Halloween Flash Fiction Event: Rane Sjodin

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Thank you for joining us for this Halloween Flash Fiction Event story from Rane Sjodin. Rane gives us a sneak peek at a scene from the third book in her Arcane Court series, SHADOWED VENGEANCE. The image is a stock photo from a DeviantART artist who specifically allows it to be used on outside websites, with credit and links posted. Big thanks, to both the author and the artist, for sharing. Now… on to the story…

Grace’s Demon Ride

by Rane Sjodin

“Come on in, sexy, I’ll take you home.” His red eyes glared at me across the car.

Slamming the door and running wasn’t an option that night. Cornered in an alley by teenage werewolves looking for a conquest, my freedom came in demon form. He didn’t have on pants or I’d have watched the fight ending in my escape. Instead, I heard grunting, pheromones filling the air as my jaguar eyes watered. Cim and Wretch would never let me live this down. I couldn’t tell them. My black fur would stink until I shifted. Even then, my black hair in human form would carry this noxious smell.

I’d have to call George, my co-worker and a gorilla shifter, when I got home. Sliding into the seat felt like acceptance of a demon contract. I purred my gratitude.

“I won’t ask for payment from you, Grace.”

Shit, he knew my name.

I’d shift back to human but then we’d both be naked. I dug my claws into the seat as he took a corner. We were in the Garden District headed toward Cim’s club in the French Quarter. I held my head up, staring at the demon instead of the road.

“Cim will owe me for this. I thought your gang had an agreement with the werewolves? Seems a few of the younger pups would like to feel a kitty’s scratch.”

My growl came out like a fur ball hack.

“No need to get upset. You’re safe with me. In fact, I’d like to tag along while your friends take on the demon hierarchy.”

I tilted my head to the side. Its not like I could ask him name. My cat form didn’t come with human speech. Cim had to teach me how to speak while in this form.

The demon grinned, his spiked teeth white against the green cloud of breath seeping through.

I gagged.

“Sorry, I had a disappointing demon bitch for dinner. She stuck in my teeth. I work for Kragen.”

Trying to keep my eyes from bugging out was easy, still my jaw dropped. He wasn’t a friend.

“I see you know that name. Tell Cim and Wretch they can have my loyalty for a price.”

chest_7_by_mrscats-d81u0dxMy boss, a dragon shifter, and his best friend Wretch, a demon-dragon hybrid, wouldn’t make a deal with this demon prick. They threw more powerful demons out of the club every day. Mostly frightened stinky ones that required me to keep a case of air freshener behind the bar.

Cim and Wretch stood outside talking to tourists as we pulled up in front of the club. Unable to grasp the door handle, I waited for Cim. His six-foot plus human form was impressive in jeans and t-shirt. The streetlights glinted off his black hair.

“You got yourself in with a bad crowd tonight, Grace.” He opened the door, green eyes flashing.

I padded over to the club door where George opened it growling.

Wretch, in human sex-on-a-stick form, leaned over, his hazel eyes harsh against soft brown curls falling around his face. “I recognize you now. Never come near this club or Grace again. I’ll remove your head so Cim can drink your soul.”

Catching Cim’s eye, I shifted to human. My dragon boss spoke the demon spell for clothing.

George put his arm around me. “He hurt you?” Curled into the warmth of linebacker sized man made me feel safe.

“No, saved me from new wolves in town. Not a part of Dale’s pack.” I sniffed my hair. No trace of the demons smell. I wouldn’t need to head upstairs to wash before the club opened for the night shift.

Cim, a seven hundred year old dragon shifter, treated me like his daughter. He and Wretch kept the demons in New Orleans from overstepping their boundaries with humans, or other shifters. This new group would challenge our limited resources with danger hunting us on two fronts.

“Shit.”

“Seems to pour out of the ceiling on us.” George stepped toward the heated conversation at the car.

I followed, keeping to the sidewalk. My desire to fight demons wasn’t strong enough to overcome the sense that I couldn’t win.

Cim’s fury came out in short threat bursts. “I don’t care what you think we did. Those wolves are not ours. Now, take your ass back to your drug lord.”

“Wretch?” The demon pleaded. Damn, he was scared.

That never fazed Uncle Fester. Wretch shifted into demon form, ugly, pale, with tufts of hair in all sorts of wrong places, then slid into the car. “You helped Grace. So we owe you one. But the crate? It’s mine. Poker bets are final.”

“I need it back or Kragen’s going to kill me.”

Wretch coughed. “Why the fuck would I care? I’ll kill you myself.”

Cim stood up, looking over his shoulder at me. “We appreciate you getting Grace home safe. If you want anything from us, you need to find out who those wolves are, which pack they belong to, and who’s pulling their strings. Even if it leads back to the demon holding your leash.”

The demon nodded in agreement. Wretch glared at Cim who stood firm. Wretch was more dangerous but the dragon was the boss. The demon drove away.

I headed in to open the bar. The boys ran upstairs. Once out of their hearing range, I bent over the bar and wept. I messaged Iona to up my training schedule to three times a week.


**This story occurs during Shadowed Vengeance: The Third Arcane Court novel coming Fall 2015.

About The Author

Rane began writing in 1993 when short poems sufficed. Now it takes full length novellas and novels to tell the stories. Creatures of the night call her imagination home. Dragons, demons, shifters, gargoyles, and things not yet known to the modern world wait for her to tell their stories. Rane is the darker side of multipublished author Graylin Fox. She recently added “Rane” to her name resulting in Graylin Rane Fox, in order to link them together. The Arcane Court books are Rane’s main focus with a main series and offshoot novellas. Darker poetry and short stories are coming in 2015.

Arcane Court: http://www.ranesjodin.com/arcane-court/ Publisher: http://www.darkfantasypress.com/books/arcane-court-series-by-rane-sjodin/ Contact: RaneSjodin@gmail.com

Also: You can meet & greet with Rane in February, as she is one of the Featured Authors at Coastal Magic, an urban fantasy and paranormal romance convention in Daytona Beach, FL.


About The Artist

Image: Chest 7

Artist Page: mrscats http://mrscats.deviantart.com/art/Chest-7-486809205

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Stephanie Fredrick:

    Can’t wait for CMC, so much fun. Excellent story.

  2. Comment by Jennifer:

    Can’t wait to see you there, Stephanie!!

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