Authors: Rhiannon Frater
Pretty When She Destroys
Pretty When She…
Pretty When She Destroys
Copyright @ 201
3 by Rhiannon Frater
Cover Art by Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Art
Edited by Felicia A. Sullivan
Interior Formatting by Kody Boye
This is a work of fiction. The characters and situations are from the author’s imagination.
Dedicated with much love to Dru, who always knew that the
Pretty When She Dies
novels would find their audience when the time was right.
The Beginning of the End
The promise of rain loomed in the gray early evening sky hovering low over the East Texas college. Bianca scurried along the cracked sidewalk, her petite frame dodging around the other students. As usual, no one took note of the girl with the pale hair and vivid blue eyes dressed in a flowered dress, old fashioned blue shawl covered in fluffy sunflowers, and heavy combat boots.
Ducking under the portico of one of the buildings, Bianca clutched her books tight to her chest and stared in anticipation out over the courtyard.
“Here it comes,” she breathed.
Seconds later, the sky opened, sheets of rain washing over the people still on their way to class. Laughter and cries of dismay filled the humid air as people scrambled for cover. Bianca stepped behind one of the pillars to avoid the small stampede into the building. The reek of ozone, weed, body odor, and coffee floated in the air after the college kids disappeared inside.
The steamy air and patter of rain painted her surroundings with a dreamy brush, but Bianca felt apart from the world. The rain was of no real concern to her. Instead, her eyes traced over the pathway the girl with tattoos always traveled on her way to class at this time.
Ever since she had accidently bumped into the other young woman on the way to a lecture, Bianca had been obsessed with the beauty with the long black hair, inked skin, and vivid blue-gray eyes. Bianca had experienced an intense surge of power when their bodies had collided that had been so powerful it had knocked her off her feet. Instinctively, she’d known that the other woman was gifted - or was it cursed? - with the same power Bianca had inherited for her own mother, the famous medium Josephine Leduc. She’d been so startled she hadn’t uttered a word as the other woman helped her to her feet before hurrying on to class.
It had taken a little sleuthing, but Bianca had uncovered as much information as possible on the other medium. Her name was Amaliya Vezorak, which sounded very exotic to Bianca. At first, Bianca had only wanted to speak to the other medium about the powers they shared, but then the terrible nightmares and visions had begun.
Brushing her blond hair from her face, Bianca shifted nervously. She’d been practicing what she wanted to say to Amaliya every day for a week. It had been difficult to fight through the storm of information filling her mind through her visions and dreams, but Bianca was certain that Amaliya was in danger. Recurring images of Amaliya covered in blood, somewhere beneath the earth, haunted Bianca. Since Amaliya was a medium, too, Bianca hoped she’d listen to her warning. There was a dark entity closing in on Amaliya, plotting to ensnare her, and Bianca hoped she could save her.
Bianca’s heart raced when she saw the familiar silhouette of the other medium walking through the rain. Not even bothering to cover her hair with her book bag, Amaliya sauntered through the downpour, her heavy boots splashing through the puddles forming on the cracked sidewalk. Her curves were tucked into a tank top and jeans, her black hair in a loose bun, the inky tendrils clinging to her neck and cheeks.
Taking a deep breath, Bianca stepped out from behind the pillar. As always, when the other medium was near, her skin tingled and the voices of the dead strengthened. It was difficult to hear through all the noise, but she concentrated on the sound of the rain to focus her mind.
Amaliya started up the stairs, her eyes rising toward Bianca.
“Uh, hi, I’m Bianca Leduc,” she murmured in a soft voice.
The door banged open behind her, making Bianca start.
“Amaliya! Just the student I’ve been looking for.”
The crisp English accent sent chills racing down Bianca’s spine. As if gripped in a dead man’s hand, Bianca found herself unable to move. Dragging a quivering breath, she clutched her books tightly to her chest.
Amaliya stopped on the step below Bianca, her face lighting up with delight. “Professor Sumner, how can I help you?”
The air around Bianca grew thick and icy, making it difficult to take a breath. The putrid reek of death and blood filled her mouth and nose. Bianca felt as though she was now invisible, even though she was standing within three feet of the two people. She could feel malevolent power pulsating out of the tall blond man and encapsulating Amaliya.
