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Edited by Catherine Jones Payne

Blood of the Fae Copyright Š 2018 Tom Mohan All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published by BHC Press under the Open Window imprint Library of Congress Control Number: 2018936814 ISBN Numbers: Softcover: 978-1-947727-57-1 Ebook: 978-1-947727-99-1 Visit the publisher at: www.bhcpress.com


ALSO BY TOM MOHAN Eve of Redemption


one

L

iza McCarthy blew a strand of dark hair from her face as she dug through the day’s mail. Mostly junk, as usual. She divided the junk mail into two piles, one for the shredder and the other to go into the recycle bin. She always shredded the credit card offers and anything else that had her name on it. Just the mention of identity theft gave her nightmares. She took a steak knife from the rack on the counter, slit open an envelope from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and pulled out her new driver’s license. She scanned the expiration date, which was three years in the future on her twenty-ninth birthday. She’d once heard a story of a woman who’d been arrested because her brand-new license had an expired date on it. That thought had wormed its way into her mind and refused to leave. The date was correct, so she shifted her gaze to the picture. Her own face stared up at her. Her smile was okay, and her green eyes stood out against her tan skin. Her skin was always tan. It never faded, never


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grew darker, and never burned, even in the Southern California sun. People often thought she was Pacific Islander or something like that. Who knew, maybe she was. She’d never had a zit, either. She assumed she could thank her biological dad for that. Her straight black hair was another gift from him. As driver’s license pictures went, it wasn’t bad. She finished with the mail and glanced at the answering machine at the end of the counter. Her friend, Becca, made fun of her for using such an old-fashioned device. Voicemail was standard with any phone service, but Liza liked knowing whether she had any messages at a single glance. She’d grown uncomfortable with rapid technological advances. Besides, it was part of the phone, so she might as well use it. Liza pushed the play button and waited for the usual junk message urging her to call to receive a prize or to vote for whatever candidate in the next election. Instead, a woman’s voice came from the tiny speaker. “Hello, Liza. My name is Brianna. I’m Marcas’s sister. I need to talk to you. Please call the number on your answering machine as soon as you hear this.” The machine went quiet after one message. Liza found herself holding her breath. She hadn’t heard from Marcas in nearly three months. Hearing his name brought a flush of anger to her face. Marcas had told her that he had no family, so who was this Brianna? He’d spoken little of his past during their brief relationship, but he’d been clear that he had no siblings. That was the one thing they’d had in common. Liza jumped as the phone rang. The number was unfamiliar, and she let it go to the answering machine. After three rings, she heard the machine click on. There was a delay during which she knew the caller was hearing her recorded greeting, and then the same woman’s voice came on. “Pick up the phone, Liza. I know you’re there.” Liza stared at the machine. How could this woman know she was home? Liza considered picking up but instead reached over and shut the machine off. Marcas was a part of her past, and she didn’t need him


~ 13

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dredged back up. Whatever this Brianna wanted, she could get it without Liza’s help. The phone rang. The number on the screen was different this time, not even a real phone number—00000. Liza’s hand shook as she took the phone and disconnected the wire from the back. “There,” she said, her voice loud in the quiet house. “Now leave me alone.” Liza glanced at the clock on the kitchen wall. Almost 10:00 p.m. Auditions for the play had gone late and left her exhausted. She was glad her part was already locked in and that she had only to watch the others that evening. She opened the cabinet over the microwave and took out a wine glass. The phone rang. Liza spun toward it. The wire dangled from the edge of the counter. Even the menu screen was dark. The incoming call light flashed, and the phone rang a second time. The wine glass slipped from her fingers and shattered on the tile floor. A third ring, and the answering machine that she’d shut off clicked on. “Listen to me, Elizabeth McCarthy. You are in great danger. If you do not do exactly as I say, you will not live through the night.” Liza’s gaze flicked around the room. The air in her little house felt heavy and oppressive, making it hard to breathe. She placed a hand on the counter to steady herself. “I know you’re there. I apologize for frightening you, but you need to listen to me.” Liza stepped closer to the counter, a piece of glass crunching beneath her shoe. She picked up the phone, her palm so damp with sweat that she almost dropped it. She couldn’t quite bring herself to put it to her ear and held it a few inches away. “Who are you?” “I told you who I am.” “Marcas doesn’t have a sister.”


