121: Burning Gaze

on December 20, 2007 in 05: The Weekend Shift

In Which Mackenzie Opens Her Mind

“What?” I said, laughing. Such a silly question. My eyes were not on fire. “What do you mean, on fire?”

“Um… it’s kind of like they’ve got like, you know, a fiery aura or something… no, actually, it’s more like they’re just on fire,” he said.

“How can my eyes be on fire?” I asked. “I’d see it, wouldn’t I?”

Now that I thought about it, there was a slightly flickering sort of reddish haze around everything… but I wasn’t going to tell him that.

“Why don’t you take a look in the mirror?” he asked.

“Um… duh, I don’t know, Ian. Maybe ’cause I’m talking to you with it?” I said. The boy was thick. Well, parts of him were, anyway.

“Take a look at yourself,” he said. “I’ll wait for you to come back.”

“Oh, fuck… if you’re gonna make a whole big deal out of it,” I said.

“Mackenzie, your eyes are on fire,” he said.

“I heard you the first time!” I said, waving my hand over the surface of the mirror to break up the image. When the reflective surface reformed, I caught sight of what he meant: apparently, my eyes were on fire, the surface of them burned without being consumed, the way my whole body used to catch fire sometimes, before I was forced to repress it.

It was kind of cool to look at actually… though at the moment, the eyes were just part of the whole package. I was looking pretty good. No wonder Amaranth wanted to eat my ass out: it was damn hot, if I said so myself. Why the hell had I passed on the chance of getting more jeans in this size?

The way I dressed most of the time, it was really no wonder that the best I could do was an overenthusiastic nymph and a horny freak like Steff.

Oh… and Ian.

I’d nearly forgot about him. I got him back in the mirror.

“Well?” he asked.

“Well what?” I replied.

“Your eyes!” he said.

Oh, right. He was freaking out about the whole eyes-on-fire thing.

“It’s just something new I’m trying,” I said, studying my nails. Barley had clawed the shit out of my eye… or she would have if I hadn’t been invulnerable. Why didn’t I grow mine out a little? I could seriously fuck somebody up if they wanted to get in my face. I could paint them, too…

“You acted like you didn’t realize…” Ian said, interrupting my thoughts.

“Well, I forgot,” I said. Was it his business what parts of me were or weren’t on fire? “I’ve had them ‘on’ all day and you’re the first person who’s noticed, honestly.”

“I thought you liked to downplay your… heritage,” he said.

He said it like it was an illness or something, like there was something wrong with me.

“Yeah, well, maybe I’m sick of pretending,” I said. “Everybody else gets a little racial pride. Why not me?” Yeah. Why not me? “Anyway, I’m sick to fucking death of people looking at me like they’re waiting for me to sprout horns. The wait is over. I am demon, watch me burn.”

The mention of horns made me think of Twyla… now there was someone who was almost definitely a virgin. She had to be, since she’d somehow managed to wind up even less popular than me. Girls like her were always virgins, until they figured out how to use sex as a gateway to acceptance. I didn’t think she was at that point yet.

She’d probably be pathetically happy just to have somebody talk to her… what wouldn’t she do for a little bit of–pardon the expression–human kindness?

Was her blood even human enough to sustain me, though? She didn’t know her parentage herself.

Maybe I could help her find out, finally.

I suddenly wondered if Trina was a virgin. She was only half-human, but maybe if I drank enough of it… and Amaranth shared her room.

I could get the key from her.

“Mackenzie?” somebody said.

I looked back at the mirror in front of me and was momentarily surprised to see somebody else in it.

“Oh… um… Ian,” I said.

Ian.

Right.

He was pretty edible.

I could just kick myself for not noticing before… like all those times his dick had been in my mouth. Or maybe just the first time. I could have solved my food problem for at least one month if I hadn’t let myself turn into such a pussy about everything.

He’d been a virgin before he met me. I was sure of that. The question was, had I “blown” him as a food supply, so to speak? I knew that non-virgin blood couldn’t sustain me, but had never bothered to explore the limits of what that meant. That was stupid. I should have been sampling from everybody I met.

Well, there was no time like the present.

“Is Amaranth there?” he asked.

I shook my head.

It was a shame nymphs tasted like shit. Amaranth would probably enjoy being chewed on a bit. Or at least, she thought she would…

One thing at a time, though.

“So, how about dinner?” I asked. Even if it turned out Ian’s blood was no good, I still needed to get something in my stomach before I did something I’d regret.

I laughed… that thought seemed funny for some reason.

“Um… could you go get Amaranth?” he asked. “Please?”

“She’s not around,” I said. “What’s the matter… aren’t I enough for you?”

“I’m not sure I like what I’m seeing,” he said.

I laughed. What a wuss.

