Midnight Death

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A new club opens on Halloween, yet it is not what it seems. Demons hide behind club Midnight Death, using it as a cover to lure unsuspecting humans to their demise. Little do they know, they are stepping on the toes, and territory, of a very ancient vampire, and she will do anything in her power to keep the food supply.

Submitted: October 31, 2016

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Submitted: October 31, 2016

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*****AUTHOR'S NOTE:

The main character in this story,Kalika (ka-lee-ka), is my original character.  I made her up a decade and a half ago, actually she came to me.  She is an extremely ancient, Grecian, vampire (this term is used loosely, she would give you the history of herself -quite furiously too- on how and why one should never call her a vampire), who was created by an evil ancient God.  This story is a "filler", it shows a glimpse of who/what she is, it can be read on its own but will eventually be part of my book of her in the hopeful future.  I know this story is long, but I do think it is worth a read.

Quick back story: Kalika goes to hell and back while she is "undercover in a small Tennessee town, getting closer to a human that she wants for herself (turn her and keep her).  A demon  "opens up shop" in her town and threatens the human that she wants.  She has to deal with him before he can open his club, or midnight death will be more than just a name.*******

 

 

Midnight Death

 

“Have you heard ‘bout the new club that’s opening Halloween night?” 

The question was asked in a rush as Tammy walked past Kalika quickly with a steaming plate of fajitas sizzling on her tray. Kalika had no trouble hearing it.  She smiled as she walked to her table, her own tray laden with food and drinks.

 “Okay” she said with a light southern accent covering her true voice, “you have the cobb salad” she said to the woman sitting in the corner while she handed the overly weight fat man seated across from her his juicy medium rare steak.  She could feel death radiating off him, could see his heartbeat under his skin-it pumping overtime over the excess weight, and could hear the sluggish flow of blood through his body. She smiled to him, knowing beyond thought that this was going to be the man’s last supper. She handed the man sitting next to the woman his dry baked chicken, before she took the last plate from her tray and placed the salad in front of the woman, giving her a quick wink before straightening up.  “Here’s y’all refills” she said while putting down their fresh cups and taking up their half empty old ones.  “If y'all need anything, I’ll be right here, enjoy y'alls meal.”

Tammy met Kalika in the waiting kitchen, a small enclosed area with two swinging doors on each side connecting to the dining areas with a bar separating them from the kitchen’s cooking area.  “So, have you heard ‘bout the club?” she asked again in a heavily southern accent. 

Kalika looked at the girl, her brown hair, the color of a wet beach, was bound high on her head curls coming out of the clips to fall around her face, her blue eyes shining with excitement and couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face.

She shook her head in denial, “only what you told to me” she replied with a teasing note.  She opened her mind quickly while Tammy laughed, scanning the room to all her customers to check on them and closed it when she found them to be fine. 

“It is downtown” Tammy informed her friend as she walked to the small window on the door and peeked through, checking on all her customers. 

“Are you going to go?” Kalika asked when she came back and rested her hip on the counter. 

“Only if you go with me” was Tammy’s reply. 

Kalika laughed at the pleading in her voice, “I am surprised that you do not apply for a job” she teased. 

“Oh, I have tried!” Tammy exclaimed, “but they don’t hire outsiders, they have special employees.” The last part she enhanced with using her first two fingers and making air quotation marks. 

“Really? I am sure they did not say it like that.”  “No, Britt really.  Word for word, something like ‘we do not hire people outside our establishment; we have a group of special employees under our employment.’ They said other things but I didn’t know what they were talking about.” 

“Huh” Kalika said, sounding stumped, “perhaps they have highly trained bar staff and all that.” 

Tammy shrugged, “whatever it is, they are renovating a really old warehouse. I took a peek inside and from what I saw it’s gonna be scary, the place is dark and has lots of Halloween props up.”

“What is the name?”

“Midnight Death” Tammy replied. 

“Ohhh, that sounds like fun” Kalika said, sounding just as excited as her friend. She took the hot plate of food that was just set out by one of the cooks, “I have to run this she said to Tammy before walking out to her tables.  She dropped the food off to the table it was meant for, not bothering with the young couple that occupied it, before she made her way back to the table with the dying man.  “How was y’alls food?” she asked, a smile stretching across her entire face, as she began to clear their table of finished plates.  “Awesome” she replied bubbly from their positive feedbacks, “and who would like dessert?” she asked, her eyes last to fall on the fat man’s face, “our triple chocolate fudge cake is SO good” she told them, slowly drawing them all in, “It is simply to die for!” She exclaimed, again looking at the man, “y’all only live once, might as well try it while y’all still here.” She laughed as they accepted her suggestion, like a moth to flames the overweight succumbs to sweets. “Alright, good choices, I’ll be right back with y’all desserts.”

After work she met Tammy in the parking behind the restaurant, “what are you doing tonight?” she asked her once she had reached the car. 

“Not much, Danny and me are going to dinner then after that nothing.”

“Want to go out after? We can hit up the clubs around Midnight Death and try to get more information on it then you can stay the night.”

“I’d knew you’d come around!”

 Kalika smiled at the woman, enjoying the smile that played on her lips, and shook her head, “yes, the name drew me in.”

Tammy laughed, making a smile ghost across Kalika’s lips, before she slid off the hood of her car. She opened the passenger side door, the top half of her disappearing into the car before she came out and shut the door behind her. She got back on the car and pulled a joint from behind her ear and a lighter from the front pocket of her jean shorts once she had finished leaning her back against the windshield along with Kalika.  Kalika watched her as she held the two objects out in front of her and began to catch the front of the joint on fire, she knew the question she wanted to ask before the words came out.  “You know you’re my best friend” Tammy began as she blew the small flame out and took a hit from the spliff, “don’t you?” she asked in a strained voice as she held the smoke in her lungs. 

Kalika laughed at her before she shook her head vigorously in the affirmative.  “Of course!” she gushed as she took the outstretched offering and breathed in, amusement bubbled within her over the knowledge of Tammy being pissed if she ever found out her pot was going to waste when she smoked, but she quickly tamped it down.  “But what do you want?” she asked teasingly as she handed the joint back. 

Tammy pretended to pout as she took a hit, “why do you think I want something?”

“It was your tone” Kalika said as she took it back and took a hit, “and you always say that when you ask me of something” she said in a rush as she blew smoke out with her words, as an effect she coughed for a minuet; succeeding in getting Tammy to hit her back to help her catch her breath.  Tammy took the joint from her friend and chuckled before sitting back and inhaling the smoke deep into her lungs as she sorted out her question.  Kalika settled on to the windshield, letting her back curve with it and listened to the steady furious tempo of Tammy’s heart.  She could dance to it, a sassy little salsa or a quick Irish river dance; she smiled at the thought and took the joint when Tammy handed it to her again.  She took Tammy’s hand and played with her fingers as she waited patiently for the question she already knew was to be asked.  She lifted the hand and kissed its palm at the same time Tammy asked “will you come with me to dinner with Danny?” 

Kalika handed the rest of the joint back, “I am done with it” she said when it was soon reoffered, “I thought it was to be the two of you.” 

Tammy shook her head in the negative as she took one last hit and flicked the roach out of her fingers, “I got a text from him earlier that he was gonna be closing late, some car came in last minute broke. Have a feeling that he will be bringing the crew with him. Always does.”  Kalika let go of the girl’s hand and scratched her head as if in thought, laughing when Tammy rocked into her “you know you have nothing to do without me” she teased. 

Kalika pushed her back lightly, “that is the truth” she agreed with a smile, “Yes, I will go with you” she said as she flipped the tip of her nose with her finger, as a mother would to her child.  “It will give me a chance to talk to Danny about seeing you more.” She said with a wink as she slid off the car and stood between Tammy’s legs, the girl’s arms wrapping around her waist.  “What time is it?” she asked, knowing that it would confuse her, and she wasn’t disappointed. 

“I don’t know, maybe 5:30, I don’t have my phone on me.” 

No” Kalika says in a laugh, “what time is dinner love?”  “Ohhh” Tammy laughed, biffing Kalika on the shoulder, “hopefully no later than ten, if not it’s gonna be you and me.”  She said, drawing Kalika in on her laughter.

Kalika cupped the girl’s face in both of her hands and placed a light kiss upon her lips before she drew away, “Call me when you want to meet up, I need to go.” 

Tammy slid from the hood of her car and wrapped her arms around Kalika in a tight embrace, “I do too” she said before she gave Kalika another kiss.  “I’ll call you as soon as I know something” she promised as she slid into the driver seat of the car. 

“You better” Kalika teased as she walked to her own car and got behind the wheel as Tammy drove away.

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Kalika drove downtown in silence, the only noise being the music of the wind rushing past her window.  Her curiosity was aroused at the mention of the new club’s name, it kicked up a notch when she had slipped into Tammy’s mind and saw the inside of the club through her eyes.  She saw the markings on the wall as what they were, witchcraft as humans nowadays call them, demon markings to her.  Serious black magic that could animate the dead if the right objects were used around them, she smirked at the damage that could be caused if she activated them; if no one else did of course.  She was surprised at how quickly the off ramp to get into downtown appeared, she checked her speed and took her foot off the gas when she realized she was going over 100mph.  She swerved from the fast lane over to the slow lane without a blinker or checking for an opening.  Cars slammed on brakes and horns honked furiously all around her as she got off the exit leading to downtown.  She didn’t let up on the gas as a normal human would when she came upon the curve from off the exit, instead she gained speed and drifted the old mustang around it to come to a screeching halt behind a line of cars at a red light.  Kalika laid on the horn the instant the light changed green and zoomed around everyone using the median, smiling at all the dirty looks that were thrown her way through the car windows.  She made a hard left at the next intersection, swinging outwards before she turned to give the car room to fishtail, barely missing a pedestrian that was most unfortunate to have picked that moment to cross the road.  Kalika’s eyes went to the rearview to see the man jump back quickly and then scream at the car with a fist raised and pumping in the air, “Damn” she muttered under her breath, the letdown of the man not getting hit causing disappointment to rear is melancholy head. The vision of turning around and running him down appeared like an apparition; she shut it down before it could manifest into reality.  She turned one more corner and slowed down to the speed limit before she pulled into an abandoned parking garage.  She drove down the lane till she was in the middle of the bottom parking and pulled into a spot killing the engine. 

Across the street workers were busy bringing in boxes from off a truck, Kalika sat in the car and watched them work.  There was only one double door that she could see from her vantage point, yet she knew there had to at least be two more, a back exit for the clubbers and most likely a private exit for the owner.  She didn’t see any fire escapes on the sides of the building, then again she could not see the back from here, yet she knew there would be none.  She turned her attention back to the men, watching as they scrambled around like ants in and out of the delivery truck, following orders from a man holding one of the two doors to the main entrance open.  Curious pedestrians lined the sidewalk opposite the men, all standing on tiptoes with their necks stretched as far as its limit, in hopes to get a quick glimpse inside.  Kalika got out the car and took a pack of cigarettes out of her purse lighting one, not needing or wanting it but knowing that the act would make her appear human and the smoke would mask her scent if there were witches inside the building.  She walked the short distance to the club quickly and was past the onlookers in no time as if on a mission, she crossed the street without looking, her eyes looking past the man at the door and into the building heightening her hearing and other senses at the same time as she searched for any enemies. The stench of sulfur wafted to her nose, she could feel the energy in the symbols she saw etched into the air; invisible to a human but not to her preternatural eyes.  A hand shot out to stop her, just inches from her chest, as she tried to walk past the man to go inside.  Kalika looked down at it; following the arm with her eyes she rested them upon the man holding the door open for the men unloading the truck.  She saw him for his true identity, a demon clad in human clothing, it morphing into human form to blend in. 

“Can I help you?” he drawled out with sarcasm. 

A smile spread across her face as she looked up at him, a hundred ways to answer his question flitting through her mind.  She took delight that it could not detect who she was, and debated whether or not he should know that she knew of him.  “No thanks” she told him sweetly, making her southern accent as thick and sweet as honey, as she opened her mind and searched the occupants inside the club; as she expected the other ten inside were all demons as well.  “I was just curious about the club is all” she finished with a purr in her words. 

“The curious are waiting across the street ma’am.  Maybe you can go stand with them and get out the men’s way, we are trying to get this open by the next weekend.”  He said roughly, trying to dismiss her. 

Kalika inhaled some of the cigarette and blew the smoke out still smiling, “maybe you need a waitress or a barmaid? I make one killer margarita.” She told the man, she took a step closer to the man, forcing him to draw his hand back or have it settle on her breast.  Kalika smiled as she felt his discomfort rise in him and the painstakingly ordeal it was to resist her charm.

The man cleared his throat “Like I told those waiting over there” he said indicating the crowd of onlookers across the street with a quick tilt of his head, “we already have a-”

“let me guess” Kalika said, interrupting him “you already have a group of special employees under your employment” she guessed as she flicked the cigarette butt out into the street.  “You know” she said giving the man her full attention again, “bringing in a local girl can get your business booming” she said as she twirled a black curl around her finger.  She smiled as she watched the lust rage within him and was a little surprised when she was denied again. 

“This isn’t my business ma’am so it’s not by problem if this places booms or not, but I think it will do fine.  Now can you please vacate the area so the men can get back to work?” 

Kalika looked at him for a moment, studying how far she could push this man, “Who owns this place?” she asked finally, taking delight at the expression on his face. 

Irritation flitted across his face before being smoothed out by nonchalance once more, “I do not have the liberty to say.” He told her in a hard voice that would have most females backing off. 

Kalika tilted her head to the side, debating if it would be worth her while to continue like this with the man or find everything out herself when her cell started to ring in her back pocket.  She flashed an expression of surprise on her face to the man as she answered it.  “Hello?” Kalika held her finger up to the man telling him to wait a minute as Tammy began to give her details of dinner.  “Alright, 9:40 it is. Ok that is fine I will be there, bye Tam…What? No I will be there it does not matter who the guys are as long as you are there. Promise.”  Kalika rolled her eyes to the guy as if in exasperation, “no I am going to head back to my place and get ready. I will meet you there…okay, love ya too, bye Tam.”  She put the phone back in her pocket and resumed her conversation with the man, “how come?” she asked him. 

The man let out an exasperated half grunt half sigh before he threw his hands into the air, “listen lady” he said brusquely pointing a finger at her, “you have to vacate this premises now.” 

Kalika didn’t show any outward reaction to the man’s yelling, she looked as though he had not said a thing.  “Listen guy” she said in his same tone, only somehow softer, “I just wanted to know who owned this, and trust me I can stand here forever and pester you into telling me, but my girlfriend just called and I have to meet her for dinner.” She told him with a smile as she slipped into his head and got her information and his.  “Trust me Bernie when I say that you will be seeing me again and very soon.” She said as she turned from the man and club and took the small walk back to her car, leaving the man to wonder if he told her his name or not.

*****************************************************************

The club Kalika pulled into later that night was packed with cars, she drove to the back where the workers parked and went in through their door.  She went through the kitchen, drawing a lot of stares in her direction, and came out into a hallway that connected to the strippers’ dressing room.  Eyes instantly turned on her when she stepped through the room, she was almost at the door when a brave voice shot out, “you’re in the wrong place bitch!” 

Kalika kept walking, not breaking stride as she opened the door “you will want to keep that mouth shut around me slut or you might end up found dead by the lake.” She promised as she stepped into yet another hallway, this one leading to the inside of the club.  With each step the music grew louder behind the huge double doors, the bass shaking the ground beneath her feet; it swamped her when she walked through them.  Her eyes instantly adjusted to the bare lighting of the club, just as easily as her ears turned down the music and turned up the conversations. 

Kalika had no problem finding Tammy and the group she was with; they were seated in the rear of the room using two tables for themselves.  Kalika walked over to them noticing that Danny wasn’t there.  “Oh, Britt! You look gorgeous!” Tammy squealed when she saw Kalika walking towards her.

Kalika looked down at the black spaghetti strap dress she wore, it hugged every inch of her curves and flared out around her knees, “in this old thing?” she asked smiling, “look at you love, very sexy” she complimented Tammy; she wore a half sleeve dress in zebra print it clung to her body and stopped mid-thigh on her, and topped off by black stilettos that had a bow around her ankle.  She walked over to the table and leaned down to give Tammy a quick hug and kiss before she sat in the seat next to her.  “Where is Danny?” she asked looking around the room before them as if searching for him, “Does he dare to leave you alone with me?” she teased. 

Tammy giggled before she answered, “he had to work later than he expected, he’s gonna meet us here later.” She took a sip of her drink, “Oh!” she exclaimed as though an ingenious idea had struck her, “he told me he had a surprise that we would both be interested in!”

Kalika smiled at the excitement pouring off her, making her eyes sparkle blue like a calm sea, “I hope it is his agreement for me having you on the weekends” Kalika teased with a wink. “I thought that he was to take you out for dinner” she commented to change the subject.

“According to Danny, this is going out to eat” Tammy replied with a laugh.

Kalika shook her head at the sadness of the statement, “nice” she drawled out in sarcasm.  “I remember a time when strip clubs were only for watching, if you wanted to eat you had to leave and go to a food joint.” 

Tammy laughed at her words, thinking them to be a joke.  “I ordered some food.  You want me to call the waitress over so you can order?” 

Kalika shook her head, "no thanks, I had a bite before I came here” she explained.

An hour later, Danny arrived with a new friend in tow.  He walked behind Tammy and with his hands on her shoulders he leaned down as she leaned up to kiss her mouth long and hard before he sat down in an empty seat next to her.  “Hi babe” they say at the same time, Tammy erupting into giggles and Danny with a goofy smile.  He waved a waitress over and ordered a burger with fries and a pitcher of beer. 

“Hey Britt” He said once the waitress had left to call in his order.

“Hey Dan” she replied with a big smile, “hard day at work? Tam told me you had a later customer.” Kalika looked to her friend as she waited for Danny’s answer; she was craning her neck to get a better view of the new guy at the bar. 

“Who’s your friend?” she asked Danny, turning away from the view of the bar and rubbing away a crick that had started in her neck. 

“He’s the reason I had to stay late” He said to them both, “Britt you know anything about Ferraris?” he added.

Kalika folded her arms under her breasts and sat back in the chair as she let out a small puff of air as if in thought, as she slipped into his mind figuring out what was going on.  “Did pretty boy wreck his?” she asked after she slipped out.

“How’d you know?” Danny asked in puzzlement over her question. 

Kalika smiled at him, “no one in this town owns that nice of a car” she retorted.  Danny shook his head in agreement as the waitress came back with his food and beer.  Tammy poured out the beer into frosted glasses and handed one to Kalika and Danny and took one for herself.

“Hey Britt” Danny said around a mouthful of burger, “the guy that was supposed to be here couldn’t make it, sorry kiddo.” 

Kalika swiped her hand through the air as if it was of no importance, “does not matter. I do not like your friends anyway.” She said making Tammy squeal with laughter, “besides” she said as she picked up Tammy’s hand and brought it to her lips, “I have your girl” she finished with a kiss on the inside of her palm. 

Tammy laughed and enthusiastically kissed her hand in return, Danny shook his head in a semblance of defeat before he retorted, “that is why I am trying to hook you up, so you will stay away from my girl.” 

Kalika laughed at that, “that I will never do” she said with a wink to Tammy. 

“Ahh, wait till you meet my new friend.” Danny said while taking the last bite of his meal, he turned his attention then to his mug of beer as he watched the guy walk back from the bar, “you’ll like this guy” Danny whispered to Kalika under his breath as he reached their tables.

“Hi” both the women said at the same time, they both looked at the other before they burst into giggles. 

Danny rolled his eyes and offered the man a seat which he took with a thanks, “Damien, this is my girl Tammy” he said as an introduction, “and this chick here” he said thrusting a thumb in her direction, “is her best friend Britney.  The one I was telling you about at the shop.” 

Kalika studied him during their introduction.  He was handsome enough, what with his short black hair neatly combed back from his face, his square face giving the aura of masculinity and leadership.  She noticed his body was well built muscles hidden behind the cloth of his suit.  His light blue eyes caught hers as she continued to assess him, he smiled showing her white straight teeth,

“Danny has told me quite a lot about you” he said, breaking the silence that suddenly began to settle around them.

Kalika smiled at him and chuckled, “no doubt” she purred to the man. 

“I brought shots for us” he said before he began the task of passing them around the table, they did a toast to all of them meeting and downed their shots as one. 

“Damien is it?” Kalika asked when she sat her empty glass on the table.

“Yes” he answered as he poured them all another shot. 

“Last name would not happen to be Cortel would it?” she asked him sweetly.  She watched as he swallowed his shot in a gulp, could feel his anger rise at her knowing and heard his mind scramble for a reason to it. 

“Yeah, heard of me?” he asked nonchalantly with a smile. 

Kalika studied him, sensing something about him that didn’t quite seem human; she inhaled his scent smelling a stench not normal to his dominant human smell.  She tried to grasp the thing that she could sense, but it was just out of her reach, she felt like a kid too short to reach a jar of cookies pushed in the far corner of a shelf.  She tried again to ferret it out but to no prevail could she grasp it completely, irritation started to swell so she helped herself to another shot.  “Yeah, I know who you are.” She said before she downed the liquid, “Damien Cortel, owner and manager of the new night club Midnight Death.” She told him with a smile. 

Tammy’s indrawn breath covered up Damien’s audible gulp.  “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?!” Tammy exclaimed to Kalika, lightly hitting her on the arm. 

Kalika put an apologetic smile on her face and gave it to Tammy before looking at Damien in time to see the anger smoldering in his crystal blue eyes. 

“How did you find out?” he asked Kalika with an underlying edge of that anger in his voice.

“Oh” she said with a shrug, “when I got off work earlier I stopped by the club” she explained to Damien and Tammy both, “the man...Oh what was his name?” she asked before she paused for dramatic effect and as if she were stuck.  “Oh yeah, Bernie.” She said brightly with a smile as if she had to really think of the name.  “He gave me all the info on you when I asked for it.”  Kalika watched in approval as his blue eyes turned to ice shards, and again had that whiff of something non-human coming from him.

“He was ordered not to tell anyone anything” Damien said in a low dangerous voice that only Kalika picked up on. 

“At first he would not tell me a thing” Kalika purred, enjoying the anger building up in him; it made the non-human smell stronger, to where she could almost identify it.  “I had to do some major flirting but he eventually caved and told me everything I was wanting to know.” 

Damien’s eyes became slits as his anger rose from Kalika’s lie.  The smell wafting from him steadily grew stronger, with it came a feeling of elusiveness; her entire being screamed with familiarity of the smell and the faint power she felt building, yet she still could not get it within her grasp, it was like trying to see the bottom of a pond looking through the top scum.  Frustration gripped her, reacting on it she poured herself a shot and dropped it in her half empty beer mug chugging it all. 

“Don’t get too mad man” Danny told Damien as he threw a hand on his shoulder and shook it, “No man can resist Brittney’s charm when she wants something.” 

Kalika laughed at the joke, as she sat her mug down and shook her head.  “Do not let him lie to you.” She said to Damien, “Danny can resist me very well” she said with a wink to him. 

“That’s ‘cause you don’t charm me. You give it all to Tammy!” he retorted back quickly with a laugh.

A few hours flew by as the four of them finished off the bottle of liquor that Damien had bought shot by shot.  To Kalika’s dismay the non-human smell had vanished after Damien’s tenth shot and had her wondering if she had made it up.  Over the hours she had learned quite a bit on Damien Cortel, the black haired glacial blue eyed 6’8” man that owned Midnight Death, yet the deeper she tried to dig into the farthest recesses of his mind the harder it was to read it.  It was like walking down a dark corridor and fumbling blindly for the one unlocked door amidst hundreds of locked ones. 

Kalika looked around the table at the three of them, Tammy was three sheets to the wind six shots ago; a ¼ bottle of liquor and several daiquiris later and she’s a rambling drunk that can barely sit upright in her chair.  Danny’s drunk was being soaked up by all the chips and dip he was consuming as he talked to Damien.  Kalika smiled at Tammy and nodded to her drunken question, not being able to decipher her words through the slurring even with her preternatural hearing, she turned her eyes back on Damien and tried to figure out why he looked as drunk as she felt; nothing.  He drank as much as the other two humans and yet his eyes were clear and his voice was smooth when he answered Danny’s question; she could only feel a slight buzz radiating off him.  “Drink very much?” Kalika asked him when his eyes met hers across the table. 

“I could ask you the same.” he retorted, forcing a slur into the statement. 

“I am a Tennessee girl, Mr. Cortel.  Born and bred on whiskey.” 

“Damien please, Brittney.”

 Kalika smiled sweetly to him, “Britt please, Damien.”

He smiled at her, “to answer your question, I own a few nightclubs so I have to be able to drink with guests and conduct business afterwards.”  Damien’s face hardened faintly, not a significant change for the human eye to notice but Kalika’s did.  “Which reminds me” he said in a hard tone, “I have to find another bouncer.” 

Tammy chose that moment to lean into Kalika’s side and rest her head on her shoulder, “I don’t feel that great” she whispered into her neck.

 Kalika reached her hand up and laid it on the side of Tammy’s face, “I think she is going to puke then pass out” she told Danny and Damien both.  “You want to pay then get your car? I will bring her out front.” She said to Danny. 

“Where’s a nearest hotel?” Damien asked as he pulled out his wallet and threw a hundred on the table. 

“Nowhere near here.” Danny replied picking up the bill and trying to give it back, “I’m paying tonight” he said to Damien who denied. 

“The bottle is on me, for you fixing my car, I know parts are going to be a bitch to find” he said with a chuckle, “besides, I didn’t pay attention to any of the strippers, and this place has to make some sort of money.” 

