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Introduction:

Pure, raw butchery in this one - skip and go to next chapter.
Warning: Two women die by the sword - the wound inflicted in the worst possible place. Don't read this if you're squeamish or have problems with reading about female sexual torture by a male.


Béla squirmed around, trying to make some room for herself in their cramped sleeping quarters. At the end of the previous day, Tia and Tara had visited Béla and Jake and ended up, not surprisingly, spending the night. The four of them had been getting together regularly ever since the ‘T’ girls had offered to share themselves with Béla and her husband.

The other two sets of twins had moved in with Macario to help him get through his grief as well. The fact that Lisa returned within a few weeks of her disappearance surprisingly didn’t adversely affect the newly formed relationships between her personally trained Necrotwins and their new consorts.

Macario had been incredibly happy to see Lisa return even though he hadn’t really believed she had died. He had seen too much of her power to believe she wouldn’t come back to him unless she didn’t want to. The thing that had worried him most was that since Lisa had specifically trained these girls to replace her, she was not planning to come back any time soon.

Once she had returned, however, Mac worried that he’d have to give up his new playmates. He needn’t have worried. Lisa happily accepted them as part of her extended family, having already made love to them many times herself. That made Mac extremely happy, as now he had his own private harem of two sets of teenaged twin girls and, of course, his first and favorite, Lisa.

Waking up a little more, Béla suddenly realized that she was floating above the mattress.

‘We’re in free fall! The ship’s not moving!’

Fully awake now, she accidentally kicked Tia right in the tit as she floundered for a handhold on the bulkhead, kicking the girl awake. Tia accidentally shoved Jake into Tara, who bounced off the wall and back out into the struggling, awakening, thrashing mass of bodies. Before it was over, Jake had a black eye and Tara’s nose was broken.

“Int’s un gd ting de heal fas,” Tara muttered, blinking tears out of her eyes and holding her broken nose in place while the tissue underneath regenerated.

“I said I was sorry,” Tia whined, gazing sorrowfully at her twin sister and holding her sore tit.

‘Praetor, update, please!’ they all heard Béla mentally call out.

‘We are in orbit around Mars,’ the Praetor replied into all their minds. ‘Tabatha is mentally scanning for the lost ship.’

‘She doesn’t know what the ship looks like,’ Béla argued. ‘Why is she looking for it? Why didn’t you ask me or Lisa?’

‘She was awake; you were asleep,’ the Praetor replied, ‘and the Second Phoenix is tutoring her students. They are, however, almost finished with today’s exercise.’

Béla dream-walked to Macario and Lisa’s quarters to see what the Praetor meant when it said, ‘tutoring.’ She suspected it had something to do with either blood or sex – and probably both, since it also said, ‘exercise’. After all, she knew her daughter pretty well by now.

She was right. Holly was floating in the center of the cabin with Lisa on one side and Haley on the other helping to hold her steady. Macario was between Holly’s legs slowly inserting his Roman short sword up inside the young girl’s body through her vaginal opening. Only half the blade was showing between Holly’s legs, which meant that the sword tip had already sliced through her uterus and her intestines and was probably north of her navel by now.

Holly was taking short, rapid breaths, doing her best to hold perfectly still and was sweating profusely. She radiated a lot of fear, a little pain and an incredible sexual arousal as they held her trembling body in the center of the cabin.

The four of them were all mind-linked, sharing Holly’s slow, torturous impaling with Mac’s sword. Additionally, Lisa’s attention was on the sword tip so she could show Macario what he was doing to the girl. As the sword approached a brightly pulsing cord – Holly’s lifeline to her heart, Mac shifted his weight on the sword slightly, carving a new path up between the girl’s lungs that missed that inch thick pulsing artery.

Finally the hilt of the sword was pressed lovingly against Holly’s pussy lips and directly touching her clit. The point was imbedded in soft tissue right next to Holly’s heart. Mac could even feel the thump-thump-thump-thump of the young teen’s wildly beating heart right through the handle of the weapon.

Every few seconds, Holly would gasp a shallow breath and tremble as another orgasm swept through her. It was so painful, but so incredibly erotic to have all that sharp steel up inside her. She could feel its hard, cold sharpness in her pussy, in her belly, and in her lungs with every trembling, tortured breath she took. She could feel her blood pooling along its entire length where it had severed through blood vessels and intestines to get so personally, so privately deep inside her.

