“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Twelve Part Two

The next morning, just as the vampires got dozy and started complaining about wanting to nap, the sun rose. Crack!, went the dawn. Moo, went the cows somewhere on the horizon (I guess?) and ba-dang! Someone dropped something in the kitchen.

Bella sat up in her bed, startled awake. Kuryo woke too, but barely moved. He was watching Bella with dark eyes as if gauging what to do next.

I, innocent as could be, was sitting in the windowsill and pretending to be, you know, just sitting. Which I really was doing. But I was also thinking. And wondering. And thinking. But also realizing that I was part of the hive (maybe?) and so I shouldn’t think too loudly.

“What are you up to?” Bella asked, sweeping from bed to just sit on the edge of it, facing me.

I looked around and shrugged. “Sitting. Thinking.”

“I can hear that,” she said nastily.

Oh, ouch. uh-

“Stop thinking, and come here,” she said, reaching out a hand and beckoning me.

My heart did a stupid flip-flop. Aww, she wanted to see me. I slid from the window and padded over. Our fingers twined together and she looked happily up at me. “I’m happy you’re here,” she murmured, tugging me closer. “I missed you.”

Giddy butterflies rose in my stomach. Yayyy my Queen loved me, I couldn’t help but think. She twisted my hand a little and nodded to the floor. “Kneel for me,” she whispered.

I did, because I was happy and she was being kind and hey, wasn’t I supposed to just do what she wanted? It was surprisingly easy right then.

Bella tousled my hair with a grin, then cupped my chin and kissed me. I was happy. For a moment I liked to think that everything would be okay.

But of course it wouldn’t be. Bella grinned and pushed me aside with a foot, enjoying seeing me as disposable. As a plaything. I can’t say it wasn’t fun, but… it stung too, because it wasn’t just a game. It was real to her.

She left for a shower, and I stayed sitting on the floor. I didn’t see a point in moving, not until Kuryo appeared by my side.

“Hey,” he said, crouching down beside me. “You okay?”

I nodded, looking down at my lap. I mean, I wasn’t hurt, was I? It’s not like I’d been punched in the face or anything. But Kuryo put an arm around me. “It’s going to be alright,” he murmured. “I’ll find something.”

I looked at him from the corner of my eye. Should I tell him? Probably not. Bella’s hive – was he part of it? Was I? I wasn’t sure. Death messed around with connections like that.

“Come on, get up,” he said, pulling on my arm. “Don’t stay on the floor.”

I let him tell me what to do. Come to think of it, everyone was telling me what to do… I guess I felt spineless. I guess I just – wanted some direction to life?

I was sitting listlessly on the bed when Bella surfaced from the bathroom, all clean and fresh for the day. Kuryo was sitting beside me, rubbing my arms and trying to cheer me up. I just felt blah.

“Hey lovebirds,” she sneered. “Come along.”

And we followed her. Downstairs and out the front door, to where a portal was waiting. It filled the air with the stench of sulfur and sparkles emanated from it. So it went to Lucifer’s part of hell, I supposed.

Bella seized a hand of both Kuryo and me, and, with a curt nod to the overseeing vampires, dragged us after her into the portal. Whoopee.

For a second I was terrified that she was bringing us somewhere humiliating. That was my first fear, before realizing that I should be more worried about getting myself tortured for havign sneezed in her direction or something dumb like that.

On the other side of the portal, we were unceremoniously shoved forward. I stumbled as the ground rose up to me, and Kuryo caught me. How come he was always on his feet? I briefly wondered if he had psychic wings or something that held him up.

Then Bella called out, her voice just a pitch shrill. “Look what I found!”

And we looked up. And around. There was a whole council. Demon overlords, one wind god whose name I couldn’t remember, several goddesses who looked out for vengeance, and, of course, Lucifer.

Lucifer who, like a drama queen seeing her favourite dish come forward, applauded slowly. Bella strutted forward to take her space at the head of the table. “I also found a jade dragon and a golden one.”

The council oohed and ahhed. Some even applauded for real. I stood, mind reeling. Yeah, okay, so she had a war council. That was to be expected. So – she’d decided to come parade us like little trophies. Also to be expected.

“You know, they’re not just going to do what you ask of them. They’re not yours,” Kuryo snapped sharply.

Bella smirked his way. “You’re really naive.”

Kuryo’s face darkened. And uh, naive wasn’t a word I’d apply to him. Just – for some reason.

“Well, congrats darling,” cooed Lucifer. “You’re doing fabulously.”

Bella beamed, truly proud of herself.

Conversation struck up. Kuryo and I were shooed to a corner near Bella by servants who rushed around serving preferred beverages. Details were ranted about and I pretended not to be paying any attention while trying to soak it all in. Just in case I could relay any and all of it to the rebellion.

As things stood, Bella had nearly captured all of North America. South America had already fallen. Some heathen parts of Europe were still resisting – but her religion was spreading fast as an official religion.

“Even the penguins are worshiping you,” Lucifer added snidely – and I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not.

Then, the topic came up. “We need to speak of the rebellion,” one goddess announced.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Twelve, Part One

That night when we returned to the house, Aaliyah and Jade were nowhere to be seen. But, as promised, digging began nearly immediately for my body in the backyard. Bella kept our hands entwined as if she was afraid I’d run off somewhere. The moon was high, thin clouds wisping across the sky and blotting out stars here and there, and the temperatures were dropping what felt like ‘pretty far’, but which everyone assured me was actually ‘not so bad’.

Fuckin’ cold, I thought to myself as we shivered and stood around as my body was being dug up. Bella was insisting that it would be therapeutic for me to see my body dug up. “Jung would approve,” she said as if that solved it.

I bit my tongue and tried to keep silent.

Because, for the life of me, I still had no plan. Was I going to pitch myself dedicatedly to Bella’s side like a piece of used chewing gum? Was I going to bide my time and wait for a good opportunity? Was I going to try and flee pronto?

It was only when the body was being lifted up out of the ground by several disgruntled vampires when I got the feeling something was wrong. Maybe it was me picking up on Kuryo’s unease. Maybe it was me picking up on Bella’s trademarked nasty smile. Or maybe it was me thinking more than a step ahead.

“Bella,” I said cautiously, turning to look at the smug bug in a rug beside me.

“you should call me mistress,” she said, lifting her chin just enough. I bit back on a savage comment.

“Mistress,” I muttered under my breath, trying to remember to be polite. This could be important. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

She lifted her mug of hot cocoa to her lips. A sip later, she looked me up and down. “You should be on your knees. I don’t like to see you standing so much.”

Oh, come on. I pretended I didn’t hear that. “If I go back into my body, what will happen to Kuryo’s body? Won’t it die?”

Bella’s eyebrows shot up exaggeratedly. Was she actually that shocked, or was she making fun of me? Making fun of me. “Oh my,” she said tartly. “Why didn’t I ever think of that?”

I looked down at the squishy mud mixed with snow between our boots.

“Did you really think I was going to believe that whole ‘voice of god’ shit?” she asked savagely. “I know he’s there. So don’t worry, unless he runs away like a little chicken, he’ll be just fine.”

So my body wasn’t a gift. It was her way of forcing Kuryo to show himself again.

“Did you just cue into that?” sighed the voice in my head of said person. I wanted to punch someone.

An icy wind whipped up, as if on cue. Bella huddled into her jacket and I hugged myself. It was so cold. She had mittens and a cute woolen hat on, and I had neither. Bugger it all, I wished to go home. For once, I was wishing.

“There we go!” A cry went up from the vampires and, ugh, there I was.

Bella shoved her mug at a vampire that was in the way and marched over. I followed gingerly. I guessed I would be needed. I was wrong.

First, three vampires slit their wrists and practically gushed blood all over the corpse. Which, yeah, I just tried not to look at it. Then, as magical vampires power did its thing, Bella just turned to me and said “Hop in.”

I looked at her like she was a dunce. No ritual? No preparation of the body and blessing and cleansing? No? Just – hop in?

Bella scowled. “Get, your soul, back in there! You can shower afterwards!”

