To say I was tired after the battle of North Road would be an understatement. I wanted nothing more than to take a shot of brandy, strip off my blood-soaked clothes and get a decent night’s rest.
I got the shot of brandy without any sort of interruption.
The night went downhill from there.
I finished the brandy, made certain Jimmy Elway was safe with the dogs and Octavius and made my way up the stairs. Some of the ghosts were fairly active, prowling the halls and banging doors they’d no right to be banging. Several of my relatives – uninvited guests who I’ve not given the opportunity to leave – were catcalling and making a nuisance of themselves.
I figured any sort of sleep was likely to be thin and less than restful.
When I reached my bedroom, all the noise stopped.
The second and third floors were listening, and I found out soon enough why.
I opened the bedroom door, stepped across the threshold, and discovered I wasn’t alone.
I don’t know who she was, but she was most assuredly one of the prettiest women I’d seen. She wore an ivory dress and a mantle that matched, and she smelled of sweet decadence. Her eyes, when she looked upon me, were a deep violet, the color of which I’d never seen before, and I doubt I’ll see again.
When she smiled, she showed teeth fashioned from steel and a forked tongue that danced across them.
Her words were soft and subtle, tempting and terrifying, all in one breath.
“Duncan Blood,” she murmured.
“You’re more a boy than a man,” she observed.
“Seems that way at times,” I admitted.
Her nostrils flared, and she flashed a devastating smile. “Oh, but you’re old. Older than me. I can smell it.”
“Do you know why I’m here?” she asked, shedding her mantle and shaking out her hair.
She winked. “For one of us.”
She undid the tie at her waist and drew a long knife from the folds of her gown.
I drew my pruning knife from the small of my back and snapped open the curved blade.
There were no pleasantries. No hatred. Merely flashing blades and spraying blood. She was quick, though not quick enough.
She fought well, and she died hard.
I wish I’d gotten her name.