Chapter Eighty Nine

Sloane tears out of the Escalade and leaps into my arms. It's good to be wanted.
"You got hurt."
"What’s a little blunt force trauma? You taking care of Cassie?"
"Of course, when I can get her away from Oceane. She's turned into a second big sister, Cassie likes to watch her draw, and they swim. She doesn't swim as long as Oceane, maybe half the time. She has lessons and stuff, Amaya took her shopping, she's got simple tastes."
"Geez, we were only gone a couple of days."
Amaya has us back in thirty, I-495, Lincoln Tunnel, home.
Dasha, "You haf breakfast on plane?"
"Yes, veg omelet, warm croissant, good coffee."
"Da, okay. I will haf lunch ready at maybe twelve thirty. Today, roast beef poboy wiz cheeps, Oceane and Janah will haf vegetable zoup wiz French bread. Tonight, roast cheeken, mahcaroni and chiz, crim corn, Ghirardelli brownie wiz ice crim."
"We roasting the chicken?"
"Nyet, I get from Sehba deli, ees best and no work."
"How are Sy and Sehba?"
"Same always, work all day no mahter what. They are gud immigrant persons. Kids are high school and college, full scholarship engineer. I haf to look at peecture every time. They ask about Dahfoney, I say she ees busy."
"Did Cassie meet them?"
"Da, she and Sloane went with me. Sheba geev Cassandra taste of everything, then bag of candy something to take home. She says we haf to bring Cassandra to store every time now. They want to make her spoil."
"Amaya spoiled you and Daria, didn't hurt any."
Dasha ignores me, goes off to do her kitchen thing, I hear her mumbling, 'Dahfoney spoil all of fahmahley, gud for hafing Nishiko, she ees not spoil anyone, nobody ees allowed to be lazy girl....what ees next? Stir roast beef, make gravy...where ees flour..' she goes on, I tune out. She will talk her way through the entire lunch prep, leaping from one topic to another with no road map, not so much as a segue, just a snap shift in topic.
I go to find Cassie, she's cross legged on Oceane's bed doing something on her IPad while Oceane draws.
"Hey girls."
Oceane turns and smiles, back to her piece, Cassie looks up, "Mom, Sloane said you got hurt."
"Stomach mostly, took a qi shot from a bad guy."
She pulls up my shirt, from my own work and Janah's help, the thing is only a slightly dark shade, "Janah fixed most of it."
Her fingers trail across my tummy, "How did it happen?"
"A man used his internal energy, qi, like when you see Dasha or Daria pushing around the tennis balls," a game we play, try to send your ball out of the circle while keeping the other ones in the circle.
"I'm going to learn to play it."
"Okay, need any help?"
"No, not now."
I let it slide, not sure how she plans to go about it, but I'm not going to discourage her, "What are you working on?"
"Watching, a program about Buddha."
She goes back to her device, I think it's an Air 2, we have Minis and Airs, they run our drones, our home automation systems and a lot of our solo movie and TV watching. At last count there were twenty two, plus android phones, plus our stack of nameless buy and fly. We have something like thirty five phone numbers, but a dozen of those are throwaways. I wonder why the air in our condo isn't electric blue and crackly.
By tea time all the players have come home.
Amaya, "The new low table will be here tomorrow."
We had to get a bigger one to fit all the bodies, we prefer sitting at a tea table in a circle, not spread out, and the nod to authenticity by sitting cross legged, not in a chair.
"Did you buy all of Juicy Couture ?"
Amaya, "For Sloane, and no, I didn't get anything with a message on the front or in pink. I skipped Bit'z Kids, too loud, the colors look messy. Found a couple of things at Catimini, a dress for Sloane at Pink Chicken, Yoya is popular but I can never find anything interesting. I got myself a piece from Geminola, fifteen inch skirt with a scalloped hem. I had to get it, they call it an Amaya skirt."
"Get out, coincidence?"