“Oh, come on, Ian,” I teased. “What, are you afraid I’m going to take a bite out of you? Remember, you’re not a virgin… you’ve had lots of girls, they were all over you in high school, you had so much pussy you were giving it away…”

“Shut up!” he yelled.

It was… well, it was kind of impressive. He had a nice voice, when he wanted to use it. It was almost like a physical slap. Not quite the same thing. It got me a little wet, anyway. Just a bit.

Suddenly I was a little less interested in feeding and more interested in how far I could push him. Would he slap me? Probably. His dad sounded like a real controlling asshole, like the kind of guy who likes to run a “tight ship” around the house… maybe Ian had a bit of violence in his blood?

I should be a nice girlfriend and help him get it out of his system. Those kinds of things only festered if you didn’t let them out in the open.

“Why don’t you come over here and make me?” I said in what came out as a sort of a sultry sort of sullen sulk. It was a good voice. Why didn’t I talk like that more often, instead of whining all the time?

“Goodbye, Mackenzie,” he said, and started to lift his hand to wave my image away. “I don’t know what you’re going through, but… go sleep it off, or something.”

“I’m done sleeping,” I said. “Now I’m hungry.”

“For chicken strips?” he asked.

“For whatever,” I said, giving him a shrug and a silly grin.

He gave me a hard look. I could just bet it wasn’t the only thing that was hard…

He wavered. I could see it. I focused on my eyes and willed the flames down a bit… then a bit more, until I thought that they were almost completely out. I’d need to check in a mirror, but I don’t think they’d have been obvious to anybody who wasn’t looking right in them.

It would be a neat trick, if it worked… here’s this normal girl, and then you get too close, and… yeah. It would be a neat trick.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll just grab a jacket. Do you want me to come over there first so we can walk over together?”

“I’m a big girl,” I said disdainfully. “I think I can see myself safely to the union.”

“Fine,” he said. “I’ll meet you there in ten minutes or so, okay?”

“It’s a date, lover,” I said, and cleared the image before he could respond.

I checked my door as I went past to make sure it was locked. The sheer number of petty, spiteful bitches I shared the floor with, I could barely stand the thought of leaving my stuff alone and unguarded. Well, on the other hand, I didn’t really have a lot of stuff. I’d have to see about fixing that. After all, I had been hoarding money all summer, and basically for nothing.

Still, even with nothing but my shitty old clothes and school stuff, a little vigilance never hurt.

It certainly would have helped me when I bumped into Raquel, better known as “Rocky”, and Incomprehensible Lizard Noises, better known as “Hissy,” as they came out of the stairwell. They seemed startled… well, Rocky seemed startled. Her face, though covered in stone, was still expressive. I couldn’t read Hissy’s scaly face at all.

“Afternoon, ladies,” I said, and started to push past them. Nodding at each other, they both grabbed me under an armpit and carried me towards the bathroom. It was so unexpected I just let myself be swept along.

Anyway, I didn’t know what they were up to, but I had an inkling it might work out better for me if whatever it was didn’t happen in public.

I let them hustle me all the way back past the baths and the toilet stalls–one of which was occupied–to the showers. Rocky pushed me up against the wall… not as hard as Belinda had in our “fight” but enough to get me going a little more… and clapped her hand over my mouth.

I could taste her skin. It was… interesting. If brick could sweat, it might have tasted like that. Hissy closed the curtain and turned on one of the showers, I guess as a cover. She waited by the curtain until we heard the toilet flush, water running, and then the door close.

She scurried out and came back a few seconds later. I tried to remember if there was anything like a lock on the bathroom door. I thought that there might be.

Dragged into the shower by a couple of burly fighter women… the whole thing might have been incredibly horny-making, if it hadn’t involved a walking statue and a lizard queen.

“Something I can help you with?” I asked casually when Rocky released me.

“We wanted to have a little conversation with you,” she said. “About why our squad leader’s refusing to lead us in the match today.”

“Maybe because she’s a whiny bitch?” I said, and she slapped me… okay, now we were getting to the fun stuff. There was no way I was going to fuck a pile of rocks, but this could be good foreplay for my date with that guy.

“Don’t talk shit about Belinda… she was all pumped up for the match, and for whatever she had going on with you… but then she came back all messed up in the head.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with that,” I said. “She was born that way.”

She slapped me again. I bit the inside of my cheek and tasted blood. Yum. This could get fun.

“You cursed her,” Rocky said. “Or something.”

I laughed, but cut it off when the skin around my eye twitched. Some effect of the fire?

“I would have, if I knew a worse curse than simply being her,” I said.

“You did something to her,” Rocky insisted. “You’re going to undo it.”

I felt another tic in my face. A side effect from hunger? I did feel a bit of an odd tingle…

“We should not do this thing,” Hissy… well.. “whisspered” might be the best word for her voice. People thought I was creepy? I was surprised nobody ever tried to drive her out of the room with an oversized shoe. That’s what you normally did when a lizard got inside, right? “Her mind is… not… right.”

