Plans To Make or Deaths To Fake?
Helen, the ice queen, answered before any of us had a chance, "Morgan, what plans?" Her tone was chilled, and far too condescending for my comfort. And from the glance Jasmine threw me, she agreed. Morgan looked back to Brad and simply arched an eyebrow.
Brad sighed and nodded to Riley. The large form heavily walked over to Helen. Defiantly she looked up at him, nearly half his size. Without a word he casually backhanded her across the face. Her body flew and hit the far living room wall. I was glad that nothing important was on that section of the room to impede her; she simply crumpled from the force of the blow at the base of the wall.
Riley jerked her forcibly upright saying, "Helen, mind your manners or it's back into the cage." At the word cage, a shudder ran through her form and she sighed out a subdued, "Yes, sire."
So, Riley was not such the gentle giant I had first taken him for, and was far further up in the hierarchy than Helen. The large vampire was also training to be an enforcer. Nobody could just lay a hand on another vampire without permissions or provocations. Brad had given an unvoiced permission, but in front of all of us, it was more than just that. He was showing his off tribe and how much control he had. To reprimand a vampire in front of us so severely was a demonstration of force, and at the same time a bit distressing. Brad was assured of his place in the vampire world. He was telling us all he was higher in the structure of vampires than Morgan. That alone sent a fissure of cold down my spine. These two had some history, and I had no desire to know anything about it any time soon.
Jasmine had begun to tremble. I felt compelled to go over and ask very softly, "What's wrong?" Everyone was still focused on the dynamic triad of Brad, Riley and Helen to notice our quiet conversation.
Her eyes were deeply troubled and rimmed with blue-black shadows I hadn't noticed earlier. She replied with a simple word, "Ghosts." Her accent was heavier than I had ever heard. She couldn't seem to focus and looked at me with huge pain-filled eyes.
Stunned, it dawned on me this was probably the most vampires she had ever been around in her entire life. With the two high-leveled vampire assassins in Morgan and Brad -- that alone could make her pale. Now add in both Harry's and my colorful past, and unsanctioned slaughters over the decades, there had to be a fair number of door knockers wanting into our party. I had no idea what past Riley and Helen had, but it must have pushed the cosmic overload for Jasmine.
Jasmine nodded her agreement to my thoughts, with a barely noticeable dip of her face. Morgan was unaware of her distress as he had walked over to Harry's side and they were geeking with their boy techno toys while cautiously watching Brad with his servants. Helen was still on the floor, but Brad was now standing over her, hissing out commands. Riley was smiling with a bit of fang showing.
I looked at Jasmine with some concern. She had begun to shudder a bit more, then her eyes rolled back in her head and poof, she was gone. The lights were on but absolutely nobody I wanted to see was home. Damn, I hoped she had not channeled any of my recent meals.
Time seemed to stop as her voice spoke in a higher pitch, and took on the edgy quality of a teenage girl. "Who the fuck are you?" was bitten out with venom.
Nope, that was not one of my snacks, as I tended to pick up pretty boy playthings and lovely wicked folks that were completely deserving of my brand of close and personal attention. I steered clear of teens as a rule since they liked to fight and scream when they weren't begging me to turn them. Way too much angst and self-absorbed anger for me to bother with. But I saw how quickly Riley jumped. Oh, I guess I knew whose drain bimbo was currently channeling Jasmine.
I was wrong.
"Get the hell out of here." The ice queen awoke.
She pulled herself up slowly while her men hovered over her with something like caring. Ironic, given they had put her to the ground so forcibly. Not unvampiric but still always fun to mock. We tended to ignore logic and do what we wanted and watching them try to help her was pretty amusing. Riley was even stroking her head softly.
Jasmine began to walk closer to Helen. Morgan physically put himself between his lover and the others. Mediums and vampires really do not mix. Something in Morgan's face showed me he knew he was risking pulling up one of his personal ghosts. I didn't know all that much about mediums; I hadn't realized they could be channeled by more than one entity at a time. From the look on Morgan's face he wasn't completely sure either of what his lady could and couldn't do.
Jasmine literally froze in front of Morgan and her face changed back to something like her normal features; she gasped out, struggling with her words, "Get away now, Morgan."
Her eyes fluttered and again she had a small pinched angry look. That looked like the kid from a few moments before. Must have seemed like it to Helen, too, because she said, "Get the fuck out of here. I mean it. You are dead, Maggie, you can't be real." Morgan had stepped aside at Jasmine's urging and Jasmine stepped over to where they were clustered against the wall. Brad had pulled himself up to his full and slightly intimidating height, but Jasmine brushed past him like he was invisible. Riley put up a half-hearted attempt to block Jasmine, but she looked at him with an evil glare snarling, "Fang boy, I have some friends of yours just waiting their turns. Stay close and I will be happy to let you visit." Riley was stunned and paced backwards leaving Helen propped up alone against the wall.
