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May 29, 2023

Strange Bedfellows 50

By Lydia Manx

The sound of Simon's closed fist striking Gavin's chest was nearly instantaneous to the man's arrogantly ill spoken reply. Simon didn't much care for Gavin's comment about having sex with me in a graphic sort of way. I was pretty sure that I heard a rib crack and also some sinew tear. The angel tattoo covering his chest didn't weep but Gavin let a small cry of distress escape his lips. He was holding out a false hope that soon he'd be rescued by his witch friends.

"I think your confidence in your friends has been misplaced. They won't be coming to your rescue and you are worthless to us alive." Simon growled.

Harry winced as his cell phone chirped. He discretely pulled out his cell phone and checked the text message. What he read seemed to stun him.

"Stop, Simon." My eyes shot open wide as I watched my Master's hand tighten on the makeshift stakes. I heard one of them fracture under the pressure. Simon wasn't big on being commanded by anyone. His respect for Harry gave him pause.

Tersely, "What?"

"There is a call coming in for me. It's being patched through. Someone wants to negotiate for the witch's release." Harry lifted an eyebrow and exited his messaging as his phone vibrated an incoming call. It was funny I could hear the singular 'witch' while from the bright gleam in Gavin's eyes he heard it as plural harboring a false idea his companions were still upright and walking.

Harry looked at Simon and waited.

"Answer it." Simon drew back from killing Gavin, the only remaining part of the 'take-out' delivery crew sent to slay us. Gavin was smiling. He looked at me and cockily grinned. He now was firmly under the mistaken impression that he definitely was being rescued. Harry's associate had texted him that someone wanted to negotiate for the release of witches -- that was what had given Gavin some false hope. I didn't know why Harry had told Simon to stop because it would have been easier to simply kill him and sort out the particulars later.

"Natasha?" Harry held his phone out to me.

"What?" I didn't know why I was being given the phone. Then it dawned on me. Both Harry and Simon had been held in a magic net and they didn't know if the now dead witch had implanted anything before I'd thoroughly staked him. Simon and Harry had quickly killed the two women they'd been feeding on when the witch had begun his spell. It was a good strategy so naturally I took the call.

I didn't say a word just opened the line.

"You must do as I say!" The voice was deep, throaty and extremely sexually charged.

With that I knew Harry had made the right decision by handing me the phone. I kept quiet and let the silence stretch out. A quietness descended on me as there were some vaguely Latin sounding phrases spoken in a hissing intense voice. It reminded me of the witch I'd staked in the living room who'd been doing something to the vampires. Oddly enough intent in a spell could override mistakes in words, I'd found over the years. Latin was a dead language and very few humans realized that nuances were lost with book learning. Whatever had been said had had an impact on my friends. A soft chuckle and the woman assumed she was talking to Harry. They'd prepared for their witches to fail and tossed in some back-up nastiness. I gritted my teeth and waited.

"Release my witches now and come to Balboa Park in one hour. All three of you need to go to the Lily Pad in front of the arbor and sit on the benches nearest the entrance to the botanical garden. Lose your bodyguards and don't tell anyone where you're going." She laughed and hung up.

Both Harry and Simon were frozen. Gavin took advantage of their obvious distraction and flew off the bed towards me. Growling, I simply whipped out my right forearm across his throat effectively clotheslined him. Gagging on his half crushed larynx he fell to his knees. I took a second to snap his neck around and went to my Master. I was furious and scared.

"Sire!" I touched him and felt the same emptiness I'd felt when he and Harry had been bewitched earlier. Looking at the dead human, I shrugged. I should have let them fang him to death. Instead I raked my own fangs across my forearm and placed my bleeding wrist into his mouth. He automatically latched on and began to suckle. His eyes snapped open in full awareness and he stopped.

"My Child!" He licked my wrist closing the wound then saw at a glance that I'd killed Gavin and that Harry was still transfixed.

He nodded and I repeated the process. A wave of pleasure washed over my body as Harry sucked out a few mouthfuls of my blood, and with that I knew that all three of us were now bound far more intimately than ever before and Harry broke off from my wrist and turned to Simon.

"Thank you." It was said with a formal air. I knew something far beyond my experience as a vampire had just occurred. My Master seemed flustered and a bit hesitant. I could see thoughts leaping and running through him, then Simon seemed to regain his composure and answered, "It was to be."

Nothing more was said. We all looked at each other. Then I crashed back to reality. I handed Harry back his cell phone. It seemed contaminated to me. He took it and held it loosely in his right hand. Seeing it, the rest of the conversation I'd just had pushed into my mind.

"Oh, damn. We have to be at Balboa Park in an hour. But first you were supposed to free the witches." Snickering I said, "Well, I guess in a way we did." They both smiled softly. There was an unspoken conversation happening between Simon and Harry I knew. I didn't pry.