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“Is that what he told you? Interesting, but of no consequence at the moment.” The utter calm of the woman’s voice soothed some of Liza’s fear. “How are you talking to me? I unplugged the phone.” “How I’m talking to you isn’t as important as why.” “Who the hell are you? This can’t be happening.” There was a pause and then a soft sigh. “Look, I’m not very good at dealing with people, but I need you to believe that if you do not do exactly as I say, your life will be in jeopardy.” Liza’s eyes scanned the room, every shadow a potential hiding place for some unknown enemy. Could she be in danger? Her tidy, well-organized life had no frame of reference for such a thing. “Go on.” “There is a man on his way to your house right now. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to be there when he arrives. I need you to take your cell phone and go out the back door.” “Why the back door? My car is in front.” “Do not go out the front door. Do not go to your car.” Brianna’s voice now vibrated with a sense of urgency that caused Liza’s heart to race. She had a hard time catching her breath. This couldn’t be real. Her house was in a quiet neighborhood in the southeast corner of San Pedro, California. Like all the houses in the neighborhood, the backyard was fenced and, in her case, the fence covered by a hedge. There was one large carob tree that shaded most of the yard, and no place to hide. She would be trapped if someone really was coming after her. Headlights from a passing car drew her attention to the front window. The car continued past the house, slower than she thought normal. The brake lights flashed as the car slowed even more. “You need to get out of there now!” Brianna said. “Go into the backyard and hide behind the tree. Keep your cell phone on you, and I will be in contact.” “Wait…” Liza said, but the woman was gone. She thought she heard another car coming up the road, but this time no headlights


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shone in the window. She still didn’t trust the woman who claimed to be Marcas’s sister, but she was too spooked to stay where she was. She grabbed her purse and headed out the back door. The first thing Liza noticed was how dark the yard was. The upper limbs of the tree were vague outlines against the night sky, and the trunk seemed little more than a shadow. She thought she heard another car and paused, uncertain. She was so unnerved she didn’t know what to think. The night air held a chill without being cold. Late spring in the Los Angeles area generally meant beautiful days and comfortable nights. The air smelled of city smog mixed with the gentler scent of night-blooming lilac. Liza hugged her purse tight and moved down the three concrete steps and into the yard. She wasn’t sure who was the crazy one—the woman on the phone or herself. The phone was unplugged. Liza slipped behind the tree trunk and positioned herself where she could see the house but remain out of sight. The yard was dark and quiet. Soft sounds from neighboring houses spoke of people going about their normal lives. Somewhere in front of the house, a car door closed. Liza held her breath. The night grew quieter, as though the comforting sounds of normality were fading into the background to make way for the headline event. A feeling of dark foreboding fell over her. For a moment, she couldn’t breathe, and then the feeling passed. What the hell was that? A shadow moved across the kitchen window. Liza pulled her head out of sight and pressed her back against the rough bark of the tree. There was someone in her house. Her breathing sputtered in small gasps as she fought to push the panic away. According to Brianna, the intruder wanted to hurt her. But why? Liza stifled a scream as her phone vibrated in her purse. She plunged her hand inside the bag and felt the vibration again. She dug


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inside the darkness of the purse until she found it. It vibrated again yet the screen remained dark. With a shaking hand, Liza pressed the phone to her ear. “Don’t say anything.” Brianna’s voice was soft and calm. “He knows you’re there, but he can’t sense you. I know this sounds strange, but you will have to trust me. Try to keep calm and do exactly as I say. Believe it or not, I can get you out of this.” Brianna’s voice seemed to lose some of its confidence on that last line. Liza had so many questions but was afraid to make any sound. The phone was so quiet against her ear that she wondered if the woman had hung up. The world and everything familiar lay just beyond the hedge, and yet it felt miles away, unreachable. Her world now consisted of only this dark square and the strange woman on the phone. “Get ready to move,” Brianna said. “Move? Move where?” “Listen closely. When I tell you to move, I want you to go around the north side of the house. Go to the front edge but not beyond the house.” Liza peered toward the house. “The north side doesn’t have a gate,” she whispered. “It’s just a fence.” “Really? Well, that creates a problem, doesn’t it?” Brianna was silent a moment. “It has to be the north side. Go! Now!” Liza hesitated a moment before doing as instructed. The soft, damp grass covered the sound of her footsteps as she slipped across the yard and into the narrow gap between her house and the fence. The fence was only about six feet high—four inches taller than her—and she could see into her neighbor’s yard when she stood on tiptoe. Various forms of debris littered the ground along the narrow way. Her landlord was good about keeping up maintenance on the house, however, his handyman had a tendency to use this gap to dump junk he didn’t feel like hauling to the landfill. And spiders. Don’t forget the spiders.


