onto my tongue. Both muscles and magic went dead.

“I’m sorry. Really.”

Unable to answer, I began devising suitable retribution.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Inhuman Sacrifice

by Colleen Foley

“Light it, little brother. We gotta go see Kaia.”

“What? Why? I thought the shackles and screaming ‘til you have cottonmouth had to wait!”

I pulled away from the house, grinning, as thick rancid smoke and liquid screams poured from the windows.

“Because, you sick little shit, she removed the infection. I don’t think the priest knows that, but I need to be sure. If he still thinks I’m infected, he still thinks he can control me. I can flatter him, get close, offer him something he really wants, and then…”

“Wait! Nate…offer him what?

“You. You and that jar.”

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Next

Homecoming



Me and Jasper come down through the mountains just after the pass opened up in the Spring. Folks in town stepped aside as we approached.  Winter in a cave don’t allow for much prettying up, and I never did get the bearskin properly tanned.

 Jasper usually stinks, but this time his stench could've knocked out a goat.  Which may explain why Ella charged me twice the usual amount for a bath and sent someone out back with Jasper. No way his hide was sullying her pretty copper tub.

“We thought you were lost to us.” Ella scrubbed my head with the medicinal soap.  Would have been wiser to shear me like a sheep, but I don’t gainsay her when she’s of a mind to groom me.

“I could blame Jasper for running after that cougar, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.”

Ella doused my head. “Never is.”

“I couldn’t resist going after an elk I spied.”

She snorted. “One of these days, your sense of adventure is going to lead you straight to the grave.”

I took her hand, placed it between my breasts. “I know, but I won’t go alone.”

She kissed me soft on the lips.

“No, you’ll go with Jasper.”

At the sound of his name, Jasper burst into the room, skidded to a halt next to the tub, and shook the water out of his long coat, soaking Ella’s dress.

“And I’ll feel better knowing the two of you are setting off for heaven together.”

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Written for Thursday Threads

ETA: And it got an honorable mention!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stoking Coals



I hate this part. The deer eyes creep me out when they move, as if it still lives, fur burning next to oak balls, bone stew, and Jeremy’s tomatoes. Smoke trails from its nostrils like steam on winter mornings. When it blinks, I yelp, same as always.

“Ritual’s started,” Tanya says. “Get the new girls.”

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Written for the 55 Word Challenge

Monday, December 09, 2013

Daily Grind

“We need a vacation.” I hacked off the grasping hand of a zombie girl.

Nate kicked her grandfather in the chest, then pulverized his head. “Ya think?”

I doused the room in kerosene. “I’m thinking Kaia, some shackles, and a thick cotton flogger…”

“Dude, no! I don’t need to hear this.” Nate tossed in a match and slammed shut the doors. “Besides, you flatter yourself if you think she’d beat you, much less for free.”

I grinned at his possessive tone. “Never said I’d be the one bound.”

Nate snorted. “Keep dreaming, Seth. First, we have a priest to kill.”

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Circle of Death

How many times must I watch her die?

I knew the answer. As long as I had to sleep, I would see my mother torn apart, first by creatures still unknown, now by my chosen brother. It would not matter that this horrid thing was in no way my actual dam. Her alto croon and rolling laugh would haunt me just the same.

There was no point to histrionics. I got up, flicked a piece of the creature’s stolen heart off my sleeve, and turned to Nate.

“If you were a bomb, you’d be ticking.”

I nodded. “So I am.”

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Dreadful Accord

by Colleen Foley

I moved closer, stepping into a rancid crosswind, so strong it threatened to rip the knife from my hand. I heard a woman’s laughter, sensual and cajoling, over the ripping sail-cloth sound.

I glanced at Seth, saw the flare as he anointed the jar. Gripping it tight to his chest, he looked at the thing in front of me. He thought to intervene, for just a second. Sadness, horror, and then pain crossed his face as he looked at me and nodded, just once. I expected him to look away. He didn’t.


I plunged the knife home and we all screamed.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday Morning

Nothing gentle about the breeze, shifting crosswinds building towards gale, then worse with the rain blowing sideways and trees groaning as they bent. Freight train sound, they say, but this was so much louder, so much larger, a howling, screaming stream of destruction.

