Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 21

The hated cop was cooking dinner with Kanesha when I got back from the shoot. “I had another model pitying me.”

Mike raised an eyebrow.

“Apparently living with a cop at my age would have cramped her style.” I grinned. “I smell pasta.”

“You,” Kanesha informed me, “Can toss salad.”

I moved to comply instantly. Powerful future goddesses can always be routed by girlfriends.

“Hrm. Makes me wonder how much alcohol she consumes.”

I grinned. “I figured that was it. Then again, there are dumber things than underage drinking.”

“And less dumb things. I’d rather catch you guys with pot.”

I wondered if pot would work on me. “Yeah. I guess people who are stoned aren’t as likely to do profoundly stupid stuff.”

“Exactly. Although it’s still not good if you aren’t an adult.” Mike shrugged. “Do I cramp your style?”

I decided not to answer that question. I tossed salad.
Right as we were starting to clear up the table, my cell phone rang. “Excuse me.”

It was Clara. “Hey.”


“They set a court date, but apparently she disappeared.”

“I scared her a bit,” I admitted. “Well, if she doesn’t show up they can add contempt and stuff, right?”

“And keep her bail, which will surely please whoever put it up,” Mike noted. “Let me guess, the high priestess of sex vanished?”

I nodded. “Yeah, she did. Clara…be careful.”

“I already cursed the ones that tried something with me with acne and bed bugs respectively. They’ll regret teaching me those spells.”

I laughed, then had to explain what was so funny to Mike.

“Bed bugs, eh? That’s a nasty one.”

“How about we meet up for lunch tomorrow,” I suggested to Clara. “And talk about it properly.”
Tomorrow was Sunday. “I’ll check with my dad and call you back.”

She hung up. I glanced at Mike. “Bed bugs. Remind me never to piss her off.”

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 20

“What’s wrong?” a woman called Monica asked as I tugged on the dress.

“Oh, some creepy woman creeped all over a freshman I happen to like. They’re charging her with sexual assault.”

Monica winced. “Well, at least they bothered to. They don’t half the time when it’s a woman. The guy’s supposed to be flattered.”

“Did I say it was a guy?” I quipped. “Zip me up, would you?”

Half the time it seemed modeling clothes needed a helper to secure them properly. Prue called clothes like that “Boyfriend clothes,” because only women with boyfriends…or girlfriends…could actually wear them.

I kind of liked the term and thought I might steal it. Monica moved to fasten the zipper.

“I don’t get how you always look fantastic,” she told me. “You’ve technically got too many curves.”

I grinned. “I think the manager is just that good at deciding what to put on who.” That was a skill. Maybe that was a job I could do, if I got to stay long enough to have a job.

I felt a faint sense of storm clouds stirring at the point.

“Good point. I mean, you and I could never wear the same colors.”

I grinned at her. Monica had raven hair and a tan I suspected was at least in part natural. “Not remotely.”

“Sometimes I think some of the women…and men…out there could use to do this just once so they have some idea of what they should and shouldn’t wear,” she mused.

“Oh, drop that. People can wear whatever they want. It’s their problem if it doesn’t work that well.”

Of course, if people cared enough to want to learn more…well, there were fashion classes and beauty classes and the like to go to. For myself, I tended to let the director decide – but I paid attention to her choices.

I’d learned a lot about color theory since doing this job. And color theory did rather matter if you cared about how you looked.

I wasn’t sure how much I did. Unless I could get it to make me look scarier. Now, that wasn’t even that bad an idea.

I could get it to make me look scarier and, well, I’d not have to hit people as often.

“So, hopefully they’ll…what? Put her on the sex offender registry?”

I thought about that. “Man, from what I know of the woman, she’d hate that. Besides, it’s really hard to find anywhere to live within the restrictions.” I wasn’t sure though. “But she didn’t actually get to do anything, so…” I was glad of that, but it would make it harder to make the woman’s life hell legally. “I’ll have to ask Mike. She lives in Virginia.” Which I thought had tougher rules than DC. But…

“That’s the cop you live right, right? I’d have hated to live with a cop at your age.”