I looked down. I mean, really looked down at the body. The light of the moon is softer, they say. Makes things look romantic, they say. Well fuck ’em. My body was chewed up, blood-splattered, and stinking. Could I take a hard pass?

“I don’t know how,” I fibbed, which wasn’t entirely untrue. Kuryo was the body-surfer. Not me. I just – no.

One look around, and the vampires looked totally fed up. Bella was, uh, extra unamused. Like, if the vampires were ten on a scale of unimpressed, Bella was a twenty.

“Conan,” she ordered sharply. “Put Chaos back in her body.”

I pressed my lips together. There was no answer from the back of my mind. Bella continued, not waiting. “If you don’t, I’ll kill this body and you’ll both die.”

I gulped. O-kay. Kuryo?

There was a pause. I looked around, desperate.

“Fine,” Kuryo sighed in the back of my mind. “Just – fine.”

With a pulse I popped out of the body. Just like -that- and I was out in the cold and open, then – Squish! Stuck in my yucky body.

And did it every feel yucky. Despite the vampire blood that had been doused over it, my body was stiff, cold, full of dried-up blood, and really, really, dirty. Imagine going from a nicely showered moment, and having to plunge into that.

Also I was out of air, and there was still a stake through me.

I gagged, gasped, limbs moving in jerky movements as I tried something, anything, to get air into me and pain out of me. It hurt like hell and I was freshly on my way to dying again when Bella stooped over me. There was a cruel smile to her, and she yanked the stake out of me.

Instead of blood gushing out, magic poured out like ripples of hot air → and I healed. In a rush of warmth my blood coursed, air got into me, and my hinges were greased. I jerked to a sitting position, choking on a clump of dirt in the back of my throat, blinking at the scene around me.

There was the vampires, a smirking Bella, but my eyes went to beyond, where there was Kuryo. His arms were crossed over his chest and he had on such a fed-up expression. I want to say ‘me too man, me too’. But I was too busy breathing air. Too busy looking around. Too busy being in the mess I created.

Bella offered me a hand. I took it, knuckles cracking and popping as I gripped her hand. Then I was on my feet. The world was fresh, the world was cool to the heat of my freshly awakened skin. Again, I couldn’t help but look to Kuryo. Something, something, was clicking in my mind. But I didn’t know what. Maybe that we were both in this mess together? Trapped, and we were the only things we had left? Or maybe the air hadn’t gotten to my brain fast enough.

Whatever. The magical ritual was over, I was alive and breathing, and that was that. We all trooped back inside, me tagging silently along after Bella like a little puppy dog. Kuryo came in last, grudgingly following everyone else in.

That night was when shit got screwy. I showered, plucked the worms from my hair, bla bla bla, and went to bed. Bella was already asleep like a rock, Kuryo was curled up with a blanket on the floor, and I found my side of the bed in the dark.

I tried my hardest to fall asleep. Counted flaming sheep, thought of nothing, did the whole deep breathing thing. Nothing. Guess my body didn’t need the rest. Whatever. I got up. And that’s when it happened.

“Chaos,” said a voice.

I spun around. No one. Spun again. No one. Was I losing it?

“Chaos, it’s the Lord. The god you defeated dishonorably, and so spilt the blood of the heavens upon the earth.”

Okay, that dramatic? Certainly him.

“What do you want?” I hissed, looking around. I stalked to the window and drew back the thick curtain just a crack. It seemed to make the transmission clearer.

“I want to tell you something,” the voice intoned.

I looked around again, nervous. What if Bella heard? Was I going to be in trouble, again?

“Don’t worry, she is fast asleep,” said the voice calmly. “Chaos, an uprising is being staged. Balance needs to be returned to the realms. This cannot go on. The spirit realms are not meant to be merged with the incarnate ones. Worse, she is about to launch an attack on the Pure Lands – she must be stopped!”

Gee, wonder who thought of that? Uhm, everyone? But still, I fidgeted and watched the bed for movement. My heart was beginning to sledgehammer in my throat. What if I was caught?

“We need your help,” said the voice steadily. “Are you ready to help?” and there was a dramatic pause. My ears were ringing and my heart was doing somersaults in my chest.

I took one final look at the figure in the bed. My first true love, my torturer. I turned my back on her and whispered to the moon “Yes.”

“Excellent,” said the voice after the slightest of pauses. “Be prepared. We will send you signals when the time comes for your actions. Until then, do nothing to rouse her suspicions. Nothing at all.”

“How long will this be?” I hissed, one eye on the bed behind me.

“Not long,” the voice crooned. “Not long at all.”

And that was that.

I really couldn’t sleep after that.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Ten, Part One

“You think this is funny?” I asked, theoretically, to the circle of vampires that were supervising me. They stared back, stone faced and dark and broody and, well, vampiric. I was annoyed and maybe hormonal. Maybe hurt. Maybe, just maybe, feeling like I’d been made an ass of.

“I mean,” I said to them. “It’s not like I just gave her the friggin’ world or anything. Put my ass on the line. Nearly got myself killed. Just for her. And how does she repay me?”

“Please shut up,” one vampire mumbled under their breath. I turned on her.

“You think I should shut up?” I snapped. “Well, how about-”

The door from the house opened. Bella stepped out, laughing with Aaliyah. Aaliyah, laughing? Ughhh. The stone had learned how to smile, just for Bella.

I wanted to scream and stomp my feet. All I managed was a disheartened “Ughhh,” as they walked over. I felt lame, clutching my stomach and whining. So I whined some more.

“You know,” I sneered. “You make a fitting pair.”

Bella and Aaliyah looked at me like I was a turd. Bella patted a vampire on the shoulder, taking her place within the circle to face me.

“Chaos,” she announced. “You will have to give Kuryo back his body. It’s rightfully his.”

“Yeah, sure!” I said. “But where is he now?” Wasn’t he now in hell with Lucifer and Charr or something? Come to think of it, what was Bella doing here instead of hell…

Bella tilted her head to the side with a nasty smile. Like she pitied me. “How would I know?”

I stomped my feet in the friggin’ snow that was turning to slush around me. “Because you traded him for me like kids in a candy store? No? Or do you have another story about that as well?”

Bella looked puzzled. “Chaos,” she said in a cautious tone, as if afraid of making me more angry. “I don’t know what you are talking about. No one sent you away. You did that yourself. I don’t know what you’ve been up to lately, especially after my guard killed you-”

My jaw hit the floor, again. What. The. Arghhhhhhhh.

“Hey!” I barked, stamping my feet. “Enough of that! Where is he? You’ve got to have him!”

Bella crossed her arms over her chest and looked sad. “Stop yelling,” she said with a sigh.

Aaliyah placed a hand on Bella’s shoulder, as if to protect her from me. Bella smiled sheepishly at her.

I gawked. How had Bella made Aaliyah like her so fast?

I tried to rein my temper in. “I don’t know where Kuryo is,” I hissed. “But I’m sure Charr knows where he is.”

Bella was puzzled. “Who?”

Oh, shit. In a sudden pang of regret, I realized that Bella had probably gotten rid of Charr and hidden Kuryo somewhere, like in a bottle on a shelf or something. And Charr had seemed to be the one who had held up best against Bella…

“A friend of Kuryo’s,” said Aaliyah. “She had come to try and find him.”

“Oh?” Bella smiled weakly. “What does she look like? Maybe we’ll find her. I can have the troops keep an eye out for her-”

“Don’t- you murdered her, didn’t you?” I hissed. “you -”

Bella gave me such a pitying look. “Chaos, please don’t say that sort of thing. You shouldn’t wish someone dead.”

A-a-a-AAAAAAA!!!! I ground a palm against my forehead, wishing there was something, anything, that I could do. But Charr was probably dead-

“Lookit,” Bella had straightened her shoulders and there was a bit of a glimmer of a leader to her again. “Just tell us what you know. If you tell us where he is, I will try and find another body to transfer you into. How about that?”

