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You can take the man out of the Bayou...



 
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Nicolas Murray

One might think that being on a three hour flight with a quasi vampire that had never actually been on a plane would be a treat. A TREAT. One would be undead wrong. Nic was sure that he still had nail marks in the skin of his hand from when she had grabbed on to him during the turbulence. And the take off. And the landing.

It was a good thing he had thick skin.

He might end having scars, but he definitely had thick skin.

It was also a good thing that the flight offered alcohol service, but one wouldn’t expect much less in first class. If they had to fly, at least they were going to fly in style. Considering it would be the last ‘style’ thing either of them would experience for a really long time, it seemed like the right way to go.

Which, of course, seemed like the perfect time to tell her all about his family and what they were getting themselves into. After the first few drinks, of course. With her new, er, affliction, alcohol seemed to affect her more potently than when she had taken that little trip down South. Way, way, South.

So, Kat, there’s a chance we will see my parents who I haven’t spoken to in ten years. Then there’s the aunts, the uncles, and the tribe of cousins and second cousins. He was at least an only child, so no siblings or small children running around calling him Uncle Nicky. No, that nickname was reserved especially for her.

The only family that mattered was the one that they actually came here to visit. And her. His Kat. The family of his choice, of his heart, and the other half of his entire being. Yes, it was cheesy and over the top, but she really was part of his soul in more than just the way people threw those words around. He could literally feel her, inside of him, mingled with his own spirit.

Inseparable.

Even now as the taxi drove them out of New Orleans, the back filled with their trunks and bags, his arm was wrapped around her in the back seat and had pulled her against him. There wasn’t much to be said as they stared out the window together as they fled civilization and went further into the swamp.

He could feel her tension. Even if he wasn’t literally touching her, her slim figure tucked into his frame and his chin on the top of her head, he would feel it. He could feel everything she felt. He knew how she felt about this place, and he knew how much it meant that she’d even agreed to come here with him.

Because, despite the fact that things weren’t always easy and they were still learning, they were doing it together because these two crazy kids were crazy about each other. Fated.

There was nothing in this world he wouldn’t do for this woman, even if it was drag her to the one place in this world that he knew she didn’t want to go. It would help her, though. It had to.

Trees, wetlands, lights getting scarcer and scarcer until the car started to turn off and down a road marked by a single wooden sign with numbers scrawled in black paint. The driveway was long and lined with those same trees that had decorated the side of the road. Moss hung in lazy curtains down from branches, the same way that everything seemed to have a lazy quality in this City. Well, not City so much anymore.

They had been quiet for so long that he wondered if she was still awake, and would gently shake her as they pulled up to the house. “Mon Chat, we’re here.”

House was....not really accurate. Cabin? Shack? A bunch of sticks that somehow the big bad wolf hadn’t managed to blow down?

Shack would suffice.

The land around the building was flat and solid, though if you went even just a hundred feet in any direction, you would run into the swampy wetlands that this part of the country was famous for.

The building itself? Well. It was four walls. They didn’t match, the wood that made up those walls, different slabs slapped together but not shoddily. There was actual workmanship, if you looked close enough. It was obvious that nobody had looked enough in a very...very...long time. There was a small front porch up three stairs, two beams holding up the roof to keep it covered. That roof was sagging, though, heavy with the mugginess of the air. There was even a rocking chair there. Of course there was. It wouldn’t be a proper bayou shack if there wasn’t, even though it looked like it would break into a thousand pieces if anyone actually sat in it.

Home sweet home.

The man who had lived here for years since leaving his parents’ house when he was seventeen didn’t look like the kind of man that had lived her for years after leaving his parents’ house at seventeen. Nic, even now, was polished as ever. Dark blue slacks and a lighter blue button up, the sleeves rolled neatly up to his elbows. Black dress shoes and a watch that cost more than most people’s cars. This is where he came from.

You might be thinking he’d be ashamed of where he came from. No. Not even a little. And just being back in this state, in this outcrop of the city, was enough to deepen the Cajun in his words and the depth in his voice.

Though, really, his actual home was still seated in the back of the taxi with him.

“I don’t think we need to change into our rubber boots...just yet.”
October 10, 2019 02:15 am

Katherine Murray

There was absolutely nothing worse for Katherine than having to take the so-called normal methods of travel; for her, it was instantaneous, a mere thought and she could find herself wrapped in a familiar void and whisked away to parts unknown. This, this flight; it was embarrassing to say the least for someone that never relied on these kinds of methods.

And, of course, it had literally nothing to do with the fact they were on a plane headed straight for New Orleans; lies, soooo many liiiiiiess.

It was one thing trying to lie to herself, Kat could live with that; but to her husband, well, he had this really judgy face and even though he was really pretty and kept handing her drinks to calm her down, the blonde was not really wanting to deal with that look in the current moment.

She probably would have thrown him from the plane.

Not that she’d let him die, she was pretty sure that in crunch time, the shadows would come to her, would help.

Possibly.

Again, with the lies.

Katherine would say that she was probably going to hell for that, but; been there; done that.

Still a touchy subject; should probably not joke about it.

Moving on; flight bad. Taxi, worse.

Katherine really despised not being able to control things; who knew that was a problem that she had, especially when she married the biggest control freak, she had ever met. This was not necessarily a bad thing, well, for her, at this moment, it was utterly dreadful; any other time, sure, she’d go along with generally anything her husband wanted, it was easier that way.

False sense of security, amiright?

It might have worked out for her a little better if said husband didn’t know what she was thinking.

Always.

Which is probably why he hadn’t brought up the fact that she was being dumped in the middle of nowhere, no back-up, with his family, since their flight; it was fine, everything was fine.

Really, nothing to worry about at all.

Except that his house was a literal shack and she pretty sure there was not sufficient room for her, her books, and the tagalongs, little less the large quantities of alcohol she was going to need to survive this, great, what a time for a family vacation.

Don’t get it twisted, she wasn’t unhappy about the turn of events that had brought them here; truly, Katherine preferred these backwoods, had no freaking clue where she really was, place to the stifling cities that she had frequented lately.

She missed Scotland.

This would do, for a few days.

Plus, she agreed to come.

Maybe in his little shack she could fix herself.

Or try to not knock it over.

Same thing?

Ok. So. We know that it’s inevitable; destruction cometh and her name is Katherine. His house was basically gone and he didn’t even know it yet, poor Nicky. Probably should have just not made his wife come here to meet his crazy aunt and the rest of his family, but nooooo.

Yeah, she was internally whining and, he, with his perceptive nature and well, the bond they have; would know exactly how she felt, no matter if her serene (this is really laughable but, she is trying) disposition wasn’t giving anything away. This was what love really was, at least for them, they’d had an incredible start, likely somewhat violent, so why on earth would this be anything different.

At least they had one another.

