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78 Notes to Self

 

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Iva Herrera

~The Fool~

The door chime sounded, causing Ivelisse to glance up from lighting the fourth red Advent candle. Blowing on the match, she quickly consulted the paper schedule on the desk. No client lined up for her, but there it was in her mother's scrawl- Antonia, 130. Letting out a small, exasperated sigh, Iva lifted her lips into a welcoming smile just as the bottle-blond mountain of a woman barreled in.

"Hey, Iva. I'm running late as usual. Damned kids would not turn off their damned video games so we could leave. I swear to God, they are gonna be the death of me." There was a burnt orange lipstick smudge on her top two teeth. Long acrylic nails tapped the desk as she talked, a thick cloud of expensive perfume surrounded them both. "Listen, I can't stay over for the full hour reading. Of course, I'll still pay the full amount, I'd never do your sister wrong like that. Where is she?"

Despite her internally marveling at how a person can breeze in late and still be demanding, Iva maintained her mask of polite professionalism. "Actually, Luisa is down at St. Joan of Arc for Mass. I don't know how she booked you at the same time." Pencil in hand, Iva stood poised to reschedule. "How's Wednesday? Or maybe next weeke..."

"No! I need the reading today! It is an absolute emergency!" Antonia interrupted, expression frantic. Making a show to look at her phone then at Iva, she asked beseechingly, "What about you? You can do my reading!"

Pushing her chin back, Iva scowled. She was going to have words with Luisa when she got back. The fact was, she didn't have a client lined up until later in the afternoon. Iva just didn't care for Antonia. She was gauche, nouveau riche, and had weekly readings because she was convinced her husband was cheating on her. The cards had revealed that he likely was, but Luisa felt bad for Antonia and fed her a line of bullsh-t. Plus, it kept her coming back and that is what paid the bills. So rather than decline and have Antonia run to the next tarot reader down the block to learn her husband was a cheat, Iva nodded. "Yea, I can squeeze you in. Since you're Luisa's favorite client." There you go, Iva. Lay it on nice and thick.

She ushered the woman to the reading room, urging her to have a seat. The room was decorated just as one might expect a tarot reading room to look. Ambient lighting, decorative tapestries, and silks on the walls and draped over antique furniture. The table in the center of the small room was teak, carved with intricate designs along the edge and the legs. There were carvings on the top as well, but most of that was covered by a lush layer of black velvet. It served as a backdrop for the cards.

Antonia knew the drill. She sat down, dropping her oversized designer handbag to the ground with a thump. Her shoulders slumped down, as if downtrodden by the act of having to sit quietly and listen for an entire hour. Sitting down across from Antonia, Iva pulled out her deck of cards in a small chest on the table. Giving them a shuffle, she smiled pleasantly. "So Antonia. What brings you in? What can the cards tell you?" Her tone was soft, soothing.

Antonia snapped impatiently, "Marcel. Is he cheating on me? Luisa says he just has a wandering eye but he is always faithful. I think he's finally done it though. With his slut secretary. What is her name? Kelsey or Chelsea or something." She gave a disdainful wave of her hand, bracelets clanging together.

Clenching her teeth, Iva focused her gaze at the corner of the table. She needed to focus and this woman's histrionics were doing neither of them any favors. Ivelisse had been reading the tarot for as long as she could remember. To this day, she wasn't entirely sure where the messages came from. Luisa insisted it came from their gut, whatever that meant. The cards flowed between her hands, well worn and as familiar as an old friend. They were, to some extent, old friends. All 78 of them, each with their own personalities and messages.

"I swear, if that man is cheating on me, I will leave. I don't care if it's Christmas. I'll take the kids and go up to my mothers in Jersey. I'll call my lawyer first thing Wednesday and take that pig to the cleaners." Antonia continued to rant, working herself up into a froth over hypotheticals.

Iva fanned the cards out on the velvet and looked to Antonia. "With your question in your mind, pick three cards but leave them face down, please." As Antonia dragged the pads of her fingers along the cards, Iva smoothed the velvet cloth at the edges. Her fingertips grazed across one of the carvings, sending a familiar shiver down her spine. Brow furrowed, she looked more intently. Her heart seemed to freeze in her chest as she pulled back the velvet about an inch. The carving was not like the rest on the teak. This was rudimentary like a child etched it into the desk.

Leaning forward, Iva ran her fingers along the entirety of the emblem. It was an emblem, a sigil of sorts. Perhaps Luisa etched it? That seemed unlikely, as Luisa always was a stickler for treating their nice things accordingly. No. This seemed to be of a child's hand...

The world seemed to simultaneously spin and go liquid around her. Standing up with a start, Iva stared wild-eyed at the mark. She knew who had etched it.

She had. When she was a child.

In a swift movement, Iva haphazardly scooped up her cards, snatching the two that Antonia had selected. The robust woman squawked in objection. "Hey! Whadya doin'?" Antonia bellowed, long fingernails making a grasp for her cards.

Ivelisse made no move to stop. Flinging open the reading room door, she said hurriedly, "I'm sorry. The reading is canceled. You have to go." Her eyes were glassy, reality and memory waging a battle for who would gain control of her conscience.

Snatching up her large handbag, Antonia blustered, "I knew I should have just waited for Luisa, but you insisted. She is obviously the more gifted of the Herrera sisters. Oh, and I'm absolutely NOT paying for this!" She stomped toward the entrance.

Snapping to reality for a brief moment, Iva glared at Antonia. "Marcel is cheating on you. With Kelsey. And also with your neighbor Harmony, your sister Bethany, and his partner's wife Camilla." Without further ado, Iva locked the door behind Antonia, who was left on the stoop with mouth agape. She'd not believe her. As much as she accused her husband of infidelity, she had not wanted to believe it. So she wouldn't.

Clutching the cards to her chest, she fled to the back office. Slamming the door behind her for good measure, she tossed her cards onto the messy desk and scrambled for her phone. She dialed Luisa, even if she knew it was fruitless. "Ma! I need you. Something happened. Err, nothing bad. Just...something. I need to talk to you about when I was little. That drawing on the table in the reading room. Dammit, Ma!" She hung up and sent a text nearly as rambling and incohesive. It was Christmas Eve and Luisa was a devout Catholic. They called themselves sisters because they looked nearly the same age. In fact, Luisa sometimes looked just a few years younger than Ivelisse. Being truthful and announcing themselves as mother and daughter would raise more questions than they cared to answer.

Mostly because they weren't entirely sure how to answer.

