“Because you’re broke, that’s why.” Morgan glanced at my “I Hate Cats” coffee mug like it was filled with pureed crap. Well excuse the hell out of me for not having anything better than instant. As it was, I’d splurged and bought the kind with Flavor Crystals, so she should be grateful.
“She’s right you know,” Lisa chimed in. Super, my roomy and only friend was taking sides with Morgan-the-psychic-bitch and current pain in my ass. I shot a nasty glance Lisa’s way, but she pretended not to notice.
“Okay,” I nodded, “I’m broke. Does that mean I have to hunt down some crazy vampire with an improper taste for human blood?” Those last few words, I tried to imitate the snooty way Morgan had spoken when describing this little problem that seemed to be a danger to the entire supernatural population of Portland.
“You are the newest to the ranks,” Morgan shrugged, “and thus, in your probationary period.” She folded her hands on my table and leaned forward like a banker about to tell you that he was foreclosing on your house. “And you aren’t starting off on a very good foot.”
That last remark was undoubtedly the result of Belinda being a big-mouthed tattletale. You see, Morgan is the Psychic of Portland. Not the kind you call and pay by the minute so they can lie to you about generalities that they pluck from things you unwittingly reveal to them; and not the kind with a neon sign hanging in her window. Morgan is a true psychic that can sense every supernatural being in her district. As for Belinda, she is a slutty little vampire that uses her jailbait looks to entice her victims. We don’t get along.
“So...what am I supposed to do?” I asked.
“Do I really need to explain it to you?” Morgan huffed and pushed the coffee cup away with obvious, and in my opinion, rather rude disgust.
Obviously, I thought. “Please, just so I am clear,” is what I said with my outside voice.
“Find this crazy vampire and eliminate it.”
“You mean kill it?” Who the hell does she think I am, Buffy?
“That seems the most preferable choice.” There was that I’m-talking-to-an-idiot voice again.
“Wouldn’t you be better off sending somebody who knew what they were doing?” I asked. “And besides, you’re the all-powerful, all-knowing psychic. Why don’t you just use your locating ability, or whatever it is you do, and stake the bad guy in the middle of the day?”
I’d felt the sun on my skin once. It wasn’t something I would be doing again...ever. At least not by choice. It was like grabbing a pan of fish sticks from the oven without using a mitt. That meant I would be going after a vampire…at night. That didn’t seem like any fun at all.
“This vampire did not turn in my district,” Morgan said like that explained everything. The blank look on my face made it pretty clear that I still wasn’t getting it. “I do not have its signature imprinted in my mind. I do not have any idea where it came from, so I cannot contact whomever runs its home district and ask for an imprint exchange.”
“Uh-huh.” She might as well be explaining the Theory of Relativity for all the sense that made to me.
“So psychics receive some sort of mental fingerprint whenever somebody flips the supernatural switch in their...territory?” Lisa piped up from the kitchen where she pretended to be doing the dishes. Lisa Jenkins is my best friend and a completely normal human. Err...mortal; whatever we’re supposed to call regular, warm-blooded, non-monsters…that is Lisa Jenkins.
Lisa is seventeen and recently liberated from her pedophile boyfriend by way of my digestive system. After giving birth to a baby and forced to abandon it in a garbage can a few weeks earlier, she was now my roomie. Oh yeah, and the baby is fine and being adopted by a wealthy family from Wilsonville.
“Perhaps you should be who I talk to when come.” Morgan turned her gaze to the petite blonde in the kitchen. Geez, just a few weeks and already the baby weight was almost gone; of course, our being broke and barely able to buy groceries might have something to do with it.
“Excuse me,” I snapped. “Sitting right here.”
[caption id="attachment_103" align="alignleft" width="246" caption="Todd Brown"][/caption]“To answer your question,” Morgan continued to ignore me, “while somewhat crude in your understandings…” she paused long enough to flick her eyes at me, then back to Lisa, “…that is basically the idea. Supernatural beings give off a very distinct vibration when they first turn or change. The psychic responsible for that area feels it instantly. From that day forward, the psychic can tap into that vibration and locate the being.”
“What lets you exchange information with other psychics?” Lisa blurted. “You said that another psychic could…transfer information to you.”
“That is beyond your ability to really and truly understand,” Morgan sniffed. I didn’t believe her. I just think Little-Miss-Snooty-Britches enjoys feeling superior.
“What about if something turns and there is nobody...no psychic...in the district? Or what if the psychic dies—”
“Enough!” Morgan barked.
Ooo, somebody is menstrual. Wait…did Supernaturals menstruate?
“I am not here to answer questions.” Morgan quickly recovered her composure. “I have offered you a job that will pay nicely. Will you take it or not?”