Right, the boots, that she just had to have; it was him that said so, so confusion washed over her visage as she watched their items being unloaded (still debatable if those things were going to fit in this tiny house), Kat could not understand exactly why would they need rubber boots if they were not going to use them.

Yep, this was why he was in charge.

The lithe blonde, well, she was just along for the ride.

Necromancer, a chinchilla, two ghosts...

And her, the neurotic semi-vampire with a power outage.

Absolutely nothing could go wrong.

Right?

Right?!!

“Fine, no boots. How about a drink?”

She really could use a drink.

Drama queen.
October 10, 2019 12:30 pm

Nicolas Murray

“Yet, Mon Chat. Yet. Believe me, there will be plenty of time to break them in. Preferably not in the dark, though?”

Drama Queen.

Yeah, but his drama queen.

“Come on. I promise, the first thing we will unpack will be the booze. Even before Chinkilla.” That rodent was already making noise at the prospect from his cage on the floor of the cab and Nic gave him a look that would do absolutely nothing to settle him. Okay, Nic smiled instead. He’d have to remember to give the creature a snack later. Or, better yet, let him go out hunting in the swamp as long as he could find his way back.

Which, of course he would. The thing had survived a raucous trip to Mexico. What was a little stay in the Bayou?

He untangled his arms from around his wife’s body and opened the door behind him, almost literally pulling her out after. There was a whining groan. It wasn’t from him.

It was a good thing he loved her, or else he’d probably pick her up and toss her to the gators before this little excursion was over. At least they would eat all the evidence. But...then he’d be haunted by her, and her parents, and possibly a chinchilla. It just wasn’t worth it.

Of course there was the whole fact that if she actually ever did get hurt, he would and could never get over it. Bonded or not, this woman was his whole damned world. The intensity of his emotions for her was so much more complicated than simply a man loving a woman.

There was no other creature on this goddamn green earth that could compare, or that could complete him the way that she did.

Even if they fought.

Even if they were both @ssholes.

They were each others @ssholes.

Now at least, after he grabbed the cage obviously, they were all out of the car after the long ride and could stretch for a moment. For Nic, it was literally just a moment as he couldn’t let the man who had driven them there unload everything himself.

He was obviously a gentleman.

Also, he wanted to get the dude gone as soon as possible. There’s no telling what Katherine would do once he actually took her inside. But, that’s exactly what he was going to do. Hand in hand, the other occupied with a cage, he lead her down the gravel walkway on to that small porch and opened the door.

There was no need for a key. Who was going to break into a place that looked like it was standing on its last two legs?

“Just, eh, don’t mind the smell. We can air it out a bit.” He pulled her through that door. One might call it dragging, but he’d be nice and just call it a firm pull. And, he flipped the switch of the light, illuminating the tiny space in all of its charm.

The walls of the place were probably once white. Age had yellowed them and the drywall was stained with water damage in some places but there was no mold. It definitely had a musty, hasn’t been lived in in years, kind of smell to it.

Three rooms.

One was the living area where there was an aged brown leather sofa that had been covered in plastic to protect it from the damp southern nights. And days. Hell, everything about New Orleans was damp. The small coffee table and end table. They were in decent shape, but hadn’t been new in probably fifty years and had that ornate scrollwork that was so popular in oak furniture back then. The television was one of those big box ones that was wooden and looked more like furniture than electronics. A DVD player, some videos.

He should probably get rid of some of those.

There was a rug on the worn wooden floor that could have been blue...or green...maybe even red at some point. Now it was just different shades of faded brown that was eaten away at the edges by time and probably rodents.

Other than the chinchilla.

Behind the ‘living room’ (hah!) was a little kitchenette with a black propane stove that was free standing. It was, honestly, the only heating and cooking implement in the place. There were a small bank of counters, a sink with hopefully running water. A refrigerator, hey even a microwave! Sure it was brown and ugly and probably weighed as much as Kat did, but it had worked the last time he was here.

In the middle of the kitchen area was a small table that matched the coffee and end ones. It was just big enough for two oak chairs.

Cozy, right? Just the place you want to go as a newlywed couple.

There was no way in hell all of her things would fit in here.

That meant he’d have to get busy soon, making calls and such, if they were going to stay for any length of time.

If one were to wander through the place, one would find a spartan bedroom. Bed, nightstand, dresser and closet in such close proximity that he could barely walk around the edge of the bed without bumping his knee on the plain metal frame. Did he mention it was a double? Good thing they didn’t mind being cozy.

The bathroom was a toilet, a pedestal sink with mirror and vanity light, and a large copper tub that was more than able to fit two. There just wasn’t any faucet on it. It also looked like it was set on top of tile where a shower might have been at some point. Oh, and then there was the big metal bucket beside it.

Rustic. Right.

She was going to be the one to feed him to the gators.

“I know it needs a little work.” HAHAHAHA. “But, this is where I spent many years of my life. If I can survive it, then we can survive it together.” Right? Right.

Maybe.
October 10, 2019 09:29 pm

Katherine Murray

Katherine was pretty damn sure that her face had frozen in a perpetual ‘this is great!’ kind of face, even as he had dragged her from the cabbie and into his home; oh, no she wasn’t concerned about the rustic nature of the place, she had survived a couple of World Wars with nothing but candles, oil lanterns, and books.

And death.

But that didn’t really matter right now.

Nope; barely any running water, snakes, alligators, crazy family.

The blonde was pretty well expecting things to be as they were, (Ok, not the shack but she is trying to be positive); hell, as long as she had booze and her husband, she’d be quite alright.

Until.

UNTIL.

Cerulean gaze fell on that monstrosity of a... television?

What in the seven circles of Hell was that thing?

To clarify her reaction, first you’d have to understand it wasn’t until recently that Katherine even started using the technology of this day and age; in fact, it wasn’t until she had hidden in a friend’s attic for many months that she had acquired a phone. So, for her to not know exactly what was wrapped around what appeared to be TV like, it wasn’t a far stretch; Kat pretty much still thought that the Siri on her phone was still a little God that demanded attention.

And sacrifice.

Again, that really doesn’t matter at the moment.

The TV did.

It really seemed like an odd fixation, in the grand scheme of things, for sure; but if anyone knew the woman, it really wasn’t completely out of character.

Neither was ignoring every word her husband spoke.

Oh, Kat heard him and he would know she did; she just was purposefully refusing to acknowledge the words that drifted between them, it might seem rude, however, again, you’d have to really know her to comprehend the things that she does.

And only Nicolas had that privilege.

One that kept them glued to one another; separation issues, sure, that was normal.

Kat was pretty sure that had a lot to do with her idiotic chess move against a God; stabbing oneself did not promote the adamant diatribe of being able to protect her own damn self, he definitely wasn’t letting her out of his sight for some time.

She couldn’t complain too much.

Too much...

Right, digressing.