Grabbing her purse, Iva shot out another text to her mother. "Heading home." Clambering down the stairs, Iva walked briskly from their studio on Roosevelt over to their Linden Court apartment. They had been one of the first tenants in the building upon its construction in 1920. Some questions couldn't be avoided. Luckily, they lived in Jackson Heights. In a neighborhood that was very ethnically diverse, multigenerational living wasn't uncommon. Add rent control and they could skim by without too much of a sideways glance.

Flinging the door open to her building, Iva didn't have the patience to wait for the elevator. Taking the stairs two at a time, she made it to the third floor without getting winded. Iva couldn't rightly say why exactly she was in such a hurry to get home. It was as though something was nipping at her heels. She wanted familiarity, safety after feeling like the bottom dropped out of her from seeing that vigil. How had she never noticed it before? Tossing her purse to the floor, she sat down on her bed, slowing down. Brows furrowed in thought, she ran over the events. The feeling as she touched the engraved sigil. How much it felt like a memory, but a foggy one she couldn't' quite reach. Staring blankly at the Turkish rug in the middle of her room, she licked her lips in thought. Another niggling sensation at the back of her head, urging her to the edge of the rug. Dropping to her knees, she crawled over to the edge of the finely woven rug and pulled it back. Iva gasped and clapped a hand over her mouth.

Etched into the hardwood floors was the sigil.

Slumping to the floor, Ivelisse blacked out.
December 24, 2018 01:56 am

Iva Herrera

~Six of Cups~

1922

A chubby, dimpled fist gripped a green crayon, driving the wax firmly onto paper. Ivelisse could hear her mother in the kitchen, cooking a pot of fabada. The entire flat smelled of spices and meat. A picture of contentment, the young girl continued to draw, happy to hear her mother's singing Asturian folk songs in the other room.

Small hands etched out three sigils with an ease telling of someone who'd drawn them before. And she had, frequently. Using any medium she could. Dragging her fingers in the sand when Luisa, Iva and her auntie Kyla would go to Brighton Beach. In the fogged mirror in the bathroom after a hot bath. Even by using food she didn't want to eat, much to the annoyance of Luisa. The sigils weren't just her favorite thing to draw, they were the only thing she drew. Too young to notice her mother's worried glances, Iva kept drawing to her heart's content. To her, they were more than just pretty symbols.

They called forth her friends.

Giggling, she clapped her hands excitedly as a tall, well-dressed man appeared on the couch in front of her. Impeccably dressed, his shirt sleeves were rolled up, revealing a snake tattoo up one forearm. He gave her an amused smile, as he always did. This was Vine. How did she know that? Little Iva couldn't say for certain. He'd never told her, not verbally anyway. He'd either sit and watch her play or get up and prowl the room. He seemed very interested in what her mother was doing, always keeping one eye in the direction in which Luisa remained. And when Luisa would enter the room or come near, he would disappear in the space of a blink. It made Iva feel a sense of sadness when he left. His presence made her feel light, playful.

Entering from the window, an inordinately tall man beamed a wide grin. His ruddy cheeks lifted with the act, eyes burning bright. It wasn't just an expression for Allocer; his eyes actually seemed to burn. Strawberry-wheat colored hair acted as a mane surrounding his large head. He was leonine in all aspects, including his deep gravely voice. When he spoke, it as if rocks were rolling together. It tickled her ears. She didn't understand it as the young child she was, but Allocer filled a missing role in her life. He was like the abuelo she didn't have. Her father's father had died before he had enlisted in the Army. And Luisa's father remained in Spain, unwilling to speak to his unwed daughter or the child produced out of wedlock. Allocer was warm, kind and generous. He was the embodiment of comfort. He would often encourage her to draw other things, a devoted teacher of the arts himself. She would shake her little head, dark bobbed hair shifting with the movement.

Following Allocer through the window was a ticked tabby cat, larger than most alley cats. With an abbreviated 'mrow!', the cat scampered to Ivelisse, rubbing against her and pushing himself onto her lap. Curled up, it began to purr. Fingers releasing the crayon, they found their way into his fur, stroking and scratching.

"She's got you wrapped around her finger, Marbas." Allocer rumbled, the sound filling the room and reverberating around her.

"Santo Dios!" Luisa shrieked, a bowl of fabada dropping to the floor. The stew splashed around, covering the Turkish rug with beans and meat. The woman moved swiftly to Ivelisse, batting the cat off her lap and scooping her up in a single move. "Quin eres t? Sal! Alejate de mi hija!" Her voice vibrated with rage, confusion, and fear as she demanded to know who they were and to get away from her daughter.

"You know who we are, Luisa." Allocer spoke in a language that was neither Spanish nor English, yet both Luisa and Ivelisse understood him plainly.

The woman nearly dropped her daughter, one hand touching the rosary at her neck. Beginning to walk backward, she recited the Lord's Prayer. "Padre nuestro, que ests en el cielo. Santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino..." Her voice was soft, soothing to Iva's ears even though she wasn't upset or scared. Not by her friends in the living room. Her mothers fear was starting to seep in as if she ought to be scared for a reason she didn't yet understand.

"Luisa. You know you can't keep her from us. She is ours as much as she is yours. As are you." Allocer's tone was calm, even though his words surely stung the young woman deeply.

This gave her pause. Setting the child down on the ground, Luisa smoothed dark hair away from Iva's face and whispered, "Ve a tu cuarto ahora." With a pat on her bottom, Luisa put her hands on Iva's shoulders to direct her down the hall. Iva nodded. Once inside her room, she didn't dare close her door. Instead, she stood listening, scared for her friends. For the man she knew as her abuelo and her little kitty.

Luisa stood tall in the doorway to the living room. Lifting her chin, she met the eyes of all three slowly and with purpose. "Ella es ma. Ella es de Santiago." Licking her lips, she sucked in a shaking breath. "Ve ahora. No vuelvas de nuevo. Si vuelves, sers desterrado."

Peering out of her bedroom, Iva watched with teary eyes as Vine approached her mother. He wasn't a tall man, but his presence made up for it. Reaching up, he touched her face with the tattooed hand. Leaning close, he whispered something into her mother's ear, causing Luisa to freeze. Iva froze as well, having never heard a word uttered from Vine. A pang of jealousy spread through her body, then turned to fear and anger as the three vanished.

"No! No, come back!" She let out a strangled yelp, running into the living room. Slipping on spilled fabada, Iva had a full tantrum, crying and wailing, grabbing her crayon and hastily drawing the sigils over and over.