Cajoled into the subterranean chamber, the children clutched at pets, hoping parents could intervene, intercede. We were powerless long before the power failed us.

Nails loosened, failed. Wood twisted, splintered, gave, became flying weapons. All we could do was hope to survive.

Hours later, we emerged, glad to be whole. Down the road, they weren’t so lucky.

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Note: I live not far from Washington, Illinois. And Pekin. And East Peoria. All of them suffered from tornado damage on November 16, Washington being the worst (and therefore more often mentioned in the news). Needless to say, it was a very tense day on the prairie.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Modus Operandi

Silvered young, he made less splash than dashing rakes with grandiose plans. Manners masked sardonic smiles as he looked out over the flock. Whether he thought them birds or sheep, he would not say, but neither did he hunt there.

Instead, he went for a wisp of a girl, observant, disillusioned. Powdered, jeweled, and plumped for plucking, she’d have been a beacon for the marriage-minded. She preferred to hide both her name and the money attached thereto.

“I have a laboratory,” he began, “experiments in progress. Some quite…unusual.”

She slipped her arm through his, her smile aberrant, “Take me there.”

Friday, November 08, 2013

Art Imitating Life

The carpet smelled of death and roses, carnage, carnations...and dog Рprovenance of the creature above me. Stomach empty, I could add nothing to the m̩lange.

I choked back the spell to animate the beautiful vessel, fulfill my filial vassalage. False life was not the answer.

Nate lunged, knife ready to destroy the creation of a godforsaken magician. I couldn’t protest, but part of me died – same as when I first heard her torn to pieces.

Crawling, I reached the jar, anointed it. The soul flared, wrapping tight around the seal. Falling back, blinded, I swear I heard my mother laughing.

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Next

Even Dead Witches Are Dicks

by Colleen Foley

I’d thought I had the provenance of the whole mess figured. The vodun had made it clear that Seth had to be the one to bind that soul into the jar she wanted so badly.

I’d thought he was the one with the important job, chosen for his godforsaken magic. I’d been so wrong. Now I knew the answer .

Her instructions had been given in the hope of keeping him busy enough that he wouldn’t have to watch me kill his “mother.”

“You unmitigated bitch. Thank you.

I drew my knife and moved forward, praying Seth would forgive me.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Well Laid Plans

“It’s my son’s heart…” his Lordship trailed off.

“Foxglove will ease him.”

He took the vial. “And for the other?”

“Has she bled?”

“Two weeks hence.”

“Give her this tonight. ‘Twill be efficacious.”

Coins dispersed, he withdrew.

Sean looked up the hill to the tableau of lordly wealth. “Donal won’t mount the garish cow.”

“Have faith, brother. When that poor girl goes to him, he’ll fulfill his duty.”

“How’d you figure?”

“Simple, the potion I concocted will make her look like you, and when she offers her untried cunt, he’ll be too drugged to notice the difference.”

“Wicked thing.”

“Very.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seconds

by Colleen Foley

Seth’s garish scream made me move faster . I was forced to sidestep a rapidly deconstructing Doberman as it slid past. It growled, whipping its head around to snap. It missed only because its lower jaw came completely unhinged and bounced down the stairs ahead of it. Seconds later I saw the copulating pair.

I knew instantly, which tableau had tweaked my brother. Definitely the dog. I decided not to give him grief later on.

The room and her dress were foxglove blue. Her favorite.

Seth was on the floor between her and the altar. And he wasn’t moving.

Shit!

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Next

Bye and Bye

The discarded pieces of former humans, garishly strewn, suddenly made sense. It wasn’t random carnage, but a selection process. Seamless before me stood the reconstruction of the one I’d loved best, lost first. The tableau, a perfect Victorian room, the sort we’d visited from time to time, seeking wisdom from crones and their cronies, sparked memories forgotten.

She smiled, almost right, almost real.

I looked beyond her, to where the jar rested on a shelf. The room turned the blue of foxglove poisoning – she’d taught me that – as I lunged past the simulacrum of my mother.

I fell, heart breaking.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Should Never Be

Even my messed up life hadn’t prepared me for the reanimated hound. It might be a slavering zombie, but in my head it was a dog, so I was reluctant to “kill” it.

