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Habi Makeover Fun 2

Today I am sharing some of Cucky’s habitats (I shared Quickness’ last night)

(to get habi makeover for yourself and make your own habitats – http://habimakeover.com/downloads/ )

(to join the community on the official website – http://community.habimakeover.com/)

(to join the Just Plain Habitats FB group –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/214571172638649)

Have a cute pet kinda day!

Jo 🙂

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Habi Makeover Fun

It’s been a long time since I posted about Habi Makeover. Yes, I am still decorating my pets with the weekly Just Plain Habitats theme, and thought I might take a moment to share a few of them with you because, why not?

(to get habi makeover for yourself and make your own habitats – http://habimakeover.com/downloads/ )

(to join the community on the official website – http://community.habimakeover.com/)

(to join the Just Plain Habitats FB group –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/214571172638649)

These are my pet Quickness. Tomorrow I’ll post some of Clucky.

Blogophilia 17.11 – Migina Part 3

It’s time again for blogophilia,the fun blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blogs. This week’s prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 17.11 Topic: “The Woman in the Window”
BONUSES: ** Hard Bonus (2 pts): Incorporate an Elmore Leonard title (the Hunted)
Easy Bonus (1 pt): Mention something getting washed away (the shore)

.

And thus ends Migina’s story, two weeks late. *sigh* I think Philip is supposed to be next, but I may skip to Senya or Obrad because I know what their stories are going to be.

**

An hour later, Migina felt better. She lay back on the bed, watching Franklin smoke a cigarette. The smell was sharp to her immortal nose, and she waved the smoke away.

“You should quit that.”

“This?” He held the cigarette up and grinned. “Why? They’re all the rage.”

“Yes, but I don’t know why.”

This may sound cheesy, but the humans say they’re good for your health. Or they did a few years ago. I can’t imagine that would change.”

Migina rolled her eyes. “You don’t need to worry about your health. It just makes you feel sophisticated and modern.”

“Maybe. And what’s wrong with that?” He laughed. “Come now, Migina, don’t pretend to be an impenetrable ice sculpture. You’re as prone to your little vanities as anyone.” He took a puff, blowing the smoke in a thin stream. “Speaking of little peculiarities, Verchiel is back.”

Migina stiffened. “Is he?”

“He checked in right after I did. Three days late coming back.” Franklin’s eyes twinkled. “He gave no account for his missing time, only said that he got distracted.”

“No one was surprised about that.” Migina eyed the cigarette and the growing ash. Any moment now it would drop off and land in the sheets. Sheets I’ll have to take to the laundry.  “Give me that.”

“Hey!” He tried to snatch it back, but she was already on her feet, toting it to the bathroom sink.

“If you won’t stop smoking, at least do it in your own den.”

Where I won’t have to clean up after you.

**

Migina was dressed again when the knock came. A timid greater guard stammered out her summons before fleeing.

“So much for time together.” Though Franklin was obviously teasing, Migina saw the regret under it as he pulled her to him. “Maybe it will be a short assignment.”

She wrapped her arms around him, laying her cheek on his chest. “Even if it is, you’ll be gone by the time I get back.”

He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Maybe not.”

Though they both knew it was wishful thinking, they left it there. Reluctantly, she let him go and made her way to Malick’s chambers. Hidden on the bottom most floor, only two elevators went there, and a special key had to be inserted. It was a pain, but she supposed it made sense. The dungeons were there,  not to mention the research laboratory, both places they didn’t want any old vampire wandering into.

Still, with as many keys as they have to hand out, probably half the population can access it.

Just like the Executioner block. Hidden behind a locked door, greater guards had access keys, and she knew some of the other Executioners had handed out copies to friends and lovers over the years. It was amazing that it kept anyone out.

Migina exited the elevator to an unfinished corridor. Half painted to resemble marble, the work had stopped when Malick he become “inspired to go in a different direction.” Though she had no idea what direction that was, she hoped it wasn’t shag carpeting.

Like I’m going to have. What was I thinking?

She headed down the hall and turned, stopping finally at the double doors that led to Malick’s chamber. She could feel his presence inside; the heavy, over-reaching power of an ancient. She hesitated, and his voice filled her head, like the roar of ocean waves washing away the shore, “Come in, child.”

Migina straightened her spine, and pushed the doors open. Through an anti-chamber painted dark green, she came into his reception room, as he called it. Hung in paintings of gardens, he’d recently started to collect plants, as if hoping to bring the paintings to life in the underground chamber. It was a good idea, except they had to be taken upstairs every day and brought back when the sun sank, otherwise they’d die.

He should get plastic.

Malick was seated on low couch. Among the green, he stood out like a gem, draped in a robe of royal blue. Long white hair hung past his shoulders, and a silver beard was neatly trimmed. Long when he was turned, some days he cut it short, and others he left it to hang to his chest. No matter what changes he made, each night it would regrow as he slept, like hitting the rewind button on a cassette, and the next day he could again do as he pleased.

