Authors: Alice Bell
Slaughter Book 2
descent to Hades is the same from every place.
Copyright © 2016 Alice Bell
All rights reserved.
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only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would
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Edited by D.S. Taylor at ThEditors
Cover Design by Sara Eirew Photographer
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is
“DEMONS CAN be dangerous if they are in the human world
illegally. Wayward demons who manage to find their way from the demon realm
into the human world, of their own volition, revel in their godlike powers,
using them for their own pleasure and debauchery.” —
The Guardian Spirits
Sarah Rose (Psychic, Medium and Channel)
SHE SWAM as if her life depended on it, though she had no
life. Not yet.
It was like before, when she was swallowed by the lake, and
died. Only this time she was coming up, and up, her inhumanly strong legs
kicking, her powerful arms pulling through the dark water.
Nausea hit as soon as she gulped air. Such a terrible sickness,
cured only by a warm human body, she remembered.
The volcanic lake and its strip of white sand, the clouded
sky overhead, was so timeless, she couldn’t tell if she’d gone backward or
forward in time. Fat raindrops pelted the water around her. Mist swirled.
It must be evening, she thought.
The beach was deserted, except for a couple running toward
the shelter of trees that once hid thatched roof casas and a tiki lit bar.
Her clothes were in tatters and she had kicked off her
slippers light years away.
Of course, she had no idea how far she’d traveled.
She crossed the sand, holding her arms over her exposed
breasts, shivering and trying to think past the throbbing pain and cold
The path was familiar and rough, and there ahead were the
casas, as if no time had passed at all.
Hope surged inside her, a raw human emotion, kept alive by a
love she couldn’t forget.
Light came from a window, and she slid into the shadows, too
weak to make herself invisible. She kept going, her bare feet scraping over
rocks and thorny tree roots.
She stopped to rest and peered through the trees. One casa
caught her eye. It was set back from the others. It had a purple door, red
trim. An orange sarong hung over the porch railing, along with a black string bikini
and men’s swim shorts.
She stared, wondering: Could this be it? Where she had held
him in her arms for the last time? The clothes weren’t hers, and yet, they were
the type of thing she would have worn. Her fingers twitched.
She was like a cat, a jungle predator, silent and graceful,
even while ravaged by fever and weak with hunger.
Her actions were instinctual. She peeled off what was left
of her clothes and snatched the sarong, and wrapped it around her long body.
Her hair was a white flame in the bruised twilight.
She threw open the door.
He was the first person she saw; his bare back, tawny skin,
broad shoulders, the curl of dark hair at the nape of his neck. His Bermuda
shorts had slipped low on his hips.
Her memory of him was carnal, more lust and possession than
love, but she didn’t know the difference. Anymore.
And then her gaze landed on the girl who gaped at her.
“What?” the girl’s voice was light and fluttery, nervous. “Who are you?”
They had been embracing, she realized, before she entered
and ruined the moment. A smile curved at her lips.
But when the man spun around, it wasn’t him.
This man was crudely made by comparison. “Whoa, hey,” he
said, a twist of humor in his voice, as if it was funny. “Wrong casa.” Like he
thought she was high. Or stupid.
Pain scalded her vision. She advanced.
The girl screamed, and the sound hurt Zadie’s ears. She
lashed out, sending the girl careening across the room. The girl’s head smashed
into the edge of the table. There was a thunk.
And then beautiful quiet.
The man lunged at Zadie. His breath was tinged with beer.
The scent of terror wafted from his pores. He tried to pin her arms but even in
her weakened state, she was too strong. She slammed him against the wall.
And then she was on him, kissing his neck, and his mouth.
Her hands moved down his body, inside his shorts.
In a burst of ecstasy, she bit his neck.
He whimpered. God, he was sweet.
* * *
It was too bad about the girl.
She would have to hightail it off the island before the
authorities got involved.
She wore the man’s clothes because the girl was a tiny
thing. His jeans were loose but the right length. She knotted one of his
T-shirts (red) at her waist, and slid her feet into a pair of flip flops that
were only slightly too large.
Before leaving, she bent down and checked the man’s pulse.
He was still alive. They’d probably blame him for the girl.
Contents of a money belt spilled out on the table. Zadie
grabbed a wad of cash; cordobas and a few US dollars. It wasn’t much but she
didn’t need much. She could already feel her powers growing, straining at the
It was an easy walk into the village. As quickly as it had
come, the rain had ceased. Whenever a car went by, she hid or made herself
invisible. She had to lie low until she could get off the island.
When she got to town, it was dark and the streets were lit
by shaky streetlamps. The first thing she did was steal a newspaper. Her heart
hammered, as if she was human.
She stared at the date.