All of us had been totally distracted by Jasmine's going into the gray zone and pulling out a ghost for Helen's entertainment. That was a mistake that nearly cost us. Harry had moved to my back, covering me from any touch of Jasmine, as that could be extremely bad for a vampire. We forgot the two cops on the floor. Office Paul Madison had regained consciousness and slipped quietly towards my front door. He nearly made it. He would have, but he was still dizzy from the smack against the door frame that Riley had dealt him. He stumbled and knocked into a coffee table, toppling the lamp to the floor. Since the lamp had been pretty well trashed by my unwanted visitors, it fell easily and shattered into millions of bits and pieces.
Harry flew to his side and fanged in, this time draining the man nearly to death. Not completely, but enough that he would not be going anywhere without a major transfusion and bed rest. Moving him was going to be a challenge.
I smiled at Harry and mentally pushed the other policeman back into the womb stage. He whimpered and sobbed out, "Yes, Mommy, I will be a good boy. I will stay in my bed." No, he wasn't going to find any strength to wander anytime soon. From my mind dip I knew his mom beat him like a rug as a kid and he still had nightmares about her. The image of her fury kept him shuddering and sighing in pain on the floor curled in a fetal position. Harry dropped his snack onto the drop cloth next to Officer Burroughs.
Jasmine had used the time when we all were looking at Harry and the cop to hunch down next to Helen and begin to talk with Helen. Whatever she was saying was out of my range of hearing, oddly enough. I guess ghosts whispered better than humans. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Jasmine place her hand on Helen.
The ice queen melted.
Thank god I had invested in heavy soundproofing. My 'dates' were not always quiet and it saved on the 911 calls by the neighbors. The shrieks that came from the vampire were chilling. Since I wasn't vested in Helen, nor Helen's vampire meals, I watched with a clinical detachment. It really wasn't pretty to see Helen reduced to mere dust and sinew -- but hey, that's the breaks. I definitely planned to say on Jasmine's good side or at least out of touch range. Brad could only watch as his vampire was sucked out of this world to a world beyond. Fortunately we vampires don't leave much in the way of remains, but the screams nearly woke the humans.
Once Helen was gone Jasmine snapped back to herself saying, "Oh, my god, what have I done?"
Brad walked to Jasmine and said, "Nothing, you have done nothing, my lady. This was what Helen brought upon herself. I am sorry you had to be the method for her destruction but it was only a matter of time. Do not worry." And then he did something that made me know that he truly was on the same level as Morgan, he embraced Jasmine and hugged her fully to his body. Hell, I wouldn't be doing that, but with his power he was allowed the touch and I saw Jasmine's shoulders drop as she felt the weight lift off. His words salved her soul and she was freed. Tears were brimming as she pushed away from him.
"That was unexpected. I don't know why it happened." I noticed she hadn't said it had never happened before, and from the look Morgan threw me he knew that was true.
One of the cops groaned. I looked over and saw it was the one that Harry had caught trying to make a break for it. Riley went over and lifted the man up. The human's face was chalk white, any Goth would envy, and his eyes were spinning this way and that.
"We need to fix this. We can't just carry them outside." This Riley was pretty good at sating the obvious, I thought.
The space on the wall where Helen had been mere minutes ago began to glow. That could not be good. Jasmine walked over to the space and began to mumble things in a language I didn't recognize. From Harry's brain, I knew he hadn't recognized it either. The ashen look on both Brad and Morgan's face let me know that they had. Morgan thought into my head, "A dead language. Don't try to hear it."
I took his advice. My skin was crawling. The energy in the room was crackling across all of our skin, and I was happy to see that even Harry looked a bit off.
With Jasmine's voice, the greenish white glow began to dissipate and my skin went back to the usual texture. I breathed in deeply and felt better. Then I looked to the cops.
Damn, they were in my house, and my human watchers must have seen them come in, regardless of their having been reassigned to Homeland Security. Reluctantly I went to my kitchen and pulled out some liquids. "Here ya go, gang. Let's rehydrate them and get them out and walking." With that I tossed bottled waters to all the vampires still left. Jasmine was out of the loop since she looked pretty whipped and had fallen back onto my desecrated couch. I really had liked that couch. Someone would be paying for the abuse to my place. And really soon if I had my way. All the vampires nodded at my thought.