He smiled at her; the smile of a benevolent master gazing at a child he felt affection for. “Migina! You have come quickly.”

She bowed, holding it until she felt a mental pressure to straighten. “Of course, master.”

“Your lover did not keep you?’ he asked with amusement. She flinched and he chuckled. “No matter. Such things are good in their place – so long as they keep their place. Affection for another should never interfere with one’s duties.”

“No, master.”

“Nor should they cause one to break The Laws. But enough. There is an assignment for you. A rogue in Pennsylvania, or so they say.  The office will have the details.” He waved it away carelessly. “Seeing as he is young and weak, he should pose no problem for you, so I must hope you will return faster than Verchiel did.”

She tried not to flinch at the subtle warning. “Yes, master.”

“You may go.” He motioned toward the door. “Go, pack, bid your lover goodbye. Bring back the rogue’s head, or at the very least his heart.”

Migina bowed stiffly and turned for the door. She forced herself to walk at a reasonable pace, even as her mind screamed at her to flee.  Out the door, down the hall, into the elevator. When it opened, she finally relaxed enough to let her mind her reel. Did he know? His subtle hints said yes, as did the veiled threat, but he hadn’t said he knew. Maybe…

He’s a goddamn mind reader. He knows everything.

Shit.

She pushed her fears aside. She didn’t have time for this. She had to go to the office, had to get the details, had to go back to the Executioner block, pack, see Verchiel…

No. Better to leave it. Better not to ask.

With that resolve, she followed her plan. With a manila folder clutched in her hand, she headed back to her den. Franklin helped her pack, folding her clothes neatly. “Which guards are you taking?”

“None.” She stuffed an extra pair of socks along the side of the suitcase. “Malick said the rogue was young and weak. I should be able to handle it alone.”

Franklin laid the shirt aside to gaze at her, pity in his eyes. “Migina-”

“It isn’t what you think,” she snapped, shoving the abandoned garment in the suitcase. “I’m not taking on some dangerous assignment to deal with…with…”

“With grief?”

“There is no goddamn grief!” She slammed the suitcase and clicked the locks into place. “I have nothing to grieve over!”

Franklin moved behind her, slipping his arms through hers to pull her back against him. “It’s all right to admit, darling. We may be immortal but we aren’t made of stone.” He nipped playfully at her neck. “I could take a few minutes to prove that to you, if you’d like?”

She relaxed against him, easing into his joke. “I wish, but you know when Malick commands.”

“There’s always later, I suppose. The plus side of immortality.” He pressed a kiss to her neck, then released her. “Alright, go. Drive safely, and if you run into trouble call for reinforcements immediately.”

“I’ll be fine. I can handle a single weak rogue on my own.”

They exchanged another round of kisses, and Franklin finally let her go with the promise to lock up when he left.

Sometimes I think we should give up and share a den.

But she knew they never would. She was too set in her ways, as was he. Too used to their own space, their own room.

Though now I need someone to do the cleaning. Maybe I could find a way to put up with it if he’ll dust?

The thought left her smirking, and drove away all thoughts of talking to Verchiel. That is, until the door to the Executioner block closed. As soon as the lock clicked, she wished she’d knocked on his door, that she’d asked…

Asked what? She snapped at herself. Leave it alone.

She forced herself to the elevator.  When it opened on the top floor she thought again of going back, of grabbing him by his shirt and demanding to know…

She had the same thought when she reached the guard room, and again as she climbed the ladder to the garage above.  Each time she chided herself, and resisted.

It will be better when I’m gone, and by the time I get back I’ll be distracted with something new.

That was at least something to look forward to. Maybe the rogue would give her a good workout. Maybe she’d bring his head and his heart in a cooler. Maybe she’d be so elated at the kill, at the hunter becoming the hunted, that she’d forget everything else.

“I doubt that.”

At the foreign voice, she looked up sharply to see a vampire leaning against her car. Bright red hair stuck up at odd angles, at odds with the modern clothes; white bellbottoms skimmed his shoes, and a matching jacket hung open to reveal the wide collared shirt in come blue print that made her think of beaches.

It was Verchiel.

She didn’t have to force her scowl. “What are you doing?”

“Waiting for you.” He ginned, hands in his pockets.

There were a million things she could have said, but she settled for, “Get off of my car.”

“Ouch. That’s no way to say thank you.” When she growled, he straightened, hands held up in mock surrender. “Okay, okay. I’m off the car. See? No harm done.”

“Good.” She unlocked the back door and threw her luggage inside.

“Going on a trip?” he asked innocently.

She fought back her annoyance. This was one reason she hadn’t gone back to speak with him. “An assignment. If you’ll move?”

He shifted away from the driver’s door. “You’re going alone? No guards? How odd. I don’t suppose you’re headed east?”

She stiffened, one hand on the door handle. “What does it matter to you?”

He leaned close, hands behind his back. “Oh, it doesn’t. I was just saying.”