“Okay” Kalika said, interrupting the two men who had begun to argue over which one was going to pay.  “As the two of you figured that out, you can stay with me Damien.” She informed him. 

Damien turned his full attention to her, surprise etched all across his face, “do you have a guy waiting for you ready to object with his fists?”

 Kalika smiled at him, “I own an inn.” She told him, “and yes this is a small town and people will talk so you have to pay.”  She flashed him a brilliant smile that had him smiling back. 

Tammy groaned, drawing attention back to her, “I think she is ready” Kalika said as she slowly got up, “come on babe” she crooned to Tammy, as one would a baby, as she carefully helped her out of her chair. 

Kalika put Tammy’s arm around her neck and wrapped her arm around the girl’s waist, with her free hand she dug into her purse withdrawing her keys and tossed them to Damien, “’69 Boss, employee parking lot” she said over her shoulder as she walked towards the restrooms with Tammy.

*************************************************************

Twenty minutes later Kalika walked out the club’s front entrance with Tammy draped over her shoulder, her head rested on the top of her ass as her feet dangled in front of her.  Danny and Damien had parked the cars in the empty parking lot, like they were at a car show, and both leaned against Kalika’s car smoking a cigar.  They straightened when she approached them, her bare feet not making a sound. 

She held her hand out to Danny, “The second pair is hers” she told him, indicating the two pairs of heels that each took a place on its own individual finger.  She curled her index finger holding her heels and the other fingers on her hand, as she held her middle finger out more predominantly and waited for him to grab Tammy’s shoes.  Danny tried to reach for hers, “Second pair” she said, causing Danny to withdraw his hand back. 

“Which pair?” he asked in confusion. 

“Animal print” she said in mock exasperation, inwardly enjoying the mischief she was doing to the inebriated human.

“Which one? They both are” Danny said in the same tone she used. 

Kalika rolled her eyes and sighed, “second finger” she said with impatience in her voice.  “one is index, two is middle, three is ring, four is pinky, and five is thumb.” she said wiggling her fingers in his face, “And I am holding my middle finger out in a provocative gesture.  How much more do you need?” to soften the blow she kept a smile on her face that she visibly tried to fight and a hint of laughter in her voice that she tried to mask. 

Danny grinned down at her with a goofy grin on his face as he shared in on their usual friendly banter as he snatched Tammy’s shoes from her middle finger; he threw them into the back seat of his car before he took Tammy from her and set her gently in the passenger seat and strapped her in. 

“Oh and the shoes” Kalika said to Danny when he walked back to join them, “mine is black caiman, Tammy’s is zebra.” 

He looked down at her with a ‘what the fuck?’ look on his face before he grinned at her and shook his head, “sometimes Britt I think you were a girly-girl” he said as he leaned his head down and kissed her cheek.  He turned to Damien and shook his hand, “I’ll start calling my contacts tomorrow morning for parts and give you an estimate.  Between Britt and me, we can fix it quick once they come in.” 

Damien’s eyes darted to Kalika in surprise, “you fix cars?” he asked incredulously. 

Kalika smirked at him, and tilted her head to her car, “you are leaning on one I built” not being able to hide, the pride in her words. 

He pushed himself off the car and turned to study it.  The sleek two door boss 429 was blacked out; from the hood scoop on the front to the boxed look of its back along with the blacked out rims on the 20in fat tires.  The windows were tinted dark, your reflection the only thing that one could see when looking at it.  The front grill was chromed, as well as the front and back bumper and the letters of mustang on the back, to finish off the look she had glossed the car to make it shine. 

Danny pushed Damien’s shoulder, “a beaut ain’t she?” he asked rhetorically, “Britt’s one and only love is this here. She won’t let no one drive it, not even me and I’m the one that helped her find parts” he said in a joke. 

“This is my baby” Kalika said to Danny with a huge smile on her lips.  Danny and Damien shared a chuckle before Danny got in his car and pulled away from them to head home.

“Nice car.” Damien told Kalika once they were alone. 

“Thank you” she said, “this took me about two years to build from the ground up.” She said as she walked around the car to the passenger side door and opened it, “you can drive” she told him as she slid into the car, wanting to test the effects of the alcohol in his system. 

Damien followed suit and climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car, smiling as the engine roared to life; he revved it a few times, enjoying the thundering sound, “where to?” he asked as he shifted to first gear. 

“Take a right to get out of here and follow the road for a few miles.”  Silence engulfed them as they sped away from the club and the lights of downtown; neither said a word to the other as the minutes ticked past. 

“How did you come to work for Danny?” Damien finally asked.

“I moved here to take over my aunt’s inn when she passed. Met Tammy from the diner then one night Danny picked her up and was complaining about needing a new mechanic, I offered my services.” 

Silence again overcame them as the car plowed down the deserted road.  “And Tammy?” Damien asked. 

Kalika turned her head to look at him, “what about Tam?”

“Are the two of you friends or more?” he asked. 

Kalika smiled at the question that lurked in his brain, him too polite to ask it, “She’s my girl.” Kalika replied, “want her for a girlfriend but Danny will not give her up.” 

“Are you…”

“gay?” she finished for him, smiling over the uncomfortable feeling radiating off him, “I am bi” she said at last, “there has been the rarity where it has been the two of us and Danny, but I am happy with just Tammy.”  She had to keep the laugh from erupting past her throat as she felt the signs of lust beginning to form in him.  “The onramp to the highway is coming up, get on it” she told him.  Kalika felt the air in the car become denser as the temperature started to rise, she knew it came from the intangible thing she had smelt and felt from Damien in the club; the temperature should be dropping as they sped into the country away from the heat of crowded streets and factories, the wind becoming a torrent as they rushed through it with the windows down.  Instead it became thicker, as if the air were trying to suffocate them, with it came the old familiar stench of sulfur.  Kalika turned her head in time to see Damien shift, not into another being but psychologically; she felt the change that undertook in his mind, it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in that instant Damien was a demon.  She had to laugh at him, a half demon no less; the irony in this did not go unnoticed to her. 

“What is it you laugh at vampire?” the thing in her driver’s seat asked, his voice was like gravel, it crunching through the words. 

“A half demon” she said with a shrug of a shoulder.  It downshifted the gears and swung onto the onramp, drifting the boss around the tight curve and bashing the side of it into the wall before it merged onto the highway and gunned it, the torque of the engine making them fall back against the seat until it reached the desired speed.  Kalika let out a growl of anger at the sound of the metal smashing into the concrete, the hurt it dealt the car a palpable thing to her.  “Damien will pay for that.” She vowed angrily. 

The demon laughed, it coming out thick and coarse, “I am sure he will, he is a weakling” it told her. 

“And you are not?” she asked it mockingly, “he seems strong to me, being able to bind you from himself.” 

The demon huffed out a breath, a ring of smoke coming from his lips, “if he is so strong why is it that I can come out?”

Kalika shrugged again, “mayhaps it is because he is intoxicated.” 

“No. I have been slowly gaining the upper hand in the battle of wills we have been playing at for years.” 

Kalika looked out the window as she thought over what she had been told, “What is your purpose of being here?” she asked it. 

It looked over at her, with an expression of almost surprise on its face, “the same as yours” it said to her, looking back at the road, at the blur of the white lines that sped past beside the cars wheels. 

“And what is it that I am doing?” Kalika asked, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. 

She heard the demon huff out another breath, smelt the smoke that lingered in it, “plotting destruction”, it answered her. 

A chuckle came unbidden from her throat, “I do not plot” she said to it in a voice filled with offence, “I do as I will when the mood strikes.” 

It was the demon’s turn to laugh, “Are you telling me that all blood suckers are whimsical?”

“Are you telling me that all demons are not full?” she retorted back quickly, a smile spreading her lips when she felt the offence at her words.  “Tell me half blood, what are you doing in my territory? I counted eleven full demons under your command, which is very curious to me.  Is it not custom that you have sought out the highest rank and asked to have settled down here?” there was a hint of darkness that concealed her words that would have sent a shiver up the human’s spine if he were sitting in the car with her. 

“Never call me that again!” it screeched to her, “I am above you and this is now my territory!” 

Kalika pulled her lips between her teeth and bit down to keep from laughing at the half demon, but could not control the smile that came.  She shook her head in a denial to its outburst, feeling very much like the dark mother she was to her child.  “No” she said still shaking her head, “you are far beneath me and you do not possess the power to take what is mine away from me.”  She gave up trying to not offend the half breed when at her words he snorted and a small fireball blew from his nose onto the dashboard of the car, she laughed hard and long at it as she waved her hand and the fireball extinguished. 

“You blood sucking bitch!” it screamed, “no one is above me, least of all a daughter of darkness” it spat the last of its statement out as if in a curse, “even though I am half I am better than a vampire and you will give up your territory or be killed in the process of it being taken from you.” 

Kalika laughed at the demon, the boldness of its words and the threat not bothering her in the least, she tsked it as one would to a naughty child, “you can try” she said, “but know that you will fail.  Many have tried what you boast that you can do and none have succeeded.” 

In a fit of rage the demon gunned the engine, it roaring its acceptance to the faster speed, and swerved into another lane, hitting a slower moving vehicle.  Kalika could hear the crunch of her back taillight breaking as the back end rammed into the front of the one car that happened to be on the road with them, she shook her head and sighed the instinct to rip the half breed’s head off strong. 

“Are you trying to piss me off, half-blood?” she asked mockingly with emphasis on the last word, pissing it off.

“Never call me that!” it screamed as it raised its hand in a gesture to hit her. 

Kalika’s eyes grew cold as she called upon the magic inside her to stop his hand halfway, taking delight in the confusion that flitted through its eyes as it tried to push past her barrier.  “If you raise your hand to me again I will forget the challenge you issued to me and I will kill you now.”  She said her voice devoid of emotion. 

The demon stared her down, determining her seriousness for itself before it returned its hand back to the steering wheel, “who are you?” it asked. 

Kalika debated for a second on whether to tell it who she was or let it find out for itself, she decided on the latter no demon as lowly as him had ever met her, it would be interesting to see its reaction.  “I go by a lot of names, my very first being Kalika.” She told it and waited.  She felt the air go a few degrees cooler as shock went through the demon, then it jumped up to scorching as anger over took it. 

“You lie!” it spat with hatred overwhelming its voice, “the Dark Mother would not lower herself to humans.” 

Kalika looked to him with a shadow of compassion in her eyes, “oh but I do” she said, “and lowering my status I am not, it is blending in as I search for a newest human to sire.  Much like Bernie does.”  She laughed, it sounding musical and enchanting as she saw the uncertainty in the half demons face. 

“You are lying!” 

Kalika sat back in her seat and folded her arms over her chest as if in thought, “huh,” she said as if in confusion, “if I am I have much to fear from the Dark Mother, I will be quite dead if she found out.” She said. 

The demon shook its head in agreement, “and believe me I will spread the word until she hears of it.” 

Kalika shrugged her shoulders, “the next exit get off and turn left” she said, growing bored with the way their conversation was going.  She stayed silent the rest of their drive only speaking to tell the demon which road to turn down, silently exploring its thoughts without its knowledge, seeing their upcoming moves like a chess player. 

The half demon pulled onto the dead-end road smoothly, both it and Kalika still in silence, coming to a soft stop in the wraparound driveway.  It put the car in park and killed the engine, “how do I know you’re telling the truth?” it finally asked.

Kalika shifted in the seat to look at it, her back resting against the door, “that I am the Dark Mother?” she shrugged, “you do not.  You either accept it or test it.” She said before she got out and met it at the front of the car; she did not look at the damage, knowing that tomorrow would be just as good.  “I do not know where half demons sleep but I told him he can stay here” she told it, indicating that she was talking about Damien.  She walked up the steps to the front porch and unlocked the door, “the third story is mine, but make yourself at home anywhere else.” She said before she walked inside.

***************************************

Bright morning sunlight filtered through the parted curtains in one of the many guest rooms, it woke Damien from his sleep as its rays settled on the bed.  He rolled out of bed and stretched, his shoulder blades and back popping in response.  He noticed a note pinned to the back of the door and walked over to read it.  It was written in Kalika’s flowing calligraphy telling him that she left to help Danny work on his car and that he should feel free to use the showers and make himself breakfast and that he could use her car until his was fixed.  Damien folded the note and dropped it on the bed before he headed into the bathroom to take her up on her offer.  Twenty minutes later he was downstairs in the massive kitchen throwing together breakfast; bacon sizzled on an eye next to eggs that were frying.  He leaned against the counter as he waited, arms crossed at his chest feet crossed at the ankle in a relaxed stance as he checked out his surroundings.  The kitchen was painted a soft inviting yellow, plants were lined up on shelves all along the walls, taking the place of pictures; there were a lot of them, but it didn’t give off the look of clutter.  Damien felt as though something was missing from the place, and it took him a while to figure out that it was the lack of pictures; he had not come across one in his exploration of the second and first story of the massive house.  When the food had finished cooking he wolfed it down from the pans, not bothering to dirty another dish.  When he was done he rinsed off the two pans and fork then put them in the dishwasher before he grabbed the keys off the counter and headed out the front door. 

For about the hundredth time he wondered what he did last night, he awoke this morning with a fuzzy feeling in his head and knew that the demon in him had taken over.  He tried to remember all he could from last night, clearly remembering the bar and then Brittney saying that he could drive them to her place, then the fuzziness, not even being able to remember himself driving at all.  He went to open the driver side door and came to a sudden stop, his mouth gaping open in a silent surprised ‘O’.  The mustang was wrecked.  The side he was on was bashed in towards the back end and the whole side scrapped as if it was rubbed against concrete or something equally as hard.  He walked around to the back and cringed at the sight of the passenger side taillight shattered and a hunk of the fender missing.  He slowly backed away from the car as if it were alive and ready to charge him for the abuse she went through the night before.  Disbelief coursed through him and denial screamed in his head.  A note fluttered in the wind, desperately trying to unpin itself from the antenna on the hood, Damien ripped it off and read the two words ‘thank you’ scrawled neatly on the paper. 

“What did you do?” he asked his reflection in the tinted window. 

He wasn’t the least bit surprised when it answered him back, “do not blame me, she made me do it.” 

Damien’s temper started to flare as he glowered at his reflection, “why” he demanded of it. 

The reflection shrugged, “she is a vampire Damien” it said in a defensive tone, “one that does not show respect.

Damien laughed mockingly at his reflection, “respect for what?” he asked in a hard tone, “she is above us. We are two halves of a whole, not full blooded.” 

He watched as his reflection’s face turned cold as his stayed angry, “No one is above us” it spat out, “stay out of my way and let me handle this vampire.” 

Damien let out a sigh and shook his head, “what are you going to do to her?” he asked, the question tinged with defeat.

The reflection laughed evilly, it sending a shiver down Damien’s spine, “come Damien, you have not been bewitched by her have you?” it ridiculed. 

Damien’s spine stiffened at the threat that lay under its words, “no” he said with forced disgust. 

His reflection smiled maliciously, “it is a territory war that the blood sucker wants and one that we cannot lose.” It laughed its wicked laugh once more at its own joke, “so you let me handle this thing and stay out of my way.”

*******************************************

Kalika sped around a truck, her anger growing as she gained speed; the ’64 charger growled its approval of the change as it switched to a higher gear.  Fucking half demon wrecking the mustang, it’s drivable of course but that wasn’t the point. She spent time and energy into fixing the 429 Boss just to prove to Danny that she was capable of fixing cars, this time around she vowed that that human was going to help with all the work.  A ghost of a smile crept along her lips from knowing that his only payment for his help would to be the first to drive the car once they finished with it. 

A scowl quickly replaced the happy thought, she hoped to the demon’s maker that it would try to test her on her word for who she is.  She had to slam on the brakes when a couple cars in front of her stopped at the yellow light to catch the next green one, her tires screeched and smoke billowed from behind her.  She tapped on the steering wheel in impatience as the light took its sweet time changing.  She gunned her car forward, smiling at the roar of the engine and began swerving in and out of the traffic until she reached club Midnight Death.  She parked in the abandoned garage again like she did the first time she came to see the club, she got out and pulled her hair free of its binding, shaking the curls loose around her shoulders and walked to the club. 

Her eyes narrowed into slits and a malicious smile spread across her lips as she spotted Bernie at the main entrance.  His eyes went wide, partly in fear and surprise, when he saw her crossing the street like a demon out of hell.  The sound of screeching tires and honked horns followed her as she stepped into the busy street without looking, crossing to the curb in front of the club.  “Hello Bernie.” She purred to him despite the anger that was simmering inside of her.  A smile hugged her lips as she heard him gulp.

“What do you want?” he demanded in a brusque tone, but unable to mask the shiver that was in his voice from her dead stare. 

“I am here to see Mr. Cortel” she told him in a hard no non-sense voice, silently challenging him to deny her. 

An evil smile tugged her lips when he said, “sorry ma’am, but Mr. Cortel isn’t seeing anyone” as he folded his arms across his chest, “you can leave a message and I’ll make sure he gets it.” 

Kalika’s smile stayed on her face as the image of her hands wrapping around his neck and choking the life from him played in her head.  He made the mistake of turning his back on her in an effort to dismiss her, rage boiled inside her to the point of exploding.  She grabbed his upper arm and swung him back around to face her, taking pleasure in the shock that absorbed his face, “Listen” she ground out in a voice like steel, “Mr. Cortel fucked up my car” she told him enunciating each word.  “And” she added in a slightly softer tone, “He is expecting me.” 

Bernie’s eyes narrowed at her boldness and anger darkened his face, “ma’am Mr. Cortel is not here” he told her sternly.

“Well he is expecting me and I guarantee you that he would rather receive me inside than pissed off outside” she said, her eyes going to slits as she stared at him.  She was too concentrated on her anger and keeping it from burning out of control until it could be aimed at the correct person that she didn’t notice the change in the air around him or smell the stench of sulfur that clogged the air between them, it fading as quickly as it came, until it was too late. 

“You are correct” Bernie told her shaking his head emphatically in agreement, “if he is expecting you then please wait inside.” 

Kalika smiled at the man, catching the faint whiff of brimstone and seeing the aura within him change colors due to the demon residing within him.  She allowed her anger to dissipate a few degrees as if she were appeased and allowed the demon to think she was ignorant to what was going on.  She followed it into the interior of the club, her eyes scanning every inch of the place as her skin tingled from the power of the spells etched into the walls.  The first room they passed through was decorated to look like a bloody butcher scene; life like skeletons hung from every corner by their feet as a skeleton in a bloody butcher’s apron stood watch over them holding a knife stained with blood.  The smell of animal blood assaulted her nose as they continued, “nice room” she commented. 

Bernie smiled to himself, “wait until you see it Halloween” he said not looking at her.  He led her down a hallway that was filled with fake spiders in their webs; he opened a door at the very end and stepped aside.  “This is Mr. Cortel’s office” he explained with a sweep of his arm from her to the room, “please make yourself comfortable, he should be here soon.” 

Kalika smiled to herself, excitement rippling through her at the knowledge that the challenge the half demon issued was about to begin.  She knew what lay before her, having glimpsed the thought in the whole demon’s mind, yet she feigned ignorance and stepped into the trap.  She felt a tingling in her body when she was in the doorway, it subsiding once she was completely in the room.  Her eyes narrowed and she whipped around when she recognized the feeling, “what have you done?” she asked in a low dangerous voice to keep up the appearance.  She was impressed with the half-blood despite herself; she had not realized that he knew of the darker more ancient magic. 

She watched as Bernie transformed from his human form into a black scaly beast with horns.  Laughter that sounded like nails on a chalkboard erupted from the demon’s throat, “Damien asked me to help him destroy you vampire” it spat out in a voice thick from centuries of smoke inhalation. 

“Ah, so the half-blood is going to finally test me” she said in mock horror. 

The demon took her tone to heart, “do not try to get out the room” it taunted, “Damien put a special ward on this room that you cannot break.” 

Kalika glowered at the demon before she turned her attention to the invisible etchings on the four walls.  She was very impressed with the half breed; someone had been teaching him a great deal about his kind.  He had all his bases covered. There was every race of demon symbols marked into the walls.  She smiled, even though he may not believe yet who she was, he had taken every precaution in the matter.  A summoning circle took up a single wall as the others around it was filled with symbols, one called up a myriad of over twenty thousand demons, others called upon lesser demons all from different origins of the underworld.  She came across a few that she could not decipher in her search of the room.  She searched for a small space within the clutter of symbols and began to etch her own when she found it, a sharp pain pierced down her spine before she could finish. 

The demon roared with laughter from the small yelp of pain that Kalika made.  “He told you that you cannot escape, yet still you tried.”  Kalika narrowed her eyes at Damien as he appeared by the demon’s side.  “Good work” he told it with a satisfied nod. 

“So you could not take me for my word” she growled at him. 

Damien shrugged his shoulders and continued to watch her from the hallway, “if you were the Dark Mother you would have sensed the trap before walking into the room” he told her as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his shoulder on the wall. 

Kalika smiled when she heard the demon’s sharp indrawn breath and had to force herself not to laugh as its eyes grew wide with fear.  “Let me guess” she said to it, “the half breed did not tell you who it is he was trapping?” she did laugh this time. 

“Shut the fuck up!” Damien screamed at her, “she is not who she says she is” he told the demon at his side, “The vampire is in my trap.  The spell hurt her, you heard that for yourself.” 

Kalika stood there watching them as the half demon coaxed the whole one into his way of thinking, she could tell them that a few of the symbols are before her time but she had enough of trying to prove who she is, so she waited patiently for them to be done. 

“If you are the Dark Mother why did you not sense the trap?” the whole demon asked her yet again. 

Kalika let out a small sigh and turned her full attention to the demon, “I was upset” she said shrugging a shoulder daintily, “my concentration was on the anger and controlling it, I did not have time to look around myself.” She half lied, “but do not worry your pretty little scaly head I will get out and I will kill you” she finished the last part looking straight at Damien, with the promise shining in her eyes. 

The half demon laughed at her threat with the other one joining in, it starting out shaky at first but finishing strong.  “That would mean it’s in our best interests that you don’t get out that room” Damien replied once he had quit laughing.  Surprise rippled across his face when Kalika began to laugh, it coming out almost lyrical.  “What’s so funny vampire?” he asked. 

Kalika sobered from her laugh before she answered, “You forget, I cannot die” she said ominously.  “You cannot read a demon’s mind can you vampire” the demon next to Damien stated. 

Kalika remembered the myth among the demons and decided to act upon that, she shrugged her shoulder before she replied, “Who would want to? A demon’s head is filled with…” she paused and twirled her hand in the air, searching for the right word, “cobwebs” she finished not being able to think of anything else to compare it to at the moment.  The black demon laughed at her, and for that second she felt briefly the human emotion one feels when being ridiculed. 

“Is that all you can say?” Damien asked. 

“What do you mean?” Kalika asked him. 

“The cobweb bit.  You have nothing better to insult him with?” Damien taunted. 

Kalika cursed her slip into humanity as anger burned hot for his blood, “what would you suggest half breed?” she spat out.  She smiled when she heard the growl that came from Damien over the insult. 

“How about his head is filled with brimstone or lyre, something hellish…but cobwebs?” Damien shook his head in almost disapproval. 

“When you are as old as I am, you do not worry overmuch about insults and clever little puns.  It is the end result that is upmost in importance.” 

“Oh? And what is the end result for you here?” Damien asked mockingly. 

Kalika smiled sweetly at him, savoring her answer, imagining the end result, “killing you of course.”  She turned her eyes to the other demon, growing tiresome of Damien’s ridicule.  “Why did you ask the reading of minds full blood?” she asked him. 

“If you could you would know there are some things worse than death.” It answered her. 

Damien laughed at that, “I’ve had enough of this vampire” he said to the demon, “summon them!”

Kalika’s curiosity piqued from his words, as she stood there waiting in an almost anticipation to whatever he was about to toss her way.  The room began to buzz and pulsate, almost as if an electric field had been brought in.  A slight vibration fluttered across her skin and throughout her body as the air in front and all around the room began to shimmer as if a light was trapped within it.  Kalika looked around her, not in fear or concern, but with abundant curiosity, noticing the play of dull lights in the air as an unknown energy moved through it gaining strength to manifest.  A movement from the far corner caught her peripheral at the same time she realized that more than one had been summoned.  She turned to see a small demon clinging to the ceiling and wall in the corner, it was about three feet in height with an all-black furry body, its face was smushed in like a pug’s, its feet were like a wolf’s, and its hands were scaly with long bird-like talons for fingers.  Kalika laughed as it let out a long ear piercing scream that showed a mouthful of sharp jagged teeth, and smiled at it. 

“You are the cutest little thing” she crooned to it, “why don’t you come down?”  It stopped in mid scream and cocked its head to the side like a dog as it silently debated doing what she suggested.  “I will not harm you.” Kalika told it, switching over to its demon language, “Come down.”  She watched it patiently, her senses tuned to it and the countless other demons that were manifesting, as it finally started down.  It let go of the ceiling and fell forward on the wall, digging in its talons and walking down on all fours.  Kalika held out her hand as it cautiously approached her, it sniffed at her fingers before pushing its head into her hand to be stroked.  She petted the demon’s head, noticing lumps where horns were about to push through and inwardly smiled for Damien summoning still baby demons; granted they preyed on human children torturing them with fear, before they grow hungry and attack in large groups consuming everything but most of the big bones and hair.She turned to face Damien and the demon outside the trap, scanning the crowded room to ascertain that they all were as young as the demon under her hand. 

“A room full of young ones, half-breed?” she asked sweetly, mockingly, “Is this all you have?”  A smile tugged her lips upward as the anger darkened his face a deep red. 

“Do not call me that!” he exploded, reminding Kalika of a child. She laughed at his expense with the demon next to her joining in with its scratchy hoarse bark.  “Enough! Send in the others!” Damien bellowed. 