No such reservations, the beast lunged. My shriek was unbecoming an experienced hunter. Luckily, its lack of coordination caused it to slide past me, coming apart and bumping down the stairs, howling.

I leapt over the copulating corpses and slammed my shoulder into an already splintered door.

The drab room was absolutely ordinary, save for the nearly complete gestation of a beautiful woman.

Her eyes hadn’t changed.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back in the Ring

by Colleen Foley

I heard Seth move up the stairs as I gripped the withered framework of a chair and hauled myself out of the muck. I sat astride it with my arms on the back, gasping for clean air. The same finger that had stroked my lips now began to snake across my boot, as if still searching for me. I flung it away with a kick and started up the stairs after my brother.

No matter what happened, I wouldn’t leave him alone. He was about to face his worst nightmares come true. I had to try to help.

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Next

The Hole is Greater than the Some of its Parts

The house shuddered, framework groaning from so much evil. I squelched through slicks of dismembered bodies, trying not to see the bits rolling beneath my boots, clawing for purchase in a vain attempt to re-form into coherence. Not even they wanted that, but they were too dispersed to know it.

Snaking past the half-torso of a party girl, I climbed the stairs. The priest wouldn’t roll in the muck with his handiwork. Neither would he keep his weakness close. I knew I’d found the right spot when the unhinging dog left his place astride two lovers, jaws opening in pieces.

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Next

The Greater Depression


The river snaked through fields roughed by rust-flecked plow, bits of harvest gone from gold to brown sticking up like bones of hope lost. The framework of a fecund time decayed, moonlight casting stripes of cold midnight through loosened boards.

Astride a dust-colored mare, broken like our lives, Maisie pressed against me for scant heat. Her long legs, uncovered save for muslin worn near-diaphanous, showed streaks of our passage through harder lands than these. Mute with hunger and loss, we headed for the shelter of the faltering barn, and prayed the things that hunted all would not be there, too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Missions

Majec scrubbed his hand over his scalp, missing his once-long hair. “How many are there?”

“A dozen, no more.” Wentz lit a cigarette.

“Even with a full clip, I couldn’t take out that many.”

“Since neither of us have half that, point’s moot.”

Mary Agnes pulled the pins out of her hair, long red curls tumbling down. “Unless we remove them for you.”

“Like that’s gonna happen.” Wentz blew smoke groundward.

Majec punched him on the shoulder. “What he means is that, even if trained, we couldn’t let you endanger yourselves.”

Mary Grace laughed. “You mean you won’t risk your CO’s wrath by screwing up this job.”

Majec nodded.

Mary Lucia stretched, long legs extending well beyond her black skirt. “Agnes, how many of these celebrations have you attended?”

“Four, not counting the one where we bailed at the last minute due to fire storm.”

“Grace?”

“Six that I remember. I started young. It’s a little blurry.”

Wentz frowned, confused.

“This is my second,” whispered Mary Margaret.

Lucia stroked the girl’s hair. "Listen up, new guys. I have as many as they do combined, which means we’re at two dozen, and not once have we failed our duty.” She began stripping off her habit, revealing a slinky dress underneath. “So, kindly step aside and let us seduce these jackholes standing in our way. Then we can offer ourselves up to the new god as virgin sacrifices – again – and get back to the abbey before someone wakes up another goddamned demon.”

Down, not Out

By Colleen Foley

I fired several shots, hoping the muzzle flash would help me locate the vodun. It didn’t.

Instead, I was yanked face first to the floor amongst broken curio jars and several inches of goo. My heart was on fire. I was able to gasp in one breath. Bad idea. Slop bubbled into my mouth, and a stray finger began slowly caressing my lower lip.

I had the temerity to laugh as I watched Seth move unerringly towards our inheritance, following his own magic. He didn’t know it yet, but we were both to gain something from this.

If we survived.

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Next

Darkness, Darkness

“Oh, this a grand gift.” The voice vibrated, directionless. “My seedling come to take root, and the lost son of my worst enemy, come to inherit daddy’s punishment.”

I froze, partly because Nate started shooting.

“Tsk. Such temerity, to think you can kill the one as remade you. Should be grateful, boy. I gave you something better than your fickle heart. I could take it back.”

