Well, I’d learned two useful and unfortunate pieces of information with that errand. One was that Casey’s boyfriend was on to our little chats, probably had been for awhile, if he had resorted to be-spelling her. The other was that, whether they wanted to or not, Mav and Michael wouldn’t be able to just forget that I existed. It was obvious that the attention of more higher-ups had been caught. On the bright side, if Dom was one of those higher ups, I was pretty sure I would know it by now.

I was speeding down Tropicana Avenue when it started again. I started to tremble. I barely pulled over before I lost control of my body. A familiar force pushed against my mind, and this time I didn’t fight it.

At first I didn’t understand what I was seeing. It was all wrong. “I should not be looking at you like this,” I told my other form. The dragon was more beautiful than I had realized, gazing at it from the outside for the first time. It was all glowing, shifting colors, as it’s long form writhed in agony. It’s eyes were the same palest aquamarine I had in human form. “Why is this happening?” I asked it. It didn’t answer. It was hard to pull my eyes away from it’s entrancing beauty, but I did for a brief moment, and I perceived that all that surrounded us was an inky blackness. Suddenly, all of that blackness turned to a shinning silver. Water seemed to surround us at every angle. It laid it’s body on the shifting ground, head nearly touching me. Was it going to sleep, or laying down to die?

It rolled suddenly onto it’s back, showing me it’s belly. I stepped close, but couldn’t touch it. “What’s happening to us?” I asked it. It had clearly brought me here to show me, but I was not as perceptive as I needed to be. It began to moan in pain. A twin pain brought me to my knees, clutching my middle. Suddenly it’s moan turned to a roar of agony. I tried to shield my ears from the noise, but instead found myself voicing the same agony in my human throat.

As the noise died down I realized I was lying beside my other self, close to mirroring it’s pose, our limbs almost touching. I turned my head to meet it’s eyes. So much anguish floated in their depths that I gasped. Was this what I had always dreaded?

“It can’t be the madness.” My voice was a hoarse whisper. I was too young, and I’d been doing so much to prevent it. Surrounding myself with humans on a nearly daily basis, staying in human form more than dragon. Everything we had ever learned about preventing the brain sickness that lived in our bloodline, I had practiced as part of a daily routine. I was damn near OCD about it. It’s tormented roar was my only answer. I blacked out.

CHAPTER FOUR

About That Crazy

Day 2

I woke up in a bitch of a mood. My body hurt even worse than it had the day before, when I had dragged my bruised ass back home late, falling into bed.

I could smell something burning, and I strongly suspected that it was my bed. I just lay there for awhile, feeling odd for some reason. I mentally catalogued the reasons I felt so weird. It may have been the fact that I had a spell suspending the powerful regeneration that my body was accustomed to. It could also be that I had more than likely incinerated some of the important parts of my bed while I slept. Wouldn’t that be fun to explain? But no, It was something else. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

I finally got up, stomping into the bathroom. I didn’t even look back at the bed. I had no desire to see what kind of damage I had done while I slept. I had just redecorated my bedroom, and I had really liked the fresh new look. It was a mix of orange and brown bedding with a dark, heavy wood bed frame, and matching furniture. It was just the style that I was into at the moment. I hadn’t even had time to get sick of it yet. I slammed my door on the mess.

I just stared at my reflection for a long minute, before what I was looking at sank in. “What the f**k?” I shouted at my reflection. Ok, I could be a drama queen. I could be honest about it. But this was almost too much for my teetering sanity.

My long blond hair had been so straight that it didn’t even bend for more years than I cared to count. At the moment, however, I was looking at a head-full of corkscrew curls. They were curled up so tightly that my hair was now a half a foot shorter. I looked vaguely like a grown up, battered version of Shirley Temple.

I just stared at myself, frozen for a long moment. I had the pale aquamarine eyes that were a trademark of my family. They were so pale that, when my pupils were dilated, as they were now, my eyes could look almost completely white. Our eyes had been called many things. Haunting, ghostly, ethereal, other-worldly, beautiful, eery, creepy. Right now mine narrowed with the look of faint disgust on my face.

“What’s goin’ on?” Lynn’s muted voice came from my bedroom, shaking me out of my reverie.

I opened my bathroom door, and just stared at my sister. Her short black hair was sticking up in every direction. This was extremely unusual for her. Lynn’s hair usually did precisely what she wanted it to. It was the polar opposite of my hair, which usually did nothing at all. It wouldn’t even take to dye. The stuff just washed out.

But the messy hair wasn’t the problem. What really bothered me was the shiner covering her right eye. “What happened to you?” I asked her.

“What the HELL?” she asked me at the same time.

“I woke up like this.” I fingered my curls.

“You beat yourself up in your sleep?” She raised a brow at me.

“Oh, that,” I said stupidly. “That was Druids. Who gave you the shiner?”

“Hell if I know.” She looked disgusted with her answer. “Druids? Really? That’s not good. So Dom found you?”

“Not exactly. It’s complicated, but for the moment, I have it under control. Ish. Just avoid the shop for a few days.” There was no trail to connect the store to our house, which was no accident. Welcome to the Church of Paranoia. I founded it. “Have your goths call in some of their friends if they need extra help.” As I spoke, Lynn noticed my bed. I followed her gaze and cursed. Her jaw hung open. The linens and much of the mattress were charred black.

She kept looking at me, then at the bed, her mouth trying to form words. I was at a loss for words, as well. Finally I sneered at the bed, then shrugged at Lynn. “The bed started it,” I told her, then swept past her, out of the room.

Two of Lynn’s human goth followers were hanging out in the dinning room. I nodded at them as I passed through to the kitchen. They nodded back solemnly. Yes, Lynn has followers. Followers as in, they think she’s a goddess and sort of worship her as such. It was a generational gap between us. I had missed out on that whole instinct to be worshipped thing. In fact, the thought of someone showing me that kind of adoration made my skin crawl. It was, however, a constant source of entertainment for me to watch her do it. And to give her shit for it.


Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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