Hello, everyone! I’m delivering a special treat to the Palace. I belong to The Bannerwing Write Club, and we’ve put together a little round robin story for you. You’ll want to read the installments in order, so here’s your map.
The tale begins with When and Where over at Duffy Batzer’s blog, http://sureditsallgood.com
Part 2: Gone is at Ericka Clay’s blog, http://erickaclay.com
Part 3: Payment is at Stephanie Ayers’s blog, http://frommywriteside.wordpress.com
Part 4: Shadow is at Roxanne Piskel’s blog, http://unintentionally-brilliant.com
Part 5: Juggernaut is right here!
The next installment will be at Trisha Ginsburg Oksner’s blog, http://oksnerfamily.blogspot.com
Okay, get your traveling shoes on, and let’s get into a roving story!
“Where is he?” Robin sat up and looked wildly around. “Where did he go?”
Phoebe knelt beside her. “Can’t you feel him? He’s here.”
She placed her cold fingertip on Robin’s forehead, and radiance filled the girl’s mind. At its heart, a dark blur raced with tornadic fury inside the confines of a dim circle. As Robin looked inward at it, the brilliance and the gloom reversed positions and she stood in quiet shadow, staring at Allen Henry Buell, imprisoned in light.
“You have him now, like an insect in amber.” Phoebe’s satisfied voice drifted in the echoless void. “A specimen of great power. Use him well.”
Buell’s eyes found Robin’s. His expression of astonished rage gave way to something more chilling. “Little bird,” he whispered. “Oh, little bird, what a lovely nest you have here.”
Tendrils of darkness smoked from him, questing along the bright curve of his prison. Robin felt the greasy touch as though he’d run his hand along her spine. He smiled, a wilderness of sharp teeth. “It’s so much nicer than Hell. Maybe I’ll stay.”
Paul’s voice pulled her forward, into the heaviness of her body. “Robin, come away. Listen to me. You cannot keep him long. Be quick and find the answers you seek, and we will help you banish him again.”
“We won’t, either,” Phoebe snapped.
Robin opened her eyes. Her back rested against the ugly, squat headstone. Paul and Phoebe glared at one another over her half-reclining form, a struggle of wills flushing the pallor from their beautiful faces.
“Sister,” Paul hissed between his teeth, “she is not strong enough to hold him. He’s crossed the threshold of her flesh. He’s halfway to possession now.”
Phoebe shook her head. “No. He’s bound. How long have we waited, Paul? He’s the key.”
“Is alive,” Phoebe interrupted. “A living host, with powers of her own. We’ll never find another vessel like her. She needs him, too. Would you deny her?”
Robin pushed herself upright. The twins fell back in chagrin. She could feel Buell inside her, a sick-making rush of energy that made her hands tremble. He was caught, but he was strong. Strong enough, she hoped, to take her where she needed to go. She did need him, and now that she had him, she did not intend to give him up.
“Stop arguing,” she said. “I’m going to get my daughter and father back, and then you can have this monster.” A malicious cramp made her gasp, but she used the pain to fuel her power. A howl filled her skull as the light flamed up in Buell’s prison. It was music to her ears. She grinned, a hard, shark-like display of teeth.
“You are already being poisoned by your tenant,” Paul said. “We can make him tell us what you need to know. He belongs in the dark.”
Robin held up an admonishing finger, ticking back and forth. “No, no, no. You know it’s more than information I need, Paul. I need a battering ram, and that’s just what I’ve got in Buell. I can control him.”
The twins looked at one another, once more in accord. “Lead on,” Phoebe said.
Robin stepped forward, letting the thrumming wave of Buell’s foul energy direct her, and made her way back through the cemetery. She walked with her head up and her shoulders back, a little swagger in her step. The night seemed soft and sensual to her, the dark stroking her skin, the sweet earthiness of the dew on the short grass wafting like perfume. Everything felt good, from her bones to the silken brush of her hair on her shoulders. She hummed under her breath, and listened to the warm chuckle from the cell of light in her head.
“That’s it, little bird,” Buell whispered. “We’re gonna fly like nightmare, anywhere we damn well please.”