Chapter 13: Comeuppance – part 6
Ashlynn teleported back to Shane’s office to find Jake still kneeling by his father’s side, deep in concentration. The light of the crystal in her brother’s hand wavered unsteadily, casting nervous shadows. Jake was running out of energy. Ashlynn hoped that the healing he’d managed would be enough.
It will, she told herself, then got to work. Ashlynn’s eyes scanned the sanguine room, searching for something the attacker might have touched. Her low-heeled shoes sank into the blood-soaked carpet as she padded across the room, running her fingers along the edge of the overturned table. These shoes are ruined, she noted. The carpet will need to be replaced. The idle musings kept her from thinking about whose blood sucked the warmth from her feet.
Light glinted off of something jagged beside the table: broken glass from a framed picture of her mother. Squatting down, she picked it up and traced the frame with a fingertip. Ashlynn sensed nothing about the attacker, but it was no matter. She’d find him eventually, and the bastard would die. Ashlynn finally had a real, whole family. No one would take that away from her.
Setting aside the broken frame, Ashlynn continued her circuit. A few feet ahead something slender glimmered in the pooling blood. She stopped and frowned at it. A scalpel.
Ashlynn pulled the metal instrument to her hand telekinetically. The sticky, cold blood–Dad’s blood–didn’t bother her much. She closed her eyes and channeled her senses to the object and the energy surrounding it.
In her mind’s eye the world shifted and reformed. Ashlynn saw the attack. She felt the malice, the anger, the sheer lunacy. She heard a conversation that made no sense. She got a name and saw a face. Dad’s face, but it wasn’t Dad. And she knew what the bastard (bitch?) was planning next.
The scalpel fell to the carpet with a soft splat as Ashlynn came back to herself, her stomach knotted with fear. She reached mentally for her mother, but could barely sense her. Mum? Ashlynn wasn’t surprised when she didn’t get a reply.
Beating back panic, Ashlynn turned to her brother and father. Mum’s in trouble, she told Jake. Take care of Dad. Energy crackled and she was gone.
Shane spoke, but his words didn’t quite register. Addison blinked up at her husband from her prone position. His mouth moved, but the words didn’t make sense. “Love, I don’t understand,” she tried to say, but her mouth wasn’t working properly. Shane, I think something’s wrong with me. Even telepathic speech felt off.
He said something else, a hungry smile twisting his features as he roughly grabbed her right breast. Pain pushed through the fog in Addison’s mind. Did you hear me? I don’t feel well. She tried to prop up on her elbows but couldn’t. After a moment she realized why. Her arms were stretched over her head, each wrist tied to a bedpost. Nothing felt right; her sense of Shane was nebulous and her children seemed far away.
“Mine,” Shane growled and lowered his mouth to her breast.
Shane! Addison tugged at her restraints, biting back a yelp from the pain. Shane, stop! He bit down on her nipple anyway. It was almost as though he couldn’t hear her, which had happened once before with–
Panic chased away the last of the haziness. Addison remembered the blood, remembered cradling Shane’s head in her lap, remembered nearly breaking down. She remembered not-Shane, grinning like a lunatic as he forced his way into her quarters before she felt the pinprick in her throat.
Shane! LYNN! JAKE! Addison screamed, although she knew it was pointless. She bucked on the bed, tilting her head back to see the zip ties biting into her wrists. Her telekinetic bumbling was as muddled as her telepathy.
A slap stung her cheek, snapping her attention back to her captor. Not-Shane snarled, “Stop fighting! You know that you’ll like this.”
Addison shuddered. She’d heard those words from Shane more than once over the years. Her pride reared up nonetheless. “Fuck you!” she spat, attempting to teleport. The effort failed, so she tried to knee her attacker’s groin.
“Bitch!” The second slap was harder than the first. Addison saw red and tasted the coppery tang of blood in her mouth. “I’m sorry,” Shane’s doppelganger said, smoothing Addison’s hair. “But you made me do it. Don’t fight and it’ll be good. You know that it’ll be good.” The hand that wasn’t tangled in her hair slid down her body and between her legs, driving home her helplessness.
Panic loomed again, but Addison forced it back. No time. Think. You can do this. She just had to keep the doppelganger calm and distracted so she could think. Fast.
Harris—Addison. I can call her that now that she’s mine.—must have accepted Joon’s apology because she stopped struggling. “That’s right,” she crooned. “We won’t enjoy each other as much if you hurt yourself.”
Although Addison nodded, waves of fear continued to roll off of her. Dismayed, Joon sat up. She looked down at her naked, masculine body wondering what she’d gotten wrong. Joon prided herself on her memory. “What…” Addison began, then gulped, “…shall I call you?”
The question sparked anger and delight; the latter due to Addison’s cooperation. After taking a few calming breaths Joon replied, “Shane, of course. There’s only one of me.”
