melodymagic: (Focus)
[personal profile] melodymagic
The car trip to the alley Cian had told them about was a little longer than usual, a roadblock having been set up and the closed-off street full of vehicles with flashing lights and police. Melody strained to see what the commotion was and it looked like there were screens raised in the middle of the pavement outside a bar or club or something. As she settled back into her seat she saw Jazz sniffing at the open window of the car, the witch's face crinkled in concentration.

Her eyes narrowed and her foot pressed a little harder on the accelerator once they were clear of the traffic around the scene. "That must be the market he was talking about," Mel said, pointing at the E-Zmart's lights, "and there's the alley." She was almost out of the vehicle by the time Jazz parked, the older witch puzzled by the young woman's keenness to get to the alley.

Mel had the backpack on her shoulder as she stepped off the kerb and looked down into the dark alley, eyes taking a moment to adjust after the lights of the market.

"Daniel? Are you here?" she called out, one hand on the corner of the wall, head tilted to one side as she took a step past the phone box.
daniel_stacy: (hoody)
[personal profile] daniel_stacy
Daniel stood at the foot of the alley and frowned.

His vampire senses were keenly attuned to the difference in the air; that was the word he ascribed to the electric charge and chemical scent of a narrow passage that should smell like piss and garbage. After getting a note at Ragnarok, he felt obliged to show up and at least see what all the fuss was. Daniel understood that some kind of magical door to hell had opened and demons were sporadically coming through. People were needed to stand guard. And do what, Daniel didn’t really know; intervene? Take notes? Roll out a welcome mat?

There was a girl leaning against the wall, arms crossed, legs long and straight.

He pulled on his earlobe and cleared his throat. “I’m Daniel,” he said. “I got a message.” He watched her push away from the concrete block wall and approach him. An unknown chill went down his back and then he saw the stake in her hand and figured out why. He raised his palms. “Whoa… I didn’t come here for that.”

“Relax,” she said. She stowed the weapon in a band around her leg. “I’m Rhiannon. Normally you and I wouldn’t be so friendly, but right now we’ve got bigger concerns.” She straightened up. “For all we know, the creatures that came through that door rip off vampire faces, too, and something tells me you like yours.”

Daniel scowled.

Rhiannon tipped her head. “Am I wrong?”

“No,” he said, on the defense because it sounded like an insult, except that nobody in his right mind would want his face torn off Texas Chainsaw Massacre style. “No argument here.”

“Good.” Rhiannon fiddled with a blocky gadget with a rubber antenna. “Besides, I know your friend Holly. She asked me specifically not to stake you.” She turned a knob and the speaker crackled.

“Oh. Oh!” He brightened and stood up straighter. “Well, um… what do you need? I’m not all that combative.”

“You’re good enough. Here.” She handed him a heavy walky-talky and a pack of extra batteries. “Radio if you see anything weird and one of us will answer. Then pass it to the next person when you’re through. Someone will be here before sunrise. Did you bring a weapon?”

Daniel brandished a tire iron he pulled from his car trunk and a butcher knife from his kitchen.

Rhiannon’s mouth puckered with some kind of humor the vampire didn’t get. “Okay.” She shook her head. “Don’t worry. Probably nothing will happen. I staked a vampire who came sniffing, but that’s it. The portal’s been quiet.”

“Comforting.” Daniel craned his neck and looked at the gap in the wall, the painted line around the border.

“Yeah. Well.” Rhiannon patted her pockets to make sure she had keys. “I think that’s it. So… thanks for showing up.” It felt too weird to thank a vampire, so she cut around him and headed toward the parking lot. “Later, Daniel.”

“Later.” He watched her go, then he settled into the spot Rhiannon had vacated and wished he’d thought to bring a book.
rhiannon_lee: (brick wall)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Rhiannon watched as a customer exited the E-Z-Mart with a bag of sour cream potato chips and an orange juice. He juggled the juice into the crook of his arm and opened the bag. She heard him chewing from across the lot, unaware that anything peculiar was happening in the alley to his left. In fact, so long as nobody needed a pay phone, they wouldn’t find it.

Of course, that didn’t mean that nothing would find them.

The slayer rubbed her bare forearm. “Cold air. Do you feel that?” She looked at Cian. They stood on the pavement at the foot of the alley. He had been insistent that they go immediately to assess things, and that urgency worried Rhiannon because he was never that rushed about anything.
rhiannon_lee: (magazine bw)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
It had been years since Rhiannon stepped foot in an actual gym, the kind that regular fitness buffs frequented. She got her exercise at night on patrol and in sparring sessions with Cian. A major reason why she avoided gyms was that nobody her size should be capable of lifting what she could, and so it became an exercise in false straining. But she liked the places, especially old ones where the punching bags were cracked and the mats smelled like old sweat. They reminded her of the first days of training, way before things got fucked up. Those were good memories.