Her heart was pounding harder now that it had less blood to pump through Holly’s body. Holly clenched her teeth as another orgasmic spasm swept through her young, ravaged body. Every tiny movement she made created new damage inside her as the sharp edges of Mac’s sword touched virgin, unsliced flesh.

This next orgasm was approaching much too powerfully and Holly simply couldn’t help it even though she knew full well what would happen as she arched her back and thrashed quickly from left to right. It happened before anyone, even Lisa, could stop her. Holly’s heart quickly ran out of blood and fluttered uselessly with the blood vessels feeding the heart cleanly sliced apart just an inch away from the fluttering organ.

She began to cough blood from pierced lungs that were quickly filling with the life-giving fluid that wasn’t being fed into her racing heart anymore. Unable to breathe with her lungs filling with blood, Holly twisted toward her sister.

“Love… (cough)… you… (cough, cough)…”

Then her body twisted again in the throes of another powerful orgasm and Mac’s blade tore through Holly’s scrotum as she arched her back into an almost ninety-degree angle. She took two more tortured breaths, then shuddered violently in one final orgasm, and died.

“Holly?” Haley whispered, her voice high and childlike in her disbelief that her sister could possibly be dead.

Mac gently pulled the sword out and wiped it clean. In the meantime, Haley had wrapped herself around her sister’s slack, lifeless body and was sobbing quietly into her limp shoulder and neck.

Lisa reached out and put her arms around both twins and kissed Haley just behind her left ear and whispered, “She’ll be all right, Darling. Just wait and see.”

“But she’s dead!” Haley whimpered, her face still hidden against her sister’s shoulder.

“She's healing inside,” Lisa promised, “and this is something you both need to experience. I promise you’ll love each other more because of this.”

Raising her head to gaze at Lisa, she blinked tears out of her eyes that flew in every direction, surprising both of them.

“I can’t feel her!” Haley whimpered. “If she’s not dead, why can’t I feel her? I’ve always been able to feel…”

Lisa backed away, her eyes closed, mentally scanning the area.

“Goddamned spiders!” she snarled, looking upward into a corner. “You! Bring her back!”

Something was surrounded with a ball of nuclear fire, half in and half out of the bulkhead. Lisa moved her fireball back into the compartment with them, then released the insubstantial being she’d captured.

“What have you done with her?” they all felt Lisa hatefully screech at the smoky-looking thing she’d captured.

‘She was ready,’ it replied. ‘She called to me… She needed to move on…’

‘This was an exercise in pain control!’ Lisa snarled. ‘She was supposed to die! You get her back here, right now!’

‘She does not desire…’

‘NOW!’

The Hurrah suddenly found itself surrounded by fire again. It didn’t understand why it couldn’t move. There was no being in the entire universe capable of trapping one of its kind, but yet, it had happened. It was trapped and the Destroyer wasn’t about to let it go.

It knew the Destroyer would cause its non-continuance no matter what it did. The Destroyer hated the Hurrahs vehemently and had killed many of them. The choice now was to either return the spirit that had been Holly, or face the destruction of its entire species. And it knew the Destroyer had the power to make it so that the Hurrahs had never existed.

The only reason Lisa hadn’t already wiped them out was because of the possible changes in human history had the Hurrahs not been there to guide lost souls onward to their new lives. In addition, if she committed genocide against the Hurrahs, she would probably lose Katie/Tabatha again, as Katie had been specifically guided to become Tabatha by a Hurrah after the death of her ‘Katie’ body.

Suddenly, Holly’s body spasmed and a great gush of blood evacuated from her throat and shot up toward the ceiling.

“Holly!” Haley exclaimed joyfully as her twin’s body returned to life. “You’re alive! Oh God! You’re alive!”

Despite the fact that the Hurrah had done what the Destroyer had demanded, Lisa was still furious at the creature for daring to interfere with someone under her protection and fully intended to execute the ethereal creature. She began to tighten her fire shield around it.

‘Let her go!’ a very familiar voice commanded in Lisa’s head.

Lisa felt furious for a single instant at her mother’s interference, then realized that her mother would protect the Hurrah are readily as she would protect her. They were her children, after all, and Béla wasn’t about to let one sibling kill another.

Lisa released the fiery field around the Hurrah and also released the fire from the teleportation zone that she’d used to prevent the Hurrah from escaping, enabling it to again travel wherever it would.

It was gone with a single flash of gratitude toward the Revered Mother of them all. Lisa felt her mother’s presence fade as Béla returned to her body from her dreamwalking state.

Turning her attention to her nearly lost student, Lisa mind-linked with her again, joining both twins who were already linked together.

‘And he promised he would take me back to when the earth was filled with people!’ she heard Holly exclaiming excitedly.

‘You would have left me?’ Haley cried. ‘I thought you were dead! Instead you were trying to get away from me!’

‘Haley, I love you!’ Holly cried, trying to fill her sister’s mind with her love. ‘I would have come back for you and guided you to me…’

Lisa withdrew, hurt and upset that her blood-sister could be so beguiled by the damned spiders. What hurt worse was that Holly had been ready to go at the merest whisper of a ‘better’ place. She was obviously not happy here.

Lisa turned toward her lifemate who was putting away his sword and radiated her need to him. He would know what to do. Macario always knew what to do. She saw his solution with her mind, mentally collected the things they would need and teleported the both of them and their equipment to an empty section of the adult’s playground in Lisa’s Grotto. The Grotto was the only place on the ship with artificial gravity, and they needed gravity for the violent game they were about to play.

“Ready, Darling?” Mac grinned, picking up his sword and shield.

Lisa bent down and picked up her own short sword and shield. “Ready.”

In a fair fight, Mac was better than Lisa at swordplay. They both knew it, and they both expected him to win. But they were fighting because Lisa needed to vent. She made it no secret that she felt confined in the tiny ship. She required a lot of physical activity and a lot of physical ruination. Vlad had provided that for her during their century together, and if he hadn’t gotten old and feeble, she would have gladly stayed to be tortured by him forever, forsaking Mac and her mom and dad and her six-pack of twins with only a little regret.

Their swords touched and the battle began. She loved Mac and wasn’t really willing to hurt him, but they both knew she wasn’t the type to just throw down her sword and bare her tits to be sliced open. A swift series of thrusts and parries followed. Mac was a little slow getting his shield down and received a shallow slice in his left leg, taking first blood. Lisa had left her right side open and Mac took advantage, carving a red line across Lisa’s shoulder and arm before dancing away to avoid her backstroke.

“Shields down?” Lisa asked, ready to throw hers away.

Mac grinned and nodded, knowing she hadn’t come out here to bash shields with him, she’d come out here to butcher or be butchered. That was what she so badly needed. They both tossed down their shields. Now, only speed and agility would stop the next bloodletting.

Their swords clanged together again, then a swift series of parries and thrusts ensued, ending with another cut, this time on Mac’s left arm when he used it to knock away a much more serious blow.

Lisa grinned, actually realizing that she could win this thing. She attacked with a series of high strokes to raise Mac’s defensive posture, then sliced in low to carve into his exposed belly. She couldn’t believe she missed as Macario danced away, then thrust forward again as Lisa spun around, unable to stop her swing in time to get her sword back in position.

Mac’s sword, which had so recently been buried to the hilt in sweet, young Holly, hungrily dug into Lisa’s side, opening her up from the front of her hip to her spine. Her own motion had done most of the damage, as Lisa had spun around on his blade while it was more or less positioned in one place and thrusting forward.

She dropped her sword at the shock of the impact and, still spinning, hit the ground. Mac was on her in an instant, pinning her to the ground with his sword thrust through her stomach. Lisa lay, twitching in agony and bleeding profusely from her wounds.

“Gut me,” she pleaded, her bright, excited eyes staring up at her destroyer. “Shove it up inside me the way you did Holly. And don’t be so damned gentle!”

Mac planted his foot in Lisa’s stomach and pulled on his sword. It came out with a shlucking sound, pulling some of Lisa’s insides out with it. Lisa cried out and arched her back at the agonizing sensation. Mac frowned, not remembering Lisa’s insides being quite so squishy. After a moment, Lisa stopped rolling around on the ground and presented her pelvis to her lover/killer.

Mac stepped forward and swiftly buried the blooded end of the sword up between Lisa’s legs, making her cry out and arch her back again. With her back arched, Mac shoved the blade the rest of the way in. It came out just below her breastbone accompanied with a small fountain of blood. As Lisa fell back against the ground, the sharp tip disappeared back inside, carving into her more as she screamed and writhed.

After several minutes, Lisa lay on the ground, gasping weakly, but not moving so much now.

