Sanguire, The Strange Path
Bella Books, March 13, 2012
It would be a dream come true for a homeless teenager: suddenly the wealthy cool kids can’t wait to lavish money, motorcycles, club nights and sumptuous beds on you. That is, it’s a dream come true if it weren’t for the nightmares. Hardened by the brutal streets, Whiskey is wary of her newfound status among the powerful cliques that dwell in Seattle’s murky night world and clings to her motto: Take more than you give. But when you have nothing, anything can be tempting.
“Come on, get up, pussy. Thought you were going to kill me.”
Anger flared in her chest. She forced herself to her hands and knees. Maybe she’d die tonight, but she’d be damned if she’d go down without a fight. Impatient, Paul ordered his friends to pick her up. Panting, the reality of her physical state hit her. She tried to unfold her body, unable to straighten from the pain in her belly. She sagged between her captors, the edges of panic tickling her resolve.
“Let’s get her to the water.”
“A bit cold for that, isn’t it?”
Whiskey blinked as a woman coalesced from the darkness where the sparkles had been. Others materialized with her, sliding into the clearing from every direction. Were those their eyes?
“Hold her,” Paul muttered. He turned to the newcomer. “It’s none of your business. Beat it. There’s nothing here for you.”
The new arrivals ignored him. They threaded their way through the group, seven Goth street punks — four men and three women. Even in her half-beaten state, Whiskey felt a measure of envy for their leather and latex. They had a small fortune invested in their wardrobe. All four men had mohawks, though only two had dyed and spiked them. Of the women, one had the telltale dyed black hair of a Goth. The others had red and blonde hair respectively.
The redhead had come out of hiding first. She now slinked among the boys to stand before Paul. “I’m hurt.” A fake pout perched upon her lips. “You’re having a party, and you didn’t bother to invite us.”
A couple of the boys sniggered, obviously feeling they had the upper hand. The male punks were slim and silent. None swaggered with machismo despite tattoos, multiple piercings and clothing that bristled with metal spikes. The lead of a woman enhanced their inherent weakness, magnifying it by the placid way they’d infiltrated the scene. Rather than put up a united front, they’d sprinkled themselves among the rich teenagers, mingling with the enemy, weakening their advantage.
“What kind of party did you have in mind?” Paul leered at the redhead.
The woman with dirty blonde hair sidled up to Whiskey and her captors. Without asking permission, she reached over and fingered Whiskey’s hair. One of the boys tightened his grip, but didn’t interfere. The blonde brushed disheveled hair from Whiskey’s face, caressed her cheek with a thumb, swiping through the blood trickling from her nose. The woman’s dark eyes slowly scanned Whiskey’s form before returning to her face. She smiled, tasted the blood on her thumb, and turned away.
Whiskey shivered as the woman’s eyes flashed golden from the reflection of a distant street lamp. Just like a wolf. She shook her head; she couldn’t deny the points of light she’d seen in the darkness before their arrival. They must wear designer contacts.
The teasing conversation had continued between Paul and the redhead., all attention upon them. Beside Whiskey, the blonde murmured in a barely audible voice, “Aga ninna.”
Whiskey wondered what it meant. She blinked at the abrupt attention from the punks. As one, they turned to stare at her. She saw several sets of eyes flash like the blonde’s. What the fuck’s going on? I barely heard her. How the hell did they? Who are they?
Suspicious with the sudden tension, the boys shuffled in the crowd, their movements childish and awkward compared to the dangerous grace of their visitors. First to turn away, the redhead reached up to caress Paul’s cheek. “This party’s just getting started.” With a laugh, she raked her fingernails down his face, gouging the skin with razor sharp swiftness.