Damaged Goods

From the Story Arc: Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Next Story in the Arc: Damaged Goods Part Two by Victoria Victrix (Wednesday, May 25, 2005)

(posted Monday, May 23, 2005)

Greymalkin rubbed up against Vickie’s leg, purring. She scratched his ears as she stared at the blinking cursor. The book was stalled. Somehow the trials and tribulations of Deirdre O’Banion just weren’t all that interesting today.

The armor stood on a stand in the corner, mocking her.

You’ve got to get out, Vic. Get out of the apartment and go do your job.

“I have a job,” she said to the empty air.

But it was a job she could do anywhere, so why was she here? Why wasn’t she off in a cabin in the Rockies, or one of the cottages at Inigo Moonlight’s artist colony?

Because you have power, said the armor. Like your mother and father. You have the responsibility to use it.

She turned off the computer abruptly. “What power?” she said to the armor, angrily. “Underhill, sure, but with all the restrictors on? Hell I can punch and do more damage---“

So, do it. The only way you get the restrictors off is to earn them off through practice.

She uttered a Hungarian curse and flung herself out of her chair, angrily. All right, she resented the fact that she, a seasoned magician Underhill, graduate of eight years of hard study under Selieghe Sidhe Knight-Mages, should have restrictions on the powers that she had, by Danu, mastered---

Yes, and you earned those restrictions, didn’t you?

She closed her eyes as all the old pain came flooding back. Yes, she had earned them. She had been so stupid, so reckless…it had nearly cost her her life. Worse, it had nearly cost the immortal lives of the Selieghe Knight-Mages who had come to rescue her, and it had cost the Underhill Healers countless hours of putting her shattered body back together.

She could still hear The Morrigan’s musical laughter. “Leave her that pretty face. No man will look at it twice after he has seen her body.”

Even the Elves, who had seen much and could bear a great deal---winced when they saw her.

And that’s the real reason why you won’t go out, isn’t it? You’re afraid.

“I’m afraid of a lot of things,” she said to the empty air, head hanging. “And as long as I don’t leave here, none of them will happen.”

As long as you don’t leave here, nothing will happen. How is that good?

Memory of Pywll as she had last seen him, so beautiful, so cruel, standing over her mockingly. “Be glad that you won your life, silly mortal. You were a moment of gratification and a way to relieve boredom. But your sweetness cloys and I am surfeited with playing the gallant lover. The Morrigan calls me back to her bed and her side, where I properly belong. Little mayfly! I will have forgotten you before you pass the Dark Gates..”

“If I don’t leave here, I can’t be hurt again.”

You’re hurt now.

“Damn you, logic-girl,” she muttered.

She looked at the armor, and then out the window. She looked at the computer, and felt a bitter impatience welling up inside her. She felt the slow power inside her calling, demanding to be let out.

And she heard a voice in the distance, faintly calling for help.

“Ah hell.” She pulled the armor off the stand. It was time.