The demon, with the dark sinuous markings across his back and around both powerful arms, tried to buck off the man clinging to his back. But the man held tight to the demon's neck, squeezing, pouring every ounce of energy into his hands. He mumbled an incantation under his breath, the words foreign and unrecognizable.
Its face grimaced in pain as it continued to twist and writhe, swirling the man back and forth like a great bull bucking its rider. Bloodied tears trickled from the corners of its closed eyes.
A large gargoyle burst into the room, his black leathery wings swept up behind him, his eyes aflame. "Let him go, Bacclum!" His rumbling voice vibrated through the room. "It is enough!"
"Not until he gives me what I want," the man called Bacclum grunted. "I want all of it."
Veins popped out on his temples as he squeezed even tighter around the demon's neck,; the look in his eyes was one of insane rage. The gargoyle swept one majestic wing toward Bacclum and scraped it against his sweaty naked back, cut up by the struggle.
The demon's eyes opened--the whites stained a deep dark red. It reached up and tore at the man's face with one long lethal claw, ripping his flesh.
Shocked, the man yelled and loosened his grip on the demon's throat. That was when it started to chant--its voice deep and dark, full of awful agony and pain.
"Let go, Bacclum!" the gargoyle roared one last time, as if sensing the end was near.
His warning came too late.
The windows of the library shuddered, as if alive and afraid. The furniture around the room shook back and forth before sliding across the hardwood floor. A chair crashed into Bacclum's side, but didn't knock him from his precarious position on top of the demon.
The demon's voice grew in pitch and became a hurricane of power, sucking everything in the room into a violently spinning vortex. The windows quaked even harder, louder, until they exploded, the glass splintering into a thousand fragments. Wicked shards of glass fell like icy rain onto the demon, the man and the gargoyle, cutting each of them.
The floor beneath them rumbled, fractured, and finally ripped like torn paper, creating a large abyss, gaping and black, ready to swallow up the entire house including the three occupants.
Bacclum's hands tore free from the demon's neck and he was dragged across the floor by phantom hands. Different phantom hands picked up the gargoyle and tossed him, as if he weighed nothing, through the last intact window, glass exploding as he was hurled through.
The man was hauled like a bag of trash along the floor away from the demon's body, his fingers digging deep grooves into the hardwood as he struggled to gain a hold on something, anything. A large, thick, weighted book appeared from thin air, spinning in wild circles until it stopped near his body. Hanging in mid-air by an unseen thread, pages flipped quickly by until the book was wide open, a gaping maw eager to feed on flesh.
No!" the man hollered as he bucked and writhed, trying to escape his fate. His body and spirit were sucked into the glowing amber pages and the book slammed shut.
All that remained was the demon, panting, bleeding from several wounds all over his powerful body. But even he was not immune to the power of the house. Soon, one of the walls in the great library slid open, and the demon was sucked into it. He had no chance of escaping. It slid shut after him, a banging sound echoing throughout the room.
Kiara Brodie bolted upright in bed, panting, her long blonde hair stuck to her cheeks and forehead from the sweat that slicked her entire body. The dream had been intense, so vivid, and so real. She could still smell the demon in her room. Heat and sweat and something spicy.
Shoving the tangled blanket aside, she swung her legs over her bed and breathed in deep. Her heart was still racing. She hadn't dreamt like that in a long time. Not since her brother had died. She wondered if this was some sort of omen, like her dream had been for Liam. A prophecy of things to come.
Such was the life of a seer.
Kiara stood and grabbed the ratty blue robe draped over a chair and slid it on, tying it tight around her waist. She slipped her feet into slippers that were worn on the bottom and shuffled out of her small bedroom and into the kitchen of her quaint but stuffy trailer.
She set the teapot onto the stove and turned on the burner. Maybe a cup of herbal tea would chase away the last remnants of her dream still clinging to her like spider webbing. Rubbing at her face, she pushed open the curtains over the kitchen window and stared out at the day. It was early yet, not even five by the way the sky held a faint yellow and pink glow. Most of the caravan weren't even awake yet. Most wouldn't wake for hours.
Such was the life of a tinker.
A life Kiara hated just about every minute of. But she was born to it, and because of her gift and her curse she didn't have any chance of changing it.
Once she had her tea poured, she took it and opened the door to her trailer to sit out on her favorite chair under the awning. She loved early mornings. There was no one around to bug her, to ask her for a palm or tarot card reading, or to watch her warily from the corner of their eye. Because she knew they did, even if they didn't mean to.
She was part of the caravan, had been born to an Irish tinker and lived among them for her whole twenty-three years, but she was never fully one of them. Because of her curse she'd always been set apart. She knew some feared her and what she could see with her goat's eye. Born with an elliptical pupil in her right eye like a goat, Kiara had been both ostracized and revered. She'd been marked, declared the elders of the caravan. Marked as special, marked as someone to fear. It was a strange place to be. And one that was starting to wear her down. She was tired of being the one. She just wanted to be Kiara Brodie, a young Irish girl with a big yearning in her heart.
A yearning for something else, for something more. For somebody more.
Due to her place in the tinker society, guys didn't approach her. Although she was considered beautiful and desired, there was not a one who had the balls to take her on. Most of the men were afraid of her. And the others were just disgusted with her strangeness.
She hungered for a man who would find that otherness sexy and wanted to be with her night and day. Especially the nights. She harbored wild and wicked fantasies but had yet to find a man who was man enough to fulfill them.
Which brought her back to her dream. There was something about the demon that ignited the fires inside her. He was strangely beautiful and obviously powerful, and she gravitated toward that power. If a being could rip apart a house and imprison two other obviously powerful beings, she could only imagine what that strength and power would be like on top of her. Feeling him inside her. Would she feel his power surging through her?
She shivered at the thought. Cupping her tea in her hands, she took a sip and smiled. Maybe this was a sign that her ideal mate was just around the corner. That soon she would meet him and know the thrill of a hot, fierce, passionate man's pleasure.
The door of another trailer just down from hers opened, and an older woman stepped out, also wrapped in a robe and carrying a cup of tea. She shuffled across the dirt yard and settled into the other chair under Kiara's awning.
"Morn', Ki." Her mother took a healthy sip of tea and breathed a sigh of satisfaction.
"Did ya sleep well?"
She nodded. "Nah so bad. You?"
"Had me some dreams."
Her mother eyed her warily over the tea cup. "Did ya now?"
Kiara nodded. "Strange dreams like when Liam died."
"Storm's a coming, I guess."
"Yeah, maybe." She looked across the trailer yard toward the horizon. The sun was rising now, yellow and bright.
Her mother's deep sigh brought her gaze back around.
"Ya have sumtin' to say, Ma?"
Her mother reached into the pocket of her robe and brought out a folded white envelope. She set it on the plastic table between them, and slid it across to Kiara, but didn't release her hold on it even as Kiara reached for it.
"I shoulda gave this to ya sooner, but I was afraid."
"Afraid of what?"
"What ya would do."
Her mother pulled her fingers back from the envelope then picked up her tea cup again and took a sip.
Hesitantly, Kiara picked up the envelope and unfolded it. She read her name and address on it. Then she looked at the return address in the left corner. Jean-Paul Durant. New Orleans.
"Who's Jean-Paul Durant?"