I shrugged. “I don’t drink underage, and he’s a decent guy.”

“A decent cop?”

“Hey, this isn’t PG County,” I quipped and then slipped my feet into the shoes. High heels. I hated them. I never wore them unless shooting. They made me tower over most people. Not here, though. All the models for this shoot were on the tall side.

“True. Still, I’d have hated to live with a cop.”

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 19

I came crashing down as I thought about it. What was I turning into? I was just a teenaged girl.

I didn’t have the right to harass people, threaten to kill them, threaten to set dogs on them. Mike could not and would not approve of what had happened.

Which was exactly why I had to tell him. He listened with a frown, then nodded. “You didn’t hurt anyone.”

“Thruor gave one of them a headache.”

I trusted her not to have done worse damage than she intended to. She was an experienced warrior, after all.

Mike made a wry face. “I can imagine.”

“What am I turning into?”

“Somebody you care about was threatened. Most of us turn into a raving instrument of vengeance at that point. The difference is that you’re strong enough to do something about it. It’s fine. You didn’t kill anyone.”

“Yet,” I said, making a face. “What if I have to follow through?”

“You won’t, right?”

I considered that. “I’ll try not to. But she did try to kill Kanesha. And I can’t prove that under the law.”

“Which is why hunters so often ignore the law and I’m always having to clean up after them. Fortunately, vampires and demons seldom leave bodies.”

I wondered if I would if anything happened to me. Probably not. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure I was entirely real. “But these are humans.”

“And you shouldn’t kill unless it’s really solid self defense. I can protect you to a point, but what about when you’re an adult and not here any more?”

“I’m not asking you to protect me from my own stupidity. Just from what I might need to do.”

“Then keep the line firm in your mind and you’ll be okay. As for feeling like the mob…well…”

I laughed a bit. “You know what I mean, though. Threatening to break people’s legs for hurting my woman. Isn’t that really a mob thing? Especially with the dog.”

“No concrete overshoes, okay?”

I laughed again. “I think I can definitively promise that part.” I had other ways of getting rid of somebody, at least I was pretty sure of that.

And besides, I didn’t have access to concrete.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 18

Silence followed by denial, but I saw how they pulled away a little from their high priestess.

Maybe that was enough. Maybe they would start to defy her, start to go their own way. As separate individuals, they weren’t so scary.

I turned to face her. Our eyes met.

“Lust imps,” I said, simply, curling my lips upwards. I’m not sure if it looked more like a smile or a snarl.

“Shame they don’t show up on video.”

“A real shame.” I turned it all the way into a smile. “Youtube would have a field day. Now here’s how this is going to work. I’m not going to kill you – today. The cops would find out. But if you touch Kanesha again, then…”

The fyrhund at my side cut in with a growl, hackles raised. I couldn’t have asked for more.

She looked at the dog, blinked, then really looked at it and turned pale.

“You get my point.”

The fyrhund could find her, we’d proven that. And it seemed he was quite happy to rip her throat out for me. I wondered what I’d done to deserve his loyalty. Or maybe he was just happy to have a throat to rip out.

She swallowed. “I do.”

“Honestly, if I was you, I’d disappear right about now. Break up the coven. Go somewhere not here. West coast, maybe. You’d fit right in in Hollywood,” I added, rather snidely.

“The cops…”

I shrugged. “The cops are your problem. You shouldn’t have set lust imps on a 15-year-old.”

“A 15-year-old you planted on us.”

I shrugged again. “Nope. She was just looking for training. I admit I encouraged her to find some.”

She snarled at me, but another growl from the dog caused her to fall silent.

“We’re done here,” I told Thruor, turning to leave. Pointedly turning my back on them, as if they weren’t any kind of a threat.

I felt like a member of the mafia. I felt as if I had that kind of power, in that moment. Life, death, the law. People under my protection.

I knew it could not last, but for right now it felt good. Just knowing I had a chance to protect my friends was enough.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 17

Walking up to the door and knocking occurred to me. If I’d had my father’s ability with illusions and shapeshifting, I would have.

