Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Salem. Not a nickname I cared for, but Nate had called me worse.

I opened my laptop, popped in a thumb-drive, and pulled up the scanned copy of my mother’s grimoire. The book was safely stored elsewhere, too precious to go about with a pair of reckless men intent on finding things that might kill us. Besides, that tome has a tendency to compel me to do things that would traumatize Nate. He might be an ass, but I love him.

Headlamps illuminated the road. Engine thrummed. Nate stared into the distance, pretending he didn’t know I was memorizing spells.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Target Acquired

By Colleen Foley

I’d nearly broken my thumb on Seth’s jaw and I was pissed about him using my blood again. But silently fuming wasn’t productive.

“OK Salem, help me out. There was a webpage and a loom, some ugly-ass music, and now we’re gonna kill something. What I don’t know is where that something is. Do you? ”

His grin was merciless.

“I do. I traced the IP address of the website. We’re going to a new age shop called The Brightest Lamp, in Detroit.”

Punching him again would result only in a pair of nearly broken thumbs.

I kept driving.


Friday, July 24, 2015


NOTE:  This is an outtake from Seth's time away from Nate. It contains some sexual references and takes place in a dungeon. If this is not your sort of thing, look away.

Bruised knees on cold stone, sheen of sweat – no blood, not yet –the cloying scent of ylang ylang, and taste of bitter cherry had memories combining with current sensation until I could not recall having been anywhere else but here. Here, where the sound was muted by thick walls and old spells. Here, where I would be shackled whether my wrists were free or not.

They were most certainly not.  You can say many things about Sybil and the place she runs, but she is not careless. My palms were wrapped to keep me from slicing them open with my nails. The strip of silk around and over my mouth would only tighten if I tried to work my tongue free. And the alchemy required to create my bindings was both delicate and effective.

She’d left me alone after the last session. I didn’t know how long it had been, nor when she would return. It was when, not if. She could no more resist me than I could resist coming back to this place. I like to pretend I can escape, be truly free, but it’s nigh impossible for me to find this sort of release anywhere else. For all our differences over the years, Sybil knows me – where to push, how deep to go before pulling back, when it’s safer to retreat no matter how restrained I am. The things I’ve done without control or comprehension are better left untold.

I was contemplating breaking the chains – or trying to – when the barest hint of footsteps reached me. Not Sybil, then. She always came with a hesitant determination. This was a lazy step, confident, almost bored. I felt like I should know it, should recognize the energy that heralded the arrival of my…visitor? companion? I wouldn’t know until told. It was part of the bargain, the price for solace and information. I kept my gaze on the floor.

“Did it never occur to you to get therapy?”

I closed my eyes. Why her, damn it? 

“Not just you, of course. Your brother, too. Maybe couple’s therapy, so you can work out why you have this continuous cycle of mutually inflicted damage.”

I ground my teeth against a reply. As bait went, my relationship with Nate was too easy.

“Do you want me to hurt you?”

Please.  I shook my head. She should have to work for it, just as I would.

“Such a poor liar. Except when your life depends on it, of course. This? Just a little light torture to soothe your injured spirit. Not nearly powerful enough to make you give up your truth.”

She was right, of course. But she already knew everything about me – or everything she would need to judge me. Another woman in my life who was a guaranteed ‘when, not if’, only this one would kill me eventually.

Sybil had threatened to tell me how I die. I had declined.

Kaia had simply told me she would be the one to rend my soul -  such as it is – from my body the second I step over some line only she can see. That I will do it has never been in question.

“I know you want me to pick up that whip. Nothing so light as a crop for you. No, you require real pain to open you up. This place holds so many ways to cause you reparable harm. Naturally, you gravitate to it.”

I swallowed hard. She tilted my head up and licked the desperation from the corner of my mouth.

“Ask me to hurt you,” she whispered.

The gag kept me from requesting my doom.  She removed it.

Before I could utter a spell, her mouth was on mine. There was nothing sexual about it. She simply wanted to give me time to think. I knew who she would rather be tasting, and the thought kept me from pleading for her to let loose on me. The moment I realized that, I went still and she pulled back.

“So, you have both sense and a moral code, however mutable and fluid. You may live a while yet.”

“Depends on which prophesy you believe.” My jaw ached.