~ 17

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About two-thirds of the way toward the front of the house stood another fence of the same height. Her foot collided with the edge of a board buried in the weeds, and it hit the fence with a dull thud. She pressed her back to the house and listened for any sound from within. Silence greeted her. She could sense someone there and again felt the dark touch that caused her to shiver in revulsion. Along with the darkness came the sensation of cold fingers trying to dig into her mind. Liza squinted. Her neighborhood was on a slope, so the house next door was lower than her own. While the fence was only six feet high on her side, it was much higher on the other. She didn’t think she could make that climb in the dark. She looked toward the fence between her and the front yard. She thought she could scale it, but there was a window that would put her in clear sight of anyone within view of it. She lifted the phone to her ear, but if Brianna was there, she wasn’t offering any advice. Feeling like a rat trapped in a corner, Liza decided she either had to go over the fence or around the other way. She wanted to sneak around the house and slip out the gate, but Brianna’s warning held her back. Sucking in a deep breath that did little to calm her, she moved beside the window and risked a quick glance inside. The room was tiny and contained only a cheap desk, computer, and small bookcase, none of which she could see in the dark. A shadow moved across the open door from the den to the living room, and Liza ducked back and held her breath. The cold fingers probed again, more insistent this time, and she was certain that whoever was in the house was standing on the other side of the window. She closed her eyes, willing herself to be invisible in the darkness. The probing felt like it was trying to force its way into her head, into her mind. It nauseated her. A light touch brushed her hand. Liza bit her lower lip to keep from screaming as something with many legs marched over her skin. It paused for a moment, and her mind conjured the image of a huge spi-


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der preparing to sink its mandibles of death into her hand. The pressure on her mind grew stronger, as though the intruder could sense her sudden terror. Liza tried to turn her mind off, to imagine a blank space. The spider began moving again, and she forced herself to ignore it. Finally, the feeling faded, and she felt the presence move away. She waited another full minute before allowing herself to breathe again. She shook the hand that the spider had crossed but saw no sign of it. By now, her eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness, and she inspected the fence before her. She’d always been athletic and hoped her childhood gymnastics might help. She thought she could get over it easily enough but not very quietly. And not with her purse. She shoved her phone in her pants pocket and dug her keys from the purse before setting the bag on the ground beside her. Taking another look at the window, she decided to make her move. She scurried beneath the window and darted to the fence. Then, from a squatting position, she launched herself up. She got more height than she expected. Her hands grasped the top of the fence, and she used one foot against the house to propel herself over. She kept hold of the top and landed on the other side. Liza fought to keep her panting breath under control. She squatted beside the fence and listened. The whole maneuver had gone off much better than she’d expected, though her foot hitting the house had sounded like an explosion in her ears. Hearing nothing, she stood and stepped to the corner of the house. Her car was parked in front. An unfamiliar, dark-colored sedan sat across the street. Nothing moved. She was considering her options when the phone vibrated. She pulled it from her pocket. “What?” she whispered. “Don’t go to your car. He’ll be expecting that. Do you see two very similar cars near your house?” Liza searched the street. There was another dark sedan just like the first about half a block down. “I see them.”


~ 19

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“Okay, here’s where things get interesting. Something is about to happen that will give you a way out. Unfortunately, I don’t know what that something might be. I just know it will happen, and if you act accordingly, you are still alive when the sun rises in the morning.” Liza wanted to scream. This woman was driving her crazy with her vague predictions and nonsense statements. She considered making a break for her own car, but the foreboding darkness hit her like a blow. Nausea welled up in her, and she thought she might be sick. Whoever was in the house was coming her way, and she had the distinct impression he knew where she was this time. She shook uncontrollably. Her mind screamed at her to run, to get away. She was ready to bolt for her car when a second man stepped out of the shadows on the other side of the house by the gate. She couldn’t make out any details in the dark, but she knew he was looking right at her. The sound of her front door opening spurred her to action. She ran, not toward her car but straight to the street. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw one of the men coming, and the footsteps of the other thudded behind her. She felt the jaws of the trap snapping shut. She turned down the street away from her pursuers and ran. She felt them behind her, closing in, felt the fingers in her mind pulling her back. She stumbled—fell. Her instincts forced her body into a tight roll, but the hard pavement still knocked the air from her lungs. She found herself bathed in light as tires screeched almost on top of her. She screamed and wrapped her arms around her head in a futile attempt at self-preservation. A siren interrupted her scream, and flashing lights turned the scene around her red. Brianna’s something had arrived.