“No thanks!” I snapped. “By the way, I don’t know where he is! I’ve told you that!” I said that last part to Aaliyah, but she seemed nonplussed.

Bella scowled. “Chaos. If you don’t tell us, I’m going to have to stick you in a waiting room until you do. And then the troops might have to use some mind control tactics on you, to get you to talk. Do you really want that? Just tell us the truth.”

I shook a fist, wanting to strangle her. “I’m telling the truth! I-”

A ripple went through the air. A hiss, and my hair stood on end.

“you?” Bella said, but I was looking around.

“What was that?” I asked.

“What was what?” Bella was asking, but I felt it ripple again. It was a presence, sheer and powerful, and … Kuryo?

I turned, thinking that I must be going rabid. But then again, wasn’t I supposed to have Kuryo’s powers now? Maybe that meant I had a Kuryo-radar or something?

But no, that couldn’t be Kuryo. It was raw and angry – but then that feeling slipped away, to be immediately replaced with the feeling of Kuryo. Of his smile. Of his essence.

“You want Kuryo?” I asked peppily, suddenly feeling brash. I pointed off in the direction the feeling was coming from. “He’s that way.”

Bella’s jaw h it the floor. Aaliyah startled. Even the vampires looked shocked. Everyone took a minute looking left, (where I was pointing) and thinking.

“What do you mean?” Bella asked cautiously.

I pointed some more. “I can feel him. He’s that way. So do you want him or not?”

Looks were passed around. Aaliyah squared her shoulders and nodded at Bella.

The feeling of Kuryo-ness intensified. It was like a scent on the wind. Images of Kuryo were flitting through my mind, slowly and almost sensually. Gah. His scent wafted over me like a phantom presence.

Jade was fetched from the house, and some other vampires beside. Then, on skidoos, we left.

Well, what do you fuckin’ know? My newfound radar senses led us straight out into a valley, a certain place where me and Bella had once stood together. So, part of me was getting more and more angry as we approached, racing across the snow with the roaring of the engines in our ears. But as the familiar scenery flitted by, the images of Kuryo grew rapid-fire in my mind. I swore I could smell him, could hear him breathing as if he was right next to me.

He was close, I knew it. But then again, I didn’t have to tell anyone that, now did I?

Oh, why not? Because there was a giant fuckin’ green tree demon-thing smack in the middle of the field.

Bella drew us to a stop at the top of a hill’s crest. From here, we saw the ‘thing’.

It was about three stories high. It was shaped like a maple or birch tree, branches reaching high up into the sky. But unlike a normal tree, its trunk was thicker than it ought to be and was a vibrant, poisonous, green. Its roots seemed to be writing across the earth. Earth which was blackened and seared in what looked like an explosion mark.

“Bella, brilliant one, aren’t you supposed to notice when things like this land in your territory?” I sneered as we stepped off the skidoos.

But Bella was pale. She was staring at the thing and just standing there. In a flash I pitied her. Then I remembered that I hated her, so I decided not to pity her, or protect her whatsoever. There!

Aaliyah looked at Bella. “What is it?” she asked sharply.

“I, I don’t know,” Bella fairly babbled.

And, oh yeah, that’s when it struck me too. That this thing, whatever it was, wasn’t quite a tree demon. It was breathign in my mind, and I could feel Kuryo-ness radiating from it.

“Is that- him?” Jade asked cautiously. “Or does it have him?”

I shook my head, unable to tell the difference. “We’ll have to go closer.”

Bella rounded on me sharply. “How come you know that?” she snapped. “You,” and she sniffed the air again, looking me up and down. “You have no powers. How did you find this thing?”

I paused. No powers? But wasn’t I supposed to have taken in Kuryo’s powers? Or – could Bella simply not smell those?

Hmmm. I may have taken a minute too long to think that through. Bella looked ready to slap me. “Answer me!” she barked.

I startled, then came up with an idea. Tell the truth. Couldn’t hurt too much, right? “It’s talking in my head,” I said flatly. Close enough. “Kuryo’s that way.”

“What’s it saying?” Aaliyah asked.

I shrugged. “It’s more of an impression. A smell.”

“So you’re smelling Kuryo?” Bella asked. “Why don’t you just tell the truth, Chaos?”

I gawked. Bella continued. “You arrive, and this thing just happens to show up too? And you just happen to know where it is? Get real, I’m not an idiot!”

“Oh, really?” I asked snidely. “Fooled me.”

Yeah, I was smacked.

“Just More Chaos”; Chapter Four, Part Two

Wherein Chaos Regrets with the capital ‘R’ and Conan/Kuryo tries to literally shake sense into him. Hah! It all goes so well (muahahaha). And cue the entrance of (dun dun dunnn)-> the cat!


The tea sat between my hands, burning hot. I barely felt it. I felt numb. My mind was whirling in circles yet I barely knew what I was thinking.

On one side, I knew very clearly that my father must have collected the souls by now. He’d know I’d killed them. But would he know I’d enjoyed it?

On the other sides, my mind was just screaming, point-blank. It made no sense. I felt panic, dread, and sick all at the same time as being inconsolably numb.

One by one the vampires were trickling away. Bella sat nearby, primly sipping her tea and smugly being smug. Conan was perched on one foot and leaning against a nearby wall, arms crossed. His eyes wouldn’t leave me. I knew why. I’d just murdered people.

Okay, hell, we can argue about whether all incarnations are as valid and bla bla bla. It’s basically the same. A soul is a soul is a soul. So yeah, I’d murdered a person.

I had the urge to vomit. One look to the side and all I could think of was that Bella would be most displeased if I puked on her carpet. She caught me eye and her smile turned so pleased, so content. I looked back at my tea. What did she want?

“Hey,” Conan was at my side, hands in his jacket pockets. He nudged my foot with a toe. “Let’s talk. Outside-”

“Why?” asked Bella so sweetly yet poisonously. “Are you avoiding me?”

Conan glared at her. I shook my head, trying to defuse the situation. “I don’t want to talk with you.”

Conan looked down at me. “Let’s talk,” he repeated.

“What, are you two in love?” Bella jeered. “Sneaking away like that-”

I was up on my feet and wasn’t sure what I’d been planning. I just was now, like I’d blacked out for a second. Trying to pull it together, I scowled at Conan. He raised his eyebrows in a silent ‘what?’.

I shook myself mentally. “I’m going to get some air.”

I shoved past Conan, wanting to throw him (and his nice face) into a garbage or something. I just wanted to be alone. In a blur I shrugged into my coat and pulled the door open with only half the coat on. I’d even forgotten to put my boots on.

And then I looked down.

“Miaouw,” said the cutest black cat I’d ever seen.

I gaped. It was small, long-haired, and pitch black with these gorgeous green eyes. It was sitting as if it had been waiting, but now that I’d opened the door it rose up, tail held high. With another pointed miaouw, it walked past me and into the house.

“A cat?” asked Bella, horrified. “A black cat?”

Fear and terror pulsed through me. Poor thing! Poor, innocent- I couldn’t let Bella hurt it. Not something so innocent.

I shut the door and whirled to see the cat marching, tail crooked up, straight towards Bella. Beside my empty chair, Conan was staring.

“A cat?” Bella repeated. “I haven’t seen one of those since the werewolves arrived!” Her eyes met mine and she asked “What’s it doing here?”

As if I should know. I gaped, mind racing. I didn’t want her to hurt it! I just – no more blood today, please!

In my useless silence, Conan spoke. “It must be an omen! A- a sign!”

Bella scoffed. “From who?” and she rose to her feet, setting down her cocoa. The cat looped around her ankles, eyes glowing up to Bella.

“It likes you,” said Conan, shell-shocked.

“Lucifer!” I spluttered. “It must be a gift!” God of witches? Black cats maybe? I was inventing, but I just didn’t want that cat killed. Please!

“Oh?” Bella looked down at the cat, her smile curious. “Come here, you.” and she stooped, scooping the cat up in her arms.

I held my breath, knowing from experience that picking up random cats usually ended badly. But not this time.

