Pretty When She Destroys

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Prologue

The Beginning of the End

April 2012

The promise of rain loomed in the gray early evening sky hovering low over the East Texas college. Bianca scurried along the cracked sidewalk, her petite frame dodging around the other students. As usual, no one took note of the girl with the pale hair and vivid blue eyes dressed in a flowered dress, old fashioned blue shawl covered in fluffy sunflowers, and heavy combat boots.

Ducking under the portico of one of the buildings, Bianca clutched her books tight to her chest and stared in anticipation out over the courtyard.

“Here it comes,” she breathed.

Seconds later, the sky opened, sheets of rain washing over the people still on their way to class. Laughter and cries of dismay filled the humid air as people scrambled for cover. Bianca stepped behind one of the pillars to avoid the small stampede into the building. The reek of ozone, weed, body odor, and coffee floated in the air after the college kids disappeared inside.

The steamy air and patter of rain painted her surroundings with a dreamy brush, but Bianca felt apart from the world. The rain was of no real concern to her. Instead, her eyes traced over the pathway the girl with tattoos always traveled on her way to class at this time.

Ever since she had accidently bumped into the other young woman on the way to a lecture, Bianca had been obsessed with the beauty with the long black hair, inked skin, and vivid blue-gray eyes. Bianca had experienced an intense surge of power when their bodies had collided that had been so powerful it had knocked her off her feet. Instinctively, she’d known that the other woman was gifted - or was it cursed? - with the same power Bianca had inherited for her own mother, the famous medium Josephine Leduc. She’d been so startled she hadn’t uttered a word as the other woman helped her to her feet before hurrying on to class.

It had taken a little sleuthing, but Bianca had uncovered as much information as possible on the other medium. Her name was Amaliya Vezorak, which sounded very exotic to Bianca. At first, Bianca had only wanted to speak to the other medium about the powers they shared, but then the terrible nightmares and visions had begun.

Brushing her blond hair from her face, Bianca shifted nervously. She’d been practicing what she wanted to say to Amaliya every day for a week. It had been difficult to fight through the storm of information filling her mind through her visions and dreams, but Bianca was certain that Amaliya was in danger. Recurring images of Amaliya covered in blood, somewhere beneath the earth, haunted Bianca. Since Amaliya was a medium, too, Bianca hoped she’d listen to her warning. There was a dark entity closing in on Amaliya, plotting to ensnare her, and Bianca hoped she could save her.

Bianca’s heart raced when she saw the familiar silhouette of the other medium walking through the rain. Not even bothering to cover her hair with her book bag, Amaliya sauntered through the downpour, her heavy boots splashing through the puddles forming on the cracked sidewalk. Her curves were tucked into a tank top and jeans, her black hair in a loose bun, the inky tendrils clinging to her neck and cheeks.

Taking a deep breath, Bianca stepped out from behind the pillar. As always, when the other medium was near, her skin tingled and the voices of the dead strengthened. It was difficult to hear through all the noise, but she concentrated on the sound of the rain to focus her mind.

Amaliya started up the stairs, her eyes rising toward Bianca.

“Uh, hi, I’m Bianca Leduc,” she murmured in a soft voice.

The door banged open behind her, making Bianca start.

“Amaliya! Just the student I’ve been looking for.”

The crisp English accent sent chills racing down Bianca’s spine. As if gripped in a dead man’s hand, Bianca found herself unable to move. Dragging a quivering breath, she clutched her books tightly to her chest.

Amaliya stopped on the step below Bianca, her face lighting up with delight. “Professor Sumner, how can I help you?”

The air around Bianca grew thick and icy, making it difficult to take a breath. The putrid reek of death and blood filled her mouth and nose. Bianca felt as though she was now invisible, even though she was standing within three feet of the two people. She could feel malevolent power pulsating out of the tall blond man and encapsulating Amaliya.

How could the other medium not feel it?

“What did I do now, Professor Sumner?” Amaliya asked, her eyes brazen, teasing, and flirtatious. How could she not detect what the man truly was beneath his cultured visage?

“Nothing at all,” the man answered in his posh English accent. “I was wondering if you’d join me for coffee sometime. I have a special project I’d love for you to be a part of.”

Professor Sumner’s presence was a dark shadow that stole away Bianca’s resolve. Terrified, she stared at the books in her hands, unsure of what she should do. A part of her wanted to blurt out to Amaliya all she suspected, but then wouldn’t the creature just kill them both? His magic reeked of death and destruction.

“Anything you want me to be a part of has to be awesome.” Amaliya’s red lips turned up at the corners into a seductive smile.

The sexual energy between the man and his future victim sizzled between them in the balmy air, repulsing Bianca.

“Oh, it is, I can assure you. So is that a yes?”

Trembling, Bianca realized he was toying with Amaliya. Again, the image of Amaliya covered in blood bloomed in Bianca’s mind. Biting her bottom lip, Bianca struggled to speak. She imagined grabbing Amaliya’s hand and running off together, escaping the creature that was hunting the tattooed beauty. Yet, she couldn’t move. The malevolent power swirling through the air had her pinned where she stood.

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