There was no way she was moving very far from the spot he had pushed her to, she had no desire to snoop around the house; nor would she admit that she was afraid. Very afraid; not of her husband, nor the time they would spend here, but being vamplite as she had (not so) fondly been calling it, Katherine was actually afraid they’d need a tetanus shot.

Heh.

Merde.

Her husband was going to kill her.

...again.

Again, again.

Right, talky thing.

“Yes, work. Lots of work.” It was amazing that she could even get her mouth to move considering her widened eyes had yet to peel away from the television set. “Booze first, please.”

Yeah, she wasn’t going to let that one go; large quantities of liquor could make everything seem far more appealing, even if the wilds of the land surrounding the house could offer the balm that she so needed, there was no way that woman was making this easy on him.

It was her job after all.

Annoy and love him; it was a tough gig, but someone had to do it.

And now...

“I have a question...”

Because, of course she does; the moment they walked inside and her eyes fell on the box in what was, she supposed, the living area. “Why is the television wearing a cardboard box?
October 14, 2019 01:34 pm

Nicolas Murray

He watched her face as she took the small living area in. Now, don’t get him wrong. He liked her face. No, he loved her face. I mean, with the eyes and the lips and the eyebrows, how could he not? It also just happened to belong to her, which was a plus all on its own.

But he knew her and he could read her like a f*cking book. She might be trying to hide it, but obviously this wasn’t the Ritz Carlton. It wasn’t even a hovel. It was his, though. Okay, it was technically his Aunt’s, but they would get to that bit later.

Booze first, please

That’s all he needed to know about how she actually felt. Considering her tolerance was next to nothing since her return from Hades, he really debated on finding the trunk with the alcohol in it.

Thing was, she wasn’t always a nice drunk.

In fact, she liked to try pick fights.

Try being the operative word. He had the last name to prove it.

Still, he would concede and let her have her way. He could take her if she got ornery. “Sure thing, Mon Amour. Let me find the box and bring it in.”

In the morning. In the morning he would take her and show her everything that this place had to offer. The old house that was a few miles walking distance. The pier where the a small boat was hopefully still docked and in working condition where they could paddle through the deeper parts of the swamp and explore.

Really, it had been a pretty amazing way to grow up. Even before he’d moved here, he often spent time with his Auntie on her property. It was a great respite from home and the sh*t they put him through there. This was literally the only good memory of his childhood, and he wanted to share it with her.

His wife.

Even if she was staring at the television like it had sprouted horns and wings and was about to leap at them and eat them in one large gulp.

He sighed, running his hand through his hair and trying not to be irritated. He really was. He was the one that had dragged her and their lives here for now, so he had to have some compassion for the fact that this was completely outside of her comfort zone.

Then.

Why is that television wearing a cardboard box?

Okay. How could you be angry or even slightly upset when she said things like that? You wouldn’t think that a hundred year old vampire could be adorable. You would, as it were, be dead f*cking wrong.

He couldn’t help it.

He started to laugh. Hard. It was a crack in the surface tension that had begun building in the room since they had gotten here. So, he walked over to it and rapped his fist on the top. “What you have here, Cher, is a solid, state of the art, 1960s Magnavox color television. Why, every household that was worth their salt had one of these bad boys.”

He did his best impression of Vanna White, showing off the features. “Here you have the speaker on the side. Who needs surround sound when you can have tinny and muffled? And, if you get these antenna just right, you can pick up at least six local channels. That is, as long as there isn’t any rain, or clouds, or even too much sun.”

Nic’s accent got thicker, deeper, the more he spoke until he was right down deep into it and that cajun slithered out from his lips like he had never left the Bayou state.

“Now, let me go and see about these libations my dear wife has asked for.” Okay, he was just playing it up now. A grin spread over his lips as he set down the cage he had brought from the car in front of her.

When he walked by her, he placed a soft kiss on her temple and went outside to rifle through the packages to find what she asked for. Of course he would lug it in himself. I mean, let’s be honest. He was going to end up bringing it all in himself.
October 14, 2019 08:18 pm

Katherine Murray

There was a time when everyone should stop and try to reflect on the past traumas, behaviors in their lives, decisions that had led them to that integral moment; inner speculation, a type of meditation, as it were. Not in regret, obviously, but a way to allow the things of history to meet with the present, to allow themselves the closure they so need, the ending of an era, so to speak, so that they can move forward with purpose, a clean start and a new life.

Katherine, though it may seem that she rarely even thought of the past, was suddenly having it all brought back up again; death, parents, deals gone wrong, Louisiana. It was all rushing toward her; of course, some of that wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t actually her fault, but look, if you think she’s ever going to admit that, you’d probably die of old age first.

Hell, she might die of an old age first.

And that was quite literally impossible.

Maybe.

Another thing that she would not willingly admit, she had no idea what in the hell was going on with her and if her husband thought his aunt could help; well, who was she to naysay this trip, Kat could pout about it, but tell him no.

Never.

She might even tell him that he was right to force the issue.

Now, if she could learn to reflect on exactly, she had come to marry this nutjob going on about that very weird television, they might get somewhere; but no, she instead was staring at him like he had grown a second head before she could manage a weak smile.

It was official; the blonde was going to need some help.

And not in the form of liquid courage that her husband had ran off to find.

Chicken sh-t.

Beating a hasty retreat after such a wonderfully expressive introduction to his television.

That was fine. It was all fine.

Seriously. FINE.

She had her phone; with limited service. Maybe a trip into some town would deal with that issue, because if she had to dance around the area attempting for some service so that she could maybe have a television sent, Katherine would lose her ever-loving mind. Not that she wasn’t doing that already, dancing around, pacing, with her phone in the air; not the losing her mind thing, that would likely be before this trip was over but she was pacing herself.

“Sh-t” A quiet utterance would break the silence (if you could call a pissed off chinchilla silent) as her pacing feet tapped against his little cage; her and Nicky would likely pay for stuffing him the cage, but Kathrine was definitely hoping for a little more help before that time would come. In truth, the sweetness in the kiss against her temple and the cadence of his accent had been a balm toward the mild irritation she possessed; but it still didn’t stop her from pulling her pet from his cage and drawing him upward to have a bit of a tête-à-tête.

“I don’t ask for much, ya wee nyaff; don’t make a vampire monkey, don’t bite me, stop chewing all of Nic’s shoes because I’m running out of places to hide them... not a lot at all. But you are going to eat this television or chew the box or whatever it is you do to ruin them. Got it? Splendid.”

Look, it wasn’t like she had never lived off-grid or with no electricity; she made it through far worse than this, but when you have the means at your disposal to have better. Then, why on earth would you not?

This was something she could point out to the man she loved, but that stubborn ass already knew these things; the man wore expensive clothing, even coming to the bayou, you’d think at least, maybe, he’d have on something far less tailored. But not her Nicky; the man just lived to provoke her.