Not wanting to interrupt, I waited and looked down at Gavin's rapidly cooling corpse. The large angel tattoo on his chest wasn't dancing and seemed flat and rather two-dimensional suddenly. Before the well-inked tattoo had appeared lifelike in a way and extremely vibrant. In death Gavin looked far younger. Sadly he'd made some bad choices and they'd come to bite him on the ass. As it were.

Harry looked confused for a minute then said, "Oh, the phone call." He tossed his cell phone in his palm lightly. It was all coming back to him slowly.

"Yes, and you were right, Harry. They had a backup spell waiting for you." I was still shocked, but considering the past few days I guess that wasn't too surprising.

They both fell silent as they processed what I'd said. Harry looked ill for a minute and said, "Only an hour, huh? I assumed we are supposed to come 'alone' and meet in the dark with who ever called us?"

"Yes." I didn't know what to add.

Harry's mouth was tight as he phoned someone. Unbidden I started to have my mind flooded with images and names. From the slight gasp from Simon he was also seeing what I was.

A woman holding the door open was very human and unbelievably beautiful. Her pale skin was accented by waist length russet hair. Her green eyes glowed and made him take a step back. Harry was speaking to another and murmured, "She's not truly human."

Morgan's Jasmine. That was how Harry thought of her. Morgan --another strong vampire who was suave and extremely debonair and his woman was somehow in both the human world and not.

When she spoke her voice was soft and sultry with a hint of a southern influence. She called him Harry Adkison with a knowing smile. She was a strong medium and she had fed Morgan for decades. An oddity in the vampire world and forbidden. All the rumors of mediums were true. They did keep bits of the souls they had touched nearby and could use them against both humans and vampires. Morgan and Jasmine were unique in that they touched freely and without shadows of death. She'd been called a dead speaker by many but that wasn't quite the truth. She felt she owed Harry and now he was forced to collect.

"I need you to contact Jasmine and find out where she is."

There was some arguing from the other vampire and we all could hear, "She just called for you two hours ago. She said you needed to talk."

Harry said, "That should have been passed on then."

The deafening silence between Harry and his vampire was uncomfortable as it dawned on the other vampire that Harry had been endangered by the lack of communication. Harry was going to have to do some serious housecleaning in the next few days. Simon kept his mouth shut and let Harry work through it. I could feel the energy dance between us all and grew uneasy. Harry wasn't as calm and collected as he wanted us to think.

The vampire sputtered sincere apologies then said, "I'll have her call you directly."

With that Harry hung up and said, "Natasha, sorry to ask you but do you mind explaining to her what has happened?"

Looking to Simon he said, "I have to assume we've had some damage from that odd witch and I may not be able to speak or explain."

It was sound logic and I agreed. A minute later the phone rang and I answered, "Harry's phone. Natasha speaking."

"Good. I gather I am too late to stop the enchantment." Her voice was light and airy. I felt an immediate sense of an old soul with a young body. This woman wasn't a cotton candy spun sugar sort but a strong lady with abilities beyond the average human.

"Yes, and the idiot faking Latin who caused all this isn't able to help. So what do I need to do in order to protect my two friends here?" I cut to the chase. We only had an hour and Southern California traffic wasn't exactly a cakewalk.

She sighed, "I need to meet with you. Is that possible?"

"How do you feel about Balboa Park after dark? We'll be at the Lily Pond in front of the arbor."

She groaned.

"Is something wrong?"

"That's in another witch's territory and he's been acting up lately." Why did that not surprise me?

"Any chance he was a small, tightly wound boy?" I thought of the witch I'd killed with stakes in the living room.

"Maybe." She wasn't giving me anything to work with; then I latched onto the description of the other recently departed take out boy.

"Did he have a cohort named Gavin who has a large black and shadowy angel on his chest?"

"I don't know him by that name but yes. So you have seen Trevor?" I gather that was the dead witch's name.

"Well, we won't have to worry about him objecting to us using the park for the meet." I said softly.

"Okay, then I will see you all within the hour." She hung up leaving me wondering what I was supposed to do with my two vampires. Were they dangerous?

Harry smiled and said, "Don't worry. I doubt there's any other spell on us. I think we aren't able to do the witches harm and the woman on the phone who commanded you to release them set the spells to protect her. And I don't want to say her name but I think she was the one who helped stake out the floor with your fledgling."

Nice round about way of saying Harry thought it was the Arizona rogue vampire called Cynthia. Her toys were dropping like flies thanks to their stupidity and attempts on our lives. I wonder how many vamps she'd brought with her.

A hammering on the front door, and I laughed.

"Harry, your guards aren't doing a very good job." I pulled open the door to see Carlos, Marcus and Renee looking somewhat worse for the wear. They obviously had to jump a few fences to make it undetected by the security.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-08-09
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