Luisa stood frozen in place, staring blankly at the wall.
December 27, 2018 06:11 pm

Iva Herrera

~The Hierophant~

2018

A warm hand clapped against Iva's cheek, causing her to open her eyes with a start. Eyes glassy from losing consciousness, she looked around disoriented. Luisa sat next to her on her bed, a concerned expression covering her pretty, young face. Large dark eyes, full lips shaped like a bow, thick and lush black hair like her own. To anyone who didn't know their history, they'd say the two were sisters. And not in the trite, flattering way either. Luisa had stopped aging while pregnant with Ivelisse, frozen in time at 22 years of age. Iva had noticed her aging had stopped around the age of 30, or somewhere in that time frame. It wasn't strange to her, Luisa is the only mother she'd known. Still, they'd known it was odd and had tailored their stories over the years. To the outside world, they announced themselves as sisters. It made more sense and was completely believable.

Smiling softly, Iva put a hand over her mothers, then frowned. Sitting up in a hurry, she looked to the peeled back rug. Luisa's gaze followed. Upon seeing the exposed sigil, the matriarch gasped softly. "Oh, Ivelisse. What has happened?" Her voice was still tinged with the accent of her homeland, even though she left Spain a century prior. Living in the melting pot of all melting pots, Jackson Heights allowed a person to go days without hearing a spoken word of English. For more than one reason, Luisa clung to her first language, embracing English only as a matter of necessity.

Removing her mother's hand from her face, Iva looked at Luisa beseechingly. "No, mam. You tell me. I had a vision, a memory. But it didn't explain it all. What is that? Why did I draw it? Where did my friends go?" Her voice wavered, revealing restrained emotion.

Luisa sat up straight, dark eyes filled with worry. "Oh, mi hija. Those were not your friends. Do not think of them. You must keep them from your mind. Come to mass with me tonight! We will pray over it."

Sliding off the bed, Iva knelt on the ground, fingers reaching out to trace the sigil. "No. Prayers won't give me answers, mam. You need to tell me. I know you sent my friends away. I saw the memory."

"Basta! Stop that right now!" Luisa hurried over, swatting Iva's hand from the sigil. "You must not do that. They are not your friends. Stop saying that, Ivelisse!"

"What has gotten into you? Why won't you tell me what it means? Who were they?" Iva's voice raised an octave with each question, hysteria bubbling up quickly.

Clasping her daughter's hands in her own, Luisa's voice matched Iva's. "Demonio, Ivelisse! They are not friends. You must leave it alone. Just...leave it alone." Sucking in a breath and swallowing, she murmured, "Dios nos perdone."

Yanking her hands back, Iva hissed, "I don't need forgiveness, mam. Tell me why they left and I will forgive you."

Luisa put a hand to her chest, taken aback by the words. "Forgive me? You will forgive me for protecting you from El Diablo and his minions?" In a fit of anger, Luisa stood up and marched over to an ivy hanging by the window. Reaching in, she pulled out an old dusty bottle and tossed it on Iva's bed. She proceeded to move through the apartment, pulling bottles from hidden spots, tossing them without care onto the bed, all while spitting out a litany of Spanish at her daughter.

"Eres t quien debe buscar mi perdn. T eres quien trajo demonios a esta casa. He tratado de restaurar nuestras almas. Ciertamente nunca has ayudado. Negarse a ir a la iglesia. Negndose a encender las velas. Negarse a orar o pagar los diezmos. No tenemos alma. Eso no significa que vayamos voluntariamente con el demonio. No significa que aceptemos al diablo, hija ma." Standing with arms akimbo, Luisa stood by Iva's bed, nine dusty bottles of varying sizes and shapes lay on her well worn quilt.

"There. That is why they left. I banished the demons with the Witches Bottles. Open them and release them if you are so tempted. But I warn you, Ivelisse. Your soul is at stake. Both of our souls are at stake." Luisa marched to the couch, grabbing her purse. Without looking back, she said in a soft voice filled with regret. "I am going to Sister Maryann's for the evening. Choose wisely, mi hija."

The door clicked.
January 03, 2019 12:18 am

Iva Herrera

~Page of Wands~

Iva stared at the door, feeling a pang of being truly alone. This was the first time she knew her mother had kept something from her. Being companions for this long, Luisa was her best friend. It hurt. Her gaze dropped in remorse, stopping at the exposed sigil. Her fingers traced it completely, but nothing happened. No tingle down her spine. Just dust at the tip of her finger. Pushing up to standing, Iva walked to the bed and stared at the bottles.

Nine bottles haphazardly tossed onto the bed. Some were old soda bottles, stuffed with cloth and sealed with wax. Others had a screw top, paper label ripped off, leaving only yellowed adhesive behind. Despite being fogged with dust and time, Iva could see each one contained something. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she ran her fingers over them one by one, until grabbing the last. Shaking it, she looked inside. Dark strands of silken hair coiled at the bottom. Another held what looked to be baby teeth. Wrinkling her nose, she dropped it to the bed, repulsed.

Holding one filled with hair, she rolled it around in her palms, warming the glass. What had her mother said? Open them and release them. Release who? Her friends from when she was a child? Squinting, she looked closer at the bottle. Witches Bottle is what Luisa had called them. Grabbing her phone, she opened the web browser and searched.

Witch bottles began as countermagical devices used by both witches and non-witches as protection against other witchcraft and conjure.

Against conjure? Where the beings she called her friends actually ghosts or spectres? That made no sense. They didn't look like ghosts. Corporeal and decidedly not human. Not human. Iva's fingers rubbed the steel top. Heart pounding, she twisted the top off. Throwing the opened bottle to the ground, she stared at it as though it were going to burst into flames. It landed with a thud on the rug, lid skittering off under the bed.

Nothing happened.

Emboldened, Iva moved quickly, opening the next seven bottles. Tossing lids, wax, and bottles to the rug, she felt breathless with her choice. It was freeing. With each bottle opened, she was hyper-aware of her surroundings, of her physical body. Taking care to notice any slight change in herself or surroundings, Iva grabbed the last bottle. The wax on this one was fairly new, not brittle at all. Picking at it with a manicured nail, she bit her bottom lip. She paused.

This was it. Her mother had warned their souls were at stake. Luisa was a hothead. Iva knew this because she inherited it fully and completely. They both could be given to hyperbole and had a flair for the dramatic. So much so, Iva had a bit part in the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story. At Luisa's behest, she'd not pursued further acting outside of community theatre, lest she actually become famous. Iva had pretended to be miffed at the suggestion but was actually flattered Luisa thought that was a legitimate possibility.