"I doubt Lorraine named it after me, but she should have. At any rate, Cassandra didn't get that much, unlike Sloane, she doesn't care about clothes. And she likes simple things, no garish colors thank God, almost no colors at all, simple sneakers low and high tops, black on black high, white on white low. She likes white, white cotton slip dress, long, to her ankles. White skinny jeans, white leggings, white tops. Got her a long coat for winter, she wanted black. The twins' fur hats from when they were kids are in pristine shape, good and warm too. Cassandra is not a future fashion plate."
“She spent so much time getting dressed up like Barbie, she’s burned out on cute.”
Chloe, "She likes the water rocks, maybe one of her own?"
"Cassie, do you want a water rock, like the one in Chloe's room?"
A nod, it's all about communication. She gets up and heads down the hall to her room.
Amaya, "The child is practically mute."
Nikko, "How would we know? Hard to get a word in with all the other chatter."
Chloe giggles, "True, but that isn't it. She's an observer, not a commentator."
“She give me a couple of sentences occasionally.”
Oceane, "Cassandra must be left alone, she will become magical," she stands and floats off to planet Oceane.
"Doesn't look like we get an explanation."
Zi, "Oceane doesn't predict much, but what she does predict happens."
"Then we leave Cassie to herself. She interacts with Sloane and Oceane, all of us may be too much."
Janah, "She also finds Tan's hut fascinating, solitude, meditate by the water rock, I haven't heard her call it meditation though. Guess we wait for the magic."
Tea over, girls spread out to refresh or shower and regather in an hour or so for cocktails.
"Dasha, there were cookies at tea, safe to skip appetizers. I'll put bowls of nuts, something salty to go with the drinks, leave it at that."
"I am cutting cheeken, later to oven to creesp skin, crim corn ees seemple, mahcaroni ees ready to be heat, you will get een oven now."
She continues to herself, 'First Oceane, now Cassandra, fahmahley ees get stranger all the time...Dasha and Daria will go to Meemfis and Palm Beach to keel Shadow...we are gud Shadow keeler girls...we will take also Eloise and make sex with her in fancy Palm Beach hotel...twelve girls in fahmahley, five cheeken forty piece, gud....' then to me, "everyone ees doing something, we haf time before heat cheeken, you will make Dasha feel gud now Dahfoney."
She leans against the counter and raises her already short t-shirt. I kneel, slip down panties and follow instructions. From the gasps and moans, I get the feedback I'm listening for, total pleasure and the vibe of release.
I look up to flushed adorable, "You like making Dasha feel gud, da?"
I kiss tight smooth parts, "I like everything Dasha, and particularly making her feel good."
I hand her the panties, she goes off to her room, I'm watching her wiggle along then I notice Sloane sitting on the steps to her room, grinning at me.
She comes down, "That was fun. Dasha saw me, she likes being watched."
"Sometimes. I mean she has threesomes with Daria and Eloise, sometimes foursomes when I'm included. Janah goes to them once in a while. Eloise loves Janah's attentions. This is a sensual household of intimates. Everyone has been with everyone at some point."
"I get Oceane when she gets in the mood. She gets in the mood frequently, but she likes the others too, you, Amaya, Chloe."
Sloane laughs, "Amaya came in while Oceane was doing me orally, stood in the doorway and watched. I think she's curious."
"Anyone else? Not that it's any of my business."
"Eloise just showed up one night, slipped in the bed, played with it, kiss, lick, suck. then she got on top and rode herself to orgasm. She had me go on her face at the end."
"You're going to need to make a decision about the transition."
"If things go like this, I'm keeping it. Who wouldn't want to be the only person to have intercourse with Oceane, she's flipping perfect. Eloise is cute and fun, I'd be crazy to cut off the fun stick."
I laugh, "True, and I'm happy you have such an open attitude. Very few people can handle boy parts and girl mentality."
"I don't mind being the novelty item. If it loses its charm, I can get altered anytime. I get offers from Chapmans girls, so far I've been coy, say they're just teasing. One girl, though, is hot. I didn't use my cock, but I went down on her. Now she comes around once a week."
"If she wants it, fine, make sure it's just oral or use a condom, you have some?"
"No."
