Sorry for the long delay! I’ve been ill. Boo. Anyway, here you go. Part 3!
Patton shivered as long, thin fingers the color of a moonless night ghosted over her face. She tilted her gaze upward and flinched when wide, rust colored orbs met her ordinary brown eyes. She shifted her vision to short, cropped hair that rivaled the sun with its brightness and stifled a moan as she leaned into the touch.
“Lady,” she whispered. “I have prepared what you asked.”
“Did you now?” the visitor murmured. “My girl, your contract is close to an end.”
“I know,” Patton acknowledged. “That’s why this had to be done tonight.”
“Does she know?”
Patton shook her head. “I am planning to tell her.”
“Tonight,” The Lady whispered the word.
“Yes,” Patton agreed, leaning deeper into the probing fingers.
Patton froze and pulled away from her guest. She raised a shaking hand and pressed it to her cheek, already mourning the loss of the cool touch. “He has a lot to answer for. He will learn what is necessary for him to ascend, and no more than that.”
The Lady hummed and tapped her elongated digits together. “I see.” She rose and glided to the window. Focusing on the rapidly sinking sun, she spoke so quietly that Patton almost missed her words.
“My Lady? Forgive me, I…”
Rust colored orbs narrowed into slits as The Lady turned to her charge. “Cold. Pain. Blood. Prepare.”
Kissenah inhaled sharply and quickly fastened the ten hooks on the front of the shiny black corset that completed her outfit. Finished, she twirled twice in place, admiring the way the red skirt flared around her ankles. With a smirk, she fastened the top button of her high collar and adjusted the black satin ascot that encircled her neck.
“‘Appropriate dress,’” she chuckled, mocking Omari’s instructions as she patted her hair, ensuring that her braids were coiled into a perfect bun, and that the red flower she had pinned behind her ear had not fallen off. Ignoring the covered mirror, she walked into the closet one last time. She toed open the large box on the floor and twisted her lips into a frown. She hated wearing boots, but had decided that she needed this particular pair to live in the role she was playing tonight. Ankle high granny boots, in black leather, with a spool heel lay nestled in their cardboard packaging. Nodding with satisfaction, Kissenah lowered herself to the carpeted floor to lace her feet into the offensive footwear.
Several trying minutes later, she stood on wobbly ankles and admired her neatly tied boots. She admitted to herself that perhaps the shoes were not as bad as she had originally thought, though she did not foresee wearing them any longer than required. She walked, gracelessly and unsteadily, to the front of her apartment. She was reaching for the impossibly tiny evening bag she had stuffed with her phone, her keycards, and her stiletto switchblade when she froze.
Liquid heat spread across her upper body, making her feel as if she was drowning in a sea of flames. She clawed at her breast, wishing she could dig her fingernails into her flesh and rip the red mark from her skin.
“Shit,” she swore softly. “It..must..be..close..” Breathing heavily, she leaned against the wall, sweat rolling down her face. The bruises that marred her neck throbbed, and she fought to swallow the saliva that built up in her mouth. Omari would not be pleased if she arrived for dinner with drool on her top or tie. “Would.. serve.. the rat bastard..right.” She choked out a giggle and coughed as the pain intensified.
A hiss escaped her clenched teeth before she could stop it. She closed her eyes against the agony she knew was coming. She hated this part of the yearly ordeal, when the seal weakened and she could feel her very soul forcing its way out of the flesh prison that held it. She felt a flash of fear at being separated from Patton, and a flash of anger at Patton for her half-existence; the latter emotion Kissenah pressed down and hid away.
“20 years,” she whispered aloud. She could still remember the heady, metallic scent of blood..
Kissenah tumbled outside, ecstatic at being freed from her guardian’s boiling, two-story prison. School was out and summer was here! What kid wanted to cooped up in some stuffy old house? Kissnenah sure didn’t. She ran the block to her and Patton’s secret base, located in an empty, abandoned lot, eager to see what her friend had come up with for them to do.
She rounded the corner ad skidded to a stop, just as she heard squealing tires and screaming. She looked on, horrified, as her best friend’s body rose high into the air, and slammed back to the ground.
“Oh shit, Kenji! You killed her! We gotta get outta here. Drive, muthafucka!” a young man’s voice shouted. The car reversed quickly, and sped away from the scene of total destruction it’s occupants caused.
Kissenah stumbled to the broken body of her friend. Patton lay twisted and unmoving in a pool of her own blood. The thick red liquid coated the ground, covering a series of strange symbols drawn in the dirt. Kissenah cried, knowing that those weird shapes are what Patton wanted to show her, and now she would never get the chance.
Humming reached Kissenah’s ears as she keened over Patton’s form. The girl wiped away tears and snot and looked for the source of the noise. From the corner of her eye, her caught a flash of midnight black and blazing yellow, and she turned her head to see the floating figure better.
“Can you help her?” she asked the odd person.
“I can,” the woman answered in a melodious voice, but she made no move toward the fallen girl.
“Will you help her?” Kissenah tried again.
“Nothing is given freely,” the woman warned. “What would you have me, and for what price?”
“Give her back!”
“Do you offer yourself in her place? The balance must be kept.”
“I don’t care!” Kissenah shouted. “GIVE HER BACK!”
The floating woman dipped her head in acknowledgement and agreement, and moved so swiftly that Kissenah did not see her approach. She felt cold, cold hands wrap themselves around her neck as Patton took a deep, shuddering breath. Kissenah yelped and moved to hug her friend, but felt her body growing heavier, or perhaps lighter. The girl was confused. She felt like she was moving, flying, but her body felt trapped. She could not breathe.
“Patton,” she choked. She dimly heard the other girl call her name, “KISSENAH!” and then she felt nothing.
“Good-bye,” she whispered to her friend.
Kissenah’s hand flew to her neck as the pain subsided. She gulped, greedily sucking in air. She straightened, and smoothed her hair and clothing. She did not have time to wallow in the past; she had a dinner to attend with her best friend. She snatched up her small bag, tucked it in her armpit, and strode a tad bit unsteadily to the door. Forcing a smile upon her face, she lifted her palm to the control panel and waited. A soft snick informed her that she was free to exit her apartment, and she went forward to do the bidding of Parista!