How could the other medium
“What did I do now, Professor Sumner?” Amaliya asked, her eyes
brazen, teasing, and flirtatious. How could she not detect what the man truly was beneath his cultured visage?
“Nothing at all,” the man answered in his posh English accent. “I was wondering if you’d join me for coffee sometime. I have a special project I’d love for you to be a part of.”
Professor Sumner’s presence was a dark shadow that stole away Bianca’s resolve. Terrified, she stared at the books in her hands, unsure of what she should do. A part of her wanted to blurt out to Amaliya all she suspected, but then wouldn’t the creature just kill them both? His magic reeked of death and destruction.
“Anything you want me to be a part of has to be awesome.” Amaliya’s red lips turned up at the corners into a seductive smile.
The sexual energy between the man and his future victim sizzled between them in the balmy air, repulsing Bianca.
“Oh, it is, I can assure you. So is that a yes?”
Trembling, Bianca realized he was toying with Amaliya. Again, the image of Amaliya covered in blood bloomed in Bianca’s mind. Biting her bottom lip, Bianca struggled to speak. She imagined grabbing Amaliya’s hand and running off together, escaping the creature that was hunting the tattooed beauty. Yet, she couldn’t move. The malevolent power swirling through the air had her pinned where she stood.
“I’m heading home for Easter tonight after I do some laundry,” Amaliya said, tilting her head to gaze with obvious yearning at the terrible being disguised as a mortal man. “Maybe after break?”
Bianca finally dared to raise her face to gaze upon the couple speaking just a few feet from her. The air around them was thick with darkness. It distorted their images, wavering like heat. The glamour disguising the man flickered under her scrutiny. His true face was even more handsome and cruel than she had imagined.
The umbrella blossomed into a black flower over their heads. “That would be lovely. Are you on the way to class? I can walk you there.” The monster pretending to be Professor Sumner gestured out into the steady downpour.
“Actually, I think I’ll skip it.” Amaliya scrawled something on a piece of paper and gave it to him. “My number. For that coffee.”
“Thank you. I have some errands to do. Can I walk you somewhere?”
“Yes, you can.”
“Then after you.”
Amaliya grinned as she walked into the curtain of rain with the tall man.
Bianca tried to call out after her, but her voice wouldn’t come. On impulse, she dropped her books. The noise drew Amaliya’s attention, her mesmerizing eyes barely skimming over the disheveled girl standing beside the pillar.
The professor didn’t even look back.
Bianca tried to speak, but no words escaped her lips.
Amaliya gave her a curious look, then turned away.
Gathering her things, Bianca followed the two figures fading into the falling rain.
The voices of the dead whispered in her ears, their fingers clutching at her, urging her to hurry.
“Stop him! Stop him!”
Again, flashes of Amaliya covered in blood filled her mind’s eye. Flinching, Bianca stumbled off the sidewalk into the mud. She pressed a hand to her head, trying to still the internal violence of her visions. They pummeled her, physically jerking her about.
...Amaliya covered in blood...
...Amaliya bringing destruction...
...the world in darkness...
“Please stop,” Bianca begged the powers hurling the warnings into her already overloaded mind. Lifting her hand, she drew a ward in the air. It lessened the onslaught, but still the one voice that always haunted her persisted. It was her mother, Josephine.
Stop him! Stop him! She’ll destroy us all if he succeeds! He’s going to lure her into his trap tonight. Go to the coffee shop! Hurry! Hurry!
Crying out, Bianca staggered forward. Her pale blond hair falling around her face, she knew she looked crazed. She was Cassandra in Greek mythology wailing prophecies that no one would heed. There was no choice other than for her to follow the vampire and Amaliya. Only she stood between the world and destruction.
Staggering through the rain, Bianca turned toward her dorm. She’d never catch up to Amaliya now, and wasn’t sure where she lived. There was only one coffee shop in town, so Bianca wasn’t defeated yet. She just had to get the weapon she had bought to destroy the evil that had set his sights on Amaliya.