As if to add even more absurdity of the situation, the cat began purring and nuzzled Bella’s chin. Bella laughed. “Oh it’s adorable!” she cooed. Squeezing the cat to her chest she crooned. “I’m going to keep her.”

I relaxed. So did Conan. Our eyes met, then quickly parted before Bella could notice. “Good, good- choice,” said Conan.

“Oh shut up,” said Bella harshly. With a jerk of the head towards the kitchen she said “Get it some food.” To the cat she said “Mistress fuzzles must be starving. Isn’t that right?”

“Miaouw!” the cat seemed to agree with her. Bella crooned and cuddled it under her chin.

As if jerking free from some spell, Conan made for the kitchen. An idea kicked into my head. “I’ll help you,” I blurted, following after him.

We made it into the kitchen, where we were finally alone. I cornered Conan. “What’s that thing doing here?”

“I don’t know!” he hissed back, wide-eyed. Then, despite being the one in a corner, he flipped the tables by taking my shoulders and shaking me gently. “But you need to smarten up. You hear me? Don’t let her get to you like that-”

“I can hear you,” called out Bella in a sing-song voice from just beyond the kitchen’s entrance. One heartbeat later and she was in the entrance, smugly cradling the cat in her arms. The cat’s eyes seemed to glow.

Conan straightened. “You’re fucking with him!” he yelled at her. To me he said “She’s turning you into-” and he searched for a word.

“Oh, a monster? Am I corrupting poor, neutral, Chaos?” Bella faked a pout but her smirk crawled out. “Chaos, do you have any comments to that?”

“She’s turning you into something you’re not!” Conan snapped at me. He shook my shoulders again, his fingers digging into me tightly. “Did you really want to kill those people? Would you have done that without her around? I don’t think so!”

“Tsk, tsk,” Bella clucked as she stepped to my side. “A couple’s fight. Are you jealous maybe?” And she rested a shoulder against mine, eyes glued to Conan. As if it was her and me against him.

He tried to rattle me again but I smacked his hands off. “Enough!” I snapped. Then, simply because I didn’t know what else to say, I said to him “You’re not making any sense.”

Conan gave me the look people get when their bullshit detector goes off. Bella cackled. “Chaos,” she murmured, bumping her shoulder against mine. “It looks like your slave is acting out.” With relish she added “You should punish him.”

Conan and I blanched. I felt ready to shake all over – if I wasn’t already doing that. I felt sick. “Uh,” I managed.

Conan turned, grabbed a can of tuna out of the cupboard, and slammed it onto the counter. “I was just giving him advice.”

“Her,” drawled Bella. “It’s a she.”

Conan looked me up and down. “Looks like a he.”

Well that’s because, you know, gender fluid?

“She,” said Bella sharply. “I should know.”

“Really?” Conan asked me with piercing eyes. I looked away.

“Really,” Bella answered. I nodded, not daring to say anything else.

“My Name is Chaos 2”; Chapter Two, Part Two

“Okay, I know what we need to do.” Charr had retreated to the bedroom and was now reappearing fully dressed in a red flannel button-up shirt with black jeans. She picked up a pair of solid looking boots from near the door and began putting them on. “We need to go see the principals.”

“Who?” I asked.

“The principals? They used to run the Academy?”

I looked back blankly, holding out my hands. She shook her head. “There wasn’t an academy somewhere in your world?”

“We have schools, if that’s what you’re saying. A ton of them. That makes a ton of principals, by the way.”

She straightened, shaking her head. “The Academy was something different. Nevermind. We’ve got to go see them.”

Oh hey, wait a minute. I drew the sigil from my pocket. “I might be able to get back!” I exclaimed. “Hold on to me!”

With a frown she put her hand on my shoulder. I squeezed my eyes shut and visualized the sigil with all my might.

No nausea. No movement. No luck. I opened my eyes to see Charr looking grimly at me. We were still in her dinky apartment. She let go of my shoulder. “Seems like your bus pass doesn’t cover inter-dimensional travel,” she said with a hint of kindness. “Now come on.” She lifted a necklace from under her shirt, and at the end was a small black box. “We need to see the principals.”

Well her bus pass worked, so to speak. Within a blink, a burst of giddiness, and a whirl of darkness, we were on a beach. It was boiling hot, and that’s coming from someone who lived in hell.

“Oh hey!” there was two figures standing under a parasol, in suits. Suits? They looked like two government agents here to spy on what it means to have a good time. They had sunglasses, drinks, and one of them, the woman, had sequins and rhinestones on her suit. Her hair was chin-length, like almost every other woman in the universe seemed to have. The man had hair that swung down around his hips. Both were raven haired and atrociously pale. Vampires maybe?

The one with the sequins waved at us dramatically. “Darlings! I knew you’d be coming by!”

Charr didn’t even look around, she just marched towards them. I looked around. Where was this place? The sky – whoah. It was bright daylight down here, but up there – night sky. How? I looked around and yeah, there was ocean and beach and trees, no civilization in sight except for the drinks plopped in the sand in the shade.

“Where’s Kuryo?” Charr was asking her questions, but in my head I was all ‘where’s here’?

Deciding I wouldn’t figure out much on my own, I walked over to the trio. The woman in the sequins was laughing. “How should I know?” At my arrival, silence settled. The woman sucked in her breath. “Look,” she turned to Charr. “You can’t take something without leaving something else. A vaccuum gets created so -” she gestured to me “It’s kind of like a body swap.”

“We can send you,” said the man in a soothing tone to Charr. I got the feeling he was the nice, sympathetic one, while the woman was… the bozo?

“Oh, yeah,” said the woman emphatically. “we were telling you that there was work to be done in that dimension but no-o, who wanted to stay home and leave it all alone?”

“We’re not yours to send around! We have lives!” Charr snapped.

Both agents looked pitifully at Charr. The man held his silence pointedly, the woman did not. “Yeah, well you try and see how messy things get if no one does anything. So,” she combed her long bangs out of her face. “You want a ride or what?”

“Yes,” said Charr angrily. “And you help us get Kuryo back.”

“No we don’t interfere, you know that,” the woman said cheerfully. “It’s a law of the universe that the hearts remain detached-”

“Bullshit,” muttered Charr angrily.

The woman laughed. Charr bristled. I was uncomfortable. “Who are you all?” I asked pointedly. “Gods?” I tried to sound relaxed and detached, but everything in me was bristling. They didn’t feel like gods. They felt different somehow.

Again, the woman laughed. Charr ignored her with a scowl. “No they’re not,” she muttered angrily. “Look let’s just go? We can talk about this later.”

“Cheerio darlings!” said the woman, clapping a hand on each of our shoulders.

Just like that, the world lurched. I saw darkness, was gliding through silky darkness that curled around me like silky tendrils – then WHAM! I landed face-first in snow. Cold snow.

“Buh!” I floundered, trying to find my legs. My arms broke through a crust of hardened ice atop the snow and I felt like I was drowning. A world of blinding white was opened up before me with a crisp blue sky. I staggered to my legs. Where was my coat?

Charr was already on her feet, tense and looking around. Imitating her, I did the same, hoping to recognize the place. No such luck. We were in a non-descript valley dotted with pine trees around the edges. Farmhouses were visible on the horizon, where a mountain rose. “We’re uh, probably somewhere near the vampire territory.”

Charr gave me a dark look. “Is that near where Kuryo is?”

I nodded. “Someone will have sensed our arrival- either the military or Bella. We can just wait here and we’ll get picked up soon.”

“By whom? Which one do we need?”

I balked. Uh, I wasn’t sure? “Well I’d rather go see Bella, and you want to see your boyfriend so,” I shrugged. “We hope for vampires?”

Charr gave me a narrow look. “You don’t seem like you have a plan.”

I grinned nervously.

“My Name is Chaos”; Chapter Twenty, Part Two

“So, you told her?” FoxFace said so calmly.

I chewed my cheek. I looked anywhere but across the desk, where FoxFace was sitting. I sat on my side of the desk in her office, hands bandaged, blood washed away, and a glass of water at my side. But the last thing I wanted was a silly drink.