The gym had a help wanted sign. Rhiannon was doing okay on money, not great but able to pay the rent, based on temp work as a bartender. It couldn’t hurt to go inside though and ask, even if her primary purpose was the questionable ambiance. She pulled open the door and stepped inside, perhaps looking a bit different than the typical gym bunny, pale and tattooed and in too much make-up.

[Takes place before 'What Happens When?']

Needs

Apr. 13th, 2014 12:30 am
rhiannon_lee: (neck blue)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
The clock read 3:02 when Rhiannon startled awake, her fingers at her throat, a breath caught in her lungs, un-budging. She gulped and tried again. It took a few seconds of wakefulness, of recognizing her safe surroundings, before she was able to pull oxygen in and out. No one squeezed her windpipe. No one’s fingers bruised the delicate flesh.

She wiped her face and looked around the dark bedroom. She was naked under the sheet. Cian slept at her side, his breath as steady as a slow metronome in the quiet. Rhiannon scooted her feet up and rested her forehead on her knees. Everything had worn off, from a night of running in the desert, to a shot of whiskey before bed, to the soothing rhythm of their lovemaking. It left her alone with a nightmare of Duncan’s face leering over hers. Just as black crept into the edges of that dream vision, she woke up.

What It All Means )
st_clare: (Bloody Hell...)
[personal profile] st_clare
Perhaps things had been going too well.

The bonding process with Valerie was still a work in progress, but the building blocks had been established. Her students were responding well in her classes. She was writing a new paper to be published, on the class system of the Victorian age. So a little bump in the road should have been expected.

What a bump in the road it was, though.

She and Rhiannon had agreed to meet in a neutral spot at one o'clock on Monday afternoon. The weather was warming up as spring approached, the days lengthening as Daylight Savings Time went into effect. Julianna had seated herself on a wooden bench where the Slayer could find her, where they wouldn't be overheard. She was composed, a little removed.

Duncan Neely's death had actually made the Las Vegas papers, and it was suspected to be a break-in gone horribly wrong. That was no longer Julianna's primary concern. If what she suspected was correct, it was really no more than he deserved. She didn't - couldn't - condone murder, but she was pragmatic enough to know that history had a way of repeating itself. With Duncan permanently taken care of, no other innocent girls could be exploited for the purpose of lining his pockets.

If the other girl was still alive, Rhiannon would know of it. The living should be focused on now, not the deserving dead.

Dilemma

Mar. 8th, 2014 06:46 pm
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Julianna's finger was poised over the 'Erase' button on the answering machine. It had been there for the last five minutes. She'd listened to Cyrus Claymore's message once, twice, three times before it finally stopped rattling around in her skull and sank in. Then she played it again. It was like a car crash, she couldn't stop paying attention.

On some level, she'd known that it could come to this. Rhiannon was angry and vengeful, which made her likely to do anything. So the question wasn't 'Could she have killed Duncan?' but 'Did she kill Duncan?'

Don't be ridiculous, St. Clare. You know the answer to that. The girl's a loose cannon. The question is, what do you do now?

The Watcher continued to hover near the machine, her finger still poised. There were options here, although none of them were very attractive. She could ignore the phone call and try to forget her suspicions. She could telephone Cyrus at his office and inform him about what she believed she knew, which was what duty actually called for. She could even contact Edmund and confide in him before seeking advice. Of the bad lot of choices she had, that was the most appealing to her.

Still, she wavered. Duncan had betrayed his calling, violated the purpose behind it, and that was anathema to her. An unforgivable act. But did he deserve to be murdered in his bed, even by someone he'd victimized? And what about the other girl, the one he'd convinced she was a Slayer? Was she still alive? Julianna's mouth tightened.

In the end, she did pick up the phone, and she didn't erase the message. But she didn't dial the number someone else might have expected she would.

What Have You Done?! )

Empty Pool

Mar. 8th, 2014 03:29 pm
rhiannon_lee: (pic#6816067)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Needles, California
Population: 4,010
Hottest town this side of Hell.


The last part had been added onto the sign in white spray paint. Needles, California was a pit stop on interstate 40 where the temperature regularly spiked into the 120’s during the dry summers. It had been sited in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and used as a backdrop in the movie Repo Man. It was as bleached as an old blacktop, weather worn and tired as a middle-aged prostitute.

The highway was dotted with kitche motels, desperate to make a buck off the town’s famous name. The Last Leg Inn. The Crooked Wheel. Route 66. Most were cramped but clean places with tiny gift shops, custom post cards and souvenir tees. ‘I bought this shirt on Route 66!’ The only sounds were the whoosh of passing cars, the hum of a struggling Coke machine, and tiny grains of sand blowing against the buildings. Like Searchlight, if it had a marketing panache.