The café was warm and filled with the fragrant smell of coffee. Nestled into a chair in the corner, Bianca watched Amaliya and the professor as they chatted at a nearby table. Bianca could see the power of the vampire drifting in the air, tangling with the aura the other medium. The writhing dark magic sickened Bianca. It was evil and full of death.
Reaching into the oversized bag on the chair beside her, she traced her fingertips over the sheathed silver dagger. She had to wait. If she struck at him in public and failed, it would be the end of everything; therefore, she had to wait until they were away from the public. The stillness around her was comforting after the cacophony of voices that had assailed her earlier. Maybe her mother’s spirit was holding back the others, or perhaps they were silent now that they knew she would move against the monster that would be the end of the world.
Watching Amaliya, tears sprung to Bianca’s eyes. Every aspect of her yearned to connect with the other woman, for Amaliya would understand what Bianca suffered. They would be like sisters, best friends, and, at last, Bianca wouldn’t be alone.
The green tea in the chipped bright yellow cup was cold now. Bianca’s fingers traced the lip lazily as she pretended to read the book she’d propped up before her. Whatever the two were discussing, it appeared to be upsetting Amaliya. PJ Harvey’s voice sang hauntingly over the loudspeaker above Bianca’s head, mournful and full of pain. It perfectly mirrored Amaliya’s expression. Crossing her legs, Bianca inadvertently bumped the table with her knee, the mug crashing to the floor. Bianca slid off the chair, picking the pieces out of the cold liquid. A barista hurried over with towels, a broom, and dustpan.
“I’m sorry,” Bianca said. “I can pay for the mug.”
“It’s no big deal,” the male barista assured her, mopping up the tea with the striped towels.
Bianca continued to pick up the slivers of the cup, her trembling hands making it difficult to get the smaller pieces.
“Hey, it’s okay. Let me get it. You might cut yourself.” The young man smiled at her.
Bianca slid back onto her chair, her eyes straying to the table across the room.
It was empty.
Gasping, she shot to her feet, grabbed her things, and darted out of the shop. The professor’s Mini Cooper pulled out of the parking lot just as she stumbled down the steps to the warm asphalt still steaming from the earlier rain. In a mad scramble, she ran to her scooter, hopped on, started it, and pursued the car. The roads were still slick from the rain, but she exceeded the speed limit and soon the Cooper was in sight. The dirty water kicked up by the car tires splashed over her skirt and boots, but Bianca didn’t care. The urgency ripping through her kept her speeding along.
Bianca lost the Mini Cooper a short distance from the dorm buildings. Caught at a red light, she was forced to wait while the traffic congested the intersection. When the traffic light finally changed to green, her little scooter soared along the lane guarded by tall pine trees. Bianca fought against her growing panic and fear. The voices of the dead whispered out of the darkness, urging her to hurry. Reaching the dorms, Bianca scanned the nearly empty parking lot. Dread ate at her stomach as her scooter cruised up and down the rows. At last, she spotted the Mini Cooper parked near a dumpster. It was close to two dorms.
“How do I find them?” Bianca whispered a prayer to the universe.
Sliding off the scooter, she already knew the answer. The one ability she feared most would have to be put to use. Her front teeth burrowed into her bottom lip while she gripped the hilt of the dagger. Trembling, tears in her eyes, Bianca lowered her eyelids. The collapse of her carefully constructed mental walls left her panting in fear. Immediately she could both feel and see the pitch-black trail of the dark powers of the false professor heading toward the far building. The inky remains of his passing smeared the air, writhing like snakes. Sucking a shuddering breath through her gritted teeth, she followed it into the gloom. The wet earth squelched beneath her boots as Bianca stalked resolutely after the monster she feared, but had to vanquish.
Rounding the corner, she saw Amaliya and the false professor in a passionate embrace. For a second, Bianca faltered, abruptly uncertain. The scene was so intimate it was hard for her to believe that Amaliya was truly in danger. The man’s face was hidden in the darkness of the other woman’s hair, his hand tucked within her jeans, stroking her. Bianca pressed a hand to her forehead, wondering briefly if she’d lost her mind. Had all the people who’d accused her of being crazy been correct?