Only one ingredient to go. Marigold held the last bit over the boiling cauldron and began reciting the words to the spell that would grant her something she'd longed for all her life. A prize without compare that modern cosmetics promised but never cured--getting rid of her bloody freckles.
Giddy with anticipation, she took a deep breath and continued her chant. "Hair of the divine beast, grant me the wish I seek." She dangled the glimmering unicorn hair over the bubbling brew--a frothy concoction she didn't really want to drink because it smelled and looked icky, but drink it she would if it would help. She dropped the glimmering strand and it sank in the potion with an ominous sizzle. Hmm, hope it doesn't do that when I swallow it. Marigold opened her mouth to say the words to invoke the spell when she heard movement.
Whirling, she saw a cloaked figure standing at the edge of the candlelight, a scythe in one hand.
"Who the hell are you?" she asked grabbing up her athame and brandishing it in front of her.
"You can see me?" The hooded stranger seemed taken aback judging by his tone.
"Well, duh," she said rolling her eyes. "You're, like, standing right in front of me. I'm not bloody blind you know."
"But you're not supposed to see me."
The stranger had an accent, which even given the strange circumstance, Marigold found hot. "Not only can I see you, but I'd like to know just how the fuck you got in here?" The doors to Marigold's apartment were all locked and she'd spelled them as well. So how had he gotten in without setting off any of her alarms? Maybe he was a demon. Or a ghost, or...
"Death cannot be hindered by a mere mortal lock," he announced pompously.
"Death?" Marigold giggled. "Oh, come now. You're not big enough or scary enough to be him."
Marigold could have sworn she heard him growl. "I might not be the actual Lord of Death, but I am one of his lieutenants. Now, do you mind stopping the idle chit chatter and getting on with what you were doing? I've got other appointments to keep."
But Marigold wasn't stupid. "Wait a second. If you're here to collect me for the underworld, then that must mean I'm about to do something deadly." She eyed her cauldron and sighed. "I should have known better than to try a spell I found on the internet." Blowing out the candles, she carefully stored the remaining unicorn hair--a precious commodity that had cost her dearly--and turned to face him with a smile. "Sorry. I've decided today is not a good day to die. See you in, like, oh, one hundred years."
"You've got to be fucking kidding me." Death's agent didn't sound too happy. Lifting an arm, the loose sleeve of his robe fell back and a large hand pushed back the cowl. Blazing eyes regarded her, but that wasn't what made Marigold speechless. Talk about a handsome hunk of man.
For some reason, when she'd pictured Death and his minions, she'd expected skeletal figures with blazing coal red eyes. Reality vastly differed, in a good way. At a tad over six foot, the Grim Reaper's minion glared at her with intense dark eyes, chiseled features that included high cheekbones, a straight aristocratic nose and full, sensual lips. His hair was short and a deep ebony color that glinted blue in the dim lights of her apartment and set off his tan beautifully--I wonder if he'd get naked so I can see if he's tanned all over? His robe unfortunately hid the rest of him, but if his body matched the big hands and thick, muscled forearm he'd revealed, then she thought it a pity he'd taken up soul collecting instead of pole dancing as a profession.
He pointed his scythe at her. "You can't avoid an appointment with Death, so please cooperate and finish what you were doing."
Marigold crossed her arms under her boobs and shook her head. "No. And you can't make me." I think, she added silently.
"Says whom?" He took a menacing step forward.
With a bravery she didn't quite believe, but faked quite well, she dared him. "So go ahead, kill me in cold blood, you big--big meanie." As name calling went, it was quite lame, but somehow she couldn't bring herself to call him something really nasty. Although, she wouldn't mind him doing nasty things to her body, naked, of course.
"I'm a meanie? I'll have you know women say I'm the nicest guy they've ever met."
"And is this before or after you drag their souls back to your boss?" she replied sarcastically.
"I don't mix business with pleasure."
"What a shame," said Marigold. "I guess this means you won't be able to accept when I ask you to come back for dinner tomorrow night." The invitation popped out of her mouth, but once extended, she felt no urge to take it back. The man, minion, whatever he was delicious defined.
"Aren't you afraid I'm going to try and take your soul?"
"Could you wait until after dessert? I make a kick ass cheesecake."
He didn't answer, instead, still shaking his head and mumbling under his breath something that sounded like "completely insane," he faded away.
Marigold knew she should celebrate having escaped Death's clutch, but instead she found herself a little disappointed. Now how will I get him into my bed for heart stopping sex?
Mictain, the Aztec god of death and collector of souls for Satan himself, translocated--a new fancy term created by supernaturals for folding space and time to get from point A to point B immediately--back to his home in Hades still shaking his head over his encounter with the confounding human. She'd taken him off guard for several reasons. The most shocking was his immediate attraction to her. He'd lived--or not depending on how you looked at it--a long time and while he'd taken his pleasure often with females both human and not, never had he felt such an instant desire or gotten so fucking rock hard just from looking.
