The Book of Flesh and Bone

Several hours later, I changed into a heavy pair of Rick's sweats and allowed him to drive me home. Once he established the house was safe, he left, and I climbed the stairs to the attic to find Nightshade. I was done going out without her. Not with my face on Bathory's supernatural wanted posters.


As I turned the key in the lock and entered my most sacred abode, Poe dive-bombed me at the door, flapping black wings and squawking like a chicken. "Poe! What the hell?"

"Where have you been?" Poe demanded. "Your phone has been ringing off the hook. I can't answer it, you know." He waved a wing in the air. "No opposable thumbs. And some of the messages sounded quite urgent."

"I've been recovering at Rick's."

"Recovering? Is that what they call it these days? You do look better than the last time I saw you outside the Thames Theater. You were the color of death. I thought we might be worm fodder."


"If you die, I die, remember?"

"Death sounds so permanent. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say we'd be recycled?"

He bobbed his black beak introspectively. "I'm not ready to be recycled, Miss Witch."

"Me neither. So, who left messages?"

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"Your father, every day times three. Logan, my God that man needs a hobby, and your friend Michelle."

"I think the leprechaun who poisoned me stole my handbag. I'm sure they're just freaking out because I'm not answering my cell phone."

Poe flapped his wings and took off for the corner of the attic where I kept my trunk full of witchy paraphernalia. He grasped something in his talons and flew it over to me, dropping it in my hands.

"My purse!"

"I had to claw the little shit's face for it, but he was more interested in delivering you to the vampiress Bathory than keeping your bag."

I grabbed Poe by the shoulders and planted a huge kiss on the end of his beak. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

He chuckled, then cast me off with a ruffle of his feathers. "You realize you weren't this excited when I saved your life from the mountain troll? My God, what's in the bag? Rare, uncut diamonds?"

I reached in and retrieved my smart phone. The screen was cracked but still useable. "Better. My life, in digital form." The voicemail icon displayed a red number in the double digits. I jabbed it with my finger.

Damn! Logan sounded beside himself with worry and Michelle was pissed. She'd covered a shift for me at the hospital. My father's real estate agent voice devolved into his father's voice and then to something I wasn't proud to be related to. He'd tried pleading with me to call him again and again and bribing me with various apartments in the city (one of which was in Logan's building), until finally he left a message that the Nekomata sale would close on Friday, December 20th at ten in the morning. I'd have to be moved out by then.

"Shit, Poe. Julius told me the nekomata are waiting for the winter solstice. They need the energy of a celestial event to open the vault that the book is stored in, the one Julius thinks is under this house."

"The winter solstice happens December 21st."

"Exactly. What the fuck are we going to do?"

Poe didn't have the answers but he did demonstrate a very un-birdlike behavior. He began to pace. "Can you ask your father to push back the closing?"

"We're not exactly on speaking terms." I tapped my foot nervously.

An exaggerated sigh told me what Poe thought of my excuse. "Might you consider a reunion, considering it is the fate of humanity at stake?"

"Of course, I'll ask him, Poe. I'm not stupid. I'm just saying that he might not be receptive. Especially not with Seraphina around."

"Who's Seraphina?"

"Dad's new girlfriend."

Poe fluttered over to the desk and rested his chin on the tips of his wings. "Do tell. Is she a bimbo?"

"I wish. No, she's gorgeous and intelligent, and as condescending as they come."


"Anyway, she's got my dad on this kick that I should move closer to them. It's going to be a hard sell pushing back the date."

"Then we have to move the book," Poe said.

I spread my hands in frustration. "I told you, I don't know where the book is!"

"Not that book. The Book of Light! God help us if they obtain both of them. They'd be unstoppable."

"You're right. I'll ask Rick to guard it for me."

The raven groaned. "Bad idea."


"Rick's cottage is one story, right?"

"Yeah. You've been there before."

"Here's the rub, Spam-witch, if I'm not mistaken, your elemental power source is air. His is Earth."

"Yeah, Rick may have mentioned that to me once before."

"You store the Book of Light in his stone cottage and you will literally be hiding your light under a bushel. It will render you powerless. Not advisable if Nekomata does get his hands on the Book of Flesh and Bone."

"Fuck. Where, then? Maybe I should have my father buy me that apartment in town."

Poe opened his beak to answer me when the doorbell rang. "Who might that be?"

It rang again. I blinked slowly and crossed my fingers. "Let's hope it's not Mr. Nekomata. I'm not sure I could spare the opportunity to kill him." Just in case, I grabbed Nightshade from her space near the wall, before jogging down the stairs. I checked the side window first and breathed a sigh of relief before opening the door.