The demons that were summoned disappeared in a puff of black smoke, a burn mark in their places the only remembrance of their presence.  The air grew hot and a slight heat wave coursed through the room, blowing Kalika’s hair back in its wind.  A sound like thunder broke the silence as a flash of bright white light lit the room, leaving a big red demon in the aftermath soon followed by more.  Its body looked like it had started to melt from the fires in hell and black smoke billowed from it and the others as if embers were still heating them.  Kalika stood her ground, knowing that these demons would not be won over as the last had.  She could hear Damien laughing in the background and tuned out his words, putting all her concentration on waiting for one of the demons to make a first move.  Like a chess player she tried to guess who would make the move first, then plotted how she would counteract, then their next move, and so on.  The demon she had guessed would go first made its move and she quickly set him ablaze with a swipe of her hand before it could finish its attack.  A laugh spilled from her lips as two more demons materialized in the spot the one died at. 

“My thanks half-breed, for the challenge!” she taunted before swiping a fireball out of the air that was thrown her way.

“Cunt” she heard Damien snap before she once again tuned everything out that wasn’t in the room with her. 

In the split second she took to look at Damien the demons surrounded her in a tight circle, a move she hadn’t accounted for earlier.  She dropped to her haunches as a fireball came from behind and in front of her, they collided with each other in midair and rained sparks down on her.  She stood up slowly, shaking the embers off her, as her anger rose so did the not caring of the odds that was building against her at their death; she let her wrath be known.  Sparks of lightening shot from her fingers as she called upon the power of Zeus, she aimed for the demons nearest her.  Like sparks to dry kindling they each caught flames and went up, dying with a scream of pain as they became a pile of ash.  She caught a fireball in midair and hurled it back on its attacker before turning to another demon and punching her fist through its chest, catching it on fire from the inside.  She weaved in and out of demons, dodging blows and fire as she continued her quick and deadly attack.  When she finally stopped and looked around her the room was jammed with demons, so much so that she could barely move.  One demon grabbed her from behind, scorching her skin with its slightly flaming arms as more grabbed hold of her.  She squirmed, struggling to get out of their grasp, but to no prevail.  She went still in the many hands, calling upon her power, as still more demons reached out to grab hold of her anywhere they could.  She made her body temperature rise, envisioning herself growing hotter and hotter until flames slowly started to come to life across her body.  Demons screamed in agony as one by one all who touched her became consumed in the inferno that was Kalika, but as quickly as they let go more and more came forward to grab her until her strength began to wean and she decided to quit her futile efforts and save her remaining strength for later. 

“Impressive” Damien called out once Kalika was under control, “but I knew you would fail.” 

“With these odds against a person, anyone will fail” she replied brightly, “but I do not consider this failure.  Merely a regaining of one’s strength and waiting for the opportune moment to strike back.”  From her position in the room she could barely make out Damien’s form but she felt his shock at her words. 

“Bold words from a vampire about to die he snapped. 

“Have you forgotten?” she chided, “I cannot die. Besides I was most looking forward to this thing worse than death” she mocked.  She felt the anger radiating off him and knew that his eyes were slits and his eyebrows drawn down into an angry ‘v’ shape.

“Bring in the last!” she heard him scream and had to force a laugh from escaping her throat. 

The air shimmered above Kalika as the demons pushed her flat on the floor, she could smell her clothes and skin burning where their hands were pinning her at, yet the pain she never felt.  The air slowly turned to frigid, the heat from the demons could be seen by the steam swirling away from them.  Kalika paid them no mind as she looked up at the ceiling, watching it start to swirl like a finger slowly moving in water filled with scum.  A smile slowly slid into place as she quickly guessed what this half breed was planning, she had to give him credit, the effort he took to get this all together was impressive; a lesser vamp or demon would have been down a while ago.  No matter, he was still going to get what was due to him.  The air above her parted in the middle, exposing the first half of another demon, its skeletal face and torso hidden behind a long flowing hooded cape and robes, it reached its hand out to her slowly, its bony fingers clenching and unclenching as if in anticipation of reaching her.  Kalika relaxed in the hands of hundreds of demons that held her down and closed her eyes, waiting for the demon to take her and plotting her next move that will end all this once and for all.

************************************************************

Damien could laugh, that’s how excited he was, he never thought for a second that he would not succeed, but there were times when that possibility was close to happening.  Times when doubt reared its annoying head to whisper deceitful what ifs about the vampire actually being who she says she was, it led to unwelcomed envisioning’s of torture tales he heard of the Dark Mother committing; it sent an involuntary shiver down his spine.  Relief from his winning washed over him when the last demon manifested and left with the vampire’s essence, leaving it entirely vulnerable.  His relief was replaced with euphoria once the deed was done and the demon of death had vanished.  He stood in the hallway, looking at the unconscious vampire amidst the fire demons and could not keep from gloating like a child. He knew she wasn’t the Dark Mother, he only wished he could laugh in her face about that fact, but contented himself with knowing that come morning he would watch the vampire burn from the sun’s rays that would warm her cold body for the last time. 

“What do we do now?” the demon at his side asked. 

Damien looked at him, seeing the astonishment of his accomplishment still on his face, and slapped the demon on the back letting out a hearty laugh, “we won!” he said with a smile, “send the demons back and let us celebrate!”

The demon did as he said then cleared his throat uneasily, the sound like thunder crackling in the distance, “Damien, I must warn you that if this vampire is speaking the truth, that she is the Dark Mother…”

Damien studied his friend and advisor, knowing when it was time to listen to him but not caring to at the moment, “She is not the Dark Mother.  If she was she would have gotten out.”

“And killed you.” The demon informed him. 

Damien hadn’t thought of that, “Surely not, I am loyal to the mother, why I did this. This vampire” he said throwing his hand in the direction of the trapped room, “is an ordinary weak vampire that was proclaiming to be the Dark Mother.” 

The demon shook its head slowly in denial, “all vampires and demons, all things non-human, know of the Dark Mother.  I do not think one would claim to be her, knowing of all her great deeds.”

 Damien’s face paled slightly before denial set in, “no! I met this vamp in a nightclub with humans.  She works as a waitress at a diner and a mechanic on the side.  She’s humanized, why would the Dark Mother do this?” he demanded. 

“In the stories of her she has done this before, blending into human society and eventually destroying them.” 

“When she and the Dark Father fights or when he banishes her.”  Damien interrupted, having the demon shake his head in compliance, “I have read the stories, and this is not she.” 

“She read my mind Damien” the demon said, trying to get through to his young apprentice, “when I first saw her I did not tell her about you, I swear on all that is unholy.” 

Damien stared at the vampire in the room, her body there but her not in it, “doesn’t matter” he said looking away and dismissing the demon’s worries, “this is not the Dark Mother” he repeated, staring at the demon until he nodded his head.  “Now we must do something about this body, take it out back and leave it for the sun in the morning.”

“No” the demon said quickly, “she walks in the daylight.  If this is the Dark Mother we must destroy the body.” 

Anger swelled inside Damien and hardened his face, “this is not the Dark Mother!” he roared. 

“Yes, yes of course” the demon soothed, “but to make me feel better let us destroy the body…in a type of explosion” it said with a smile growing on its face as Damien’s anger quickly dissipated in anticipation of an explosion.

*******************************************************************

An insufferable heat was the first thing Kalika felt as she laid there with eyes closed, the amount of it beat against her in vicious hard blowing winds. She took a deep breath, not needing it but wanting to smell the things that might be surrounding her.Wave after wave, the heat washed over her, trying to suffocate her in its lack of air.  She opened her eyes slowly, peeking through the slits before they opened fully.  She sat up precariously as if what she laid on was unstable and slowly got to her feet.  A smile spread across her face as she took in the sights of mountains and the deep crags between them.  Just like a half blood to send her to an underworld, and hers no less.  She laughed out loud at the stupidity in his mistake and smiled when the echo of it joined her.  She backed up when she heard the cracking of rocks breaking off around her, noticing that a torrent of lava rushed beneath the ledge she was standing on.  Another heat wave wafted past her, blowing her hair back in its wake and scorching her skin with its hotness; it carried a mournful cry of pain and anguish.  She turned then to see a wall of mountain behind her, she searched its border for ruts and holes big enough for her hands and feet to fit into.  The bottom portion was smooth, almost polished as it was away from the searing wind, the part further up was riddled with holes and small ledges where the winds had bashed for millenniums.  She jumped into the air and latched on to the mountain and began her climb up, moving like a spider she ascended quickly her hands and feet spread out and moving fluidly from one hand hold to the next. 

She crawled over the ledge and stood up, taking in her surroundings from her new height.  The river of lava that flowed at the base of the mountain was hundreds of feet below her now, as was her ledge, and yet she still wasn’t at the top of the mountain.  A crackling like thunder filled the air and had her looking around to find its source, she climbed back on the mountain and made her way to the next higher ledge.  The scorching heat the wind carried hit her in the face as she climbed onto the ledge, it made her eyes water to instantly be dried in the heat, she replayed the sound she heard in her head and tried to track it to its source; she could still only see sides of mountains around her.  She amped up her hearing and heard the steady rhythm of a handful of individual heartbeats not that far from her.  She got back on the mountain and continued her climb upwards. 

The next ledge she climbed onto she could finally see her objective in the distance, titans and giants stood like statues yards away from her; their huge legs the only thing visible.  With a thought she was on the ledge of the mountain nearest them, and without a thought she leapt across the vast abyss between the two to land on the nearest one’s leg.  She made her nails grow into talons and dug into the titan’s skin as she made her ascent to the top of him.  She jumped from one chain loop to the next that shackled him from his knees to his upper arms, pinning his arms to his sides and rendering him unable to move, until she reached his shoulder.  She used one of his braids like a rope and climbed onto his head, from there she jumped the remaining distance to the lip of the hole and climbed out of Tartarus. She stood on the edge and looked back into the deep pitch black hole, even with her preternatural eyesight she could barely make out the heads of the titans and giants that stood like trees at the bottom.  She continued on, knowing that her journey was long and the time she had left was growing shorter; she knew with an almost gut feeling that the half breed would be trying something to keep her permanently in her underworld. 

She walked to the left up a short incline; the closer she got to the next level the clearer she could hear the wails of the shades in pain from their torment.  She closed her eyes and shifted through all the wraiths that lay before her, until she came across a heartbeat that beat louder and stronger than most.  She called upon the beast to whose heartbeat it belonged to and summoned it to her as she continued her journey, walking closer to it.  The wind picked up in its hasty flight as she drew closer to the pits that tormented the shades that were deceitful and wicked in their times, a whirlwind of hot air and debris rushed past her crying out for the wraiths that inhabited this part of hell.  She stepped out of its path and continued on until she heard the eerie screech/wail of the beast, she stopped mid-stride and waited.  It wasn’t long before she heard the faint flapping of wings that steadily grew louder with each downwards thrust of its wings.  She smiled when the beast appeared and studied it as she waited for it to land, its three heads rested on a body that looked vaguely like a lion’s that had morphed with a dragon; taking in its wings to the tip of its tail.  Kalika walked to it and bowed before she straightened and made eye contact with the head that looked human; the other two heads stared at her, one with the face of a snake and the other head’s face a blank canvas save for lips and a pair of intimidating eyes.  “My thanks Greyon.” She said. 

The beast’s lips all slid into a smile as he bowed to her in return, “you summoned me my Dark Mother” it said.

 Kalika shrugged, “you would have come to me once you sensed that I was here.” 

The beast’s honest face turned to a state of dreaminess from her words before it quickly clouded to concern, “you are not here from your own doing.” 

Kalika smiled at him before she answered, “a half demon from my time sent me here, believing that I am not who I proclaim.”  Her features turned downwards in a simile of melancholy. 

The beast turned his back to her, his face towards her over his shoulder, “your ride milady” he stated in hopes of lifting her spirits.  She smiled at him, one of adoration, as she walked over to him and scrabbled on top of him between his wings; she held on to the small amount of hair on that portion of his back as they made their ascent from ground. 

Greyon’s wings swirled up a cloud of dust from the floor as they pushed off from the floor as they gained air, continually moving upwards.  They made their way to the right towards a waterfall that was distant in Kalika’s own hearing, when they reached it the beast spiraled upwards around it, forming circles that quickly had Kalika on edge.  The beast landed softly on the bank of the cliff and spread its wings to the ground so Kalika had an easier descent to the ground. She dismantled and walked further away from the cliff edge; the Greyon walked a few feet past her to a river of boiling blood and dipped his three heads to the fluid to each partake in its thirst.  Kalika quickly climbed on him again and jumped from its head onto the other bank, she called out a quick thanks before she started onwards. 

She walked through a desert, its sand ablaze in flames.  Sand dunes engulfed in flames blew sparks her way as the wind picked up in its pursuit.  She picked up her speed, coming to a run when she grew bored of the scenery; flames flew by her in slow motion as she rushed past, she slowed when she caught a glimpse of green before her.  She stopped for a split second and inhaled deeply, smelling the harshness of hopelessness and decay.  She continued on and gradually reached the shadow of a forest a few paces ahead of her.  She saw the silhouettes of bodies that hung from the trees and laid in an almost pattern on the forest’s floor.  She walked up almost cautiously, like a person studying the pattern of a puzzle, as she delicately stepped over and weaved around bodies.  The stench of their sorrow began to seep up her nose and entangle itself in her brain; she quickly put a stop to that by cutting off those senses.  She continued on, passing by star-struck lovers that killed themselves in vain and others that killed themselves by losing the hope that they would rise up to their adversities.  She only stopped for a moment when she came across a group that all had died from defending their beliefs; they were consumed in a blue flame that only burned when they strayed from their own ways.  It reminded her of the red flames from her city, the longing for it pulling her to it.  She walked away from the shades in a kind of reluctance as she stayed to her path feeling the city of Dis slowly come closer and closer.  She could see a light in the distance, the brightness coming into effect as she steadily made her way out of the thick forest. She could see a flat landscape as she drew nearer, it barrenness only interrupted by various mounds of sand hills. She finally reached the forest’s edge, the wail of the tormented shades as strong as the winds at her back, as she left the confines of the dark trees and walked into the openness of a desolate desert. The coolness of her skin absorbed by the forest's darkness was quickly evaporated by the fires that consumed the desert's sands. She continued on, her pace steady and that of one with a purpose, until she began to see signs of green once again. A complete plane of flat greenish brown grass laid out before her, it riddled with tombs ablaze with flames from individual infernos. She had to stop when she reached another river of blood this one boiling angrily from the wraths of the shades that stood sunken for all time in it. She saw a few faces out of the river that she knew and some she had only heard of, she gave them a shadow of an apologetic smile before she used their heads as stepping stones to cross to the other side. The heat of the river blew steam up at her, making blood red droplets of sweat break out across her brow. Half way across she felt the presence of beasts around her and stopped in her journey, the head she was standing on slowly bobbing up and down from her weight. Two centaurs walked towards her, their horse half completely submerged in the boiling river as they made waves in their wake. She smiled to them once they reached her and took the leader's outstretched hand and climbed onto his massive well-toned shoulders. "My thanks to you Nessus" she said once she was settled and the three of them made their way to the other side of the river.

"We sensed you were here, but did not realize that you would reach our realm so quickly."

Kalika smiled more to herself then to the leader's words, "I am not here of my own accord" she stated, both centaurs' heads nodding that they knew, " the time I have here is growing closer to the end, I need to get back as quickly as I can."

Nessus nodded in understanding, a slight vibration of anger over his god and once lover’s predicament reverberating through him, "when you kill this half -blood send him to me, I will see that he gets what is coming."

Kalika chuckled at him, over the hint of possessiveness she heard in his words, "when I kill him he will be going into my realm, feel free to visit him love" she said to soften her denial of his torturing. She stood on one of his shoulders balancing herself, "my thanks again Nessus" she said before she leapt from his shoulder onto the bank of the river and walked off without a backwards glance.

The dried up grass crunched under her feet as she crossed from the soft sand of the valley into the flat plains of the next realm of hell. The wind cried out its track of time to her as it picked up at her back urging her onwards, it flew past the flaming crypts causing the fires to whip up and reach out to her as she passed by them. Screeches of torment echoed out of the tombs, all coming from shades that lie for eternity consumed in fire. The suicide forest slowly grew smaller with each step she took but the pain the shades gave off was still strongly felt by her, being mixed in with the sorrows she now felt at this new realm. A gated area of plane started to come into view as she moved further into the tortures, the eeriness calling to her with each footfall that brought her closer. She could make out a moss-covered statue of a kneeling person, knowing without having to make it out that it was a woman, a handful of tombstones were scattered within the fence in no particular order; as if they were tossed and where they landed they stayed. Kalika walked along the fence as close to it as she could get without stepping foot onto the land, looking at the barren ground waiting for the shade that inhibited it to appear to her. In the far back side of the gated area she saw what appeared to be the shadow of a tree stump, it grew in height and materialized into the shape of a boy with eyes glowing red. She smiled when it appeared beside her on the other side of the fence and walked with her.

"I am sorry to hear about your human's death mother" it said in a voice filled with sympathy, it reached its arm through the fence and grabbed hold of her hand intertwining their fingers. 

Kalika looked to him with her head slightly cocked to the side as she tried to figure out what he was speaking of.

"The one that you wanted for yourself" the shade said.

 It finally dawned on her that he was telling her about Tammy.  "No my little one she is not dead."

"But I felt her life taken and not by you"

Kalika smiled to him, it filled with melancholy over him not being able to know of the present; cursed to know things but unable to tell if it had happened yet or will later. "I left her for but a moment little one, nothing will happen to her" she promised.

"Will you send the half- blood here?"

Kalika smiled and let out a small laugh from the lust in the shade's question. "No little one, what the half breed has in store is far worse than what you can do." She reached her hand over the fence and ruffled the boy's hair when his face turned downwards in disappointment, "but I will allow for you to go to it and torture it whenever you would like." She smiled when joy broke across the boy's face brightening the pasty whiteness as much as it could on a shade.  The end of the shade's plot of land drew to a stop when they reached the last corner of the fence, Kalika brought their joined hands to her lips and kissed the back of his before letting to "I will visit you soon my little one" she promised as she watched him vanish with a wail and she continued on.

She passed by the Elysian Fields, the purple glow of its sunlight bathing a portion of the path she walked on. The peaceful blessedness called to her, tempting her to stop and visit the shades in its realm. The wind hissed and blew harder at her back, urging her onwards in her journey to get out of the underworld. She strained her eyes, spotting the shadows of souls she had transformed into ghostly flowers that littered the meadowlands of the almost heaven realm. The wind blew harder against her as if trying to pull her through hell itself.She could hear the urgency in its winds. She continued, almost reluctantly, as she walked closer to the gates of the underworld's palace. Cerberus greeted her midway to the gates, his massive tail wagging in pleasure to her presence, his three heads' tongues all sticking out and him holding in a bark. Kalika patted each head in turn and allowed them to lick her hand as they walked side by side, his massive body rubbed up against her in affection. With a thought she threw open the gates and walked through them without a pause as they entered the ghostly courtyard. Decayed myrtles and ghost flowers surrounded the palace creating shade from the light of the flames. She nodded to the guards that stood in place like statues at the entrance to the palace, their only movement making the sound of steel sliding against steel as their swords moved away from the entrance. Cerberus walked through with Kalika, squeezing his massive body against hers so they could both fit within the huge doors. Shades that were thrown into servitude within hades' palace walked about inside the rooms, some tidying up the place as others went on their way with chores she could only guess at. A shade resembling an old woman stopped in her task and came to greet Kalika, she glared at Cerberus, but otherwise ignored the dog beast when it growled and his hackles went up.  "Is father here?" She asked the servant, also ignoring the dog at her side.

 A shadow of remorse crossed her face before she replied, “no mother, you missed him by a few months."

Kalika exhaled loudly, as a child would when their anticipation became a disappointment, "I forever miss him these days" she commented with melancholy laced in her words, Cerberus held all three heads low and whimpered along with her sadness.

"Should I prepare your room for you?" Kalika shook her head in denial, “I am not to stay. I must leave." The shade picked up its ghostly robes and bowed low to her before she left to complete her tasks at hand. Kalika looked down at the beast by her side a shadow of a smile playing across her lips from her sorrow, she sighed once more before she walked through the hall that now seemed overly crowded and made her way to the room that would get her home.

A pool that led to the river Lethe was in the center of the room her and Cerberus walked into, the three judges of the underworld sat around it as if waiting for her. All three looked up at her when she entered: stern Rhadamanthus in his clothes fitting a king with his sword at his hip, inflexible Minos with his skeletal face, long bull horns, serpent tail with his huge double headed axe resting at his feet, and Aeacus with his spear and his non-threatening appearance. Kalika nodded to them in greeting and made the dog beast stay at the door.  She motioned for the judges to stay seated when they tried to stand in her presence. "I do not have much time" she said to them, "I must get back quickly"

"aye we have heard the whisperings from the dammed" Minos said in his deep voice.

"Fear not" Rhadamanthus began, "that half- blood will get his due when you send him here."

A true smile blossomed across Kalika’s face for the first time since being in the underworld, "many thanks, but it will be by my hand." She looked to each of them in turn till they nodded their understanding, "Minos, send him straight to my realm. Rhadamanthus you stand guard and do not let him escape. Aeacus ferret out who helped him send me here.  He used binding symbols I was not even familiar with."

They each nodded as one to her request before they stood and bowed to her. She thanked them again before she stepped into the deep pool and sank to the bottom allowing it to carry her out to the river and home.

*******************************************************************

A sharp pain coursed through her body when her essence finally came back to the human world. She was painfully aware of being trapped under stuff, one of her arms lay beneath her back and one of her legs laid in an awkward angle further away from her hip than it should have been. "Fucking half breed" her mind screamed as she became aware of tons of pressure on her chest. She breathed in, as much as she could, ignoring the pain of broken ribs stabbing into organs she no longer needed, the strong smell of gasoline singed her nostrils and the faint smell of almonds had her surmising that c-4 was also in use. Against the odds piling around her she had to smile and be a little impressed that the Halfling went to this much trouble on her behalf. She opened her eyes slowly, dust and dirt quickly falling into them as soon as the lids weren't there to protect them. She moved her head as far as she could and tried to look around her, plotting an escape route, as anger washed over her from the destruction of her home. She tried to wiggle out of the confined spot to no prevail and again cursed the half demon.  She had to give it to him, he did go all out, it must have taken days for him to convince the land people that he had consumed ownership of her house, how else would he have been able to demolish it? She heard the faint sound of a match striking against a match box and got a faint whiff of smoke as the gasoline caught fire, and had a momentary feeling of panic as her mind raced for an escape route. She called on the power residing inside her and felt a wave of heat as the power consumed her, the same instant fire ate at the broken boards above her. She moved the earth beneath her and sank underground an instant before the fire reached the c-4 and blew the demolished house into the sky.

**************************************************************

Damien laughed as the house blew sky high, floor boards and wood rained down in front of him, a large section of a chard sofa landed dangerously close to him and the demon next to him.  "Well done!" Damien's demon exclaimed, “that should end her for good."

Bernie looked to his apprentice, a sudden knowing that the vampire was in fact the Dark Mother and somehow not dead snuck its way up his back with hands as cold as ice, slithering its way to his brain to spill dread like poison. A grave smile forced his lips upwards, he quickly looked to the blaze of fire before them and forced the feeling consuming him down with each crack and pop of the destroyed house. He forced his smile into a somewhat better one and turned to Damien again, telling himself it would be better for his disciple not to know his doubts, "Indeed. The explosion was more than I thought."

Damien looked at his friend-long enough to make him nervous- if he could see and smell his dread on the verge of becoming fear he did not show it, "are you now satisfied? put to ease?" He asked as he slapped him on the back and began to chuckle again.

The feeling coiled itself tighter inside Bernie in a silent denial to the question, he shook his head yes as he decided in that moment to ignore the feelings and push them down.  He smiled widely this time and even joined Damien in his laugh, "we need to get ready for tonight."

Damien smiled to the demon and took one last look at the inferno, rubbing his hands together in anticipation, "yes" he said turning from the wreckage and walking back to the car, "lots to do before our midnight killing."

***********************************************************************

Kalika awoke from the trance she put herself in to regain strength and repair what she could on her body, a light feminine chuckle rolled around in her throat as the human expression "to hell and back" popped in her head over the way she felt at present. The earth was cool against her skin as she lay buried within it, it gave her the feeling of being inside a cocoon; making her reluctant to leave. The need to feed overcame her want of comfort.  She moved the earth inward with her magic, having it collapse in on itself causing a hole and it filling itself in, pushing her out. Pieces of smoldering wood now coals rained down around her, she used the magic still surging through her and called for rain. The sky turned dark quickly and fat drops of water started to fall making the small fires go out and causing the coals to hiss in anger. She lay on the now flat ground for a moment, gingerly pulling her broken arm from behind her back and pulling her broken leg closer to the hip. She clenched her teeth as pain coursed through her from the accelerated healing of her body. She slowly pushed herself off the ground and stood up clutching her side when her ribs popped back together and the punctured organs closed their wounds. She looked around herself and at the destruction of her home and garage full of old cars, she fed off the anger that surged through her allowing it to override her pain and lead in its emotion.  She turned to walk away, the first step on her newly healed leg causing her to stumble; she righted herself and kept going without a backwards glance to the burned site.