"I'll get you a box tomorrow, even if she's on the pill, wrap it up. If she's sexually active, you don't know where she's been. You got the HPV series, at least that's not an issue. You owe it to your intimates here not to bring something home from outside. So far, we apparently have nuclear powered immune systems, none of us gets a head cold much less a virus. Better not to assume we're bulletproof."
"Why does the biology seem to spill over to all of the family, we aren't related, not genetically."
"One of our mysteries, like not aging. Miyako and David Li transferred protein markers from Janah, Nikko and I to the others, as we will to you when you pick an age. We aren't vampires, sunlight isn't a problem. We have some of the other characteristics, for whatever reason. Might be all the electricity in the air, we have enough wireless to run a small country."
Family shows up, Amaya bartends, they find spots to settle. Our living area is huge, and there are couches, comfortable chairs, coffee and end tables to rest glasses or plates. I'm setting the dining table, it's off limits until dinner.
"Sloane, find Cassie and tell her it's time to eat."
Then we're around the table, passing platters and plates, filling wine glasses. The girls are hungry, we demolish much of the chicken, macaroni is always popular, the creamed corn is no more. Oceane moves to the couch and flicks on the TV, Cassie joins her, they channel surf until something catches their attention. I hear a documentary sounding voice. Dasha and I clear dishes, the rest remain around the table.
Nikko, "When are you out of town Daria?"
Daria, "To Memphis day after tomorrow, same day to Palm Beach. Blue Sky to Memphis at seven thirty, there for nine thirty or ten. Surveillance has the Shadow's routine. He goes to an office, insurance sales. Goes to lunch one of three places, normally in the car by eleven thirty. We get him in the parking lot, or the lot of the restaurant. Then fly to Palm Beach. Two and a half hours. If we leave Memphis at one or one thirty, lose an hour, we are in Palm Beach by five. We may be able to get to her at home. She lives on the island part in a big house. All the houses on the island are big."
"Can you just fly the drone over and zap her?"
Daria, "Probably, but we want to search house. She owns it outright, several million. There is a Bentley. She has money."
Zi, "Does she have friends, acquaintances, a boyfriend or husband?"
Daria, "She had a party one night, not a big party, maybe twelve, fifteen. Twice a man came during the day. Surveillance says he is a massage person. The woman is maybe forty, attractive. Two marriages are the source of her wealth. First husband dies when she is twenty eight, he made boats. That was in California. She moved to Palm Beach for second husband. He was already old, maybe sixty. Some kind of manufacturing company. He died five years after, she inherited everything just like with number one."
Amaya, "Deaths suspicious?"
"Cerebral hemorrhage, heart attack, things she could cause easily if she is good."
Chloe, "Wonder why she wants in on the group thing? She has a socialite life, plenty of money, why team up with the other fourteen?"
Janah, "If they get a chance, they can ask her."

Chapter Ninety

Cassie's water rock is coming today. Amaya's taking the twins and Eloise to Teterboro, I'm riding along to keep Amaya company on the return drive. We get them and the baggage loaded, jet taxis out and they're gone. We head back.
Amaya, "Sloane tell you I stumbled on her and Oceane?"
"Oceane is such a show off. If she could she'd walk down Bleecker in nothing."
"I was...well, not point in mincing words, it was hot.”
"Doing Sloane isn't doing a man. Sloane is a girl, no body hair except her head, and has the luxury of a built in strap on, that's all."
Amaya, "Zi gets after Chloe sometimes, two Sensitives, maybe an extra spark. They get together when I sneak off to grovel for Oceane."
"No one would ever believe that."
"It is true, all the stuff I do for Chloe voluntarily, I do for her on demand. I clean her bathroom, manicure, pedicure. If she's satisfied, she lets me go to her that night. She makes me suck her toes, her feet are simple perfection. On my knees with my tongue in her tush, various other minor humiliations. She screws me in the butt, but I am a sucker for anal anyway."
"Sounds like sex play to me."
"It is, she is not mean about it, I just got picked as the one she orders around. Probably thinks Chloe is too good to me."