“Try to use your new-found knowledge to bespell me, and all those prophecies will turn to ash.”

I had no doubt that I would follow suit. We’d burned more than one place down together. “Why are you here?”

“Curiosity, mostly.” She circled me, trailed her fingers across my shoulders, breathed in my scent.

I fought to remain still, remembering the last time she had laid hands on me. Second to last, actually, but saving my life wasn’t nearly as exciting for her as torturing me had been.

As if she could read my mind, her nails turned to talons, lightly scoring my flesh, enough for welts, not cuts.  “Your fear and desire are so sweet. You could become an addiction.”

“You’re too careful for that.” And I’m not the one you want.

She laughed. “True.”

I felt sick, thinking I’d said the second part aloud.

“You risk much, returning here when this refuge is known to so many of your enemies.”

“None more dangerous than those here who care for me.”

“Also true. Mostly.”

“Why are you here?” I asked again.

She sighed. “To free you. Exorcise your inner demons, or whatever has you trapped in your own head, and then get back out there. You don’t have much time left.”

“For what?”

Her smile was brilliant and disturbing. “You know better than to ask. You won’t even bargain with your soothsayer for that much. And yet you feel the pull.” She tugged on my chains – to check that they held, not loosen them. “I will help you forget and remember.”

She opened and closed compartments that should have been hidden from all eyes but Sybil’s – and mine. I had not always been the one kneeling. I knew the rattle of items in a particular box, the quality of near-silence when one of the finer cases was opened. Some things are delicate, made for only the most exquisite pain. My heart pounded, cock stiffening in anticipation. I never thought I wanted what would come out of that box, and I never did until it was in use; my body remembered and betrayed me every time.

She closed it with a click, leaving me to wonder if she’d taken out the object or put it away. I desperately wanted a drink – whiskey if possible, but water would do.

“Breathe, Seth.” Kaia stood behind me, not too close. “And again. You need to find your center.”

“In a goddamned labyrinth,” I muttered.

The first blow struck. I breathed through it.

“A flogger? Really?” I taunted.

The second blow made me gasp.

“I told you to mind your breathing.”

The third blow almost knocked me to the ground. I balled my fists and sank back on my haunches. I could practically hear her smile at the challenge.

The steady thunk of heavy tails, the familiar heat of the sting, the subtle scent of well-loved leather – I focused on these as she found a rhythm. As soon as I became accustomed, she changed it.  I doubt I could have swung with that power for long. But then, she’s so much more than I am.

I had forgotten my place in the world of monsters. She reminded me.

I couldn’t tell you how long it took me to fall. The cold slate floor was blessing, if not relief. She changed position but not tempo, the tresses striking true again and again until there was nothing but the rise and fall of the flogger, the rise and fall of my chest, the sound of strikes against tenderized flesh.

Eventually, I cracked, as she knew I would. She didn’t stop then, as I knew she would not.

Time lost meaning. Thoughts fled. Numb to the pain of the body, I was free to release the agony I’d held inside for so long. Sobbing, I raised my fist.

She pulled the last blow, so only a feather light touch grazed my skin.

Then my short and slender tormentor unlocked my wrists, picked me up as if I weighed no more than a child, and carried me to my own bedroom. There were more shadows than dim light, a grace note on top of the comfort of fresh linens. Kaia set me down, then crawled onto the bed to cradle my head in her lap.

My tears fell on her thigh. “I couldn’t save her. ”

She stroked my hair. “I know.”

“I couldn’t save Nate, either.”

“That’s not your job. Not for either of them.”

“But I should have…should have been able.”

She kissed my forehead, my cheek.  “No, darling. You couldn’t. Not the first time, nor the second. Even you have limits.”

She slid to the side, let me lie face down and soak the blanket with regrets. It didn’t matter that she was right and I knew it. I still felt I had failed those I loved.

Cool hands gently applied a salve, the scent as much a balm as the herbs and minor magic worked into the ointment. She offered me comfort and truth, both more difficult to take than the skilled lashing I’d endured. I shuddered as the full weight of her words and deed became clear.

She had known where to find me and what I needed to be able to hear her. If she were anyone else, I might have fallen in love on the spot. I wisely kept that thought to myself. It’s not a good idea to become enamored of a Fury. They know too much without asking. 