Nate choked, fell. The sucking sound roused me.

I gave my magic free rein, intent being all. It slithered, flowed, roared as it found the wretched curio I sought. Vial in hand, I followed.

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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Crazy Train

by Colleen Foley

Nothing could have prepared me for the alabaster nightmare in that room. Every surface writhed with a coating of something viscous, translucent. And beneath, visible, blinking eyes, moving hands, the lower half of a leg. A nose and lips, perfectly formed and coated with bright pink lipstick, bubbled to the surface, gasped, and withdrew.

Then there were the jars, thousands of them. Shoved into freeform waxwork sculptures, reminiscent enough of sex and your worst dreams to make me want to scream through every pore. I grinned instead.

“Seth, they’re moving.”

“Jesus, Nate. Just find him.”

Then everything went dark.

“Welcome…”

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Next

Thursday, October 03, 2013

In Deep

My scars shone alabaster in moonlight, symbols near to glowing. Muggy night wrapped around me, mingled with the fear dripping from every pore. I could bless or curse with the best (or worst) of them, murder or save like a champ, but the thing in my pocket was so far beyond what I would do willingly it made the inside of my skin itch.

Beside me, Nate was grinning like a maniac with the knowledge that, one way or the other, his trial would soon end.

The door swung open, expectant, on a macabre waxwork.

“Seth,” Nate hissed, “they’re moving.”

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Truer Words...

by Colleen Foley

I drove to the last house on a lightless street, bathed in the bloody darkness of a yellow moon shining through thick,overgrown, trees and the visages of one abandoned house after another.

I pulled a stoppered bottle out of my pocket and handed it to Seth.

“Listen, no matter what, you get that jar. Anoint it with this. Won’t work for me and it’s important.

“Why not?”

“Because little brother, my mojo’s borrowed - almost a fallacy. Only the real deal can do this.

“Nate, what’s in…”

“It’s a human soul. As big and bad as they get.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Changing Places

“You only look calm,” Nate said, cutting the wheel sharply, skidding onto gravel. “Inside, you’re seething.”

Good to know my visage remained composed, even if it didn’t fool my brother. The first thing I’d learned about facing monsters, especially human ones, was not to show emotion.

“It bugs you that I’m the one anointed with the magical advantage for once, while you’re relegated to backup.”

He needed to believe that. I needed him to. If it’s a competition, Nate always charges ahead.

“No, not really.” He’d take my truth for fallacy.

“Okay, sure.” He laughed, pointing us confidently toward death.

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Next

This For That

by Colleen Foley

I thought about screaming, but it was over too quickly to bother. She pulled her hand back and closed it, snuffing the impossibly purple-white glow in her palm.

“I leave you a bit. You goin’ to need it.”

“Where’s the priest?” Seth demanded.

“Here. Hiding.” She pointed to my chest.

“That help you find him; end him. He disrespect me…interbreed my power with unclean things. Stain my good name. I give him something. A small jar. You bring it back here when you done with him. I give you something high caliber in return.”

Her rich, throaty chuckle faded away.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Making the Deal

“Pleasure to meet you,” Nate lied, but he had the sense to bow.

“I know why you here.” Marie Laveau appeared solid. “What you bring to trade for my favor?”

I held out a bag of herbs, potions, stones.

“Not touching you, boy. Unclean you ain’t, but tainted you is. Some things not meant to interbreed with people.”

Nate cleared his throat. “I could offer a service.”

She cackled. “Why I need skinny white boy got no magic his own?”

“We have skills,” I offered.

“I take this high caliber trinket. Then we good.” Her hand disappeared into Nate’s chest.

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Next

Graveyard Dirt

By Colleen Foley

I could feel Kaia’s gift working inside me. It was dark, but not the slick, hateful blackness of the infection. This was the sultry heat of a still August night, and it felt good.

At the graveyard, Seth followed as I walked one branching path after another.

“Nate, have you been to Marie Laveau’s grave before?”

I looked back over my shoulder and grinned.

“Nope.”

I stopped in front of a small, white mausoleum festooned with offerings one would expect to see strewn before the throne of a Queen. Kaia’s power surged through me.

“Seth, meet Marie Laveau.”

“Nate, how…?”