"Oceane has no clue how much you do for Chloe."
"Well do not tell her, I like our little game."
By the time we get home, couple of men are in Cassie's room running the lines to power the pump. Cassie's on her bed watching the installation. They don't run water lines, we fill the pool with water, a tiny LED light blinks green, then yellow when we need to add a gallon. Our home purification system is more than adequate and saves us from having to get distilled water delivered. The only maintenance is a filter change every three months, which I do every two despite assurances it isn't necessary.
Just before lunch, it's operating flawlessly, the installers leave, Cassie is glued to her spot cross legged on the bed looking at it. The things are mesmerizing, if you didn't know there was water flowing, it looks like shiny black granite. It doesn't streak or run in rivulets down the sides, the flow is entirely even at every point. The pump is under the pool, which is filled with small rocks. If I can't hear it hum, nobody can. It doesn't splash, it doesn't gurgle. Teaspoon of bleach keeps it mold and mildew free. A spigot makes it possible to drain and dry it, which we do when we're in Prescott or Canada.
"Lunch in fifteen Cass, you can come back after," no reply from Miss Chattynot.
Today it's cold cuts, multigrain, toasted or soft, usual condiments, bread and butter pickles I've spiced with Tobasco Habanero, and pepper chips. Egg salad for Janah and Oceane. Nikko and Zi are at the office.
Janah, "Yum, hot pickle egg salad, I'd like toast please."
"What about you Oceane?"
"Soft bread, where's Cassandra?"
"Focused on her rock, round her up will you? I want her to at least have half a sandwich."
Amaya, "Chloe's on the way, we go to LA for filming in two days, are Daria and Dasha going?"
"If they're done with Shadows. Otherwise I'll go."
Sloane, "Not without me."
"Don't get your hopes up, The twins will likely be back, besides, we're going to Prescott in a week. Cassie's never been. Nikko and Zi may be available for guard duty, at least part of the time."
I hand Cassie a half sandwich, turkey cranberry, she likes the bread soft, not toasted, "If you want more, say so and I'll crank out another."
Eloise is going with Amaya and Chloe, she's doing drone shots, "What time is the flight?"
Amaya, "Need to leave here at seven thirty. It is a free day, there are no meetings, production starts the day after. I want to get settled into the hotel and let Chloe have a day of nothing before the filming starts. Things get hectic after that."
Janah, "Daphne, I haven't followed Prescott plans, you've spoken to Su and Danika?"
"Yep, all set, can't wait to meet Cassandra." Cassie looks up at the mention of her name, blinks at me like Dasha does sometimes, takes another bite of sandwich.
She finishes, walks past Oceane, "We will swim later?"
Oceane smiles, nods, strokes her hair, Cassie goes to her room.
"They're nothing if not efficient."
Janah, "Dasha's got a point, we keep adding stranger girls."
"The whole group is strange, we make the Addams family look boring."

Janah, "True. Can I get a half egg salad, it's really good."
I make her a whole one, she's going to eat it, Janah has the metabolism of a garbage disposal.
Oceane drifts off, Eloise back to her toys in the workshop, leaves Janah, Sloane and me.
Sloane, "Eloise is building the world's most powerful computer."
"I haven't seen a bunch of equipment come in."
Sloane, "There isn't much. She's layering processors and connecting to the cloud. Daria thought it up. They are going to figure out how to find and track Shadows."
Janah, "How do they plan to do that? Shadows are, maybe not unpredictable, but inconsistent."
"Beats me, Daria said something about fractals and chaos theory."
"Cripes, what next? They built systems to track all of us, we're our own NSA. We used to do it with phones and personal GPS jewelry, then they stuck chips in us, under the skin. Now we can locate every family member on our flipping phones. Good thing I don't care about privacy."
Janah, "That was better, phones can be taken away, even the jewelry wasn't perfect. An abductor might not know it has a GPS system, but they might take it just to take it. We'd know where the bad guy is, but maybe not the family member. Nobody's going to look for implanted chips, can't see them if they do."