"Jesus H. Christ, Grateful. How could you do this to me?" His face was red.

"Hello, Logan. Nice to see you again. Please, come in."

He was not amused. He paced into the house, fuming. "You storm out of my office, disappear before I can catch up to you, and then don't answer your phone for two days? I thought you were dead in a ditch somewhere!"

I stared at him, mouth agape, never having seen him so angry.

"Well? What happened?" He spread his hands expectantly.

"I was poisoned by a leprechaun and taken prisoner by a crazy-ass vampire named Anna. She's looking for the Book of Flesh and Bone. Seems your mother's ghost was right about that one. Then, Julius abducted me from the dungeon where Anna tortured me. When I didn't give him what he wanted, he drained me of most of my blood. Rick and Poe saved me just in time. I've been recovering at Rick's the last two days."

Logan's forehead wrinkled. "My God, that was way worse than the ditch."

Dropping my chin, I stared at the one piece of good news I'd gotten today. "Poe was able to rescue my phone." I held up the electronic device. "Screen's cracked but I can get it fixed at the kiosk in the mall."

He bobbed his head. "So, it wasn't a complete loss."

A slaphappy chuckle machine-gunned out of my mouth, fueled by a combination of nervous energy and relief. "I know this must sound incredibly ridiculous, but it's my life and the honest truth."

"Oh, I know. I was part of it once, remember?" He took a step closer to me, reached for my elbow.

As his hand approached, I jerked back. I didn't mean to, at least not in such an obvious way, but something had happened to me the night before. I'd given myself to Rick in a deeper way and made promises I had no intention of breaking. "Logan, we need to talk."

"That's readily apparent." His hand hung awkwardly in the air between us, and he grimaced at the arm I'd jerked away.

I sighed. "I'm with Rick."

With a roll of his eyes, he slid his hands into his jean pockets. "I know. He's your caretaker and you're his witch. You need each other to do what you have to do-"

"No." I shook my head. "It's more than that. I didn't understand at first. This isn't obligation, or a shared history. It's more." I wasn't sure how much more, only that I wanted to find out. I owed it to Rick to give this a chance. I owed it to myself.

"I know you have feelings for me, Grateful. I didn't imagine the connection we shared."

"When you were a ghost? That was the soul sorter in me. We were naturally attracted to each other because I was supposed to help you move on."

"And now?"


A low grunt punched from his chest. "You didn't kiss me like a friend."

I huffed defensively, hands moving to my hips. "I was high on leprechaun roofies! Believe me, I didn't know what I was doing."


"Excuse me?" Now I was pissed. Who was he to say what I was feeling?

He pointed a finger at the end of my nose. "The first hint of a fight with Rick and you came running to my apartment. Why did you do that, Grateful? Unless some part of you still feels something for me?"

"I do feel something for you. Friendship."

"Fuck!" All the color drained from his face, and his eyes fixated on the cabinets over my shoulder.

The disappointment must be eating the guy up. "It's gonna be okay, Logan. You'll meet someone else."

He glanced back at me, annoyed, and gestured over my shoulder with an open palm. "My mom is in your kitchen."

"She is?"

"She wants us to follow her."

I glanced over my shoulder but couldn't see anyone. Frustrating. "Lead the way."

With a curt nod, he followed the spirit to the door to my cellar. Why did everything creepy happen in the basement? I hated the basement.

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs. Between the wine cellar and us was an ancient looking pool table with a marble top. Logan paused for a moment, then turned back to me. "She says we need to move it."

"What? The pool table? That thing must weigh a ton."

"Come on Hecate, put those magic muscles to work." He placed both hands on the corner of the table and lowered his shoulder.

"I guess when the ghost of your mom tells you to do something, you do it." I widened my eyes and dropped down into pushing position.

"On three. One...two...three."

Logan grunted, and I pushed with everything I had. The table moved about two inches. On his count, we pushed again and again. Finally, what Logan's mom had wanted us to see was right under our feet.

I didn't understand the ancient carvings that decorated the rectangle of stone we were standing on, but my whole body detected the magic. Dark magic. Demonic magic.

Freeing Nightshade from her sheath, I tried to wedge the blade in the seam and pry the vault open. Crack! A bolt of electricity blew me backward. I landed on my ass, sword in hand. "Ow!" I said, rubbing my tailbone. "It's testy."

"The Book of Flesh and Bone is there," Logan said. "And Mom's warning me, we are in grave danger."

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