And she; him.

Completely healthy relationship; indubitably.

Katherine had never faltered when it came to her headlong approach to most things she would have to survive over the years; she rolled with the punches and she could totally do that here.

Meet his crazy aunt. Possibly his extended family. Don’t get eaten by an alligator.

Explore the land; in truth, this is what she looked forward to.

And soon.

Before she found herself hitchhiking to the nearest town and sending a distress signal out; not a bad idea, actually. That one she’d save for later.

Now.

Right now.

She just remained where she stood and waited for alcohol; at least with that, she wouldn’t notice that there wasn’t hot water unless you boiled it.

Oh gods, please send help.

Where the fvck was the liquor?
October 16, 2019 01:08 pm

Nicolas Murray

Somehow, the two of them had made it through the night without either one of them murdering the other. Who says there’s no such thing as true love. Yes, there had been massive amounts of whiskey and scotch involved, though that was mostly because of Katherine.

Nic had been too busy trying to make the place at least somewhat habitable for the two of them. As much as he could, of course, in one night.

It wasn’t much. It was the thought that counted, right? At least they had managed to get a night’s sleep. He wouldn’t go so far as to call it a good night’s sleep.

The midnight exploration of the swamp certainly helped. Nothing like getting a little dirty to help tire you out.

Heh.

Morning. See, they’d made it unto morning. Nic was up and about already despite the fact that the sun had risen just now. He was never one to lay around all day anyways, unless it was with his wife and they were feeling particularly lazy. Or other ways. But, he had sh*t to do and it wasn’t exactly going to do itself.

He’d been banging around all morning, and it was a wonder that Kat was still even in bed to be honest. He had a feeling, maybe because he could feel the irritation coming out of the bedroom in waves, that she was already awake and had been for quite some time. It was a testament to herself that she hadn’t come out to the living area to kill him yet.

See, progress!

The worst part of construction was the prep work and he at least had tools to help him out. Deliveries would come later. And a car. He was a smart enough man to know that they couldn’t go trudging around on foot all the time, and with his wife’s shadows all a bit...wonky...they couldn’t count on them for travel.

There was no telling where they would end up.

There he was, at the moment tearing drywall down with a crowbar, a hacksaw, and a hammer. He might be a pretty boy most of the time, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know how to get messy. It didn’t mean he didn’t know how to work his ass off when he needed to. Hell, he’d done the upkeep to this place for years even if you couldn’t tell right now. Their belongings were pushed into the kitchen area for now so he could work in what one might call the living room. I mean, you could if it were bigger, but it was more just a couch and an outdated TV.

A TV that probably wouldn’t make it through the week if Kat had anything to say about it.

A white ribbed tank top, untucked, and *gasp* a pair of jeans. Sure, they were brand new and they fit him like everything else did. Like they were made for him (they were). He even had on a pair of light brown leather work boots and work gloves. He had to keep those hands safe. They had important work to do. It all used to be clean until he’d actually started working. Bits of drywall clung to his dark hair and clothing. Dust covered his face, hands, and arms, stuck there because of the sweat he’d already worked up. The humidity didn’t help.

He’d make piles and then carry them out the front door into a much larger pile outside. The whole front wall of the place was now just exposed beams, old insulation, and wires. Everything would be replaced. More would be added on. Even big projects had to start somewhere, though.

The door behind him opened, squeaking just slightly from rusted hinges. A grumbling noise. A smile on his face as he turned around, hands on hips and his head canted to the side.

“Good morning, Mon Chat.”

He crossed the small space and put his hands against her shoulders, pulling her in for a nice sweaty kiss. Who needed coffee when you could have a stinky man all up in your business?

“We have a busy day and when you’re ready...we can go over to Tante Marie’s house. She has beignets. And coffee.” Unlike others of her kind, the blood sucking variety, he knew that Kat could eat food. She didn’t have to subsist on blood alone, though she did need that too. Maybe he could soothe her with promises of fresh fried goodies.

Maybe.

Damned if he wasn’t going to try.

Somewhere in the back of his head, though, a little niggling question. Capri sun blood packs hadn't been brought over with them. Had she changed so much that she no longer needed them? Or was he going to just be her Nic sized blood bag.

Because he'd be okay with that.

Anything for the one you love, non?
October 17, 2019 07:52 pm

Katherine Murray

Morning, daylight; it was an odd thing for Katherine. She had not been able to tolerate it since that night many, many moons ago, it was, in fact, the one thing she missed from a previous life. A life she had finally accepted; part vampire, part something else entirely. But nearly reaching death again(again) had changed who she was at the core, someone that could tolerate the sun, partake in the odd refreshment that didn’t have a pulse, normal things that humankind would not know how to miss; Kat had definitely taken it for granted.

Seven years, eight months, twenty-three days, eleven hours, twenty-four minutes.

But who was counting anyway?

Until that day in the sewer; until death.

That day had killed, released, something; it was the first time in almost a century that Kat really coutldn’t get a grasp on what had truly happened. Though, despite the fact that she could barely jump through her shadows without causing bodily harm, the woman really didn’t mind.

Except for the whole over-protective, control freak husband.

She couldn’t blame him.

He did find her technically dead. Dead-er. Mostly.

Sure, it terrified him. Yes, she understood.

Just as she could completely comprehend why she was now in the Bayou.

Kat, however, didn’t have to like it.

Though the midnight romp in the swamp (regardless of mud everywhere, had helped the lissome blonde come to terms with being in a place that she had not visited in some time and now, the infernal banging since zero dark thirty, well, no amount of wildness wandering was going to turn the mood that was slowly developing her tic into a full out spasm.

She would just keep repeating one little mantra.

I love him, I cannot kill him.

Over and over, these words would be repeated as she wrapped herself in clothing, fully prepared to battle the day, or him. Whichever came first. Probably Nicky, considering as she walked out of what he called a bedroom and that smile on his face greeted her along with way too much cheer in the nickname he had bestowed upon her; who the hell was this man and what did he do with her husband?

Jeans?

Not that she was complaining, but it was just odd to seem him so... relaxed.

Honestly, it had taken her years to wear that same material; finally stealing a pair from the woman she lived with years before; she says lived with, more like Katherine had moved into her attic, took her clothes, got a cell phone, all without telling Livia anything until after she had done it. Mooched. That was the term.

Digressing.

Cheerful husband = dead husband

If only... I love him, I cannot kill him.

‘...Tante Marie...’

“Wait... What?” Of course, she wasn’t listening, that was normal. Okay, so maybe she was listening and to be quite honest, she wasn’t looking forward to this at all, but Nic had decided that since he could not wait on Katherine to decipher hundreds of books in search of what could have possibly happened to her, they would visit his aunt.

Voodoo fixes everything?

Apparently so does food?