In other words, Nate was royally screwed. I kept that to myself, too.

“Why not the whip?” I finally asked, rolling to my side.

She lowered her head and gave me a kiss that almost convinced me to throw aside fraternal consideration and common sense. Almost.

“The first time we met, I took your scars away and gave you a souvenir. I won’t willingly shed your blood again.”

“Unless you have to,” I corrected.

Her eyes flashed indigo-black. If I’d blinked, I would have missed it.

“Don’t make me have to, Seth. Think very, very carefully about the paths you might take.” She smiled at me, appearing as close to human as she can. “Preferably before you head down them.”

“I’ll do my best.”

She kissed me, platonic this time, and nodded. “Your very best is required.”

She stood. “Are you settled? Do you need anything?”

So many things, but none I’d ask of her.

She shook her head, as if I’d listed them. “Shall I send you a midnight snack?”

We both knew she wasn’t offering food.  “Only if it’s serving itself and not Sybil. No coercion, no cost attached.”

“I’d be surprised if you were awake by the time a volunteer could be found.”

I sat up gingerly. “I’m full of surprises.”

Her laugh echoed through the stone room as she closed the door to my sanctuary.

I found a cloth to wipe my salt-stained cheeks.  Despite what she thought, I would not be waiting long at all.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Pain erupted, a porcupine kiss blossoming across my jaw. Nate’s second blow didn’t land, and it took all his skill to maintain control of the car, as energy directed at me jammed into him instead.

“What the fuck was that?” he snarled.

“Self-defense. Probably best if you don’t hit me again.”

“I had good reason.”

“So did I. To disentangle you from the spell weaving, I needed a blood connection. I know you hate it, but I’ve seen you possessed before. I would fight through seven hells to prevent that from happening again.”

Mollified, he nodded. “Let’s go kill something.”


Friday, July 10, 2015

Thick as a Brick

No sleep, fast food, and the smell of industrial cleaner Nate had employed on the previously blood-spattered dashboard had me hating the car’s interior. Classic rock tapes – the legacy of his misspent youth in constant rotation – were not helping.

“It occurs to me you’re a lot stronger now,” Nate said casually.

I twitched like a mouse mid-field with a hawk dropping fast. “Little bit, yeah.”

“Did you take my blood from the car?”


“So the smear on your fingers was from when I was out.”

I always forget how well he can punch and drive at the same time.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Same Old Song and Dance

by Colleen Foley

Coming back had been …turbulent, at best. The music had changed on the way down, from piano to something like a wheezy organ. It played the same phrase over and again, like a tape loop. There’d been a voice beneath it, shouting like a carnival hawker, and it had pissed me off.

I forgot to tell Seth about it when he mentioned that someone was trying to kill us.

“Oh goody, something new and different for us."

He hauled me off the floor, shrugging in resignation. “Don’t look now, Nate, but I’m beginning to think that’s our legacy. Let’s go.”


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tug of War

Nate arched, then slumped. I glanced at the loom – a dull outline, white background – before checking his pulse. Slow but steady, like the times he’d vegetate after a bender, eyes half-closed, mouth half-open.

“Forgive my trespass,” I murmured, squeezing one of many scrapes for the barest drop of his blood, so I could see what he had.

And hear it. Not piano, cheap organ. The spell pulled at me. I pulled back. Hard. The image faded, too late for the caster.

I snapped Nate’s tether, waking him.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Hit Between The Eyes

by Colleen Foley

I glared at Seth, then at the webpage. An image of a stone loom, glowing with blue symbols, sitting under a wooden arch was both cool and supremely disturbing. Soothing yet weird and ugly piano music began issuing from the laptop’s speakers. Seth either didn't hear or notice, but I felt it drain me like a leech, intellect and will slipping away.

"Nate, what's wrong with you?"

I figured I had half a minute before slipping into a vegetative state. I slid to my knees.

"You can't feel that? Lucky you, bro. Must be your magic. That thing's active."


Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Rout of the Season

Daniel in exquisite style –
cut coat, silk vest, breeches mama called
unseemly –
reaches out an elegant hand,
never soft,
always ready,
a blatant invitation
to dance.