She pulled away. “Then go say it somewhere else. I have to go.”

She swung the door open, but before she could climb inside, he grabbed her hands. Shock froze her for a moment, but it melted quickly and she jerked away from him. “What in the hell?”

He leaned in front of her, his face pressed close to hers, a cheesy grin stretched from ear to ear. “Have a safe trip!” And then he was gone, bounding across the room, bouncing off of cars as he disappeared, so fast he was barely more than a blur.

“Idiot.” She climbed inside, and reached to close the door when she realizes there was something in her hand; a rolled slip of paper. She stared at it, at the potential of its contents, then jammed it in her pocket.

It’s better I not know.

That I never know.

**

As the miles fell away, she repeated the mantra to herself. The Guild had arranged for her to shelter with a coven in Indiana. Though not a mind reader, she could feel their fear when she flashed the silver medallion that hung around her neck. The proof of her station, like a Sherriff’s badge in the wild west movies, it meant she was an Executioner, an emissary of the guild, and an enforcer of the laws.

Whether I want to enforce them or not.

She slept well, and rose the next evening to feed. The coven had a captive pair of humans they willingly shared.  As she drank from the terrified girl, she thought of Philip’s preference for blood straight from the human. Funny, though he said he liked that better, he sure added enough flavorings to it when he was home.

Because he’s full of shit.

Next to her car, she stopped to dig the keys out of her pocket. Something came with them, dropping to the ground. It was only when she bent to retrieve the slip of paper that she remembered Verchiel. She crushed the tiny note in her hand, tried to resist, tried not to look.

Oh, what the hell.

Penciled inside was an address in New York. Though she knew better, once inside the car she pulled her maps out, and soon located the town, not too far from her own destination. If she added maybe an hour one way she could make it and then…

And then what? What purpose could it serve? What was the point?

She asked herself that question again and again as she drove, repeating it for the fiftieth time as she took the turn that led to New York.  It was only an hour’s detour. Why shouldn’t she?

But she knew the answer.

Still, she slowed when she hit the city limits, and started scanning street signs. It took longer than she anticipated, but at last Sprague Avenue appeared.

It’s not too late, she told herself. You don’t have to do this.

Except, she’d already come that far.

The house was blue, with a partial second story and a patio. Migina parked across the street from it, eyes memorizing the details, details she should forget, not just for herself but-

Sabrina.

A silhouette appeared; the woman at the window. Migina thought she recognized the shape of her hair, her shoulders. She sniffed, seeking her familiar scent, but at that distance she couldn’t be sure.  A moment passed, the silhouette disappeared. Migina cursed silently to herself, ready to start the car and go, when the side door opened. A slightly pudgy woman stepped out, not fat, but soft around the middle. Graying hair was artificially dyed, and a housecoat covered a familiar nightdress.

Sabrina shuffled out onto the patio, carrying a bowl of cat food. She left it near the edge, pausing to call for an invisible kitty. When no animal came, she shrugged and turned back for the door, eyes sliding over the car across the street, over Migina.

A knowing look flashed on her features; not fear, but a farewell. She raised a hand, then went back in the house, leaving the night and her old life behind.

When the door shut, Migina let out the breath she’d been holding. So Verchiel had kept his word. Despite what everyone said about him…

Migina checked the time, and then her map. She needed to get moving, needed to get on with her assignment. She’d stay with the coven who’d filed the complaint, and tomorrow she’d hunt down the rogue.

Easy.

Harder would be explaining the two hour delay, except when she got there, they didn’t ask. They were too scared; scared of her, scared of The Guild, scared of the rogue who was terrorizing the humans, making it nearly impossible to hide.

“I’ll handle it,” Migina told them. And she did. It took less than three hours the next evening to find him. It took her longer to buy a cooler and fill it with ice than it did to cut off his head. It was weird of Malick to request the proof of the kill; he rarely did that. But, she supposed he wanted proof of her loyalty, proof that she hadn’t strayed, that she hadn’t detoured to see a human who was supposed to be dead.

He’ll know. The minute he sees me, he’ll read it in my thoughts, and he’ll know and then…

She worked hard to suppress the thoughts, to bury them deep, so that, two days later, when she faced him, she stood stone faced, her only thoughts bent on the rogue and the easy kill.

Malick looked at the rotting head in the cooler and smiled. “Well done, child. Go to your rest. You’ve earned it.”

She bowed stiffly and headed for the safety of her den. Inside, she dropped her suitcase and opened her mouth to call for Sabrina. The name died on her lips because, of course, she wasn’t there.

She’s in New York.

Migina remembered it clearly. It was two weeks ago, after comments from the others, that she’d realized she had to get rid of Sabrina. The Law said that humans who knew about vampires couldn’t rejoin the population. They had to remain slaves, or die. There was no wiggle room, no gray area, and especially not for a human in the citadel, who’d seen not only immortals, but their nerve center.

But thinking about killing Sabrina, or letting someone else kill her, after twenty years of…of service…the thought left a hollow pit where Migina’s stomach belonged.