Sloane, "Daria said she's writing a program that vacuums a certain kind of news. Reports of confused people, people who gave money to strangers, stores robbed and the video shows a clerk just handing money over, no gun, no obvious threat. She hacking into 911 recordings, police reports, emergency room admissions and social worker records. All filtered through her algorithms. There are levels of threat, if it rises to a certain point, it will generate a report and a probability estimate. She's doing it for Society targets as well as Shadows."
Janah, "Dang, she never said a word."
Sloane, "It isn't functional yet. Daria doesn't like to promise and not deliver. She told me so I could get familiar with the programs and algorithms. They're really complicated, but I'm catching on."
"I need to start asking more questions."
Sloane, "Why? Everyone has stuff going on, how's it help for you to know every project Daria and Eloise are working on? They do things that don't pan out and drop them in the middle. For every promising project, ten are thrown in the dumpster, figuratively speaking."
"Never thought of it that way. Is Susan in on any of this?"
"She does most of the hacks."
Janah giggles, I say, "Hope I'm not visiting her in prison soon."
Janah, "Don't be ridiculous, we aren't letting her, or anyone else in the family, get arrested, much less prosecuted."
This is true. The Society, Mrs. Pearson, aka Janah, would make a phone call or two, 'national security' would be tossed around and that would be the end of that.

Chapter Ninety One

I get a mental from Dasha, “We haf already keel Shadow een Meemfis, flying to Palm Beach.”
“How did it go?”
“Like sister said, he ees predictable, goes to lunch at eleven thirty, Eloise shoots wiz drone in parking lot, I am by his car, grab dart, we leaf.”

She clicks offline.
Nobody’s around to give the update, I’ll wait until tea. Think I’ll go to the roof and get in an hour of kata, balance beam, whatever else strikes.
I hear the endless pool running, Cassandra and Ocean are stroking to nowhere. I’m happy she found a simple form of exercise, Cassie isn’t much for complication, trying to get her to do gymnastics or martial arts is probably a nonstarter. Hasn’t hurt Oceane any, she’s liquid and tight at the same time.
After my list of kata, I run through advanced taekwondo forms, then hop on the balance beam. I’ve learned a few things, not as good as Dasha, but I can stick a back and front flip, glide along the beam, spin without spinning myself clean off. Seems weird how I can do so much martial arts but cannot get the hang of the uneven bars. All I manage is to twirl around the high bar, release and back flip to the mat. Dasha says I’m too tall for uneven bars after a few disaster attempts to release the high bar and snatch the low. I could grab it, just not keep my momentum to any further move. I decided to hang up my uneven bar leotard.
Sit cross legged on the mat and open a bottle of water, somewhere during my workout, Cassie got out of the pool and is lying on one of our reclining patio chairs. She swims like Oceane, in nothing, not shy or self conscious. Oceane sometimes wanders through the living area in nothing, Cassie sees her nude like the rest of us. And she spends time in Oceane’s room where she’s almost never dressed.
“Sun feels good?”
Cassie, “Yes, Oceane does not heat the pool.”
“She says she gets too warm if she swims a long way. When we’re here in the winter, she heats it a bit.”
She gets up and sits next to me, I hand her the water, “Drink up.”
I wait until she’s finished the bottle, then, “Let’s shower and I’ll brush your hair by the water rock.”
Her room is Lacy’s former master bedroom. Amaya updated everything. Amaya fooled me, she tends to modern, but she antiqued Cassie’s bathroom and bedroom. Not chintzy or frilly, but a beautiful wooden cabinet dresserstyle sink and a stone tub with a smooth interior. White wooden furniture in the bedroom with vintage blanket and comforter. Between the sheets, coverings and pillows, you have to search around to find Cassandra in the bed. The water rock is a bit of modern contrast, but it’s a three by three by three chunk of black granite. It could be from any period and fits well in the setting, parked towards one corner of the room.
We're in her bath, lather her hair and rinse, do mine while she bathes. She’s out and drying off when I finish. I’ll let my hair air dry while I use the dryer on hers, gentle heat, not hot. Cassie’s natural state is zone out, I zone with her in the routine of brush and blow.