Palm down, chin up –
I know what they said of me,
vowed to embrace it –
my fingers brush his
with memory and promise
as I glide,
the height of fashion,
the envy of glassy-eyed ladies,
in a decadent waltz.

Musicians tremble
as we slowly promenade
past the fine, down-slumping citizens
who failed to recognize
the cost of a social slight.

We allow the orchestra to flee,
then bar the doors
and contemplate
the remaining few.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tit for Tat

“Exquisite,” the politician had whispered, hand trailing down my sweat-slicked flank.

I’d said the same of his cocaine, ignoring his slow slide to the floor. He’d had too much – wine, powder, me. I’d dressed, stepped over his body, and left, assured the hotel cameras were disabled.

“So,” Belial asked, “which of those poisoned him?”

I smiled at the fallen angel. “Trade secrets.”

“You’ve no honor left to cloak yourself in such conceit.”

“Want me to dial up Satan? What would that cost you? Better to just give me my promised reward.”

He paled, then began my transformation into addiction-free addict.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Finding the Up Side

The novelty of being honest with my brother held. “Yes, I can read my mother’s grimoire.”

Nate swore a blue streak.

I contemplated breaking the rest of the news, but at a certain point, truth becomes a death wish. I couldn’t tell him an army of witches saw lines being drawn and decided to form up behind me – unless I wanted him to shoot me. Not even my magic can stop a bullet.

“You should be glad.”

He choked.

I turned the laptop to show him the loom symbol. “Turns out a spell to focus intent works with any technology.”


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Whip Smart

I settled on telling Nate the truth, or some stripe of it. “You recall me stepping on ley lines?”

“I was busy being possessed at the time, but yeah.”

“It strengthened my magic, a little too much. I couldn’t always control the surges.”

His look was as flat as psych ward monitors, recording but revealing nothing.

“I found a woman who knew my mother.” And twelve more. “It took a while, but I’m fine now.”

It was best he not know of the coven’s belief I was their prophesied savior.

“Did it involve deciphering your mother’s spellbook?”

He remembered. Damn.


Testing the Faith

By Colleen Foley

Belief is a strange thing. I never wanted to believe in monsters. I have always needed to believe in my brother. And now I wasn’t sure I should. I was about to find out.

Seth sat at the rickety card table in what passed for the kitchenette of our hotel room, his face bathed in light from the laptop monitor and the hotel’s horrific red and green striped neon sign, blinking just outside the window.

Between all that and his shorn head, I barely recognized him. That seemed both appropriate and horrifying.

“So Salem, about that new mojo of yours.”


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Following Orders

According to his lingering perusal, the politician liked my figure. I cast a baleful glare at the damned angel behind me. His master had slipped away, unnaturally. If you want the Number of the Beast, it’s on my phone, but you won’t like it when he answers.

The rich always have excellent drugs. I lured the politician to his room by making him think it was his idea – and that he’d get into my non-existent panties.

It took so little to help him overdose, I almost felt bad, but a job is a job, and I can’t quit this one.


A Work In Progress

[or what Nate did on his time off]

By Colleen Foley

Kaia was not sated. But for now I was sweaty, bloody, and on my knees before her.

Her chocolate silk accent washed over me like balm, soothing welts on my back and mind.

“You, Nate, are but one thread on a loom. Every thread that interweaves with yours touches your life in some way. Your brother, your uncle, friends long dead and even people and …things you have yet to meet. Some of that tale can be seen by such a one as me. The tapestry you are weaving is dark, indeed.

She gestured to the dish of food.


Square One

Nate frowned. “Does the loom symbol mean anything to you?”

I shook my head. “There’s a motel down the road. Let’s get you settled with drugs for your head. I’ll do research.”

“So, you hunt me down like a beast with a scent, and figure everything’s back to normal?”

“I thought you’d be done sulking. It’s not like I had it any easier than you on our last…adventure.”

He glared. “Fine, but you’ll tell me how you ended up with enough mojo to deflect whatever that was on the road.”

I had twenty miles to figure out a decent lie.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Work In Progress

[or what Nate did on his time off]

By Colleen Foley

Kaia was not sated. But for now I was sweaty, bloody, and on my knees before her.

Her chocolate silk accent washed over me like balm, soothing welts on my back and mind.