Bella had tried to kill me. For real now. She’d set the vampires upon me, after having me smear blood on my neck. Yep, just so they knew where to aim. Uh, she’d put a lot of thought into getting me eaten? Like, who did that? And why?

The worst part was that I knew why. What had she said again? ‘I can’t let them have you’? Jesus fuck, what the hell? Did she think I would turn on her? Or did she think that now I was merely a liability?

But how could she want to kill me? I was her big squeeze! We were lovers and after everything we’d been through, she just – sicced her vamp squad on me?

But she loved me. I knew that for a fact. I’d felt in through her power. She loved me.


I jumped, then scowled at FoxFace. “What?” I snapped.

“I am speaking, and you will listen,” she said in a tone that demanded respect. Well, request denied. I lounged back in my chair, crossing my arms over my chest. I stared her down, challenging her to… I didn’t know what. But I hated her. It was all her fault. She had taken the collar off me, broken my bond with Bella, and nearly got me murdered.

“Listen,” said FoxFace. I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. She took in a sharp inhale. “Do you really want to do this the hard way?”

Go on, show me, I goaded her silently. I refrained from saying that, at least, but I left my eyes up on the ceiling. What-ever. Talk away, girl, you can’t force me to listen.

FoxFace took a deep breath. Then, in a low murmur, she spoke.

“Your eyes are wide, your ears are open. Your lips are sewn shut, your body is still. Look at me, and listen.”

Oh, fuck, I thought as I felt my head tilt down and my eyes focus on her. My ears strained to hear whatever she had to say and – try as I might – I couldn’t move. And my mouth was definitely shut tight.

Fuck me.

Pleased with her witchcraft, FoxFace clasped her hands on the table between us. “Now that I have your full and undivided attention, I am going to say something. And I’m only going to say it this once.”

I would have nodded, but that wasn’t really an option anymore.

“Now Chaos, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I run this whole ‘dealing with the mumbo jumbo’ project. I own you. And if ever you want to not be owned, and have freedom to dilly dally your day away, I highly recommend you- mmm, stop being an ass?” She smirked, pausing before adding. “You can nod.”

I distinctly refused to do so. No nodding from me – though I really got her point, and was busily trying to think of a way out. Maybe I had to… kill her? That wasn’t really my thing though. Killing too many incarnates could turn a soul demonic, and I really didn’t want that.

I wished I had my dice. Decisions were hard to make when you didn’t know the outcome before hand.

“So,” she said sharply. “Here’s what you want to do. In order to get on my good side you’re going to bring me Bella, unharmed, fully functional, and in one piece. Try and pull any stunts, warn her again – I know you warned her, that’s probably why you had a horde of vampires trying to eat you – and you will see what I do to spirits that disappoint me.” She nodded curtly. “Permission to speak freely.”

“Fuck you!” I snapped the moment my jaw would work again. “You don’t-” get to boss me around? I rethought my sentence. “I’m the child of the Grim Reaper, and of Life. You don’t want to get on my bad side. My family will come for me.”

FoxFace’s eyebrows rose. “Do you take me for an idiot? I couldn’t have picked a better soul to take possession of. Your family is neutral in all aspects and refuses to meddle in affairs. They will let you rot. And my sources tell me that you have no one who will come to your rescue, point blank. You have no alliances. So do you want to try that bluff again?”

I gritted my jaw. How the hell did she know so much? Weren’t mortals usually all scared of the Grim Reaper and thought all spirits were boogie men or something like that?

“How do you know so much about me?” I scoffed. “And what makes you think you’re right?”

FoxFace gave me a deadpanned glare. “My sources don’t lie.”

“Sources?” I sneered. “Who are they?”

FoxFace cracked a rare smile. “Don’t you wish you knew?”

I scowled – then thought of who I needed to help me. Lucifer. If anyone knew how to weasel your way out of curses and hexes, it was the man himself – or herself, depending on Lucifer’s mood.

So I put on my dapper charm, snapped my fingers, and fixed all of my problems just like that. Ha ha. No.

“Lookit,” I said calmly, trying to think of ‘what would Lucifer do?’ as a way to come up with a great lie. “I have an idea.”

“Is that a rare thing?” FoxFace asked so seriously it took me a minute to catch it. But once I did, I put on a plastic smile.

“How about I go catch Bella and bring her to you?” I said in my suave tone. “And here’s how I’ll do that. I’ll go to the spirit world, catch her, and bring her back.”

FoxFace looked completely unimpressed. I cleared my throat, trying again. “This means you help me get to the spirit realm.”

FoxFace steepled her fingers between us. “You think you’ve got a friend who will rescue you from me? Or do you really think you can outrun me?”

Uh, neither? Because Lucifer is no one’s friend?

“I have your blood,” she said coldly. “You’re not outrunning me. So just get Bella, and bring her here. How complicated is that?”

I pressed my lips together. My mind spun. Trickery was not my strong suit. “Look,” I snapped. “Just send me to the spirit realm. Can you do that?”

“Tell me why,” she said, mildly amused. “Because I know Bella isn’t there. She’s in this plane, and seems intent on staying here.”

I leaned forward across the table. “That’s because she wants to get three portals together to get into the plane of nirvana. She-” I paused, not sure how much to say or what to say even. It’s not like Bella had unveiled her massive plan to me. “She wants to get there,” I finished lamely. “So,” I took a deep breath, biding time to spin my lie. What could impress a witch? “I’m going to get Lucifer to help me,” I said outright.

I swore I saw FoxFace smirk. It egged me on. “With him, I won’t get hurt and you will definitely get Bella.”

FoxFace unsteepled her fingers and lay her palms flat on the desk. “You think you can get Lucifer to catch Bella for you?”

“I can be convincing,” I said, feeling rather successful.

FoxFace smiled nastily. “Go ahead then. I’ll have a portal made for you to the underworld. But-” she pointed a finger at me. “If you don’t bring Bella back this time, there will be consequences.”

I snorted. “You say that like I’m irresponsible.”

She raised her eyebrows. I decided it was best not to add any more comments to that mess.

“My Name is Chaos”; Chapter Nineteen, Part One

I woke, groggy but determined. As I had slept in bursts and hiccups, I had time to think, and think, and think. My mind kept feeling grogged, but I was determined now to- something. Be better. It was a hazy idea, but I wanted to improve things. I wanted to make Bella happy. I was going to do that – somehow.

My mind just couldn’t compute a solid answer!

When I finally woke for good, the first thing I did was splash water on my face in the washroom. That turned my skin cold, but did very little to actually rouse me. I felt trapped in a mist.

Grumbling but still determined to… something?… I dressed and stomped from the room.

“AH!” I yelped as a vampire was just – standing there.

She looekd down at me, peeling her lip back from her teeth in a grimace. “You, awake.”

“No,” I snarked, hand on my thumping heart. “I’m dead.”

The vampire paused. The sarcasm seemed to have conufsed her.

“Where is Bella?” I asked.

“She has orders for you to stay inside the house until her return,” said the vampire. “Rest or, something,” she finished with a shrug.

I scowled at her before brushing past her to the stairs.

A hand slammed down on my shoulder. I whirled around to face miss fang-face. “Where do you think you’re going?” she hissed, stooping so her breath was straight in my face.

“Breakfast,” I hissed back, rising up to snarl in her face. “Or something.”

Rolling her eyes, she let me go. I turned around and stomped down the stairs, fully convinced that I was going to do the ‘something’ part of my statement. I just wasn’t sure what it would be. But sitting around and just waiting for Bella? That didn’t feel right.

But first, really, I had to eat. And if there was coffee to be found- it was to be mine.

There was three beefy werewolves in the kitchen, pouring blood into baggies. They looked at me, then the middle one, Munch as it so happened, straightened.

“Hey, if it isn’t the little kitten!” he sneered. Dusting his hands off on his apron, he strolled over to me. “What’ll it be? Want some milk?”