I glanced into the kitchen as Lisa opened an almost empty cupboard and considered which flavor of Top Ramen would be dinner. I sighed and looked back at Morgan who wasn’t even trying to hide her smirk.
“Do I really have a choice?” I asked.
“I am serious, Lisa,” I scolded. “I don’t want you our here when that fanged tramp shows up.” I popped Cinderella’s Night Songs CD into my stereo. “I still don’t know exactly what vampires can do for real. All I’ve ever read was Anne Rice and seen that Keanu Reeves movie.”
Mmmm, Keanu Reeves. He couldn’t act his way out of a grade school Thanksgiving program if they cast him as Plymouth Rock and covered him in a gray paper mache lump that had the words written at the side. Still…there was something about him that really did it for me.
“But I’ve never met a vampire.” Lisa was on the verge of that whine that all teenaged girls learn early and have honed to perfection in their twenties to wrap boyfriends and husbands up in knots. “It would be so cool!”
She still didn’t remember that night in the grocery store and I was afraid that telling her how close she’d come to death—not for the first time that night—make cause her to decide that being my friend was too risky and not rewarding enough. The time would likely come when I would have to tell her myself…just not today.
“Until I can get a handle on what sorts of powers they have, you will stay someplace safe.” Not that the bedroom was Fort Knox, but at least it was something. “And I want you holding that cross until I come in and tell you that it is okay to come out.”
“Party pooper,” she whispered, knowing darn well that my hearing could pick up her grumblings if she were outside and two doors down.
A knock on the door interrupted my attempt at a reprimand. I shifted my focus to the door and heard the static hiss that I’d learned only recently was the sound of a vampire. The good thing was that I’d know whenever I heard that particular sound that a vampire was near. The bad thing was that I wouldn’t know who it was or if they wanted to gouge my shining black eyes out.
“Ava,” an irate voice whispered, sounding for all the world like a child who’d been forced to visit some smelly and embarrassing relative who pinched your cheeks way too hard.
I opened the door, not bothering to don my sunglass. A human would freak if they saw my all-black eyes staring at them from a primer-gray face, but the vampire at my door didn’t even blink. We stood there, staring at one another for a handful of seconds. I heard my bedroom door click shut and stepped aside.
Belinda was the first—and only, up to this point—vampire I’d met. She had her impossibly blonde hair twisted up into a dozen pencil-thin braids and was wearing a tight, black tee-shirt that revealed her too-perfect midriff. She finished the look with a pair of bun-squeezing white shorts. I felt a tingle in my toes and fingertips. I swallowed, refusing to let her goad me into anger with her obvious display of such a truly amazing body. Having talons sprout from my fingers wouldn’t be terrible, but I was wearing my brand new Nikes and didn’t want my toe-talons punching through.
“Well?” Belinda crossed her arms under her tiny breasts. She was bra-less…what a slut.
“Well, what?” I shook my head slightly.
“Are you going to stand there staring, or are you going to invite me in?”
I saw something flicker in her babydoll-blue eyes. It was probably in response to the obvious look on mine. She had to be invited in! Myth number one confirmed. I stepped back and said with as little of a smirk as possible.
“Please, come in.”
Belinda stepped past me, looking around the living room like she was entering the city dump. She paused, and I caught a flash of her fangs.
“Still have your little human friend,” she said, emphasizing the word “friend” in a very unpleasant way. “I suppose Morgan has her reasons.”
“Look,” I struggled to keep my fingers and toes from going switchblade, “we’ve got to work to—”
“We?” Belinda interrupted. “No, little ghoul, we don’t have a thing to do. You have a job. I’m only here to instruct you on what you need to do your job right.”
“Why can’t Morgan do it?” I asked. “I don’t really want you in my house.”
Belinda’s eyes went black—sorta like mine—and she hissed like she was being scalded. In a flash, she was back out my door and on my beat-up doormat with the plastic daisy that was missing three of its nine petals.
“Bitch!” Belinda snarled, barring her teeth.
“What?” I was stunned.
“You did that on purpose!”
“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”
Dammit, I thought as my razor-sharp toenails tore through my socks and shoes. I was still so new to this whole supernatural thing. Seeing Belinda all fangy with her eyes like that and…
“Hey! You’ve got ears like Spock!” I couldn’t help but point.
http://www.amazon.com/That-Ghoul-Ava-Adventures-ebook/dp/B004NIFWOO (The Amazon link for Ava)
http://www.amazon.com/TW-Brown/e/B00363NQI6 (My Amazon Author page)
http://twbrown.blogspot.com/ (My Blog)