Food. That was an interesting concept; eleven years ago, she had someone supplying her with cupcakes quite often and that was quite honestly the only thing she enjoyed about it all. Sweets. It was her guilty pleasure that few ever knew about and once the thing happened almost eight years ago, it was changed, her pleasures had taken a darker turn and it didn’t involve that sort of appetite.

Now, now she was being offered something sweet.

Like it was a treat for being here; a bribe for sucking up her own prideful attitude and letting him try and figure things out for them both.

Marriage; it was sometimes awful.

Mostly not.

Okay, she could do this.

Happy face; though probably slightly more than a grimace, clearly someone was not a morning person.

“Why are the walls leaving?”

Smooth; distraction works too.
October 18, 2019 12:32 pm

Nicolas Murray

Until she thought of it, and she felt it, he had never realized that his wife hadn’t really seen him like this before. Relaxed. Pretty much since the moment they’d met there hadn’t been many quiet moments between them. Most of those moments were of their own making and he would NEVER complain. Tense fighting. Anger. Fear. Making up in ways that would leave them spent and ready for the next round.

But never relaxed.

That was telling about their relationship and how much they were still learning about one another. The thing was, he could spend his whole life learning more about his wife and probably never know all he wanted to. So, yeah, they could be complicated. But damn, he loved that woman that was currently standing in the doorway and trying her best not to glare daggers into him.

And he just smiled.

He would never, ever, ever tell her that she looked cute right now, trying so hard to plaster something other than a scowl on her face. Though, all of her books were packed up. At least he wouldn’t get a novel upside the head.

Oh, but he had tools laying around.

Yeah, he was going to leave that in his brain where it belonged.

He would, however, try to tone it down a little. For her sake. He wouldn’t want her getting used to the relaxed at home Nic. She might leave him.

If she could, that is. Or if he’d let her. Neither of which was going to happen. But he didn’t want to end up dead and floating down the river so he let go of her shoulders and brushed past her to the bathroom to find a towel. Even if the tub didn’t have running water, at least the sink did so he was able to clean himself up a little bit after taking off the work gloves.

He could talk and clean off the dust and dirt at the same time. “The walls are coming down because they’re starting to get soft and that could lead to mold and damage. Plus, I was thinking while I was at it, maybe we could...tear down an entire wall or two. Make it a bit bigger in here.” Which meant he also thought they would be spending more time here than just a night or ten.

They had known that was a possibility. A real enough one that they had packed up their belongings and flown out to this god forsaken place (for her at least) and planned on an extended stay.

“This week I’ve got plumbers coming out here to give us estimates on getting water running to the tub again. I’ve got electricians coming out to check the wiring so I know we aren’t sleeping in a fire trap. I don’t expect you to live...like this...any longer than you have to. And me either. I’m not seventeen anymore. I want us both to be comfortable here.”

When he was done, he left the small bathroom and found her still trying to hide that pout as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his broad frame, fitting so perfectly with her slim figure.
“First, though, we have to go see Tante. You will like her, Kat. I promise. She’s already going to know we’ve been here a whole night without visiting and considering this is all her land? We don’t want to be rude or we might end up with some kind of nasty in our bed waiting for us.”

The question hung in the air, unasked and unanswered. What if Marie didn’t have any answers for them? Then what would they do? There was always the option of just waiting and seeing what happened with Kat as her powers shifted and changed. Neither one of them was very good at just waiting and seeing, though. He knew it frustrated his wife and he couldn’t just sit around with no plan.

So, he would hope. And send out a little prayer. And he would enjoy these few moments of relaxation because if and when his extended family showed up, it would fly out the window faster than light.

“It’s a good thing we remembered to bring back your boots.”

Yeah. He was going to make them walk through the swamp. Again. There wouldn’t be as many distractions this time, though. No running naked through the clearing.

Probably.

But he did know how much his wife liked to distract him, so he would at least prepare himself for the possibility.

Even if this didn’t work out, coming out here to New Orleans, they would figure it all out together. He didn’t want to go back to New York, though. Not yet. Maybe, even if they didn’t find the answers, he could show her that it wasn’t so bad out here. Away from everyone. Acres and acres of land to roam and discover.

Snakes, too.

“I promise she won’t bite. I can’t promise that for myself, but definitely for her.”
October 18, 2019 01:45 pm

Katherine Murray

She might have seemed absolutely spoiled considering her husband was changing most of his boyhood home just so that she felt more comfortable and Katherine could have brought up the fact that it wasn’t like she hadn’t lived in this manner before.

Or in an attic.

Or caves.

Katherine was perfectly fine with living off the grid, she was never one to really rely on the greater amenities that the advances in the modern world had made; sure, she enjoyed them immensely but to depend on things like that, she just wasn’t the sort. But would his wife make it easier on him, make it so that he didn’t have to worry about those things for the few days they would spend in the Bayou, no, not hardly; especially when her dear, sweet husband seemed to think they would be spending far longer in Louisiana than she really anticipated.

Yes, she preferred the wild lands that the Bayou offered; much like the wooded forest of upstate New York or her little island in Scotland, but so much pain, history. Kat really had to let this go.

The first thing she would have to do is just let him lead the way.

Merde.

It was all fine.

“I think it would be great to expand it a little.” Not a lie. If they were here for a few days or a few weeks; sure, it was necessary, they needed more room. “Running water for the tub would be great too!” Definitely not a lie, either.

The smile; slightly forced.

Until his arms were around here; it would have that calming effect that she’d always need from him.

They were way too codependent, likely not healthy at all, but it worked for them.

“Okay, okay! We’ll go and see your aunt.”

Maybe he’d be pacified now.

Not likely.

Of course, they’d be walking; that would bring about a genuine smile to grace her heart-shaped visage and almost a laugh; Kat knew he wanted to make her fall in love with this part of his life and trotting her along through the woods, was a pretty good idea. Nicky was pretty smart when he wanted to be, Katherine would give him that; make her not want to leave and he gets his way.

The things we do for the people we love.

But, she could still be an ass.

“What happens if your Tante doesn’t have the answer, Nicolas? Who do we try then? Make another deal? Track down some obscure holy man that might have the answers?” Oh. At least one part of that was going to sting, she knew it the minute it poured from her mouth, but it was too late to pull it back in, to not be that fcking mean to him.

“I’m ready when you are.”

If only to get it over with; this is what she’d do.

Plus, maybe, his Tante will side with her on some things; he had clearly told her before that the woman was like her in several ways, so here’s to finding out to just how similar.

“I have some things I’d like to discuss with her.”

Salty as fvck.
October 18, 2019 02:46 pm

Nicolas Murray

”Okay, okay. We’ll go see your aunt.”

That’s all he needed to hear and he smiled down at her, a stupid grin that crinkled the skin around his eyes into little crow’s feet before he gripped her waist with his arms tightly and walked her backwards into the living area. Kissing her. Holding her body to his like it was supposed to be.

