My apologies for the lateness of this post, and also hurriedly taken from a book I wrote about demon possesion - I'll try to be original next time around!!
This is from Blood Lust - vampires and demons and mortals, oh my... Tommy's in love with a vampire, but uncertain of their future together. He goes to a tarot reading in the hope that a possible solution could be found. He meets a little old lady, Sylvia, in the elevator on his way to where the reading will be held...
Sylvia rapped loudly on Lorna’s door and it was immediately swung open, a tall, dark-haired man framed in the doorway.
“Welcome, Sylvia.” His beaming smile was wasted on the old lady who swept by him as if he wasn’t actually there. Dark Hair gave Tommy an appraising look. “And you are?”
“Tommy. I’m a friend of Lorna’s. I work with her brother, Alex.”
“Oh yes. Lorna said you were coming tonight. I’m Arturo.” He held out his hand and Tommy shook it, trying not to show his annoyance at the blatant way Arturo prolonged their handshake.
“Yeah, pleased to meet you.” Not. Jeez, who the heck are these people Lorna’s got herself mixed up with?
He entered the apartment, twitching his nose at the strong aroma of incense. Lorna was talking to Sylvia but waved and smiled when she saw him. There were one or two other people standing around.
“Like a drink?” Arturo was at his side, a hand on his shoulder.
“Uh, yeah…” Tommy didn’t want to appear rude so he resisted the impulse to shake off Arturo’s hand. The guy creeped him out. “A beer if you have it.”
Arturo disappeared, presumably to get the beer, and Tommy walked over to where Lorna was listening intently to whatever Sylvia was telling her. They broke off their conversation as Tommy approached.
Lorna hugged him. “I was surprised when Alex said you wanted to come to one of these,” she whispered close to his ear.
“Well, I didn’t know it was going to be a séance. Don’t know if I’m into that stuff. I told Alex I was just kinda curious about the tarot thing, but if you’re not doin’ that I can come another time.”
He really wanted to get the hell out of there. Lorna appeared different tonight, and she looked…unfocused was the only word he could think of to describe her. Her eyes didn’t quite meet his and she seemed to be preoccupied…worried.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Alex hadn’t mentioned his sister was sick, but then Alex didn’t see her on a regular basis.
“Too many weird friends,” Alex had told him once.
And they all seem to be here tonight…
“Fine, just fine.” She gave him a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “You’ve met Sylvia, I understand, and Arturo.” She waved the other couple over. “This is Amy and Caleb. Meet Tommy Cordain. He’s a firefighter—works with my brother, Alex.”
Amy and Caleb murmured some kind of greeting then drifted away again as Arturo showed up with a bottle of beer. Tommy had the distinct impression from the way Arturo was hanging around him that the man wanted to get a whole lot cozier than Tommy would ever allow.
“Shall we begin then?” Arturo seemed to snap to attention when Sylvia’s voice, her demanding tone belying her age and frail appearance, sliced through the room. She marched over to the table covered with a dark green cloth and surrounded by six chairs. “We’ll start with the reading since that’s what our handsome firefighter has come for—then we shall see.”
See what? Tommy frowned. Soon as this reading’s over I’m outta here.
Lorna handed Sylvia a pack of cards which she expertly fanned out in front of her, face down.
“So, Tommy, place your forefinger on five of these cards.”
Tommy reached out, hesitated for a moment then placed his fingertip on one card, following quickly with four more.
Let’s get this over with…
Sylvia picked up each card after he’d touched them then shuffled the cards without looking at them. While she moved the cards back and forth in her hands, she stared long and hard at Tommy for several moments, her eyes seeming to bore into his. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He could feel small beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead.
God, but it’s hot in here!
“You have chosen interesting cards, young Tommy,” Sylvia muttered, placing the first one face up on the table. “Are you aware that these cards are older than those associated with the Book of Thoth?”
Tommy shook his head. He hadn’t a clue what the Book of Thoth was.
“Dakar, an important demon of the Underworld, second in command to Lord Kardis himself, is represented here. He is the one who holds your future in his hands.”
Tommy peered at the image of a handsome man—a demon?—with long, flowing blond hair. His breath caught in his throat. He could have sworn there for just a second that the sapphire blue eyes—eyes that so closely resembled that of the woman opposite him—had narrowed slightly as they stared up at him from the table. He sat back quickly and glanced around the table. Everyone was focused on the card, but no one else seemed surprised or startled.
Must’ve been my imagination.
Sylvia laid the second card down. “The Sword of Damacian. This represents coming conflict in which you will have to choose between your life, and the life of someone you love, deeply.”
Everyone’s gaze lifted from the card to Tommy. Lorna gave him a knowing smile and Tommy wondered just how much Alex had told her of his relationship with Andrew.
“The third card represents your hopes and dreams.” Sylvia laid down the card that depicted a landscape of verdant green, the sun shining through tall pines in golden shards of light.
“That’s beautiful,” Tommy murmured and a glimmer of hope ran through his body. Maybe it’s not going to be all darkness and conflict.
“But I must place the fourth card on top of the third.”
And Tommy’s heart sank as Sylvia covered the card with one that was totally black.
“Wait,” he croaked. “Why d’you have to cover it with that, that thing? There’s no picture on it. It’s just a black card. What does it represent?”