A cityscape would’ve better suited Rhiannon, but Needles was where she jumped from the cab of a truck, and Needles was where she stayed. The motel was a series of miniature cabins which might have been cute in a wooded area but just looked bland here. Out back, there was an empty concrete swimming pool surrounded by chain link. At night, she climbed the fence and descended into the pale bowl. There she drank too much and stared at an overwhelming number of stars. Once she bought a couple of pills from a letchy-looking neighbor and downed those, too. In a pleasant haze of booze and barbiturates, she imagined water pouring over the lip of the pool; in this hallucination, she was weighted to the bottom and she watched, calmly, as the column of water deepened.

A screeching owl shook her out of it.

Tonight she was in there, again, stone sober because she knew Cian was coming. Just felt it.
rhiannon_lee: (pic#6816067)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
She skimmed the wall with her back, creeping into the midway place between bedrooms. Duncan’s and hers. Her shoulder nudged a candle sconce and Rhiannon reached up to catch it.

I can’t do this now. I can’t.

What was she to do? Carve symbols into a man and let an innocent girl wake up to his cries for help? Slit his throat and leave him bleeding between his sheets so that Iliana could stumble down the hallway in the morning and find him dead? It wasn’t right, and yet there was little left to Rhiannon to do. Duncan had to go; even if she delivered proof of his wrongdoing to the Council on a silver platter and let them sort through the mess, it didn’t change a simple fact: Rhiannon had been dropped off at his doorstep and now she had to uphold her end of the bargain.

More than that, Rhiannon knew, she no longer wanted the Council to take care of it. She wanted to hurt him. Badly. She needed to make him pay.

A Pinprick )

The Spare

Feb. 17th, 2014 04:55 pm
rhiannon_lee: (brick wall)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
The portal had substance. It slid over Rhiannon’s skin like a cold gelatin. She had never gone through a tear in space-time and did not know what to expect. Would she be disassembled and put back together on the other side? Or was it more like Elfleda had folded the fabric of the universe in half, allowing her to take a short-cut through the material?

She emerged on the front lawn of a residence of no particular consequence. There were clues as to its location. The sky held roughly the same number of clouds, and the air felt no different in terms of humidity or temperature. All around her, succulent plants sprouted sharply from rock and barren landscaping. It was still night.

Rhiannon closed her eyes and huffed a small laugh. Nevada. Duncan was in Nevada. He had hidden in plain sight. She ducked into the driveway between a pair of trash cans, where she removed a dark knit cap from her pack and put it on, tucking her ponytail inside it. She put on gloves and lifted her hood. Although it wasn’t crucial to conceal her identity, she wanted to limit the chances of a neighbor glancing out a window and placing a pale brunette at the scene of the crime.

Her fingers trembled as she picked up the bag.

Don't Think )
rhiannon_lee: (fireplace)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Rhiannon wasn’t sure if summoning worked this way; she only knew where Elfleda had appeared to her before, so that is where she headed after leaving Cian’s cabin near the lake.

She drove back to Searchlight, back to where she’d rented a cheap room after riding in a stale bus for days. She parked her car in the lot of the gas station where she’d gone to make a long-distance call with a pocket full of quarters. She walked past the bank of payphones and out into the desert, far enough to escape the glow from the light posts, so far she could barely see her shoes. Her flashlight picked out plants to avoid and, once, the striped tail of a snake under a rock. When she came to a clearing, she dropped her pack and crouched beside it with the flashlight in her teeth.

The black stone was in her pants pocket. Sometimes it seemed to burn her like a coal. Other times, it felt as innocuous as an ordinary rock. She took it out and studied it in the glow of the flashlight. In that yellow-tinged motel room, it had taken Rhiannon a few minutes of looking to realize what was so odd about it; it was polished smooth yet reflected no light.

Rhiannon switched off the flashlight and put it inside the pack. She stood up and ran her thumb across it. Then she closed her eyes. Clearing her mind was a challenge. She could faintly smell Cian’s soapy scent and she could hear trucks making good time on the highway. It was freezing out. Her sweatshirt wasn’t thick enough. Beyond all that, her stomach felt like a loosely coiled wire that jerked and sparked periodically. Maybe her anger would help serve as a beacon to Elfleda, who seemed to get off on that kind of thing. Rhiannon thought about that woman now. She pictured her gaunt face and black dress and how it felt to be touched by her.

‘Come on, please… Please.’

[Thread]
rhiannon_lee: (Default)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Rhiannon slipped into the cabin with a key Cian had made available for her use. It was just past midnight and the house was quiet and dark. She didn't worry about startling him awake; he would catch her scent before wondering if she was an intruder. She set her backpack by the door and kicked off her unlaced boots. The rest of her clothes -- jeans, a thermal shirt, and a navy zippered hoody -- she left on. The hallway to his room was dim but her eyes adjusted as she made her way there.