Co-dependent? Needy as f*ck? Always.

No, no, Nicky. No time for that.

He got his way a lot. But, it wasn’t like she didn’t either. As hard headed as they both were, as stubborn as hell as they could be, it worked for them. Maybe someday they would learn how to be in one of those...normal...relationships with communication and talking. Today was not going to be one of those days, though. Twenty, thirty years tops, then it might happen.

Maybe.

He stopped walking her back though the moment she would pose those questions and the moment she would let that little barb about making deals slip from her mouth. “Yes.” His body stiffened against hers, shoulders tight and muscular frame tight as he tried not to let her get under his skin. Tried not to get irritated.

But she just was so damned good at doing it.

“I would make a thousand deals for you, Katherine. I would track down every goddamn medicine man, priestess, magician, and witch if it meant answers for you. And I’d drag your ass along with me every time.” He knew she was still mad about that deal he’d made, and it was a deal that he still hadn’t lived up to. Someday there would be a knocking at the door asking him fulfill his bargain. That was another bat problem for another bat time.

She’d agreed to go, though. This one time, to the small house across the swamp that housed his old great auntie. He wasn’t going to let her back out of it now. “Right. What are we waiting for.” He smacked his hand against her rear and gave it a little squeeze before letting her go to swap out his work boots for the rubber variety.

And stopped. Stiffened.

She wanted to discuss things.

F*ck.

There was no going back now.

“I just want to remind you, Kat, that you love me. You can’t un-ask any questions.”

And once they were both ready, that’s exactly what they would do. Go. The first leg of the walk would be trying to hide their irritation from one another, which was incredibly hard to do since they shared their emotions like they shared their breath. It was part of them, each in turn a part of one another.

It was hard to stay mad, though. Once they got to that little clearing between the houses, he would reach out and take her hand in his, wrapping his fingers with hers and pulling her closer as they walked with him leading the way.

Not far after that they would find a small spread of land much like the one that the shack was on. The ground had been built up so that there was a semblance of a yard that wasn’t just mud and water, also a long driveway that would eventually lead to the same road that they’d turned off of for the place they were staying.

Home, she’d called it. Even if she didn’t admit it, she’d called it home.

“Alright, here we are.”

Built up on a cement foundation was an aged double wide manufactured home. Despite the fact that it was probably sixty years old years old, it still looked maintained and clean. The yard was spartan. He knew that once upon a time she had grown beautiful flowers and roses, fighting against the very nature of the swamp to make sure that they would flourish. He would guess she was just too old for that now. A little walkway made of large stone pavers lead up to the wooden porch that had been added on many years after the set up of the home.

By him. But that was neither here nor there. He loved his Auntie and it had been much, much, too long since he’d seen her.

He stopped dead in his tracks.

There were cars in the driveway. Not just one, but four that he could count and only one of them was the deep maroon cadillac that Marie had driven around in since he could remember. He was just about to tell Katherine to turn around when the front door opened, and there stood Tante Marie.

With a little smug look on her face, and arms crossed over her ample bosom. Then again, everything about her was ample. And short. The woman was maybe 5’2”, 5’3” and round as could be. Her skin was the color of coffee with just a touch too much cream, soft and wrinkled though not as much as someone that had to be pushing ninety or more. She never did tell anyone just how old she was.

“Nicolas Alexandre, it’s about time you showed up to see your Auntie. You don’ think I knew you was comin’? Now, I know you don’ think I’m that old I can’t tell when my kin is comin’ to visit.” Her wild black hair was tamed under a scarf of red and blue, tied up around her scalp. Black eyes twinkled in amusement. Oh, she was having a grand old time. Her accent was obviously much thicker than his was, that deep southern cadence that was only recognizable to those that had been around it their whole life.

“I went ahead and invited some other kin to welcome you home, Nicolas. I hope you and your...bride...don’t mind.” Oh, he was going to get hell for that, too.

He could hear bellowing behind her. He knew that voice He knew it belonged to a large man with brutal hands and a viper for a tongue.

And he wanted no part of it.


“Come on, Chere. We’re going.” He tensed beside her. The grip on her hand was hard enough that even he could feel her fingers shifting. His heart rate speeding.

This wasn’t just the mild irritation that he could be riled up into when they fought. Even the times it had gotten really bad between them, it didn’t affect him like this. Anger radiated off of him and it was all he could do to keep his power under control. That didn’t happen often. At all. But there was that part of him that wanted to raise every single goddamn dead thing in this swamp and flood it into that house with those people.

Then he saw his father. He wasn’t as tall as Nic, maybe just under six feet. But he was broad with the type of build that linebackers get when they let themselves go. He had that same complexion of his Aunt, the creamed coffee that belied the Haitian heritage. Black hair that was cropped close to his head. Nic was breathing hard by then, the muscles in his jaw set into stiff lines.

“Now. We are going now.”
October 18, 2019 03:59 pm

Katherine Murray

Alright, so. Katherine could feel the irritation the moment she had brought up the deal, it was palpable in the small house they were currently calling home; it didn’t mean she was sorry that she brought it up, sure, Kat knew without a doubt that he would do anything for her, try anything to figure out what had exactly happened the moment she helped shove that blade into her chest, no, that’s not right.

It wasn’t so much the knife.

Mostly the dead thing.

Best to not bring that up again; ever.

Something about it really pissed off her husband.

Digressing.

So, the blonde knew exactly what she was doing when she brought up topics that mildly irritated Nic; it was easier to deal with the situation if neither of them was all that thrilled and he was far too goddamn perky right now.

That would bring us to the reason she went further with it; discussing things with his Tante. Not that she didn’t know who her husband was when she married him; it certainly wouldn’t matter what she learned once with his favorite family member, but considering it set him on edge just as much as the remark on making deals. Well, we all know that Kat is a puckish, little shit, so, of course, she would bring that up as much as possible without him catching onto exactly what it was, she was doing.

At least it kept him at bay momentarily, honestly, it was hard for them to really even be angry with one another; but when in their spot, there was no way she’d shrug off the hand that was wrapped around her own. Yes, she was still mildly aggravated about what had transpired with deal making and with whom; but the woman could also admit it might actually pay to have a Fae that could possibly help her with certain tomes that she had acquired.

Kat was great with languages; these would escape her.

And she could not shake the feeling that they were important.

Further digressing.

It was likely that Kat was staying quiet and mulling over her thoughts for a simple reason; she had never met in-laws before and while the lithe blonde seemed to be quite serene on the surface, oh no, she absolutely freaking out.

She might have not heard her husband clarifying they had arrived, might have also missed the number of cars in the yard; but no one could have even pretended to miss the round little woman that had stepped outside as they had stopped moving.

Abruptly.

