Consciousness came slowly to Yvonne. She awoke to find herself lying on a thin mattress in a strange little room, but at first that was unimportant to what she was feeling. It was a strange sensation. For the first time in over eighty years she couldn’t feel her sisters!
There were only three possible reasons for that. First, they could be dead, but if that were the case she thought she would have felt their deaths no matter how unconscious she was. After all, look at the way she had reacted when Scotty was hurt, and he was neither killed nor her coven sister. No, she was pretty convinced that they were still alive, and that conviction gave her hope, for as long as they were alive they would be looking for her, trying to get her back.
The second possibility was that she had simply moved too far away to be felt. That was known to happen in this age of planes, trains and automobiles, but she doubted that was the case. She knew she was being held by the Prince of Detroit, but even that distance should give her a faint sensation of connection. No matter how hard she tried she got nothing. Her guess was that she was still somewhere in Rochester, which made the third possibility a virtual certainty.
So, she decided she was being held somewhere surrounded by spells specifically intended to cut off her link to the coven. Well, let’s see what other resources were available to her.
Looking around the room revealed it to be an old walk-in freezer like those used in restaurants. It had that faint mustiness that freezers get when they’ve been defrosted a long time, but it wasn’t too bad. There wasn’t much ventilation, but she wasn’t completely isolated from the outside. Likewise there was a drain in the floor which had been unused for so long that it had dried out, leaving just a faint odor of sewer gas drifting up from it. These were things she could work with.
She extended her senses outward through the vent and the drain, and she found what she was looking for — life. She was a Life Witch, after all, and life was not only her source of power but also provided her weapons. So what if all she could sense were rats, flees and roaches. That was enough.
She started with the rats. Rats were smart enough, and social enough, that she could use them to spread the word that she needed allies. Just a couple rat missionaries could raise a rodent army that Willard would be proud of. She sent them on their way, but first she had them leave their flees behind with her. All the flees within range were called to the thin mattress that she lay on, ready to spring to her aid when the time was right.
As for the roaches, she sent them out as her spies, to boldly go all those places roaches like to go, and even — gasp! — into the light. They went and saw and reported back to her, so she could gather information on what her captors were up to.
She had no sooner gotten her allies on the move when there was the distinctive thunk of a freezer latch being released and, with that strange swoosh of the seals unsealing, the door opened and one of the wizards slipped into the room. For an instant she didn’t even notice him as her link with her sisters was reestablished, but the brief sensation of connection was quickly cut off once again as the wizard pulled the door shut behind him.
“Good to see you’re awake,” said the muscular Mexican wizard. She decided to call him Muscles.
“If you care so much, why don’t you let me go?”
“Maybe I will, if you decide to cooperate.”
“What do you mean by cooperate?” she said as if she didn’t know. She figured there were only two reasons he was here, by himself, and neither one would be good for her. Looking at the way he looked at her she figured he was going to do both.
“Well, my boss wants to know where your boyfriend got that grenade. You tell me and I’ll let you go this very minute.”
“That’s all? Gee, if I had known that was all you wanted I would have told you back at the house. You didn’t have to go to all that trouble to bring me way out here!”
“Oh, it was no trouble at all. So tell me, where did he get it?”
She dug through her limited knowledge of the dark side of the local Mage community. Maybe she could get these wizards fighting with someone else, at least long enough for the coven to disappear. She dug up a name to try.
“Bruce Alvarez. I think he has a shop of some sort up in Charlotte. That’s where Scotty said he got it, though what he was doing up in that part of town is beyond me.”
“Nice try, sweetie! You don’t seem to realize that Alvarez is workin’ for us now, and if he’d ever had any merchandise like that we’d know. That was a wrong answer, so now you’re gonna hafta pay the penalty.” Without any other warning he bent down and struck her.
Ow! Stars flew across her vision at the blow, but even as she worked to clear her head she dispatched a few of her allies to exact her revenge. Unnoticed by Muscles a handful of fleas sprang from the mattress and started climbing his pant legs. It was a small revenge, perhaps, but one that would stay with him long after she made her escape.
“Now, you want to try again? This will be a lot easier on you if you just tell me what I want to know.”
“Like he told you, Scotty told us he dug it up in his back yard. He even gave pieces of the shell to Elaine! He didn’t ‘get’ it from anybody!”
She readied herself for another blow, and sure enough his hand lashed out. She grabbed it with hers, only to realize that that’s exactly what he’d wanted. He fell on top of her and pinned her hands over her head, using a spell to stick them there. Then he reached down and ripped open the front of her dress.
“Oh lookie here! Another wrong answer tore her dress! Be a shame to let that go to waste.” He pushed the hem of her sundress up to her waist. “My oh my! What a slutty little witch, to run around without no underwear! It’s more than a man can resist.” With that he opened his pants and fell on her again, aiming one of his knees to force her thighs apart. She flailed and kicked, but he only laughed. Her magic, which was not experienced in dealing with attacks of any sort, much less this type of brutality, was no match for his. He was clearly aroused by the struggle.
Even as she squirmed and bit and did everything she could to resist his penetration, her allies were reaching their targets. Unfortunately the release of his lust overwhelmed the bites they were inflicting to his armpits, crotch, and even inside his ears, but he’d know he was hurting later, when the infections that were penetrating his defenses inflamed to fire ant levels.
As his passion was spent he left her with one final ‘love tap’, knocking her into blessed unconsciousness, so she couldn’t see when he redressed himself in his flee-infested clothing and slipped out of the room. She didn’t feel the brief reconnection with the coven, but her sisters did.
“Yvonne!” cried Elaine. Hope flared across her features as the fear that Yvonne had died was proven unfounded.
“She’s hurt,” said Margaret, her eyes flashing and lips curling like those of an enraged panther.
“And she’s gone.” Elaine’s features dissolved into disappointment. “I don’t like this one bit. We need to find her fast.”
“And when we do, we’re going to lay on some hurting of our own!” Margaret wanted to lash out at someone, but no one was there to attack so she just snarled in frustration.
“Why do you think we could suddenly connect again, only to have it cut off?” Clearly Elaine was shaken, for her to be asking questions rather than supplying answers.
“I think someone’s blocking our link, but the spell slips occasionally. Pretty shoddy spell casting if you ask me.” Margaret took one of the knives out of the knife block and started stabbing the countertop, not even being aware that she was doing it.
“What kind of spell can block a coven link?”
“Why are you asking me? You’re the one with the encyclopedic knowledge of magic!”
“Hey! You know better than that! Yes, I know a lot about Life magic, but not about fighting spells. That’s always been more your field.”
“Yeah? Well face it Elle, neither of us can fight worth a damn. Unfortunately that’s always been more the province of the wizards we’ve associated with. Right now all we’ve got is a wizard who can slice and dice them in a courtroom and one who can barely tie his shoes. We’re hurtin’!”
Elaine reached out and placed her hand on Margaret’s, stopping the damage that was being inflicted on her kitchen. “There is one other possibility — Feeley. He can probably give us some pointers.”
The prospect of help finding her sister calmed Margaret, if only just a bit. “True, but you know him — he hates to get involved. He might tell us about that spell, but that’s about it. Anything else and we’re on our own.”
“You’re right, Mags, but we’ve got no other choice. I’ll give him a call.”
“And I’ll round up Rich and Scotty and see if we can come up with some way to get Vonnie back alive.”