That was when Verchiel appeared from nowhere, looking sly. “I hear you’re planning to put your human down.”

“Go to hell.”

“Eh, I’ve been there. It wasn’t much to look at.” He’d offered her a smile. “You don’t want to kill her, do you? You’re attached.”

“I said-”

“I can understand that,” he’d gone on, ignoring her interruption. “They grow on you, like kittens. You could turn her, you know.”

Migina scoffed. “Not that it’s any of your business, but she doesn’t want to be turned.” They’d had the conversation more than once in the last few weeks. Sabrina always declined the offer.

“You always said I’d be out of this life one day. Doing that would trap me in it forever.”

But was it really so bad?

“That’s too bad.” His frown was exaggerated. “Of course, there might be another way.”

“You mean to keep her? To be the last Executioner with a human?”

He shrugged. “I suppose you could, though I had something else in mind.” He’d dropped his voice to a whisper, “Something secret.”

That’s when he laid out his ridiculous plan to smuggle his human out of the citadel and set her up in a house. “I have the place purchased and ready to go. She just needs to move in. I don’t see why yours couldn’t go, too.”

Migina had only one answer, “You know The Laws.”

“Of course I do. If we don’t know them, how can we break them.” He’d broken into a grin. “Think about it and let me know, but you need to be quick. I could get sent on an assignment any moment, and if I’m already gone when you decide…”He’d spread his hands helplessly.

Though she knew it was crazy, she’d pressed for more details. How was he going to get away with sneaking them out? What would everyone else think had happened to them?

“I’ll say I killed them, of course. Sure, people might snicker at you for having someone else do your dirty work, but then again you could always pass it off as such an unimportant task it wasn’t worth your effort. However you want to spin it.”

“No,” she’d said, stepping away from the idea. “We’ll get caught. They’ll get caught, and Malick will make us kill them.”

“Suit yourself. But if you change your mind…”

He’d left that offer hanging, an offer that had haunted her. Two days later, she’d called from a payphone to tell him to do it; to take Sabrina and hide her away with his human somewhere far from the Guild and the vampires, far away from the life she’d been forced into it.

And there she is now, Migina thought. Feeding stray cats and living in a normal house in a normal neighborhood, as though she’d never been a servant to a vampire, as if she’d always been just a human.

And that’s all she is, Migina thought with a scoff. Just a human.

**

guesses:

topic: Christopher

picture: Jonathan

  1. unleash the kraken  2. that’s looking like the start to a hentai 3. from the deep 4. tentacles 5. What big eyes you have… the better to eat you with 6. sushi 7. tako 8. I hope she cooks that first 9. mystery of the sea 10. dinner is served

Blogophilia 16.11 – Migina Part 2

It’s time again for blogophilia. The prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 16.11 Topic: It Sounds Kind of Cheesy, But….
BONUSES: ** Hard Bonus (2 pts): Include a creative use of a candle other than light (paperweight)
Easy Bonus (1 pt): Incorporate an ice sculpture
.

And migina rolls on. Sadly still not finished. I need a month of free time.

**

The following evening, Migina woke and showered in her private bathroom. She technically didn’t need to – vampires didn’t produce the sweat and oils that gave humans their distinctive odor – but she enjoyed it. It had nothing to do with Franklin’s impending return, or at least she told herself it didn’t. They’d been together too long to bother trying to impress one another, anymore.

Despite that, she took the time to comb out her wet hair and plait it into her usual long, whip-like braid. Maybe, if he got back after she’d finished with the bathroom, she’d unbraid it and leave it loose. He’d commented before that he liked that.

After a quick call to maintenance to have the water shut off, she checked the min-fridge. There was no blood inside, bottled or bagged. She hadn’t restocked it. Now that Sabrina was gone, it was one more thing she’d have to do herself.

Right.

With no alternative, she left her apartment behind for the café. She found a corner seat and ordered, watching as the waiter scurried away. The sickly yellow walls made her feel nostalgic; she remembered when murals had been in their place, representing an outdoor area. Gone too were all the plants, and the cute sidewalk-style signboard. Instead the air was sleek ultra-modern, like something from a science fiction TV show. The plastic and chrome chairs matched the triangular shaped tables, and pendant lighting hung low enough to be annoying.

Change is rarely good.

She leaned back in her chair, fingers tapping that plastic table top, when a vampire called her name. She cringed inwardly as she recognized the voice, but forced herself to remain aloof on the outside.

Never let them know they have power over you.

Ignoring him only served as encouragement, and a moment later Philip, a fellow Executioner, took the chair across form her. His dark hair fell carelessly in his face, and even darker eyes smoldered with an intensity that had tripped up many a woman.

But not me.

“Migina! How lovely to see you! And where is Franklin?”

“Waiting to cut out your heart.” Instead, she said, “On his way back.”

“The absences make relationships hard.” He gave her a knowing smile that felt smug. “So how are you?”

