Like a child standing at the gates of Disneyland for the first time, Nicolette stood in front of the Vatican, watching the smoke fill the sky. Screams from bystanders to save the place brought a smile to her face. The only one who could stop the flames was the one who started the fire. Her eyes closed when she heard the voice, her body shaking from the thought of watching each building crumble to the ground.
“Are you amused?” he asked.
She smiled wider, nodding her head, “More than you can ever understand.”
His voice soft, not that of Hades, Nicolette found amusement in his gentle tone. Was he not the grim reaper that all feared? Why was he here if he was not collecting his daily due? To scold the girl, or to warn her of the fury she unleashed?
“I have collected for the day. Stop this before you regret taking them all,” Thanatos warned. His voice never elevated.
“Fine,” Nicolette said. She rolled her eyes in disgust. The fire slowly retracted back into the earth’s core, leaving bystanders in shock. Most screaming out this was an act of God, but Nicolette was nothing from the heavens. She was born from hell and her heart as dark as night. There were very few people she would protect with her life, and right now, none of them lived in Italy.
Being shook from the back, Nicolette looked behind her and into the eyes of Arison. His displeasure was causing his face to cover with lines and his once oceanic blue eyes to dim.
“Who are you talking to?” he asked.
With a wicked grin, she looked him in the eyes and gave him the shock that forced him to step back from the young girl.
“Thanatos. He came for a little visit,” she laughed. It was the first time she had connected directly with the gods, but Nicolette knew it would not be the last. Her powers grew by the day, and she contained power that no one realized.
Arison gripped her upper arm, twisting the flesh in a heated fury. She was not allowed to speak to them directly. He was the courier, and now she was causing a disturbance that he could no longer control.
“YOU WILL NEVER DISOBEY ME AGAIN. RETURN TO THE HOUSE, NOW,” he demanded.
As the world around them burned, Nicolette saw no one but the man standing in front of her. She knew she had pissed him off, but he couldn’t do anything. She was the only one bound to the child. If he hurt her, the child would feel the pain. Did he want that?
Following him the short distance down the cobblestone walk, it wasn’t until she reached the door, she noticed the ring of her phone. She listened to the voicemail, her body as stiff as the slats on the fence. It was not the news she expected.
“Grace is sick, really sick. Her fever is out of control, and they can’t get it down. Nic, you need to tell me what you meant when you said we were bound to you. Please, I can’t lose my daughter,” Gypsy cried.
“I need to go to America. Please leave me alone, Arison. This is your final warning,” she said.
“You did this. You contacted the Gods without the approval. Nicolette, you don’t understand what you’ve done,” he said.
Without warning, she slammed his body into the wall, the binds invisible, but they held him with a strength he had never endured.
“I am traveling to America. You are staying here. If that child dies,” she stopped, they both knew what would happen if Grace died.
Nicolette left a voicemail back for Gypsy, assuring her she would be joining her by morning. Whatever darkness held this child, she would dispose of it before it took the child. She would never break her promise to her cousin. Her body raging with heat, Nicolette knew the fever was now at a dangerous level.
“Thanatos, you will not take this one. Not today,” she whispered as a bolt of lightning lit up the skies.