Oh gawwwwd. I smirked, trying to not listen to him. Whatever. “With cereal,” I said sweetly, trying to somehow turn the joke on him. “Can you manage that?”

“Oh, for you? Sure, kitten,” and he reached to ruffle my hair.

I punched him in the gut. My reasoning? If I was Bella’s precious kitten he couldn’t really punch back, could he?

Well, as it turned out, I was right. Munch straightened, lifted a fist, then double checked himself. I smirked. Victory. Alea jacta whatever.

I bumped past him into the kitchen. “So where is this food? Theoretically?” And I propped myself against the counter right before this big window.

I picked it because, really, cool window? Nice view while eating my cereal and being smug? It turned out to be the worst decision, like, EVER.

The sniper must have been like ‘Dude, my lucky day’ and shat themself in excitement.

Oh wait, they’re Canadian, so it must have been ‘Eh, dude, my lucky day eh?’. Then, presumably, they apologized to me.

Because, really, after two point oh seconds before this window, it shattered inwards and something whacked into my neck. Glass showered over me in little slicing bits and I yelled wordlessly in surprise as I ducked forward.

“What the fuck?” I asked, crouched down beside the counter – not under a window this time. Munch and the others were also crouched down, eyes wide and ogling me.

Munch pointed at me, more specifically my neck. “Your neck!”

I touched, and felt the feathers. Damn. Sweet Jesus on a stick and fuckity fuck fuck. I pulled it out, then glared at it. It was a black metal vial with white and blue feathering. I threw it angrily on the floor.

“What the fuck?” I hissed angrily as if it was Munch’s fault. Scrambling, I poked my head up to look back out the window. There was the town, or more precisely the rooftops.

Munch was on a walkie talkie. “There’s a sniper firing shots into the house. Repeat, a sniper-”

The world lurched around me. The floor crashed up to me. I jolted, spasming once. Twice. The cold tiles were hard against me as I thrashed in a seizure.

“Shi-i-it,” I heard Munch hiss.

But, of fucking course, he didn’t even come to help. They just stood in their corner of the kitchen, talking on the walkie talkie. Their words faded into a jumble, and as I railed angrily against htem, the scene faded.

“FUCK YEAH!” someone fairly roared, jolting me awake.

My eyes flew open, my nostrils flared, and I was struck by the sudden newness of this scenario. The smell of champagne, the moving masses around me.

“We did it!” someone was cheering. “We did it, we did it, we did it!”

I looked around, but could barely see. There was juts these white blobs massing around me, and I couldn’t move.

Then – “Alright officers, take that party outside,” said a voice that was unmistakeable. FoxFace.

I blinked and shook my head. I twisted my arms and felt bonds. I blinked again and the world slid a little more into focus. Someone patted me on the shoulder. “Hello Chaos,”

I spat at the shape that was generally before me.

“Oh, gross!” said FoxFace. She wiped her face, and slid finally into focus. She was grinning as she wiped her face on her sleeve. “Good to see it’s still you and we didn’t bodyswap you with a chipmunk or something.”

I looked around, heart pounding in my throat. Back in the lab. It shouldn’t be scary, but for some reason it was terrifying. Something in me was runnign a mile a minute, indeed like a chipmunk, and –

“Whoah,” Foxface frowned, looking at a panel beside me. “What, are you happy to see me? Your stats are running high. Calm down, soldier.”

My snark was lost. My mind was reeling. An overwhelming sense of panic was drowning me and something was flashing through my mind like a warning signal, telling me that I was in dire danger.

But of what?

“Hey,” FoxFace leaned again into my field of vision. “You seem to be having a panic attack.”

I couldn’t breathe, the fear was choking me. Bella! I needed Bella- and it clicked in my mind. I was away from Bella. I was away from the ‘hive’, and her touch.

So this was withdrawal? Wow.

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to rationalize this panic. Trying to remind myself that I was fine, that I could breathe just fine without Bella there.

FoxFace was talking coolly. “You know if we were friends I could give you something to help, but we’re not, so I’m not going to bother.”

I tried to glare at her, but instead the vision swam fuzzily. I tried to breathe but the air wouldn’t come. The sight of FoxFace was reminding me of Bella. So I tipped my head back and stared at the ceiling, only to realize that Bella was going to be furious.

Emotions crashed over me like a tsunami. Powerful, ripping at my mind and dragging sense away.

Bella was going to be so angry! So angry! I’d Disobeyed her order to stay home! She was going to be furious!

I tried to rationalize, but that thought drifted away, torn out of my mind and replaced with a sheer panic. I’d disobeyed! I was going to be punished!

Something stung my arm but I barely noticed. Then, like a cool bath over a fever, plastic and fake calm rushed through me. It wasn’t complete, but just like having my head lifted out of the water, but the waves were still up and clogging my nose.

Indeed, I was gasping as I came to my senses, seeing FoxFace frowning at me with a needle in hand. The needle was only half empty.

“You’re having strange side effects,” she said with a frown. Then, tipping her head to the side she added playfully “Or are you really that scared of me?”

I gasped, struggling to keep the internal screaming just that – internal. “Give me the rest of that.” I needed it. Anything, something. I just wanted to breathe again. I had to get this panic to stop. It was just getting stronger and it was rising up again, drowning out my thoughts. Tears were stinging my eyes and my breathing was turning into hiccups again.

“Yeah, maybe,” she said. But she didn’t. Instead she just stood there, needle in hand, and observed.

I hiccupped, twisted on myself, and crushed my eyes closed. It just made everything worse. The screaming couldn’t be stopped now. My skin was itching all over and I heard my breath gasping, felt my face tingle, and knew I was about to faint.

Blind panic was filling me and it felt like I was falling into a tunnel when there was another prick in my arm. The world swerved and careened drunkenly back to me. I opened my eyes to see FoxFace, to feel her latex gloved fingers holding my chin to face her. She was frowning.

I gritted my teeth, wiling myself to be ‘together’. To be strong. It’s just a hive withdrawal, I told myself. You’ll be back to Bella soon. Pull it together!

But I couldn’t. Tears were running down my cheeks, I was shaking, and I was furious with myself for being so weak. Then, as if in answer, the world turned black.

“My Name is Chaos”; Chapter Eighteen, Part One

I woke to a gentle light, and the feeling of soft bedstuff around me. Ahhh, yissss. I rolled over, snuggled in a pillow, and smiled to myself.

A flash of remembrance struck me, a vision of the Sky God as he fell, as I cut him down. It was clearer than I remembered it being, as if time had sharpened my view on all the nasty bits.

My eyes snapped open, my chest heaving. Where was I? Bella’s room, as it turned out. On the incarnate plane, with a pile of incense burning beside me.

Inhaling deeply, I tried to sit up. I almost barfed. My bones ached, the world swam, and I felt horrible.

“Hey,” grunted a voice beside me. Again, I startled. There, hands lifted as if they meant to do no harm, was a vampire. They were seated with a book in one hand. Had they been posted to just sit there and watch me?

“Our Queen wants to see you once you’re awake,” she said. Then, as I nodded, she added (as if she’d been avoiding saying this) “She is very pleased with you.”

oh-kay. Jealousy much? But I nodded. What the fuck else was there to do? Brush aside the compliment?

As soon as the vampire left (taking their bad mood away with them like a stormcloud), I dressed. It was a painful affair, thanks to the state I was in. The black t-shirt snagged around my neck, and I remembered the collar. A quick glance in the mirror, and yes, it was the collar. The sight of it made me smile. Lovely thing. It made me proud. I was glad everyone could see it, this mark of ownership. I was even more happy that I’d lived up to it yesterday.

Luckily I’d stepped away from ogling myself when Bella marched in.

“Chaos!” she said.

“Hey,” I croaked as I finished pulling my boots on. Bella didn’t care, coming right into my bubble.

“I’m so proud of you,” she crooned, burying her fingers in my hair. Her grip tightened and I was pulled into a kiss. A happy kiss. Butterflies burst to life within me and I was smiling gleefully when she pulled back.

