Excerpt From THE LIE SPINNERS **spoilers alert**
We head into the crowd, staying to the areas with small openings between people, until we cross into the dancing zone. It’s like the beach sections off into three indistinct zones, right next to the clubs is the sardine zone, then there’s a thick space of dancing gyrating bodies, then nearest the ocean is the standing and rolling in the sand, make-out zone. Neon lights dance over us, black lit people painted with flowers and dragons and smeared designs glow as they wield glow sticks. Linnie and I blend into the crowd letting the techno, guide our movements.
“Insane!” Linnie shouts. “You’re hair glows! Does mine?”
“Sections do!” I shout back. And then we’re head banging, twirling our heads around, making our hair dance; and suddenly, for the first time since Bangkok, we’re laughing. And before long we’re jumping up and down, making whooping sounds, and I have no idea why, but I’m smiling. Then, we’re howling at the moon and some random guys starts doing it with us. Linnie and I spin each other, throwing back our heads.
When we break apart some guy with probably a thousand piercings starts dancing with Linnie. Another guy comes up behind me. After checking for the tell-tale soul-bound mark, which is easy to check for as his hands hold me at my waist, I decide: screw it. Why not have a little fun? It’s just dancing.
The guy who I have yet to see, however, starts to have a little too much fun, grabbing my hips and grinding against me, and I’m about to turn around and tell him to get lost when I feel the guy suddenly leave. I spin to find two guys, one of them Stephen.
From the hand Stephen has on the other guy’s shoulder (another typical college-jock-looking guy), I can tell that I have him to thank for getting jock guy off of me before I had to do it. Stephen claps jock-guy’s shoulder before smiling and saying, “Sorry friend, I’m going to cut in here.”
Jock guy, obviously assuming that Stephen is my boyfriend or something good naturedly holds up his hands and turns away, presumably to find another random chick to dry-hump.
Stephen pauses, gaze darting to my hair, then back to my face. Then he reaches for me, wrapping one hand on my waist and he pulls me into him. I’m surprised by the contact, the fact that his chest presses against mine, his leg separate mine, his unscarred cheek brushes against mine. It’s so much more intimate than the pelvis-grinding-against-my-butt dance that the jock guy was doing. When Stephen’s body sways to the trance techno, mine echoes his.
“I wish you had left,” He says into my ear as the fingers of his other hand wrap around my hip.
“I told you I can’t,” I say back. I feel my breaths coming quicker as his hips move against mine. “You shouldn’t be dancing with me like this…” I say, because I know with every part of me that this is wrong. What I’m feeling is wrong. Dangerously wrong.
“Are you going to fall in love with me?” Stephen asks into my ear.
“No,” I lie.
I can feel his smile against my cheek. “Then I won’t stop,” he says, “This is as private as we’re going to get. Just pretend that you are enjoying yourself.”
“I’ll try.” I thank whoever’s up there that the loud music probably means he can’t hear the shuddering breath I take.
“I understand,” he whispers into my ear as our bodies twist around each other, sync together, “I gave you no explanation, just told you to leave, I wouldn’t have left either…But you need to understand why you need to leave. I’m staying to—”
“You’re staying to save a girl,” I say.
Stephen leans back so he can gaze at me with his beautiful blue eyes; a smile tugs at the scar free side of his face. He regains our locked position and whispers, “That might be part of it, but it is much, much more than that; what do you know about the demons from the Ars Goetia?”
“I know that one of them is cross-dressing in Bangkok,” I say.
“That’s how you found me; it makes sense.” Stephen fingers squeeze and release, as if it was more of a reflex than intention. “Do you know who called forth that Bangkok cross-dresser?”
“I think so, but I’m very confused…” I say.
“As am I,” his lips press to my ear, he whispers so low I more feel the words breathed into me, than actually hear them, “but what I do know is that of the seventy two greater-demon nobles of Hell named in the Ars Goetia, forty-one rank less than Marquis; and, of those forty-one greater demons, twenty-eight now inhabit human bodies. Of those twenty eight greater demons that are in possession of bodies, twenty-seven are on this island. And then you show up here… Do you understand my meaning?”
I nod. If I had any color to lose, it would be long gone.
“Greater demons don’t follow Andras’ orders; any one of them could—”
“…kill me, I know,” I say.
“I don’t know how it’s happening but I do know that something is coming; something that might make last summer look like a happy little holiday, and I have no idea how to stop it. I want you as far away, and protected, as you possibly can be.”
I whisper back, “I can help you…”
“I can’t leave, not without you. Believe me, I don’t have a choice, and since I can’t go, you might as well use my help.”
“How can you help me?”
I speak slowly, “I’m starting to…understand them more. I think…I think I’m becoming more like them…”
Stephen pulls back from me, and he must hear the revulsion I can’t hide from my voice (or maybe my terror), because he brushes his thumb over my cheek in a sympathetic caress. “I become more like them every day,” he says, “and I thank God for it. If there weren’t people like us, the rest of these guys…” he nods toward the crowd I almost forgot we’re surrounded in, “…would not have a chance. I have seen enough evil to know that you are not it; do not let what happened in City Hall last summer make you think otherwise.”
If he didn’t have a grasp on my hip, I might not be able to stand. It’s like he saw right into that dark place within me and lit a match. And I want to say so much to him, tell him everything that’s been cluttering into my mind with no relief…
But Stephen smiles, kisses me on the forehead, and says, “Though I am sure that having you help me sort this out would make it so much easier; if you stay, I only see disaster coming from it. Please, go.”
And the match flickers out.