Carmilla sat at the restaurant table, by herself. She enjoyed these meals on her own. She did not need to eat, but it was very enjoyable to eat, and Carmilla was nothing if not eager to enjoy herself.
It was midnight on the streets of Los Angeles. The date was late September of 2016. The sun had set, and the world was still bright and shining. The temperature was stuck in the default 68 degrees that had been written into the very nature of California, like an angel on the tramp stamp of the continent. The clouds in the sky were lit brilliantly from below by the vast expenditures of energy, banishing the night everywhere except the alleyways. A young woman stepped off of her bus, and into the world.
“You said that Horus healed Jillian. And a lot of other people?”
“You’re not serious,” said Horace, eyes widening slightly. “Please tell me that the Order of Set wasn’t on the Nazi’s side.”
“Did you die?” said Bastet, the goddess’ green eyes bright and wide as she listened, rapt with attention, although apparently not much critical thought.
“You cocky son of a bitch,” I said, glaring at Pale Male. He stood perched in the tree, watching me as he dipped his head down into the body of the pigeon he’d just taken down. I perched in the tree opposite him, my feathers ruffled. “You stand there, eating one of my fuckin’ buddies in front of me. You have some fucking nerve.”
It was, I thought, a truly beautiful evening. The sun stood on the horizon, still casting down enough golden light for us to see. The campground was empty of people, nobody interested in camping here at the moment. Rutted tracks were visible in the ground, where people had driven up to the campsite. Dark patches where people had put up their tents. Evidence that this had been a popular place, once. Now, it was empty and quiet.
It was a gloriously bright, sunny day in Nineveh. The sky had just enough clouds in it to provide a bit of shade and keep the temperature cool. This far south and west of Lake Ontario, the snow and winter had not been as rough, the city shielded by the Catskills. The flowers had begun to blossom, and a riot of color adorned the planters, matched in brilliance if not organization by the wildflowers growing by the lakeside, on the other side of the road.
Cassandra Hirosata frowned into the mirror. The expression was a good one. She was starting to learn her mother’s secret. The hard eyes, the expression that said she knew exactly what was wrong with someone’s soul, all of their darkest secrets. She didn’t need to actually know the secrets. They just had to believe she did.
“Again? You stupid bitch! You burn the food again?! What, you were too busy shooting up to pay attention to the smell of smoke? I spend all day working my ass off, and you fucking burn dinner?! Can’t you do anything right?!”