“Hungry,” she bit back.

Not to be deterred by her short answers, he rubbed his hands together. “As am I. Did you get a pitcher or a single glass?”

“Single glass. You’ll have to order your own.”

He chuckled. “Of course. Nothing to worry about. If I recall, we don’t like the same mix-in, anyway.”

The waiter saved her from having to answer. He dropped off her breakfast and took Philip’s order before he disappeared.

She took a drink, savoring the deep, unadulterated flavor. Unlike the others she wasn’t tired of the flavor and didn’t need to add fancy peppermint or sage or whatever Philip had ordered.

The Executioner across from her chattered as she drank. When her meal was half gone, she cut him off. “Why are you here?”

He laughed, motioning to the counter. “To feed, obviously. Though it would be more appealing if they had live humans to drink from. I miss that when I’m here. Of course in the field-”

“I meant, why are you sitting with me?”

“Ah, and why not? I know you try hard to be unfriendly, but no one can be as sharp as you pretend to be. Your affair with Franklin proves you have soft places.” He gave her a wink. “Besides, is there something wrong with wanting to be friendly with a fellow Executioner?”

She gulped the last of her blood and deposited the empty glass. “Good luck with that.” Then she stood and headed for the door, leaving him alone with his amused laughter.

At least he didn’t come after me.

**

Back in her den, Migina checked that the water was indeed off, then grabbed her sledge hammer. She moved through the empty bedroom, to the equally empty bathroom. She’d never noticed before that the bathtub was starting to look worn. When was the last time it had been replaced? They’d put in the human facilities in the forties. Then they’d updated it…It had to be the sixties. She’d passed on the last round, just two years ago.

Just as well. It would have been a waste of money.

Yes, she was sure it was the sixties. It was just before that night with Sabrina… The memory popped to the surface, bright and clear as when it happened. She’d come home to the sound of sobbing and the scent of blood. A few steps had taken her to the doorway of this bathroom. Inside, Sabrina was rolled into a ball, back pressed against the tile wall, knees to her chin, body shaking with sobs. No matter how many times Migina asked her what was wrong, she couldn’t get an answer. Finally, she stormed into the room and jerked the woman to her feet to find her dress shredded, and her shoulder gaping, blood still running from the wound.

“What in the hell?”

Sabrina pulled away, curled in on herself. “It-it’s nothing. It…”

But they both knew it was a lie. A threat or two later and Sabrina confessed the truth. It was Philip. Always Philip. Sabrina’s first years at the citadel had been spent much like her human life; she’d replaced the drugs with the euphoria of immortal coupling, of having her blood taken by a vampire. But the day came when she didn’t want to anymore, when she weened herself off of the high, when she wanted to stay away and be left alone.

Apparently Philip hadn’t gotten the message.

“I’ll kill him,” Migina had snarled, turning for the door, but Sabrina had grabbed her arm and tried to hold her back.

“No! If-if you do he’ll know I told you, he’ll know…” she let go and dropped back, hand pressed to the wound.  “I’ll just stay away from him, I’ll just-”

“Just what? At the best, you are legally my property, Sabrina! Your job is to guard my den against him, as well as the others! How does it look if he’s savaging you? How can you protect me? And at the worst, what he did was tantamount to-”

“I know!” She’d fallen back a step, body shaking. “I know what it was. What it is. I just don’t want to talk about it, all right! I just.. I just need some blood to heal this and then it will be fine. Everything will be fine.”

Except it wasn’t. How many times had she come home after that to find out something similar had happened; and it was always Philip. Good looking, sex-obsessed Philip. It was the fifth time when she ignored Sabrina’s pleas and stormed to his den. His human guard dog was on the floor, her hands tied behind her back, her mouth gagged. Was it punishment or some game?

Philip, meanwhile, was still laying across the lounge, half naked, a satisfied smirk on his face, a smear of blood on his chin.

Sabrina’s blood.

“Migina, what can I-”

She’d punched him before he could finish his sentence.

“What in the hell?”

“You know damn well what that’s for!”

His human stirred, terrified eyes like saucers, but, restrained, she couldn’t do anything. Not that Migina as sure she wanted to.

Philip wiped the blood from his nose. “Is this over your guard dog? Why are you so worked up? She’s just a human.”

“Yes, but she’s my human, do you understand that, Philip? My property. If you so much as look at her again – let alone touch her- I’ll pull you apart and barbecue the pieces!”

Philip sneered, dark eyes flashing that smugness she hated. “You’ve gotten soft, haven’t you?” He swung to his feet and stood slowly, stretching with the motion. “How long have you had that one? Too long, I think. Better to kill her and get a new one. I cycle mine every year.”

The bound girl on the floor made a soft whimpering sound.

“It’s none of your business how long I keep my property. I mean it, Philip. If you go near her again-”

He leaned close and waved his hands in Migina’s face, “Oooo. What will you do? Report me? As if Ark will care.”

