“Mom! What are you talking about?” asked Kitty, rolling her eyes and leaning against the wall with her arms folded.
“Just what I said. Where the heck did you find him?” asked Elise, peering out of her window at the man who currently occupied her front porch.
“I didn’t find him anywhere. He sort of found me…” She trailed off at the expression on her mother’s face. “It’s definitely not what you’re thinking.”
“And what exactly am I thinking, Katherine?” Elise’s eyes flashed at her daughter.
Kitty winced. The use of her full name by her mother was never a good sign, “Well…that he’s a crazy stalker guy. He’s not. He’s…he saved my life and gave me a place to stay.”
“You already have a place to stay. Your home is here with me, not with some lunatic who has metal in his nose and three different colors in his hair!”
“It’s only one other color, Mom.”
“I don’t care how many it is! He’s dangerous, Kitty! You know I’m never wrong about people.”
“I think you’re wrong this time. He’s standing out in the freezing cold because he knows he’s not wanted in the house. He brought me over here-”
“After I threatened him.” The older woman smiled triumphantly.
“No, Mommy. After I let him,” she corrected, softly.
“What?” Elise looked dumbfounded.
“I didn’t want to come and see you. I’ve had so many horrible things happen because of me and…” she swallowed. “I didn’t want your death to become one of those things.”
“What are you talking about? Nothing is going to happen to me,” she laughed, hugging her daughter close. “Where do you get these ideas from?”
“Trouble follows me around like a rain cloud, Mom. And it doesn’t matter what you or Seth say. Weird things happen and the people that I care most about get hurt,” replied Kitty, allowing herself to be comforted.
“Bad things happen everyday, sweetie. They aren’t all caused by just one person,” murmured Elise, smoothing Kitty’s hair away from her face. “I want you to come back home where you belong.”
“I can’t, Mommy. I have…” she glanced out the window at Seth who was talking with a strange looking man. “…I have some issues to sort out. Anyway, I eventually want to try to get my own apartment again. You know that.”
“I know, I know. I just don’t like-”
“Mom! Don’t worry. I’ll be fine,” Kitty smiled. “Now, can Seth please come in out of the snow?”
* * * *
“Didn’t Shireen pass on my warning, Mosely?” asked Seth, idly scuffing his boots on the doorstep.
“Oh that she did. Passed it along nicely too.” Mosely’s light Irish brogue belied his vicious nature. “But I only understood it to apply to her. Well, the rest of us would like a go now if you don’t mind.”
“Mm, I think I do mind as a matter of fact,” he said, meeting the demon’s colorless eyes. “And you know my rule: See demon, will smite. It’s nothing personal. I just can’t stand to see trash around good people’s houses.”
“Trash is it? Who taught you to be so mean spirited, Seth? Surely I never did anything to you. Now, I don’t want to have to bloody your nose, my boy, but-”
Seth cut him off mid sentence by grabbing his throat, “I’m nobody’s ‘boy’, least of all yours.”
“Ah, you might want to ease up there. Your little girl is looking,” wheezed Mosely, coughing when the man turned him loose.
“You stay out of her life you monster,” he growled through his teeth.
“Monster he says! Have you looked in the mirror lately? What exactly do you see when you stare at the glass?” Mosely laughed.
“Oh, I see a monster alright,” said Seth, calmly removing his glasses. “And I’m a much bigger one than you’ll ever be.”
“I think not,” grinned the demon, his mouth instantly filling with long, sharp teeth.
Seth’s eyes turned from silver to red and the demon took a step backwards. He launched himself at Mosely with a roar and they both disappeared into the snow.
* * * *
“Seth, Mom says you can come inside. She wants to meet you,” said Kitty, opening the door. “Seth?”
She stepped onto the abandoned porch and looked around. One set of boot prints was clearly visible in the snow in front of a large depression. The snow was churned up as if someone had been fighting.
Kitty bent to retrieve something half buried in the drift. It was a wet and bedraggled black feather. The sun broke through the clouds just enough to bring out the purple highlights in it. She turned it back and forth for a moment and then she started thinking.