bedeviled & beyond 02 - bedeviled & bedazzled
one and my angel...”
    I thought that might be enough to satisfy her but, with her usual astuteness, Darma read the exclusion of information somewhere on my face.
    Damn! I was gonna have to work on my blank face.
    I sighed, not bothering to try to hide my reluctance from her. There was obviously no point. If I didn’t know for a fact that she had no powers I would think she could read my mind. “Aunt Deirdre visited me in a dream.”
    Darma jumped as if goosed and I felt compelled to go on in a fruitless effort to staunch the torrent of verbal abuse I was sure was coming my way. “She visited father too.”
    That did give her pause. She glared at me through hostile blue eyes for a long beat and then, amazingly, she sighed and seemed to deflate a bit. “What did she say?”
    “I...she...we...” I stammered. I was so shocked by her lack of reaction that I found my brain and tongue wouldn’t function together.
    Aside from being earthbound and practical to a fault, my older sister was also not the most patient of creatures. “Spit it out, Astra. My holy savior! What is wrong with you today?”
    Her familiar crankiness ripped me out of my dazed state. “She’s worried that mother will attempt to pull me into whatever dastardly deeds she’s currently involved in.”
    Darma nodded as if she were not surprised. I suddenly wondered if she was. “Darma have you spoken to mother lately?”
    Her response was too careful. Too composed.
    “No I haven’t, Astra. The last time I saw her was totally by chance. I ran into her about a month ago, in a restaurant downtown at midday. She was with some filthy Satanist. We barely spoke.”
    I tilted my head. “A Satanist? Are you sure? Did he have the tattoos?”
    Darma seemed to realize she’d told me more than she wanted to and tried to shrug it off. But the shrug was a bit too jerky to be nonchalant. “Not that I could see.”
    Alarm crawled up my spine like a slimy supra demon. “Then how did you know he was a Satanist?”
    She looked decidedly uncomfortable. “I have to go, Astra.” And she was gone.

    Dastardly Deeds
    The demon bent to do his worst, his thoughts on making hay,
    With zest our demon slayer zapped, his willingness to play.
    The Viper dropped silently into hover in a field at the edge of dense, night painted woods. I experienced a sense of déjà vu as my dream from the previous night lurked in my mind. Glancing up at the sky as I emerged from the Viper, I saw the same strange ribbons of clouds skittering rapidly over the same fat moon. I shivered, causing Emo, who had come up beside me and was tucking a long, slim knife into a band he wore around his arm, to look at me and cock his head. “You okay, boss?”
    I gave him a brisk nod. “Let’s get this over with.”
    Emo watched me as I left the relative brightness of the open field and moved reluctantly into the trees. I knew as soon as I entered the woods that something was not right there. Evil tainted the air like a bad smell, coating everything under the trees and bringing the hairs up on my arms like static electricity.
    I skimmed Emo a look. The light of the obese moon came through the trees in wimpy strings that painted his gorgeous countenance in soft stripes. It was hard to get a bead on his emotions through the striping affect but I noted the red spark in the center of each eye that told me he was more than wary.
    As if to punctuate my thought, Emo shuffled my mental drawers and said, There’s something bad building here, Astra. I don’t like it.
    I feel it too. Stay close. We might need to fight our way out of here.
    Almost simultaneously we reached for our knives and started off again, following the trail of evil to the spot that I could picture in my mind. The spot where my Aunt Deirdre and I had had our little moonlight chat. I was quickly coming to the conclusion that my dream had been more than a visitation, it had also apparently been foresight.
    As I retraced my

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