Home > Fashionably Dead Down Under (Hot Damned #2)

Fashionably Dead Down Under (Hot Damned #2)
Author: Robyn Peterman

Chapter 1

Pain—then ice—then intolerable heat. A second took years, yet time stood still. The claws of those that trapped me were razor sharp. They tore through my flesh as the ones who owned them grunted and screamed with delight. I struggled for balance, but realized I was standing on air. Violet and silver dust engulfed me as I choked on smells of burning flesh and anger. How was this happening? I was supposed to be planning my wedding to my hotter than Satan’s underpants Vampyre Prince . . . not taking a ride to Hell with smelly and disgusting Demons. Shitshitdamnitshit.


Journey? The soundtrack in Hell was Journey? I would have thought Nine Inch Nails or AC/DC, but certainly not Journey . . . Don’t get me wrong, I loved Journey, but Don’t Stop Believing just didn’t seem like an appropriate anthem for the Underworld. Was I even in Hell? Maybe this was Purgatory or some other random plane of existence? Although I would expect Barry Manilow, John Tesh or Kenny G if I was stuck in Purgatory.

“Where in God’s name am I?” I muttered as I gingerly pried my dry eyes open.

One thing I was absolutely sure of—I definitely wasn’t on Earth. The ride to wherever the hell I was with the stinky Demons had sucked the big one. It was violent, smelly and it hurt like a son of a bitch.

Easing my body to a sitting position was difficult but doable. Now, to figure out where I was . . .

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I moaned, both from the pain shooting through my limbs and the simple fact that Faithfully was blasting from invisible speakers hidden somewhere in my cell.

Wait. Was this a cell? A trap? A bedroom?

A bedroom? I was in a bedroom?

This couldn’t be Hell. It had to be some kind of holding area. The Underworld was supposed to smell like sulfur and look like post-Armageddon. This place looked more like some douchenoggle with big bucks and debatable taste had shopped at all the most expensive home stores on Fifth Avenue . . .while they were drunk.

My body ached like I’d been beaten and I checked myself for wounds. Surprisingly I was fine. Maybe all that flesh tearing had been an illusion. Being a Vampyre I healed quickly, but the trip to Hell, or wherever I was, had been rather turbulent. Turning my head took effort, but I needed to figure out my location and how to get out.

Interesting. I was on a large bed draped in cheesy and predictable slippery black silk. The walls of what I decided to assume was a massive bedroom were all done in burnished gold leafing. Thick and ornate crown molding framed the walls. The shades of the molding were more muted and depicted horrific scenes of mutilation and decapitations of some kind of animal-looking thing. Okay, this was more like the Hell I expected. The artwork added to the ambience—frescos of orgies and graphic depictions of group sex and death graced what had to be twenty foot high walls. The floor was so highly waxed it literally sparkled—the uninviting cold black marble stretched from one end of the huge room to the other.

Trying to block out Steven Perry singing Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin’ was almost impossible. I had a bizarre urge to sing along . . .

Wait a fucking minute . . . were the walls breathing?

Stop. Pull yourself together—walls didn’t breathe. I needed to deal with the situation at hand. I would not let Steven Perry or walls with a heartbeat derail me from getting the hell out of Hell.

First things first—I needed to get up. I wasn’t chained to the bed. I was able to move as freely as my battered body would allow. I suppose the most unnerving part was that no one was around . . . or were they? I hadn’t seen anyone or anything since my forced arrival. Could Demons cloak themselves like I could?

“Astrid,” a disembodied voice hissed from out of nowhere.

“Holy Hell,” I screamed and dove under the bed, slamming the side of my head on the metal frame and bending back all the fingers on my left hand. “Who’s here?” I shouted, nursing my painfully throbbing fingers and head, not to mention the rest of my body.

“Al Pacino.”

“Al Pacino lives in Hell? I didn’t even know he died.” Plus, he seemed more like a Purgatory guy to me. “Bullshit,” I muttered, cautiously peeking out from under the bed. There was no one in the room but me. Maybe the walls were alive. “You are not Al Pacino. You don’t even sound like Al Pacino. Who in the hell are you?”

“I’m part of you,” the wall whispered.

“I’m a fucking wall?”

The wall laughed heartily. So heartily it pissed me off. “So, did you enjoy your trip, Astrid?”

“Are you kidding me? It sucked,” I snapped and scanned the room for a hidden Demon. There had to be someone in here. Walls did not talk.

“What on earth did you expect, my dear? You’d just killed their leader who happened to be your father,” the voice informed me. “Not to mention you offed your psychotic bitch of a somewhat human mother not even ten minutes before your father arrived.”

“My father was no prize either. He was a gross, stinky, disgusting and evil Demon and wasn’t even upset that I snuffed out my mother,” I shot back. Fine. I’d lost it. I was talking to a wall . . .

“Darling girl, if you were able to kill both your parents, why didn’t you stop the Demons from taking you to Hell?”

“Well, Wall, you seem to know quite a bit already. I’m sure you know exactly why I couldn’t stop the Demons.”

“Couldn’t or didn’t?” the wall inquired politely.

I’d had enough of the wall. “What does it matter? I was a bit tired from offing my parents and I had, um . . . other reasons.” Damnit, this was impossible. Was I really talking to a wall? Yes. Yes, I was.

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