I earn a small smile for my contribution, lean in and kiss her cheek, “You have cool hair, it curls a bit, mine is straight as straight gets. Makes you look sophisticated.”
“What is that?”
“Self assured, confident.”
She stands, goes to her closet, finds an ankle length medieval white chemise with elastic cuffs and a small ruffle neckline. She pulls it over her head, then white socks, nothing else. She’s cute, the chemise isn’t snug, but hangs such that it shows off her curvy little  butt. Amaya got her a gorgeous vintage stand alone mirror, I’ve never seen her check herself out in it.
“Tea time, first I have to find something to wear,” I gather up my sweats and the towels, we go down the hall to the main room.
Janah, “Naked laundry, something new?”
“A one off, Cassie and I showered in her room, I didn’t think to bring something to put on. I’m going to start this laundry, can you grab me a t-shirt?”
Semi-suitably dressed, a butt length t-shirt, I start in on tea prep. Chloe comes along to help, we normally do black and green, but the twins aren’t here so green only today.
“Cassie, please find Oceane.”
The others show up naturally, teas is almost always somewhere between four thirty and five. Oceane doesn’t know day from night, much less four thirty. She does like tea however, so once someone tells her, she appears.
Cassie must have inspired her, she’s in a sheer gauze knee length something, nightshirt maybe? Fortunately for us, she may as well be nude, a blind woman could see straight through the near invisible fabric.
Amaya, “Good God, nobody but me should be that luscious. I hate her, I want her.”
“Suck up, you might get lucky.”
“Her bath is spotless, I changed the sheets, licked her feet and sucked her index finger, which she kindly had stored inside her…you know. Tonight I have to go to her and ask permission. Sometimes she says yes, sometimes no. When it is no, I go back to my room and find Eloise jumping Chloe, I have no idea how she knows I went to Oceane.”
“Maybe Chloe texts her.”

Amaya, “Duh…the sneak.”
“Said the girl who snuck off to beg Oceane for sex.”

Amaya smiles, “We have perfect lives.”
We’re around the new low table, today we don’t need the whole thing since three are out of town killing people. We take tea today in silence, thoughts on our companions doing the dirty work.
After tea, Oceane and Cassandra disappear to Ocean’s room, maybe the roof, Nikko asks, “Status?”
“Memphis down, got him in the parking lot of his office, Dasha retrieved the dart,  clean getaway. They will be in Palm Beach now, I haven’t heard from them, she’ll check in when she has something or wants an opinion.”
Chloe, “Where are they staying?”
“Four Seasons, ocean view suite. Daria will be suitably stimulated, Eloise and Dasha are in for a good time.”
Amaya, “Daria will be over stimulated, except for Janah, I never saw a girl who gets so hot in luxury hotels.”
Janah smiles, “I never figured it out, it may be genetic, Kara says she goes nuts when they travel. Dad likes to keep her on the road.”
Nikko, “We all get a bit frisky when we travel. Good reason for homes in Canada and Prescott. Zi is energetic in our San Francisco apartment. Part of the reason is the college girl who lives two doors down.”
“News, when did that happen?”
Zi, “Last year. We happened to come home at the same time, Nishiko was still at the office. One thing led to another.”
“So, who’s the girl?”
Zi, “Lawan, which coincidentally means beautiful, she’s Thai, you can imagine.”
“All you Orientals stick together.”
Nikko, “It’s San Francisco, half the population is Asian.”
Zi, “And Lawan was delighted to meet my dear Nishiko, enthusiastically delighted, repeatedly.”
“Besides sex, what’s she study?”
Nikko, “She’s at Berkeley, she’s Asian, guess.”
Janah, “Computer science.”
“Bingo. She’s coming to Prescott over Christmas break.”
Janah, “So we’re on the same page, is she exclusive or available?”
Nikko, “Available. Zi told her a bit about the family, then asked if she would like to visit over break. She asked the identical question. Zi said she loved the answer, aura all bright orange and crimson.”
Zi, “Steamy.”
