Being a ginger and suffering the inane “Gingers have no souls” jokes was only slightly annoying growing up. Now, it seemed the universe had a warped sense of humor, or at the very least was sympathetic to our plight. During the Time of Darkness, it was discovered only humans with red hair pigments were inedible. Go figure? I never seemed to have that problem with any of my old boyfriends, may they rest in peace (or pieces, depending).
I had been “elected” from my district to attend the Summoning Conference, but in reality, it was more like drawing the short straw. I guess my lack of filter had ruffled a few more feathers than I realized. Sitting in the back of the limo, my companions seemed a bit more nervous than I was. The silence was thick with tension. The man to my right kept humming, a grating tuneless sound that made me want to backhand him. The woman to my left kept fidgeting with the bag in her lap. I sighed, closed my eyes and leaned my head back, trying to breathe deep and relax.
The council would be awaiting our arrival. Many days of preparation had been spent, not just feeding me information the district elders thought I may need, but on my appearance. My long unruly hair was tightly bound and secured, covered by a small hat with a netted veil. It irritatingly tickled the bridge of my nose and I had to fight the constant urge not to scratch at it. I loved the black pheasant shirt that rested just off my shoulders with the long flowing skirt, though. The emerald steel-boned corset that I was forced to wear over it, however, I was not a fan of. And the make-up; good lord, I doubt I’d ever worn quite so much. I felt like a Thanksgiving turkey ready for the table, which, under the circumstances, wasn't exactly the best analogy.
The car came to a sudden halt, and I lifted my head trying to see out the blackened windows. The fidgeter next to me let out a small squeal when the door was opened abruptly. She was frozen in place and no one else seemed willing to say anything or move. I sighed and grabbed my own bag off the floor, wasting no time climbing unceremoniously over her to exit the interior, meeting the dark night outside. I took a deep breath and looked around. We were parked in front of an impressive Gothic structure and I smirked.
I slowly turned my head at the sound of the baritone voice. Aside from the fact that he was clearly dead, he was breathtakingly beautiful, spoke with a lovely English accent and was big. Very big.
I cocked an eyebrow, which only made the veil shift and tickle my nose again. I stuck out my lower lip, blowing at the offending shear material; it fluttered slightly, before settling back in place, which made me even more annoyed. Me and annoyed don’t usually end well.
“A counsel of the undead, holding their Summoning Conference in a Gothic cathedral? What could be more amusing?” I stated, tilting my head and staring up at the man, my voice dripping with sarcasm. Which, in hindsight, pretty much violated rule #1 the elders had given me, “Never look the undead in the eye, and always, always answer their questions respectfully and demurely”. Yeah, apparently that wasn't gonna happen. I was so screwed.