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cold

Brady held court, a golden prince with a scarred wooden chair for a throne. Beautiful women drew close, vying for attention, as usual.

Behind the bar, Jackson frowned, first at Brady, then at me. “That doesn’t bug you?”

“No need to be hateful for what happened.” I sipped my wine.

“I’d have beaten him to death with the nearest branch. Still could, if you want.”

“That’s sweet, in a murderous way.” I slid him a five. “But I have this covered.”

On my way out, I nodded to the women I’d hired, every last one infected with a virulent pox.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Circa 1906

McElroy watched workers shuffle into the plant, his perch high above the sticky floor. The low thrum of fans didn’t do much to deter the stench or flies. A new girl swatted at them, not yet used to the inevitable trappings of things about to die.

McElroy narrowed his eyes. She had a gloss about her, hair too shiny, shoulders square. Her shoes were all wrong.

“Fuck me, she’s a muckraker.” At his signal, Sigmund lumbered over, wiping thick hands on his leather apron.

The lady journalist would add a nice flavor to the canned pork. He’d label it “gourmet.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Balancing Act

City on the horizon, I finally spoke. “I’m concerned.”

Nate snorted.

I forged ahead. “We were almost stopped by a half-trained whelp. I’m wounded and tapped out. Against a voodoo priest, I’ll practically be impotent.”

“This is different how?”

I punched his leg. “Like it or not, we’ve been leaning on my magic since you got infected.”

Nate rolled his sleeve to reveal the tattoo I’d forced on him. “Blatantly obvious.”

“I’m not sure we can shoot – or burn – our way out of this, and I’m out of monster favors.”

He grinned. “Apparently, I’m not. So unclench. We got this.”

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Next

Somewhere after the Fall

“Nice dog.”

Barrow looked up. Dog didn’t.

“Don’t often see one that big.” Blatant greed showed despite mirrored shades.

Barrow nodded. “Had him since he were a whelp. Last litter of the damned, so I’m told.”

“You mean dam.” The stranger feigned politeness.

Barrow wasn’t much for being corrected, but she shrugged. “As you say.”

Dog pretended to sleep.

“Must be hard to feed it.” Next, he’d propose purchase or theft. They always did.

Dog opened his red eyes and stretched out. His canine grin was disarming.

The stranger’s remaining arm flailed impotently, slowed, stopped.

“Not difficult at all, really.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Burnt Offerings

We emptied cans of gas and kerosene, dousing houses threshold to patio, siphoning from cars to finish the job. Shame about the luxury SUVs. I would have fit nicely in one.

With a single match, we inverted property values of an entire neighborhood of faux mansions. It should have felt better than it did. Their lifestyle creeped me out, but they had a right to actual life. Having it taken away cavalierly grated against what remained of my morality.

“I’m going to kill that voodoo fucker.”

Nate just drove, the smell of burned meat making his lead foot even heavier.

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Next

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Primed and Ready

by Colleen Foley

Seth stared, gape-mouthed at the spot Kaia had occupied mere seconds ago.

"What the f..."

I got to my feet, hands on my knees, and grinned at him.

"Marie Laveau. Voodoo Queen of The Big Easy. We have to go to Marie Laveau."

"Nate, Marie Laveau is dead."

"Yep, they buried her in Eighteen Dickety-Two - St. Louis Cemetery #1 – and that’s where we’re going. Kaia gave me the key. It's gonna take some vibrato, little brother, but we can do this."

"I think you mean bravado."

"Shut up."

Seth sighed. "Before we go, we need to clean this mess."

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Next

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

This Just In

Nate listened, still on his knees like a supplicant. Kaia’s husky vibrato proved she had not been unmoved by their kiss. She leaned in. He leaned forward. The tableau recalled sacred contact depicted in renaissance paintings.

A string of profanity ran through my head like a news ticker. I waited for the breaking story, the story of how Nate would break, break away, break me for bringing in a force neither of us could hope to handle. I tried to bury fear when he turned to me.

Human or not, he could sense it. “Oh, this is gonna be fun.”

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Next

First Taste

by Colleen Foley

Kaia is no demon, but she bargains like one. Her kiss was grace and
chaos. It shot into every part of me like an arrow made of sound - a
sacred vibrato that would mark me as hers for all who could hear such
things.

