I refrained from using another word there in the title on purpose. Not to be all scaredy-cat or anything. I just didn’t want to use it.
So I’m back for another installment of my brainstorm. There’s a few dark and heavy idea-clouds flying overhead so I thought I’d put them to good use in this post.
If you’re new here, please look up the Claire And Jaycee category on the home page and start from the first post in that group. Their story continues along the way.
Remember that the blue devil monster is also my copyright guardian, so kindly don’t use my work in any way or there will be hell to pay. So to speak.
Spike heels and all.
Catherine D’Agostino was a sight to be seen. Claire expected the more modern-day version of a “spiritualist”, as in a librarian kind of look complete with short hair and spectacles. This was quite different.
“Thanks for coming.” Claire murmured as she opened the door wider to allow Catherine to walk in.
The woman was formidable. Of that Claire was very sure. Just look at her! Catherine’s tall skinny heels clicked on the marble floor as she entered. And she had one of the most distinctive walks on the planet. Not quite a sashay. Definitely a bit of a strut. But more. It commanded attention. And a bit of fear. Catlike. That’s what she was. God, the woman even purred when she talked!
Jaycee put down the pot of tea she had just brewed and greeted Catherine. “Hello again! It’s great of you to come!”
Catherine smiled. Pretty much, anyway. It was beautiful. Hell, she was beautiful. But her smile? it was different. Somewhat mysterious and bit terrifying. “Nice to see you again, Jaycee.”
Claire quickly ducked into the kitchen and went to the wine cabinet. “I’m gonna cork this one.”
“Oh. Sure.” She raised an eyebrow at Claire, who nodded once in answer. “Perfect choice. Catherine — ?”
“I love red wine.”
Claire gulped. Sure she does. Like Dracula. “I’ll pour.”
Catherine was suddenly right behind them. “You needn’t be nervous. I’m not dangerous.”
Jaycee smiled. “It’s the situation, not you.” Catherine frowned at her. “Okay. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s totally you. You — didn’t look like this when i saw you last.”
Catherine laughed. It too, was catlike. “I dress more simply in the shop.” She ran a hand down the long black and red dress she was wearing. It was dynamite. Fit to a “t” and Catherine had, well, uh, plenty of “t” to fill it out. Her hair, a rich brown with burgundy highlights, ran down her back to her waist, and here eyes were a strange kind of blue-green. Wearing very little makeup save for red lipstick, Catherine was one of the most truly beautiful women a person would find anywhere. And she knew it. Worked the hell out of it.
“it’s a gorgeous dress!” Claire piped. “I love it, Catherine.”
“Cat. You can call me Cat. My friends all do.”
Sweet Jesus! She was a cat after all! “Let’s all go sit down. I’ll bring the wine.” Jaycee interjected just in time to save Claire from standing there with her mouth open, not knowing how to respond.
Setting down the bottle of Frog’s Leap and a tray of Portuguese chocolates, Jaycee assumed a seat on one of the two chairs just across from the sofa where Catherine, or Cat, had already situated herself. Claire occupied the other chair.
“Let’s begin.” Cat sipped a bit of her wine, nodded in approval, and reached for a chocolate. “Ahhh….Portuguese, aren’t they? The best!” Jaycee started to answer her, but Cat waved an elegant hand to silence her. “I know, Jaycee. Or, more to the point,” she directed her gaze to Claire, “I know about you.”
Claire looked uncomfortable. “Yes. I guess Jaycee filled you in……”
“Actually, she did not completely. Just enough for me to gather what I needed. He’s not worth your time.” She dropped her voice to just touch above a whisper. “Or your tears.”
“Can you tell me anything?”
Cat laughed. If a panther could laugh, this would be how it sounded. “Of course I can. His name is Arlan Truss.”
Jaycee coughed on her wine. “Claire I NEVER…”
“You didn’t need to. I already sensed it.” Cat swallowed her chocolate. “He’s got a bad history, Claire. Abusive to women. Lots of them. Many more than you know.”
“Go on.” Claire gave Cat her full attention.
“It’s the alcohol and the drugs. It changes him. He becomes something else.”
“You mean someone else, right?”
Cat looked serious now. “No. I meant thing. He’s got Der blaue Teufel inside of him. You need to know that. It’s a very powerful entity. One of the most powerful in the Universe, next to The Almighty.”
“Der blaue Teufel?”
“Yes. It’s German for The Blue Devil.”
“Tell me about that. Where does it come from and what does it do?”
Now Cat relaxed again. She had delivered the worst news. Now it was much easier. “It or actually, he, comes from The Underworld, and he’s not to be trifled with. It’s friendship is only what it wants it to be, and it’s wrath is something that cannot be fought. It is, in a word, undefeatble, by any human being.”
“So, this is what Arlan Truss has inside of him?”
Cat nodded. “He does. And that same entity is also very close to the two of you. Has been since you were born. But it’s only in the past year or two that you may have noticed its presence. It does that purposely. Der blaue Teufel does not want to be seen or heard unless it’s to his advantage. Or if he’s hungry.”
Jaycee spilled a bit of her wine. “Oh!! Did you just say hungry? As in eating?”
“Yes, but not in the usual sense. Der blaue Teufel needs something other than food as we know it. He needs to absorb evil. So anyone he destroys had something very serious to hide.”
“All those attacks, then, were against people who had done wrong?”
“Yes. Big wrongs. Repeatedly.”
“How is that this same entity can be within Arlan Truss and around us at the same time?”
“He is incorporeal. No physical body. He can be in many places at once. You two and Arlan Truss are far from the only ones who has caught the attention of Der blaue Teufel.”
“So, others may come forward as well?”
Catherine smiled. “They already have. A number of them have been drawn to me for help. Like you, Jaycee.”
“No. Not really.” Cat finished her glass of wine and set it down on the table.
“I think it’s enormously incredible!” Claire spoke again.
“No, Claire, it is not. You see, I know Der blaue Teufel quite well. He surrounds me as well as both of you.”