Damian's Oracle (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 21)

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Sonoran Desert, Arizona

The Black God's southwest base camp

"What the fuck are you doing here?" the vamp demanded.

Two dropped his arms to his side.

"Water," he said.

"Slaves don't drink the master's water."

Two felt the stinging blow at the back of his head and wobbled, dropping to his knees. One of his master's men-the one with the red eyes-shoved him away and took his canteen, dumping its contents.

"Get the fuck outta here!"

He threw the canteen and it hit Two's cheek. Two took his canteen and rose. He moved mechanically out of the single large kitchen in the underground lair. He went back to his small room and sat on the bed staring at the white wall in front of him.

"Two, what're you doing?" another voice, this one softer, asked.

He didn't remember when this man had arrived or why he was supposed to remember him. But he knew he must remember him as he did his master. He concluded he was his master's friend, or he wouldn't be here. His master's friend, the man with eyes as green as the moss in the corner of Two's room, stood in his doorway.

"I'm thinking, master," Two said.


His master's friend was powerful. Two sensed it and cringed as he entered the room. His master's friend had never hit him, but he scared Two.

"Slaves don't think, Two," his master's friend said. "What are you thinking?"

"I see a woman in my head," Two said.

"What woman?"

"I don't know her."

"What does she look like?"

Kiri. He didn't know where the word came from or what it meant. It sounded pretty, like the poof the desert dust made when the first drops of rain fell. The last time he went to the surface, it had rained huge raindrops. Then a rainbow had come out, and he'd stared at it until his master beat him.

"Slave, what does she look like?" There was an impatient note in his master's friend's voice that scared him.

"Who, master?" Two asked.

"The woman."

"What woman?"

"The woman in your head," the master's friend said.

Kiri. A strange voice in his head spoke the word again, and he saw the woman with blue and silver eyes. She was crying, because his master was going to hurt her.

Don't cry, kiri, he thought.

"Did you remember to do as I told you? Did you stop drinking the juice your master gave you?" an unfamiliar voice asked.

He looked up, surprised to see his master's friend in his doorway, the man with eyes the color of the moss in the corner of his room. He rose in respect.

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