Another night of adventure and terror await Enid Runa as she’s taken for a ride through fear and fortune. Their first lead for answers to her attempted kidnapping lead them to another missing woman. When she sees a way out of this strange and haunting life, Enid doesn’t stick around to hear the details. Unfortunately for Enid, she can take herself out of the paranormal world, but she can’t take the paranormal out of herself. Her unusual aura attracts the attention of all the wrong people, and she finds herself in deeper trouble than she tried to escape. She has to rely on her new friends, and some new abilities, to get her out before it’s too late.
My life, and my house-mates, were a strange bunch. Here I was part of a paranormal detective agency filled with mystics, ghost-seers, a werewolf, and a walking encyclopedia of spirit knowledge who absolutely hated me.
And here was little old me, a latent mystic who had the bad luck to catch the attention of a Phantom Whisperer and get herself dropped into this paranormal world of phantoms, spirits, poltergeists and God-knows what else. Such a life had its ups and downs. One of the downs was the change in sleep schedule. Ghosts worked at night, so we did, too.
It was one of those nights a week after our last assignment, and my first, when I shuffled out of my bedroom on the second floor of the creepy Victorian house. The hallway was dark and the house was eerily quiet. I rubbed my eye with one hand and shut my bedroom door the other while I wondered what lay in store for me this night. I turned to walk down the hall and froze.
A dark figure stood at the end of the hall just in front of the staircase.
The tempo of my heartbeat quickened. Whoever it was they were definitely not Ian or Cronus. They stood as stiff as the dead some ten yards from me. Their wardrobe was a black overcoat with black shoes and pants. The collar of the coat wrapped around their neck and covered everything but the upper half of their face. Their bare head had black hair, and their eyes were the collar of bright, living coals. My gut sense told me the rest of this thing was far from living.
I blinked and my heart stopped.
In that single moment the person had moved three yards closer to me. I still couldn’t see any movement from their person. Not a single arm twitched, nor did its glowing eyes avert its gaze for even a moment. The chest didn’t move up and down to breath. I stumbled back and involuntarily blinked.
The thing stood three feet from me.
I yelped and tried to scramble backwards. It finally made a move. One of its arms stretched impossibly far over those three feet. The pale fingers wrapped around my neck and lifted me a foot off the floor. I clawed at its hand as the thing shoved its pale face into mine. The close proximity gave me a better view of its face, and I saw it was a man of forty, but what a man! The face was as pale as death and his ears ended in points. The cold fingers wrapped around my neck bit at my flesh.
The blood-red eyes studied me with slow, careful interest.
“What are you?” it hissed.
“W-what?” I gasped.
His eyes narrowed and his grip tightened. “What are you?”
“Ruthven, there you are!” a familiar voice yelled. I looked over the thing’s shoulder and saw Ian’s head pop over the top stair. “What are you doing up here?”
The thing that held me opened his fingers and I dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Air refilled my lungs and I choked on the blessed sustenance. Ian came up to us and put a hand on the thing’s shoulder.
“I see you’ve met the newest addition to our little group,” Ian commented as he gestured down to me.
I sat up and glared at the pale stranger. “He tried to kill me!” I choked out.
Ian turned to his acquaintance and clucked his tongue. “What’d you do now?”
The red eyes glared at me. “I did nothing.”
“Nothing my ass!” I snapped as I struggled to my feet. I rubbed my neck to get some feeling back to my chilled flesh. “He comes up here scaring me half to death with his ghost act and lifts me by my neck off the ground. Then he goes trying to question me about what I am and you come up.”
Ian raised an eyebrow. “Why’d you ask that?”
“Because I wish to know it,” Ruthven replied.
“I’m a woman, if you want to know,” I growled at him.
“That is not what I asked you,” Ruthven argued.
“You know, I think you two got off to the wrong start,” Ian spoke up. He slid between us and gestured from one to the other. “Miss Enid Runa, this is Ruthven. Ruthven, Miss Enid-”
“I don’t think a proper introduction excuses him from trying to kill me!” I protested.
Ian dropped his arms and shrugged. “I just thought I’d try. Anyway, I’m a little curious what you were doing trying to get info from her,” he commented, addressing his pale acquaintance. Ruthven’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t reply. Ian sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “Fine, don’t tell me, but you’d better have a good reason for sneaking into my house.”
“Several reasons,” Ruthven told him.
Ian’s eyebrow raised. “All right. Let’s hear them, but downstairs.”
The thing turned away and strode towards the stairs. I grabbed Ian’s arm. “What the hell are you doing with this funeral parlor reject?” I hissed.
Ian turned to me with a sheepish grin. “Actually, I hired Ruthven to sniff out some clues to that Whisperer who was so fond of you,” he revealed. He turned his attention to Ruthven. “I’m guessing you’re here to tell me something, and not to scare the spirit out of my assistant.”
Ruthven paused at the top of the stairs where I first saw him and bowed his head in our direction. “I am.”
Ian grinned. “Then let’s chat about this over a bottle of blood.”
I froze. “A bottle of what?”
Ian nodded. “Yep. I’m sure you’ve noticed my friend here isn’t exactly living, but he’s not exactly dead, either. Since he’s not rotting that can only make him a vampire.”
I felt the color drain from my face and I slowly swiveled my head to stare at the pale man. “A. . .vampire?” I gulped.
“What better informant in the world of night than a night stalker?” Ian pointed out.
“I have limited time,” said night stalker spoke up.
Ian shot a glare at him. “And I have limited resources, so I hope you found something good for me.”
“I will let you be the judge of that,” Ruthven returned.
“That’s fine with me,” Ian agreed as he turned to me. “You can stay up here if you want.”
I snorted. “Like hell I am. I want to hear what he has to say, and did you already forget I’m your partner?”
“Assistant, but I suppose even an assistant should know what’s going on,” Ian agreed. “Let’s go.”