That statement seemed to finally snap me out of my stupor. I studied the yellow-stained wall and channeled my rage. Yes, I did burn. I touched a fingertip to the table below me. It was all I could reach, but it would be enough. Burn, baby, burn.

“Stop that!” Ethel screamed at me. I couldn’t imagine how she thought that would actually make me stop.

“Blood. If I touched her blood, it might help me know what she is,” the cypher gasped, seemingly oblivious to the blue fire that was swiftly engulfing the table I lay on.

“Blood, yes, her blood,” the demon snarled, bringing his snapping teeth down to my neck. I screamed, finally unable to hold it back.

The door burst open and the strange girl from the lobby stood there, holding a ridiculously huge gun in each hand. She didn’t hesitate, leveling the one in her right hand straight at the cypher, and taking his head off clean with one quick shot. It exploded, splattering the room, breaking my concentration for a long moment while I stared at the strange girl.

Ethel screamed and screamed, but the girl’s rough bark of a voice somehow drowned her out. “Banish the demon, or your head is next, hag.”

Something about the girl’s voice and the words she used triggered some kind of recognition, and I studied her, shocked and stunned.

The demon roared, scuttling towards the girl with it’s nightmarish gait. “Now or never, hag,” the girl barked, and the hag began to chant, her voice breaking in panic.

It was suddenly easier to breath in the room, and I let my flames abate as I realized that the demon had just disappeared.

Ethel chanted for a few more beats and then just stopped, raising her hands in a sign of peace to the girl. “He’s gone. Caged away. He’ll make me pay for that.”

The girl nodded, her face expressionless. It was then that I was positive of her identity. Her next move proved it. She raised her gun and shot the hag in the head, taking it clean off.

I shut my eyes in relief.

“The walls are still burning,” Caleb told me, in that strange girl’s voice.

I nodded. “This place is going to burn down. I got the fire too deep into the walls to stop it.”

I began to sit up, but Caleb was there, in that strange body, picking me up. “You’re seriously off of your game today, Jillian. That hag shouldn’t have been able to hold you so easily.”

I couldn’t argue. He was right. My injured body combined with my absent healing regeneration had seriously crippled me in there. It was embarrassing, especially in front of badass Caleb. “The fact that I attempted something like that at all should tell you just how off of my game I am at the moment.”

“Yes, that was amazingly idiotic. You need to bite the bullet and go see Dom.” He carried me out of the building in that tiny body amazingly fast, not even breathing heavy under my weight.

“I can walk,” I told him. He set me down, taking me at my word. I sighed, knowing I owed him now. “Thank you, Caleb. You know I owe you.”

He smiled, a cold little smile, just as creepy in that girl’s face. “Yes. Never a dull moment with the sisters. So what’s your plan now? Hopefully it’s something better than this fiasco.”

I sighed again, tired and unhappy with the way things had turned out. All of that, and I still had this f**king geas on my wrist. At least I had tried. “First, I need to stop by our house and grab some clothes. Then, possibly a quick trip to the spa.”

He just kept staring at me, waiting for me to finish. “Spa?”

“Yes. It’s a stupid girl thing. Obviously, you won’t understand.”

“You’re right. Ok. Spa. Then what?”

I grimaced. “Then I get this f**king geas off my wrist.”



 The Vegas weather was at it’s most manic, going from a bright sunny morning, and then switching to a late afternoon of flash floods, lightning, and thunder. It was a particularly violent one, even for the season. As I headed from our house at the lower part of the valley, to the strip, I actually saw some crazy teenagers trying to body board in it. I shook my head at the sight. Crazy mortal humans, always acting like death was so far-fetched.

The drive seemed unbelievably short, since I dreaded my destination so completely. It wasn’t lost on me that the mercurial weather matched my mood. Dread and anticipation both had a firm hold on me, warring until I couldn’t have said which one held more sway.

I got some strange looks as I pulled up to the covered valet station in Christian’s slightly singed, but still whole, porsche.

The thunderstorm raged gloriously behind me, but my hands were steady as I flicked my car keys at the valet. I strode into The Grove Hotel and Casino like I owned the place. I drew plenty of stares in my black latex getup, thigh high boots almost reaching my mini-skirt, and a corset complementing my diamond collar. My face was an alabaster mask with blood-red lips. I wore a pitch-black, jaw-length wig with straight bangs that just touched my eyebrows. Oversized silver hoop earrings completed my ensemble. I had dipped into Lynn’s wardrobe for the outing. I reflected ruefully that the Ren fair costumes must have in some way influenced my fashion sense.

In spite of myself, I felt kinda cute in the ridiculous disguise. Which, of course, made me question myself for going to so much trouble. I mean, sure, I needed a disguise for the security cameras. But what purpose did the brazilian bikini wax serve? And getting waxed was not something you wanted to do while an anti-regeneration spell was working powerfully on a bruised up body. I would not be doing that again.

I kept my eyes and features in their natural state, but wore a pair of dark, heavy, Dior sunglasses. This whole exercise would serve no purpose if Dom couldn’t recognize me.

A receptionist was stationed at a desk in front of the elevators that led to the office suites of the hotel. Several security guards stood in front of the elevator doors behind her.

I gave her a smile that was all teeth and blood red lips. She was a pretty young thing, with light red hair and bow-shaped lips. The part of my mind that was a masochist wondered if she was one of the many women he was rumored to be sleeping with.

“May I help you?” she asked in a professional tone. She was eyeing me up and down. The look on her face was not friendly.

I perched a hip on her desk. “Yes, you may. I’m here to see Dom. If you could tell him I’m here...”

She gave me a totally blank face. “I’m sorry. No one by that name works here.”

My smile turned unpleasant, and I leaned closer to her. “Give your Arch a ring and tell him that Jillian is here to see him.” I saw recognition light her face at my name. And then animosity. “Call him now, or I’ll make a big enough scene that he’ll see me himself on the security cameras.”

Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires