Angelia's honey colored face flushed red as Caroline stimulated her pituitary gland, possessing her in the same way The Glass had infiltrated its victims a few short years before. Blood rushed to other organs inside Angelia as well...deeper, more sensuous organs...
Caroline wiped her mouth with her right thumb and stood up from her table, walking over to her paralyzed victim's chair and placing a soft warm hand under the girl's silky black hair onto her delicate neck. The result was a physical reaction akin to the street drug Ecstasy, every inch of Angelia's skin yearning to touch and be touched despite her natural timidity and complete ignorance of the homosexual implications.
Caroline knew what she was doing was wrong by normal moral standards, and didn't care. She'd been so lonely since Todd's death; she'd had no other romantic outlet since. This girl had presented herself of her own accord, and that was all the consent the more sinister side of Caroline needed to take delicious advantage of the girl's vulnerability. In fact, it was that very innocence that Caroline was attracted to, that caused her to lean down and release a hot, breathy whisper into Angelia's ear.
"Come with me."
Possessed by Caroline's spirit of sensuality, Angelia had no choice but to place her immaculately manicured and lacquered nails into Caroline's coarse fingers, hands chewed up by countless hours of working the extensive gardens with Thug as much as her own teeth. The young witch lifted her victim's soft fingers to her lips, the chapped skin of her face sending shivers down Angelia's body in waves of gooseflesh. Hand in hand, she led her to the back of the one-time sanctuary, back into the converted Minister's study with Caroline's ominous antique wardrobe looming in the corner.
Angelia's uncertainty was over powered by Caroline's influence, the reasoning parts of her mind struck dumb as they scrambled to ascertain the reason the more animistic parts of her were becoming aroused , especially considering her family's natural intolerance to homosexuality. After all, homosexual sex doesn't fill grandma's house with little grandbabies. Still, here she was, sitting obediently on Caroline's mattress as she spoke.
"When I look at you, I see myself." Caroline stated graciously, imitating her mentor Mrs. Black in demeanor and tone. She held her back straight, her shoulders back, all the traces of timidity from before now gone with Angelia under her control.
"I was never as...luscious..." she said the word with a lick of her teeth, "as you. I was naïve, innocent, living in denial instead. I've tried to do better since, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't still struggle with it." Caroline's meaty shoulders gave a surprisingly gracious shrug. "Do you know what drove it all home for me?"
"What?" Angelia answered sheepishly, yearning to feel that shivering touch again.
Caroline opened her wardrobe door on well-oiled hinges, reaching far back into the corner of the top shelf to grab an innocuous looking purple string bag.
"This, Angelia, is the shrunken head of Marcia M'buto," she introduced, giving the girl fair warning before pulling out the battered mummified remains.
"This was given to me by Mama Agnes the morning after I saved Raz's life, to remind me of the consequences of being what I am, a mixed blood witch. But I learned another lesson, instead. I learned the consequences of thinking power alone could protect me. I learned that in order to survive I would have to get to know the other families around me."
"This woman, Marcia M'buto, was also a mixed blood witch, but unlike me, she chose to destroy the families around her until the survivors of her dead enemies came back and put her in this bag."
Caroline leaned in close, her warm breath tingling seductively in Angelia's ear.
"I want to get to know you very well, Angelia," she said, slipping her hand up the girls firm thigh, "I want to do what makes you happy, so you'll want to..." She let the sentence drift off as she licked the beautiful girl's ear.
Marcia M'buto's head smiled.
Zag took a drag off of his hand-rolled cigarette, exhaling the potent unfiltered menthol smoke pleasurably as he leaned against his motorcycle.
"They've been in there for a while, eh? Makes you wonder what they're talking about."
"Sometimes I just don't wanna know." Thug answered bluntly. He still vividly remembered eavesdropping on his sister Lucille when Mrs. Black had explained the menstrual cycle to her.
"Yeah, but you don't every just get a little curious? I mean, what could they possibly have to talk about for three hours?" Zag prodded.
"Nope," was Thug's answer, taking his own puff from a cheap, thin cigar. "I know more than I want to already."
"Party Pooper." Zag replied sullenly.
A black bee the size of a fat man's thumb hummed into Thug's smoke stream and fell for a short distance before regaining his senses and drunkenly correcting its path with a feeble buzz.
Zag chuckled. "I still don't see how you can smoke those things. Blech!"
"It's called 'being armed to the teeth.' You ever jam one of these in someone's eye? It's better than a red hot poke." Thug drawled.
Zag didn't know about cigars, but he'd learned a lot about red-hot pokers in Pakistan.
"I guess you're right. There ARE some things I'd rather just not know."
"Exactly," Thug agreed with a macabre grin.
A seed is a tine compact unit, fully armed to discover opportunity and initiate growth. Seeds, especially those of weeds, are often remarkably mobile and aggressive despite their seemingly inert nature. Inertness, in many ways, is actually an efficient use of time. Seeds can last for hundreds of years, their nonexistent metabolisms enabling them to mimic death until a more fulfilling prospect of life can be found.
Weeds are masters of this technique, relying less on their stored energy and more on timing and opportunism. Who knows how long a grass seed can lay dormant on a flowerbed, waiting patiently form some lazy gardener to allow it to take root?
This may not appear on the surface to be arcane magical knowledge. On the surface, it all seems like a philosophy even the simplest subsistence farmer could understand, and in fact, that was where Marcia M'buto learned it: on the stone-age farms of her people.
Like a blade of grass, Marcia M'buto allowed her body to die, wither, and be burned as a single seed of her continued on, waiting patiently for its opportunity. This was the reason her mouth had been stitched shut, considering those who had destroyed her body directly had been struck by a curse, like a chili pepper that burns whatever would attempt to consume its precious seeds. Those entrusted with the head afterward knew of the horrible fate of blindness mixed with leprosy that struck those who had harmed M'buto's body, and they elected to keep it hidden, only taking it out to show as an example to the young and foolish until the original purpose of its storage was long forgotten.
This philosophy aligned perfectly with that of the spirit Pestilence. All witch bloodlines ally with different sides among the four brothers, following one or two of their philosophies. Mrs. Black had been allied with Death, Senora Maya with Satan, Mama Agnes with Famine, and now this unknown weed, spawned from time immemorial, was beginning to make its presence known in the footsteps of Pestilence. Should the paths of all four brothers become mixed, the prophecy of the Father would fulfill itself, bringing the end of all time.
And here was Caroline, a mixed blood witch of unknown true heritage, who had mixed her heritage with that of the followers of Death. If she were to mix the bloodlines of all four deities.... Even Rodney and wasn't crazy enough to want THAT.