The woods swallowed her as she walked into them; she turned her hearing up and listened for signs of prey. A rustling to her left had her stopping and mentally calling out to the animal hiding in the brush, a rabbit hopped out to its death as Kalika’s hands snatched it off the ground and straight to her elongated fangs. She moaned partly in enjoyment and partly in pain as each gulp of the blood began to join in the healing of her. She dropped the carcass at her feet and continued deeper into the woods, every unfortunate animal that happened into her path ended in the same manner as the rabbit. The trees finally thinned out and ended leading her to the only road going into town. She stood on the side of the road, lifting her face to the sky and letting the lightly falling rain wash the dirt from her clothes and body, she ran her hands over her face rinsing the blood off from around her mouth. She started walking down the road towards town judging she had a few hours before midnight came. A few miles later she heard the rumblings of a truck drawing near, she turned and started walking backwards with her thumb sticking out, the classic hitchhiker pose. The truck came to a slow stop a few paces in front of her, she hurried over to it and hopped into the cabs front seat, “thank you so much for picking me up" she said to the driver as she shut the door and they started down the road again.  The middle-aged man looked her up and down before he told her she was welcome.

"My car broke down half way to work and I left my phone at home" she said with a laugh playing the dumb female card, "thought I was gonna be late for work until you showed up."

The man shared in her laugh before asking, “where do you work?"

 "The new club midnight death, its downtown."

"I'm going as far as into town, I'd take you all the way but I have a date I have to be on time for tonight." The man explained.

Kalika shook her head in understanding, “that’s ok I can get a ride out to the club from there." They rode on in silence, Kalika staring out the window and the man's eyes on the road, music from the radio the only noise in the truck. "Could we stop for a second and I use your phone so I can call my friend to make sure she is home before we get into town?" Kalika asked when the town's sign showed in the distance.

The man looked over at her with a hint of uncertainty on his face, “I’ll make it quick" she promised. "I just want to give her a heads up so we can just leave and I won't have to wait for her" she gave him her best smile and willed him to do what she requested.

The man nodded and slowed down before he came to a soft stop on the road side, his fingers dug around in his shirt's front pocket and pulled out his cell phone handing it to her. Kalika reached for it with a smile as she leaned over and grabbed it, her fingers curling around his in a tight grasp before she quickly jerked his body over the middle console and to her side in one fluid motion before she dipped her head to his neck and sunk her fangs in without him realizing until it was too late. She drank deeply, his blood satisfying her better than the animal blood could, she pinned the man's arms behind his back when he started to wiggle in vain, trying his best to free himself from her death-like grip. She didn't let him go until his body calmed and he lay still beneath her jaws, didn't stop drinking until his heart stopped and there wasn't any more blood left in his 6'2" frame. She lifted her head and retracted her fangs, finally taking a breath full of air after minutes of feeding; she reached over him and opened the door, pushing the body out the truck. She wiped her hand over her mouth as she got out on her side and walked around the truck to the driver's side stepping over the dead driver as she did so.  She shut the door and drove off, speeding down the road and through the town, she slowed momentarily as she passed by the one decent restaurant in the tiny town that the man was to have had his date spotting the woman from the man's memory sitting alone in the back corner. She got onto the highway and made her way to the club, going as fast as the old truck could manage. She had to stomp on the brakes when the exit came up, the truck not able to take the curve as sharp as her cars.  She swerved around the curve and blew through the traffic light that always seemed to be red when she came on this side of town. She turned down a road and came to a crawl, the traffic bumper to bumper with people on their way to the club, she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel in impatience silently screaming at the cars to hurry up and go. She banged on the steering wheel in vain when the cars ahead of her stopped at the yellow light instead of going through, the only sound being the thud of her fist instead of the blaring of the truck’s horn. She shook her head in frustration and hopped out the truck and slammed the door shut, walking the rest of the way to the club.

A different man was bouncing at its doors, arms clasped at the wrists behind his back, muscles bulging under his black dress code work clothes. He stood his ground only moving his head forward to check the id's that were being flashed in his face, a nod had them walking in. The thought to stand in line flashed briefly in Kalika’s head, going ignored as she sashayed her way to the front.

"Id" the bouncer demanded, holding his hand out in front of her.

Kalika looked him up and down as she dove into his mind sensing the demon hiding within the human's skin, "I am here on Mr. Cortel's request" she told him as she pulled her mind out if his. "I doubt I am on the list" she said as he started to reach for a clipboard on a stand next to the door.

"No entrance without id if you're not on the list" he said trying to dismiss her and wave the next person in line to come up.

Kalika whipped her head around to the couple behind her and glared them into submission before she turned back to the bouncer, "why don't you check that list then?" She asked sweetly, "Tammy" she said giving him a name she knew would be on it. She tapped her foot on the sidewalk in impatience as he slowly flipped through the pages until he found the name.

“Looks like you already checked in and are inside" the man said as he put the clipboard back on the stand and folded his arms in a poor attempt of intimidation.

Kalika sighed in frustration and leaned forward, ever so slightly she flung her hand out quickly, too fast for human eyes to detect, and jabbed him in the throat before she walked into the club. Music screamed from the speakers in every corner of the club, the bass vibrating the floor and walls; hanging skeletons and other decorations trembled making them appear alive. She walked down the hallway; it filled with smoke from fog machines and crowded with small groups of humans. She stopped in the middle and blended in with a group of girls, joining in on their conversation as she leaned on the wall next to them and began to draw lazily on it with her finger. She moved on when she completed an insignia to counteract the half demons spell for the hallway. She walked into the room made to look like a butcher scene, humans stood around with plates filled with scary treats from the window that led to a kitchenette. She picked an empty spot in the far back corner, far enough away to not draw attention and again drew on the wall discharging the spells etched into it. She weaved her way out the room and through the next couple rooms decked out in spiders and "haunted" mirrors made for the clubbers to relax and socialize, dissipating spells as she made her way to the main room. The music grew louder as she made her way into the main part of the club; the bar took up the whole back wall with the DJ spinning his records in the far corner of the opposite wall, the dance floor with a few tables separating them.

Kalika tuned the music down and picked up on the conversations as she enhanced her smell, looking for Tammy and Danny. She spotted Tammy in her bright green and pink pixie costume first, she was sitting at the far end of the bar leaning against the wall talking to Danny in a pirate outfit. She made her way over to them, having to walk around people that were already drunk and stop short a few times when girls would step into her path and stop in front of her. She saw the look on her friend's face when she approached the bar, it mixed with shock, fear, and concern, and slipped into her head to see herself from her eyes. She could not blame her reaction, blood and mud stained her khakis and top, it dirtied her face and hair, as blood stained her mouth and chin.

"You look like you have seen a zombie" she said to lighten the mood when she was at the bar and squeezed between Danny and a man seated on the barstool next to him.

Tammy jumped off her stool and ran to Kalika, throwing her arms around her neck and hugged her tight, “you were gone for three days Britt!" She exclaimed with a sob in her words, “we heard what happened to your house and when I couldn't reach you on your phone I thought the worse."

Danny took Tammy's place when she let go, and Kalika hugged him back "what happened?"

She looked from Danny to Tammy, not knowing at that moment what to tell them but knowing that she had to get them out of the club before midnight, “I will tell you later" she said, "but for now you both have to leave."

"What?" They both asked together.

Tammy shook her head no, "leave? Why?" Confusion laced her question.

"It will not be safe here come midnight" she said, trying to get them to leave, she pushed at Danny to get him to face away from the bar and grabbed Tammy's hand as she started to walk away.

Tammy dug her heels in and stood her ground, "what is going on Britt!?" She asked yanking her hand away, "you disappear for three days then show up suddenly and want me to leave a good time"

Danny moved back to the bar and grabbed his drink, clearly intent on watching a cat fight about to go down.

"I mean, you know long it took me to do my hair and makeup? And to get Danny to even dress up? It took forever then he wanted to go legit and I had to do his makeup as well." She stopped her banter for a breather and a sigh as if she were fed up for having to explain all this, "we have been talking about this since Tuesday. I was down for this you were down. We talked about being fairies together and now you’re a zombie? What the hell?"

Kalika called on her magic for every ounce of patience she could conjure "I ran into a problem of sorts, one that made me go to hell and back." She said with a wry smile, she was stuck on what to say and what to keep back “for my house I cannot give you an explanation as yet" she scratched the top of her cheekbone to add effect to her thinking, "and the zombie was easier on last minute." She looked to Danny as if in help, "I need the two of you to leave before midnight. Now please."

Danny finished his drink in a gulp and stood up walking to them, “it’s midnight" he said looking down at the watch on his wrist.  He looked up to Kalika and met her eyes, what he saw there made fear start to grow in the pit of his stomach.

The chiming of a grandfather clock was suddenly heard; it was suddenly made aware that the music had stopped moments before the 12 chimes had started. Tammy jumped and clutched to Kalika, she could feel her friends slight shaking and could hear Danny's upbeat heart rate.

"You have to go" she said once again, disentangling herself from Tammy and pushing her towards the exit. Kalika looked to Danny who nodded to her before she looked out across the room and the crowds of people standing about in confusion and wondering what was to happen next. She grabbed Tammy's hand and dragged her across the floor weaving and squeezing through people as they made their way out the room.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen" Damien announced from the stage beside the DJ booth. 

Kalika stopped dead in her tracks, every instinct in her screaming for her to attack the half demon that was now in the room with her, Tammy bumped into her back reminding her that she was not alone yet.

"I welcome you to the witching hour, an hour very special to this night of all nights, Hal'oween."

Kalika could feel the magic he called upon rise as he spoke, the air grew warmer as it seeped from him and spread throughout the club on a windless flight.

"You are all in for quite a treat, with you being it of course" he said with a sweep of his hands and a warm chuckle that drew the crowd into a laugh with the thought if it being a joke.

Kalika looked back to Tammy and saw the panic in her eyes, her hand holding tight to hers keeping her immune from the half- blood’s influence spell he was pumping out with his words.  She slowly backtracked their way back to the bar, not wanting to cause attention to themselves in the now unmoving sea of humans. Tammy grabbed Danny's hand as they passed him, he snapped out of the spell the instant her fingers touched his, and was ushered like Tammy behind the bar.

Kalika let go of Tammy's hand and quickly took out the bartenders, she rummaged underneath the bar until she found a few guns hidden beneath and ammo. She handed them to Tammy and Danny as the half-blood continued in his speech.

 “I hope you have enjoyed Midnight Death, enjoyed the food, the drinks, the sex." He stopped when there were a few laughs.  "For I assure you" he continued after the room grew quite again, "we will enjoy you." His smile was one of pure evil, uncertainty grew throughout the room, panic and chaos starting to blossom.

Kalika looked at Tammy and Danny, "do not let anything behind this bar" she said as the air grew hotter and started to hum from the magic.  "Aim for their heads" she told them, gaining their full attention.

"What is going on?" Danny demanded.

"What is happening?" Tammy asked, "do you feel that shaking?"

Kalika smiled to the girl and stroked her cheek with the back of her hand, "there are some things you do not understand" she said with an almost sadness radiating off her, "but you will."  She leaned over and kissed her lightly on the lips before she turned to look over the bar, the air was starting to shimmer from the spell that would send in his thousands of demons.

Tammy tugged on her shoulder turning her back around to face her, "who are you?" She asked in a whisper as if hesitant to truly know.

 "I will be your maker." Kalika said giving her the full truth.  She watched as the girl’s eyes grew large in their sockets and stroked her face again to calm the fears that reared its ugly heads.

A sound like thunder had her swinging her head back out to the crowd in time to see the air split itself open and huge red demons come pouring out, "shoot them in the head" she said to them again, "pretend this is left for dead if you have to, but do not let them behind this bar."  She jumped on the bar and reached across the space to the wall behind it. yanking a sword out of its sheath that was hanging there.

"What are you doing!?" Tammy screamed at her over the noise of the people all breaking out into a scream and trying to run to freedom.

She looked back and locked eyes with her, "I am going to end this, stay safe.  I will be back." She answered before she jumped off the bar and into the crowd. She slashed and hacked down demons as they came in hoards out of the portal, fighting them further and further away from the bar. Screams echoed around her as they bounced off the walls and ceiling trapped like their owners. Demons pounced on unprotected humans in numbers, each tearing and ripping into them in a feeding frenzy.  Some tried to fight them off using the chairs and broken liquor bottles to keep them at bay.

Kalika rushed past them, her objective in her sights, the smell of his soon to be spilt blood like a ghost scent in her nostrils. Gunshots silenced the noise for a split second before pandemonium broke loose again, she had to stifle the urge to turn back and make sure Tammy was safe. She pressed on, her sword swinging right and left as she sliced her way to the DJ booth.  A human female covered in blood and pressing her hands over a gaping wound in her abdomen stepped into Kalika’s path pleading for help, without slowing her momentum she pierced the sword blade through her heart ending the girls suffering quickly before moving on.

She stumbled from a crowd to find her way blocked by a wall of demons before the booth.  She smiled to them as she shook the blood from the sword and took a defensive pose challenging them to storm her. She parried the first demons fist with the flat of the sword and ducked under its arm spinning around it and slicing through its neck from behind. She spun in her heels to face the other demons as the head fell to the ground with a bounce at her feet, the horrified shock in its face frozen as it stared blankly at its comrades. Kalika stepped forward testing their courage, a smile on her lips when some stepped back and others stayed in place. Another one charged her; she used its momentum to spin around to be charged by a second one. She kicked the demon behind her away from her as she blocked a fireball thrown at her with the sword blade, she cut the hand off the demon and spun back to face the first one. She dropped to her haunches out the way of a fireball then leapt upwards cutting off the demon’s head with a flick of her wrist. She conjured a fireball of her own and hurled it at the other demon, walking to it and lopping off its head as it stood distracted and consumed by fire. Four more demons attacked as one, charging in a tight group as they tried to rush her. Kalika spun and sliced around and between them, doing the quick dance of death with each of them before she ended with a twirl and the spray of blood from off her sword. She looked up and into the DJ booth discovering that the half-blood had ran during her foray with his demons, her eyes darted to the door to see it just close shut.

The sounds of screams and gunfire mixed together in the room combining into a crescendo of death as she followed chase. She blew open the door with a fireball, making the noise to draw the humans attention to their new freedom, before she ran through the flames and into another room. Humans lay dead on the floor and couches, a handful hiding behind the furniture scared and shaking; their fear a foul odor masking the air. Kalika ran through the rooms not bothering to dispatch the few demons between them as she hurried to Damien's office, knowing that it’s where he would try to escape. She plowed through the butcher room and out into the hallway to come up short on another group of demons blocking her way. Out of patience and quickly running out of time she called on her magic and pushed both hands outward, towards them, knocking them into the air and backwards through the walls and out of her way. Kalika held the sword back behind her and away from her body as she stalked down the hallway towards the office, tuning in all her senses to be on the ready. She pushed open the door with magic, it bouncing off the wall and coming off its hinges.  She searched the room with her mind, the power coursing through her overriding the weaker magic and cleaning the room before she entered it. She slid into the room almost cautiously as she searched its emptiness, smelling the half-blood’s lingering scent, she felt the warmness his body left near his desk; he left moments ago. Kalika followed the temperature difference to a small bookcase built into the wall, to a particular book of ledgers.  She pulled it, causing the wall to move and a small doorway to appear. 

With a quick flick of her wrist, she cleaned the small hallway and entered, darkness swallowed her whole when she stepped through.  Her eyes adjusted to the dark and she looked about herself in a type of night vision. She tuned into her hearing, catching a small sound in the distance and followed it. She came into a small carven built into a room, the rock walls jutting out to make seating, a rock alter in the middle.  The smell of animal blood assaulted her senses as she walked through, the shadows of light dancing along the walls beckoned her to follow.  She rounded a corner and saw her prey, the half-blood running like the coward it was down the tunnel, trying to desperately escape. She yelled out to him, taking delight in the ‘what the fuck’ look on his face before he turned tail and ran again. Kalika shook her head, a smile brightening her face as impatience raged inside her.  She flicked her hand in the air as if swatting a fly, the half demon went flying through the air in mid run.  It slammed against the rock wall, an indention in its face as he fell to the ground, bits of loose rocks rained down with a cloud of dust.  Kalika walked forward, her sword at the ready out behind her back. 

Damien got up, seeing her coming, and tried to run again.  He got three steps away before he was yanked off his feet and sent hurtling to the rock ceiling a couple hundred feet above them, he lay imbedded within the rock before gravity had its way and sent him plunging back down to the floor.

Kalika had to laugh when she watched the half-blood hit the floor, the way his limbs flailed during the fall and the resounding splat his body made when it came in contact with the rock floor. She walked to his side kicking small pebbles at him on her way, and stood over him, looking down silently, until he turned his eyes up to her.  “Seems as though you have hit rock bottom." she said with a laugh, dropping on her haunches to be a little more eye level with him.

"Mother" Damien croaked out, lifting a hand to her boot.

She kicked it from off her, "do not cry for help now" she said, "I told you I would kill you." Kalika suddenly cried out in shock as a small pinching pain resided in her back shoulder.  She roared in anger as she stood up and pulled a small blade from out her back. She threw it on the ground as she turned to face Bernie in his demon form.  Horns grew from his head, curling from their length, and stood a good two feet taller with his burnt red body smoldering from the fire within him.

"My apologies Mother" he said with a bow to her, "I am sworn to protect him" he said in an excuse as he lowered his head and got ready to charge her.

"I cannot fault you for being loyal. I applaud you even" she remarked as she got herself ready for the impending attack. She allowed the demon to get within a few paces of her before she lifted him into the air and ripped him in two, blood squirted between the two halves bathing everything in its projection range crimson as pieces of flesh and bone rained down.

Damien snuck behind the god as she stood there enjoying the bloody massacre, the blade was clutched tight in his fist as his heart galloped in his chest, when he was right behind her he stabbed her in the heart region.

Kalika gasped as the pain hit her chest like falling bricks, she spun around and grabbed the half demon by his throat lifting him off his feet, she ignored the uncomfortable object lodged in her back as she watched the air slowly being drained from his lungs, "even knowing for a certainty who I am you still try to test me" she said in a tone reserved for a naughty child. She laughed in his face as he desperately tried to kick off the wall to unsettle her and loosen her grip.  She held her ground and tightened her grip even more.

 "I was going to kill you but I think I am going to let my dog do it." She put the two fingers of her free hand in her mouth and made a long ear piercing whistle and waited, it didn't take long for the floor to start vibrating and the thuds of heavy paws to be heard. Cerberus came running around a corner and stopped at Kalika’s side, the hair on its back standing on end and all three heads snarling and menacing to the half demon. Kalika wasn't surprised when Damien’s demon resided back inside and left the human in its cowardly wake, she contemplated for a brief moment as to whether kill him or not.  Her qualms weren't with him so she dropped her hand back to her side and told the dog to sit.

Damien dropped to the ground sucking in a lungful of air, coughing in the process as he slowly stood up, using the wall for support as he rubbed his sore neck. He dropped to the ground on one knee quickly in front of Kalika, "Dark Mother" he said humbly, receiving a growl from the beast at her side.

"Seems the big demon in you is really a coward" she said motioning for him to stand, "I am glad one of you can show respect."

"I apologize for what he has done and put you through" Damien began, to be cut off with a wave of Kalika’s hand.

"It will be taken care of" she said, "I told the half demon I will kill it and I do not go back on my words.” 

Damien hung his head low as the wave of survival washed over him, "I understand" he told her as he tapped it down and their eyes met again.

Kalika smiled at his braveness “I give you two options" she said, suddenly feeling generous, "I kill you myself quickly or you get trapped in your body and die along with your demon." Cerberus' middle head lifted and let out a howl, causing Damien to put his hands over his ears until he was done. Kalika leaned on the hilt of the sword in boredom waiting for the half human to pick his death.

"I choose for you to end me" he whispered, making a smile break out across her lips.

"I thought you would see it my way" she said as she handed the sword to Cerberus who clamped one of its mighty jaws over it and held it like a bone.

"Will you not kill both of us?" Damien asked when she turned back to face him again.

Kalika smiled to him, it filled with compassion and sympathy for him, "no" she replied, "your demon will survive to be killed without you." She shushed him when he tried to ask another question, knowing what it was, "do not worry yourself over its fate for you cannot change it or stop it."

Damien shook his head in understanding as he resided to his and his demons fate. Kalika watched the fight for survival slowly die in his eyes, using that moment to pull the full demons horn from behind her back and stab it through Damien's chest. She watched as surprise made his eyes grow big and his hands fumbled around the horn protruding from his chest, she leaned into him and sank her fangs in the soft flesh of his neck; stopping only when all the human blood had been drained. She retracted her fangs and stepped away taking the horn with her and watching the half demon drop to the ground. She kicked it when after a time it did not move, smiling to herself when a groan escaped its lips, she bent down to be more even with it and laughed when fear flashed across its face. "Thought you could escape me that easily?" She asked mockingly, "hiding within the human’s body?"

"What did you do to him" it spat.

A lyrical laugh escaped Kalika’s throat before she answered "I killed him humanely, you on the other hand will suffer during your death and will be tortured in my realm of hell for all eternity" she promised as she slowly straightened back up.  “Let me introduce you to my pet" she said as she walked over to the beast and retrieved her sword from its jaws, leaving the half demon lying on the ground still.

"Cerberus" he croaked out, the fear tightening around his throat.

"So you have heard of him. Good." She turned back to the dog, "do what you want to him" she said fondly scratching the back of its three heads in turn, "when you are done take him to my realm and I will meet you there." She took one last look at the half demon slowly starting to stand and walked away.

"Mother!" It shouted to her back in a plea, it going ignored as the beast’s growls started to rise. "Please mother! Wait!"

She kept walking steadily as the half demon’s cries turned to screams of pain.

************************************************************************

She quickly reached the bar room of the club, killing the few remaining demons and humans they were still feeding off of. She entered the room finding it littered with dead mangled bodies, and stepped over a few that were strewn across her path, almost tripping when a human near death grabbed her booted ankle and whispered "help me".  She didn't hesitate on ending its life and continuing on. She heard sobbing coming from behind the bar and hurried over, jumping over the counter like a runner over a hurtle. Tammy spun around with fear shining in her eyes and pointed the gun at Kalika, pulling the trigger before her brain could register it was her friend.  Kalika dodged the bullet and grabbed the girl’s wrist, twisting it and making her drop the gun on the bar with a clatter before she pulled her into her arms for a hug.

"Are you hurt?" She asked smelling the blood all over her. Tammy shook her head no, bumping Kalika’s chin with her head, "is Danny?" She asked even though she knew the answer.

Tammy’s small frame began to shake with her grief, she clutched tighter to Kalika as she fought back sobs so she could answer, "he's dead" she croaked out before the river of grief flooded through her making her ball her eyes out.

Kalika soothed her, rubbing her hand over her hair and up and down her back, "he died saving her life" she said, drawing Tammy away from her and holding her at arm’s length, she stared into her eyes willing the girl to get over her pain at the loss "we have to go" she told her.

Tammy wiped her tear puffy eyes with her fists and nodded as she sniffled back more tears. Kalika stared into her eyes for a moment longer making sure Tammy was completely under her gaze, "grab some liquor bottles and throw them on the floor" Kalika instructed as she stuffed cleaning rags in the ones next to her.

Tammy nodded and did what she was told, the fuzziness in her head slowly starting to clear the further she stepped away from her friend, "what are we doing?" she asked in a daze.

"We have to burn this place to the ground” Kalika answered distractedly, her head under the bar searching for ingredients to mix into an explosion.

 The stabbing pain of Tammy's loss unleashed itself against the magic holding it back, flooding through her in torrents. "No!" she screamed whipping around to face Kalika "we cannot let Danny stay here!"

 Kalika sighed heavily before she straightened and looked to her, “he is dead" she said nonchalantly, her shoulder moving up in a shrug that Tammy could not see, “I will not allow for what truly happened here to be known."

"What did happen here?"

Kalika sighed again and went to walk to her friend, stopping when Tammy screamed for her not to, "we do not have much time" Kalika said trying to avoid the question for now.

"Tell me!"

"Tammy!" Kalika snapped, drawing the girls eyes to hers, bending her will to satisfy her need.

Tammy shook her head as she felt it slowly get fuzzy, “what are you” she asked taking a step back from her.

Kalika smiled knowing stubbornness when she saw it "if I tell you will you do what I say when I say it?"

Tammy shook her head yes.

 "And ask the rest of your questions when we are safe?" She saw the curiosity in the girl’s face, it reminding her of her own self in a long ago time, "do you swear your life to me?"

Tammy nodded yes again.

Kalika gathered her mozeltoff bottles and walked around the bar her eyes glued on Tammy, watching for signs of another emotional explosion. She took her eyes off her for a moment as she set the bottles on the only upright table in the room, using that time to think of a quick explanation of herself and what happened.  “Your kind knows me as a vampire” she began, not knowing of a better explanation in so little time, “I am much more, I assure you, but you will find that out soon enough” she rushed out. 

She shook her head and waved the statement past them, “what attacked tonight were demons summoned to take over the town” she finished as she grabbed the bottles and motioned for Tammy to go. 

“What about Damien?” Tammy asked refusing to move. 

Kalika turned to glare at the girl, “you promised no more questions, I will explain in detail later” she said to soften the blow, “Can we go?” for good measure she stared into her eyes forcing her to comply. 

They walked out the room.  Kalika snapped her fingers making a flame come to life on the cloth stuffed into one of the liquor bottles and threw it over her shoulders feeling the warmth of the inferno at her back. She rushed Tammy through the rooms throwing mozeltoffs behind them, she pushed her forward to make her keep moving out of the butcher room as she stopped at the small kitchenette to rip the stove off the wall and turn the gas pipe on.  Kalika grabbed Tammy’s wrist as she ran from the room and into the hallway, dragging the girl behind her and out the building. 