“You, Nate, are but one thread on a loom. Every thread that interweaves with yours touches your life in some way. Your brother, your uncle, friends long dead and even people and …things you have yet to meet. Some of that tale can be seen by such a one as me. The tapestry you are weaving is dark, indeed.

She gestured to the dish of food.


Thursday, April 02, 2015

Slow Your Roll

By Colleen Foley

The next small town boasted only six streets, but it had a garage and a diner. The mechanic checked the dents in my bumper.

“1970 Dodge Charger. Four door! They got popular again after them Vin Diesel movies come out. Now, tell yer tale. What happened?”

Seth explained, leaving out the weirdness.

“So….you Tokyo drifted into a snow bank?”

One dirty look and two hundred dollars later, we were sitting in the Deep Dish Diner.

“Listen, Nate. Right before the crash, a small patch of frost formed on the windshield…some weird symbol. Looked like cloth on a loom”.


Dark Son Rising

[or what Seth did on his time off]

She knelt, head down, pink hair falling to brush the cold stone floor. If asked, she would spin a tale about trying to help me or not understanding what the symbols woven into the fabric meant. She would beg me to destroy the loom as proof of her fealty.

I hadn’t given her leave to speak.

Herbs added to the dish sent smoke curling heavenward. She looked up, eyes widening at the scent.

“Now,” I said, “who am I?”

“First of Many,” she whispered.


“I am yours to command.”

“Not yet.”

She shook. “But soon.”

“Yes. So, please me.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Opening Gambit

Nate wrenched the door open, lunatic glint in his eye.

I held him back. “I should drive.”

“No dice.”

“Then let me clean your wound, so it doesn’t blind you.”

I knew that would do the trick. He flinched at the idea of me handling his blood. I wouldn’t keep it without asking, but he’d never trust me not to. That might have stung, once, but blood is power, especially in the hands of a witch. He’d seen my creations.

He packed a snowball, wrapped it in an old shirt – mine, of course – and climbed into the back seat, grumbling.


Stone Cold Sober

by Colleen Foley

I staggered a bit as I followed Seth to the edge of the road.

“The lunatic who did this is so gonna die.”

“Wasn’t a person, Nate. It was a thought form, a magical creation. It was never alive, really, and it’s gone now. But we have to go.”

“What? I can’t even…wait, go where? Dude, look at my car!”

“The car will start. I promise. Look, this was a dice roll. Whoever did it hoped to catch us off guard and I screwed them on it. Someone’s out for us. We have to keep moving.”

Son of a bitch.


Friday, March 06, 2015

Cold and Broken

Habit had part of my brain assessing the wreck. The rest contemplated what could fling a ton of metal around like a toy. Identification was key to survival.

So was warmth. I pulled on fur-lined gloves, a wicked indulgence, and cursed my newly shorn head.

The magic was old, powerful, laced with pain. It hadn’t been personal, though. I could sense when someone was using bits of me in spells, knowledge that had come with guaranteed damnation. But that was always a given.

Nate emerged, creaking like his car. “Whatever did this is dead.”

“Yes,” I said, “it probably is.”


What next?

by Colleen Foley

“Nate. Nate!”

I opened my eyes, caught sight of the windshield. It was shattered, the jagged edges furred with blood and snow.

“Shit. What…did we hit something?”

I tried turning the key. Nothing. Seth was already shrugging out of his seatbelt .

“No, something tried to hit us. Something not physical. And please don’t wish me into eternal damnation, but I spelled us out of its way, which is the only reason we’re not dead. Also, I’m really, really, sorry about your car. I’ll be right back.”

With that, he got out of the car and headed toward the road.


Monday, February 09, 2015

Spinning Out

The car whipped around like a baton wielded by a meth-fueled majorette. Scenery blurred into dizzying swaths of white and gray. I cast fast and dirty, knowing even if I could get the spell off, it wouldn’t be enough.

Nate screamed his rage as the wheel tore out of his hands. His head bounced off the window, but he still scrabbled to regain control.

Spitting magic, trusting words and order to ritual memory, body jumbled and tossed, my spell ended with a cry as we slammed into a snowbank.

The interior was speckled with frost and blood. Nate wasn’t moving.


Wheel of Fortune

 by Colleen Foley

Seth blinked twice and shot me a look that could’ve frosted the windows.