Janah, “Well, well, we could draw straws, but these things have a way of sorting out on their own. In any event, I doubt I’ll go without girl sex.”
I laugh, “Probability zero.”

Chapter Ninety Two

A day goes by, nothing from Dasha, I check in, “What’s happening?”
“She ees leaf in exclusive subdivision, gates, houses are beeg, but close together. It ees island, land ees premium. Drone surveys the house, she ees inside but almost never goes out. Men come and landscape, she haf pool but no sweem.”
“Do you hang around the neighborhood?”
“Nyet, Eloise fly drone from hotel balcony, we haf not gone to house, just in hotel, ees nice place.”
“Got a plan?”
“Da, sometimes drone sees her een house, but no gud shot. But she ees there. Nobody comes around but landscaping people today. Tomorrow, Eloise will fly drone from hotel, sister and Dasha will drive to house and look for opportunity. We can see what drone sees from IPad. We don’t haf forever, Eemaya and Chloe go to LA, we haf to go for guarding and Eloise ees to operate drone for movie.”
“Eloise’s part isn’t for a week, Nikko and Zi can go with them until you’re free then go to San Francisco.”
“Gud, I will tell sister and Eloise, bye now.”

It’s cocktail hour here, I repeat what Dasha said to the others.
Janah, “Be in Dasha or Daria’s mind when they go tomorrow, a third set of eyes can’t hurt, and put the drone feed on so we can see it. That’ll be a bunch of sets of eyes. And make sure they do it a simply as possible, if they can’t get inside to search the house, it doesn’t matter. Once she’s dead, we’re going to take ownership of it and everything in it. Someone can search at leisure.”
“That’s a new approach.”
“I was dumb. Before, we took stuff from the house, then sold it to one of our offshores if it was worth the trouble. We can do that in advance and send us or a team to look for money, surf bank accounts, for as long as we need to. That house is worth a ton. The woman is rich, maybe not like us, but enough.”
“And go to our other projects, or the Society.”
“Exactly.”
Next morning I rudely ask Amaya if she made any progress with Oceane, which is none of my business, but hey, she can blow me off if she wants.
Amaya, “Eloise is out of town, so Chloe could not sneak her in. I used the opportunity to not go to Oceane at all. It worked.”
“What worked?”
“Oceane was curious, why didn’t I show up? I did all that slave labor, bowed and scraped, did not attempt a finale. She appeared in our room at ten, bereft of clothing. Chloe and I took immediate advantage. An hour or so later, she was immobile, near catatonic, and spent the night with us. I can use that tactic again, but I get off sucking up to her and she knows it, so it has to be infrequent.”
“Chloe happy?”
“What do you think? She got to do Oceane and me, like winning the Powerball and Megamillions on the same night.”
She has a point.
I get online with Dasha and Daria, “I’m going to be in your minds, and the drone feed will also be running here. We want to have lots of eyes on the mission. I won’t comment unless I spot something I think you’ve missed. We have the pieces in place to transfer ownership of the house, as is, to one of our shell companies. When she’s dead, paperwork will show she sold it to the company a week ago and had two weeks to vacate. Don’t worry about searching the house. We can arrange for that later.”
Both reply, “Da, yes, okay.”
Enough chit chat, they’re leaving the hotel, I send the drone feed to our flat screen and the family follows along. Cassie doesn’t know form out Shadow sideline. Sloane’s job is to keep Cassie on the roof either swimming or flying one of the other drones.
The drone is circling the house from altitude. Someone might see it, but it’s a dot in the sky and no way to tell what the purpose is. She zooms the camera to the house, makes a big arc to catch all sides. Activity in the kitchen, a body floats past the rear window.
Dasha and Daria pull up down the street and park. They monitor what we monitor, which is not much. Eventually the woman is going someplace, to a salon, bank, drug store, a gas station. She could also not go for a day, or a week, she’s a Shadow, erratic, abnormal is normal.
“Daria, a Shadow isn’t going to call the police if someone shows up they don’t know. They believe they can handle anything. Suggest you find a way around the gate, one of you keep distance from the other. Look in her windows, walk around the grounds. She’s going to react.”