As it was, I wasn’t convinced my ‘nobody important’ trick would work on people who counted me a personal enemy.


I let Thruor do it while I stayed with the bikes, my helmet still on. They might not recognize her. Maybe. I could hope, in any case, for that outcome while being ready for us to be attacked, magically or otherwise.

The fyrhund, still looking like a mundane dog, stayed with me, but he was on point, nose directly aimed at the front door. I had a vision of him breathing fire on them if they caused trouble.

Probably not a good idea.

I did recognize the young woman who opened the door. “We don’t want any,” she said in a clear voice.

“What makes you think I’m selling anything?”

I lifted one hand to my sword as Thruor put her foot in the door. I couldn’t see her face from here, but I could imagine it. She had the sweetest smile when she was about to kick somebody’s butt.

I saw a blue spark. And that was when I moved, tossing the helmet to one side as I ran up the path.


Thruor, unaffected by the spell, pushed her against the wall.

“You’ve got two choices,” I said grimly. “Hand over whoever cursed my girlfriend or help me find out who really did it.”

There was always that off chance it wasn’t them, after all.

She spat in my direction, almost hitting Thruor instead. The valkyrie just knocked her out, dropping her limp body to the ground.

I was almost disappointed she hadn’t killed her, and I knew I could, then I pulled myself together. That wasn’t going to resolve the problem. The only thing that would or could do was get me into trouble with the law.

“Let’s be careful.”

Thruor grinned. “You really think the cops will arrest us for shaking them down?”

“Maybe. Not all cops are Mike,” I pointed out as I stepped into the house.

The rest of them were in the living room, clustered around the television. They were watching a romantic comedy, of all things.

“Which one of you losers thought it would be fun to throw hexes at my girlfriend?” I asked, grimly.

I was going to find out which one it was and then I was going to remind them why they didn’t mess with me. For now, though, the only response was silence.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 16

I didn’t tell Kanesha I was going hunting. She would have insisted on coming.

I told Thruor. And she and another valkyrie, who’s name I didn’t know, were waiting outside by the time I’d geared up.

“I’m not letting anyone cast nasty curses on Kanesha.”

Thruor looked grim. “Agreed. Do you know what it was?”

“The talisman took most of it, but she fainted. I think they meant to kill her.”

“Or paralyze her, or make her sick with something. You resist that kind of stuff. She doesn’t.” Thruor’s tone was practical. “So, time to teach them a lesson.”

I glanced at the other woman present, but she was quiet. And testing the edge of a knife. I figured I could count on her.

“They won’t be in the same covenhome they were in before, especially with the cops investigating them. So we need to find them.” I’d called the steed before. Now I focused on a different creature. Maybe now the weather was warmer he would show up.

And he did, the fyrhund leaning against me, sending a blast of hot air around me.

“I’d almost forgotten about him.”

“He got mad when I stopped working at a place with an oven. And doesn’t like winter.” I reached down to scritch the elemental behind the ears.

He was probably from Muspelheim. I didn’t care, not if he could help find our quarry. “Reckon you can help us track down some witches?”

Thruor looked thoughtful. “Need something connected to them. Something for him to get a scent off of.”

I petted him once more and then vanished inside, coming out with a pamphlet Clara had given me. “This should have scent on it. Other than mine and Clara’s.”

I held it out for the fyrhund – who actually became visible and manifested as a rather goofy looking red coon hound. With a slice of Scooby Doo. “You’re too cartoony,” I told it.

It made a very Scooby-esque rawrl sound, but shifted to look more like a real dog.

“Much better.” Then it glanced at the valkyries and started to trot off down the street. I hopped on behind Thruor as we set off. This time, I was prepared – I was wearing a helmet. It didn’t really make me that much more comfortable about things, though. I felt just as safe without one.

Although it only appeared to be trotting, we had to go at a good pace to keep up with it. And it was heading clean out into the suburbs, right out to Falls Church.