“I don’t know, it was weird. She was reading tarot cards. Turned over, what was it? The six of batons. Then she spouted some poetry. Insecurity brings the storm. Cry in fear…HE is awoken.”

I sighed before continuing.

“Then she screamed, said it was your father, and passed out. Took her two bloody hours to come around . I don’t know, man, but add it to the list of freaky shit we gotta deal with.”

Like we'd summoned doom, the car swerved, spun out, struck, died.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Old Wounds

Having exhausted theories on weather manipulation, we fell silent. Music crackled through old speakers, as if the scratchiness was required of these songs, digital technology be damned.

“This was old when our parents were young,” I complained.

“Yeah? When exactly was your dad young? We never did sort that out.” Nate’s anger could have blistered paint.

“I don’t know. You want to help me find him, so we can ask? Because last time, he ripped your chest open. Twice.”

“And you claimed you killed him.”

“Still harping on that? I buried his bloody corpse.”

“Death didn’t stick. Kaia confirmed it.”


Monday, January 26, 2015

Set in Stone (1)

A Katherine Kavanaugh Story

Chapter 1

Friday night, the bar was full of men in business suits pretending they wanted to hang out with each other while constantly scanning the room for a woman who might be willing to bang them then take a taxi home. As if such a creature exists outside the fantasies of twenty-something douchebags. The drinks were two for one for ladies, which explained the groups of them clustered about, fully aware of the Neanderthal urges of the suits, and generally disinclined to play, but willing to get drunk on someone else’s dime. I didn’t blame them. The deck is stacked against women, for the most part. Might as well get free drinks with your inevitable harassment.
                I wasn’t looking for the same sort of deal as the button-down types, but I can’t say my motives were any better.  See, I steal stories right out of people’s mouths, twist them around a bit, stew them in a thin plot and season with salacious details. Then I pawn them off as original works of art. No one ever calls me on it, partly because there’s fuck-all they can do, but mostly because the sorts of things you tell a strange guy in a bar aren’t the kind of tales you want to repeat in front of God and everyone. Besides, it’s almost impossible to make a living as a writer, even a good one, which I’ve never claimed to be, so we’re hardly worth suing over a few pilfered memories.
                The girl I wanted sat in the corner, nursing a mixed drink that looked more serious than fruity, not toying with her straw or eating cherries, and not accepting any drinks sent to her by various men. I’m sure they were all disappointed, since this girl reeked of money without trying. Her chocolate brown sweater revealed nothing, if you didn’t recognize cashmere or the silk collar of the shirt barely peeking out. Her pearls were real and perfectly matched, but not overwhelming in size or volume. The slacks she wore were off the rack, but the shoes might as well have been dipped in gold. That didn’t stop her from wrapping her feet in the rung of the bar stool. She couldn’t quite manage a slump, though she was trying to make herself as inconspicuous as possible. Not easy, considering her hair shone like a damned shampoo commercial. Her make-up was precise, understated, and completely unnecessary. That sort of presentation is learned from birth. People like her had no place being in a bar like this, even though it tried so hard to be upscale. Yet there she was.
                I waited until the pretty little round girl, wearing a skirt two inches shorter than a whore would consider proper, hopped off the stool next to Rich Girl and teetered toward the bathroom on unsteady heels. I nudged the schlub in front of me and told him that plump little bird looked promising. He followed, probably because I didn't reveal that signs pointed to the tart being a mafia baby, too.  Did I mention I’m not a nice guy?
Still, you never know. They could fall in love, run away from the lives they’d envisioned, and live happily ever after, despite coming from different worlds and having nothing in common. What? It could happen. And you could win the lottery, too. Go buy a ticket. You never know.
Rich Girl didn’t look at me when I sat down, which might have hurt my feelings once upon a time, but probably not. I didn’t look at her, either. That, she found surprising. I suppressed a smile at how easily some people are caught. Good thing all I wanted was her stories. I was betting she’d have doozies, maybe even some with names worth dropping. I could branch out to tell-alls if the angle was right.
“Bourbon, neat,” I said when the bartender looked my way, “and whatever she’s having, give her another.” I still didn’t turn my head.
“I don’t…” Rich Girl protested.
“Care,” I finished for her. “I know. I don’t actually give a damn if you drink it, either.”
“Then why buy it for me?”
“Because I may be the only guy in this bar who has zero interest in fucking you, with the possible exception of that ponce in the corner. He needs a better tailor if he’s going to get one of these jokers to hop the fence – or admit to being on his team.”
