Bazoniuth comes back to me in a dream. Doesn’t possess me, that much I’m sure of, because there’s a Taoist mirror hanging over the bed that wards away her kind. I’ve got enough awareness in the liminal half-world to recognize that I’m dreaming, but not enough to dream lucidly. “Hello, Ronnie,” Bazoniuth says, wearing Karen’s …
Constance was not looking forward to Chinese New Year. Really, she should be using the more inclusive term “Lunar New Year.” But she didn’t want to wish her experience of the new year on anyone else. After all, she usually spent it locked away indoors. She was currently doing the math on her vacation days …
Sex and gore both have a base carnality to them that reminds us we’re made of meat. Rianne Burnett’s zombie erotica “Rotting Desires” doesn’t hold back from exploring that: With furtive glances around her empty floor, she pressed the elevator call button. Three people were writhing in the elevator of her apartment complex. On closer …
Meg spends the weeks after her encounter with Blanche in a self-destructive spiral. She smokes more than she should, drinks herself sick, breaks her veganism to have a cube of pig blood to see if maybe that’s the problem: anemia and protein deficiency, not her own mind.
(She regrets the pig blood. The texture is like diabolical tofu, and all it does is make her throw up, right there in the claustrophobic bathroom of the one spot that serves dim sum well into the evening.)
It’s been four months since we became a triad, as Karen calls it, or a triforce, as I like to call it, even if Jesse doesn’t get the reference. It’s been—good. Really good. I’m trying to let myself enjoy this for once in my life instead of questioning everything. Especially because there’s so much other shit going on now.
There’s this pair of siblings we’ve run into, Roxie and Kent. She’s bossy, he’s a goody-two-shoes, and the two of them are such a pile of mommy and daddy issues, it’s hilarious. But no matter how annoying they are, the fact remains that they know how to cast Bazoniuth out of Karen’s body. That’s the whole reason we’ve been on the road for so long—eight months at this point.
Eight months of fucking Karen and Bazoniuth behind Jesse’s back.
Eight months of that secret eating away at me like acid reflux.
Blanche watches the body on the rug stir from her seat on the armchair across the room. Meg’s skin, marred at first by the UV rays from the sun lamp Blanche always carries, has already begun to stitch together and smooth over. She’s tidily tied up, rope roughing against her wrists, ankles, arms, and thighs. Once she comes to fully, she wriggles upright and twists around to meet Blanche’s gaze.
“Oh, hello,” she says, blowing a kiss.
“You little liar.”
My name is Asteria. With the autumn moon round and full, I am now twenty-five.
I am today’s sacrifice.
The matriarchs drape me in white. A slip beaded with glittering sea glass peeks out from under my skirt. The delicate lace lining the collar of the dress extends down my torso. The waves and droplets hide my nipples, which stiffen and rise as they rub against the rough netting. I lower my eyes and smile demurely as the matriarchs weave forget-me-nots into my jet-black hair and make the last adjustments to my ceremonial outfit. My eyelids have been dusted gold, my lips painted scarlet, my cheeks blushed with rouge.
Never underestimate Ramiro Morales Medina, Constance thought as she froze in the doorway. She could smell his nonchalance as he sat with one ankle over one knee, a heavy book entitled Dog Obedience Training open in his solid hands.
Ramiro knew very well that she was a werewolf.
He claimed that he was only human himself, but the effortless way he radiated charisma suggested some kind of otherworldly ancestry to her. Still, it wasn’t just his charisma that had drawn her to him. Of course, there was the deep physical attraction—her breath caught in her throat every time he came near and she got a whiff of his cologne, and she couldn’t help the way her eyes lingered on the strong, stubble-lined angle of his jaw, his full lips, his dark eyes, his wavy hair and easy smile, his tall figure, the toned muscles hidden under his vest…
I don’t know how old Jesse’s girl is. Twenty-three, maybe? It’s hard to tell with Asian girls, and even harder when there’s an ageless demon sharing her body.
It’s been three months since all Hell literally broke loose. Some shit about the Seven Seals opening and unleashing the apocalypse—I haven’t been a practicing Catholic since I was eight, and Jesse might still pray the rosary, but he sure as hell doesn’t adhere to the “no premarital sex” and “no contraception” rules. In any case, neither of us knows jack about what got the end of the world going. All we know is that it started with a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hitting South LA and splitting the earth open, creating a pathway to the underworld that demons could come through.
It’s funny. I grew up with The Exorcist and The Conjuring, but now that it’s the actual apocalypse, things in LA are less White than in the movies—as usual. Less Catholic, too. I didn’t even know that there are Mormon exorcists, or Taoist ones. Turns out China has a whole-ass exorcism tradition going back hundreds and thousands of years. But all the exorcists set aside their religious differences when demon possession became too real of a problem to ignore.