By this time the other mortals were stumbling over each other trying to get at him. He shrugged them off, but he knew it would take too long to touch each human before the Kyn possessing them stirred them into a killing rage.
“Jamys, I got it.” Chris dragged in the fire hose he had sent her to retrieve, and turned it on, spraying the ones he hadn’t touched with water.
Jamys knelt in the puddle, drew on every ounce of strength he had left, and placed his hands in the water. The hunter inside him knew how everything was connected by water, and the Kyn in him hoped that with the right focus it could be used as another conduit. He imagined his talent like electricity, and sent it crackling through the water as he shouted his final command in a clear, loud voice. “Send her out.”
Every human in the room collapsed, and a thick cloud of red mist rose to join with the immense mass hovering over them. As the last of it rose, Samantha appeared and swept her scarred hand through it. She turned to Lucan. “The trunk.”
Lucan strode over and yanked off the lid, and Jamys staggered over to help him. Inside the small space was something at first glance that looked like a child. Its wasted limbs were curled up in a fetal position, and long white hair veiled its body. The stench of rotting flesh was so thick that Samantha made gagging sounds. The face, that of an incredibly ancient old woman, wrinkled as the shriveled lips stretched into an ugly smile. The eyes, red as blood, opened and stared up at Lucan.
“I thought she was supposed to be young and beautiful from all the blood baths,” Samantha muttered, covering her nose.
“She was,” Lucan said. “Before she was walled away from mortals for three years.” He addressed the old woman. “You used your own blood to escape your prison. You sent it out through the windows and the cracks, and put it into mortals so you could control them.”
“Just as it once kept my flesh sound and sweet,” her withered voice said. “I rewarded all the mortals who came to me. I made them my children. They always want something, and they know only I can give it to them.”
“Get back.” Lucan shoved Jamys away, and then thrust his hand around the monstrous thing’s scrawny neck. “This is what they all want, old woman.”
The trunk exploded outward, disintegrating around the body inside as it blew apart. The cloud above the room went still, and then came down like blood rain, soaking everyone and everything.
Chris turned the hose first on the humans, washing the countess’s blood from their bodies. Then she held the hose up so that it showered down on her, Jamys, Lucan and Samantha like rain. The blood slowly thinned until all that remained as a large pool of watery pink.
Everywhere a piece of the countess’s body landed, the flesh blackened and fell apart into the water. Within a few minutes all that remained of her were a few puddles of wet ash.
Jamys went to Chris, taking the hose from her and closing the valve before pulling her into his arms. He held her for a long time, just like that, their wet clothes dripping between them, their arms tight.
When he could manage it, he held her at arm’s length. “Thank you,” he croaked.
“You’re welcome.” She grinned up at him. “My lord.”
Samantha took Luce Figueroa to the best private rape treatment center in Miami, where she was admitted for her physical and spiritual injuries. Carmen and Eduardo accepted Sam’s explanation that their daughter had been abducted and drugged, and with a little nudge from l’attrait, Eduardo even forgot that Luce had attacked him and broken his arm.
Luce, however, felt differently about her experiences. “Don’t make me forget what happened,” she pleaded when Sam came to see her in her room. “I know what you are, and that you can, but please, don’t.”
Sam felt perplexed. “Why would you want to remember?”
“So I don’t ever let it happen again.”
She couldn’t allow a mortal to retain memories that might expose the Kyn, but she could offer her some comfort before she removed them. “You didn’t let this happen to you, sweetie. You were a victim.” She held the girl as she wept, and then gently compelled her to forget about the countess and everything that had happened since she had been abducted. She then spoke to the unit’s psychiatrist, and made sure that Luce would be treated for sexual addiction as well as her other injuries.
Lucan called for several buses to transport the mortals from the Sunset Sails to a private compound in Miami he had set up to provide temporary sanctuary for the Kyn refugees fleeing the Brethren in Europe. Rafael travelled with them, and promised to see to it that each survivor was returned to his country and family, as soon their memories were wiped clean and they were provided with a plausible explanation for the length of their disappearance.
The ownership of the Sunset Sails was quickly transferred from the Hungarian holding company that had purchased it over the summer to one of Lucan’s private corporations. He hired a demolition company and scheduled the old hotel to be torn down within the month. As soon as it was, he planned to have the rubble taken by cargo ship to be dumped in a deep trench in the Atlantic, and then have his landscapers go in and burned over and plowed under the property several times, just to be sure.
Jamys had a great deal of explaining to do, but the strain of speaking kept his voice at a whisper for another day. The following evening he was able to sit down with Lucan and Samantha and explain what he had done.
“I convinced Chris that I meant what I had her say for me,” he said. “That is why the countess believed me, because Chris believed me.”
“She’s not that easy to fool,” Samantha said. “You must be one hell of an actor.”
Jamys thought of his mother, who had allied herself with the Brethren but lied to her husband and family to make them believe her still loyal to the Kyn. “’Tis a family skill, I think. One I hope I will not have to use very often.”
“How did you know the mortals would obey you and expel the countess?” Lucan wanted to know.
“I already knew that they could not be compelled by l’attrait,” he admitted. “But while she occupied their bodies, she was not actually part of the flesh. My talent compels the body as much as the mind, so I gambled that their bodies would obey me.” He noticed Chris standing beyond the tables. From her expression he knew she had heard every word. “Would you excuse me?”
His friend folded her arms as he walked over to her. “You lied to me.”
“If I had told you my true intentions, she would have discovered them. The ruse was necessary.” He took her hands in his. “Am I forgiven?”
“You rescued me and almost four hundred other zombies, plus Lucan and Sam, and you have the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard from a guy..” She cocked her head. “You’ll be lucky if I don’t turn into a love-crazed groupie and start stalking you.”
Jamys kissed her forehead. “I can think of many fates much worse than that.”
“Where is that damned assassin, and what has he done with my son?” a low, rough voice called out. Thierry Durand stalked into the club, followed by his exasperated sygkenis, Jema Shaw, who had to trot to keep up with him.
“Suzerain Lucan,” Jema said, dropping a fast curtsey. “I apologize in advance for my lord.”
“She apologizes before he messes up.” Samantha leaned over. “Now might be a good time to learn how to do that.”
“On your behalf, or my own?” he countered.
“You.” Thierry stopped in front of the table and pointed at Lucan. “You are a ruling lord now. What do you imagine that means?”
Lucan stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I can have you thrown out of here, or into the dungeon – if I had a dungeon – or–“
“It means that for once in your miserable life, you have responsibilities,” Thierry snarled. “I send my only child here for sanctuary, so that he might rest and make peace with himself, and what do you do? You nearly have him killed by a mad old Kyn and her army of revenants.”
Lucan glanced at Samantha. “I suppose I did.”
“You admit it?” Thierry roared, pounding the table with his fist. “To my face?”
“But of course.” He rose to his full height, which put him on the Frenchman’s eye level. “We have so little in the way of proper entertainment for visiting Kyn. I thought slaying a monster would do the boy some good. I’ll have you know that he had a marvelous time and wishes to visit us again next Christmas.”
Before Thierry could respond, Jamys said, “He is right, Father.”
“Jamie?” Thierry whipped around and peered at him. “Did you just – my God.”
He strode across the room and enveloped him in his arms. “Do I dream again?”
“No, Father,” he told him. “I can speak. What shall I say?”
“Father.” He cupped his face between his trembling hands. “Say it again. Please.”
“Father.” He smiled. “I love you.”