She leaned close, so he could feel her breath on his cheek. “I won’t bother reporting you, Philip. I’ll cut out your heart and give your guard dog a reason to celebrate.”

The girl made another sound, and Migina stormed out, her warning delivered. Though he’d blown it off, he’d evidentially taken it seriously because that was the last time she’d had to find Sabrina bleeding, broken, sobbing.

That son of a bitch.

Rage bubbled and Migina swung the sledgehammer at the worn out tub. Splinters of porcelain shot out like missiles, bouncing off of her arms. With a snarl, she pounded the bathtub again and again, smashing it into bits that crunched under her feet. She swung around for the toilet and did the same, then to the sink, the empty counter where Sabrina’s things used to sit, where her hairbrush was always thrown, and that stupid bracelet holder that looked like a severed hand. Where the hell had that thing even come from?

It was ugly. Sabrina had such horrible taste! Everything she loved was ugly! Like that damn pineapple candle!

Migina swung the hammer again. That ugly candle! She’d been there for three years and suddenly decided to shove a Christmas gift at her master. Migina had stared at the package, and when she’d finally opened it, her reaction was no better.

“What is this?”

“It’s a goddamn candle!” Sabrina snapped, jerking it away so she could point to the wick and wave the wax monstrosity around.  “Of course you hate it! You hate everything!”

Migina wanted to hit her in the head with the grotesque item, but instead she’d gone to pack for her assignment. When she came back in the room, Sabrina was seated in the middle of the floor, using a lighter to melt the candle into a puddle.

“What in the hell are you doing?”

“Why do you care? You didn’t like it anyway!”

Migina had grabbed it away from her; the soft bottom half hardened quickly, so that the pineapple looked like someone had smooshed it against a table. After that, she’d used the ugly thing as a paperweight, even as bits of it fell off over the years.

And if it got too warm, it always left a waxy film on everything.

Stupid, ugly pineapple.

Migina slammed the sledgehammer again and again, only stopping when she realized the sink was little more than dust and palm sized chunks. She staggered back to look over the bathroom; porcelain lay everywhere, most in small pieces. Even the mirror, still stuck to the wall, was shattered.

“Looks like you’re having fun.”

Migina spun, hammer raised, but stopped just in time to avoid slamming Franklin in the face. Torn between hugging him and hitting him, she was left blinking, eyes narrowed.

He made the decision for her as he stepped forward and swept his arms around her. She let the hammer go and pressed close to him, inhaling his familiar scent.

“I wasn’t sure you’d actually make it back today.”

He squeezed her tight, then let go. “I wasn’t either, but things went well. How are you? Did you get rid of-”

“Yes,” she snapped, stepping away. “Sabrina is gone.”

“Ah.” He laid his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry.”

Migina stepped away from the compassionate touch. “For what? She was only a human. It’s not like I care.”

“Of course not.” But the corner of his mouth quirked in an amused smile.  “How did your last assignment go?”

“Fine. Yours?” But she didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t want to talk about anything. She just wanted to pin him to the wall and lose herself in his blood. Though he wasn’t a mind reader, he seemed to sense her desire, and cut the conversation off with a deep kiss. She returned it, sliding her tongue past his lips, into the hot recesses of his mouth. He tasted coppery, like blood, a flavor that fueled her desire.

He pulled her tighter, until their bodies meshed. One hand cradled the back of her head, the other in the small of her back, pressing her closer. She ground against him; trying to meld with him, disappear in him. She snaked her hands under his shirt, and ran her palms over his hard chest. Her fingers danced down his stomach, and she pulled back enough to reach his belt buckle.

He caught her hand, and she looked up to see his smirk. “Shall we?”

**

An hour later, Migina felt better. She lay back on the bed, watching Franklin smoke a cigarette. The smell was sharp to her immortal nose, and she waved the smoke away.

“You should quit that.”

“This?” He held the cigarette up and grinned. “Why? They’re all the rage.”

“Yes, but I don’t know why.”

This may sound cheesy, but the humans say they’re good for your health. Or they did a few years ago. I can’t imagine that would change.”

Migina rolled her eyes. “You don’t need to worry about your health. It just makes you feel sophisticated and modern.”

“Maybe. And what’s wrong with that?” He laughed. “Come now, Migina, don’t pretend to be an impenetrable ice sculpture. You’re as prone to your little vanities as anyone.”

A Loving Mix

If the amazing Tricia Drammeh is in it, you know it’s good!

Tricia Drammeh

loving mix banner

I’m so excited to be a part of this anthology! Eight stories by eight authors for the pre-order price of only $2.99. Here’s what it’s all about:

In our world, outside forces find reasons to keep us apart. Wealth, religion, and race are dividing factors. All manmade barriers that have nothing to do with the heart of the people involved. Although wealth and religion can be hidden, race cannot.

On June 12th, 1967, the Supreme Court struck down the laws that enforced racial segregation in marriage and Loving Day was created. To celebrate this step to remove this unjust barrier to love, eight Interracial Romance authors have come together to celebrate with stories that challenge the social norms on both sides of the coin.