“Want me to pull it out?” Mac asked her.

Lisa coughed blood and nodded, unable to speak. Reaching down, Mac unceremoniously pulled on the blood soaked handle. Lisa cried out, weaker now, as the sword pulled back to allow sliced blood vessels and nerve endings to touch one another again. A copious amount of blood and liquid followed the tip of the sword out as it exited her wounded cunt. That wasn’t normal, either.

As usual, the swordplay had made Macario horny. His cock waved in front of him as they’d both been fighting naked. Lisa, lying on the ground and still bleeding profusely, tried to grin at him and thrust her hips up in a barely noticeable gesture, offering her dying body to him for his pleasure. Aside from the fun they always had carving her up, this was the part he really liked.

Without any more invitation, Mac dropped down and shoved his cock up inside her sliced open pussy. She was seriously gored down there and couldn’t provide much resistance to his sexual assault, but Mac was big enough so that he had ample resistance to give him the sensation of fucking that he desired.

She felt warm, soft, and squishy as her insides surrounded his cock. There was no acidic or burning sensation that he usually felt when her insides were shredded like this. That also wasn’t natural; not for her or her mother, whom he also gutted on a regular basis. Something was definitely wrong here, but he was too aroused and blood hungry to think about that right now.

He watched Lisa move beneath him with fascination as he thrust savagely into her again and again. The wound in her chest where his sword had punched through earlier spat blood up in a little geyser with each massive thrust of his cock as it pistoned up and down inside her.

After some little time, he realized what was happening. Blood and gore was seeping into her wound internally. The intense pressure of his hips, belly and cock slamming into her at the bottom of that same wound was spewing the blood and gore from inside her, up and out of the slice in her chest.

A tiny part of his mind said that this shouldn’t be happening. But instead of upsetting him, that realization made him even more aroused. He was having an effect on her that he had never accomplished before. He slowed down his speed and increased the length of his stroke, maximizing the amount of power he was putting into each downward stroke into his wife’s ravaged and dying body.

From somewhere, a long knife appeared in his hand. He recognized it as one that the twins had used on each other several days earlier. As he stared at it, Mac realized that it was already covered with blood, as was his hand, arm, torso and legs. Lisa’s body was covered with knife wounds that he only now remembered inflicting in her soft, willing flesh. Then he was coming hard, pumping his semen deep into her mortally wounded body. His cock, his entire body spasmed in orgasm a dozen times before he collapsed down on top of her. With each spasm, the knife in his hand dug into her breasts and torso as he struck her again and again.

She lay beneath him, butchered and choking on her own blood. Her body was twitching, radiating incredible agony and sexual satiation. She gazed up at him for a few seconds, working her mouth as though she was trying to smile. She shuddered violently, radiating yet another orgasm, then went very still.

An alarm was beginning to go off in Macario’s head as he watched Lisa’s eyes become dull and her face relax. She was no longer moving beneath him and her still, unmoving body was beginning to feel cool against his blood-drenched flesh.

He pushed up and away from her corpse, unwilling to believe that she was truly dead. His blood-covered torso felt even cooler once it was away from her body, making him want to lie down on her again – touch her, fuck her – anything to bring back that feeling of physical, sexual contact with her. He needed to make her feel him!

He could hear someone crying as he gazed at her cooling, butchered form. After a few moments, he realized that the sound was coming from his own mouth. He closed his eyes, unwilling to look at her dead body any more. He didn’t need to see her to know what he’d done to her.

After a time, someone touched his shoulder. Jerking his eyes awake, he looked up to see Holly kneeling beside him. Haley was on his other side. Without speaking, they knelt down, one Necrotwin on each side and began to lick the blood off of him while he stared at his dead, blood-soaked wife.

Lisa’s blood was congealing, now. Mac had never seen her like this – so limp, so butchered, so beautiful, and so very dead. He’d stabbed her a least thirty times with the knife that had somehow appeared in his hand. Lisa must have given it to him for that very purpose as she died beneath him. Perhaps it was meant to speed up the process. Perhaps she needed that much more sensation as she died. He simply didn’t know. It was only now that he remembered she no longer had her vampiric healing abilities. Had she made him forget that, too?

The twins laid him back on the bloody grass, where he and his wife had battled, so they could reach his lower torso and cock with their mouths and lapping tongues. Despite his numbness and grief, Holly had no trouble arousing Mac’s cock again. As soon as it was hard enough, she swung her leg over to mount him and began bouncing up and down. Then she leaned forward to lie down on him, continuing a gentle up and down motion with her pelvis.

