Incandesca removed her mask and slipped under the bubbled water. Her long white-blonde hair drifted straight up, reaching for the white foam.
Mark Caten is so lovely.
Mark Caten must die. It is the truth. He must die.
He will die.
Mark Caten will die. I will force him to tell me where my little girl is. My little Olessa.
Then he will die.
My own delectable Mark Caten will die. And I will be able to see her again.
I’ll be able to see my little Olessa again.
Dear little Olessa.
My precious Olessa.
She raised her head. Her hair clung to the sides of her face and bare skin. Bubble bath foam clumped on her hair and shoulders.
Little Olessa? How little is she now? How old is she now?
How long has it been? How many years since I’ve seen my Olessa?
How many years since I’ve seen my sinful Mark Caten?
She tried to count it off on her fingers.
Has it been only three years?
It’s been longer than that.
How much longer? How many days and weeks and months and years?
Does my little girl think of me? Does she still remember me?
Has Mark polluted her sweet, innocent mind with tales of my wrongdoing? Never mind that he was the one who banished me.
His own wife.
But it’s a small matter.
As soon as he’s dead, the banishment will lift. I’ll find Olessa and tell her my side of the story. She’ll understand.
She’ll welcome me back into her life.
I know she will.
She’s my little girl.
She’s my Olessa, no matter how old she is now.
Not Mark Caten’s.
Someone knocked on the bathroom door.
“Just a minute!” She smoothed the foam off her head and put her mask back on. “Enter.”
The hooligans crowded into the bathroom. They stood in a tight huddle. None of them had any idea where to look.
None of them wanted to see Master Incandesca naked. They were certain that would just make them all go blind and deaf.
The leader stepped forward and stared adamantly at the pink bricked floor. “Master, we delivered your message to the Marauder and The Lovering Machine.”
The bricked floor was just so interesting. He couldn’t tear his gaze away from it. “And they refused us.”
“Did you tell them about the bonus?”
“I did, Master.”
“They. They made rude and obnoxious comments about it.”
“They flat out refused to consider it.”
He fidgeted as the bathtub water sloshed.
“How could they refuse such a sweet deal? Grecian Urn’s jelly beans were my absolute favorite thing to eat before I was changed.”
“I don’t know. I just know they aren’t interested in…”
The water sloshed alarmingly.
“Oh, shoot.” one of the hooligans whispered. “She’s getting out of the tub.”
At least five of the hooligans couldn’t take it anymore. They fled the room.
The leader kept his gaze fixed on just one brick as if he were trying to memorize every detail about its color, shape, and texture.
Three more hooligans escaped.
She marched into his line of sight.
He flinched and squeezed his eyes shut.
She stopped in front of him.
He could almost hear the bathwater dripping off of her.
“Did you even try to convince them?”
“DID YOU? ANSWER ME!”
He winced at the direct command. “No, Master. I didn’t.”
She grabbed his hair and pulled his head up.
His eyes popped open against his will.
“So? Why don’t you go back out there and ask them again?”
He focused on her mask. Just her mask. “They’ll just refuse us again. I don’t know how to convince them.”
She released his hair. “So. I’ll have to try something else. Sweeten the deal further. Somehow convince them. I will need to think about this. Get out of here so I can think.”
“Yes, Master. Of course, Master.” The leader and the small remainder of his group fled the scene.
Incandesca returned to the tub and slipped back into the water. “Ahh.” She leaned her head back. “How can I convince them to stop hunting my vampires? There must be something I can offer them. But what? What would two hunters like them really, truly want? Need to think about this.”