two

D

o you feel any better this morning? You fell asleep in the middle of talking last night.” Manny Lepe placed a steaming mug on the coffee table in front of Liza before settling himself into his worn recliner. The scent of his favorite Peruvian blend filled the room. He watched patiently as Liza picked up the mug and allowed it to warm her hands. She had shown up at his front door after midnight, shaking terribly and babbling about someone trying to kill her. “More like this morning,” Liza said. “I’m exhausted. Thank you for taking me in at such an hour.” “Did you think I would turn you away? We are family, yes?” Liza smiled. “Yes, we are. You’re my only family.” Manny hoped he managed to keep the disapproving look from his face. The last thing she needed from him this morning was another lecture about her mother. Besides, he’d be lying to himself if he denied how nice it felt that she would come to him with such a problem. He


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loved this young woman as his own daughter and was proud that she felt the same way. “I told you more last night than I’d intended,” Liza continued. “You probably think I’m crazy.” “I don’t think you are crazy,” Manny said, though the story was quite strange. “Well, at least I had the presence of mind not to tell the police that my phone continued working even after I disconnected it. When they asked about it, I told them the intruder must have unplugged it.” “There was nothing missing from your house? Nothing stolen?” “Nothing. The only thing to prove I didn’t imagine the whole thing was the broken wine glass in the kitchen and the disconnected phone.” Liza shook her head. “I don’t understand, Manny. I always lock the front door when I come home, but there was no evidence of forced entry. It’s like they had a key to my house.” Manny sat in silence. He had always been a quiet man, preferring to think through his words before speaking. Especially when speaking English. He watched as Liza sipped her drink and gazed around the small room. Manny had moved into Pacific Colony Retirement Village almost four years before after succumbing to the inevitable fact that, at seventy-seven years old, he could no longer keep up his duties as gardener for Liza’s mother. Her mom was paying the steep cost of the place, for which he had great appreciation. During Liza’s childhood years, he had done his best to be there for Liza as her parents fought and eventually split up. Even then, they had used Liza to hurt one another. As much as it pained him, he and the other household staff had often been the closest thing to a family that Liza had. “The woman on the unplugged phone and that dark feeling you had, these are strange things, yes?” he said, gathering his thoughts. Liza nodded. “I’d call them strange, yes.” Manny smiled. “My abuela—my grandmother—used to tell stories of such strange things in her village in Mexico. Her people believed


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that there are spirits all around us, some good, some not so good.” He stared at the ceiling as his thoughts drifted back over seventy years. “Many stories to scare children to behave. We huddled beneath our blankets, so frightened but listening to every word. To us, the spirits were very real. To abuela, too, I think.” “My parents would have called your grandmother crazy,” Liza said. Manny smiled and nodded. “Most Americans would. This culture has lost its sense of wonder. Too much to distract. They only see what is before them.” “I don’t understand any of it. What happened last night is impossible.” “And yet, it happened, yes?” Liza placed her coffee cup on the table and slumped back on the couch. “When I woke up this morning, I tried to deny the whole thing, to put it off as exhaustion and an overactive imagination.” Her eyes met his. “It didn’t work. I could remember every detail. I have no idea how that woman did what she did, but it really happened.” “And you have no idea why someone would try to hurt you? Or maybe just scare you? A joke, maybe?” “No,” Liza said, her voice rising. “I’m no one, nothing. No one would go to that trouble over me.” She sat up and picked up her mug again. “Besides, there was no faking that feeling I had when the intruder was near. My skin still crawls when I think about it.” The clock on the wall chimed 8:00 a.m. Liza yawned. “You need rest,” Manny said. “You are welcome to stay here. The ladies are coming at noon for coffee and cards, but you can sleep in my room and we will be quiet.” Liza smiled. “The ladies are coming for cocktails and gossip. You’ve become quite the popular bachelor around here. I don’t want to be a bother.” “It would be no bother at all.” He paused. “You should tell your mother about what happened last night.”