The explosion took them both off their feet and flying several feet away from its inferno.  Kalika tucked her legs against her chest and rolled with the momentum when she hit the ground, bouncing to her feet and running to Tammy.  She lay on the ground in broken glass slumped against a rusty dumpster.  Kalika dropped to her knees beside her and slowly reached her hand out to cup the girl’s bleeding face; she could hear the faint beat of her heart and urged her to awaken.  Tammy’s eyes slowly opened, they rested on Kalika’s face and she smiled. 

“Am I dead?” she asked in a whisper.

 Kalika shook her head and smiled softly, “no my love” she said stroking her blood matted hair, “you will never die from here on.”  She leaned forward and placed her lips on Tammy’s in a silent kiss before she moved her head lower and bit her neck, drinking deeply.

 

-The End-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Death

 

“Have you heard ‘bout the new club that’s opening Halloween night?” 

The question was asked in a rush as Tammy walked past Kalika quickly with a steaming plate of fajitas sizzling on her tray. Kalika had no trouble hearing it.  She smiled as she walked to her table, her own tray laden with food and drinks.

 “Okay” she said with a light southern accent covering her true voice, “you have the cobb salad” she said to the woman sitting in the corner while she handed the overly weight fat man seated across from her his juicy medium rare steak.  She could feel death radiating off him, could see his heartbeat under his skin-it pumping overtime over the excess weight, and could hear the sluggish flow of blood through his body. She smiled to him, knowing beyond thought that this was going to be the man’s last supper. She handed the man sitting next to the woman his dry baked chicken, before she took the last plate from her tray and placed the salad in front of the woman, giving her a quick wink before straightening up.  “Here’s y’all refills” she said while putting down their fresh cups and taking up their half empty old ones.  “If y'all need anything, I’ll be right here, enjoy y'alls meal.”

Tammy met Kalika in the waiting kitchen, a small enclosed area with two swinging doors on each side connecting to the dining areas with a bar separating them from the kitchen’s cooking area.  “So, have you heard ‘bout the club?” she asked again in a heavily southern accent. 

Kalika looked at the girl, her brown hair, the color of a wet beach, was bound high on her head curls coming out of the clips to fall around her face, her blue eyes shining with excitement and couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face.

She shook her head in denial, “only what you told to me” she replied with a teasing note.  She opened her mind quickly while Tammy laughed, scanning the room to all her customers to check on them and closed it when she found them to be fine. 

“It is downtown” Tammy informed her friend as she walked to the small window on the door and peeked through, checking on all her customers. 

“Are you going to go?” Kalika asked when she came back and rested her hip on the counter. 

“Only if you go with me” was Tammy’s reply. 

Kalika laughed at the pleading in her voice, “I am surprised that you do not apply for a job” she teased. 

“Oh, I have tried!” Tammy exclaimed, “but they don’t hire outsiders, they have special employees.” The last part she enhanced with using her first two fingers and making air quotation marks. 

“Really? I am sure they did not say it like that.”  “No, Britt really.  Word for word, something like ‘we do not hire people outside our establishment; we have a group of special employees under our employment.’ They said other things but I didn’t know what they were talking about.” 

“Huh” Kalika said, sounding stumped, “perhaps they have highly trained bar staff and all that.” 

Tammy shrugged, “whatever it is, they are renovating a really old warehouse. I took a peek inside and from what I saw it’s gonna be scary, the place is dark and has lots of Halloween props up.”

“What is the name?”

“Midnight Death” Tammy replied. 

“Ohhh, that sounds like fun” Kalika said, sounding just as excited as her friend. She took the hot plate of food that was just set out by one of the cooks, “I have to run this she said to Tammy before walking out to her tables.  She dropped the food off to the table it was meant for, not bothering with the young couple that occupied it, before she made her way back to the table with the dying man.  “How was y’alls food?” she asked, a smile stretching across her entire face, as she began to clear their table of finished plates.  “Awesome” she replied bubbly from their positive feedbacks, “and who would like dessert?” she asked, her eyes last to fall on the fat man’s face, “our triple chocolate fudge cake is SO good” she told them, slowly drawing them all in, “It is simply to die for!” She exclaimed, again looking at the man, “y’all only live once, might as well try it while y’all still here.” She laughed as they accepted her suggestion, like a moth to flames the overweight succumbs to sweets. “Alright, good choices, I’ll be right back with y’all desserts.”

After work she met Tammy in the parking behind the restaurant, “what are you doing tonight?” she asked her once she had reached the car. 

“Not much, Danny and me are going to dinner then after that nothing.”

“Want to go out after? We can hit up the clubs around Midnight Death and try to get more information on it then you can stay the night.”

“I’d knew you’d come around!”

 Kalika smiled at the woman, enjoying the smile that played on her lips, and shook her head, “yes, the name drew me in.”

Tammy laughed, making a smile ghost across Kalika’s lips, before she slid off the hood of her car. She opened the passenger side door, the top half of her disappearing into the car before she came out and shut the door behind her. She got back on the car and pulled a joint from behind her ear and a lighter from the front pocket of her jean shorts once she had finished leaning her back against the windshield along with Kalika.  Kalika watched her as she held the two objects out in front of her and began to catch the front of the joint on fire, she knew the question she wanted to ask before the words came out.  “You know you’re my best friend” Tammy began as she blew the small flame out and took a hit from the spliff, “don’t you?” she asked in a strained voice as she held the smoke in her lungs. 

Kalika laughed at her before she shook her head vigorously in the affirmative.  “Of course!” she gushed as she took the outstretched offering and breathed in, amusement bubbled within her over the knowledge of Tammy being pissed if she ever found out her pot was going to waste when she smoked, but she quickly tamped it down.  “But what do you want?” she asked teasingly as she handed the joint back. 

Tammy pretended to pout as she took a hit, “why do you think I want something?”

“It was your tone” Kalika said as she took it back and took a hit, “and you always say that when you ask me of something” she said in a rush as she blew smoke out with her words, as an effect she coughed for a minuet; succeeding in getting Tammy to hit her back to help her catch her breath.  Tammy took the joint from her friend and chuckled before sitting back and inhaling the smoke deep into her lungs as she sorted out her question.  Kalika settled on to the windshield, letting her back curve with it and listened to the steady furious tempo of Tammy’s heart.  She could dance to it, a sassy little salsa or a quick Irish river dance; she smiled at the thought and took the joint when Tammy handed it to her again.  She took Tammy’s hand and played with her fingers as she waited patiently for the question she already knew was to be asked.  She lifted the hand and kissed its palm at the same time Tammy asked “will you come with me to dinner with Danny?” 

Kalika handed the rest of the joint back, “I am done with it” she said when it was soon reoffered, “I thought it was to be the two of you.” 

Tammy shook her head in the negative as she took one last hit and flicked the roach out of her fingers, “I got a text from him earlier that he was gonna be closing late, some car came in last minute broke. Have a feeling that he will be bringing the crew with him. Always does.”  Kalika let go of the girl’s hand and scratched her head as if in thought, laughing when Tammy rocked into her “you know you have nothing to do without me” she teased. 

Kalika pushed her back lightly, “that is the truth” she agreed with a smile, “Yes, I will go with you” she said as she flipped the tip of her nose with her finger, as a mother would to her child.  “It will give me a chance to talk to Danny about seeing you more.” She said with a wink as she slid off the car and stood between Tammy’s legs, the girl’s arms wrapping around her waist.  “What time is it?” she asked, knowing that it would confuse her, and she wasn’t disappointed. 

“I don’t know, maybe 5:30, I don’t have my phone on me.” 

No” Kalika says in a laugh, “what time is dinner love?”  “Ohhh” Tammy laughed, biffing Kalika on the shoulder, “hopefully no later than ten, if not it’s gonna be you and me.”  She said, drawing Kalika in on her laughter.

Kalika cupped the girl’s face in both of her hands and placed a light kiss upon her lips before she drew away, “Call me when you want to meet up, I need to go.” 

Tammy slid from the hood of her car and wrapped her arms around Kalika in a tight embrace, “I do too” she said before she gave Kalika another kiss.  “I’ll call you as soon as I know something” she promised as she slid into the driver seat of the car. 

“You better” Kalika teased as she walked to her own car and got behind the wheel as Tammy drove away.

*************************************************************

Kalika drove downtown in silence, the only noise being the music of the wind rushing past her window.  Her curiosity was aroused at the mention of the new club’s name, it kicked up a notch when she had slipped into Tammy’s mind and saw the inside of the club through her eyes.  She saw the markings on the wall as what they were, witchcraft as humans nowadays call them, demon markings to her.  Serious black magic that could animate the dead if the right objects were used around them, she smirked at the damage that could be caused if she activated them; if no one else did of course.  She was surprised at how quickly the off ramp to get into downtown appeared, she checked her speed and took her foot off the gas when she realized she was going over 100mph.  She swerved from the fast lane over to the slow lane without a blinker or checking for an opening.  Cars slammed on brakes and horns honked furiously all around her as she got off the exit leading to downtown.  She didn’t let up on the gas as a normal human would when she came upon the curve from off the exit, instead she gained speed and drifted the old mustang around it to come to a screeching halt behind a line of cars at a red light.  Kalika laid on the horn the instant the light changed green and zoomed around everyone using the median, smiling at all the dirty looks that were thrown her way through the car windows.  She made a hard left at the next intersection, swinging outwards before she turned to give the car room to fishtail, barely missing a pedestrian that was most unfortunate to have picked that moment to cross the road.  Kalika’s eyes went to the rearview to see the man jump back quickly and then scream at the car with a fist raised and pumping in the air, “Damn” she muttered under her breath, the letdown of the man not getting hit causing disappointment to rear is melancholy head. The vision of turning around and running him down appeared like an apparition; she shut it down before it could manifest into reality.  She turned one more corner and slowed down to the speed limit before she pulled into an abandoned parking garage.  She drove down the lane till she was in the middle of the bottom parking and pulled into a spot killing the engine. 

Across the street workers were busy bringing in boxes from off a truck, Kalika sat in the car and watched them work.  There was only one double door that she could see from her vantage point, yet she knew there had to at least be two more, a back exit for the clubbers and most likely a private exit for the owner.  She didn’t see any fire escapes on the sides of the building, then again she could not see the back from here, yet she knew there would be none.  She turned her attention back to the men, watching as they scrambled around like ants in and out of the delivery truck, following orders from a man holding one of the two doors to the main entrance open.  Curious pedestrians lined the sidewalk opposite the men, all standing on tiptoes with their necks stretched as far as its limit, in hopes to get a quick glimpse inside.  Kalika got out the car and took a pack of cigarettes out of her purse lighting one, not needing or wanting it but knowing that the act would make her appear human and the smoke would mask her scent if there were witches inside the building.  She walked the short distance to the club quickly and was past the onlookers in no time as if on a mission, she crossed the street without looking, her eyes looking past the man at the door and into the building heightening her hearing and other senses at the same time as she searched for any enemies. The stench of sulfur wafted to her nose, she could feel the energy in the symbols she saw etched into the air; invisible to a human but not to her preternatural eyes.  A hand shot out to stop her, just inches from her chest, as she tried to walk past the man to go inside.  Kalika looked down at it; following the arm with her eyes she rested them upon the man holding the door open for the men unloading the truck.  She saw him for his true identity, a demon clad in human clothing, it morphing into human form to blend in. 

“Can I help you?” he drawled out with sarcasm. 

A smile spread across her face as she looked up at him, a hundred ways to answer his question flitting through her mind.  She took delight that it could not detect who she was, and debated whether or not he should know that she knew of him.  “No thanks” she told him sweetly, making her southern accent as thick and sweet as honey, as she opened her mind and searched the occupants inside the club; as she expected the other ten inside were all demons as well.  “I was just curious about the club is all” she finished with a purr in her words. 

“The curious are waiting across the street ma’am.  Maybe you can go stand with them and get out the men’s way, we are trying to get this open by the next weekend.”  He said roughly, trying to dismiss her. 

Kalika inhaled some of the cigarette and blew the smoke out still smiling, “maybe you need a waitress or a barmaid? I make one killer margarita.” She told the man, she took a step closer to the man, forcing him to draw his hand back or have it settle on her breast.  Kalika smiled as she felt his discomfort rise in him and the painstakingly ordeal it was to resist her charm.

The man cleared his throat “Like I told those waiting over there” he said indicating the crowd of onlookers across the street with a quick tilt of his head, “we already have a-”

“let me guess” Kalika said, interrupting him “you already have a group of special employees under your employment” she guessed as she flicked the cigarette butt out into the street.  “You know” she said giving the man her full attention again, “bringing in a local girl can get your business booming” she said as she twirled a black curl around her finger.  She smiled as she watched the lust rage within him and was a little surprised when she was denied again. 

“This isn’t my business ma’am so it’s not by problem if this places booms or not, but I think it will do fine.  Now can you please vacate the area so the men can get back to work?” 

Kalika looked at him for a moment, studying how far she could push this man, “Who owns this place?” she asked finally, taking delight at the expression on his face. 

Irritation flitted across his face before being smoothed out by nonchalance once more, “I do not have the liberty to say.” He told her in a hard voice that would have most females backing off. 

Kalika tilted her head to the side, debating if it would be worth her while to continue like this with the man or find everything out herself when her cell started to ring in her back pocket.  She flashed an expression of surprise on her face to the man as she answered it.  “Hello?” Kalika held her finger up to the man telling him to wait a minute as Tammy began to give her details of dinner.  “Alright, 9:40 it is. Ok that is fine I will be there, bye Tam…What? No I will be there it does not matter who the guys are as long as you are there. Promise.”  Kalika rolled her eyes to the guy as if in exasperation, “no I am going to head back to my place and get ready. I will meet you there…okay, love ya too, bye Tam.”  She put the phone back in her pocket and resumed her conversation with the man, “how come?” she asked him. 

The man let out an exasperated half grunt half sigh before he threw his hands into the air, “listen lady” he said brusquely pointing a finger at her, “you have to vacate this premises now.” 

Kalika didn’t show any outward reaction to the man’s yelling, she looked as though he had not said a thing.  “Listen guy” she said in his same tone, only somehow softer, “I just wanted to know who owned this, and trust me I can stand here forever and pester you into telling me, but my girlfriend just called and I have to meet her for dinner.” She told him with a smile as she slipped into his head and got her information and his.  “Trust me Bernie when I say that you will be seeing me again and very soon.” She said as she turned from the man and club and took the small walk back to her car, leaving the man to wonder if he told her his name or not.

*****************************************************************

The club Kalika pulled into later that night was packed with cars, she drove to the back where the workers parked and went in through their door.  She went through the kitchen, drawing a lot of stares in her direction, and came out into a hallway that connected to the strippers’ dressing room.  Eyes instantly turned on her when she stepped through the room, she was almost at the door when a brave voice shot out, “you’re in the wrong place bitch!” 

Kalika kept walking, not breaking stride as she opened the door “you will want to keep that mouth shut around me slut or you might end up found dead by the lake.” She promised as she stepped into yet another hallway, this one leading to the inside of the club.  With each step the music grew louder behind the huge double doors, the bass shaking the ground beneath her feet; it swamped her when she walked through them.  Her eyes instantly adjusted to the bare lighting of the club, just as easily as her ears turned down the music and turned up the conversations. 

Kalika had no problem finding Tammy and the group she was with; they were seated in the rear of the room using two tables for themselves.  Kalika walked over to them noticing that Danny wasn’t there.  “Oh, Britt! You look gorgeous!” Tammy squealed when she saw Kalika walking towards her.

Kalika looked down at the black spaghetti strap dress she wore, it hugged every inch of her curves and flared out around her knees, “in this old thing?” she asked smiling, “look at you love, very sexy” she complimented Tammy; she wore a half sleeve dress in zebra print it clung to her body and stopped mid-thigh on her, and topped off by black stilettos that had a bow around her ankle.  She walked over to the table and leaned down to give Tammy a quick hug and kiss before she sat in the seat next to her.  “Where is Danny?” she asked looking around the room before them as if searching for him, “Does he dare to leave you alone with me?” she teased. 

Tammy giggled before she answered, “he had to work later than he expected, he’s gonna meet us here later.” She took a sip of her drink, “Oh!” she exclaimed as though an ingenious idea had struck her, “he told me he had a surprise that we would both be interested in!”

Kalika smiled at the excitement pouring off her, making her eyes sparkle blue like a calm sea, “I hope it is his agreement for me having you on the weekends” Kalika teased with a wink. “I thought that he was to take you out for dinner” she commented to change the subject.

“According to Danny, this is going out to eat” Tammy replied with a laugh.

Kalika shook her head at the sadness of the statement, “nice” she drawled out in sarcasm.  “I remember a time when strip clubs were only for watching, if you wanted to eat you had to leave and go to a food joint.” 

Tammy laughed at her words, thinking them to be a joke.  “I ordered some food.  You want me to call the waitress over so you can order?”  Kalika shook her head, no thanks, I had a bite before I came here” she explained.

An hour later, Danny arrived with a new friend in tow.  He walked behind Tammy and with his hands on her shoulders he leaned down as she leaned up to kiss her mouth long and hard before he sat down in an empty seat next to her.  “Hi babe” they say at the same time, Tammy erupting into giggles and Danny with a goofy smile.  He waved a waitress over and ordered burger with fries and a pitcher of beer. 

“Hey Britt” He said once the waitress had left to call in his order.

“Hey Dan” she replied with a big smile, “hard day at work? Tam told me you had a later customer.” Kalika looked to her friend as she waited for Danny’s answer; she was craning her neck to get a better view of the new guy at the bar. 

“Who’s your friend?” she asked Danny, turning away from the view of the bar and rubbing away a crick that had started in her neck. 

“He’s the reason I had to stay late” He said to them both, “Britt you know anything about Ferraris?” he added.

Kalika folded her arms under her breasts and sat back in the chair as she let out a small puff of air as if in thought, as she slipped into his mind figuring out what was going on.  “Did pretty boy wreck his?” she asked after she slipped out.

“How’d you know?” Danny asked in puzzlement over her question. 

Kalika smiled at him, “no one in this town owns that nice of a car” she retorted.  Danny shook his head in agreement as the waitress came back with his food and beer.  Tammy poured out the beer into frosted glasses and handed one to Kalika and Danny and took one for herself.

“Hey Britt” Danny said around a mouthful of burger, “the guy that was supposed to be here couldn’t make it, sorry kiddo.” 

Kalika swiped her hand through the air as if it was of no importance, “does not matter. I do not like your friends anyway.” She said making Tammy squeal with laughter, “besides” she said as she picked up Tammy’s hand and brought it to her lips, “I have your girl” she finished with a kiss on the inside of her palm. 

Tammy laughed and enthusiastically kissed her hand in return, Danny shook his head in a semblance of defeat before he retorted, “that is why I am trying to hook you up, so you will stay away from my girl.” 

Kalika laughed at that, “that I will never do” she said with a wink to Tammy. 

“Ahh, wait till you meet my new friend.” Danny said while taking the last bite of his meal, he turned his attention then to his mug of beer as he watched the guy walk back from the bar, “you’ll like this guy” Danny whispered to Kalika under his breath as he reached their tables.

“Hi” both the women said at the same time, they both looked at the other before they burst into giggles. 

Danny rolled his eyes and offered the man a seat which he took with a thanks, “Damien, this is my girl Tammy” he said as an introduction, “and this chick here” he said thrusting a thumb in her direction, “is her best friend Britney.  The one I was telling you about at the shop.” 

Kalika studied him during their introduction.  He was handsome enough, what with his short black hair neatly combed back from his face, his square face giving the aura of masculinity and leadership.  She noticed his body was well built muscles hidden behind the cloth of his suit.  His light blue eyes caught hers as she continued to assess him, he smiled showing her white straight teeth,

“Danny has told me quite a lot about you” he said, breaking the silence that suddenly began to settle around them.

Kalika smiled at him and chuckled, “no doubt” she purred to the man. 

“I brought shots for us” he said before he began the task of passing them around the table, they did a toast to all of them meeting and downed their shots as one. 

“Damien is it?” Kalika asked when she sat her empty glass on the table.

“Yes” he answered as he poured them all another shot. 

“Last name would not happen to be Cortel would it?” she asked him sweetly.  She watched as he swallowed his shot in a gulp, could feel his anger rise at her knowing and heard his mind scramble for a reason to it. 

“Yeah, heard of me?” he asked nonchalantly with a smile. 

Kalika studied him, sensing something about him that didn’t quite seem human; she inhaled his scent smelling a stench not normal to his dominant human smell.  She tried to grasp the thing that she could sense, but it was just out of her reach, she felt like a kid too short to reach a jar of cookies pushed in the far corner of a shelf.  She tried again to ferret it out but to no prevail could she grasp it completely, irritation started to swell so she helped herself to another shot.  “Yeah, I know who you are.” She said before she downed the liquid, “Damien Cortel, owner and manager of the new night club Midnight Death.” She told him with a smile. 

Tammy’s indrawn breath covered up Damien’s audible gulp.  “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?!” Tammy exclaimed to Kalika, lightly hitting her on the arm. 

Kalika put an apologetic smile on her face and gave it to Tammy before looking at Damien in time to see the anger smoldering in his crystal blue eyes. 

“How did you find out?” he asked Kalika with an underlying edge of that anger in his voice.

“Oh” she said with a shrug, “when I got off work earlier I stopped by the club” she explained to Damien and Tammy both, “the man...Oh what was his name?” she asked before she paused for dramatic effect and as if she were stuck.  “Oh yeah, Bernie.” She said brightly with a smile as if she had to really think of the name.  “He gave me all the info on you when I asked for it.”  Kalika watched in approval as his blue eyes turned to ice shards, and again had that whiff of something non-human coming from him.

“He was ordered not to tell anyone anything” Damien said in a low dangerous voice that only Kalika picked up on. 

“At first he would not tell me a thing” Kalika purred, enjoying the anger building up in him; it made the non-human smell stronger, to where she could almost identify it.  “I had to do some major flirting but he eventually caved and told me everything I was wanting to know.” 

Damien’s eyes became slits as his anger rose from Kalika’s lie.  The smell wafting from him steadily grew stronger, with it came a feeling of elusiveness; her entire being screamed with familiarity of the smell and the faint power she felt building, yet she still could not get it within her grasp, it was like trying to see the bottom of a pond looking through the top scum.  Frustration gripped her, reacting on it she poured herself a shot and dropped it in her half empty beer mug chugging it all. 

“Don’t get too mad man” Danny told Damien as he threw a hand on his shoulder and shook it, “No man can resist Brittney’s charm when she wants something.” 

Kalika laughed at the joke, as she sat her mug down and shook her head.  “Do not let him lie to you.” She said to Damien, “Danny can resist me very well” she said with a wink to him. 

“That’s ‘cause you don’t charm me. You give it all to Tammy!” he retorted back quickly with a laugh.

A few hours flew by as the four of them finished off the bottle of liquor that Damien had bought shot by shot.  To Kalika’s dismay the non-human smell had vanished after Damien’s tenth shot and had her wondering if she had made it up.  Over the hours she had learned quite a bit on Damien Cortel, the black haired glacial blue eyed 6’8” man that owned Midnight Death, yet the deeper she tried to dig into the farthest recesses of his mind the harder it was to read it.  It was like walking down a dark corridor and fumbling blindly for the one unlocked door amidst hundreds of locked ones. 

Kalika looked around the table at the three of them, Tammy was three sheets to the wind six shots ago; a ¼ bottle of liquor and several daiquiris later and she’s a rambling drunk that can barely sit upright in her chair.  Danny’s drunk was being soaked up by all the chips and dip he was consuming as he talked to Damien.  Kalika smiled at Tammy and nodded to her drunken question, not being able to decipher her words through the slurring even with her preternatural hearing, she turned her eyes back on Damien and tried to figure out why he looked as drunk as she felt; nothing.  He drank as much as the other two humans and yet his eyes were clear and his voice was smooth when he answered Danny’s question; she could only feel a slight buzz radiating off him.  “Drink very much?” Kalika asked him when his eyes met hers across the table. 

“I could ask you the same.” he retorted, forcing a slur into the statement. 

“I am a Tennessee girl, Mr. Cortel.  Born and bred on whiskey.” 

“Damien please, Brittney.”

 Kalika smiled sweetly to him, “Britt please, Damien.”

He smiled at her, “to answer your question, I own a few nightclubs so I have to be able to drink with guests and conduct business afterwards.”  Damien’s face hardened faintly, not a significant change for the human eye to notice but Kalika’s did.  “Which reminds me” he said in a hard tone, “I have to find another bouncer.” 

Tammy chose that moment to lean into Kalika’s side and rest her head on her shoulder, “I don’t feel that great” she whispered into her neck.

 Kalika reached her hand up and laid it on the side of Tammy’s face, “I think she is going to puke then pass out” she told Danny and Damien both.  “You want to pay then get your car? I will bring her out front.” She said to Danny. 

“Where’s a nearest hotel?” Damien asked as he pulled out his wallet and threw a hundred on the table. 

“Nowhere near here.” Danny replied picking up the bill and trying to give it back, “I’m paying tonight” he said to Damien who denied. 

“The bottle is on me, for you fixing my car, I know parts are going to be a bitch to find” he said with a chuckle, “besides, I didn’t pay attention to any of the strippers, and this place has to make some sort of money.” 

“Okay” Kalika said, interrupting the two men who had begun to argue over which one was going to pay.  “As the two of you figured that out, you can stay with me Damien.” She informed him. 

Damien turned his full attention to her, surprise etched all across his face, “do you have a guy waiting for you ready to object with his fists?”

 Kalika smiled at him, “I own an inn.” She told him, “and yes this is a small town and people will talk so you have to pay.”  She flashed him a brilliant smile that had him smiling back. 

Tammy groaned, drawing attention back to her, “I think she is ready” Kalika said as she slowly got up, “come on babe” she crooned to Tammy, as one would a baby, as she carefully helped her out of her chair. 