Holly’s mouth and throat were filled with the smell and taste of Lisa’s blood. That, and the fact that she’d watched Mac butcher Lisa excited her more than usual. Holly loved fucking Mac; his cock went so deep inside her, and she would often imagine him gutting her with her own knife while she fucked him like he had just done to Lisa.

Suddenly realizing that she didn’t have to imagine any more, she motioned for Haley to bring her knife over. She could do it for real!

Haley knelt down beside Mac as he lay on the ground with his eyes closed in grief while he let Holly use his cock. Then the cold, sharp tip of Holly’s knife was touching his left nipple. Refusing to open his eyes to see what the Necrotwins were doing, he let Haley draw a line across his chest with the tip of her sister’s knife. Then the hot, sharp blade was moving down toward his belly button, still trailing a line of blood as it traveled.

She drew a line from Mac’s other nipple down to meet his belly button as well. Then she plunged the knife right up to the hilt into his gut. Mac grunted in surprised agony and grabbed the girls’ hands as they held onto the knife handle. All three pairs of hands pulled it back out of his belly, knowing that the wound wouldn’t kill him any more than it would kill either of the twins. Their hands guiding his, they all plunged the bloody knife into Holly’s belly as she rode Macario’s hard cock.

Holly cried out and arched her back in orgasm, clenching down hard with her pelvic muscles. Mac’s cock suddenly spurted as he came inside her. Then the wounded girl fell forward on top of him, trembling in agony with her pussy still clenching and releasing his cock in orgasm.

Holly’s belly wound healed rather quickly and when she had composed herself a little bit, she rolled off, freeing Mac’s cum-soaked and blood-streaked belly.

Haley immediately licked everything clean and got his cock hard again, then proceeded to do the same thing her sister had done, right down to getting knifed in her belly button. But this time, Mac didn’t stab her. Holly did.

Haley didn’t mind – she and her twin often sliced each other during their sex play. This was better, though, because Mac’s big cock was up in her middle, nearly ripping her in half. Haley had three, wonderful, powerful orgasms, then collapsed like her sister had onto Mac’s chest.

Mac hadn’t come that time. Haley climbed off of him and began to lick her juices off his cock. After a moment, she was joined by her sister’s tongue on the other side of Mac’s giant, half-hard organ. As they continued to keep him aroused, they both mind-linked and created a dream scene, especially for Mac.

As Mac stood up in the scene, he walked over to where Lisa lay waiting for him. She smiled up at him, then made an ‘Ooo’ with her lips as she gazed upon his gift for her. Taking that as an invitation, Mac knelt down between Lisa’s legs and licked her. Her flesh was cool, and tasted of male cum and copper. But she was Lisa, and his loved her no matter what she tasted like.

After a moment, Lisa seemed to indicate she was ready for his mammoth cock – her legs dropping down flat on the ground to make his entry into her easier. Mac climbed up and shoved his cock into her amazingly cool and very wet pussy.

“Have you been swimming?” he asked, startled by how cool her flesh felt.

She didn’t answer, seeming content just to lie there and let him make love to her. Two wood sprites, complete with little fairy wings joined the lovemaking pair, one of each side of them. As Mac continued to pump in and out of his beloved wife’s sweet, cool pussy, the wood sprites licked Lisa’s breasts, cleaning the colorful, decorative designs off with their tongues.

As Macario’s mind woke up from his hypnotic trance, he saw his dead wife beneath him once again, his cock buried up inside her. He was fucking her corpse again. She’d been cleaned up, though, by the magical tongues of the wood sprites – No, by Lisa’s trained twins, Holly and Haley. For a single instant, he fiercely hated them all. He felt love and devotion radiating from both twins in reply, and then he only felt sad. They were, after all, trying to help in the only way they knew how.

As the three of them continued to minister to Lisa’s prone body, Lisa moved. Everyone froze instantly, making certain that it wasn’t just a body reaction or a result of some movement from one of the others.

A moan – then a slight movement of her throat, and she opened her dull, pain-filled eyes. Then her body began to get hot. The heat and a sudden twitch deep inside her pussy was all it took for Mac to begin spurting inside her.

“Get off her!” Holly cried out, pulling back on Macario.