With contemporary, paranormal and historical settings discover how finding the other half of your soul is worth fighting for.

Beyond Everything by Angela Kay Austin
When…

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Blogophilia 12.11 – Telith Part 2

It’s time for blogophilia, the fun blog group where Maritne gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blogs. This weeks prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 12.11 Topic: Breakaway
Hard Bonus: Mention a Movie from the 70’s (Towering Inferno)
Easy Bonus: Make up an excuse (I’ll get burned to a crisp if I don’t stop)

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A quick bit of Telith. I know, I should have added more, but finishing Jorick’s story took a lot out of me.

**

Telith drove through the night, finally stopping for a motel near sunrise. He’d had plans to stay with a coven at the half-way point, but there was no way he was going to make it.

The room was nice enough, and the window covered in two layers of sun-blocking curtains. Telith dropped into bed fully clothed and dialed Roger’s number. The phone rang and rang, finally going to voicemail.

That doesn’t bode well.

He tried some of the other guards. With each voicemail hello, he got more and more concerned. He’d blown Roger off – who could really attack the citadel? – but maybe it was serious. Maybe they’d all been butchered.

Especially if it really was the Hand of Death.

Telith swore and tried the number for the guard’s office, but got a busy signal. It was the same for the Executioner’s office, the welcome office, and the staff check-in point. He didn’t have the number for the seed office on his phone, or any of the other contact points, but he suspected they’d be the same, anyway. Damn, was the citadel even standing? Or was it a smoldering wreck? He pictured a scene from The Towering Inferno, the actors replaced with his fellow vampires.

Even if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do, he told himself. He was on his way, going as fast as he could.

I have to stop. If I keep going, I’ll end up burned to a crisp, too.  Not by fire, but by the sun.

The most inconvenient part of immortality.

He rolled over and closed his eyes, but his brain kept playing imaginary scenes. He saw an army led by a faceless goliath. They swarmed across the rural location, knocking down the grain elevators, burning the seed office and other outbuildings, blowing up the train cars.

Except there aren’t train cars there, anymore, he reminded himself. The spur that had once brought grain the elevators, and vampires to the citadel, was closed now.

The small change in scenario did nothing to improve his mental landscape. The Hand of Death’s undead army continued their attack, bombs exploding. His imagination switched to the floors beneath the ground, where plaster rained down. Vampires screamed, crushed to death as the floors collapsed, leaving piles of rubble and twisted, broken limbs.

Stop thinking about it! He shouted at himself. There was nothing he could do. He wouldn’t get there until late tomorrow. Worrying didn’t help anyone.

But it doesn’t stop me from doing it.

**

Telith woke as the sun sank the next evening. He leapt from the bed, grabbed his stuff, and headed out without even changing.  His meal was a snack at the side of the road; using his phantom powers to make himself invisible long enough to pounce on deer.

He wanted more blood, but he let the animal breakaway, and headed back for his car. He should have taken an airplane. That would have been faster. He never thought of planes, though, not right off. Hell, his first instinct was still a horse. Cars and planes hadn’t existed for the first two-thirds of his life, and for some reason his brain didn’t want to let go of that.

He was a good piece down the road when he decided to try Roger again. A great idea, but his phone was dead. The charger wasn’t plugged in – had he left it at Bray’s? – so he tossed the device in the passenger seat. What did it matter, anyway? It’s not like any of them can answer.

Because they’re dead.

He was sure of that, sure they’d all been slaughtered. Maybe the Hand of Death had swept through, killing them one by one in magnificent sprays of crimson. He imagined the floor wet with the blood of so many dead, and saw the monster-like man wading through the carnage, tearing his enemies apart with his bare hands.

**

continued next week

now for guesses:

pic: Jonathan

topic: Colleen

  1. faster than the bear 2. run! 3. fly, you fools 4. dinner time 5. wildlife photography 6. a day in the country 7. get away

Blogophilia 10.11 Tellith Part 1

It’s time for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog. This week;s prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 10.11 Topic – TMI (Too Much Information)
BONUSES:** Hard (2 pts) Include a line from Mark Twain’s ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’
Easy (1 pt) Include a mode of transportation

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I was trying to do complete (or at least half) stories, but it;s not happening this week because most of my writing time is going to the Jorick short that will be in the Creature Feature anthology.

This story takes place during the end of Ashes of Deceit. (book 4 in my series)

***

Tellith wedged the edge of the blade under the flap of loose paint. He scraped, watching the bits of old paint drop down to the plastic. With a flick of his wrist he started again, on another chunk. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

With a huff of impatience, he blew a frizzy curl off his forehead and looked at his brother. The opposite of Tellith, Bray was pale with red-gold hair and freckles. The disparity wasn’t caused by an unfaithful mother, or a philandering father. In truth, they weren’t brown brothers, but had become so in the afterlife. Turned by the same master, they were brothers in blood.