She just needed to see him, needed to kiss him, before she left town and dealt with her problem. The problem of Duncan. Nothing in life could move forward without resolving, severing this piece of her past.

Her knee compressed the mattress. "Hey. Are you awake?"


Thread: open to Cian

Cold Call

Jan. 4th, 2014 06:06 pm
rhiannon_lee: (fireplace)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Rhiannon’s knuckles rapped on the door of a luxury apartment on a side of town she didn’t often find herself. The weather had taken a wintry turn. Chunks of snow stuck to the laces on her boots. Even so, it was easier to walk to the watcher’s residence than fight the traffic jam. The county had no snow plows of its own; it had to borrow the proper equipment from a neighboring state, so the few inches of snow that fell paralyzed the roads.

She stuffed her hands in her coat pockets and stared at the number on Julianna’s door. The university was closed for inclement weather, so finding her was merely a matter of calling directory assistance and giving her full name.
birthright_npc: (blow confetti)
[personal profile] birthright_npc
The festivities on the Las Vegas strip were your basic police nightmare. A mile-long stretch of the boulevard was blocked off to traffic so that revelers could stagger drunkenly down the middle of the street. Food trucks and street vendors sold pizza, cheese steaks, popcorn, cotton candy, and plastic cups full of beer. Some sold pre-mixed margaritas and daiquiris. At each major intersection, a stage showcased performers and music pumped from speakers mounted on the light posts.

It didn't seem to matter that it was December in the desert. There was plenty of body heat to go around.

At midnight, several large screens would broadcast a countdown before fireworks lit the sky.

[Thread: Open to Anyone]
birthright_npc: (Vegas)
[personal profile] birthright_npc
The grand ballroom of the Skylark Hotel was awash in shades of forest green and gold. The charity ball had been arranged to benefit a local children's hospital, and so a large percentage of the proceeds from the door tickets and bar would be donated to renovate the facility. A two-story Christmas tree towered over the buffet tables of festive finger foods and chocolate fountain, and people had placed unwrapped toys under the limbs to be delivered to the hospital the next day. Champagne flowed freely. There were two stages for the live jazz musicians that would play all night. Santa's scantily clad elves wandered about the room with trays of shrimp and caviar. A dance floor took up the center of the space underneath a gleaming chandelier and there were beautifully decorated round tables on the edges of the room.

The ticket price was manageable, and a few tickets had gone out free for radio promotions and the like.

Luckily for the undead, the decor did not include wall-to-wall mirrors, though there were a few on the high ceiling.

In various corners, Vegas performance artists entertained to ooohs and aaahs. For instance, there was a man eating a gleaming sword in the corner.

Thread: Open to Anyone

Gypsy Girl

Dec. 18th, 2013 08:37 pm
whistlersmum: (Default)
[personal profile] whistlersmum
He'd snuck the kid's menu from the stack while he waited to be seated. Once in the booth, the Agent flipped over the copy of the Junior Short Stack to discover Gypsy Girl, number twenty-two in the series. Whistler tucked it underneath his placemat, a mental note to take it home later. Three more and he'd have the whole Denny's set. A day would come when someone would pay good money for them.

He always planned for the future.

A blonde waitress brought his coffee and a full carafe. Membership had its privileges.

He picked up the menu and studied the all-day breakfast. It felt like a Grand Slam kind of day in Sin City.
cian_oneill: (Default)
[personal profile] cian_oneill
Since the night the meteor had crashed into the desert Cian had had restless sleep, waking up in the morning with the sheets tangled around limbs, hair damp with perspiration and pillows sometimes pushed to the floor. Something was putting him on edge, and he didn't like the feeling. He knew if he didn't have control of what was going on with him, things could get very bad. Fortunately the charter that had been booked for the next day, Saturday, was cancelled, a dose of flu having sent most of the guests to their beds, instead of the boat.

As he walked along the road that lead up the small slope to where his home was, removed from the rest of the village, up on the foothills of the mountains, he rubbed at the back of his neck. Even he could feel the tension there, and he rubbed at it, uselessly. He reached his front stairs, walked up three and stopped, turned and sat down. He rested his elbows on his knees, hands hanging loosely, as he looked up at the darkening sky. Closing his eyes he inhaled deeply, slowly, letting the night air invade his senses, the scent of some jackrabbits that lived not far across the road, the dust that always lay along the deck, the aroma of the handwash he'd used before walking home, a myriad of others all swirled and delivered their message. But there was something, still something he hadn't been able to define, and he tried to find it amongst all the others clamouring with their stories.

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Birthright

May 2014

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