“We have a meeting,” she said. “Lucifer wants to meet me. Come.” Without waiting for my answer she turned and marched away. I followed, but not fast enough. With a yank the leash drew taught between us and I almost fell forward on my face. Yeouch! My neck! When had she clipped the leash on? It must have been during the kiss but I felt stupid for not noticing it.

Bella merely glanced over her shoulder, but hadn’t slowed her pace. I’d gotten the point though, and was now rushing to her side. She smiled, pleased, and we continued on through the house.

The portal was outside, and we’d crossed about a dozen or so vampires by the time we reached it. Funny, but I barely thought anything of being seen leashed to Bella. Yes, I noticed the stares. But off the cuff, I thought it was more due to jealousy than anything. I didn’t even rethink about the leash until we stepped into the portal, and that was because it whipped against my chest. After that, I entirely forgot about it, save for a warm feeling of pride deep inside of myself.

When the portal released us, we were before Lucifer’s throne. Lucifer, as it was, looked content. He had a scroll in one hand, a book in the other, and a tablet on his lap. He sparkled more than usual and his makeup was on point. Also there was definitely no way anyone could walk in those heels.

“Oh hello,” he said, rising to his feet and proceeding to prove me very wrong with a saunter. “how are you?”

In those heels, he towered over us by a full head or so. Still, it wasn’t intimidating. Lucifer never outright tried to intimidate anyone. You could easily take him for granted – at your own expense.

“Namastay, namastay,” crooned Bella sweetly. “We’re good, how are you?”

“So good!” Lucifer flung out his hands – and I realized all the book and tablet and scroll had vanished when he’d stood up. “I haven’t seen the angels look so humiliated in Years, darling.” Turning his back to us he sauntered back to his throne, where he draped himself. His wrist flicked and a chair appeared, with a pillow at its feet. “Do sit down.”

My jaw nearly struck the floor. A chair? These were infamously rare in Lucifer’s realm. He ‘never’ allowed anyone to sit before him. But now- Bella carelessly took the seat, and nudged the pillow into place before herself. “Sit,” she said to me.

On the pillow? On the floor? At her feet?

For just a second I hesitated, my old pride rearing up. I wasn’t a lapdog!

But I was, I remembered. She had declared me hers, and if she wanted me to sit at her feet, then, sit at her feet I would.

Not necessarily pleased and somehow more embarrassed by this than by the leash, I sat down on the pillow.

“Aww,” Lucifer crooned from his armrest. He held up his fingers so as to make a picture frame to see us through. “So cute. Nice pair.”

I flushed. Bella smirked nastily. “What did you want to talk about?”

Lucifer dropped the finger-frame. “I wanted to tell you something, strike a deal, if you will.”

Bella nodded. Lucifer grinned wickedly. “First of all, congratulations, girl. You’ve done so good. Come so far. I’m sure Nirvana is very close for you.”

Bella hummed and nodded, accepting the compliment with narrowed eyes. Lucifer continued.

“I also see that your hive mind is coming along very well.”

Bella startled. Lucifer chuckled. “Isn’t that it? A hive mind? I’ve heard they’re hard to run,” here he lifted up his nails – they were decorated like claws with beads and glitter – and inspected them. “That’s why I never wanted to run one, you see. Too much work. All the bla di bla -”

“What do you want?” barked Bella. Now it was my turn to startle. Was it safe to be interrupting Lucifer? But Bella looked like she was seething. A fact Lucifer didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about.

“I like hive minds,” Lucifer continued, waving his fingers in the air. “Always wanted one. So you see – that’s all I want. Let me be part of your hive.”

Bella turned her head to the side as if to deflect the weirdness of that. Lucifer waved his fingers some more about himself, now looking at Bella like she was not catching on fast enough. “You know? Observe? Have fun, listen in-”

“I know that,” snapped Bella. “The question is why, Lucifer. You never do anything without a reason.”

Lucifer laughed. “Really? Darling, you don’t know me very well then, and you haven’t stuck around her for sure. I’m quite not like the Sky God, you know that. I like things to be pointless.”

Bella’s eyes were narrowing. She seemed really confused.

“So here’s the deal,” Lucifer’s hand was now outstretched to Bella in offering. “You let me into your hive mind. And we work together. You and I, not causing chaos in the universe. We will listen to each other, make things harmonious. And,” Lucifer’s eyes lit up “I’ll help you get that portal to Nirvana.”

Bella looked ready to squirm. The corners of her lips were twitching upwards, yet her eyes were doubtful.

Lucifer cackled. “Think on it, baby girl.”

“My Name is Chaos”; Chapter Seventeen, Part Two

For a moment it was all just silence. The crowd, the wind, nothing moved. I was just standing there, glaring at the Sky Lord. My mind’s buzzing ceased.

Then, with a flick of the wrist, I summoned my weapons.

I’d never seen someone who presented as so old move so fast. That staff whipped around and I jumped back just in time to not be cracked clear across the head.

A flurry of attacks rained on me next, but these carried the power of buffeting wind and enough magic to nearly knock me straight off my feet. My swords crashed up and against them, and I skidded back. My own magic was pitifully small compared to his. In a flash I knew that I was fighting the self declared god over all – and I was doomed.

Fucking doomed.

Let’s break down god-power here. There is a certain amount that comes with age, a certain amount that is innate, and certain amount that is drawn from worshipers. Ye ‘god of all’ has nearly all the worshipers. That makes him, definitely, the god with the just-about-most-power out there.

As the staff crashed against my swords again, my mind was spinning. What the hell was I going to do? How could I win this? Was I supposed to lose? Was I supposed to stall?

Did Bella seriously expect me to win?!

That option was terrifying. I’d given her my word, my heart and soul, and now I was about to fail her. And somehow, I knew deep down that Bella wasn’t going to be merciful in her punishment of my failure.

But I was thinking too much. The staff crashed again and lightning – Frickin’ lightning! – came bolting down. It struck me, full on.

I screamed as the blinding light surrounded me and the pain – so much pain- jolted through me. The world careened and I landed on my knees.

Fuck. The Sky God was brandishing his staff, readying for another strike. He was taking his time though, showing off.

It gave me a split second to think. How had Kemosh defeated this doofus before? Before he became all-powerful, before he became the ‘god of all’?

Human sacrifice. In the story, Kemosh’s people, his devotees, had sacrificed a prince in order to stave off the Sky Lord’s army. And it had worked.

A gear clicked into place in my head. That’s why Bella had put me forward into this fight! It was useless to fight for oneself, one had to sacrifice for someone else in order to defeat him!

I staggered to my feet. The Sky Lord gave me a look. “Surrender,” he intoned. “I’m being merciful.”

“Yeah, right,” I sneered as I held out an arm and slashed my wrist open beneath the bracelets. Then the other.

The Sky Lord paled. I took a deep breath. The sparking pain was okay, the feel of blood trickling down my hands was magical. I felt a renewed sense of energy, and power. Of devotion.

I was doing this for Bella. My sacrifice to her, of me.

I darted forward, blood magic pouring over my swords.

Another pointer for those who don’t know: blood magic is very powerful, the power growing in levels of pain and the willingness given.

My attack sliced through a defending wind, crashed into the Sky Lord’s staff – and cut through. Half the staff went flying, and I, now seeing red and unable to think, hacked on.

Wind buffeted at me. Lightning flashed but missed me. In a haze I recognized another part of the staff as flying away – then sliced through flesh.

Again. Again.

There was a yell, and the god crumbled down.

My blades hovered over him, but it was over. The old man was lying still in a pool of his own blood, chest quivering and eyes wide as he stared up at me.

“Healer! Healer!” the referee was shouting as they rushed over.

The red in my vision misted away. I heard the cheering of the crowd, and a hysterical laugh. Bella. Bella was pleased, Bella was happy.

In a rush I felt the reward, that sense of euphoria from her words. It was ecstatic, bursting through me like a warm glow.

I staggered. Someone was checking my wrists, someone else feeling my pulse at my throat. I wanted to shake them off to go see Bella, but I felt weak now. Just how much blood had I lost?