“It represents struggle—you, Tommy, struggling to find your way out of the darkness and into the light.”
“What?” He forced out a derisive laugh. “This is bullshit, just like Alex said. Sorry Lorna, but I have to go.”
Sylvia gave him a wolfish smile. “I don’t think so, Tommy. You will stay until I have finished with the reading, and then we’ll see.”
“We’ll see? Listen, lady, I have a date and—” He started to get up and found he couldn’t move. His legs felt paralyzed. “What the hell?” He tried again, and again he could not move.
Arturo rose and walked over to stand behind Tommy, placing his hands on Tommy’s shoulders—hands that were much stronger than he remembered. Hands that were holding him down with such force that despite the excellent physical shape he was in, even squirming was impossible.
“What the hell are you people doing?”
Across the table from him, Lorna turned to Sylvia with a worried expression. “What are you doing, Sylvia? I’ve never seen that black card before, and there’s no reason to hold Tommy here against his wishes.”
“There are many things you haven’t seen before, Lorna dear.” She laid down the fifth card and Tommy gaped at the image of a vampire, his fangs exposed in a silent scream of anguish, hands grasping at a long stake protruding from his chest. “The death of a loved one.” Her sniggering laugh chilled Tommy’s blood and had Lorna leaping to her feet.
“What the hell, Sylvia?”
“This night brings more promise than I ever thought possible,” Sylvia said, ignoring Lorna’s reaction. “I thought merely to enslave these others to my bidding. Such a twist of fate that brought you to me, Tommy, but I knew from the moment you got on the elevator with me that you had lain with a vampire. His blood is in you. There is no mistaking that scent of spice—an aphrodisiac to humans—alluring even to me.”
Tommy stared at Lorna’s stricken expression, then at the other two seated at the table—Amy and Caleb, was it? They looked dumbfounded, frozen in place by the drama unfolding before them. He knew he had stumbled into something intrinsically evil. Whatever Sylvia was, she was no little old lady. Something lurked inside her, and Tommy could only guess at what it might be. His time in Andrew’s company had exposed him to some pretty amazing stuff. But while Andrew’s friends, apart from his creepy Uncle Lazlo, had never made him feel unsafe—this, whatever Sylvia represented—was definitely scary. And from the immobility he felt in his arms and legs, he wasn’t at all sure he was strong enough, either mentally or physically, to deal with it.
He sent out a silent plea to Andrew, but he had no way of knowing if he would hear him and realize he was in imminent danger. Their connection was strong, but he was way on the other side of town from the restaurant in West Hollywood where Andrew was meeting with Ron and Jean-Claude.
Sylvia sniggered again. “Useless to appeal for help, Tommy. I have shut down your ability to communicate with your vampire lover. I can tell from your silence that you cannot deny your association with the vampire. What is his name?”
“If you know so damned much, how come you don’t know that?” Tommy snarled.
“There are a great many vampires out there. Some are known to me, many are not, but in your mind, Tommy, I can hear the name Andrew. Yes, he is your lover and foremost in your thoughts. And wait, so many others… Marcus. Ah, would that be Marcus Lucius Verano himself? Master Vampire? You travel in exalted company, young Tommy. Exalted and useful company.And how marvelous that, through you I can infiltrate this vampire echelon and destroy them once and for all.”
Sylvia rose from her chair. Her head fell back, her body began to vibrate, and a long plume of black smoke spilled from her open mouth. It rose into the air, hovered over the table, then dived towards Tommy. With every hard muscle in his body straining against Arturo’s grip, Tommy tried to get up, knock the man out of the way and get the hell out of the room, but it was not to be. He yelled as Arturo forced his mouth open, then gagged as the black smoke entered him, filling him, taking him over with its sentient power. For only a few seconds Tommy had the will to fight, then…
Okay, this isn’t so bad… Feels good actually… Powerful. Wow. Yeah…bring it on!
Without any effort whatsoever, Tommy rose to his feet, freeing himself of Arturo’s iron grip as if it had been a mere nuisance. The big man backed away in obeisance while the others stared at him with something approaching awe.
“Tommy,” Lorna whispered, a flicker of fear appearing on her pale face. “What happened to you?”
He leaned over and picked up one of the cards. He glanced at it, twisting his lips in amusement. He showed it to Lorna.
“He happened to me,” he said, his voice a deep rumble. “Or rather, this vessel pleases me more than that.”
Lorna gaped at the image of the demon, Dakar, then at Sylvia who was slumped, immobile in her chair.
“She’s dead,” Tommy said with apparent indifference. “Without me to sustain her, her body was beyond its endurance.”
“Oh my God!” Lorna looked at the others for help. “What are we going to do?”
“Dispose of her body, of course. Arturo, see to it.”
Without hesitation, Arturo picked up Sylvia’s body and left the apartment.
“As for the rest of you…” What had once been Tommy swept a hand over Lorna and the couple who had not moved from their places at the table. “You remember nothing of what took place here.” Another move of his hand and the cards disappeared. “You were gathered to share a quiet evening, share some wine—and shame on you Lorna, your guests’ glasses are quite empty.”
“Right,” Lorna muttered and headed towards the kitchen for the wine bottle.
With a grim smile of satisfaction, the man who looked like Tommy turned on his heel and left the room.
* * * *