Kat had missed that too and now that she was a little more confused than terrified; she could almost manage paying attention to the goings-on around her. The admonishment from his aunt. The loud bellowing inside the house. Her husband’s darkening nature.

Oh, dear.

Well, she almost agreed with him, that they should take their leave; they could visit another time. Preferably when that vein in her husband’s forehead didn’t look like it was going to mutate and kill someone; but it was when his hand tightened around her fingers, bone-crushing grip had she been anything else, rather than what she was.

So much anger; and that mood shift, Katherine could feel something dangerous brewing. The elder man, she would assume was his father, she had heard things about, and would understand why her husband was suddenly wanting to go.

But why the fuck would she want to go now?

Dinner and entertainment...

Well, dinner, if they upset Nic.

More.

Upset him more.

Whatever.

“We are going to stay.” There was a wide smile, not quite predatory, but enough to make it interesting. “Stop crushing my hand and introduce me, Nicky.”

Why would they leave when it was just now getting interesting?
October 21, 2019 02:34 pm

Nicolas Murray

The tone of her voice. He knew that tone, knew it like he knew the tiny little hairs that stood up on the back of his hands when she spoke.

”We are going to stay.”

Nic knew his wife well enough to know that he wasn’t going to change her mind. The bond they shared would have him feeling some of those things that were running through her thoughts. Thoughts of blood. Thoughts of carnage. Thoughts of dancing happily around the room over the corpses of those that had done her husband wrong.

There was a small part of him (okay, not so small part of him) that wanted her to do it. It was that part that would start to walk forward toward the house again. No, she wouldn’t kill them, not as long as they behaved.

Though, he wasn’t sure he wanted them to behave right now.

“Fine. You want to stay? We’ll stay.” There was a hardness to his words. That low grade anger that was making his entire body terse and clenched. His muscles in his jaw worked overtime, moving under the hair of his beard.

Nic released her hand and instead put his own at the small of her back, guiding her forward. Right. Like she needed to be fucking guided. She was all but skipping toward the plump southern woman and the large man.

That looked absolutely nothing like him. Not a single feature matched those of his father and he would take a guess that was one of the reasons he’d been so hard on Nic growing up. Despite the blood tests. The DNA tests. Everything that would tell the man this was his son, he’d guess his father still had some doubts.

Green eyes to their brown. Tanned skin to their creamy dark. Maybe the hair, though Nicolas’ was more wavy than tight knit curls.

But here they were, genetics be damned.

He forced a smile on his mouth. He could do this. He could control his emotions, control his actions, as he had done for years and years since leaving their home. “Auntie, this is my wife. Katherine.” Might as well call her by her full name.

She loved that.

The giddy mood he’d been in last night and this morning hadn’t just faded. It had crashed and fucking burned. He wasn’t just upset with this day and the turn it had taken, he was upset with the woman beside him for being just so...what...excited? For this? They could have just turned and ran off and it would have been just goddamn fine, but no. Here they were.

It was a good thing there were no corpses laying around. Not yet. They wouldn’t be for long with the amount of pent up frustration in the tall man’s frame. He felt like he was ready to explode, and it didn’t help that his Tante had the shit eating’est grin on her face that she ever had seen.

She had to have known this is how everyone would react. She had to have known that it would cause. All this as a punishment for not having called her sooner. Then again, it had been years since he’d called. He deserved something, but not this. Not THEM.

Marie stepped forward off the porch and grabbed for Katherine’s hand, giving it a warm pat before near pulling her towards the door. “You are a pretty thing, ain’tcha? An’ so tall! Why, y’alls babies are gonna be near giants, they are.”

It was time for his father to chime in now. He waited for Nic to be closer, up on the porch, through the door. Then he would reach up and smack his son on the back of the head with a resounding ‘pop’. Nicolas tensed more, if that were possible. Yeah, he was going to explode at this rate.

Nic smoothed his hair back, straightening up so he stood that full six inches over his father. Smile, Nic. Just smile. “Kat, this is my father, Daniel. There’s my mother, Lenore.” It was only then, once they were inside the house, that she could be seen. Much like her aunt, she was short of stature and wide of hips. She was slightly darker complexioned than Marie but still spoke of mixed heritage.

Her once dark hair was dappled with streaks of grey and was pulled back into a braid. Dark eyes stared up at her husband, then her son, as if she were trying to make a choice between the two. It had been like that since he’d been born. Unfortunately it was her husband that usually got her support. Nic had been closer to her than his dad, but she let it all happen. She had literally turned away when she’d found Daniel beating on Nicolas. More than once. Over and over, blind eye shoved into a corner while her son was getting pummeled.

“What you thinkin’, boy? Just goin’ an’ runnin’ off like that with some *****? Makin’ your momma worry like she do? It’s been ten years, Nicolas. Ain’t no excuse for that. Then you bring back another blonde bitch an’ we just supposed to all let it slide? You owe your mother and me and everyone else an apology. Boy.” The last word was spat out like a curse word, like it was the most foul tasting thing that.

Nobody said a word. Not his mother, his aunt. Not the couple of cousins that were sitting down in the living room just staring at the scene unfolding in front of them. Not his aunt and uncle, his mother’s sister and her husband. Nobody.

Just like it had been his whole life.

He could take it. He could take being ridiculed and taunted. He could take being called names. Hell, if his father socked in him the face right now, he’d take that too.

But nobody. NOBODY. Insults his wife.

The calm face he’d tried to paint off slid into nothingness as he lunged for his father. He wrapped a hand around the thick man’s throat and pushed him into the nearby wall. It wasn’t the first time he’d made a move like this, but there was anger here. Not the lust and control he craved with his wife. No, this was just...hatred. He hated this man.

“You say one more thing about my wife, Daniel, and I will kill you here in front of everyone then I will drag your worthless fucking body out into the middle of the swamp and let the gators take care of the evidence.”

He’d jokingly said something like that to Katherine not too long ago. But...he hadn’t meant it. He would never mean it with her. But with him? He would absolutely follow through.

Just. Test. Him.
October 22, 2019 01:51 am

Katherine Murray

Okay.

Considering they had this bond, something that ran deeper than either of them would ever understand, it was safe to say that Katherine knew that Nic wanted nothing more than to run away from the oncoming encounter that he just knew would happen. She could feel it in her bones, the way her husband’s body stiffened; that should have been the first clue. That should have told her, let him have his way; however, if anyone knew Kat at all, and of course, he did, that would not have been acceptable.

She was delightfully spiteful; also, a little impish.

Of course, she’d want to stay; he had made all of these loud declarations about coming to the Bayou for help, convincing his wife that they should go, speak to his aunt that knew many things about the dark arts and could feasibly help them with the small issue of Katherine’s power outtage.

But this, this was unexpected.

Sure, Kat knew some things about Nicky’s childhood; the family he had ran away from, the father who was obviously not the kindest and her heart would break for him, for not knowing the same kind of parental love that she had grown up with.