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“Why would I do that? She doesn’t care what happens to me. She’s never cared what happened to me.” Her words pained Manny. He would never give up hope that Liza and her mother could reconcile. “Wait a moment,” Manny said. He pushed himself from his chair and moved nimbly to his bedroom. He opened the top drawer of his dresser and removed a box that had long ago contained a watch his late wife had bought him for his birthday. He removed the contents and put the box back in the drawer. With a deep breath, he muttered a short prayer that he was doing the right thing. Instead of returning to his recliner, Manny sat beside Liza on the small couch. He took her right hand in his left and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Manny? Are you all right? Your forehead has those lines that say you’re concerned.” He shrugged. “I’m old, that’s all.” The worry did not leave her face. “I’m bien, fine.” He took another deep breath. “We have never much talked about that night.” Liza’s face showed that she knew which night he spoke of—the night she was conceived. “No, we haven’t. Nor have I wanted to.” Manny smiled and squeezed her hand again. “This time, we must.” He could see the emotions flit across her face: anger, denial, self-loathing. These things they had spoken of often but never the reason for them. She had always refused to speak of that part of herself. “You know the story already, so I will speak only of what I have not told anyone.” Manny shifted on the couch but did not release her hand. “Your mother called him the Dark Man. This you know.” Liza nodded. “That’s where I got my dark complexion.” “Not her meaning, though, I do not think. Dark, but not skin.” “You’re confusing me.” “Your mother could remember little of him, little of that night.” “She was drunk,” Liza said.


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“She says no.” “All she does is drink. That’s her life.” Manny could hear the anger in her voice. “Now, sí. Then, no. She was a lovely woman. We on her staff could not believe the stories.” “Yet she never denied them. She never denied any of it.” “No. Still, it was not like her.” He sat up straighter. “But this is not what I wish to tell you. When she came home that night, she was wearing something different. Only Maria noticed and then only by chance. You did not know Maria.” “No. I don’t think I’ve heard about a Maria.” “She died soon after that night. It was not good.” He paused, his mind lost in the past. “Maria noticed the pendant on Mrs. McCarthy. She later found it in the bathroom trash can when she emptied it. She dared not ask your mother about it. Maria did not like the pendant— she said it was maldito.” “Cursed?” “Close enough. She wanted to put it back in the trash, but I took it from her. I think it was from your father. Your real father, the Dark Man.” Liza’s mother had forbidden any mention of Liza’s biological father. Her husband at the time, technically Liza’s stepfather until the couple divorced when Liza was four, had never forgiven his wife for her infidelity and had refused to have anything to do with Liza. Manny held out his other hand and opened it to reveal a necklace. He held it up so that the pendant that dangled from it was clear to see. “That looks really old,” Liza said, her gaze studying every detail. “I believe it is. Very old.” The pendant took the shape of two interlocking rings, like plain male wedding bands, one silver and the other deep black. Symbols that looked almost familiar, and yet completely foreign, decorated each ring. It hung from a heavy, masculine-looking chain. “The night after this was given to me, I had a dream that I was giving it to you. You were all grown up in the dream, but I knew it was


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you. You looked just as you look now. I kept it. Now, I give it to you. Why? I do not know, but it feels like the right thing.” Liza grasped the necklace by the chain. As her hand came in contact with it, her face paled, and for a moment, Manny thought she might faint. Then she blinked twice and looked as though nothing had happened. “Liza? Are you feeling not well?” “No. I mean, I’m fine.” “You looked like you were gone somewhere else.” Liza smiled, but it looked forced. “Just wondering where this could have come from. Thank you. If it was my dad’s, I’d like to keep it.” “It is yours to do with as you wish.” Liza’s phone rang on the coffee table. She picked it up and gasped. “I think it’s her—the woman from last night.” She held the phone up so he could see it. The screen was dark, as though no call were coming in. It rang again. “I’m going to put it on speaker. I want someone else to hear this.” She touched a button on the phone. “Hello?” “Go home. I promise it’s safe. They rarely come out during the day, and I don’t sense any danger around you at the moment. I’ll call you again when you get there.” “Wait, what do you mean you don’t sense any danger around me?” “Hello, Mr. Lepe,” the woman said. “You are looking very dapper today.” “Where are you?” Liza practically yelled. Her eyes darted to the one window in the small room. The curtain was only half open. “How can you see us?” The phone was quiet. Manny’s heart pounded in his chest. Who was this woman, and what did she know of him? “It was the woman from last night, yes?” Liza nodded. “Part of me hoped I had imagined the whole thing— hallucinated or something.” She looked at the phone again. “That was her, though. Just like last night. How did she know I was with you?”