"Its master hides with the Voodoo Queen. Go to her and you will find
him. Leave a proper offering and she will give him to you. He means
nothing to her.

She gestured carelessly at the boy.

"Worry not. There will be nothing left to bury."

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Next


(For what Kaia does with the nasty murderer, see Just Desserts

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Age of Reason

She stood by the window, honey hair turned red by the setting sun. Beautiful, sweet-natured, and endlessly curious, she offered distraction he could neither afford nor bear to quash. If she’d been a boy, he’d have taken her on as an apprentice.  She bent over one of the tables, proving irrevocably that she could never pass for male.

“This piece has a flaw.” She spoke her mind, one reason he allowed her to plague him.

He didn’t look up. “Impossible.”

“First, you’ve taught me nothing is impossible. Second, no man is perfect. Third, the pressure of the machine will turn that tiny bubble into a crack, and whoever is operating the contraption will, at the very least, suffer great injury. Unless, of course, you allow me to fix it for you.” She picked up the gear.

“Leave it alone.”

“Then promise me one thing.”

He continued to focus on the annealing process for the curved shaft. “What’s that?”

“You’ll be the one to demonstrate to his lordship your grand new invention. That way, no innocent will be harmed by your hubris.”

She spoke of his possible death with such great cheer that he finally set aside his work and examined the piece.

“Bugger. You’re right.”

She laughed. “I know.”

“I don’t suppose you’d cut your hair and bind your breasts.”

“You wouldn’t like it if I did.”

He sighed. “To hell with convention. Be my apprentice.”

She snorted. “I’ll be your assistant, and you’ll pay.”

And so he would.




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Written for Thursday Threads. Check out the other entries. They're quite good.

Cause and Effect

Standing at the door, Linda felt time slow, ensuring she bore witness to every moment:

Drake, splayed across the bed, arms at odd angles.
Drake, bathed in sweat, streaked with blood.
Drake, eyes glazed, staring heavenward.
Drake, undone by the whip and the woman riding him.

Closing her eyes, she saw it all again, a travesty caught in the amber of memory:

Drake, raging at his own nature.
Drake, mouthing promises.
Drake, on his knees, begging.
Drake, undone, first by her resistance, then the snub-nose revolver he’d insisted would keep her safe.

Funny how right he was in the end.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fools Rush In

Kaia toed the unconscious boy. “This one is mine.”

“The hell you say. We need him to find his master.” Subtlety, not Nate’s forte.

“I bring justice to slayers of the innocent. If I look closely at your life, your brother might be placing bouquets on your grave.”

Before Nate could dig himself deeper, I surged to my feet. “Take him, but we need the intel.” My legs wobbled. They both reached to steady me. Neither stepped away.

“I bargain with him.” She smiled at Nate, then sealed accord with a kiss. Hypnotic. Dangerous. Addictive.

Nate dropped to his knees.

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Next


(For what Kaia does with the nasty murderer, see Just Desserts)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Just Desserts


Kaia dragged the boy out the door and dropped him in a coppice at the end of a suburban cul de sac. His hands and feet were bound with zip strips, the modern bilbo a delightful innovation.

He’d be gibbering if she hadn’t slapped tape over his mouth. She was unwilling to suffer prosaic denials of his complicity in great acts of evil. She’d seen the rancid corpses and his dead dog, raised to feed and spread plague.  She’d noted the scrofula-ridden remnants of the ladies’ book club, now dismembered, as it was the only way to stop them moving.

He offered tears, expecting her to believe him an innocent mistakenly taken by brutal thugs. Unfortunately for him, she accepted the intrinsic violence of the hunters.

“I bring you the justice of the Erinyes. For your parents, sister, hound.”

Hours later, he continued to suffer, as was meet and good.

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Written for the Monday Mixer. Exactly 150 words, sans title. I opted to use five prompts, because I am an overachiever. Also, I really liked the words.

ETA: And lo! it won. I am so pleased!

This is a sidebar for the Nate and Seth series. Kaia is, in fact, a force of nature.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Two Out of Three

“Appreciate you coming so quickly,” I croaked.

“Don’t make predictions you might not live to keep.” Kaia flashed sharp teeth.

