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Originally appeared in the print anthology Holidays Are Hell.
New York Times bestselling author Vicki Pettersson brings a former superhero--an elite Zodiac warrior--back to the mortal world for a Thanksgiving reunion with her equally hated and beloved enemy, to do battle for the lives of her imperiled children.
misleading him again and he’d skin and flay and bury her with her bones outside her body, heart still beating atop a living pile of flesh. He knew how. She’d seen him do it before. So while weaving her cornucopia, Zoe had focused her thoughts on the way he’d once allowed himself to be vulnerable with her, turning those tender moments into a new story for herself and a new past for them both. She wove and thought, and invented and wove, until she had the minutest detail engraved upon her gray
as having powers, being able to detect intent. Plus I was furious with him for his crazed rebuff. I swear it was only meant to be a slap … but it was enough to kill him … and to reveal that I’d once been Light. I knew once you found my psychic imprint on the kill spot you’d be so enraged you’d never hear me through. So I fled.” Zoe stared at her hands like she couldn’t believe she’d done it, and the others studied her—and the Tulpa—from behind their safe, shining lenses. The Tulpa continued
family safe, she thought on a sigh, and had secured her lineage for the next two generations. Joanna possessed everything she needed to heal and eventually she’d be better and stronger for it. And now her granddaughter was hidden deep, if in plain sight, and the Shadows would never know of her existence. Yes, thought Zoe as she exited the hospital into a cool November night, it was all worth it. Caught up in her thoughts, Zoe hardly noticed the black town car glide up to the curb, or the driver
her to be. She felt a sniffling along her arm, a wet nose, then the tentative lick of a very large tongue. The Shadow wardens were dogs, paranormal pets that could scent out enemy agents and rip them apart in seconds. They were the only things, other than conduits, that could actually kill an agent. Well, thought Zoe, looking up again, conduits, wardens … and the Tulpa. “Clearly. But, and this is just a wild guess, I take it you have some other questions for me?” “I have one.” Then his voice
know it’s true. I couldn’t cross into another reality right now if it unfurled in front of me like the yellow brick road.” Gregor’s mouth fell open. “No … my God …” The disbelief in his voice had her dropping her head. Only another agent could understand exactly what she’d lost. Phaedre was just as shocked. “Zoe, what happened? Did the Shadows find you? Steal your chi? Make you relinquish it in return for your life?” Because all those things had happened before to other agents, though not in