Now, it was different. Ghostly parents, not so much fun.

Right, her mother being the vampire that had turned her, not as fun either.

Ugh, fine.

She had a few good years with her parents and then it was snatched away.

There was still a point here; Katherine knew as much as he would rather run and not deal, sometimes, it was better to face the Devil in front of you than to worry about the Devil behind you.

It would just be better if he didn’t handle it the way Kat had handled her last issue.

That would be bad.

Uh oh. Her full name. Said like that.

Well, if there was a good time for a Lucille Ball expression; this would be it.

Nope, placid. Her expressive visage would continue to offer absolute serenity; despite the fact deep down she could feel that darkness brewing in her husband. It was going to be a lovely morning, yes?

Annnnnnd this would be the last time she would underestimate an elderly woman with the grip of a goddamn lumberjack since her frame was practically dragged forward by the rotund Tante Marie; likely, that epitome of serenity that Kat was trying to keep upon pale countenance, was replaced fairly quick considering while she was still pondering the strength of his aunt before words sunk in.

“Ummmm...” Far be it to say that Katherine was always succinct, because now, she had lost her voice and caught a bit of the dumbs; now, she knew there would never, ever, be a child. Because. No. Yet, the lithe female was simply caught off guard and there was absolutely no way in hell she was going to explain to these people why there would be no kids.

...blonde bitch...

To be clear, Katherine had heard the resounding pop of a hand against head, she was just unsure as to where it had come from until new words had replaced the ones that would have Kat battling to form words in some sort of response.

Of course, that would no longer matter.

Now it was wondering if she had ever met Nicolas’ father while being in Louisiana, years before, and that was how he could make the snap judgement of calling her a name. If she were being candid, as insults go, bitch wasn’t the worst thing she had been called and if she thought about it, it wasn’t likely they had met before.

For two reasons.

One; evil or blood-sucking blonde bitch, would have been far more apt.

And two; the likelihood of her allowing someone like this to live, had they met, the odds were not in his favor.

But now, her husband’s movement and threat would leave it up to Katherine to try and smooth over the situation; okay, sure, she was slightly intrigued about what would happen, but not at the expense of Nicky, this was too much for him and she knew better.

Crap.

Another apology would have to come.

Just a minor oopsie; it was fine.

Yet, she really couldn’t let him kill his father; even if Kat was wanting to, quite immensely, slaughter all those that stood around letting the abuse from the father happen and maybe because she had no room to talk, considering she had, in fact, killed her own mother.

Different time, different circumstances.

Don’t be judgy.

So, there might have been just a smidge of hesitation; she did love him like this, no one ever said Katherine was normal, but no, she would have to stop it.

Right?

It was the right thing to do.

We don’t kill things with witnesses.

“Nicolas, let’s just go home.” Scot’s burr broke the silence and tension in the air; kind of. Really, it was just the silence, because his wife knew without a doubt, this was likely not over with.

She tried.
October 23, 2019 12:42 pm

Nicolas Murray

”Nicolas, let’s just go home.”

Behind him, so many things were going on. Kat was being pulled along into the house by his Auntie. The small, plump, woman was talking about children and smiling like she’d just won the lottery. There was no doubt, if he had been thinking about it, that Tante Marie wasn’t enjoying every single moment of this.

She was a strange creature who rarely spoke to these people herself. They had ridiculed her for years. Called her crazy. Never visited. But she would have them travel out into the middle of the swamp just to extract some kind of revenge on him.

No, that seemed right.

It was a good thing he never planned to get married again so he wouldn’t have to worry about pissing her off for not bringing the wife by sooner.

More things going on behind him, though. His mother fretting, pulling at his arm as she begged him to let go. The other members of the family looking back and forth at one another wondering if they should step in or do something.

And Nic wouldn’t see or hear a single fucking one of them.

Not even his wife as she suggested going home.

This had been a long time coming. Nic had always bore it well, the abuse and the names and the mistreatment that had littered his entire childhood. He took it and let it fester inside of him, but would never give the old man the satisfaction of knowing how it affected him. It was where the mask had come from. It had started so many years before.

But, it was falling off now.

Anger furrowed his dark brows as his fingers dug into the man’s throat, threatening to cut off air. Nah, not just threatening. He already was. Nic could kill him. Just a tighter squeeze. Just a little more. He could kill him right then and now and nobody could stop him. Other than Katherine.

Would she, though?

There was this pressure, this need, growing inside of him. He could feel it filling every goddamn inch of his large frame until he was sure that he was going to burst. His control, slipping. That thing that he worked so fucking hard for.

The power that he used. The power that controlled the spirits and forced them back into their dead bodies to become his playthings. It was leaking from him now, dark tendrils of energy feeling their way down through the floorboards and concrete of the small house. Fingers of ink digging down dark into the soil and spreading like roots out through the swamp.

Searching.

Oozing energy.

Despite Katherine’s words, words that had still not hit his ears yet, there was still tension in the air and it had everything to do with the man who was yielding it like a weapon. He had another weapon, though.

He didn’t have to kill his father. He knew that Kat wouldn’t want him to. He didn’t care what any others thought, but it would be a bad idea to murder someone in the middle of a room full of people.

So, no. He wouldn’t kill him. Ohhh, but Daniel Marceau would wish he was dead by the end of this evening. Those searching tendrils? Yeah, they didn’t come back empty handed. No, they’d been looking for…something.

And what was lost was found.

Angry. Those spirits he found were just so fucking angry. Wraiths left behind from some disastrous moment that had left them without their bodies. Dead, murdered, dismembered. Caught in this place between heaven and hell with no way to pass through the veil. They could only stay and get bitter and outraged and resentful.

Nicolas called to them. He wrapped that power around their essence and he dragged them screaming and unwilling through the ground and the mud. Invisible to everyone but him, and maybe his Wife. The hairs on his neck stood up with the aura that filled the small room.

And all it took was a push. Push.

Right into dear old dad.

Nic’s breath came out in hard puffs and he let go of his father. The man dropped like he’d been kicked between the legs, lead weight falling to the ground as the screaming started. No human should have made a sound like that. Even Nic could feel it resonating in his soul every time another scream was echoed through the man’s lips.

And Nic just didn’t care.

His green eyes were cold. Hard. Staring down at Daniel as he writhed on the floor.

“Yeah. Let’s go home.”

The words were said to Katherine, though he didn’t look at her. He would just turn and go through the door like nothing had happened, a stiffness to his broad shoulders. There, behind the screaming. Behind the crying of his mother as she asked what he’d done over and over again. Behind the confusion and yelling of other people.

Was laughter.

The mixed, thick, short old woman was laughing so hard that it bounced off the walls of the mobile home and followed them outside.
October 25, 2019 02:14 am
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