Oh God, oh God, oh God
She would never forget the last time she’d seen Inka. The
date was carved into her memory. She’d made it her mantra, the one thing she
had to remember.
She shook the newspaper, disbelieving.
Could she be so unbelievably, stupidly lucky? Only seven
months had passed since she’d been caught, tangled up in that poisonous net.
Inka was the fish who got away.
She glanced around, looking for the dark shadow of angel
wings. She even went into the tienda and pointed at the date on the paper.
Though she spoke atrocious Spanish, “Es hoy … today?” the woman understood.
!” she answered, with a beatific smile.
It was good to be back.
She sat on the damp sidewalk and pored over current events.
She understood a few words in Spanish and proper names. The gist of what was
going on in the world was evident in the photos; Senator Passwater caught with
another bimbo, nuclear waste running amok (go figure), uprisings in the
Same shit, different day
She was intoxicated by her heightened senses, the smell of
ink on the pages of the newspaper and rain moistened earth, the cheap sugary
sundries lining the shelves of the tienda.
Around her, nightlife began to stir. Two young girls, arm in
arm, walked past, giggling. Many blocks over, on the edge of town, a bottle
shattered in the street. The sound splintered her eardrums. She cast the paper
aside and stood up. Her powers needed tuning, but another feeding and she’d be
as agile and powerful as ever.
She headed down to the dock.
Taco meat sizzled on a grill. The scent was glorious. Music
thrummed from a nearby bar. She reveled in the familiar sensations, as she
Hands in the pockets of her jeans, she gazed at the ferry
schedule, and saw there was a midnight boat to Granada.
The stars were aligning for her. Centuries could have
passed. Or turned back. But they hadn’t.
Her smile was wide and lovely and bewitching.
She didn’t feel gratitude though. Humility was too human.
Too pathetic. She was a lion among lambs.
* * *
A few days later, she found the bar in Queenstown. It was
just as Inka described with choppers lined up out front. She admired the statue
of Ishtar, the goddess of sex and war with her bare breasts and angel wings,
perched above the flashing neon sign that said, “Babylon.” She felt proud, like
seeing her own flag on the moon.
Inside, the owner knew Inka well. He handed Zadie a creased,
beer stained envelope with Inka’s writing on the front: FOR ZADIE BLAIR ONLY.
not open if you are NOT ZADIE BLAIR. If you do, you will DIE.
humor, though not altogether a joke).
It was just a short note inside. “On the run and headed
north. I’ll hang around the portal for a while. Hope to see you there. Someday.
“PS. HE is TURNED! But not with me. Had to keep moving.
Angels on my back.”
Nine years later, 11:01 p.m. Friday, 13
THE WROUGHT iron gate creaked open. I was still high,
cranked up off Ruby’s pain and sorrow, her fear, her ecstasy. Adrenalin pounded
in my veins and made me alive, a rush that came at her expense.
She had almost died. In my arms.
I had drained her life force, the opposite of what I was
supposed to do, which was to administer a little white pill, no bigger than an
aspirin, to erase her memory of me. The one that would drive her mad. In the
end, I had given her the pill, and watched her swallow it, feeling the most
terrible human loss.
Whatever had passed between us was over.
Yet, I didn’t want to leave.
I stood in the shadows.
A red Jeep came up the drive. It stopped in front of Ruby’s
three story gabled house where she lived, all alone. Beyond the pointed roof,
clouds drifted across a starless sky.
A blonde man jumped out of the truck, a man I recognized as
Henry Thorne. I’d met him one night at Embers, Ruby’s favorite dive bar on the
boardwalk. He liked her. I knew it as soon as I shook his hand, and wanted to
crush it. He pounded on the door, calling out her name.
For fuck sake, it’s unlocked
. Did he need an engraved
Finally, he went in.
My fingers curled into fists. What if I was still human and
could be Ruby’s only one? I thought of the Bob Dylan song. “
It ain’t me,
But was it
guy? With the big red Jeep? What did
he need it for when he couldn’t even kick down a door? Wilderness recreation?
I tried to envision Ruby with her artificially bright red
hair in one of her Goth dresses roasting marshmallows by a fire. And the image
took another shape. She had changed into a flannel shirt,
casually open to show the silky shadow between her full breasts. Her hair was
pinned up and messy with a few escaped tendrils. Her legs were bare and slender
Henry was inside now. My gaze followed their shadows moving
behind the curtains. He touched Ruby so tenderly, smoothing her hair.
A voice inside me hissed:
Leave now, Devon. And don’t
Still, I hesitated, watching, as he picked her up in his
arms and carried her away from the window, as if to say, “She’s mine, now.”
I reached for the doorknob.
But I could only save Ruby from myself. So I turned and
leaped over the fence and headed down the empty street.