“Fix him. Right now.” No diplomacy from Nate.

She hissed. “I’m not your conscript, boy.”

He drew bead on her. “Got a payload says you are.”

She blew him a kiss, and his gun flew across the room. “You’re lucky I didn’t make it shoot you in the head. Now, sit down and let me work.”

Her hands were warm, cold, blazing hot. I screamed as seams closed at a creeping pace.

“Pain’s the price,” she whispered. “Second favor. Done.”

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Roll the Dice

Soaked with effluvia, I had barely enough control to nod. Nate seemed so damned proud of his accomplishment. And dismissive of the wound that had my insides bristling, tiny pinpricks catching fire. All he need do was make a single ejective move – free the knife or bury it deeper – and I’d be done. It would present a crossroads for him: save me or end the prophecy, thus saving the world from my eventual progeny. Naturally, I didn’t mention this.

“Called for help. Might heal me. Might kill me.”

“What? Who?”

Glass doors shattered, and Kaia flew in on black wings.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Retrieval

By Colleen Foley

Submissive, my happy ass. Kid had pissed me off with that, and somehow I’d been freed of both magic and hive. Go me. I’d stabbed Seth with bristling good cheer and then, knowing exactly where the brat was, pelted off to explain things to him.

One ejective shot to the temple knocked him out cold. I deposited him at Seth’s feet like a puppy returning a tossed ball.

I nodded at the slowly bleeding wound I’d inflicted and shrugged.

“Really sorry about that. What say we sell the little shit to a crossroad demon and go find Big Bad, eh?”

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Turning the Tables

Nate slipped my knife free, then sheathed it in my side.

Voice low, a distortion of intimacy, “Your new skin’s untarnished. Wanted to be first to pollute you.”

He winked, then sprinted from the room, no longer bespelled. Implausibly, the priest’s snide comment had freed Nate. As proven, he’d rather stab me than appear submissive.

Lifeblood mingling with that of the dead, I recognized his genius. Untrammeled by conscience, my magic inflamed the sigils.

A man’s scream choked off. Nate dragged him down the stairs. Fading, I saw the truth. The practitioner was Hounsi, no Voudoun priest, just half-trained boy.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Master and Servant

I wove a makeshift hobble on Nate’s legs, then moved to his wrists.

“I heard you two were… close, but didn’t expect the bondage thing. So, Nate’s your submissive? Interesting.” Either the big, bad, voodoo priest was a teenager, or he was using distortion to mask his voice.

Blood from the hive suffused the sigils I’d drawn. I pulled the threads that should lead back to their maker and end him.

“Funny how one kind of magic trammels another.” His voice was everywhere. “If you’d studied like your daddy wanted, you might have lived.”

Nate lunged. Grinning. Lost to me.

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Next

Hate Me

By Colleen Foley

Magic long spent, I butchered everything. Bastard had turned his dog, a once- proud and beautiful husky. The one thing I destroyed without joy. I felt like a self-contained distortion of reality-an implausible amalgam of strength, abandon, and blood-lust. It disgusted me even as I reveled in it.

When there was nothing left moving, I turned to Seth, grinning.

“And now brother, your turn.”

He raised his hands to cast, and I nodded assent.

“Trammel me if you have to. Then find him and kill him. Please.

I dropped my head, closed my eyes, and surrendered to my brother.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Novice Aloft

Massey held the trammel. Gunnerson slid the pin into place. Seemed implausible one tiny piece could make such a difference. The machine roared back to life, steam pouring from her. We stabilized, then lifted.

Miss Willa gazed at clouds, knowing she’d get no thanks for recognizing the problem before we fell from the sky. Folks don’t care for witches.

“Distortion’s coming.” She said it nonchalantly, but grabbed a handle.

Silver creatures swam inside the energy wave, invisible to all but me and Miss Willa. Untrained, I did what I could to help her deflect them, praying she’d keep my secret.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wrack and Ruin

The dead were too numerous to count. They wore khakis, polka-dot dresses, button-down shirts with ties askew. No wonder the street had been empty. A boy no more than fourteen, skin marbled like French cheese, lunged for me. I rebuffed him with a flick, then severed his spinal cord, so he could not rise again. Magic swelled with my anger at so many ordinary lives disrupted, now ended.

