Since becoming a werewolf, Jason had pretty much had to get used to weird things happening in his life. So a man falling out of the sky onto the middle of his bed shouldn't have been such a shock. But it was, especially since he was in
bed at the time, naked and with one hand on his cock and a dildo up his ass.
"Holy shit!" He jerked the toy out with painful quickness, tossing it away as he sat up.
He reached out a tentative hand to touch the stranger to see if he was alive. There was just something so unappealingly gross about a dead guy falling on him while he was masturbating. There were many levels of ick in that.
The flesh he touched was warm. He was surprised at how delicate the bones in the man's wrist were. The pulse under his fingers was strong.
Climbing to his knees, he flipped the guy over onto his back. He was surprised by how young, yet ageless the man looked. He could have been a teenager or in his twenties or even in his early thirties, it was impossible to tell for sure, though his clothes and hair said he wasn't too old. Jeans falling apart at the knees, a long-sleeved grey shirt with a blue tee shirt over the top that matched his hair. A surgical steel ring shone on his left eyebrow and he had three earrings in each earlobe, with a metal cuff featuring an intricate Celtic design high on the delicate arch of his left ear.
The guy wouldn't win any beauty contests--wasn't abnormally perfect like some vampires Jason had seen--but his face was appealingly interesting. For some reason, he made Jason think of words like "charming," "adorable," "cuddly," and "elfin." Even unconscious, there was just something about him.
"Hey man, are you alive?" Jason whispered, not expecting an answer.
He jerked back in startled surprise when the man's eyes popped open and he groaned. "What hit me?" He was dazed and confused, nothing to be scared of.
"I don’t' know what happened to you," Jason said. "You just fell out of the air. How'd you get in my room?"
The guy sat up, clutching his forehead with one hand. "I don't know. I was driving. Where am I?"
"My room," Jason said, "at the Circus of the Damned."
The guy snorted. "Oddly appropriate name. Who are you?"
"Jason Schulyer. Who are you?"
The guy looked right at him. Jason was caught in those eyes. They were so quiet and still. The guy should have been terrified, and he was
surprised, but he wasn't afraid. There was just this mild curiosity in his eyes, as though so much weird shit went on in his life that he couldn’t even care anymore. "Daniel Osbourne. Oz."
"Nice name. What are you doing here?"
Oz shrugged a little. "No idea. The Circus of the Damned? What's that about?"
Jason cocked his head curiously. "Practically everyone's heard of the Circus of the Damned, especially since Jean-Claude came out as Master of the City. It's a circus, which obviously means entertainment. There's different kinds of shows and stuff, you know. Vampires and lycanthropes and zombie raising shows, all kinds of stuff go on here."
"Lycanthropes?" There was an odd note in Oz's voice.
Jason felt his spine wanting to stiffen, but held himself loose. "Yeah, lycanthropes. Do you have a problem with that?"
Oz shook his head. "No, I was just surprised. What town is this?"
"Town? What are you talking about, town?" Jason pulled himself to his feet, grabbing his robe off the end of the bed and pulling it on, not bothering to close the front. "This is the city of St. Louis."
"St. Louis? I'm in St. Louis? How did that happen? I was in Oregon last thing I knew," Oz said.
"Oregon? Then how the fuck did you get all the way over here?"
"I don't know." He didn't seem ready to say anything else.
Jason sighed in exasperation. "Well, as soon as you can stand up I better take you to meet the master. Jean-Claude will know what to do with you."
* * *
Anita let out one last soundless scream before collapsing back on the bed. Nathaniel held one side of her, Micah the other.
"Are you all right?" Micah asked.
"What the fuck
was that?" Anita demanded, her voice breaking a little. Her body shook still. The convulsions that had torn through her had been both painful and exhausting. She felt like she'd run a hundred miles; her muscles were like Jell-O.
One minute they'd been having sex, feeding the ardeur
, and the next it was like bolts of electricity were being driven straight up her spine. No warning or nothing, just pain jolting through her. It had stopped just as fast as it started.
"Was… did something happen to Jean-Claude or Richard?" Nathaniel asked.
Anita shook her head back and forth, sweaty hair slapping her cheeks. "No, they didn't feel a thing. This was just me. Something happened tonight, and I want to know what the fuck it was." And kill it, tactfully remained unsaid.
* * *
"…all right, and remember, don't look straight into his eyes. You got it all?" Jason asked.
Oz nodded. "Sure. Seems simple enough."
Jason punched him lightly on the shoulder. "You don't say a lot, do you?"
"Come on, then," Jason led Oz down the hallway toward a door. "This is the private entrance to Jean-Claude's office. Not many people know about it."
"Why trust me?" Oz asked.
"Because there's no way you'd ever be able to find it again later. The only way you'd be able to make it here is if I took you to the front gate of the Circus and showed you all the way through again. It's like a maze in here."
"A labyrinth," Oz said, musing. "Am I going to meet the Goblin King?"
"Huh?" Jason asked.
Oz shrugged. "Never mind, private thought. Let's go."
"All right then." Jason took Oz's arm and knocked on the door.
"Come in," Jean-Claude's rolling voice called, raising delicious prickles against the skin. Oz shivered.
"Be brave," Jason murmured in Oz's ear, pushing open the door.
They went in to meet the Master.