I took my time going home. It wouldn’t be home for much
Sarah Rose, the almost famous psychic, waited for me on the
steps of my building. “
are late,” she glared.
“Sorry.” I gave her a seductive smile but she wasn’t
impressed. She knew what I was, a trespasser who went against the supernatural
order of things. She was, after all, here to correct the situation.
I read her watch upside down. “There’s a good forty minutes
to the witching hour.” Meaning:
Why are you so pissed?
But I knew why.
According to Sarah (who was as close to an expert as I might
ever get), the gates to the demon realm would open tonight, at exactly
midnight. Not a second earlier, or later. And not again for another thirteen
you?” The way she checked her watch
reminded me of Ruby. “I can’t walk all the way across town in thirty
,” I said. “I’ll meet you there.” But she
wouldn’t let me out of her sight.
Fury crossed her face, before she adjusted her psychic
chastity belt. She was a great looking woman, forty-ish and tall, straight
black hair with a streak of gray. I was standing so close to her, a heartbeat
away, and yet her pulse refused to let me listen. Any tortured human angst was
locked up. I couldn’t get a single drop.
The more angst, the better the high. Ruby had been so
I wondered about Sarah, what she kept from me, like buried
treasure. Was there a way to break in and tap those pent-up emotions?
I unlocked the door, and glanced at her. “I’ll probably
never see you again. After midnight.”
We looked at each other for what seemed a long time,
considering we were supposed to be in a hurry.
“Listen,” I said, finally. “I want you to have this
building. I know it’s a fixer-upper—”
“It’s condemned,” she said.
“But it’s big.”
We both gazed up at the towering pile of neo-Gothic
stonework. “It is rather grandiose,” she said.
“Well, it’s yours if you want it,” I tossed her the key.
We stepped into darkness. Only a dim light slanted through
the windows from the street. With a sudden flash of longing, I understood (for
the first time) I was leaving. The reality stabbed me in the gut, more painful
than a knife.
Unless … I changed my mind.
Who said I had to go? Who died and made Sarah queen?
Ruby had begged me to stay.
I thought about how in the movies and on TV people flitted
in out of dimensions like it was nothing. But this earth, for all its heartache
and broken dreams, was all I’d ever known.
“Geez. I can’t see,” Sarah said.
“No electricity,” I said.
She pulled a phone from the back pocket of her jeans,
activated the flashlight and beamed it around the marble foyer. A stained glass
window glimmered under her light.
“Wow. Look at that,” she made a sound with her tongue.
“They don’t build things like they used to. But I’d have to de-ghost the whole
place. Ever see any ghosts?”
“Nah. They’re probably scared of me.”
“Uh-huh.” She shined the light across the room. The spiral
staircase glowed sinister.
Were there ghosts? What if someone had been murdered here?
What if this is where I belong?
“Maybe we should just stay in tonight,” I said.
Sarah made a face. “Wrong.”
“I don’t want to put you in danger. It isn’t worth it.”
a total lie
“Oh, Devon. It is worth it. Think of Ruby. And all the other
Rubys you will encounter in your immortal lifetime.”
With that, the last of my buzz from Ruby was gone.
I felt empty and sick.
“Shall we go?” Sarah sounded impatient.
A wave of nausea hit me.
Though I tried to be stoic, Sarah heaved a sigh. She noticed
everything. “Are you getting weak?” Her tone was accusing.
“Don’t worry about it. I hate to be a bother.”
“I’m not going to attack you. Okay? You’re not my type.”
Everyone was my type. “Seriously, just open the portal and push me through it.”
She began to walk toward me with a determined expression.
More of a grimace, really, like there was a gun to her back. When we were only
inches apart, she tilted up her face.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“I bet you’re very good at it. Go on. Pretend I’m one of
your victims and shove your tongue down my throat.” She closed her eyes.
She would do anything to get rid of me, which hurt my
feelings, by the way, even ones that went beyond my own
desires. Ruby had taught me that. Emotion sparked to life inside me the night I
met her and began to remember who I’d been before.
“I don’t kiss humans,” my words were laced with the same
scorn Sarah had shown me a time or two.
Her eyes opened. “You don’t?”
I’d kissed Ruby. Devoured her. “As a general rule,” I said.
She reached out and put her hand on my arm. “Bless your
Now, that was just plain condescending. Sarah, of all
people, didn’t believe I had a heart. I wanted to pull away but her touch was
soothing. It eased the ache spreading through my limbs.
“You know you can’t turn a human with just a kiss?” Her lips
Glad I could amuse her
“I’m not so sure about that,” I said. “Did it ever occur to
you I’m the one undead here? I might have insight on a
her own admission, Sarah was far from a scholar on the intricacies of my
particular situation. “I’m not a total moron. Perfect recall, remember?” I
tapped my temple.