Oh, that was right… Hissy was a subtle artist. I realized the twitchiness I was experiencing, the crawling sensation in the front of my mind was just that: somebody crawling around my mind. I considered trying to throw it off, but realized right away I had no expertise in that kind of fighting. So, instead, I opened the floodgates, turning my eyes to meet her.

They always said that you should never do that if you thought somebody was trying to get into your mind, because it increased the connection. Well, that was assuming that you wanted to keep people out. I opened the door and welcomed her in with open arms.

If you’ve never seen a lizard cry tears of blood, I recommend it. It’s worth seeing.

She collapsed, raking at her cheeks with her talon-like nails. Unfortunately, she passed out completely before she managed to claw her face off.

Rocky turned horror-stricken eyes to me.

“I’ll do it to you next,” I said. I turned up the fire, but just in my eyes. I didn’t think I could burn through her stoneskin, and thought it might be more fun to keep things hands on. I could use another jolt.

She lunged, and I braced myself for a more substantial hit. Instead, she grabbed my knife from its sheath–I’d become so used to the sad little piece of magic metal that I’d forgot all about it–and flung it away, out of the showers.

“Alright, you little freak,” she said. “No magic weapons. You’re invulnerable, I’m stoneskinned… that makes it even.”

“I’m still stronger than you,” I said.

She looked like she didn’t quite believe me, but she responded with, “And I’m a better fighter. It’s still even. Now, I’m going to pound on you until you reverse whatever you did to Hissy and Belinda.”

“Wouldn’t if I could,” I said. “I’m going to make two guesses, Rocky. The first is, you’ve never found a man… or anybody else… who’s willing to drill around your fissures.”

She glowered. I knew I’d hit my mark.

“The second is that, under that crunchy outer shell, I bet there’s a delicious candy center,” I said.

I smiled, the way that Sooni smiled, baring my teeth.

Rocky rocked back a step, then gave a little laugh.

“You’re going to bite me, freak?” she asked. “Is that supposed to be scary? My skin’s made of fucking stone, you pathetic little geek.”

Well, I may have been a geek, but that just meant I knew more things than she did, and knowledge was power. She thought she’d disarmed me when she threw my stupid knife away. If she’d been a “geek” like me, she might have realized it was only one of my magical weapons…

This was going to be so sweet.

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11 Responses to “121: Burning Gaze”

  1. Adam Barnes says:

    …………………….. Ok, she may be going all demony from the lack of blood, but Big-Mack is awesome!!

    Current score: 1
    • Athena says:

      Awesome? No. Scary.

      For people who are naturally like that all the time I’m sure it’s fine. But speaking from experience, for someone who genuinely strives to be a good person and only has a little bit of something really nasty like that in them? It’s actually pretty terrifying when something happens to bring that out, and it’s pretty damned terrifying to actually watch too.

      Poor girl is probably going to have a panic attack once she’s in her right mind… or at least try to. Though this may be a pretty difficult one for Steff and Amaranth to back her out of.

      At this point I’m personally hoping nothing goes too awry before Mack gets something to eat… poor girl will probably hate herself if it does.

      Current score: 5
  2. pedestrian says:

    :SHE is going to “Rock” HER world?

    Current score: 0
  3. Maesenko says:

    So THIS is what Mackenzie gets like when her true hunger starts overtaking her… I hope she at least remembers the confidence from this after she gets her fill.

    Current score: 1
    • Rendia says:

      No, she’ll just hate herself more and increase her belief in her own innate evil.

      Current score: 4
      • Anthony says:

        ..and with reason! If this is what her demon side is like, it’s hard to fault Nana Blaise for the way she raised her…

        Current score: 1
        • Athena says:

          No, still pretty easy to fault her. There were plenty of less extreme and damaging ways she could have brought Mackenzie up with a real desire to avoid this kind of thing, and to be a good person in general. After all, most people don’t do that to their kids and I doubt there’s very much you could point to that a demon has done in fiction that at least one – and frequently at least several – humans haven’t matched out of it.

          Current score: 7
    • capybroa says:

      Cosigned. I realize the danger in this situation, but the high from watching Mack not be pathetically useless is overwhelming.

      Current score: 3
  4. Mugasofer says:

    Holy crap. I spend the whole story wishing she’d stop cringing at bullies an use her badass demon powers … shame she’s going to freak afterward.

    Current score: 0
  5. nobody says:

    Hungry Mackenzie is now my second favorite character.
    Two is still more interesting and my favorite because of that.

    Current score: 2
  6. Lara says:

    This was really terrifying to read haha. So well written. I’m curious what an AU where she never leaves this state would look like…

    Current score: 0