I hadn’t realised how rapidly I was breathing until a little voice broke through my panic. “Is it the boogerman?” Mattie had my stolen sword swinging around her tiny body as she surged forward. She was surprisingly strong for a child.
For some reason her inane question returned some clarity to me. I even let out a strangled chuckle. “No, it’s not the boogerman. You know your brother was only kidding about that, there is no demon that comes in the night and steals your soul.”
Well, none called the boogerman anyway.
A heavy hand landed on the door behind me and I jumped about a mile. “You need to hide,” I whispered to Mattie. “Hide and do not come out, no matter what you hear.”
I thought she was going to argue with me. She always argued with me. But there must have been enough fear in my voice that she just nodded her little head, gave me that smile which was far too old for her years, and scurried off. She’d keep her siblings hidden away too. They pretty much all deferred to their spoiled youngest sister.
The moment she was out of sight, I tried to figure out what I should do. Archer was nothing more than a myth. An urban legend used to scare paranormals. Especially demons—we were all born from the insidious creatures that emerged from the underworld thousands of years. They infiltrated into the human world, mating with them … and other paranormal creatures. Now-a-days most of us “demonkind” were civilised, we had normal jobs, families … the demon in us was diluted enough that it could be controlled. And for those who couldn’t control themselves, there was the PAA.
Archer was said to be something that even the PAA feared. He was our boogerman.
“You know this door won’t keep me out.”
I spun around because his voice sounded so loud, like he was standing right next to me. Only the door was still closed, my rune glowing softly on the middle wooden panel. He was not inside the room, and yet … it felt like he was.
“Why are you here?” I murmured, pressing my hand to the door.
I knew he would hear me.
There was a pause, and I wondered if I’d been mistaken. Then he answered: “I have a message from your father.”
My head cracked into the door as I pitched forward. “Mutha-fucking ouch!” I cursed. Had he seriously just said father?
“I don’t have a father,” I yelled through the door, before I could think it through. “He bailed before I was born. Some demon scumbag.”
My mother was a pretty powerful witch. She lived in Tasmania now, because she said she couldn’t people these days and the city was too busy for her. And outside of her questionable taste in men, she was my favourite person in the world. I didn’t need a dad when I had her.
There was a cracking sound then and I pounced back just in time to avoid the fractured remains of my door smashing me in the face. Archer stepped through, looking as powerful and unruffled as he had when I slammed the door in his face. From my current half-couched position, I finally noticed that he was wearing a suit: perfectly tailored, dark and fitted to his broad frame. He wore no tie though, the top button of his shirt unbuttoned. I was getting a very Lucifer vibe from him—if only the television show had come close in their depiction of the father of demons. In real life he was more like a primordial ooze rather than a hot Lothario.
Archer was rocking Lucifer but the very jacked up and even hotter version. Stop it! Remember the last time you lost your knickers. If only warning myself actually worked.
“Your father is not a demon,” he said, staring me dead in the eyes. It was like he needed to see my reaction in this moment, needed to judge how I would take this information.
Meanwhile, I was wondering why his eyes were now … silver. “Your eyes…” I murmured.
He blinked for an extended moment, and then when he opened his eyes again, they were back to turquoise. He didn’t say anything more about the change in colour, and I wondered for a brief moment if I might have just witnessed a small loss of control from him. Something told me that I wouldn’t see it again, and I wished I’d tried to get a read on his power.
“I have a message from your father,” he repeated, drawing our conversation back to its origins.
“My father who is not a demon?” I replied, trying really hard to keep the sarcasm from my voice.
Tried and failed apparently, because his hands whipped out and wrapped around my biceps. Before I could blink, or think of a defence spell, he had me up off the ground, hanging in the air before him. “You have the attention span of a gnat. Can you focus for one damn minute? I have wasted too much time already searching for you. To deliver a message which is of grave importance.”
I’d spent too long on the streets as a PAA bounty hunter to let this guy manhandle me. Zero fucks given about this important message. Or the fact he was Austin fucking Archer.
I scrambled in my pocket for the chalk, before managing to snag it with the tips of my fingers. Archer was holding my arms down which didn’t give me a lot of leverage, but I did manage to scrape off some chalk on my fingertip, and then lift that same finger and run it quickly across the underside of his forearm. He moved to stop me, but I was too quick. My rune needed only three intersecting lines. It was a simple rune—something a newborn witch was taught. Freeze.
Archer stilled, and I wasted no time wiggling back, managing to break out of his hold. I then grabbed for the chalk. I was going to see if I could snare him inside one of the devil’s traps that I’d designed—the ones we were taught in school just weren’t strong enough for me.
My knees slammed into the floor as I began to sketch, moving around him within forty seconds to complete my circle. Not all runes required a physical presence, I could just use my fingers and sketch them down, and they would stay there, unseen. But to make it the strongest and most secure, I preferred the chalk rune.