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Manny waved a hand. “That is beyond my knowing.” His brown eyes stared into hers. “She said you should go home. Will you?” “The police said they would drive by regularly for a couple days, and it’s a bright, sunny day out. It seems much less scary now.” “I can go with you. You should not do this alone.” Liza took a deep breath. “No, I’ll be okay. Besides, the ladies will be terribly disappointed if you cancel.” Manny smiled. “That is true.” His mirth faded. “Still, I worry about you, mija.” Liza wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. “If I can stay another night, I’ll be back by dark. I don’t think I can sleep there tonight.” Manny returned the hug. “You know you are always welcome. Please, be careful.” A few minutes later, Manny stood on the front lawn of Pacific Colony and watched Liza drive away. Had he done the right thing? Should he have advised her to stay and forget this whole matter? He had not told her all of his dream. He’d left out what had happened after he had given her the pendant. It was only a dream, and I am a silly old man. Still, the image would not leave his mind. ••••••• Liza’s phone began to ring almost as soon as she walked through the door of her house. “Why doesn’t my phone light up and show your number when you call?” she asked in place of a greeting. “Well, I don’t really know,” Brianna said. “How can you not know?” “I don’t get out much. I don’t even know what your phone looks like, but I would guess it’s nothing like mine.” “Okay, whatever. Why did you call me last night?” “To save your life, for one. You could act a bit more grateful, you know.”


~ 27

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Liza realized that Brianna’s words held some truth. If this was not all some elaborate joke, the woman had saved her. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Thank you for last night.” She blew out a breath. “This is all so weird. Nothing like this ever happens to me. My life is so boring even nuns think I need to get a life.” “Well, if it makes you feel any better, nothing like this ever happens to anyone outside of my family, which makes me wonder—why you, Elizabeth McCarthy?” “Believe me, I’ve been asking myself that same question. How did you know I was in danger, anyway?” “I don’t have time to go into that right now. I will tell you all I can when you get here.” Liza wasn’t sure she’d heard right. “Wait. When I get where? I’m not going anywhere.” “Yes, you are.” Brianna’s voice never wavered. “Marcas needs you. I’m not sure why or what your part is, but I do know that you have to come here.” “Where exactly are you?” “Halden’s Mill. It’s a small town in northern Missouri.” “Missouri! I’m not going to Missouri. I’ve never even been out of California.” She waited for a response, but the line was quiet. “Are you still there?” “I’m here. Yes, Paulie, that was you a few years ago. Sorry, Liza, I have a visitor who needed my attention. Where were we? Last night I had to contact you in a way that would get your attention. I believe that worked out quite well as you are still alive today. Something is going on here, something out of the ordinary that affects my family. Somehow you are involved and, believe me when I say, you will come here.” The sudden fire in the woman’s voice alarmed Liza. “I don’t know who you think I am. I haven’t heard from Marcas in months. He told me he couldn’t see me anymore and disappeared.”


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“I don’t like this any more than you do. You’re an outsider and should not be involved. Yet somehow you are, and I don’t know why. I do not like not knowing.” “Oh, and I guess you know everything, huh?” “As a matter of fact, I do. It’s my gift. Here’s the deal—Marcas’s brother is missing. Marcas has practically disappeared himself searching for Conall. Most paths lead to death—theirs and yours. Only one path leads to life, and on that path, you are here with us.” Liza struggled to make what she was hearing fit reality. “That makes no sense at all.” “To you, I’m sure it doesn’t. It is not something that I can explain long distance. You must come here. To say it is a matter of life and death may sound overly dramatic, but it is very true in this case.” Liza hesitated. She couldn’t just leave, could she? Why not? She had vacation time, and it wasn’t like she had any social life to miss out on. There was the play to consider. But auditions were still going on. It wouldn’t be that hard to replace her. The idea was tantalizing and terrifying at the same time. She had never traveled. Had never been anywhere. She’d spent most of her life practically locked in her mother’s house. Could she really do something like this? You felt it when you put the pendant on. You knew then that your life was going to change. “Let me think about it,” she said. “You do that.” There was amusement in Brianna’s voice. “But according to the paths, you already know what you are going to do. I’ll see you in a few days.”


ABOUT the AUTHOR Tom Mohan grew up in rural Missouri, where he learned that reading was a great escape from the restless boredom he often felt. He loved anything scary, and latched on to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub. After joining the U.S. Navy in the early 80s, Tom discovered epic fantasy and read as much of it as he could get. Tom currently resides in San Diego.


Profile for BHC Press

Blood of the Fae by Tom Mohan  

When Liza McCarthy receives a call from a mystery woman claiming to be in danger she flees just in time to the small midwestern town of Hald...

Blood of the Fae by Tom Mohan  

When Liza McCarthy receives a call from a mystery woman claiming to be in danger she flees just in time to the small midwestern town of Hald...

Profile for bhcpress
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