The House of Fire and Rain
Victoria Lynn Osborne
(Firemountain Chronicles, #2)
Publication date: November 15th, 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Dave Dobrowski is a detective in Firemountain. Things haven’t been the same in Firemountain since Dinah Steele took down Gleebelix. Now illegal prostitutes are dying in droves. Yet the legal brothel, The House of Fire and Rain, on tribal land is immune to a curse that is killing not only working girls but their clients. Dave and his alchemical partner Jolene Anderson, race to discover why legal girls are protected why illegals are dying and discover there is more than just morality at stake.
Jolene Anderson brushed her wavy auburn locks from her emerald green eyes and peered through a microscope at the sample brought to her. The yellow residue smelled of rotten eggs. She ran it through the centrifuge and separated the solution into its various parts.
“This isn’t sulfur,” she muttered to herself. She carefully put the separated infusion into test tubes and labeled them.
This would require using alchemy to further identify it. She would need to set up the apparatus to study them. Next she turned her attention to the millions of spiders. She put some of them in a viewing cup and slipped the device under the microscope. Using tiny tweezers, she broke off a leg and slipped it into the electron microscope.
“That’s odd,” she muttered, making a note in her book. “These spiders have no DNA.”
She took the samples into the laboratory. The inlaid circle flared to life as she activated the protections. She pulled supplies off the shelf, including several vials of holy water, manroot, belladonna, and whoresbreath.
The small cauldron was soon heated. Whispering an incantation, she slipped the spider into the solution. “Show me what you are,” she whispered, waving her hand over the bubbling pot.
The solution whirled brown and blue and the scent of rotten eggs filled the air. A spider appeared, only this spider had the head and body of a beautiful woman. This tiny woman had red luscious lips pursed in a blown kiss.
“What the hell is that?” Jolene took out a film camera and snapped a picture. The vision faded and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Jolene sat in the residual smoke, allowing herself to free-associate. She jotted down whatever came to mind as the scent faded from the alchemical lab. The spider/woman was called a whore’s curse, and she infected whores and their johns. Once in the world, they would spread quickly. No known way to stop them.
After her writing session ended, Jolene rubbed her fingers on her slacks. A bell in the main lab notified her that someone had come into the lab.
She shrugged into her lab coat and answered the summons. Dave Dobrowski, the detective from the Firemountain sheriff’s department, stood inside the lab.
“Dobrowski,” she greeted. She held her clipboard in her hands as she made a note.
“Have you gotten results from the samples turned in last night?” He flashed his badge.
“I know who you are.” Jolene took the printout from the computer. “I have run several tests, both scientific and occult. I am not sure how it’s possible, but these spiders have no DNA. Furthermore, the yellow substance that was all over the body is brimstone. When I ran the spider through the occult chemistry diffuser, it revealed that there was a tiny spider with a woman’s body and head attached. It is called ‘whore’s curse’ and is extremely virulent.”
“What does that mean?” Dobrowski asked.
“Well, this will spread. I learned from free-writing that this will spread through the prostitutes and destroy them and their clients.”
“Should we put the whorehouse on quarantine?”
“I don’t think that’s necessary. I think a thorough examination of the girls each day should be sufficient. Now that I know what I am looking for, it will be easier to spot it.”
“Okay, I will notify the madam that her physician needs to make a visit today and give them all an exam.”
“We found more of the spiders on a second victim, but so far the whorehouse has been clean. I went out there last night to visit with a girl I know there.” He trailed off, shuffling his feet.
“Well I’m sure it was professional.” Jolene smiled a crooked smile that revealed perfect teeth. “Why do you go out there? Isn’t it… well… pathetic?”
Dobrowski glared at her. “You have no right to judge me. I am not someone who has no life. What I ‘get’ out there transcends simple sex.”
Jolene felt her stomach lurch. Her own secrets seemed petty.
“Well, call me if you find out anything new.” Dobrowski tipped his hat curtly and left the lab.
Jolene clutched the table, her legs weak. What would he say if he knew? She glanced at her watch. It was almost time to go to her other job. She filed her findings and flipped off the lights as she locked up.
Victoria Lynn Osborne has always had a passion for telling stories. She wrote her first short story at the age of five and has kept her finger on the artistic impulse of writing. This has taken the form of plays, Dungeons and Dragons, short stories, and now novels.
Her greatest passion is fantasy, especially epic, and urban fantasy. She also loves mysteries. Her book series Jason and Mortyiene mysteries are murder mysteries in a high fantasy setting. Her epic series The Great Wyrm Saga is due out in 2015.