Average of height and features, there was nothing about her that screamed drop dead gorgeous, and yet, something about her drew him. Was it her curly mane of brown hair that corkscrewed wildly around her face? He definitely liked her lush frame with her wide hips, indented waist and deep cleavage--a plump body made for pumping as his twitching cock reminded him. He even like the way her freckles scattered across her button nose and complemented her pink mouth, a mouth he could imagine sucking him with enthusiasm. She also had pretty, green eyes with dark lashes that regarded him with frank interest, which begged the question, how in the nine circles of Hell had she managed to see him? No one ever saw Death coming. Well, they used to but all the screaming and pleading was annoying, hence the cloaks of invisibility they all wore nowadays.
Mictain laid his scythe against the wall next to his coat rack and tugged off his work robe to hang it. He hated wearing the stupid thing. A movement started by the Grim Reaper's Union to change their mode of dress had gained momentum years back but never gotten anywhere. A pity, because the damned neck to toe robes were itchy and hot. However, their invisibility feature did come in handy when worn to collect a soul. Which once again made him think of the plump brunette who'd managed to see him anyway.
Itchy robe off, Mictain, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, strode into his office and pulled up Marigold's file, wondering if he'd missed something.
Name of soon-to-be deceased: Marigold Stanton
Time and date of death: 20:38:17, February 7th, 2011
Location: Kitchen (coordinates 66:66:66:66)
Method of death: Ingestion of poisonous potion
Soul collector: Mictain
Final destination: Hell
Signed: Lucifer, High Lord of Sin
As information went, it was rather bare bones, after all when Death came to take a person they didn't need to know much, just when and where. Sorting them and deciding their punishment was up to Lucifer and on rare occasions, God himself. The report unfortunately lacked some details Mictain wouldn't have minded knowing, such as her age and whether she was single. That she'd merited a spot in Hell didn't surprise him. Most people had a hard time following Heaven's strict rules of admittance. Not that he cared about her nature, it wasn't like he had any interest in her other than how he would explain his failure to his boss, Satan himself.
His hellphone rang--a version of the surface cell phone powered by the souls of CEOs of phone companies. The lord of the pit had a twisted sense of humor especially when it came to punishment. Mictain answered recognizing the familiar number and prepared for a reaming.
"What the fuck happened up there?" barked Lucifer, employer and longtime friend.
"You tell me. She could see me, and when she realized what I was there for she stopped what she was doing." And then she asked me back for dinner. Mictain kept that last tidbit for himself.
"What do you mean she could see you? Nobody sees Death coming. I don't like it. We can't have people dodging their time to pass on. It was bad enough when those stupid Final Destination movies came out and we saw a drop in accidents. I won't stand for people seeing us coming and avoiding what they've got coming to them."
"What would you suggest I do then?" Mictain asked pinching the bridge of his nose.
"We need to know more about this girl. Find out how she could see you. I need you to get close to her and encourage her to spill her secret."
Mictain frowned at his phone. "You want me to date her?"
"Date her. Fuck her. I expect you to do what it takes to make sure this doesn't happen again. She's attractive enough. It shouldn't be too hard for you to get in if you know what I mean."
Mictain couldn't help thinking of her luscious curves and how they'd look even better wrapped around his naked body. However, reality intruded. "What makes you think she wants to see me again? After all, I did show up to collect her soul." Mictain didn't mention she'd asked him over for dinner; in hindsight he was pretty sure she'd meant it as a joke.
"You're good looking for a guy your age. Pour on the charm. Wear some tight jeans. Do something. You never used to have a problem getting women into bed with you."
That was true, hell, he'd had multiples in bed on more than one occasion. Somehow though, he had the feeling bedding Marigold would be different and he didn't like even thinking that way. But orders were orders. Mictain restrained a sigh. "I'll do what I can."
"You'd better. Keep me apprised of the situation." With a click, Lucifer was gone and Mictain hung up his hellphone.
He sighed and leaned back in his chair. Commanded to seduce a woman who enflamed his lust, so he could pump her for information--along with other body parts. Subterfuge wasn't usually something that bothered him and he couldn't deny the idea of bedding the hot witch wasn't appealing. But, a woman scorned was bad enough, a witch scorned who could see death coming... What a cluster fuck in the making.
Even though he had a bad feeling about this, Mictain couldn't help the anticipation that lightened his step as he shopped for something to wear on his date. It had been several millennia since he'd needed to charm a woman. Should he bring flowers? Chocolate? A charm to detect poison in his food? And what about a condom? While he couldn't carry disease--his deity status protected him from that--pregnancy was always a possibility, especially when fucking with humans.
Mictain reined himself in. All of this planning was well and good, none of it meant that Marigold wouldn't throw him out on his ear when he showed up in her apartment tomorrow for the dinner he'd never technically accepted.
Maybe I should wear a jock strap in case she gets violent.