Her nails had continued to work their way under the wax, chipping away at it and wedging it under the artificial tips. Staring down at the bottle in her lap, she noticed the wax top in one hand and the opened bottle in the other. Her entire body felt deflated. Nothing had happened. What had she expected? Bottles of hair, teeth, and cloth might actually...what?

A fat tear full of self-pity rolled down her cheek. She would never know. Luisa would certainly not tell her, the superstitious catholic that she was. Tossing the last bottle to the ground with disdain, Iva flopped back onto the bed and sighed.

"I don't remember you being a quitter." The sound of rocks rumbling down a hill formed the words just as a ticked tabby leaped onto her bed and butt its head against hers.
January 03, 2019 09:23 pm

Iva Herrera

~Judgement~

Allocer stood in the doorway, taking up the entire space. His eyes burned so brightly, she couldn't be sure what color they were. Reddish wheat-colored hair stood out like a lions mane around his head. He wore a long jacket of indeterminate fabric, tawny in color. They matched his dessert combat style boots, giving him a very jungle-militant look. Marbas purred and butted his head against her hand, golden eyes bright. Vine leaned against the bookshelf, arms crossed and a smirk across his lips. He was at least a foot shorter than Allocer and considerably more slender. He wore a classic three-piece suit, the style and tailoring incongruous with his scarred face and messy short hair. Seeing the three before her in their full, corporeal glory caused a flood of memories to return. It was so overwhelming, so staggering that Iva was unable to react for a moment. Images of time together with her three patrons flashed through her mind.

Sitting up, Iva's face light with delight and wonderment. Marbas curled onto her lap, then grumbled when she stood up. Clasping her hands together, she exclaimed, "It worked! I can't believe it! You are really here! You were real!" Tears sprang to her eyes, hands fiddling in front of her, unsure of what to do with herself.

Unable to resist, she cleared the space between and enveloped Allocer in a huge bear hug. Inhaling his spicy, familiar scent, she sobbed against his rough overcoat. She had missed him, oh how she had missed him. Her abuelo. Marbas circled her ankles. Feeling a hand ruffling her hair, she looked up to see Vine giving her a crooked smile. Releasing Allocer, she stood back. "I just can't believe it."

It was almost as if a blanket of heavy reality cloaked her. "She kept you from me. She sent you away. Those stupid bottles!" Iva wailed. She felt the urge to turn around and kick them in a childish fit but contained herself.

A strange metallic sound emitted from Vine. Looking up, she realized he was laughing softly, lips closed but curled up in amusement. The sound was deeply unsettling, feeling it skitter down her spine like a stray hair. He walked toward her and shook his head, leaning down to pick up a bottle. His expression of amusement grew as he tossed a bottle into a wastebasket near her bed. Giving a glance to Allocer, the giant in the doorway chuckled in return. "A Witch Bottle is powerful magic. Not to sound boastful, but it isn't powerful enough to keep the likes of us away."

Giving her a measured look, he continued. "Do you remember who we are, Ivelisse? What we are?"

Blinking a few times, her gaze darted around the room between the three of them. Chewing the inside of her cheek, she put most of her weight over one foot, the other foot tapping the hardwoods. "I remember your names." Her omission revealing much.

Stepping into the bedroom with just a few strides, boots clomping on the floor loudly, Iva felt the urge to step back inexplicably. It wasn't out of fear, but necessity. Thinking it would seem rude, she fought the urge and stood her ground. He noticed, raising a bushy red brow. "You know our names. That is a good start." He sat down on the edge of her bed, his weight causing the mattress to sink down worryingly low. Well, maybe it was time to get that Posturpedic like she'd been eying after all.

"Your mother made those Witch Bottles in an attempt to banish us. It doesn't work on those of our rank, but understanding her reasons and respecting her wishes, we stayed away. Don't be angry with her, Ivelisse. You're all she has in this world. She is troubled, very conflicted in her heart and mind. Protecting you comes easy." The cat jumped onto the bed, curling up on Iva's pillow. Allocer continued, eyes on the cat. "Marbas likes his cat form, but he can also look like us. You know...human."

It was her turn to raise a brow. Allocer looked like an alien from a fire planet in Human cosplay. Vine could pull it off, except for the part in which he never spoke or even parted his lips. It was like missing eyebrows. Once a person realized he never opened his mouth, not even to laugh or breath, it became unnerving. Allocer laughed, a deep rumbling noise that sounded more like heavy oak falling in the forest. "Okay, okay. So we don't completely look the part. But we aren't supposed to. We aren't human. Never have been, never will be." He paused. "Neither are you."

Not leaving much time for Iva to react to that statement, he put his beefy hand on Marbas' head. "Marbas is the oldest of us. He holds the rank of President, which is why his appearance as a domestic house cat is most fitting." Marbas chirped and stretched his paws out, eyes holding a sentient quality.

Pointing his chin toward Vine, who now crouched on the floor, spinning one of the bottles in a speed unhuman, Allocer continued. "Vine is a King and Earl. The middle child of the three of us. As Adler theorized, Vine definitely exhibits middle child syndrome." The crouching man growled. Or something. Again, it sounded like pieces of metal grinding against each other.

Looking at Iva plainly, he beamed a wide grin. "As my boyish good looks would hint at, I am the youngest of this mighty trio. I am a Duke. We each command 36 legions." His fiery eyes narrowed, stopping himself. "So that answers who we are, but not what. Do you know how we came about into your life? Has your mother told you anything?"

Sinking back, Iva sat at the head of her bed, taking care not to squish Marbas who snoozed. Running a hand through her hair, she shook her head. "No. She always acts weird and runs off to church any time it comes up. I know I've never been sick. I know neither of us has aged. Sure we use great moisturizer, but I'm going to be one hundred in a few months. One Hundred." She repeated with emphasis. "She hasn't aged a day that I've noticed. We aren't vampires or wolves. I guess I just figured we were blessed or something."

Vine coughed into his fist, standing up still holding one of the bottles. Allocer smiled tightly and sighed. "Blessed is one way to look at it. It is all relative, after all. I can guess she wouldn't describe it as such, but really it is no different."

Iva looked at him expectantly, her expression urging him on. He continued. "I suppose there is no time like the present. Clearly, you know you are different. You are like us. Obviously not at our rank, that comes with um..'time' I suppose. Although where we come from, time is not a unit of measure we recognize."