Kalika put Tammy’s arm around her neck and wrapped her arm around the girl’s waist, with her free hand she dug into her purse withdrawing her keys and tossed them to Damien, “’69 Boss, employee parking lot” she said over her shoulder as she walked towards the restrooms with Tammy.

*************************************************************

Twenty minutes later Kalika walked out the club’s front entrance with Tammy draped over her shoulder, her head rested on the top of her ass as her feet dangled in front of her.  Danny and Damien had parked the cars in the empty parking lot, like they were at a car show, and both leaned against Kalika’s car smoking a cigar.  They straightened when she approached them, her bare feet not making a sound. 

She held her hand out to Danny, “The second pair is hers” she told him, indicating the two pairs of heels that each took a place on its own individual finger.  She curled her index finger holding her heels and the other fingers on her hand, as she held her middle finger out more predominantly and waited for him to grab Tammy’s shoes.  Danny tried to reach for hers, “Second pair” she said, causing Danny to withdraw his hand back. 

“Which pair?” he asked in confusion. 

“Animal print” she said in mock exasperation, inwardly enjoying the mischief she was doing to the inebriated human.

“Which one? They both are” Danny said in the same tone she used. 

Kalika rolled her eyes and sighed, “second finger” she said with impatience in her voice.  “one is index, two is middle, three is ring, four is pinky, and five is thumb.” she said wiggling her fingers in his face, “And I am holding my middle finger out in a provocative gesture.  How much more do you need?” to soften the blow she kept a smile on her face that she visibly tried to fight and a hint of laughter in her voice that she tried to mask. 

Danny grinned down at her with a goofy grin on his face as he shared in on their usual friendly banter as he snatched Tammy’s shoes from her middle finger; he threw them into the back seat of his car before he took Tammy from her and set her gently in the passenger seat and strapped her in. 

“Oh and the shoes” Kalika said to Danny when he walked back to join them, “mine is black caiman, Tammy’s is zebra.” 

He looked down at her with a ‘what the fuck?’ look on his face before he grinned at her and shook his head, “sometimes Britt I think you were a girly-girl” he said as he leaned his head down and kissed her cheek.  He turned to Damien and shook his hand, “I’ll start calling my contacts tomorrow morning for parts and give you an estimate.  Between Britt and me, we can fix it quick once they come in.” 

Damien’s eyes darted to Kalika in surprise, “you fix cars?” he asked incredulously. 

Kalika smirked at him, and tilted her head to her car, “you are leaning on one I built” not being able to hide, the pride in her words. 

He pushed himself off the car and turned to study it.  The sleek two door boss 429 was blacked out; from the hood scoop on the front to the boxed look of its back along with the blacked out rims on the 20in fat tires.  The windows were tinted dark, your reflection the only thing that one could see when looking at it.  The front grill was chromed, as well as the front and back bumper and the letters of mustang on the back, to finish off the look she had glossed the car to make it shine. 

Danny pushed Damien’s shoulder, “a beaut ain’t she?” he asked rhetorically, “Britt’s one and only love is this here. She won’t let no one drive it, not even me and I’m the one that helped her find parts” he said in a joke. 

“This is my baby” Kalika said to Danny with a huge smile on her lips.  Danny and Damien shared a chuckle before Danny got in his car and pulled away from them to head home.

“Nice car.” Damien told Kalika once they were alone. 

“Thank you” she said, “this took me about two years to build from the ground up.” She said as she walked around the car to the passenger side door and opened it, “you can drive” she told him as she slid into the car, wanting to test the effects of the alcohol in his system. 

Damien followed suit and climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car, smiling as the engine roared to life; he revved it a few times, enjoying the thundering sound, “where to?” he asked as he shifted to first gear. 

“Take a right to get out of here and follow the road for a few miles.”  Silence engulfed them as they sped away from the club and the lights of downtown; neither said a word to the other as the minutes ticked past. 

“How did you come to work for Danny?” Damien finally asked.

“I moved here to take over my aunt’s inn when she passed. Met Tammy from the diner then one night Danny picked her up and was complaining about needing a new mechanic, I offered my services.” 

Silence again overcame them as the car plowed down the deserted road.  “And Tammy?” Damien asked. 

Kalika turned her head to look at him, “what about Tam?”

“Are the two of you friends or more?” he asked. 

Kalika smiled at the question that lurked in his brain, him too polite to ask it, “She’s my girl.” Kalika replied, “want her for a girlfriend but Danny will not give her up.” 

“Are you…”

“gay?” she finished for him, smiling over the uncomfortable feeling radiating off him, “I am bi” she said at last, “there has been the rarity where it has been the two of us and Danny, but I am happy with just Tammy.”  She had to keep the laugh from erupting past her throat as she felt the signs of lust beginning to form in him.  “The onramp to the highway is coming up, get on it” she told him.  Kalika felt the air in the car become denser as the temperature started to rise, she knew it came from the intangible thing she had smelt and felt from Damien in the club; the temperature should be dropping as they sped into the country away from the heat of crowded streets and factories, the wind becoming a torrent as they rushed through it with the windows down.  Instead it became thicker, as if the air were trying to suffocate them, with it came the old familiar stench of sulfur.  Kalika turned her head in time to see Damien shift, not into another being but psychologically; she felt the change that undertook in his mind, it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in that instant Damien was a demon.  She had to laugh at him, a half demon no less; the irony in this did not go unnoticed to her. 

“What is it you laugh at vampire?” the thing in her driver’s seat asked, his voice was like gravel, it crunching through the words. 

“A half demon” she said with a shrug of a shoulder.  It downshifted the gears and swung onto the onramp, drifting the boss around the tight curve and bashing the side of it into the wall before it merged onto the highway and gunned it, the torque of the engine making them fall back against the seat until it reached the desired speed.  Kalika let out a growl of anger at the sound of the metal smashing into the concrete, the hurt it dealt the car a palpable thing to her.  “Damien will pay for that.” She vowed angrily. 

The demon laughed, it coming out thick and coarse, “I am sure he will, he is a weakling” it told her. 

“And you are not?” she asked it mockingly, “he seems strong to me, being able to bind you from himself.” 

The demon huffed out a breath, a ring of smoke coming from his lips, “if he is so strong why is it that I can come out?”

Kalika shrugged again, “mayhaps it is because he is intoxicated.” 

“No. I have been slowly gaining the upper hand in the battle of wills we have been playing at for years.” 

Kalika looked out the window as she thought over what she had been told, “What is your purpose of being here?” she asked it. 

It looked over at her, with an expression of almost surprise on its face, “the same as yours” it said to her, looking back at the road, at the blur of the white lines that sped past beside the cars wheels. 

“And what is it that I am doing?” Kalika asked, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. 

She heard the demon huff out another breath, smelt the smoke that lingered in it, “plotting destruction”, it answered her. 

A chuckle came unbidden from her throat, “I do not plot” she said to it in a voice filled with offence, “I do as I will when the mood strikes.” 

It was the demon’s turn to laugh, “Are you telling me that all blood suckers are whimsical?”

“Are you telling me that all demons are not full?” she retorted back quickly, a smile spreading her lips when she felt the offence at her words.  “Tell me half blood, what are you doing in my territory? I counted eleven full demons under your command, which is very curious to me.  Is it not custom that you have sought out the highest rank and asked to have settled down here?” there was a hint of darkness that concealed her words that would have sent a shiver up the human’s spine if he were sitting in the car with her. 

“Never call me that again!” it screeched to her, “I am above you and this is now my territory!” 

Kalika pulled her lips between her teeth and bit down to keep from laughing at the half demon, but could not control the smile that came.  She shook her head in a denial to its outburst, feeling very much like the dark mother she was to her child.  “No” she said still shaking her head, “you are far beneath me and you do not possess the power to take what is mine away from me.”  She gave up trying to not offend the half breed when at her words he snorted and a small fireball blew from his nose onto the dashboard of the car, she laughed hard and long at it as she waved her hand and the fireball extinguished. 

“You blood sucking bitch!” it screamed, “no one is above me, least of all a daughter of darkness” it spat the last of its statement out as if in a curse, “even though I am half I am better than a vampire and you will give up your territory or be killed in the process of it being taken from you.” 

Kalika laughed at the demon, the boldness of its words and the threat not bothering her in the least, she tsked it as one would to a naughty child, “you can try” she said, “but know that you will fail.  Many have tried what you boast that you can do and none have succeeded.” 

In a fit of rage the demon gunned the engine, it roaring its acceptance to the faster speed, and swerved into another lane, hitting a slower moving vehicle.  Kalika could hear the crunch of her back taillight breaking as the back end rammed into the front of the one car that happened to be on the road with them, she shook her head and sighed the instinct to rip the half breed’s head off strong. 

“Are you trying to piss me off, half-blood?” she asked mockingly with emphasis on the last word, pissing it off.

“Never call me that!” it screamed as it raised its hand in a gesture to hit her. 

Kalika’s eyes grew cold as she called upon the magic inside her to stop his hand halfway, taking delight in the confusion that flitted through its eyes as it tried to push past her barrier.  “If you raise your hand to me again I will forget the challenge you issued to me and I will kill you now.”  She said her voice devoid of emotion. 

The demon stared her down, determining her seriousness for itself before it returned its hand back to the steering wheel, “who are you?” it asked. 

Kalika debated for a second on whether to tell it who she was or let it find out for itself, she decided on the latter no demon as lowly as him had ever met her, it would be interesting to see its reaction.  “I go by a lot of names, my very first being Kalika.” She told it and waited.  She felt the air go a few degrees cooler as shock went through the demon, then it jumped up to scorching as anger over took it. 

“You lie!” it spat with hatred overwhelming its voice, “the Dark Mother would not lower herself to humans.” 

Kalika looked to him with a shadow of compassion in her eyes, “oh but I do” she said, “and lowering my status I am not, it is blending in as I search for a newest human to sire.  Much like Bernie does.”  She laughed, it sounding musical and enchanting as she saw the uncertainty in the half demons face. 

“You are lying!” 

Kalika sat back in her seat and folded her arms over her chest as if in thought, “huh,” she said as if in confusion, “if I am I have much to fear from the Dark Mother, I will be quite dead if she found out.” She said. 

The demon shook its head in agreement, “and believe me I will spread the word until she hears of it.” 

Kalika shrugged her shoulders, “the next exit get off and turn left” she said, growing bored with the way their conversation was going.  She stayed silent the rest of their drive only speaking to tell the demon which road to turn down, silently exploring its thoughts without its knowledge, seeing their upcoming moves like a chess player. 

The half demon pulled onto the dead-end road smoothly, both it and Kalika still in silence, coming to a soft stop in the wraparound driveway.  It put the car in park and killed the engine, “how do I know you’re telling the truth?” it finally asked.

Kalika shifted in the seat to look at it, her back resting against the door, “that I am the Dark Mother?” she shrugged, “you do not.  You either accept it or test it.” She said before she got out and met it at the front of the car; she did not look at the damage, knowing that tomorrow would be just as good.  “I do not know where half demons sleep but I told him he can stay here” she told it, indicating that she was talking about Damien.  She walked up the steps to the front porch and unlocked the door, “the third story is mine, but make yourself at home anywhere else.” She said before she walked inside.

***************************************

Bright morning sunlight filtered through the parted curtains in one of the many guest rooms, it woke Damien from his sleep as its rays settled on the bed.  He rolled out of bed and stretched, his shoulder blades and back popping in response.  He noticed a note pinned to the back of the door and walked over to read it.  It was written in Kalika’s flowing calligraphy telling him that she left to help Danny work on his car and that he should feel free to use the showers and make himself breakfast and that he could use her car until his was fixed.  Damien folded the note and dropped it on the bed before he headed into the bathroom to take her up on her offer.  Twenty minutes later he was downstairs in the massive kitchen throwing together breakfast; bacon sizzled on an eye next to eggs that were frying.  He leaned against the counter as he waited, arms crossed at his chest feet crossed at the ankle in a relaxed stance as he checked out his surroundings.  The kitchen was painted a soft inviting yellow, plants were lined up on shelves all along the walls, taking the place of pictures; there were a lot of them, but it didn’t give off the look of clutter.  Damien felt as though something was missing from the place, and it took him a while to figure out that it was the lack of pictures; he had not come across one in his exploration of the second and first story of the massive house.  When the food had finished cooking he wolfed it down from the pans, not bothering to dirty another dish.  When he was done he rinsed off the two pans and fork then put them in the dishwasher before he grabbed the keys off the counter and headed out the front door. 

For about the hundredth time he wondered what he did last night, he awoke this morning with a fuzzy feeling in his head and knew that the demon in him had taken over.  He tried to remember all he could from last night, clearly remembering the bar and then Brittney saying that he could drive them to her place, then the fuzziness, not even being able to remember himself driving at all.  He went to open the driver side door and came to a sudden stop, his mouth gaping open in a silent surprised ‘O’.  The mustang was wrecked.  The side he was on was bashed in towards the back end and the whole side scrapped as if it was rubbed against concrete or something equally as hard.  He walked around to the back and cringed at the sight of the passenger side taillight shattered and a hunk of the fender missing.  He slowly backed away from the car as if it were alive and ready to charge him for the abuse she went through the night before.  Disbelief coursed through him and denial screamed in his head.  A note fluttered in the wind, desperately trying to unpin itself from the antenna on the hood, Damien ripped it off and read the two words ‘thank you’ scrawled neatly on the paper. 

“What did you do?” he asked his reflection in the tinted window. 

He wasn’t the least bit surprised when it answered him back, “do not blame me, she made me do it.” 

Damien’s temper started to flare as he glowered at his reflection, “why” he demanded of it. 

The reflection shrugged, “she is a vampire Damien” it said in a defensive tone, “one that does not show respect.

Damien laughed mockingly at his reflection, “respect for what?” he asked in a hard tone, “she is above us. We are two halves of a whole, not full blooded.” 

He watched as his reflection’s face turned cold as his stayed angry, “No one is above us” it spat out, “stay out of my way and let me handle this vampire.” 

Damien let out a sigh and shook his head, “what are you going to do to her?” he asked, the question tinged with defeat.

The reflection laughed evilly, it sending a shiver down Damien’s spine, “come Damien, you have not been bewitched by her have you?” it ridiculed. 

Damien’s spine stiffened at the threat that lay under its words, “no” he said with forced disgust. 

His reflection smiled maliciously, “it is a territory war that the blood sucker wants and one that we cannot lose.” It laughed its wicked laugh once more at its own joke, “so you let me handle this thing and stay out of my way.”

*******************************************

Kalika sped around a truck, her anger growing as she gained speed; the ’64 charger growled its approval of the change as it switched to a higher gear.  Fucking half demon wrecking the mustang, it’s drivable of course but that wasn’t the point. She spent time and energy into fixing the 429 Boss just to prove to Danny that she was capable of fixing cars, this time around she vowed that that human was going to help with all the work.  A ghost of a smile crept along her lips from knowing that his only payment for his help would to be the first to drive the car once they finished with it. 

A scowl quickly replaced the happy thought, she hoped to the demon’s maker that it would try to test her on her word for who she is.  She had to slam on the brakes when a couple cars in front of her stopped at the yellow light to catch the next green one, her tires screeched and smoke billowed from behind her.  She tapped on the steering wheel in impatience as the light took its sweet time changing.  She gunned her car forward, smiling at the roar of the engine and began swerving in and out of the traffic until she reached club Midnight Death.  She parked in the abandoned garage again like she did the first time she came to see the club, she got out and pulled her hair free of its binding, shaking the curls loose around her shoulders and walked to the club. 

Her eyes narrowed into slits and a malicious smile spread across her lips as she spotted Bernie at the main entrance.  His eyes went wide, partly in fear and surprise, when he saw her crossing the street like a demon out of hell.  The sound of screeching tires and honked horns followed her as she stepped into the busy street without looking, crossing to the curb in front of the club.  “Hello Bernie.” She purred to him despite the anger that was simmering inside of her.  A smile hugged her lips as she heard him gulp.

“What do you want?” he demanded in a brusque tone, but unable to mask the shiver that was in his voice from her dead stare. 

“I am here to see Mr. Cortel” she told him in a hard no non-sense voice, silently challenging him to deny her. 

An evil smile tugged her lips when he said, “sorry ma’am, but Mr. Cortel isn’t seeing anyone” as he folded his arms across his chest, “you can leave a message and I’ll make sure he gets it.” 

Kalika’s smile stayed on her face as the image of her hands wrapping around his neck and choking the life from him played in her head.  He made the mistake of turning his back on her in an effort to dismiss her, rage boiled inside her to the point of exploding.  She grabbed his upper arm and swung him back around to face her, taking pleasure in the shock that absorbed his face, “Listen” she ground out in a voice like steel, “Mr. Cortel fucked up my car” she told him enunciating each word.  “And” she added in a slightly softer tone, “He is expecting me.” 

Bernie’s eyes narrowed at her boldness and anger darkened his face, “ma’am Mr. Cortel is not here” he told her sternly.

“Well he is expecting me and I guarantee you that he would rather receive me inside than pissed off outside” she said, her eyes going to slits as she stared at him.  She was too concentrated on her anger and keeping it from burning out of control until it could be aimed at the correct person that she didn’t notice the change in the air around him or smell the stench of sulfur that clogged the air between them, it fading as quickly as it came, until it was too late. 

“You are correct” Bernie told her shaking his head emphatically in agreement, “if he is expecting you then please wait inside.” 

Kalika smiled at the man, catching the faint whiff of brimstone and seeing the aura within him change colors due to the demon residing within him.  She allowed her anger to dissipate a few degrees as if she were appeased and allowed the demon to think she was ignorant to what was going on.  She followed it into the interior of the club, her eyes scanning every inch of the place as her skin tingled from the power of the spells etched into the walls.  The first room they passed through was decorated to look like a bloody butcher scene; life like skeletons hung from every corner by their feet as a skeleton in a bloody butcher’s apron stood watch over them holding a knife stained with blood.  The smell of animal blood assaulted her nose as they continued, “nice room” she commented. 

Bernie smiled to himself, “wait until you see it Halloween” he said not looking at her.  He led her down a hallway that was filled with fake spiders in their webs; he opened a door at the very end and stepped aside.  “This is Mr. Cortel’s office” he explained with a sweep of his arm from her to the room, “please make yourself comfortable, he should be here soon.” 

Kalika smiled to herself, excitement rippling through her at the knowledge that the challenge the half demon issued was about to begin.  She knew what lay before her, having glimpsed the thought in the whole demon’s mind, yet she feigned ignorance and stepped into the trap.  She felt a tingling in her body when she was in the doorway, it subsiding once she was completely in the room.  Her eyes narrowed and she whipped around when she recognized the feeling, “what have you done?” she asked in a low dangerous voice to keep up the appearance.  She was impressed with the half-blood despite herself; she had not realized that he knew of the darker more ancient magic. 

She watched as Bernie transformed from his human form into a black scaly beast with horns.  Laughter that sounded like nails on a chalkboard erupted from the demon’s throat, “Damien asked me to help him destroy you vampire” it spat out in a voice thick from centuries of smoke inhalation. 

“Ah, so the half-blood is going to finally test me” she said in mock horror. 

The demon took her tone to heart, “do not try to get out the room” it taunted, “Damien put a special ward on this room that you cannot break.” 

Kalika glowered at the demon before she turned her attention to the invisible etchings on the four walls.  She was very impressed with the half breed; someone had been teaching him a great deal about his kind.  He had all his bases covered. There was every race of demon symbols marked into the walls.  She smiled, even though he may not believe yet who she was, he had taken every precaution in the matter.  A summoning circle took up a single wall as the others around it was filled with symbols, one called up a myriad of over twenty thousand demons, others called upon lesser demons all from different origins of the underworld.  She came across a few that she could not decipher in her search of the room.  She searched for a small space within the clutter of symbols and began to etch her own when she found it, a sharp pain pierced down her spine before she could finish. 

The demon roared with laughter from the small yelp of pain that Kalika made.  “He told you that you cannot escape, yet still you tried.”  Kalika narrowed her eyes at Damien as he appeared by the demon’s side.  “Good work” he told it with a satisfied nod. 

“So you could not take me for my word” she growled at him. 

Damien shrugged his shoulders and continued to watch her from the hallway, “if you were the Dark Mother you would have sensed the trap before walking into the room” he told her as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his shoulder on the wall. 

Kalika smiled when she heard the demon’s sharp indrawn breath and had to force herself not to laugh as its eyes grew wide with fear.  “Let me guess” she said to it, “the half breed did not tell you who it is he was trapping?” she did laugh this time. 

“Shut the fuck up!” Damien screamed at her, “she is not who she says she is” he told the demon at his side, “The vampire is in my trap.  The spell hurt her, you heard that for yourself.” 

Kalika stood there watching them as the half demon coaxed the whole one into his way of thinking, she could tell them that a few of the symbols are before her time but she had enough of trying to prove who she is, so she waited patiently for them to be done. 

“If you are the Dark Mother why did you not sense the trap?” the whole demon asked her yet again. 

Kalika let out a small sigh and turned her full attention to the demon, “I was upset” she said shrugging a shoulder daintily, “my concentration was on the anger and controlling it, I did not have time to look around myself.” She half lied, “but do not worry your pretty little scaly head I will get out and I will kill you” she finished the last part looking straight at Damien, with the promise shining in her eyes. 

The half demon laughed at her threat with the other one joining in, it starting out shaky at first but finishing strong.  “That would mean it’s in our best interests that you don’t get out that room” Damien replied once he had quit laughing.  Surprise rippled across his face when Kalika began to laugh, it coming out almost lyrical.  “What’s so funny vampire?” he asked. 

Kalika sobered from her laugh before she answered, “You forget, I cannot die” she said ominously.  “You cannot read a demon’s mind can you vampire” the demon next to Damien stated. 

Kalika remembered the myth among the demons and decided to act upon that, she shrugged her shoulder before she replied, “Who would want to? A demon’s head is filled with…” she paused and twirled her hand in the air, searching for the right word, “cobwebs” she finished not being able to think of anything else to compare it to at the moment.  The black demon laughed at her, and for that second she felt briefly the human emotion one feels when being ridiculed. 

“Is that all you can say?” Damien asked. 

“What do you mean?” Kalika asked him. 

“The cobweb bit.  You have nothing better to insult him with?” Damien taunted. 

Kalika cursed her slip into humanity as anger burned hot for his blood, “what would you suggest half breed?” she spat out.  She smiled when she heard the growl that came from Damien over the insult. 

“How about his head is filled with brimstone or lyre, something hellish…but cobwebs?” Damien shook his head in almost disapproval. 

“When you are as old as I am, you do not worry overmuch about insults and clever little puns.  It is the end result that is upmost in importance.” 

“Oh? And what is the end result for you here?” Damien asked mockingly. 

Kalika smiled sweetly at him, savoring her answer, imagining the end result, “killing you of course.”  She turned her eyes to the other demon, growing tiresome of Damien’s ridicule.  “Why did you ask the reading of minds full blood?” she asked him. 

“If you could you would know there are some things worse than death.” It answered her. 

Damien laughed at that, “I’ve had enough of this vampire” he said to the demon, “summon them!”

Kalika’s curiosity piqued from his words, as she stood there waiting in an almost anticipation to whatever he was about to toss her way.  The room began to buzz and pulsate, almost as if an electric field had been brought in.  A slight vibration fluttered across her skin and throughout her body as the air in front and all around the room began to shimmer as if a light was trapped within it.  Kalika looked around her, not in fear or concern, but with abundant curiosity, noticing the play of dull lights in the air as an unknown energy moved through it gaining strength to manifest.  A movement from the far corner caught her peripheral at the same time she realized that more than one had been summoned.  She turned to see a small demon clinging to the ceiling and wall in the corner, it was about three feet in height with an all-black furry body, its face was smushed in like a pug’s, its feet were like a wolf’s, and its hands were scaly with long bird-like talons for fingers.  Kalika laughed as it let out a long ear piercing scream that showed a mouthful of sharp jagged teeth, and smiled at it. 

“You are the cutest little thing” she crooned to it, “why don’t you come down?”  It stopped in mid scream and cocked its head to the side like a dog as it silently debated doing what she suggested.  “I will not harm you.” Kalika told it, switching over to its demon language, “Come down.”  She watched it patiently, her senses tuned to it and the countless other demons that were manifesting, as it finally started down.  It let go of the ceiling and fell forward on the wall, digging in its talons and walking down on all fours.  Kalika held out her hand as it cautiously approached her, it sniffed at her fingers before pushing its head into her hand to be stroked.  She petted the demon’s head, noticing lumps where horns were about to push through and inwardly smiled for Damien summoning still baby demons; granted they preyed on human children torturing them with fear, before they grow hungry and attack in large groups consuming everything but most of the big bones and hair.She turned to face Damien and the demon outside the trap, scanning the crowded room to ascertain that they all were as young as the demon under her hand. 

“A room full of young ones, half-breed?” she asked sweetly, mockingly, “Is this all you have?”  A smile tugged her lips upward as the anger darkened his face a deep red. 

“Do not call me that!” he exploded, reminding Kalika of a child. She laughed at his expense with the demon next to her joining in with its scratchy hoarse bark.  “Enough! Send in the others!” Damien bellowed. 

The demons that were summoned disappeared in a puff of black smoke, a burn mark in their places the only remembrance of their presence.  The air grew hot and a slight heat wave coursed through the room, blowing Kalika’s hair back in its wind.  A sound like thunder broke the silence as a flash of bright white light lit the room, leaving a big red demon in the aftermath soon followed by more.  Its body looked like it had started to melt from the fires in hell and black smoke billowed from it and the others as if embers were still heating them.  Kalika stood her ground, knowing that these demons would not be won over as the last had.  She could hear Damien laughing in the background and tuned out his words, putting all her concentration on waiting for one of the demons to make a first move.  Like a chess player she tried to guess who would make the move first, then plotted how she would counteract, then their next move, and so on.  The demon she had guessed would go first made its move and she quickly set him ablaze with a swipe of her hand before it could finish its attack.  A laugh spilled from her lips as two more demons materialized in the spot the one died at. 