                “That’s a shallow assessment,” she sniffed.
                “But accurate. Appearances are bait in a place like this, which makes me wonder why you stopped in, when you’ve made it obvious you aren’t fishing.”
                “And yet, here you are, trying to get all friendly with me while feeding me bullshit lines about how you wouldn’t have sex with me if I offered.” She took the drink I’d bought her.
                “Never said that, love.” I gave her a tiny smile. “What I said was that I don’t want to fuck you, which I don’t. Seems to me that would be a waste of time and effort on both our parts, seeing as how it wouldn’t satisfy in the least. A woman like you deserves more than that.”
                “I suppose you think you’re the one to give it to me,” she scoffed.
                “Not at all. I’m not right for you. I’m too rough – unpolished, if you will – too blunt and honest. You want someone who can give you smooth lies and smooth rides on expensive sheets and reward you with a pretty sports car at Christmastime.”
                She shook her head. “You got all that from sitting down next to me?”
                “No, I got that from observing you from across the room, which is admittedly a bit creepy but one of the hazards of my trade.” I looked over at her. “The bag is Prada, but not the latest. You’ve had it for a while and you carry it because you like it, not because you give a shit about the name. You have a diamond ring on your finger, but it’s not yours. I’m going to guess it belonged to your mum, or maybe it’s been in the family longer. You got a manicure earlier in the week, and you threw on a pedicure at the last minute.”
                “Yep, that qualifies as creepy.”
                “It’s a curse. I have an eidetic memory, and I spent way too many hours in hospital waiting rooms reading fashion magazines and staring at people who were also marking time until someone they loved died. So don’t take it personally, peach. My ability to catalog your life through sartorial choices is just a party trick.”
                She lifted her glass to me. “Then it’s a pretty damned good one. Thanks for showing it to me.” She started to gather up her things.
                “Don’t leave in a snit. I’ll stop telling you about yourself and leave you to drink away your guilt over… whatever it is.”
                “I’m going to regret asking this, but what makes you think I’m feeling guilty?”
                “Because it’s true. I can practically smell it on you. You picked this bar because you’re unlikely to run into anyone you know. They either frequent classier joints or grubbier ones, the latter being the prowling grounds of your friends from university. For some reason, you don’t want to hang out with either crowd, and that, my girl, is very interesting indeed.”
                “What difference does it make to you?”
                “Personally? None at all. But I’m going to be completely honest with you. I think you have a story you want to tell someone, and you can’t bring yourself to tell it to anyone you already know. So, why not unburden your soul to a total stranger with a slightly appealing accent and nothing better to do with the next several hours than listen to your confession?”
                “You are very strange,” she said into her glass.  I liked the way it modified her voice.
                “You’re lonely, too.” It was cute when they tried to play my game.
                “On occasion, but we’ve established that you don’t care, and I’m not your type.”
                She raised perfectly shaped eyebrows. “Did we, or did you  make random guesses, despite knowing nothing about me?”
                “Fair enough. Was I wrong about most of it?”
                She laughed. “Not entirely. You totally hit the mark about this place being a mistake.”
                I waited. It couldn’t be this easy to get her out of the increasingly loud bar.
                It was.
                “I haven’t eaten since breakfast, so before I drink more and start to find you charming, let’s get some dinner.”
                “Aren’t you worried about going somewhere with a strange, irritating man you don’t know?” I asked.
                She held out her hand. “Katherine Kavanaugh. And you are?”
                Buggered. I shoved that thought aside and kissed the back of her hand. “Michael Stone.”
                “Well, Michael Stone who knows everything with a glance, let’s get out of here.”
                “You sure? I could be some mad, creepy stalker.”
                She gave me a dazzling smile and patted her bag. “And I could have a nine millimeter Glock in my purse with an extra clip in case you get really frisky. You never know.”
                She slapped a fifty on the bar and led the way out, the sea of inadequate men parting before her and one poor sod trailing behind, wondering if maybe this time, I'd made a mistake.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ignorance Is Bliss

by Colleen Foley

I wasn’t ready to be spending a lot of time with him yet, but I agreed with Seth that Jim asking for a thing was good enough reason to do it. The result was several hours of speculation about might be causing the “problem”.