And that was the only reason Tellith was there now instead of at the citadel. He was burning up two week’s worth of vacation to help Bray paint his den. It was a tedious job that he was sick of already.

“Why don’t you just hire someone to do this?” he asked testily.

Bray paused scraping to roll his. “You know anyone? It’s not like I can hire a human crew. Business hours…”

It was a valid excuse, but Tellith wasn’t interested in admitting it. “Yeah. Yeah. You’re just lucky they let me off for this.”

They went back to their work. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Finally, Bray asked, “You’re still just a guard?”

Tellith tried not to be annoyed with the question. “A greater guard, but yes. Though at the rate the Executioners are dying lately I’ve got a chance.”

“Oh?”

It was obviously a polite inquiry with no interest behind it, but Tellith felt like making Bray suffer. “The Hand of Death has been back at things, apparently. I don’t know that you’ve heard of him?”

“Not really,” Bray muttered.

Tellith bit back a smile and launched into a long winded story about a vampire named Jorick, the legendary Hand of Death, son of Malick, the head of the Executioners. Jorick had been an Executioner once, long ago. After trying to kill everyone in the citadel, he’d retired only to resurface a few months ago.

“Since then, five Executioners have died.”

Bray stopped scraping to look at him. “You don’t have that many of them, do you?”

“Twelve. So Jorick has wiped out almost half of them. Of course they’ve been replaced.” He started on a long drone about the process; how Malick called the candidates before him, probed their minds, and made his choice, but his ringing cellphone interrupted him.

“better get that,” Bray said with relief.

Tellith was tempted not to, just to aggravate him, but he tugged the device out. Roger’s name flashed on the screen, and on a whim he answered.

“Well hello! You just had to bother me on my vaca-”

Roger cut him off. “Where are you?”

Tellith gave an impatient huff. “I already tried to tell you. I’m on vacation, helping Bray repaint his den. You remember, he was in the coven with me-”

“Yeah, yeah. We’re under attack here!”

Tellith blinked at the partially scraped house. “What? Are you serious? What’s going on?”

“No, I’m joking,” Roger said sarcastically. “Yes. I’m serious! Get your ass back here before we’re all killed!”

“It’s a two day drive from here. If I left this minute-”

“You’d be here in time to bury us, maybe,” Roger snapped.

Bray looked up from his work. “What is it?”

“It’s Roger. He’s a greater guard, too. He says they’re being attacked.” Just then he heard the sound of an explosion on the other end of the line. “Holy shit. What was that? Roger?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m here. I think they’re blasting their way into the citadel!”

“Who is?” Tellith practically shouted.

“I have to go. I’ll see you if you ever get here, assuming I’m not dead!”

“Roger!” Tellith yelled into the phone, but it did no good. The line went dead.

He thought about calling Roger back, but if he really was fighting for his life it would just be a nuisance. Frustrated, he jammed his phone back into his pocket.

“What the hell is going on?” Bray asked, his task temporarily forgotten.

“I don’t know. It might be the Hand of Death.”

Bray shook out of his surprise and turned back to his work. “Aren’t you glad you’re here?”

“No. I’m going to have to go back.”

Bray spun back to him. “Are you kidding? You promised me two weeks, but you’ve only been here one. We haven’t even started to paint yet! Besides, it’s safer here! Why would you want to go running back? You sad yourself this Hand of Death killed half the citadel once. Do you want involved in that? The average man don’t like trouble and danger.”

“But I’m not average,” Tellith said, tossing the paint scraper onto the patio table. “I’m sorry, Bray, but I have to go. They’ll be requesting me officially pretty soon, anyway.”

Bray sighed. “Fine, man, whatever.”

“Look, I’m sorry-”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll just have to prostitute out the rest of the coven to raise enough money to hire someone that won’t ask questions, like why we’re not home all day. No big deal.”

“That’s a little TMI,” Tellith smirked. “You’ll be fine. We were almost done scraping, and you could make the rest of your lazy ass coven do the painting.”

“Good luck with that. The prostituting thing was more likely.”

Tellith chuckled as he ducked inside the house and hurried to the back room where his bag was. He gathered up the things he’d scattered around the house; bath supplies, extra clothes, a book, and hurried back out to his car.

Bray waited as he threw the bag in the backseat and climbed in. “You could come with me,” Tellith suggested.

“Hardly,” Bray answered. “Good luck not getting killed by the hand of the dead, or whatever his name is.”

“Jorick,” Tellith called as he fired the vehicle up. “And thanks! Good luck to you with your paint!”

He peeled off, leaving a spray of dirt and gravel behind in his haste.

Not that I’ll get there in time to do anything except bury them.

**

Guesses:

pic: Nissmech

topic: Stephen

  1. traffic jam 2. in the city 3. downtown 4. overcrowding 5. summer in the city 6. limousine races 7. city traffic 8. Busy afternoon 9. transportation 10. they need some stop lights.
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