“Sit down!” the healing deity was ordering, but I just fell. My magic had run out.

“My Name is Chaos”; Chapter Sixteen Part Two

When I came to, I was tied to a chair. FoxFace was before me, arms crossed and a very sour look on her face. I felt groggy and sluggish.

“Feeling better?” FoxFace asked sharply, marching over to my side.

I eyed her, unable to really move my head. I was exhausted. But still, she irritated me. “No,” I mumbled. “Can I have some painkillers?”

Crack! She punched me across the face. Hard! It stung! My head snapped to the side and pain split across the side of my head.

“Really?” she asked sharply. “Does that feel better?”

I spluttered, head hanging back down. I blinked but couldn’t shake the pain. “No,” my voice cracked. My lips were dry.

“Listen to me, you little shit,” she snapped, hauling my head up by my hair. It hurt! But I was too limp to do anything about it.

For a blissful moment I almost laughed, knowing that Bella wouldn’t like me being treated in such a way. She was possessive, she would react and punish.

But she didn’t. Instead of a surge of possessive anger I felt an emptiness within myself. No more Bella.

Like a whipcrack it struck me. Bella was gone. She’d left me.

FoxFace was saying something, but I wasn’t hearing her. “Where’s Bella?” I blurted, completely interrupting her.

“What do you mean?” she snapped. I managed to focus on her burning eyes.

“Bella,” I spluttered. “Where is she?” I felt near tears. She’d abandoned me?

No smile from FoxFace. “Not here,” she snapped. “What, did you expect to find her?”

I searched her face, hoping to see some clue, something that I was missing. What had happened? I’d found the bones. I’d let Bella use me, send her magic out. She should have returned. We should be together right now. Unless… no, she wouldn’t. She cared about me. She wouldn’t just leave me behind.

Not like this.

I was snapped to by FoxFace glaring at me – and talking. It was more the tone of her voice, honestly. It was somehow sympathetic. “You found Bella. Don’t you remember what you did?”

I felt like crying. Blinking rapidly, I cast my eyes around, not really noticing what I was looking at. Anywhere but at FoxFace.

“What happened?” asked FoxFace staunchly.

I gulped. Where was Bella? She mustn’t have just abandoned me without a reason. There must have been a reason.

Shaking my head, I tried to sort my thoughts out. Focus on the now. FoxFace was standing before me, hands on her hips.

I collected myself somewhat. “I don’t remember,” I fibbed. “I just sort of – something happened. When Leo was talking and -” something clicked in my mind. “Why are you still alive?”

“What makes you think I should be dead?” she asked wryly. “If you don’t remember anything, that is.”

I balked. Stupid, stupid, me.

FoxFace smiled wryly. “If you’d stop lying, don’t you think this could go easier?”

“Really?” I snapped. “You think life gets better with honesty?” It sure as hell didn’t! I’d heard enough life stories to-

“No,” FoxFace said calmly. “I think it gets easier if you know when to make friends and when to make enemies.”

I paused. “You’re not my friend.”

She stooped to look me square in the eye. “I’m not your enemy, either. Don’t make one of me.”

“You’re not?” I sneered. “I seem to remember things differently.”

FoxFace grinned slyly. “Really?” She smirked. “If I were you, I’d rethink that statement, Chaos. You don’t want to be my enemy. Now-”

I spat in her face. On second thought, not the smartest thing to do, considering I was cuffed to the chair and still in head-splitting pain from the last punch.

FoxFace wiped her face on her sleeve. There was a rabid look to her eyes now, and I expected another punch. Instead she was just grinning. “Alright,” she hummed. “That’s the way this is. Well, that leaves me a clear conscience.”

“For what?” I snapped, all bravado and secretly wondering what the hell she had up her sleeve.

But, grin still in place, she didn’t answer. “Sweet dreams, Chaos,” was all she said as she produced another syringe from a nearby table.

“Hey! What’s that?” I fairly yelled, trying to shimmy away from the thing. It was pointless, as she poked it in me without second thought. When she drew it out, empty, my arm was tingling.

FoxFace waved at me. “Bye, bye,” she said way too happily.

Then the world grew dark. But in this darkness was pain, incredible pain. I had the distinct feeling that I was dissolving, being torn apart, and that I was traveling. Returning to the astral plane – yet I didn’t want to go there. Desperately, I wanted Bella. I knew I had to find her, help her, and be by her side.


I woke in a field of snow, crashing into it and the icy cold on my hands and face like a harsh bite. I floundered, struggling to my feet, blinded by light and stinging all over in residual pain as I felt myself finish putting itself back together.

For a moment all I did was flail and try to stay standing in the knee- deep snow. Then, as the pain oozed away and my eyes adjusted – I saw that I was standing exactly where Bella and I had once stood together. The view here was beautiful. The rolling fields, the farmhouses – it was all still as it had once been.

A gaping ache opened up like a wound within me. I wanted Bella like an addict wanted their fix – and for a split second I wondered whether I really wanted her, or whether it was that strange sensation of being with her that I wanted. Was it the euphoria, or love?

I shook my head, dismissing that as stupid. At this point, I figured it was probably a bit of both. No – a lot of both. I really needed Bella, and I really –

“Chaos?” a sweet voice said from beside me. I whirled, and there she was, like a mirage.

“Bella?” I grabbed her with both hands, seizing her by the shoulders. She was real! She was solid! I flung my arms around her, squeezing her in the tightest hug I could manage. She was laughing.

“Chaos? How did you get here? What are you doing?” And she pushed back, forcing me a step away from her. I didn’t care, I was filling up with her presence, feelign a strange euphoria at her presence. I just wanted to sink to my knees in the snow, as if it was the only right thing I could do in her presence.

I found myself babbling as this went through my mind. I was pawing at her hands that held me at arms’ length. “I was looking for you – they captured me – you were gone – and now you’re here – ,”

Bella chuckled. “You’re my absolute best,” she murmured, and I felt like she meant it, meant every word and meaning of it. My heart felt like it was going to explode from joy.

She finally drew me in for a slow, purposeful kiss. I wanted to cry from relief. The feel of her was a balm to my wounds – and then she drew back.

“Come with me,” she said sternly. “We can’t stay here, the humans have control of this area.”

“They do?” I asked, mind flubbering around. Of course, they had invaded. Bella had no more land – or did she?

Bella dissolved away before my eyes, her grip still firmly on my arms. When her hands went to dissolve, I began to follow.

This traveling was painless, easy, and fluid. One minute we were in the bitter snow, the next we were slowly reappearing in Bella’s living room. The same one as before, with several vampires still in it.

“I went to investigate the portal,” Bella was drawling as I finished taking full form. “And look who I found.”

There was a murmur of approval from the vampires. A glimmer of jealousy? They didn’t seem fully pleased to see me.

But Bella either didn’t care or didn’t notice. Within moments I was seated in someone else’s spot and Bella had resumed her chair. Swiftly, I was given the summary of the situation. The vampires had retained power over the city, and only the city. The humans who lived within were the reason why – the rest of Canada wasn’t sure how to control a raving bunch of awe-inspired people who insisted Bella was their god and wanted to be left alone. For now, they were being starved out in the dead of winter. The humans, in their devotion to Bella, were simply staying put and starving.

“There are many who have been taken into captivity. Those who lived outside of the city,” said one vampire angrily. “We must rescue them.” And due to the emotion in her voice – did she actually care about these humans? “They are our brothers and sisters!” she said dramatically.

“Yes, yes, all in due time,” muttered Bella, eyes staring off into the distance beyond everyone.

The vampires did not seem pleased. “There are many more who have been made captives in the earth realm, taken away,” grumbled another vampire. “We must rescue them as well.”

A smile lit up Bella’s face. “I think I know what we’re going to do next,” she said with the cheer of someone on a bright new idea.

“But the rescue missions?” whimpered the vampire who was so emotional about it all.

Bella waved her hand in dismissal. “I’m going to challenge the sky god to a duel.”

My jaw fell. She said it so lightly, so easily – but did she know what she was doing?