Ahead, Nate continued the carnage, long out of magic. None of the scenarios I’d invented in my head came close to his blood-drenched glee.

He turned, dripping. “And now, brother, your turn.”

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

True Colors

Numerous wards on the house triggered. We’d been expected. Nate ran into the fray, leaving a trail of gore and corpses, some still twitching. He’d always been careful, methodical, shrewd. If not for glimpses into the dark corner of his mind, I’d think his rampage meant the hive had won. But they hadn’t invented his rage, merely unleashed it.

I touched everything as I passed – blood and bone, wood and stone – tasting the magic of destruction, painting a counter-curse, the worst sort of spell. Good thing Nate was swelled with blood lust and wouldn’t see me at my most monstrous.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Knife in the Dark

By Colleen Foley

Voodoo boy had left the tools of his crafty trade all over. I had no compunction about using them. I snatched up a knife on my way through the kitchen, and drove it into the neck of the first guardian I met. My marks flared, screamed power and pain as its head imploded, then faded again.

Not the knife, then. The magic was in me. Seth had combined both malefaction and faltering wards to give me magical hand grenades. With our luck, this wouldn’t last long. In the meantime, I grinned like a mad man with no comprehension of defeat.

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Fire in the Hole

Unable to stave off the zombie hive’s attack on my wards, I wove surprises into knots, then cut the flow, leaving Nate flying solo.

The ranch reeked of power, glowed with spells. I siphoned off the malefaction of magic and bundled it with my own. I’d deciphered parts of the journal, cobbling information, incantation, and indignation into something new. The result might not be enough to defeat him, but it was nothing the crafty priest had seen when I’d invaded Nate’s head.

Now, if only we could avoid a Pyrrhic victory.

My scars blazed white-hot as Nate did the same.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Point

By Colleen Foley

Like sonar pings, I was drawn in precisely the right directions. We ended in a cul-de-sac, facing a sprawling ranch-style monstrosity. All perfectly normal, just like that farm. But I could feel it; the creeping malefaction beneath the surface. I could feel them. Us.

“Turn on your witch-crafty mojo, kid. Turn it on big. Now.”

He gave me a mildly offended sideways glance.

I pointed at my chest. “I’m too close. Your wards are being defeated.”

I cocked my shotgun and moved, voicing a last coherent thought.

“Seth. If we don’t beat this thing, you can’t let me live.”

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Born Again

My appetite’s been out of control forever. Food, drugs, sex – I craved it. The last malefaction paid for the others. Drugs defeated damage done by food binges. Looking at me, you wouldn’t have known I was hollow, empty space waiting to be filled.

He understood. “You’re a bundle of addiction, but I’ve got something better.”

“Wassat?”

“Murder.” Such evil from an angel’s mouth.

Damned if he wasn’t right. I know the crafty fucker is using me, but it gratifies in ways the drugs never did. When I figure out his endgame, Heaven’s fallen moves to the top of my list.

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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Precautions

“You should not go. Silas is not to be trusted.” Despite her assertions, Mary continued to present Malcolm with sartorial suggestions.

“I’m well aware.” He shook his head. “Not blue. Silas hates it.”

“And you, but that seems to matter not.”

“On my honor, I accepted his invitation. I will feast.”

“On your blood, so might he.” She helped him shrug into a coat of deepest green.

“I go well protected. You’ve seen to that with charms and incantations.”

“You’d be better served if you believed in the old gods.”

He draped a thick gold chain around his neck. “I’d be best served if you believed me capable of handling myself against enemies.”

“Caution is not lack of faith.”

He kissed her cheek. “I swear to be on my best behavior, and if your rotten brother does not keep true the forms of host and guest, I will slide a sword through his guts and secure the future of your yet to be conceived sons.”

“What a lovely image. Do try not to mention my name. He has not forgiven me for defecting.”

“And you have not told me why you did.”

“In good time, my lord. Go, the hour grows late.”

The retreat of hooves played a merry cadence for the ritual to ensure only one man left the dinner alive. ‘Twas unfortunate she could not specify which one, but with her most recent missive to Silas, she’d guaranteed herself a privileged place regardless of the outcome.

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Written for Thursday Threads challenge