“You have to know how to
a human, Devon. It
requires intent. And skill.”
“Oh, really. You know that for sure?”
I backed her against the wall and kissed her.
I wrapped my hands in her hair and felt her weaken. She
grabbed my shirt.
Her pulse raced in my veins. She was starting to panic. Like
a dam breaking, her fear burst out, and washed over me.
I was in; her barriers collapsed and broken. She had underestimated
my power, and now it was too late.
I tasted her terror. It filled me.
I held her tighter. She balled her hands into fists and beat
against my chest. This had never happened before. I’d never been resisted. But
I couldn't stop, not now, not when I was tasting the first sweet secrets of her
Three times she hit me, each time weaker, until, finally, I
felt the last of her resistance go out of her. I felt her yield.
Her hands snaked around me, her mouth opened wider. Her legs
buckled and quivered. I swallowed her essence. Her hands were under my shirt,
pulling me in, willing me to use her, to ravage her.
She was mine.
Take that, Sarah know-it-all
I had to hold her up.
When she could stand, I smiled.
She stumbled away, no different than any other victim. She
was still open, still susceptible. Her confusion flowed warm inside me. She
fumbled for her phone with shaky hands. There was a flush on her neck.
I led her down the rickety stairs to the tunnel, and felt
her sudden lack of confidence, her fright. Her phone light bobbed wildly
against the stone wall.
We entered a wine cellar where a few dusty bottles still
hid. “Victorian vintage,” I said. “Want one for the road?”
She didn’t answer. Her heart beat into mine; fragile, after
“Come on,” I said.
We passed between walls of stacked crates. I lifted a trap
About twenty feet down was a tunnel that went beneath the
city. It had been closed to the public for over a hundred years. In the
mid-1800s it had been its own thriving, decadent city, complete with saloons,
whore houses, opium dens and conveniently located jails. If there were ghosts,
they were here.
I jumped down, and landed silently. I looked up at Sarah.
“Ready? I’ll catch you.”
Her eyes widened. She hesitated, then slid her phone into
her pocket. I watched her position herself at the opening. “We don’t have all
night,” I said.
up,” she was downright vicious. “Monster,” she
whispered, like I couldn’t hear.
I laughed. “A leap of faith is all it takes,” I held my arms
up higher and wiggled my fingers. When her gaze met mine, I winked. “Come to
“God, I hate you,” she muttered.
As I watched, she summoned a reserve of strength. She closed
her eyes. Her walls came up. I could no longer hear her frail human pulse. She
had done in minutes what would take most people days, if not months. She
, before my eyes, and locked me out.
Sarah, I thought
She fell into my arms, and I pulled her against me. She
moaned. “Please, Devon. Let’s get this over with.”
I gripped her tighter and focused.
There was no light when you traveled at inhuman speed. There
was just a roaring in your ears, the rush of cold air on your skin. When we
neared the end of the tunnel, I slowed. The world sharpened into focus.
We had come past the boardwalk where I usually exited to
come out on the waterfront. We were near the east end of town, directly below
the grounds of Coffeen Sanitarium, on the edge of the desert.
Sarah was limp in my arms. I gave her a little shake.
Her eyes snapped open.
“You okay?” I said.
She blinked and struggled, pushing against me. I set her
gently on her feet. She wobbled. I caught her wrist. Her face was ashen. I
stroked her palm and turned over her hand to look at her watch. Nine minutes
before midnight. We were cutting it close.
She jerked away. I stared. Once more, she gathered energy,
as if from the air. It crackled around her and pricked the back of my neck.
Suddenly, I wanted to kiss her again. I wanted her hungry hands feverish on my
flesh. I yearned to taste her power, to feel it rushing in my own veins.
But she squared her shoulders and leveled me with her big
Her hand came up, her fingers twitched.
“Go ahead,” I said. “Slap me. I
you to drive.”
Her hand dropped. She brushed past me, using the light on
I followed her with my gaze.
You can disappear, Devon. Right now. Before it’s too
Who did Sarah think she was anyway? Who was she to judge me?
And banish me from this realm?
In fact, it was a good idea. Show her who’s
boss. We both knew she couldn’t resist me.
Could she? If kiss came to shove? Might be interesting. To
Who is more powerful?
She walked softly, her footsteps whispering on the stone
floor. I moved up behind her, silently,
. She stopped, unaware,
shining her light at the wall. But when I breathed in her scent, she whirled
around. Her mouth opened, her phone clattered on the floor. Lust burned through
“Monster,” she had called me.
I remembered Ruby’s pale skin, her listless body.