Things are hotting up and getting dangerous for Dusty the Demon Hunter
When they arrived at the house, Dusty was kind of disappointed to find that it was in immaculate repair. She had expected a kind of dilapidated chic. The outside of the house seemed to have been recently painted and there was nothing that she could see that was in need of repair or cleaning. The door opened and a beautiful dark haired woman stood inside to welcome them in.
“Hello Dusty, I’m Hunter’s mother. My name is Maura. You are welcome in my home.”
Dusty became shy, but she managed to respond to her welcome. “Thank you Maura, hello.”
There were six other young men who Dusty hadn’t met before, but they seemed to all know her. Some smiled, but a few were a little wary.
Osborn told her that he would introduce his sons at a later time, when she wasn’t as fatigued as she was now. That way she was more likely to remember names. That statement broke the ice, much to Dusty’s relief.
“As an explanation of my anger towards you at the earlier meeting, Dusty, I have to say it was because of my great disappointment. Hunter has spoken so very highly of you and because of your heritage, being first generation half demon, I had... I have hopes that you will eventually become...” Osborn was surprised at the outburst from his son that interrupted his speech.
“Father! Please don’t say any more. I am cringing in my boots right now! Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t go into the whole ‘what are your intentions towards my son’ speech, I just couldn’t bear it.”
Dusty was as surprised as Hunter’s parents were at his interruption and had to look down at the floor to hide a smile from him. He saw the smile though, and scowled at her.
“What is ‘first generation half demon’ anyway?” Dusty asked.
“If you think about it, my dear, it will seem obvious.” Maura wasn’t being condescending; she was encouraging Dusty to use her brain, just as her grandparents taught her most of the time. If an answer is always given, then the brain becomes lazy and eventually comes to expect to not have to work things out for itself. She nodded and did think about it, and it was as Maura had said, pretty obvious to her, once she had worked it out.
“You mean because my ‘father’ was an incubus?”
“Yes. Hunter and his brothers are half demons because we, their parents, are half demons. Both of us come from long lines of half demons that have married other half demons. It is most rare to find a first generation half demon such as you. You’re very special, as Osborn said. That is why we were so disappointed with your behaviour. We thought that the demon side of you was the predominant psyche, and therefore you would be unsuitable as a match.”
At his mother’s words, Hunter showed his exasperation by stomping from the room, flinging his arms up to show that he was annoyed at his parents. “How bloody embarrassing!” he was heard to mutter as he left the room.
“I don’t think that I’m quite ready for marriage just yet. I’m certainly not ready to have children,” Dusty said, and the firm tone that she used made it clear to Hunter’s family that she didn’t want to hear about their hopes and aspirations for a ‘match’ just now. Maura nodded that she had understood.
Hunter’s brothers began drifting away as they realised that there wasn’t going to be any confrontation between their brother’s unruly girlfriend and their parents.
By the time Hunter had calmed down and come back to the discussion, there was only Maura, Osborn and Dusty left in the room. They were so intent on their conversation that at first they didn’t see Hunter, so he waited and listened.
“Of course, I would like to get my necklace back. It’s a family heirloom, passed down from mother to daughter. It doesn’t hold much monetary value, but it is dear to me,” Maura told Dusty.
“Of course, if I can, I shall find it and return it. I am sorry that it was stolen.” Dusty was encouraged by Maura’s smile in response to her pledge.
“The thing we have to do next is the most dangerous, and it will require your trust in us as a family, I think.” Osborn stared with deep intensity into Dusty’s eyes and she wondered if he was trying to decipher whether she was up to the task. After a moment of concentration, he nodded once and a grim smile set upon his mouth. “I believe that you are capable. Hunter has chosen well,” he said and beckoned Hunter towards their group. Hunter was exasperated all over again at his father’s assessment of his choice of girlfriend, but he came to sit down with them anyway.
“Dusty is to be allowed to choose where she will set up her protective circle. She is allowed to go anywhere in the house, and to use any room she chooses. It must be the place where she feels safest, where she feels most comfortable,” Maura said.
Dusty understood what Maura did when she gave the instruction; she was telling Dusty that she trusted her in the house. Dusty responded by asking if Hunter could come with her to show her where everything was. Dusty noticed the smile that Osborn and Maura shared. It had taken a lot for Maura to trust Dusty after the theft, but she was rewarded with respect from Dusty and a hinted-at assurance when she requested Hunter’s presence as she sought out the place where she would try to defeat the Doppelganger.
Dusty was given ‘the tour’ of the house, and it was indeed as spacious as it appeared to be from a distance. It was also decorated with an elegant, if eclectic style, and Dusty saw many beautiful things as they went around. She finally settled downstairs in the kitchen as the room where she felt at ease the most.
The heart of the house was large, clean and had windows on three walls, so was bright and inviting. The floor was also tiled in black ceramic tiles and, therefore, easy to scrub clean.
She opened her bag and brought out the equipment she needed for her ceremonies. She drew a circle on the floor in salt, leaving a small gap to be filled in later. She then drew the pentacle inside the circle with practiced expertise. The candles were set on the floor and then she had to get her body clean. The kitchen had been chosen not just because of the ease of making the floor clean, there was also a downstairs bathroom close by. Hunter made certain that his parents and his brothers had gone out – as they agreed – so that Dusty wouldn’t feel uncomfortable at being naked. She did try to tell Hunter that she wasn’t self-conscious about her body, but Hunter had insisted. It was perhaps the fault of the Doppelganger flirting with his brothers that had prompted the mild attack of jealousy.
As Dusty showered and returned to the circle, Hunter tried to contact the Doppelganger in much the same way that Dusty had called on Hunter on occasion. When he had a fix on its location, he told Dusty that he had found where it was hiding out, and then he went to fetch it.
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