"We are demons, Ivelisse. As are you, your mother, and your father."

January 08, 2019 01:12 am

Iva Herrera

~Three of Swords~

Blinking, she was sure she heard wrong. Demons? Luisa was a demon? "Should she burst into flames when at St. Joans?" She asked, apropos of nothing. "Luisa, I mean. My father...was he one when they met? Is that why I am one? How did Luisa become one?" Her questions were flying out of her mouth rapid fire, coming so quick her brain didn't quite register the meaning of it all.

Vine sat down on her antique Haywood Brothers swivel desk chair, spinning around like a child, giving an odd grumble. Allocer shot him a glare, very likely miffed that he was the only verbal one of the three. Regardless, he seemed to relay whatever message Vine wanted to say. "Of course she wouldn't burst into flames. How do you think Catholic priests do not ignite immediately if that were the case?" Vine nodded slowly, seeming pleased with himself even if he hadn't been the one to voice the insult. Allocer continued. "I am a bit distressed that Luisa never told you of your origins. It seems a bit negligent, but I've never been a parent. I can imagine if she grapples with the truth of herself, it would be hard to impart that truth to you."

Again, Iva looked at him expectantly, eyes wide and mouth agape. "She told me they met in the war. That he was grievously injured and died while she cared for him. She said she moved to America out of shame for being pregnant out of wedlock. His family was here. They were just as conservative though, so they did little to help." Iva's voice held no bitterness, having lived through enough decades to witness the changing of times.

Allocer nodded. "That is all true, although much is omitted. Which I guess is in line with being a demon." He chuckled, quite amused, bushy brows leaping on his creased forehead like animated caterpillars. Dropping back down into the relaxed position, the furry caterpillars sat perched across his burning eyes. "The story your mother told you is true. The part omitted is where it gets interesting. Not to say a love story during a world war isn't."

Vine grumbled and spun again in his seat. Iva sat expectantly, now cross-legged at the head of her bed. Fingers idly stroking in Marbas' fur, she waited, attention rapt on Allocer's words.

The large man...demon, continued. "Your father had been injured, but was healing quickly. Your mother, on the other hand, was sick with Influenza. The flu- the Spanish Flu as it was called back then, hit her hard because she was in the early stages of pregnancy with you. She was in very bad shape, Ivelisse. When she told your father about you, he wept and held her fevered body in his arms, begging for his god to help."

Allocer crossed a leg over another, picking at his pants. "Any god nearby was not one who would answer calls for mercy. He was begging, Ivelisse. Begging for her to be healed. For someone to take him instead, to make sure his beloved and unborn child got to live."

Tears welled up in Iva's eyes. Her father, a man she'd never met, had been in so much pain after enduring so much. The ache was physical, the absence of him felt like she'd suddenly lost a limb. Allocer reached out and put a hand on her calf, warm and comforting. Marbas licked her hand before resuming his cat nap. "It was Vine who first heard his calls. Vine is...one who frequents areas of chaos. War can be quite chaotic. Hearing what was being requested, he called upon us." Allocer's gaze went to Marbas.

"Vine offered Santiago a deal. You and your mother would be healed. All three souls would be forfeit, joining our legions. But, you and your mother would live." Allocer paused, letting the weight of his words cover Iva like a blanket. Tone quieting, he added, "Ivelisse, she was very ill. Neither of you would have made it another week."

Clearing his throat, Allocer glanced at Vine. The smaller man gave a nod and made an unfamiliar gesture with his hand. Allocer's words came out with the same level of measured calm as all the others as if he were reading from a dictionary rather than recounting demon practices on the fields of France a century prior. "Vine is able to take souls. So he did. But that would not heal you or your mother. We worked as a perfect trifecta, giving your family what was bargained for. Marbas heals disease. And I granted you and Luisa immortality. Thus ensuring Santiago got his end of the bargain. You would both live."

Wiping under her eyes, noticing mascara covering her index finger, she asked in a wobbly voice, "What happened to my father? You took his soul...then what? Did he just keel over right there, next to my freshly healed mother?" The shrill edge to her voice woke Marbas. He crawled into her lap, demanding pets. Iva imagined her mother revived, seeing her beloved dead next to her, a pendulum swinging from one grief-stricken partner to the other.

"Without gifts from Infernal or Celestial beings, mortals cannot exist without a soul on the earthly plane for too long. There isn't a prescribed set of days they can exist, because we don't operate on 'time'. Your father was basically a husk of his former self. His essence remained, so your mother was able to tend to him as if he were completely himself. It was likely written that he succumbed to Influenza or complications of his injuries. Really, his body simply expired without a soul."

Iva blinked a few times, absorbing this information. She knew, she had instinctively knew something was different about them. Even more than the 'not aging' bit. Sure, she'd attributed it to something a bit more angelic, given her mother's propensity for attending mass without fail. Demons, though? "So...I...What about...I don't get..." Iva stuttered, unable to clearly articulate one single question. They jumbled at the front of her mind like a crowded subway, everyone angling to be the first one out.

The top thought that kept circulating in her mind- she was a demon. A demon. So was her devoutly Catholic mother who never missed mass. The woman who made sure her daughter had been baptized as an infant and confirmed as a teenager. How? There was nothing to confirm. No soul to cleanse, no soul to confirm as a Christian. While she'd never been exactly devout (on the contrary, even), she figured it was just wild oats being sown. Not an attribution to her absence of a soul. Her heart felt heavy for her mother most of all. Poor Luisa. How conflicted she must feel. Perhaps it explained her own piety, a need to compensate. As if somehow she might be let into heaven despite her Infernal core.

Allocer put his heavy hand on her shoulder and gave a squeeze. In truth, it kind of hurt but Iva kept that to herself. "I imagine you have many questions. Perhaps it'd be best if we showed you."
January 11, 2019 11:27 pm

Iva Herrera

~Seven of Swords~

Vine's head snapped up, giving a garbled grunt. Allocer waved a hand. "I know you don't like him, but sometimes we need him." Allocer poked at the sleeping cat, who grumbled in response. "Marbas, up. We need you. Ivelisse, may I have the Seven of Swords, please?"

Eyes narrowing at the odd request, Iva grabbed the velvet bag off the desk. Hand dipping in, she didn't need to look or shuffle the cards. Instinct drove her fingers to the card requested. At least she thought it was instinct. Pulling it out, she turned to face Allocer. His large, reddish hand was held outstretched. Placing the card onto his palm, she watched with interest.

