Sunday, December 16, 2012
The Mermaid House: Part Fifteen
SOMETHING DARK had followed them. As the figure sauntered forward, the first thing Leander noticed was the eyes, silvery and inhuman, before the shadows fell away from a young man in jeans and a black T-shirt. His long, blonde hair was knotted back. He was as pale as Violet, with that same otherworldly manner that caused an instinctual uneasiness. He smiled like an animal baring its teeth. "Introduce me to your friend, sis."
"I don't want to know you." Leander was very aware of their isolation in the cold night around them.
"His name is Joukainan," Violet told Leander without looking away from the young man. "He's my brother."
"Just call me Johnny." The young man's grin was definitely wolfish. "Do you want to see a neat trick?"
Leander couldn't move. A shudder ran through him. Violet's hand tightened around his, painfully, as her brother drew out a small knife and sliced into his own wrist. What emerged from the glide of the blade through his skin wasn't blood.
Even knowing what he did about Violet, Leander didn't believe what he saw....flower petals dripping from Johnny-Joukainan's skin...black petals which swirled across the sand.
"Tulips. A sacred flower to my people." Joukainan looked up and malevolence breathed from him. "What do you think Violet's filled with?"
Leander backed away, pulling Violet with him. His stomach churned as his fingers tightened on her wrist. He could feel her veins, the pulse which meant blood, not some horrific, supernatural embalming. "Go to hell."
"I've been in hell for some time." Violet's brother tilted his head. "Is he going to join the family, Vi? He looks like a buttercup."
Violet whispered to Leander, "Go. Get in your car. I'll keep him back."
Leander couldn't leave her. He had no defenses, no idea how to help her. And the creature calling itself Joukainan was smiling with teeth that seemed sharper than they ought to be.
"Think he can outrun me, Vi?" Joukainan moved forward.
Leander swallowed and almost bolted.
Joukainan lunged. He grabbed Violet by the hand, slid the blade across her arm.
"No--" Leander leaped forward. He pushed Joukainan away, but the other scarcely seemed to notice -- his gaze was fixed on the blood beading Violet's arm. His colorless gaze slid to Leander, who hovered between Violet and her 'brother.' "You. Boy. You made her bleed."
"You're the one who--"
"Get." The knife vanished. Joukainan gestured outward. "Both of you."
When Leander and Violet hesitated, Joukainan shouted, "Go!"