Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong


Kellen looks away again. “I ran away from home when I was sixteen. You know what was going on with me and my stepdad. And my mom wasn’t all that attached to me either. So – I ran away, and I ended up here in Vegas. You know how this place has this weird magic energy? It just… reeled me in. Like it did you. And Griffin.” He looked up at Griffin defensively.

Griffin glowered down at him. “I’m not part of this.”

“Doesn’t mean you’re better than me.”

I shook my head. This had been happening a lot lately. They’d been best friends before I got here. And for a little while afterwards. Now, though… “So you came to Vegas.”

He nodded. “I came to Vegas, and it was like my brain exploded. I went from only being a little bit sensitive to being wide open, all the time. Like, falling into people’s heads, knowing things about them that they didn’t know. Knowing when stuff was about to happen, too – I totally supported myself for months just hitting slot machines that were about to pay out. If I hadn’t looked my age, I could’ve made millions at the tables, I swear.”

“That happened to me too. The being pushed wide open.”

For the first time today, he touches me – he squeezes my hand. “I know. But I protected you.”

“From what?”

He took a deep breath. “This city – this place is not natural. I mean, think about it. This one city in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere. Just – dropped down in the desert. This is not a natural place to put a city. But people were drawn here. Drawn across miles of desert, miles of nothing. By this energy. And by the things that live in it.”


“Things. Spirits. Old gods. They were here long before us. This is their land. This is their city. They lured us here.”

“Like a pitcher plant.”

“Yeah. Like that. Very like that. They lure you out here – they lure normal people out here with sex and luck and everything else Vegas stands for. They lure people like us out here with that and this magic. This stuff that makes us superhuman. Who could feel this and resist it? And after you touch it… you’re theirs.”

I shook my head. “Kellen – I haven’t felt anything like that.”

He looked down at me and gave a pained smile. “Yeah. I protected you. I made a deal.”

“What kind of deal? What kind of deal makes you a human sacrifice? Why would you do that?” Griffin is watching silently, and I realize that he already knows all of this. Probably everyone but me knows. I feel a flash of anger that no one told me.

“When I got here – well, a few months later, when I started figuring this shit out – I was contacted.”

“By the spirits?”

“Yeah. In a dream. They told me to come out into the desert, have a talk. So I did.”


“And… they wanted to… work with me. They said I was strong. Really strong. The strongest person in Vegas.”

“What did they want to do with you?”

“Use me,” he said, looking away. “They’re strong. They’re hella strong. But they can’t affect the physical world. They needed a minion. They picked me.”

“Did they tell you then that they were going to fucking kill you in seven years?”

“Kinda. Not in so many words. But they said that they would take me. That in seven years, I would belong to them entirely. That they would... take me.”

“Why would you agree to that?”

He laughed bitterly. “Crystal, I was standing in the desert at midnight, surrounded by gods, drunk on more energy and more power than I’d ever touched in my life. And they were telling me – scrawny kid me, who just ran away from the real world and stepped into this – that I was the strongest person in the entire city of Las Vegas. So yeah, I said yes.”

I shook my head. Stupid. Stupid. But yeah. I could see it. “Did you get anything in return, even?”

“Yeah. Which is the other reason I did it. You know why they lure us here?”


“Food,” Griffin spoke up, every word bitten off. “We are food. They consume our spirits. Our powers, our own magical energy. You want to know why so many of the middle—aged and older folks who live here are so dead-eyed, so blank and just… gone? It’s not from too much gambling. It’s because the city’s drained them. Sucked them dry. Down to the marrow of their bones.”

“What I got,” Kellen jumped in, earning a glare from Kellen, “was for them to do that less. To you guys, I mean. They siphon off less from you in exchange for getting more from me.”

“Why – why would you do that?”

That smile again. “Well, I was suicidal to start with. And I guess I wanted to go out as a hero. Even if no one knew.”
Tags: places you haunt, rabbit hole day
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