Marbas had perched on Allocer's shoulder. Creeping down the large man's arm like it were a branch on an oak tree, the cat appeared to swipe its paw across the card a few times. It was a sigil, similar to the ones she had etched as a child. This one looked like a sideways 'U' with a line through it and some additional flourishes. As his paw moved, the sigil glowed for the briefest of moments before turning to black soot. Giving it a sniff, Marbas clearly decided his handwork was complete. The cat hopped down to the ground and stretched languidly in the way only felines could do.

Allocer handed the card back to Iva with a smile. Holding the card with both hands, she watched as the sooty black sigil disappeared, leaving the card unmarred. Befuddled, she ran her finger over the image. A man appeared to tip-toe across the ground, carrying five swords in his arm. His face angled back, looking at two remaining. She knew this card typically meant betrayal and deception. But it could also mean stealth or doing something out of character. Or secrets coming out and facing those consequences. How one cannot escape the truth. She always thought the man attempting to sneak was a bit of a rogue genius. Greedy, but not too much. He'd left two swords remaining, after all. And he will escape if his path stays clear and true.

Allocer's deep, gravely voice pulled Iva's attention from the card. "Liftoach Pandemonium, et germinet Gap. Lo Gap Rex Pandemonium." At the last sentence, she heard a metallic grunt from Vine. Glancing over, she saw his lip was curled in disgust, revealing a single silver-capped tooth. Allocer shot Vine a warning glance before clearing his throat in expectation.

A short man surrounded by a mossy green aura appeared in the center of her old Turkish rug. His ears were far too large for his head, as was the wide slash of his mouth. The dark green suit he wore added to the overall gremliny appearance. Smoothing out the jacket, he glanced between the four of them. Stopping at Vine, he flashed a wide, jagged-toothed grin. Vine growled low. Bringing his attention to Marbas, he asked, "You rang?"

With a short 'mrow', Marbas circled the ankles of the short man. Giving a sigh, he leaned down and scooped him up, holding the cat like an infant. "Why do you choose this form? It gets fur all over my suits." The man looked from Iva to Vine, then settled his gaze on Allocer. "I take it you were the one to summon, Allocer. What is it that you seek?" His short, stubby fingers smoothed across Marbas' back. By the looks of it, the cat very much enjoyed the attention.

Allocer gave a single nod. "Nos postulo vestri auxilium. MCMXVIII est annus iter, initio huius daemonium, Gap."

The man scratched Marbas' ear, considering. "English is just as bulky and harsh on the ear as Latin, Allocer. Judging by the expression Ivelisse has, she is unfamiliar with what is going on." Spinning on his heel to face her, he extended a small hand. "I'm Gap, dear one. It is an absolute pleasure to meet you." He cast a sidelong glance at Vine, who was all but fuming.

Iva took his hand, shaking it. Her brows knitted together, not understanding what had Vine's back in a twist. "Pleased to meet you as well. You're right- I haven't a clue what is going on."

Vine made a sound similar to a cat vomiting up a ball of rocks. Allocer chuckled, Gap grinned widely. "Sometimes the best way to understand something is to see it yourself. Gap can assist in seamless travel to anywhere. Or any time." Allocer explained.

Slipping her hand from Gap's, Iva asked with a tilt of her head. "Where are we going?"

Allocer smiled softly. "Where? To France. When? Fall of 1918, at your origin. Not conception, mind. But when the deal was made and you joined the Legion."

Gap let Marbas down to the ground and unbuttoned his jacket. Holding one side open, he winked at Iva. Marbas leaned back on his hind legs then leaped up into the inner jacket panel and disappeared into what was now clearly a portal. Vine snapped his own jacket into place and stomped over, standing next to Iva. She could feel the tension rolling off of him. If only she could ask. Or rather, if only he could tell her what was the matter. Was it nerves? Should she be nervous as well? What was there to be nervous about? She was just jumping into a portal and crossing space and time. What could possibly go wrong?

Allocer held his arm out, as though ushering her toward the jacket portal. Vine took a step forward, turning his attention solely on her. His eyes were indiscernible. Holding out his tattooed hand, he took another step toward Gap. Iva put her hand in his and walked forward with him into the portal.
January 22, 2019 10:42 pm

Iva Herrera

~Ten of Cups~

The sun came over the hills in a pinkish-orange sunset, washing the grassy knoll with color. Black Alder trees lined to either side of her, straggling trios of Birches trying to run up the cleared hill. In the distance, a great plume of smoke rose to the darkening sky. The crisp air smelled of passing rain, foliage, and gunpowder.

Twigs cracking to her left pulled Ivelisse out of her daze. Vine took a step forward, assessing. One moment ago, they were in her apartment in Jackson Heights. Now they were...where? A forest. Allocer had said they were headed to France. But how was that possible? Apparently, anything was possible when you stepped into a portal tucked inside a short man's jacket. Rubbing her forehead, she winced. This was giving her a headache. Kneeling, a wave of nausea hit her. Vine came to her side, hand on her elbow. She looked up at him, a bit green around the gills. Golden skin pale and ashen, she cast a bilious glance at Vine. His gaze turned to the spot in which they arrived.

On cue, Allocer walked into view, followed by Gap, who disregarded them and meandered to the side of the hill. "Where's Marbas?" Allocer rumbled. Vine pointed in the direction Gap had wandered off to and added a guttural sound. Allocer's fiery eyes snapped to the squatting Iva. Kneeling beside her, he let out a rumbling grunt. "This is to be expected for the first time. It's a little like getting carsick or seasick. The travel messes with the inner ear or something. This is really Marbas' specialty but I've got something that should help." The large man made a soft sound as he dug around in an inner pocket of his vest. Pulling out a small linen pouch, he held it to Iva. When she simply stared at it with half-lidded eyes, he held it to her nose. "Breath, Ivelisse. Inhale deeply."

There really was no alternative. She'd have to inhale eventually and she was in no shape to argue. Inhaling, the astringent, aromatic scent of sage and sandalwood filled her nose and lungs. The feeling of nausea seemed to subside. Licking her lips, she stood up with the assistance of Vine at her arm.

Gap approached, lifting his short legs with exaggerated motion through the tall grass. Beckoning them, he called out, "Come. You don't have much time. Marbas and Allocer are already at the hilltop. Vine is soon to arrive in a few moments."