“My thanks half-breed, for the challenge!” she taunted before swiping a fireball out of the air that was thrown her way.

“Cunt” she heard Damien snap before she once again tuned everything out that wasn’t in the room with her. 

In the split second she took to look at Damien the demons surrounded her in a tight circle, a move she hadn’t accounted for earlier.  She dropped to her haunches as a fireball came from behind and in front of her, they collided with each other in midair and rained sparks down on her.  She stood up slowly, shaking the embers off her, as her anger rose so did the not caring of the odds that was building against her at their death; she let her wrath be known.  Sparks of lightening shot from her fingers as she called upon the power of Zeus, she aimed for the demons nearest her.  Like sparks to dry kindling they each caught flames and went up, dying with a scream of pain as they became a pile of ash.  She caught a fireball in midair and hurled it back on its attacker before turning to another demon and punching her fist through its chest, catching it on fire from the inside.  She weaved in and out of demons, dodging blows and fire as she continued her quick and deadly attack.  When she finally stopped and looked around her the room was jammed with demons, so much so that she could barely move.  One demon grabbed her from behind, scorching her skin with its slightly flaming arms as more grabbed hold of her.  She squirmed, struggling to get out of their grasp, but to no prevail.  She went still in the many hands, calling upon her power, as still more demons reached out to grab hold of her anywhere they could.  She made her body temperature rise, envisioning herself growing hotter and hotter until flames slowly started to come to life across her body.  Demons screamed in agony as one by one all who touched her became consumed in the inferno that was Kalika, but as quickly as they let go more and more came forward to grab her until her strength began to wean and she decided to quit her futile efforts and save her remaining strength for later. 

“Impressive” Damien called out once Kalika was under control, “but I knew you would fail.” 

“With these odds against a person, anyone will fail” she replied brightly, “but I do not consider this failure.  Merely a regaining of one’s strength and waiting for the opportune moment to strike back.”  From her position in the room she could barely make out Damien’s form but she felt his shock at her words. 

“Bold words from a vampire about to die he snapped. 

“Have you forgotten?” she chided, “I cannot die. Besides I was most looking forward to this thing worse than death” she mocked.  She felt the anger radiating off him and knew that his eyes were slits and his eyebrows drawn down into an angry ‘v’ shape.

“Bring in the last!” she heard him scream and had to force a laugh from escaping her throat. 

The air shimmered above Kalika as the demons pushed her flat on the floor, she could smell her clothes and skin burning where their hands were pinning her at, yet the pain she never felt.  The air slowly turned to frigid, the heat from the demons could be seen by the steam swirling away from them.  Kalika paid them no mind as she looked up at the ceiling, watching it start to swirl like a finger slowly moving in water filled with scum.  A smile slowly slid into place as she quickly guessed what this half breed was planning, she had to give him credit, the effort he took to get this all together was impressive; a lesser vamp or demon would have been down a while ago.  No matter, he was still going to get what was due to him.  The air above her parted in the middle, exposing the first half of another demon, its skeletal face and torso hidden behind a long flowing hooded cape and robes, it reached its hand out to her slowly, its bony fingers clenching and unclenching as if in anticipation of reaching her.  Kalika relaxed in the hands of hundreds of demons that held her down and closed her eyes, waiting for the demon to take her and plotting her next move that will end all this once and for all.

************************************************************

Damien could laugh, that’s how excited he was, he never thought for a second that he would not succeed, but there were times when that possibility was close to happening.  Times when doubt reared its annoying head to whisper deceitful what ifs about the vampire actually being who she says she was, it led to unwelcomed envisioning’s of torture tales he heard of the Dark Mother committing; it sent an involuntary shiver down his spine.  Relief from his winning washed over him when the last demon manifested and left with the vampire’s essence, leaving it entirely vulnerable.  His relief was replaced with euphoria once the deed was done and the demon of death had vanished.  He stood in the hallway, looking at the unconscious vampire amidst the fire demons and could not keep from gloating like a child. He knew she wasn’t the Dark Mother, he only wished he could laugh in her face about that fact, but contented himself with knowing that come morning he would watch the vampire burn from the sun’s rays that would warm her cold body for the last time. 

“What do we do now?” the demon at his side asked. 

Damien looked at him, seeing the astonishment of his accomplishment still on his face, and slapped the demon on the back letting out a hearty laugh, “we won!” he said with a smile, “send the demons back and let us celebrate!”

The demon did as he said then cleared his throat uneasily, the sound like thunder crackling in the distance, “Damien, I must warn you that if this vampire is speaking the truth, that she is the Dark Mother…”

Damien studied his friend and advisor, knowing when it was time to listen to him but not caring to at the moment, “She is not the Dark Mother.  If she was she would have gotten out.”

“And killed you.” The demon informed him. 

Damien hadn’t thought of that, “Surely not, I am loyal to the mother, why I did this. This vampire” he said throwing his hand in the direction of the trapped room, “is an ordinary weak vampire that was proclaiming to be the Dark Mother.” 

The demon shook its head slowly in denial, “all vampires and demons, all things non-human, know of the Dark Mother.  I do not think one would claim to be her, knowing of all her great deeds.”

 Damien’s face paled slightly before denial set in, “no! I met this vamp in a nightclub with humans.  She works as a waitress at a diner and a mechanic on the side.  She’s humanized, why would the Dark Mother do this?” he demanded. 

“In the stories of her she has done this before, blending into human society and eventually destroying them.” 

“When she and the Dark Father fights or when he banishes her.”  Damien interrupted, having the demon shake his head in compliance, “I have read the stories, and this is not she.” 

“She read my mind Damien” the demon said, trying to get through to his young apprentice, “when I first saw her I did not tell her about you, I swear on all that is unholy.” 

Damien stared at the vampire in the room, her body there but her not in it, “doesn’t matter” he said looking away and dismissing the demon’s worries, “this is not the Dark Mother” he repeated, staring at the demon until he nodded his head.  “Now we must do something about this body, take it out back and leave it for the sun in the morning.”

“No” the demon said quickly, “she walks in the daylight.  If this is the Dark Mother we must destroy the body.” 

Anger swelled inside Damien and hardened his face, “this is not the Dark Mother!” he roared. 

“Yes, yes of course” the demon soothed, “but to make me feel better let us destroy the body…in a type of explosion” it said with a smile growing on its face as Damien’s anger quickly dissipated in anticipation of an explosion.

*******************************************************************

An insufferable heat was the first thing Kalika felt as she laid there with eyes closed, the amount of it beat against her in vicious hard blowing winds. She took a deep breath, not needing it but wanting to smell the things that might be surrounding her.  The waves of heat washed over her, trying to suffocate her in its lack of air.  She opened her eyes slowly, peeking through the slits before they opened fully.  She sat up precariously as if what she laid on was unstable and slowly got to her feet.  A smile spread across her face as she took in the sights of mountains and the deep crags between them.  Just like a half blood to send her to an underworld, and hers no less.  She laughed out loud at the stupidity in his mistake and smiled when the echo of it joined her.  She backed up when she heard the cracking of rocks breaking off around her, noticing that a torrent of lava rushed beneath the ledge she was standing on.  Another heat wave wafted past her, blowing her hair back in its wake and scorching her skin with its hotness; it carried a mournful cry of pain and anguish.  She turned then to see a wall of mountain behind her, she searched its border for ruts and holes big enough for her hands and feet to fit into.  The bottom portion was smooth, almost polished as it was away from the searing wind, the part further up was riddled with holes and small ledges where the winds had bashed for millenniums.  She jumped into the air and latched on to the mountain and began her climb up, moving like a spider she ascended quickly her hands and feet spread out and moving fluidly from one hand hold to the next.  She crawled over the ledge and stood up, taking in her surroundings from her new height.  The river of lava that flowed at the base of the mountain was hundreds of feet below her now, as was her ledge, and yet she still wasn’t at the top of the mountain.  A crackling like thunder filled the air and had her looking around to find its source, she climbed back on the mountain and made her way to the next higher ledge.  The scorching heat the wind carried hit her in the face as she climbed onto the ledge, it made her eyes water to instantly be dried in the heat, she replayed the sound she heard in her head and tried to track it to its source; she could still only see sides of mountains around her.  She amped up her hearing and heard the steady rhythm of a handful of individual heartbeats not that far from her.  She got back on the mountain and continued her climb upwards.  The next ledge she climbed onto she could finally see her objective in the distance, titans and giants stood like statues yards away from her; their huge legs the only thing visible.  With a thought she was on the ledge of the mountain nearest them, and without a thought she leapt across the vast abyss between the two to land on the nearest one’s leg.  She made her nails grow into talons and dug into the titan’s skin as she made her ascent to the top of him.  She jumped from one chain loop to the next that shackled him from his knees to his upper arms, pinning his arms to his sides and rendering him unable to move, until she reached his shoulder.  She used one of his braids like a rope and climbed onto his head, from there she jumped the remaining distance to the lip of the hole and climbed out of Tartarus. She stood on the edge and looked back into the deep pitch black hole, even with her preternatural eyesight she could barely make out the heads of the titans and giants that stood like trees at the bottom.  She continued on, knowing that her journey was long and the time she had left was growing shorter; she knew with an almost gut feeling that the half breed would be trying something to keep her permanently in her underworld.  She walked to the left up a short incline; the closer she got to the next level the clearer she could hear the wails of the shades in pain from their torment.  She closed her eyes and shifted through all the wraiths that lay before her, until she came across a heartbeat that beat louder and stronger than most.  She called upon the beast to whose heartbeat it belonged to and summoned it to her as she continued her journey, walking closer to it.  The wind picked up in its hasty flight as she drew closer to the pits that tormented the shades that were deceitful and wicked in their times, a whirlwind of hot air and debris rushed past her crying out for the wraiths that inhabited this part of hell.  She stepped out of its path and continued on until she heard the eerie screech/wail of the beast, she stopped mid-stride and waited.  It wasn’t long before she heard the faint flapping of wings that steadily grew louder with each downwards thrust of its wings.  She smiled when the beast appeared and studied it as she waited for it to land, its three heads rested on a body that looked vaguely like a lion’s that had morphed with a dragon; taking in its wings to the tip of its tail.  Kalika walked to it and bowed before she straightened and made eye contact with the head that looked human; the other two heads stared at her, one with the face of a snake and the other head’s face a blank canvas save for lips and a pair of intimidating eyes.  “My thanks Greyon.” She said. 

The beast’s lips all slid into a smile as he bowed to her in return, “you summoned me my Dark Mother” it said.

 Kalika shrugged, “you would have come to me once you sensed that I was here.” 

The beast’s honest face turned to a state of dreaminess from her words before it quickly clouded to concern, “you are not here from your own doing.” 

Kalika smiled at him before she answered, “a half demon from my time sent me here, believing that I am not who I proclaim.”  Her features turned downwards in a simile of melancholy. 

The beast turned his back to her, his face towards her over his shoulder, “your ride milady” he stated in hopes of lifting her spirits.  She smiled at him, one of adoration, as she walked over to him and scrabbled on top of him between his wings; she held on to the small amount of hair on that portion of his back as they made their ascent from ground. 

Greyon’s wings swirled up a cloud of dust from the floor as they pushed off from the floor as they gained air, continually moving upwards.  They made their way to the right towards a waterfall that was distant in Kalika’s own hearing, when they reached it the beast spiraled upwards around it, forming circles that quickly had Kalika on edge.  The beast landed softly on the bank of the cliff and spread its wings to the ground so Kalika had an easier descent to the ground. She dismantled and walked further away from the cliff edge; the Greyon walked a few feet past her to a river of boiling blood and dipped his three heads to the fluid to each partake in its thirst.  Kalika quickly climbed on him again and jumped from its head onto the other bank, she called out a quick thanks before she started onwards. 

She walked through a desert, its sand ablaze in flames.  Sand dunes engulfed in flames blew sparks her way as the wind picked up in its pursuit.  She picked up her speed, coming to a run when she grew bored of the scenery; flames flew by her in slow motion as she rushed past, she slowed when she caught a glimpse of green before her.  She stopped for a split second and inhaled deeply, smelling the harshness of hopelessness and decay.  She continued on and gradually reached the shadow of a forest a few paces ahead of her.  She saw the silhouettes of bodies that hung from the trees and laid in an almost pattern on the forest’s floor.  She walked up almost cautiously, like a person studying the pattern of a puzzle, as she delicately stepped over and weaved around bodies.  The stench of their sorrow began to seep up her nose and entangle itself in her brain; she quickly put a stop to that by cutting off those senses.  She continued on, passing by star-struck lovers that killed themselves in vain and others that killed themselves by losing the hope that they would rise up to their adversities.  She only stopped for a moment when she came across a group that all had died from defending their beliefs; they were consumed in a blue flame that only burned when they strayed from their own ways.  It reminded her of the red flames from her city, the longing for it pulling her to it.  She walked away from the shades in a kind of reluctance as she stayed to her path feeling the city of Dis slowly come closer and closer.  She could see a light in the distance, the brightness coming into effect as she steadily made her way out of the thick forest. She could see a flat landscape as she drew nearer, it barrenness only interrupted by various mounds of sand hills. She finally reached the forest’s edge, the wail of the tormented shades as strong as the winds at her back, as she left the confines of the dark trees and walked into the openness of a desolate desert. The coolness of her skin absorbed by the forest's darkness was quickly evaporated by the fires that consumed the desert's sands. She continued on, her pace steady and that of one with a purpose, until she began to see signs of green once again. A complete plane of flat greenish brown grass laid out before her, it riddled with tombs ablaze with flames from individual infernos. She had to stop when she reached another river of blood this one boiling angrily from the wraths of the shades that stood sunken for all time in it. She saw a few faces out of the river that she knew and some she had only heard of, she gave them a shadow of an apologetic smile before she used their heads as stepping stones to cross to the other side. The heat of the river blew steam up at her, making blood red droplets of sweat break out across her brow. Half way across she felt the presence of beasts around her and stopped in her journey, the head she was standing on slowly bobbing up and down from her weight. Two centaurs walked towards her, their horse half completely submerged in the boiling river as they made waves in their wake. She smiled to them once they reached her and took the leader's outstretched hand and climbed onto his massive well-toned shoulders. "My thanks to you Nessus" she said once she was settled and the three of them made their way to the other side of the river.

"We sensed you were here, but did not realize that you would reach our realm so quickly."

Kalika smiled more to herself then to the leader's words, "I am not here of my own accord" she stated, both centaurs' heads nodding that they knew, " the time I have here is growing closer to the end, I need to get back as quickly as I can."

Nessus nodded in understanding, a slight vibration of anger over his god and once lover’s predicament reverberating through him, "when you kill this half -blood send him to me, I will see that he gets what is coming."

Kalika chuckled at him, over the hint of possessiveness she heard in his words, "when I kill him he will be going into my realm, feel free to visit him love" she said to soften her denial of his torturing. She stood on one of his shoulders balancing herself, "my thanks again Nessus" she said before she leapt from his shoulder onto the bank of the river and walked off without a backwards glance.

The dried up grass crunched under her feet as she crossed from the soft sand of the valley into the flat plains of the next realm of hell. The wind cried out its track of time to her as it picked up at her back urging her onwards, it flew past the flaming crypts causing the fires to whip up and reach out to her as she passed by them. Screeches of torment echoed out of the tombs, all coming from shades that lie for eternity consumed in fire. The suicide forest slowly grew smaller with each step she took but the pain the shades gave off was still strongly felt by her, being mixed in with the sorrows she now felt at this new realm. A gated area of plane started to come into view as she moved further into the tortures, the eeriness calling to her with each footfall that brought her closer. She could make out a moss-covered statue of a kneeling person, knowing without having to make it out that it was a woman, a handful of tombstones were scattered within the fence in no particular order; as if they were tossed and where they landed they stayed. Kalika walked along the fence as close to it as she could get without stepping foot onto the land, looking at the barren ground waiting for the shade that inhibited it to appear to her. In the far back side of the gated area she saw what appeared to be the shadow of a tree stump, it grew in height and materialized into the shape of a boy with eyes glowing red. She smiled when it appeared beside her on the other side of the fence and walked with her.

"I am sorry to hear about your human's death mother" it said in a voice filled with sympathy, it reached its arm through the fence and grabbed hold of her hand intertwining their fingers. 

Kalika looked to him with her head slightly cocked to the side as she tried to figure out what he was speaking of.

"The one that you wanted for yourself" the shade said.

 It finally dawned on her that he was telling her about Tammy.  "No my little one she is not dead."

"But I felt her life taken and not by you"

Kalika smiled to him, it filled with melancholy over him not being able to know of the present; cursed to know things but unable to tell if it had happened yet or will later. "I left her for but a moment little one, nothing will happen to her" she promised.

"Will you send the half- blood here?"

Kalika smiled and let out a small laugh from the lust in the shade's question. "No little one, what the half breed has in store is far worse than what you can do." She reached her hand over the fence and ruffled the boy's hair when his face turned downwards in disappointment, "but I will allow for you to go to it and torture it whenever you would like." She smiled when joy broke across the boy's face brightening the pasty whiteness as much as it could on a shade.  The end of the shade's plot of land drew to a stop when they reached the last corner of the fence, Kalika brought their joined hands to her lips and kissed the back of his before letting to "I will visit you soon my little one" she promised as she watched him vanish with a wail and she continued on.

She passed by the Elysian Fields, the purple glow of its sunlight bathing a portion of the path she walked on. The peaceful blessedness called to her, tempting her to stop and visit the shades in its realm. The wind hissed and blew harder at her back, urging her onwards in her journey to get out of the underworld. She strained her eyes, spotting the shadows of souls she had transformed into ghostly flowers that littered the meadowlands of the almost heaven realm. The wind blew harder against her as if trying to pull her through hell itself.She could hear the urgency in its winds. She continued, almost reluctantly, as she walked closer to the gates of the underworld's palace. Cerberus greeted her midway to the gates, his massive tail wagging in pleasure to her presence, his three heads' tongues all sticking out and him holding in a bark. Kalika patted each head in turn and allowed them to lick her hand as they walked side by side, his massive body rubbed up against her in affection. With a thought she threw open the gates and walked through them without a pause as they entered the ghostly courtyard. Decayed myrtles and ghost flowers surrounded the palace creating shade from the light of the flames. She nodded to the guards that stood in place like statues at the entrance to the palace, their only movement making the sound of steel sliding against steel as their swords moved away from the entrance. Cerberus walked through with Kalika, squeezing his massive body against hers so they could both fit within the huge doors. Shades that were thrown into servitude within hades' palace walked about inside the rooms, some tidying up the place as others went on their way with chores she could only guess at. A shade resembling an old woman stopped in her task and came to greet Kalika, she glared at Cerberus, but otherwise ignored the dog beast when it growled and his hackles went up.  "Is father here?" She asked the servant, also ignoring the dog at her side.

 A shadow of remorse crossed her face before she replied, “no mother, you missed him by a few months."

Kalika exhaled loudly, as a child would when their anticipation became a disappointment, "I forever miss him these days" she commented with melancholy laced in her words, Cerberus held all three heads low and whimpered along with her sadness.

"Should I prepare your room for you?" Kalika shook her head in denial, “I am not to stay. I must leave." The shade picked up its ghostly robes and bowed low to her before she left to complete her tasks at hand. Kalika looked down at the beast by her side a shadow of a smile playing across her lips from her sorrow, she sighed once more before she walked through the hall that now seemed overly crowded and made her way to the room that would get her home.

A pool that led to the river Lethe was in the center of the room her and Cerberus walked into, the three judges of the underworld sat around it as if waiting for her. All three looked up at her when she entered: stern Rhadamanthus in his clothes fitting a king with his sword at his hip, inflexible Minos with his skeletal face, long bull horns, serpent tail with his huge double headed axe resting at his feet, and Aeacus with his spear and his non-threatening appearance. Kalika nodded to them in greeting and made the dog beast stay at the door.  She motioned for the judges to stay seated when they tried to stand in her presence. "I do not have much time" she said to them, "I must get back quickly"

"aye we have heard the whisperings from the dammed" Minos said in his deep voice.

"Fear not" Rhadamanthus began, "that half- blood will get his due when you send him here."

A true smile blossomed across Kalika’s face for the first time since being in the underworld, "many thanks, but it will be by my hand." She looked to each of them in turn till they nodded their understanding, "Minos, send him straight to my realm. Rhadamanthus you stand guard and do not let him escape. Aeacus ferret out who helped him send me here.  He used binding symbols I was not even familiar with."

They each nodded as one to her request before they stood and bowed to her. She thanked them again before she stepped into the deep pool and sank to the bottom allowing it to carry her out to the river and home.

*******************************************************************

A sharp pain coursed through her body when her essence finally came back to the human world. She was painfully aware of being trapped under stuff, one of her arms lay beneath her back and one of her legs laid in an awkward angle further away from her hip than it should have been. "Fucking half breed" her mind screamed as she became aware of tons of pressure on her chest. She breathed in, as much as she could, ignoring the pain of broken ribs stabbing into organs she no longer needed, the strong smell of gasoline singed her nostrils and the faint smell of almonds had her surmising that c-4 was also in use. Against the odds piling around her she had to smile and be a little impressed that the Halfling went to this much trouble on her behalf. She opened her eyes slowly, dust and dirt quickly falling into them as soon as the lids weren't there to protect them. She moved her head as far as she could and tried to look around her, plotting an escape route, as anger washed over her from the destruction of her home. She tried to wiggle out of the confined spot to no prevail and again cursed the half demon.  She had to give it to him, he did go all out, it must have taken days for him to convince the land people that he had consumed ownership of her house, how else would he have been able to demolish it? She heard the faint sound of a match striking against a match box and got a faint whiff of smoke as the gasoline caught fire, and had a momentary feeling of panic as her mind raced for an escape route. She called on the power residing inside her and felt a wave of heat as the power consumed her, the same instant fire ate at the broken boards above her. She moved the earth beneath her and sank underground an instant before the fire reached the c-4 and blew the demolished house into the sky.

**************************************************************

Damien laughed as the house blew sky high, floor boards and wood rained down in front of him, a large section of a chard sofa landed dangerously close to him and the demon next to him.  "Well done!" Damien's demon exclaimed, “that should end her for good."

Bernie looked to his apprentice, a sudden knowing that the vampire was in fact the Dark Mother and somehow not dead snuck its way up his back with hands as cold as ice, slithering its way to his brain to spill dread like poison. A grave smile forced his lips upwards, he quickly looked to the blaze of fire before them and forced the feeling consuming him down with each crack and pop of the destroyed house. He forced his smile into a somewhat better one and turned to Damien again, telling himself it would be better for his disciple not to know his doubts, "Indeed. The explosion was more than I thought."

Damien looked at his friend-long enough to make him nervous- if he could see and smell his dread on the verge of becoming fear he did not show it, "are you now satisfied? put to ease?" He asked as he slapped him on the back and began to chuckle again.

The feeling coiled itself tighter inside Bernie in a silent denial to the question, he shook his head yes as he decided in that moment to ignore the feelings and push them down.  He smiled widely this time and even joined Damien in his laugh, "we need to get ready for tonight."

Damien smiled to the demon and took one last look at the inferno, rubbing his hands together in anticipation, "yes" he said turning from the wreckage and walking back to the car, "lots to do before our midnight killing."

***********************************************************************

Kalika awoke from the trance she put herself in to regain strength and repair what she could on her body, a light feminine chuckle rolled around in her throat as the human expression "to hell and back" popped in her head over the way she felt at present. The earth was cool against her skin as she lay buried within it, it gave her the feeling of being inside a cocoon; making her reluctant to leave. The need to feed overcame her want of comfort.  She moved the earth inward with her magic, having it collapse in on itself causing a hole and it filling itself in, pushing her out. Pieces of smoldering wood now coals rained down around her, she used the magic still surging through her and called for rain. The sky turned dark quickly and fat drops of water started to fall making the small fires go out and causing the coals to hiss in anger. She lay on the now flat ground for a moment, gingerly pulling her broken arm from behind her back and pulling her broken leg closer to the hip. She clenched her teeth as pain coursed through her from the accelerated healing of her body. She slowly pushed herself off the ground and stood up clutching her side when her ribs popped back together and the punctured organs closed their wounds. She looked around herself and at the destruction of her home and garage full of old cars, she fed off the anger that surged through her allowing it to override her pain and lead in its emotion.  She turned to walk away, the first step on her newly healed leg causing her to stumble; she righted herself and kept going without a backwards glance to the burned site.

The woods swallowed her as she walked into them; she turned her hearing up and listened for signs of prey. A rustling to her left had her stopping and mentally calling out to the animal hiding in the brush, a rabbit hopped out to its death as Kalika’s hands snatched it off the ground and straight to her elongated fangs. She moaned partly in enjoyment and partly in pain as each gulp of the blood began to join in the healing of her. She dropped the carcass at her feet and continued deeper into the woods, every unfortunate animal that happened into her path ended in the same manner as the rabbit. The trees finally thinned out and ended leading her to the only road going into town. She stood on the side of the road, lifting her face to the sky and letting the lightly falling rain wash the dirt from her clothes and body, she ran her hands over her face rinsing the blood off from around her mouth. She started walking down the road towards town judging she had a few hours before midnight came. A few miles later she heard the rumblings of a truck drawing near, she turned and started walking backwards with her thumb sticking out, the classic hitchhiker pose. The truck came to a slow stop a few paces in front of her, she hurried over to it and hopped into the cabs front seat, “thank you so much for picking me up" she said to the driver as she shut the door and they started down the road again.  The middle-aged man looked her up and down before he told her she was welcome.

