That is the official title of the new book. I am giving the deeper story a break in this episode and offering up what I am referring to as That Ghoul Ava’s Scooby Doo adventure. No Harlem Globetrotters here, but she will be involved with the stage personas of some very groovy dudes. The World’s Greatest Guns-N-Roses Tribute Band…Appetite for Deception!
The screaming and wailing drowned out everything as it rose in pitch and intensity. There was a blinding flash or red that seemed to strobe in time with the thunderous crashing noises that fought with one final and piercing yell that the man let loose with as the people around me watched as if hypnotized.
Then…a single second of silence when it all came to an abrupt end, accompanied by utter blackness that plunged the nearby humans around me into temporary blindness. A moment later, the dirty glow of lights illuminated the cavernous room and people began milling away, all of them speaking much too loudly as their hearing had not yet healed from the last seventy minutes of the high decibel assault perpetrated on them.
I turned to Kari, an elf, and the Psychic of the Dallas area who was in town to meet up with Morgan and a few other Psychics. They were heading out of town tomorrow for some big meeting in London. Apparently there are more than a few Psychics that want to at least give Morgan the appearance that they will be on our side when the fighting starts.
“That was amazing!” I gushed. “I would’ve never taken you for a Guns-N-Roses fan.”
“Why? Because I am an elf?” she sniffed.
“No…it’s just…I guess I just pictured you dancing to the songs of nature or something.”
“You really need to stop watching those movies.” Kari said, peering down at me over her dark sunglasses despite the fact that I was taller. I don’t know how she managed to pull it off, but I was willing to be she could look down at me if I was on the roof and she was lying in the ground.
“Snobbish elf,” I muttered.
“Uneducated ghoul,” she shot back.
We both made eye contact and then laughed like a pair of girlfriends out for a night of fun. Oddly enough, that was exactly what we were at the moment. She’d actually come to my new home to invite me out this evening. At first I thought her arrival was merely to inspect the work done on the elven keep that I now called home. When she asked me to go out that night, I waited for her to tell me what job or mission she would be hiring me to do. Only…she never asked. It was just a night out.
I was about to start for the door when I noticed the singer for Appetite for Deception step out from the curtained off area where the big security guard stood posted up with his massive arms folded across his expansive chest. Almost immediately, there was a rush of a dozen or so fans asking him to pose for pictures.
“Now there’s something you probably wouldn’t catch the actual Guns-N-Roses doing without it costing a few hundred bucks,” I said with a wry smile.
“It’s one of the great things about this scene,” a voice said from just to my left.
I turned to see a rather short, balding man with glasses standing there. He glanced up at me and gave a smile that was so warm and friendly I would have sworn that we were old friends and that perhaps I’d simply forgotten his name.
“My name’s Dwight,” the man said by way of introduction.
Okay, scratch that, I thought. I was almost positive that I didn’t know anybody named Dwight, plus, he was introducing himself. That would indicate that he didn’t know me either.
“Kari,” the elf replied, giving me a not-too-gentle elbow in the ribs. “My rude friend here is Ava.”
Dwight laughed and then nodded past us back to where the people had gathered around the two band members. “The tribute bands are really good about coming out after the show to meet the audience.”
“There are other cover bands doing this kind of thing?” I asked, glancing back just in time to see the singer signing some woman’s partially exposed breast who looked like her forties were vanishing in the rearview mirror. I turned back to Dwight. “These people do know that those aren’t the real Guns-N-Roses, right?”
“Pretty much, but a band as good as Appetite usually gets people to forget. They sort of take people back in time to maybe when they saw them in high school or college. For some of us who never got to see the real thing, this is as close as it gets.” Just then, Dwight looked past me and waved.
I looked back again to see the lead guitarist and bass player emerge. The one made to look like Slash was heading our way. For some stupid reason, I got a silly tingle in my mommy parts as he strolled up and clapped Dwight on the shoulder, then looked my way. “How’d we do tonight?” the man asked with a soft-spoken voice that did not match the rough and ready persona that I’d been watching on stage.
“Umm…good.” I winced inwardly as my voice cracked just a little.
“You guys were amazing as always,” Dwight added.
I shot a look at the man who now seemed even shorter now that he was standing beside the guitarist. There was not the slightest indication that he was in the least bit star struck. I then glanced over at Kari and saw that that made one of us. She was looking like she might swoon and be reduced to jelly if the man were to so much as brush against her.
“Thanks, Dwight.” The guitarist moved around so that he was beside the man and now gave me and Kari a quick up and down glance. “Who are your friends?”
“This is Ava and Kari.”
“And I’m BC Slash.”
I accepted his offered handshake as did Kari. I guess that the moment had swept me up so fast that I didn’t even think about what I was doing. When I saw his eyes widen at my touch I realized that he probably hadn’t expected to shake the hand of a ghoul. Being undead, I was at a pretty consistent room temperature. That coolness was no doubt even more apparent after he touched Kari. Elves run about ten degrees warmer than humans, so that would mean about a thirty degree difference from my hand to hers. To his credit, he didn’t say anything. Even more points were scored when he made no attempt to wipe his hands off after the brief introductions.
“You were amazing,” Kari gushed.
“Thanks,” BC Slash replied with a slight nod and bow.
I was about to chip in with my own hopefully more eloquent appraisal of the show to perhaps override the now lame sounding “umm…good” that I’d blurted a moment ago when I felt an unpleasant tingle in my head. I was about to brush it aside as possibly Boudicca stirring in the confines that Blodwen now maintains inside my head when I tasted what can only be described as a combnation of ash and sulfer.
One of the things that I’d been learning in the crash courses that I was receiving from Mystify was that when an uninvited Supernatural enters Morgan’s territory, I get a peculiar sensation that varies according to what has arrived. In addition, many of those sensations are accompanied by a taste. For instance, witches give a tingle like electricity and I taste fresh cut grass.
I felt Kari move closer to me and grab my arm. “Ava,” she whispered.
I looked at her and realized she was talking without moving her lips and at a volume that would be no louder than a saoft breath to any human ears around. My hearing was such that I could hear her as clear as if she were speaking full volume.
“Something from one of the abyssal planes has arrived.” Kari’s eyes were wide, and it had nothing to do with the lead guitarist.
I could hear the distinct tone of fear in her tone. I just wish she would’ve been more specific about whatever this new danger might be. I guess she just hasn’t been around me enough to realize that I am basically the idiot child of the Supernatural realm. To put it plainly, I had no idea what an abyssal plane was, much less what sort of beastie might emerge from said plane.