Confusion made Iva squint, looking at Allocer nearby. But he was also on a hilltop? At Vine's urging, she put one foot in front of another. Soon, they crested the side of the hill, seeing just over the other side. A woman lay on a blanket, long linen skirt covering her legs. Her face was turned toward a man, sitting next to her, cradling her head in his lap. The man wore a plain blue shirt and brown slacks, both items looking quite uniform. His thick black hair was tousled, his face a mask of anguish and despair. He called out for God to save her, to save his beloved Luisa and their baby.

Iva staggered back, hand at her chest. Face pale once more, Allocer shoved the bag of herbs beneath her nose. Vine smacked his hand away and growled low. Allocer muttered in a low, gravelly tone, "I thought it might help." That man...that was Santiago Cintron. That was her father.

That meant the woman clutched to him was her mother. The long jet black hair was a tell-tale sign. So they really were in France, in 1918. She was here to witness what exactly? Her father dying? SHe shot a horrified look to Allocer then to Gap. "Why have you brought me here? What is the meaning of this? I don't want to see this!"

Allocer looked at Gap meaningfully. The short man approached Iva and smiled sympathetically. Seemingly inexplicably, she calmed. Her nerves untangled and she simply looked back at the scene in front of her. Allocer drew closer, each of them within four feet of her in any direction, save for Marbas who was still nowhere to be seen. His voice was hushed but still filled the space around them. He didn't seem to have a 'low volume' setting. "They can't see us. We are physically here, but the veil separates us. Don't be afraid, Ivelisse." He paused as a facsimile of Vine approached her parents. Allocer already stood by, along with a wiry, tawny looking man.

"You aren't going to witness your father's demise. Far from it, actually. But taking your meaning, Santiago does not die here. He passes a few weeks later, in a warm bed with your mother at his side. What you are here to witness is the exchange. And his agreement and the Order placed upon you all." Allocer waved his hand and suddenly she could hear Santiago's pleas as though it were in stereo around her. The sound cut right to her heart. Her poor Papi, so very sad over his beloved. Tears sprang to her eyes in an instant.
January 29, 2019 08:28 pm

Iva Herrera

~The Hanged Man~

~On the hillside~

"Please. Please! Don't let her die. She carries our child. She can't die like this, not here in this God forsaken place." Santiago sobbed, tears streaming down his face. He rocked back and forth, Luisa clutched to his chest. Her normally lustrous hair hung in clumps, matted with sweat at her temple. Godforsaken. How right he was.

The tawny looking man knelt beside Luisa, putting one hand behind her head. The other was on her bicep, gently pulling her from Santiago's grasp. Laying her out on the blanket, Iva could see just how bad off her mother was. Her normal golden glow was gone, leaving only a sallow, yellowish hue to her skin, shiny with sweat. Lips pale as chalk, eyes closed, it was clear even from here that the young woman would not survive the night. Iva felt her chest clench, even while knowing Luisa would ultimately be alright.

Vine opened his mouth and spoke in a voice so beautiful, so utterly angelic that it physically brought Iva to her knees. "He can cure her of her disease, along with your child. But there will be a price. Each of us are owed a soul for the favors we grant upon you." Iva stared at Vine in the distance, mouth agape, Harbison wool trousers getting wet as she knelt in the dirt. How...why...before she could articulate a question, her attention was turned to her father.

Santiago looked at his beloved, brushing her hair from her forehead affectionately. Putting a hand over her still-flat belly, he licked his lips with anxiety. "Anything. For all three of us, right?"

Vine glanced at Allocer, an eyebrow raised. Would the mighty Duke agree to such an arrangement? A soul for a favor was a handsome deal if ever there was one. Allocer regarded Santiago, assessing him. Finally, Allocer gave a single nod. Vine looked to Marbas, both brows now lifted, a look of unexpected amusement flitted across his face. This was getting good. He was on the precipice of having a great President of Hell make a trade for a soul. Marbas held Luisa's limp, small hand in his. The oldest of the three, Marbas was also the most traditional. He adhered to rules and order, even more so than Allocer, and that was saying something. The difference was the leonine soldier was stalwart in his approach to rules. Marbas adhered to the spirit and less so the letter of the law. This is what allowed him the flexibility needed to give Vine the nod of consent. She would, after all, be a fine addition to his Legion.

Vine grinned widely and clapped his hands together, rubbing them in a cartoonish manner. It wasn't every day that you got two Higher Demons to go in on a soul steal. But first, the other two had to do their job. His task was to retrieve payment via the soul from the sweet little family in the war-torn French countryside.

Marbas inhaled deeply as if he were assuring himself he'd made the right choice. Putting his hand over Luisa's forehead and over her womb, his lips moved in an incantation. Within moments, Luisa's complexion returned to a normal hue, as did her lips. She remained asleep in Santiago's arms. Retrieving his hands from her, Marbas looked to Santiago and gave a soft smile. "She is well, as is your daughter."


"Wait...what is that guy doing? What is happening to them?" Iva interrupted, her voice sounding oddly loud in this close proximity. Her brows were furrowed in concern. Standing up, she brushed wet dirt and grass from the knees of her wool trousers.

Allocer seemed just as disturbed, blinking over his fiery eyes several times before turning his head and responding. "'That guy', as you put it, is Marbas in human form. A gift of his is to cure disease." There was a chuckle from behind, metallic and harsh. Allocer glanced at Vine, then added. "He can also cause disease. In this instance, however, the requested favor was to cure."

Iva's gaze returned to the scene on the hillside, wanting to hug Marbas' cat form so hard, he squeaked.


Santiago's eyes widened and filled with tears once more. "A daughter?" He sobbed face burrowed in the neck of Luisa, hand on her belly again. His relief was palpable. While his face was burrowed, Marbas lifted his hand. Hesitating for the briefest of moments, he then touched Santiago's head. A soul had been called by Death, and Death would receive a soul. But it wouldn't be Luisa Herrera's. Santiago had offered himself, so Marbas had put the disease into the patriarch as agreed.

Standing, he shot a glance to Allocer, who approached. The large man's lips were already moving. Taking one knee, he swept a hand over Luisa's chest and abdomen slowly.


Iva cleared her throat, eyes intent on Allocer. He lifted a bushy brow and cast the burning eyes sideways toward her. "A gift of mine is to bestow immortality. You and your mother are receiving the gift."

Iva's eyes narrowed, watching. The Allocer on the hillside made no move toward Santiago to offer the gift to him. Head whipping to look harshly at Allocer and Vine, she barely sputtered out "But what about..." before Vine opened the side of his mouth and let out a guttural sound.