Daria, “We are going now.”
After driving in behind someone else who has access, Daria uses the secret Daphne Shaolin technique, walks up to the front door and ding dongs the button.
Our target’s name doesn’t matter, but it’s Agatha. The door opens, an attractive fortyish woman opens the door. She well dressed for at home mid morning. Black pencil skirt, white blouse, heels even. Fingernails polished a muted scarlet, short dark ash hair.
“Lost? Tell me you aren’t selling something.”
“I’m not selling something. You are last on the list.”
“What list?”
“The list of Shadows we are killing.”
Daria punches her in the nose, sharp, hard. Agatha falls back, doesn’t go down.
There’s blood, she puts her hands next to her nose, the blood stops, “You could have ruined my blouse.”
I feel the energy pouring into Daria, her body temperature is rising fast, “Dasha, she’s trying to fry Daria.”
Dasha rounds the corner, her sister is frozen in place, but the woman is clearly straining, Daria is juiced and fighting back.
Agatha is momentarily stunned, an identical person is standing next to her opponent. Dasha front kicks the woman hard in the gut, her energy focused on Daria, the kick has impact. She folds forward, I sense her qi back off Daria, no doubt to regroup from the kick.
She does, rather quickly, Dasha earns a trip across the room for her trouble, splats up against the wall next to the doorjamb. Bad move lady, that’s just going to irritate the crap out of Daria.
Agatha turns her attention to Daria, but it’s too late, Daria is locked and loaded, pushing the woman back, then to her knees. Try as she might, she’s immobile. Dasha comes over with picture wire and Agatha is bound and down. Wrists wired behind her, ankles wired together. If she fidgets, it’s only cuts and blood.
Dasha, “I feel you trying to get control. We will sit here while you burn yourself out, then we will talk.”
Dasha clicks her phone video and feeds it to the drone.
Five minutes later, Agatha submits, “What do you fucking want?”
Daria feeds her the biography, two dead husbands, lots of money, big house, upscale car, a masseuse to feed her need. All good all the time.
“So what? You researched me. Is it money, you want to rob me?”
Daria, “You have everything you want, or the money to get it. Why throw in with a bunch of Shadows to take over a town. I see the attraction for them, but not you.”
Agatha, “Is that what this is about? They’re a bunch of losers, it amused me.”
Daria, “Definitely losers, they lost everything.”
Agatha’s incredulous, “You two killed them all? Two fucking teen girls?”
Dasha and Daria aren’t teens any longer, but since they don’t age, they look sixteen.
“No, our family killed most.”
Agatha, “Fuck me blind. You’re with the Shaolin bitch, bitches, there are three. And a samurai. The ones who call us Shadows. You cunts are in serious shit.”
Dasha cocks her head, “We are not tied up on the floor.”
“You got the better of me, took two of you and you aren’t Shaolin. Guess those cunts taught you. There is a growing network of us, part of the reason I connected with the others. You’re right, I didn’t care about the stupid plan. It wasn’t going to work, that level of control is too complex, even with a bunch of us.”
Daria, “So you wanted to recruit them to start looking for us.”
“Goddamn right. You assholes have murdered a couple dozen of our assholes. I don’t give a shit about them, I want to get your family dead.”
Dasha squats down next to her, “Thank you for selling us your house last week, even included all the furnishings, and your Bentley. We haf hacked your accounts, forty million. Tomorrow, it will be in our accounts.”
I can hear the wail of agony in my head and on the flat screen.
Chloe, “I sense unhappy.”
“She’s about to be released from her suffering.”
Dasha pokes her with a syringe of Oblivion, Agatha is oblivious in seconds. Cripes that stuff is potent.
“Unwrap her and leave her there.”
“Da, okay,”
“I’ll check out so you can finish up. Don’t hang around, we own the house, we’ll send Cleaners to deal with the body.”

We click off. If Dasha’s hurt from banging the wall, she doesn’t show it, but that’s the twins. A stoic’s stoics.

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