When I was done, I dropped the chalk into my pocket and dusted off my hands. Feeling somewhat pleased with myself. Until I glanced up to find Archer watching me, his face holding an odd expression … almost like he was amused.
“You’re not frozen,” I blurted out.
He shook his head. “Your magic will not work on me.”
I narrowed my eyes, some of my shock wearing off. “My magic works on everything. All demon. All paranormals.”
Archer grinned at me, it was the first smile I’d seen, and it wasn’t a nice one. His perfect white teeth glistened, and I suddenly wanted to run. As fast as I could. But I would never leave the children here to face him. “No one can fight the devil’s trap though,” I said, assured, reaching deep for the badass warrior that I was supposed to be. He’d had me off kilter since I opened the door.
Archer’s grin broadened, and I almost fell right over when he stepped out of the trap. “Try again,” he said.
There was a loud battle cry from nearby then, and before I could do a single thing to stop them, Chesca’s kids were freaking everywhere, charging out of the darkness, weapons in hand. I hardly remembered any of their names, there was at least eight of them and I had no time for things like remembering their names. Mattie and Jordo were the exception, because they were the youngest, and the two who were always around forcing their company on me. The rest I called by their ages. Sixteen was the oldest, a beautiful girl who took after her mother with long dark hair and a very curvy figure. I’d never seen her exert this level of energy before as she brandished a hairbrush in Archer’s direction. Next to her was fourteen –smooth talker who was already way too sexually active. And twelve—pyromaniac.
I lost track of the rest then because knives and cutlery and fire was being tossed around, all heading in Archer’s direction. Panic and fear kicked in because now I had a bunch of small demons to protect, as well as myself. I threw up a shield around Archer and myself, before shoving him back out of the broken door.
I must have taken him by surprise, because his eyes widened as we went flying through the gap, landing hard on the small front porch. Spinning around, ignoring my new aches and pains, I quickly sketched some runes across the wood in front of the door, sealing the brats inside.
Mattie slammed against the invisible barrier, before she started pounding on it. “Lolo,” she screamed, her mouth forming the words even though I couldn’t hear here.
I pulled myself up before pointing at her and sixteen, who I could see standing right behind her sister. “Get back to your rooms,” I mouthed, before turning to give them my back. I had the most dangerous creature that I’d ever met across from me, and I needed to pay attention to him.
“I’m really starting to regret knocking on your door,” Archer said. He was now at the bottom of the stairs, staring up at me. I leapt off in one movement, landing right before him.
“Why are you really here? I have never met my father. I don’t even believe he is still alive, because scum always get taken out, so don’t give me your bullshit story.”
My hair, which was a shocking shade of silver—again, messed up genetics—fell across my face then, and I realised that half of it had tumbled out of my braid when I tackled Archer through the door. No doubt the rest of me looked as messy. And somehow he still looked as well-dressed and put together as he had before.
Damn him and his stupid designer clothing.
“Your father is a fae prince.”
His words almost knocked me on my ass. Staring, I blinked at him like a moron.
Archer continued talking, taking advantage of my stunned silence. “He rules the kingdom of light. I rule the kingdom of darkness. We are sworn enemies, but in this situation I had no choice but to come directly and deliver his message.”
I swallowed hard, my brain trying to compute what he was saying. Fae. It couldn’t be possible. They were made up stories … I’d never had one confirmation of their existence. Until this very moment. But it would explain why Archer was feared by all. He was a prince … a fae prince.
“But…” I choked out. “I’m demon.”
Archer shook his head. “You are not a demon. You were never a demon. Your father … he is sunshine and light. Just as you are. And he is on his way to kill you.”
I shook my head. “What did you say? He’s going to kill me?”
Archer chuckled darkly. “The message I have from your father … is a second-hand one. He plans to kill you. He needs to spill the blood of his blood to activate the last stone of penritha. This is something I cannot allow to happen.”
And no doubt this “father” of mine wasn’t prepared to bleed his own blood for that activation. I wanted to ask what this penritha stone was, but I sensed Archer would not tell me.
“Surely he has other children which would have been easier to find?”
My mother had a strong cloaking spell on me, it was powered by my own energy and it had never failed me until this point.
Archer shook his head. “No, the fae do not easily have children. It is one of our burdens to carry.”
The pieces of the puzzle were staring to come to together for me, but there was a few things I had to ask.
“So … how did you find me then? And what do you plan on doing with me now that you’ve found me?”
If Archer was trying to stop this stone from being activated, then logically it would be best to kill me. Before my father found me. But he hadn’t, and it was no doubt in my best interest to find out why.
Part Two of Paranormal Apprehension Agency. This is unedited and copyright of Jaymin Eve Publishing.Return to Serial Page