Addison nodded again. Although her face was a neutral mask, Joon felt the woman’s anxiety. She stretched out beside Addison, racking her brain for a way to reassure her. As she thought she twined her legs with Addison’s shorter, smooth ones, sighing from the sensation. She’d only had Addison for a few minutes, but Joon was already glad she’d undergone the arduous transformation. She understood now why Shane had changed her. Addison’s body was divine.
“That’s it!” Joon said, cupping Addison’s face with her pale hand. Addison peered at her questioningly. “When I get bored with this—” she nodded down at her body “—you can be me next.”
Addison stared at Joon like she’d grown a second head. “What?”
After a moment of puzzlement Joon laughed. Of course. She doesn’t know what I can do. She propped herself up on one elbow, sliding her other hand from Addison’s face to her taut stomach. “You can be Shane, and I’ll be you. That’ll be fun,” she grinned. “And I’ll be good at it—being you—’cause I’ve already done it.”
Addison’s eyes grew even wider. Her mouth opened, but no sound came out. Even worse, her panic had returned. Joon frowned, wondering what she’d done wrong. Maybe we should just go home. There I won’t have to tie her—
“Joon Ri?” Addison whispered.
Joon shot a warning look at her. “Shane.”
“Yes!” Joon spat, pushing herself up to her knees. “Why are you being so difficult? I’ve worked for months getting every detail right. So you’ll want me like he— I want you!” Although Addison nodded frantically, tears spilled from her eyes.
Joon’s anger and desire swelled. “I’ll show you,” she growled, straddling the ingrate. “I’ll show you, and you’ll thank—”
Light flashed behind her, and white-hot fury nearly knocked Joon down. She looked over her shoulder to find a mulatto teenage girl snarling at her. Then Joon flew straight up, her face slamming into the ceiling.
Bone crunched, followed by Joon’s muffled moan of pain. Ashlynn smirked. “Bitch.”
“Lynn!” Mum cried.
Maintaining her hold on Joon, Ashlynn turned to her mother, pointedly ignoring her nudity. “Are you okay, Mum?”
“He— she— didn’t…” More tears coursed down Mum’s cheeks. She tugged her wrist, making the ties bite into her flesh while Joon squirmed and cursed on the ceiling. “She did something to me. I can’t get free.”
Livid, Lynn returned her attention to her captive. She flipped Joon-in-a-Shane-skin over, a grotesque figure stretched against the ceiling with blood dripping down her face from her broken nose. “Half breed bitch freak!” the intruder barked with Shane’s voice. “Let go of me!”
Ashlynn laughed, and Joon stopped squirming. “Um, no. Now listen carefully. I’m going to put you down. You will sit there and not try to escape. Do not speak until I give you permission.” An empathic command underscored her words.
She deposited Joon in the far corner of the room. The lunatic cradled her nose and watched Ashlynn with hatred burning behind Shane’s eyes.
Then Mum lost it completely. She jerked frantically at the ties holding her wrists to the bed, spilling more blood. “Get me out of here, get me out of here, now!”
“Mum!” Lynn pushed calm to her, but it wasn’t enough. Reluctantly she issued another empathic command. “Mum, you need to go to sleep. Just for a couple of hours. Now.” Thanks to the drugs Joon had used, the command worked frighteningly well.
With Mum asleep, Lynn was able to untie her and bandage her lacerated wrists. Just as she finished Jake nudged her. Lynn! Talk to me. What’s going on?
Everything’s okay, Lynn assured him. Mum is okay. I’ll explain in a while, but right now I have a few things to do.
Her brother didn’t like the lack of explanation. She doesn’t feel okay.
She’s drugged, just like Dad. I encouraged her to sleep it off. How’s—
Okay. He… he’s okay.
Jake’s worry was plain. She sent him a pulse of love and understanding to her brother. Take care of him. I’ll take care of Mum. I’ll be in touch soon. That promise and dismissal went over better. Lynn focused her full attention on her mother.
Once she’d managed to get a nightshirt on Mum and had teleported her to Lynn’s bed, Ashlynn returned to Joon. The freak was still huddled in the corner stark naked.
Ashlynn suppressed a shudder as she tossed Joon’s bloodstained clothes at his/her feet. “Get dressed.” Shane’s doppelganger was too creepy for words. Lynn didn’t know how Joon had done it, but she wanted it undone. The bitch would not die wearing Shane’s face.
Hatred twisted Shane’s features, but Joon complied like a well-trained dog.
“Tell me,” Lynn said coolly. “Can you look like someone other than D– Shane?”
Joon trembled as she tried to resist. The clothes in her hands bunched up, and Shane’s crystal fell to the floor. While waiting for Joon to realize she couldn’t not answer, Lynn retrieved up the prism and deposited it in the top dresser drawer.
“I can look like anyone!” Joon panted the words, sweat beading on her brow. But I’m Shane!
Ashlynn shook her head. “No, you’re Joon Ri. You’re an obituary that hasn’t been written yet.” Lynn walked to the door. “Finished getting dressed. Then we’re going on a trip.”
She didn’t bother to lock the door behind her. Joon wouldn’t go anywhere that Lynn didn’t want her to.