"My car broke down half way to work and I left my phone at home" she said with a laugh playing the dumb female card, "thought I was gonna be late for work until you showed up."

The man shared in her laugh before asking, “where do you work?"

 "The new club midnight death, its downtown."

"I'm going as far as into town, I'd take you all the way but I have a date I have to be on time for tonight." The man explained.

Kalika shook her head in understanding, “that’s ok I can get a ride out to the club from there." They rode on in silence, Kalika staring out the window and the man's eyes on the road, music from the radio the only noise in the truck. "Could we stop for a second and I use your phone so I can call my friend to make sure she is home before we get into town?" Kalika asked when the town's sign showed in the distance.

The man looked over at her with a hint of uncertainty on his face, “I’ll make it quick" she promised. "I just want to give her a heads up so we can just leave and I won't have to wait for her" she gave him her best smile and willed him to do what she requested.

The man nodded and slowed down before he came to a soft stop on the road side, his fingers dug around in his shirt's front pocket and pulled out his cell phone handing it to her. Kalika reached for it with a smile as she leaned over and grabbed it, her fingers curling around his in a tight grasp before she quickly jerked his body over the middle console and to her side in one fluid motion before she dipped her head to his neck and sunk her fangs in without him realizing until it was too late. She drank deeply, his blood satisfying her better than the animal blood could, she pinned the man's arms behind his back when he started to wiggle in vain, trying his best to free himself from her death-like grip. She didn't let him go until his body calmed and he lay still beneath her jaws, didn't stop drinking until his heart stopped and there wasn't any more blood left in his 6'2" frame. She lifted her head and retracted her fangs, finally taking a breath full of air after minutes of feeding; she reached over him and opened the door, pushing the body out the truck. She wiped her hand over her mouth as she got out on her side and walked around the truck to the driver's side stepping over the dead driver as she did so.  She shut the door and drove off, speeding down the road and through the town, she slowed momentarily as she passed by the one decent restaurant in the tiny town that the man was to have had his date spotting the woman from the man's memory sitting alone in the back corner. She got onto the highway and made her way to the club, going as fast as the old truck could manage. She had to stomp on the brakes when the exit came up, the truck not able to take the curve as sharp as her cars.  She swerved around the curve and blew through the traffic light that always seemed to be red when she came on this side of town. She turned down a road and came to a crawl, the traffic bumper to bumper with people on their way to the club, she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel in impatience silently screaming at the cars to hurry up and go. She banged on the steering wheel in vain when the cars ahead of her stopped at the yellow light instead of going through, the only sound being the thud of her fist instead of the blaring of the truck’s horn. She shook her head in frustration and hopped out the truck and slammed the door shut, walking the rest of the way to the club.

A different man was bouncing at its doors, arms clasped at the wrists behind his back, muscles bulging under his black dress code work clothes. He stood his ground only moving his head forward to check the id's that were being flashed in his face, a nod had them walking in. The thought to stand in line flashed briefly in Kalika’s head, going ignored as she sashayed her way to the front.

"Id" the bouncer demanded, holding his hand out in front of her.

Kalika looked him up and down as she dove into his mind sensing the demon hiding within the human's skin, "I am here on Mr. Cortel's request" she told him as she pulled her mind out if his. "I doubt I am on the list" she said as he started to reach for a clipboard on a stand next to the door.

"No entrance without id if you're not on the list" he said trying to dismiss her and wave the next person in line to come up.

Kalika whipped her head around to the couple behind her and glared them into submission before she turned back to the bouncer, "why don't you check that list then?" She asked sweetly, "Tammy" she said giving him a name she knew would be on it. She tapped her foot on the sidewalk in impatience as he slowly flipped through the pages until he found the name.

“Looks like you already checked in and are inside" the man said as he put the clipboard back on the stand and folded his arms in a poor attempt of intimidation.

Kalika sighed in frustration and leaned forward, ever so slightly she flung her hand out quickly, too fast for human eyes to detect, and jabbed him in the throat before she walked into the club. Music screamed from the speakers in every corner of the club, the bass vibrating the floor and walls; hanging skeletons and other decorations trembled making them appear alive. She walked down the hallway; it filled with smoke from fog machines and crowded with small groups of humans. She stopped in the middle and blended in with a group of girls, joining in on their conversation as she leaned on the wall next to them and began to draw lazily on it with her finger. She moved on when she completed an insignia to counteract the half demons spell for the hallway. She walked into the room made to look like a butcher scene, humans stood around with plates filled with scary treats from the window that led to a kitchenette. She picked an empty spot in the far back corner, far enough away to not draw attention and again drew on the wall discharging the spells etched into it. She weaved her way out the room and through the next couple rooms decked out in spiders and "haunted" mirrors made for the clubbers to relax and socialize, dissipating spells as she made her way to the main room. The music grew louder as she made her way into the main part of the club; the bar took up the whole back wall with the DJ spinning his records in the far corner of the opposite wall, the dance floor with a few tables separating them.

Kalika tuned the music down and picked up on the conversations as she enhanced her smell, looking for Tammy and Danny. She spotted Tammy in her bright green and pink pixie costume first, she was sitting at the far end of the bar leaning against the wall talking to Danny in a pirate outfit. She made her way over to them, having to walk around people that were already drunk and stop short a few times when girls would step into her path and stop in front of her. She saw the look on her friend's face when she approached the bar, it mixed with shock, fear, and concern, and slipped into her head to see herself from her eyes. She could not blame her reaction, blood and mud stained her khakis and top, it dirtied her face and hair, as blood stained her mouth and chin.

"You look like you have seen a zombie" she said to lighten the mood when she was at the bar and squeezed between Danny and a man seated on the barstool next to him.

Tammy jumped off her stool and ran to Kalika, throwing her arms around her neck and hugged her tight, “you were gone for three days Britt!" She exclaimed with a sob in her words, “we heard what happened to your house and when I couldn't reach you on your phone I thought the worse."

Danny took Tammy's place when she let go, and Kalika hugged him back "what happened?"

She looked from Danny to Tammy, not knowing at that moment what to tell them but knowing that she had to get them out of the club before midnight, “I will tell you later" she said, "but for now you both have to leave."

"What?" They both asked together.

Tammy shook her head no, "leave? Why?" Confusion laced her question.

"It will not be safe here come midnight" she said, trying to get them to leave, she pushed at Danny to get him to face away from the bar and grabbed Tammy's hand as she started to walk away.

Tammy dug her heels in and stood her ground, "what is going on Britt!?" She asked yanking her hand away, "you disappear for three days then show up suddenly and want me to leave a good time"

Danny moved back to the bar and grabbed his drink, clearly intent on watching a cat fight about to go down.

"I mean, you know long it took me to do my hair and makeup? And to get Danny to even dress up? It took forever then he wanted to go legit and I had to do his makeup as well." She stopped her banter for a breather and a sigh as if she were fed up for having to explain all this, "we have been talking about this since Tuesday. I was down for this you were down. We talked about being fairies together and now you’re a zombie? What the hell?"

Kalika called on her magic for every ounce of patience she could conjure "I ran into a problem of sorts, one that made me go to hell and back." She said with a wry smile, she was stuck on what to say and what to keep back “for my house I cannot give you an explanation as yet" she scratched the top of her cheekbone to add effect to her thinking, "and the zombie was easier on last minute." She looked to Danny as if in help, "I need the two of you to leave before midnight. Now please."

Danny finished his drink in a gulp and stood up walking to them, “it’s midnight" he said looking down at the watch on his wrist.  He looked up to Kalika and met her eyes, what he saw there made fear start to grow in the pit of his stomach.

The chiming of a grandfather clock was suddenly heard; it was suddenly made aware that the music had stopped moments before the 12 chimes had started. Tammy jumped and clutched to Kalika, she could feel her friends slight shaking and could hear Danny's upbeat heart rate.

"You have to go" she said once again, disentangling herself from Tammy and pushing her towards the exit. Kalika looked to Danny who nodded to her before she looked out across the room and the crowds of people standing about in confusion and wondering what was to happen next. She grabbed Tammy's hand and dragged her across the floor weaving and squeezing through people as they made their way out the room.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen" Damien announced from the stage beside the DJ booth. 

Kalika stopped dead in her tracks, every instinct in her screaming for her to attack the half demon that was now in the room with her, Tammy bumped into her back reminding her that she was not alone yet.

"I welcome you to the witching hour, an hour very special to this night of all nights, Hal'oween."

Kalika could feel the magic he called upon rise as he spoke, the air grew warmer as it seeped from him and spread throughout the club on a windless flight.

"You are all in for quite a treat, with you being it of course" he said with a sweep of his hands and a warm chuckle that drew the crowd into a laugh with the thought if it being a joke.

Kalika looked back to Tammy and saw the panic in her eyes, her hand holding tight to hers keeping her immune from the half- blood’s influence spell he was pumping out with his words.  She slowly backtracked their way back to the bar, not wanting to cause attention to themselves in the now unmoving sea of humans. Tammy grabbed Danny's hand as they passed him, he snapped out of the spell the instant her fingers touched his, and was ushered like Tammy behind the bar.

Kalika let go of Tammy's hand and quickly took out the bartenders, she rummaged underneath the bar until she found a few guns hidden beneath and ammo. She handed them to Tammy and Danny as the half-blood continued in his speech.

 “I hope you have enjoyed Midnight Death, enjoyed the food, the drinks, the sex." He stopped when there were a few laughs.  "For I assure you" he continued after the room grew quite again, "we will enjoy you." His smile was one of pure evil, uncertainty grew throughout the room, panic and chaos starting to blossom.

Kalika looked at Tammy and Danny, "do not let anything behind this bar" she said as the air grew hotter and started to hum from the magic.  "Aim for their heads" she told them, gaining their full attention.

"What is going on?" Danny demanded.

"What is happening?" Tammy asked, "do you feel that shaking?"

Kalika smiled to the girl and stroked her cheek with the back of her hand, "there are some things you do not understand" she said with an almost sadness radiating off her, "but you will."  She leaned over and kissed her lightly on the lips before she turned to look over the bar, the air was starting to shimmer from the spell that would send in his thousands of demons.

Tammy tugged on her shoulder turning her back around to face her, "who are you?" She asked in a whisper as if hesitant to truly know.

 "I will be your maker." Kalika said giving her the full truth.  She watched as the girl’s eyes grew large in their sockets and stroked her face again to calm the fears that reared its ugly heads.

A sound like thunder had her swinging her head back out to the crowd in time to see the air split itself open and huge red demons come pouring out, "shoot them in the head" she said to them again, "pretend this is left for dead if you have to, but do not let them behind this bar."  She jumped on the bar and reached across the space to the wall behind it. yanking a sword out of its sheath that was hanging there.

"What are you doing!?" Tammy screamed at her over the noise of the people all breaking out into a scream and trying to run to freedom.

She looked back and locked eyes with her, "I am going to end this, stay safe.  I will be back." She answered before she jumped off the bar and into the crowd. She slashed and hacked down demons as they came in hoards out of the portal, fighting them further and further away from the bar. Screams echoed around her as they bounced off the walls and ceiling trapped like their owners. Demons pounced on unprotected humans in numbers, each tearing and ripping into them in a feeding frenzy.  Some tried to fight them off using the chairs and broken liquor bottles to keep them at bay.

Kalika rushed past them, her objective in her sights, the smell of his soon to be spilt blood like a ghost scent in her nostrils. Gunshots silenced the noise for a split second before pandemonium broke loose again, she had to stifle the urge to turn back and make sure Tammy was safe. She pressed on, her sword swinging right and left as she sliced her way to the DJ booth.  A human female covered in blood and pressing her hands over a gaping wound in her abdomen stepped into Kalika’s path pleading for help, without slowing her momentum she pierced the sword blade through her heart ending the girls suffering quickly before moving on.

She stumbled from a crowd to find her way blocked by a wall of demons before the booth.  She smiled to them as she shook the blood from the sword and took a defensive pose challenging them to storm her. She parried the first demons fist with the flat of the sword and ducked under its arm spinning around it and slicing through its neck from behind. She spun in her heels to face the other demons as the head fell to the ground with a bounce at her feet, the horrified shock in its face frozen as it stared blankly at its comrades. Kalika stepped forward testing their courage, a smile on her lips when some stepped back and others stayed in place. Another one charged her; she used its momentum to spin around to be charged by a second one. She kicked the demon behind her away from her as she blocked a fireball thrown at her with the sword blade, she cut the hand off the demon and spun back to face the first one. She dropped to her haunches out the way of a fireball then leapt upwards cutting off the demon’s head with a flick of her wrist. She conjured a fireball of her own and hurled it at the other demon, walking to it and lopping off its head as it stood distracted and consumed by fire. Four more demons attacked as one, charging in a tight group as they tried to rush her. Kalika spun and sliced around and between them, doing the quick dance of death with each of them before she ended with a twirl and the spray of blood from off her sword. She looked up and into the DJ booth discovering that the half-blood had ran during her foray with his demons, her eyes darted to the door to see it just close shut.

The sounds of screams and gunfire mixed together in the room combining into a crescendo of death as she followed chase. She blew open the door with a fireball, making the noise to draw the humans attention to their new freedom, before she ran through the flames and into another room. Humans lay dead on the floor and couches, a handful hiding behind the furniture scared and shaking; their fear a foul odor masking the air. Kalika ran through the rooms not bothering to dispatch the few demons between them as she hurried to Damien's office, knowing that it’s where he would try to escape. She plowed through the butcher room and out into the hallway to come up short on another group of demons blocking her way. Out of patience and quickly running out of time she called on her magic and pushed both hands outward, towards them, knocking them into the air and backwards through the walls and out of her way. Kalika held the sword back behind her and away from her body as she stalked down the hallway towards the office, tuning in all her senses to be on the ready. She pushed open the door with magic, it bouncing off the wall and coming off its hinges.  She searched the room with her mind, the power coursing through her overriding the weaker magic and cleaning the room before she entered it. She slid into the room almost cautiously as she searched its emptiness, smelling the half-blood’s lingering scent, she felt the warmness his body left near his desk; he left moments ago. Kalika followed the temperature difference to a small bookcase built into the wall, to a particular book of ledgers.  She pulled it, causing the wall to move and a small doorway to appear. 

With a quick flick of her wrist, she cleaned the small hallway and entered, darkness swallowed her whole when she stepped through.  Her eyes adjusted to the dark and she looked about herself in a type of night vision. She tuned into her hearing, catching a small sound in the distance and followed it. She came into a small carven built into a room, the rock walls jutting out to make seating, a rock alter in the middle.  The smell of animal blood assaulted her senses as she walked through, the shadows of light dancing along the walls beckoned her to follow.  She rounded a corner and saw her prey, the half-blood running like the coward it was down the tunnel, trying to desperately escape. She yelled out to him, taking delight in the ‘what the fuck’ look on his face before he turned tail and ran again. Kalika shook her head, a smile brightening her face as impatience raged inside her.  She flicked her hand in the air as if swatting a fly, the half demon went flying through the air in mid run.  It slammed against the rock wall, an indention in its face as he fell to the ground, bits of loose rocks rained down with a cloud of dust.  Kalika walked forward, her sword at the ready out behind her back. 

Damien got up, seeing her coming, and tried to run again.  He got three steps away before he was yanked off his feet and sent hurtling to the rock ceiling a couple hundred feet above them, he lay imbedded within the rock before gravity had its way and sent him plunging back down to the floor.

Kalika had to laugh when she watched the half-blood hit the floor, the way his limbs flailed during the fall and the resounding splat his body made when it came in contact with the rock floor. She walked to his side kicking small pebbles at him on her way, and stood over him, looking down silently, until he turned his eyes up to her.  “Seems as though you have hit rock bottom." she said with a laugh, dropping on her haunches to be a little more eye level with him.

"Mother" Damien croaked out, lifting a hand to her boot.

She kicked it from off her, "do not cry for help now" she said, "I told you I would kill you." Kalika suddenly cried out in shock as a small pinching pain resided in her back shoulder.  She roared in anger as she stood up and pulled a small blade from out her back. She threw it on the ground as she turned to face Bernie in his demon form.  Horns grew from his head, curling from their length, and stood a good two feet taller with his burnt red body smoldering from the fire within him.

"My apologies Mother" he said with a bow to her, "I am sworn to protect him" he said in an excuse as he lowered his head and got ready to charge her.

"I cannot fault you for being loyal. I applaud you even" she remarked as she got herself ready for the impending attack. She allowed the demon to get within a few paces of her before she lifted him into the air and ripped him in two, blood squirted between the two halves bathing everything in its projection range crimson as pieces of flesh and bone rained down.

Damien snuck behind the god as she stood there enjoying the bloody massacre, the blade was clutched tight in his fist as his heart galloped in his chest, when he was right behind her he stabbed her in the heart region.

Kalika gasped as the pain hit her chest like falling bricks, she spun around and grabbed the half demon by his throat lifting him off his feet, she ignored the uncomfortable object lodged in her back as she watched the air slowly being drained from his lungs, "even knowing for a certainty who I am you still try to test me" she said in a tone reserved for a naughty child. She laughed in his face as he desperately tried to kick off the wall to unsettle her and loosen her grip.  She held her ground and tightened her grip even more.

 "I was going to kill you but I think I am going to let my dog do it." She put the two fingers of her free hand in her mouth and made a long ear piercing whistle and waited, it didn't take long for the floor to start vibrating and the thuds of heavy paws to be heard. Cerberus came running around a corner and stopped at Kalika’s side, the hair on its back standing on end and all three heads snarling and menacing to the half demon. Kalika wasn't surprised when Damien’s demon resided back inside and left the human in its cowardly wake, she contemplated for a brief moment as to whether kill him or not.  Her qualms weren't with him so she dropped her hand back to her side and told the dog to sit.

Damien dropped to the ground sucking in a lungful of air, coughing in the process as he slowly stood up, using the wall for support as he rubbed his sore neck. He dropped to the ground on one knee quickly in front of Kalika, "Dark Mother" he said humbly, receiving a growl from the beast at her side.

"Seems the big demon in you is really a coward" she said motioning for him to stand, "I am glad one of you can show respect."

"I apologize for what he has done and put you through" Damien began, to be cut off with a wave of Kalika’s hand.

"It will be taken care of" she said, "I told the half demon I will kill it and I do not go back on my words.” 

Damien hung his head low as the wave of survival washed over him, "I understand" he told her as he tapped it down and their eyes met again.

Kalika smiled at his braveness “I give you two options" she said, suddenly feeling generous, "I kill you myself quickly or you get trapped in your body and die along with your demon." Cerberus' middle head lifted and let out a howl, causing Damien to put his hands over his ears until he was done. Kalika leaned on the hilt of the sword in boredom waiting for the half human to pick his death.

"I choose for you to end me" he whispered, making a smile break out across her lips.

"I thought you would see it my way" she said as she handed the sword to Cerberus who clamped one of its mighty jaws over it and held it like a bone.

"Will you not kill both of us?" Damien asked when she turned back to face him again.

Kalika smiled to him, it filled with compassion and sympathy for him, "no" she replied, "your demon will survive to be killed without you." She shushed him when he tried to ask another question, knowing what it was, "do not worry yourself over its fate for you cannot change it or stop it."

Damien shook his head in understanding as he resided to his and his demons fate. Kalika watched the fight for survival slowly die in his eyes, using that moment to pull the full demons horn from behind her back and stab it through Damien's chest. She watched as surprise made his eyes grow big and his hands fumbled around the horn protruding from his chest, she leaned into him and sank her fangs in the soft flesh of his neck; stopping only when all the human blood had been drained. She retracted her fangs and stepped away taking the horn with her and watching the half demon drop to the ground. She kicked it when after a time it did not move, smiling to herself when a groan escaped its lips, she bent down to be more even with it and laughed when fear flashed across its face. "Thought you could escape me that easily?" She asked mockingly, "hiding within the human’s body?"

"What did you do to him" it spat.

A lyrical laugh escaped Kalika’s throat before she answered "I killed him humanely, you on the other hand will suffer during your death and will be tortured in my realm of hell for all eternity" she promised as she slowly straightened back up.  “Let me introduce you to my pet" she said as she walked over to the beast and retrieved her sword from its jaws, leaving the half demon lying on the ground still.

"Cerberus" he croaked out, the fear tightening around his throat.

"So you have heard of him. Good." She turned back to the dog, "do what you want to him" she said fondly scratching the back of its three heads in turn, "when you are done take him to my realm and I will meet you there." She took one last look at the half demon slowly starting to stand and walked away.

"Mother!" It shouted to her back in a plea, it going ignored as the beast’s growls started to rise. "Please mother! Wait!"

She kept walking steadily as the half demon’s cries turned to screams of pain.

************************************************************************

She quickly reached the bar room of the club, killing the few remaining demons and humans they were still feeding off of. She entered the room finding it littered with dead mangled bodies, and stepped over a few that were strewn across her path, almost tripping when a human near death grabbed her booted ankle and whispered "help me".  She didn't hesitate on ending its life and continuing on. She heard sobbing coming from behind the bar and hurried over, jumping over the counter like a runner over a hurtle. Tammy spun around with fear shining in her eyes and pointed the gun at Kalika, pulling the trigger before her brain could register it was her friend.  Kalika dodged the bullet and grabbed the girl’s wrist, twisting it and making her drop the gun on the bar with a clatter before she pulled her into her arms for a hug.

"Are you hurt?" She asked smelling the blood all over her. Tammy shook her head no, bumping Kalika’s chin with her head, "is Danny?" She asked even though she knew the answer.

Tammy’s small frame began to shake with her grief, she clutched tighter to Kalika as she fought back sobs so she could answer, "he's dead" she croaked out before the river of grief flooded through her making her ball her eyes out.

Kalika soothed her, rubbing her hand over her hair and up and down her back, "he died saving her life" she said, drawing Tammy away from her and holding her at arm’s length, she stared into her eyes willing the girl to get over her pain at the loss "we have to go" she told her.

Tammy wiped her tear puffy eyes with her fists and nodded as she sniffled back more tears. Kalika stared into her eyes for a moment longer making sure Tammy was completely under her gaze, "grab some liquor bottles and throw them on the floor" Kalika instructed as she stuffed cleaning rags in the ones next to her.

Tammy nodded and did what she was told, the fuzziness in her head slowly starting to clear the further she stepped away from her friend, "what are we doing?" she asked in a daze.

"We have to burn this place to the ground” Kalika answered distractedly, her head under the bar searching for ingredients to mix into an explosion.

 The stabbing pain of Tammy's loss unleashed itself against the magic holding it back, flooding through her in torrents. "No!" she screamed whipping around to face Kalika "we cannot let Danny stay here!"

 Kalika sighed heavily before she straightened and looked to her, “he is dead" she said nonchalantly, her shoulder moving up in a shrug that Tammy could not see, “I will not allow for what truly happened here to be known."

"What did happen here?"

Kalika sighed again and went to walk to her friend, stopping when Tammy screamed for her not to, "we do not have much time" Kalika said trying to avoid the question for now.

"Tell me!"

"Tammy!" Kalika snapped, drawing the girls eyes to hers, bending her will to satisfy her need.

Tammy shook her head as she felt it slowly get fuzzy, “what are you” she asked taking a step back from her.

Kalika smiled knowing stubbornness when she saw it "if I tell you will you do what I say when I say it?"

Tammy shook her head yes.

 "And ask the rest of your questions when we are safe?" She saw the curiosity in the girl’s face, it reminding her of her own self in a long ago time, "do you swear your life to me?"

Tammy nodded yes again.

Kalika gathered her mozeltoff bottles and walked around the bar her eyes glued on Tammy, watching for signs of another emotional explosion. She took her eyes off her for a moment as she set the bottles on the only upright table in the room, using that time to think of a quick explanation of herself and what happened.  “Your kind knows me as a vampire” she began, not knowing of a better explanation in so little time, “I am much more, I assure you, but you will find that out soon enough” she rushed out. 

She shook her head and waved the statement past them, “what attacked tonight were demons summoned to take over the town” she finished as she grabbed the bottles and motioned for Tammy to go. 

“What about Damien?” Tammy asked refusing to move. 

Kalika turned to glare at the girl, “you promised no more questions, I will explain in detail later” she said to soften the blow, “Can we go?” for good measure she stared into her eyes forcing her to comply. 

They walked out the room.  Kalika snapped her fingers making a flame come to life on the cloth stuffed into one of the liquor bottles and threw it over her shoulders feeling the warmth of the inferno at her back. She rushed Tammy through the rooms throwing mozeltoffs behind them, she pushed her forward to make her keep moving out of the butcher room as she stopped at the small kitchenette to rip the stove off the wall and turn the gas pipe on.  Kalika grabbed Tammy’s wrist as she ran from the room and into the hallway, dragging the girl behind her and out the building. 

The explosion took them both off their feet and flying several feet away from its inferno.  Kalika tucked her legs against her chest and rolled with the momentum when she hit the ground, bouncing to her feet and running to Tammy.  She lay on the ground in broken glass slumped against a rusty dumpster.  Kalika dropped to her knees beside her and slowly reached her hand out to cup the girl’s bleeding face; she could hear the faint beat of her heart and urged her to awaken.  Tammy’s eyes slowly opened, they rested on Kalika’s face and she smiled. 

“Am I dead?” she asked in a whisper.

 Kalika shook her head and smiled softly, “no my love” she said stroking her blood matted hair, “you will never die from here on.”  She leaned forward and placed her lips on Tammy’s in a silent kiss before she moved her head lower and bit her neck, drinking deeply.

 

-The End-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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