Eventually, it stopped outside a very ordinary and innocent looking house. A big one, but still very ordinary.

I, for one, didn’t detect any hint of magic.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 15

The threats started as soon as Clara went to the police. Well, to Mike and his partner.

Anonymous threats at school. They must have known a student or a parent. Or maybe even a teacher. The first ones were taped to my locker.

They didn’t threaten to kill me. They threatened more subtle things. To expose me as a lesbian to the world; which made me laugh. I didn’t care who knew I was with Kanesha, and neither did she.

When that didn’t seem to intimidate me, they threatened to influence child services to get us split up for good and all. I trusted Mike to handle anything like that.

So? I ignored the threats. I would have ignored death threats just as thoroughly. I already knew the high priestess wanted me dead. I did go to Bruce and talk him out of a talisman that would help protect Kanesha from curses. Just in case. I was fairly sure I had defenses, but she didn’t.

It probably saved her life. It was almost the end of March at this point, spring definitely in the air. Guards were starting to come down, if I was absolutely honest about the matter.

Seriously, it was spring, the coven were being dealt with by the cops, and I was relaxing. I wasn’t snapping at Kanesha or anyone else any more. The temperature was rising and people were starting to pull out of winter hibernation.

So, everything was good, and then Kanesha passed out at lunch. I reacted quickly, easing her to the ground, checking her pulse. Recovery position.

It wasn’t like her to faint, though. The talisman Bruce had given me for her was glowing slightly. They hadn’t been able to get a curse to stick on me.

They had on her.

I’d find who had done this and I’d kill them, I vowed in that moment. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but as soon as I could find a good way to get away with it. Or I’d find some worse fate.

Life in prison would work too. She came around after a moment. “What happened?”

“Somebody tried to curse you.” I helped her to her feet. “Let’s blame lunch and get you to the nurse.”

The nurse, of course, wasn’t inclined to blame lunch. She tossed me out of the room so she could grill Kanesha on, I suspected, everything she’d eaten lately and any other possibilities.

Eventually, Kanesha came out. “I managed to convince her it was stress. Do you know…?”

“One of the Silver Thorns. I don’t know which one. Don’t take that pendant off.”

She shuddered. “I won’t. It felt like, you know, I was a hobbit stuck with a wraith’s knife.”

I shuddered myself. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything like that happen to you.”

No threats could have got to me. This did.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 14

When I looked outside again, the bike was gone. I was almost disappointed, but no doubt she had gone back to her actual rider.

The fact that I could call one, though? I’d have to ask Thruor about it. Maybe she’d have a clue what was going on there.

Maybe she would come back. I watched the snowy street for a moment, then turned back into the house and headed upstairs. I had some rather neglected homework I needed to get done. Not that I didn’t have a good excuse, but now I was out of the drop out zone I rather wanted to stay that way if at all possible. I still needed good grades.

In between modeling and demon hunting, I still had to try and be an ordinary girl. It was a good thing I didn’t need much sleep.

Kanesha showed up, took one look at me, then grabbed her own books and flopped on the bed with them. “Hey.”

“Hey. Clara’s out.”

“Good. Did she get…?”

“Attacked by lust imps.”

Kanesha dropped her pen and started giggling. “Oh, oh dear, oh dear.”

“It’s all dealt with.” It was starting to look funny in hindsight, though. “And hopefully we’ll have them in jail for sexual assault and corrupting a minor soon enough. At least the high priestess.”

“But lust imps?” She looked at me. “Did you send them all back?”

I blushed. “Yes!”

“Shame. They might be fun to be around.”

I pretended to hit her.

“See, you’re back to normal.”

“We have homework,” I said firmly, and turned my back on her.

She was still giggling, a hopeless distraction, but I managed eventually to get some focus, and she did stop after a bit. But maybe I should have kept a lust imp.

Nah. I didn’t think we really needed them, anyway. That kind of thing was for making somebody want you who didn’t.

Which I would not do, I decided. But what if I had to…well…we’d work that out, I supposed.