Allocer inhaled deeply and blinked. He measured his words. "It wasn't asked for by Santiago. Of course, the mortal would not have thought to ask for such a thing. It was being bestowed to inflate the cost of the gifts. The cost of the favors is souls. The gift was given as a way to...make the exchange worthwhile."

Iva's face was turned to Allocer, so she missed Vine's eyebrow lifting, impressed at the spin the Duke was giving. Allocer continued. "To avoid another interruption, Vine will step up next to collect the souls. He is the only one who can retrieve souls without dealing with the bureaucratic nightmare that is Heaven and Hell."

Iva's face scrunched further up. "How many souls are required? Santiago just wanted Luisa to be well. That is only one favor asked. Shouldn't that require just one soul?"

Gap barked out a laugh and stepped forward. Iva looked at him with disdain. Really, laughing at a time like this. "Allocer is a man of honor. What he says is true, if not a bit fluffed up for the listener. Here's the long and short of it. If Santiago wanted a healing, he could have one. Marbas could offer such a gift but requires payment for each favor. Vine stealing the soul requires payment. A service charge, if you will. That still leaves one person remaining. They can't very well leave a mortal child to be born to a demon. There is a code, after all. They aren't monsters. So they are upping the ante. Make the woman and child immortal. It is perfect, really. Allocer would be a fool to deny having an actual soldier join his Legion. So, you've got- Marbas healing Luisa- and you in utero which is a healing-by-proxy so there is no additional payment, Allocer offering immortality in the same way Marbas had healed, and Vine taking payment. Three favors, three souls." Gap smiled almost smugly. "The math is fuzzy, but child, you are dealing with Demons after all."

The answer only caused Iva to think of more questions. But the scene was still unfolding on the hillside with more to see. Turning her head away from Gap, she watched.
February 10, 2019 03:00 pm

Iva Herrera

~Ten of Pentacles~


Hefting up to his feet, Allocer went back to where he'd been standing. He didn't meet the gaze of Vine, not wanting to see the gloating that was absolutely present. Vine took two wide strides to the little family. Slipping off his double-breasted jacket, he handed it to Marbas with little preamble. Rolling up a sleeve of his button-down shirt, Vine knelt down. His boots looked warn in the dirt but were clearly very expensive and not from 1919. Iva couldn't even tell if they were from 2019. Sleeve rolled up, it exposed the viper tattoo on his arm. Touching the ground, the viper rolled off his flesh and into the earth. Slowly, the snake slid up Luisa's leg, curling around her belly in a clockwise motion. It was transparent, passing through Santiago's hand. Its non-corporeal head dipped into Luisa's solar plexus. It was gone for a moment, then popped up at her ribcage.

The snake slid upward, between her breasts and around her neck, forked tongue flicking out before biting down. Luisa made no indication she felt the spectre snake bite her in her weak slumber. Lifting its fangs, the snake slithered along Santiago's shoulders and around his neck. The viper paused, then slid its fangs into Santiago's neck. The man seemed unfazed, unaware of the mark being placed upon him. The viper slithered back down to the earth and returned onto Vine's arm.

Vine slowly stood, arms outstretched, palms facing skyward. Nothing happened for a long enough moment that Iva started to wonder what she was watching. A thin, transparent yellow ribbon floated up from Luisa's belly. It was soon joined by a thicker violet ribbon entwining with the yellow, floating up from puncture wounds on Luisa's neck. A broad blue band from Santiago's neck wrapped around both as they floated up, swirling above the three. Vine's expression was rapturous as the colors began to swirl toward his hands.

The colors swirled faster, creating a beautiful tornado around Vine. The veins on his hands and forearms could be seen, hands trembling with force. The air moving around him didn't seem to extend outside of the five-foot radius around him. Marbas and Allocer were unaffected, the still air not moving their clothing or hair. They watched with plain faces, attention rapt without betraying any emotion.

The colors jetted up high into the sky before turning back to shoot downward, pummeling Vine as he absorbed the impact. His face was screwed up in an indescribable expression. Pain? Intensity? Ecstasy? A heady c0cktail of all three combined, most likely. Head dropping, his back rose and fell with his breath. Arms still outstretched, Vine's hands were balled into fists. A few moments passed, enough to have Iva squirm and shift her weight from foot to foot. Nobody else seemed bothered by the pause. Luisa remained deep in sleep as her body adjusted to being completely well in such a short amount of time. Santiago's attention was wholly focused on his beloved, holding her to his chest and burying his face in her thick black hair.

Vine's head lifted and his hands opened slowly. In his right hand held two coins with one resting comfortably in his left. Bringing his arms closer, he examined the coins in awe. No matter how many times he did this, it never got old. It never lost its luster. Rolling the coins in his fingers, he finally looked up at Marbas and Allocer, a slow grin spreading on his lips. With a flick of his fingers, he sent one coin sailing through the air toward Marbas. The light purple coin landed in his open hand easily. With a nod of his head, he tucked the coin in the pocket of his trousers.

Vine gave Allocer a toothy grin before flicking another coin to him. The coppery patina coin was snatched out of the air deftly by the leonine man, the coin getting lost in his huge hand. Pulling his vest open, he placed the coin in a hidden pocket within.

With the last coin, a shining gold one rolling between fingers, Vine turned his head toward the trio supposedly hidden 'behind the veil'. With a wink in their direction, he tossed the gold coin into the air, opened his mouth and swallowed it.


Blinking, Iva narrowed her eyes, examining the hillside, then whipped her head around. "Where...where did they..you, go? What happened?!" The three on the hillside had vanished as soon as Vine swallowed the coin.

Gap took a few steps back, a sympathetic smile lifting his lips. He held out his jacket to reveal the portal once more. Vine and Allocer glanced at one another, Vine giving a grind of his jaw. Allocer nodded, putting his hand gently to Iva's elbow. "It's over. It is time to go now, Ivelisse."

"What? No! Please let me say goodbye to my Papi!" Her neck strained as she turned to look at the hillside. Santiago was standing, holding Luisa in his arms like his bride. It took Iva's breath away. Tears welled up, blurring the focus of the world around her. "Please..." She breathed, desperate for even a single moment with her father. Allocer guided her to Gap, giving her a very encouraging shove toward the portal.

As she stepped in, she heard Vine's beautiful voice call for Marbas. Not the grinding metallic sounds he used to communicate. But the angels-on-high, kill-mortals-just-by-hearing it, bring-a-girl-to-her-knees-and-ruin-her-designer-wool-trousers voice. A soft creature nudged past her legs as she stepped through the portal.
February 12, 2019 12:47 am
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