I see the blood golem move, as if in slow motion. I trace the trajectory of its leap to Sinan’s head, and consider moving out of the way to give it a clearer path. I really, really consider it. That might solve so many of my problems, ninety-nine of which were caused by Sinan, but.. With a sigh, I swing the short staff and dis-spell the creature. Blood rains down in my room, staining my clothes, my bed, the carpet.
It’s going to suck trying to clean this up.
Sinan looks pleased with my action, but Jackie is livid. Veins protrude from her forehead and neck as she stomps over to me.
“What was that?” she demands of me. “Why would you do that?”
“You were trying to bring harm to my sire.. uh.. my dad.” Sire? What century was I living in, again?
“And you care because..?” Jackie folds her arms and waits for an answer.
I am quiet for so long that Sinan clears his throat and urges me to speak. I shoot him a look. “I’m thinking!” I shout to him. “Really. I’m thinking. Hard.” Jackie snorts and turns away. She flounces over to my bed and sits down in a huff. The blood doesn’t seem to bother her. Maybe I can ask her to clean it up, then?
Just as I decide that this is a good answer, I hear a growl from the space over my father’s head.
Oh. Yeah. Ancient, pissed off god in my house. Right. I almost forgot.
I wave the staff like a magic wand and command, “Gather, take form. Heed my call and show yourself.” I wince at the corny words, but I did not write this script. There seems to be another presence controlling my hands and mouth. It must have something to do with these weird.. whatever they are.
“Insolence!” Ghost Voice hisses. I lift an eyebrow and watch as silver, shimmery light swirls violently into a vague man-shape. I see feet, thick, hairy legs, nice muscular thighs. I feel my lips curve upward as my gaze roams higher, but am able to choke down any interest as a loin cloth comes into view. I snort my slight disappointment as the rest of him – ghost dude – Bob – comes into being. He shakes out silver-tinted, ankle length dreadlocs, and glares at me with surprisingly warm brown eyes. He extends long fingers the color of chocolate toward me.
“My token of office,” he states simply.
I reflexively step back, hugging the wooden token to my chest. “Nuh uh!” I protest like a child. “Finders, keepers!”
“Layla girl!” Sinan hisses. I barely glance at his prone form while I mentally tango with this fine specimen of an imaginary man. I do, however, turn to see if Jackie can see him. She sits frozen, a strangely blissful smile on her face.
I’m guessing this means that she can see him.
With my free hand, I prick my thumb with my claw, teasing out a drop of blood. I quickly sketch a few wobbly symbols in the air and sigh in relief as a soft, gauzy veil settles over my eyes. With my sight (and hormones) protected from this new threat, I speak.
“Bob?” Ghost God Dude sounds clearly displeased by my naming skills. “How dare you!” he roars and takes a menacing step in my direction.
“Hang on there, Bob,” I say, clutching my wooden prize tighter. “I want some answers. Since Daddy Dearest over there won’t cough them up, you’re the next in line.”
Bob frowns, then smirks. “You think to compel me to comply with your desires?” Something about the way he says that one word – desires – sends shivers up my spine and heat to my groin. Judging from the whimper that comes from Jackie’s direction, she felt it, too.
“Put some clothes on, man!” I sputter. Through my eye covering, I can see a hazy, sexy, delicious – Hang on, now. These are not my thoughts! “Stop that!” I shout, flinging my bloodied free hand at Ghost Bob. “You stop that, right now!”
He cocks his head. “Dare I ask what you are referring to?”
“That!” I shriek. “That liquid sex oozing in your voice.” He shrugs and manifests a pair of worn, dull sweat pants that may have once been blue, and an ancient t-shirt displaying the name of some rock band that broke up in the 80s. Both of my eyebrows shoot up to my hairline.
“Does this gain your approval, Certified One?” I test the strength of my knees, hoping I will not collapse into a puddle. Not trusting my voice, I merely nod. I sneak another glance at Jackie; she has stopped smiling and is now staring at the ceiling, her arms crossed tightly against her chest.
Crisis averted. I hope.
I clear my throat, and motion for Bob to sit on the floor. With an arched eyebrow, he drops gracefully to the floor and strikes a lounging pose. I blink rapidly and long to smash this staff over my head in the hope that it will break whatever spell this.. this.. man-like creature has cast on me. I clear my throat again, and ask him, “Who are you? And exactly what did you mean when you said ‘bear an heir to protect’ you?”
Bob snorts in Sinan’s direction. “She is ignorant. You have failed.”
“She is special,” Sinan quietly defends himself.
“I’m right here!” I grumble through clenched teeth. “Somebody better start talking.”
“Please,” Jackie adds. “As entertaining as this visit has been, I do have somewhere else to be.”
Bob turns to me. “You are Certified. You carry the mark on your womb.”
“Oh,” I say with disgust, “you mean the curse that’s going to kill me when the kid reaches puberty? No, thanks. This factory is closed.” I sweep my hand across my belly. “If that’s all, Bob, Old Man -” I nod to them, “- then Jackie and I will be leaving.”
“You will not die,” Bob answers casually. I stare down at him, contentedly nibbling on a snack of grapes that he conjured from Buddha knows where.
I can’t help help myself. I lean in and ask him to repeat that. “Wha?” I grunt.
“You will not die. You cannot die. You must bear an heir to protect me until the contract ends. Moreover, you must wed me.”
“WHA?!” I spin toward my dad, only to find him crawling discreetly away. “Old Man! What the hell is going on?”