Without lust imps. And, stealing a glance at the dark form now chewing her pen, not any time soon. Please not any time soon.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 13

The efreet, who introduced himself as a long name starting with Abdul, choosing to protect Clara was a weight off of my mind.


From the way he was looking at her I figured I was now safe from his advances, but she might not be fortunate. I mouthed ‘jailbait’ at him as I left. It might be okay in his culture, but Clara was only fifteen.
She wasn’t old enough to be allowed to date an adult even if she was up for it. On the other hand, there was clearly no arguing with him and I was rather worried that if I tried I’d end up in a sword duel I wasn’t sure I’d win.

So, I let it lie for now, and trusted Clara to tell him where to go if he pushed things too far. The motorbike was waiting for me. I hopped back on and rode it…her…back to the house.

“What happened?” Mike asked. He’d pulled up at about the same moment.

“Invasion of imps.”

He rolled his eyes. “Great. Was somebody…”

I found myself blushing scarlet. Mike wasn’t my dad, but I was even less comfortable talking about sex related stuff with him than I would be with my actual father. Far less, in fact.

“Oh…those kind. Got it. You need hot chocolate.”

He ducked inside. I parked the bike and followed him, leaving the keys in. I was pretty sure the keys weren’t, after all, even real.

Mike made hot chocolate while I stripped off my jacket and then cleaned imp blood off my sword. Not that there was much – it mostly seemed to have evaporated. But still, I had to look after the blade.

Then I curled my hands around the hot chocolate. “Things came to a head with that coven.”

“Is Clara alright?”

“Alright and she has a phone recording of the high priestess trying to…uh…push her into bed. But she’s got herself a new protector.”


“That efreet. I warned him to stay out of her pants.” At least assuming Abdul had understood that warning.

“I’d hope so. She’s underage. Which means we can nail miss…”

“Lady Jonquil Iridescence. Or something. What is it with witches and names like that?”

“Self-importance?” He settled down with a mug of his own. “So, it’s resolved. Unless we end up having to beat on that efreet.”

“I hope I won’t. And I have…a feeling which way I should send her now.”

Mike nodded. “Good.”

“She’s good. She’s already better than they were. So…I think she’ll do fine.” And I could stop worrying about her.

I hoped.

Episode Twelve: Efreet: Scene 12

I dodged reflexively, but whatever it was hit my shoulder, bounced off, and then blew a hole in the wall.

Well, not entirely bounced off. I could feel a bruise forming. That had been meant to kill me.

Clara’s eyes widened. “Jane!”

“Get out of here. There’s an ally upstairs. Go with him. I’ll deal with this.”

The high priestess was looking at her hands as if not sure what had happened as Clara ran. “She still violated an oath.”

“As you meant to violate her. Lust imps to make somebody gay for you? Really?”

I closed my hands around my sword and stepped forward.

“You wouldn’t…”

“Didn’t you just try to blast me? You lost your right to civilized treatment with that.” It would have killed a normal person. I was sure of that.

The ironic thing was, of course, that I was pretty sure Clara didn’t need lust imps to turn her gay, not from the way she’d looked at me. The priestess tossed another spell blast.

I parried it with my sword. It ricocheted and turned a stray, remaining imp into a red smear that evaporated almost immediately.

I didn’t want to kill her, really. The entire point of this operation had been to expose her. And in a world where most people didn’t believe in magic I couldn’t exactly press charges against her for attempted murder.

She could against me. Instead of pressing the attack, thus, I backed up the stairs into a fighting retreat, idly beheading an imp as I did so.

Up the stairs and out of there. We’d get something on her. I was sure Clara’s phone had something we could use in it. As I did so, I felt the faintest sensation of wings and, I was sure, approval.

Hunin. I didn’t have time to acknowledge the raven outside the depths of my thoughts, though. I had to get out of there.

Clara and the efreet were already beating a retreat from the house. I followed them, carefully, trying not to turn my back on the imps. Or the witch.

“She tried to kill you,” Clara said, her voice a little ragged.

“You’re going somewhere…”

“No,” the efreet said firmly. “She’s staying with me.”