Mac’s last two spurts arched into the air and splatted down on Lisa’s chest and torso as the twins pulled him backward and away from her now blazing body.

Lisa arched her back, radiating pure sexual desire as her body literally burst into flames. She writhed for a moment and Mac was uncertain whether she was writhing in ecstasy or that the fire consuming her was causing the motions.

Almost immediately, the fire faded, and Lisa lay gasping on the ground. She seemed to be healthy; her soft, creamy flesh undamaged. Finally managing to sit up, she gazed at her trio of lovers and smiled at them.

“God, that was good!” she said, her voice sounding young and refreshed. “I guess I’m pure phoenix, now. I have to die to regenerate.”

She rose gracefully and walked over to drop down on her knees in front of Mac.

“My darling Macario,” she whispered sweetly into his face. “You gave me such an exquisite death. That was the best I have ever died, and I have died many times. I hope you will kill me often. I love to die for you.”

She held back from saying ‘I live to die for you’. She’d said that to Vlad, and he had simply cut her down on the spot without any of his endearing torturous foreplay that she loved so much.

“Can you teach us to do that?” Haley asked, staring in awe at the tutor who had caused her twin sister to be murdered three hours earlier.

“I don’t know how to teach this,” Lisa confessed. “You have to be able to create fire in your mind. And you have to be willing to be completely consumed for the pure pleasure of your consummation. I don’t know anyone so willing to die that they would deliberately set themselves on fire with their own mental powers.”

“You want to die?” Macario asked, upset at the very idea.

“Of course not!” Lisa protested, reaching her hands to his cheeks and kissing him quickly. “I love to die. But I would hate to die and not be able to come back.”

She sighed, not knowing how to explain. You had to be willing to die for the sake of pleasure before you could become a phoenix. A phoenix lived for the moment of its consummation. Holly and Haley received the images she broadcast at them, but the twins simply couldn’t grasp the concept. Oh, they understood it; they just couldn’t commit to it.

This afternoon’s attempt had been Lisa’s final effort to teach them the all-consuming pleasure of death required of a phoenix. Holly had reached for the concept, anxious and excited, then took off in a completely different direction, reaching for a more exciting era where she could live out her own fantasies. That was what had attracted the Hurrah to her side. Lisa now knew that Holly’s dreams and deepest desires didn’t include becoming a phoenix.

“I would not want to go through what I went through this afternoon again,” Macario told her flatly.

“But if you know I’ll come back to life?” Lisa asked. “What then?”

“But I didn’t know!” Mac exclaimed, angry and frightened. “I thought I’d killed you! Where did that damned knife come from, anyway?”

Lisa dropped her gaze for a moment, letting him know she’d put it into his hands.

“He needs to know,” Holly said quietly.

Lisa knew what she meant. He needed to know about Vlad, and how close he had come to losing her forever. The twins already knew about Vlad. Lisa had used her memories of him to demonstrate the overwhelming joy and passion of being a phoenix and dying again and again for your love.

The twins got up and left. Mac and Lisa talked for hours, then they made sweet, tender, normal-type love. Afterward, they lay, mind-linked together, with Mac exploring her memories of ancient earth and her adventures with Vlad and the local wildlife.

“It looks like you really liked getting mutilated and torn apart by those raptors,” Mac noticed.

“I did enjoy it,” Lisa admitted. “In fact, it was my favorite way to die, especially when Vlad would stab me repeatedly so that my bloodied, warm body attracted them. They would tear me into pieces trying to free their meal from the ropes that Vlad used to tie me down.

“But this afternoon,” Lisa murmured, “when you were stabbing me to death, there was so much love pouring from your soul… I didn’t even know that I missed it – being loved, I mean. Vlad certainly didn’t love me. He just loved to kill me, and I accepted that as love. I would have made a terrible mistake if he hadn’t died.”

“It’s hard to believe you lived a hundred years during those three weeks you were gone,” Macario said. “I mean, I understand it, but it’s hard to feel it, if you know what I mean.”

“Those hundred years defined me as a phoenix,” Lisa whispered. “I don’t even remember when I started using fire to heal myself instead of letting my body heal of its own accord. I think I just got impatient because fire healing works so much faster.”

“There’s also that scorching sensation that makes you feel truly alive,” Mac joked with her.

“If I could get Holly to truly understand that, deep in her soul, I could make her a phoenix,” Lisa grumbled.