We’d been driving in silence for a little while when something occurred to me. I casually slipped my hand into my jacket pocket and fingered the small ivory amulet nestled there. It was a parting gift from Kaia, and it was ice cold.

I pressed my lips together hard and kept driving.

Son of a bitch.



The fat yellow moon lent a shimmery ivory hue to Vermont drifts. I wanted to talk about our schism, find out if we were still brothers, but Nate side-stepped it by asking about the case.

“Major storms never hit this little town. Tornadoes turn aside. Blizzards skip on by. They get rain and snow, but nothing that results in destruction.”

Nate shrugged. “Could be coincidence.”

“For over a hundred years?” I scoffed.

“Why investigate now?”

If I wanted a thousand miles of silence, I’d confess Uncle Jim and I were worried. Instead, I clung to fragile peace.

“Because Jim asked.”


Thursday, January 22, 2015


His dark hands flitted over ivory keys, giving life to melody long forgotten. Dust motes danced as ladies had, spinning and spun out in lace, now cobwebbed memories.

Attar of rose lingered longest, a hint clinging to tattered remnants. Odd, it should have been other scents that recalled the day, defined the moment they realized hiding had bought them only time, not coveted results, not escape from destiny.

He played it like a love song, this requiem for his masters, all bones now, wrapped in the silence they’d asked of him.

They should have asked him to mind the door.

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

By Colleen Foley

When I’d exhausted every foul word I know, I gulped the last of my coffee and whistled for the check. The waitress gave me a look that could’ve withered my balls to ashes, then slapped it on the table. I left a twenty in apology and headed for the door.

“Great. Whacko weather and witches, with the ashes of a vodun. Let’s go.”

The car spewed torrents of gravel behind it, as I gunned out of the parking lot.

“All right, genius. What kind of weather is so weird that we’re the only ones Jimmy trusts to check it out?”


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ashes to Ashes

I shrugged off my coat, removed my hat, and waited for Nate to look up from his pie.

He blinked twice, then gave a low whistle. “What happened?”

I ran my hand over my bristly head. “Long hair is easy to pick up and use in spells. Someone suggested this would be safer.”

Nate pushed away his empty plate. “I’m gonna hate myself for asking, but where did you hold that conversation?”

“My mother’s old coven. I brought them the ashes of the voodoo priest.”

His torrent of expletives was truly impressive.

I grinned. Things were almost back to normal.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Never Take the Bait

By Colleen Foley

“C’mon, really? Funky weather? That’s low rank crap. Tell Jimmy to have Ronny Sparks check it out.”

Seth raised an eyebrow at me, but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. I know that look. He wasn’t going to give an inch. It occurred to me that the whole thing might be a convenient excuse engineered by Jimmy, to get us talking again. If it was, he and I were having words.

I sighed heavily and pointed at the other chair with my fork.

“Fine. But this apple-rum pie is rumored to be legendary around here. You can talk while I eat.”


Stick and Carrot

“Can’t you take a hint?” Nate focused on his pie.

“Six months is long enough to sulk.”

That got his attention.

“After dealing with legions of undead, a hive-mind violating me, and the rank invasion of your consciousness in mine, I deserve time off.” His spark of anger was like coming home to a fire in the hearth.

“You’ve had it.” I slid a file to him. “Uncle Jim called me.”

“Some legend risen to screw up our lives?”

“Nope. Weird weather in a small town.”

He sighed. “Okay. How bad could that be?”

Some questions shouldn’t be asked aloud.


Friday, January 02, 2015


By Colleen Foley

Cider Mountain is a “quaint” little ski town in Vermont. It’s so quaint the only people who ever ski there are the locals and they like it that way. I’d spent the last few months going from one end of New England to the other staying in backwaters and back of backwaters Seth would never think to look in.

I needed time to sift through the BDSM and catharsis scented powder my mind had become after Kaia.

I had a forkful of apple-rum pie, mounded with whipped cream, halfway to my lips when He walked in the door, grinning.