“They’re doing fine,” Mac assured her. “Are you upset because you’re the only one who understands how alive dying makes you feel?”

Lisa sighed. “I don’t think so. If I wanted someone to experience being burned alive and still live to remember it, I could…

“Oh my God!” Lisa exclaimed, interrupting herself as she suddenly realized…

“I could really do that! In fact, that’s how I got Vlad past the nuclear bombs in the transport zone. That’s how I moved him in time! Oh my God, Mac, I killed him! I turned him into fire, then I took him back in time…”

“Wait! Wait! Stop!” Mac cried out. “You gave him a life that he wouldn’t have had otherwise! You certainly didn’t kill him!”

“But I did,” Lisa whimpered. “When I reformed his body, I didn’t make him exactly the same. He lost his longevity and started to age. It was slowly, at first, and I think it was because I still had some of Mom’s blood in me. But each time he killed me – every time I flared to recreate my devoured or destroyed body, I lost more of the original.”

Mac held his beloved tightly while she trembled in his arms and told him her tale.

“The day he died,” she continued, almost sobbing now, “he made a bet with me. He knew, you see. He knew I had changed since we had…” she took a deep breath and sighed. “He bet me that I couldn’t fly any more. Of course I told him that was silly. But I jumped off that cliff, and I couldn’t fly any more. I died when I hit the bottom, I think.

“Somehow, Vlad was there with me. He must have jumped too, but I don’t know why. My body was reborn in fire just the way you saw earlier, and I went over to him, and I phoenixed his body into ashes as he died.”

“You made love to him to say goodbye,” Mac whispered, understanding completely.

Lisa quietly nodded, sniffing back tears. “I think I must’ve just sat there for days after that. I remember getting rained on and it didn’t matter, because he was gone. It was a long time before I remembered my life here. But when I did, I was suddenly anxious to come back. I think the damned spiders helped to guide me back. Guiding is what they do, after all.”

“I can’t hate them for sending you back to me,” Macario said softly, hugging her again.

“I think they took Vlad, too,” Lisa added, her voice stronger and more self confident now.

“Who took Vlad?” someone asked from behind them.

Lisa and Mac turned and saw Frank and Tanya walking up behind them.

“Hey,” Mac grinned up at their dearest friends.

“Hi,” both Frank and Tanya replied. “So,” Tanya asked, “What’s this about someone taking Vlad? You mean Vlad the Impaler? Like, Dracula?”

Lisa frowned at her blond friend’s cheerful face. “Some called him that, but I did a lot of the impaling…”

“Lisa – Elisabeth,” Tanya said, almost talking to her self. “Beth. Elisabeta?”

“Took you long enough,” Lisa murmured, not smiling.

“You were his wife! Did you know?” Tanya asked Mac.

Mac nodded. “Yeah. I knew.”

“Were you Elisabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess, too?” Tanya asked excitedly.

“No,” Lisa replied, having no idea who they might be talking about.

“Oh,” Tanya said, somewhat disappointed. “You know, a lot of the stories about Count Dracula actually originated from stories about her…”

“Well, I’m sorry to say that, if you’re looking for Dracula,” Frank interrupted them, “He’s dead. We killed him about, oh, sometime back around 1998, I think.”

“He had impaled a bunch of hikers in the Superstition Mountains,” Tanya added, “ and we were hired to find him and stop him.”

“He was probably looking for me,” Lisa said quietly. “That’s how he attracted me to him the first time.”

“So you’re attracted to mass murderers?” Frank asked, half joking. “How did she manage to find you, Mac?”

“I was part of a mass murderer’s gang,” Mac admitted. “She helped me kill the ringleaders.”

“I helped you?” Lisa laughed, feeling more lighthearted now. “Chauvinistic bastard!”

“Well, I pointed them out,” Mac replied, flinching from a blow on his arm from her fist.

“Yeah! He held me for them until they had me good and proper, then he fled!” Lisa explained, grinning at her lifemate. “I had to cook them all by myself.”

“Speaking of cooking,” Tanya interrupted. “We came over here to ask if you wanted to join us on the other side of the lake.”

“Yeah! There’s a cookout,” Frank added, grinning happily. “We’re all celebrating our arrival at Mars!”

“We’re at Mars? Nobody tells me anything anymore!” Lisa exclaimed, then looking into the air, “Praetor, why are we at Mars?”
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