Cruel and Unusual Magic
An Occult Thriller by Eden Crowne
A Soul Eater, a Vampire, and a Reaper walk into a bar…except the bar is owned by a Japanese Yakuza demon and what follows is no joke.
Become a better person or a better sorcerer? Julian Lake can’t be both.
Soul Eater, monster, murderer and still only eighteen, Julian comes to Japan seeking revenge against the sorcerers who sacrificed his lover to their dark magic. But first, he needs a rare enchanted cord made of braided demon skin. The cord is capable of binding any supernatural creature, even a Soul Eater.
In Tokyo’s red light district where the gangsters are demons hiding in plain sight, Julian comes to the aid of a local crime boss. As thanks, the demon promises to help Julian acquire the cord. Bur first, perhaps the Soul Eater could look into a small problem of an unruly mountain tribe hijacking the gangster’s shipments at the Lake of the Dead…
A Tantalizing Taste of Cruel and Unusual Magic
By Eden Crowne
Copyright 2018 by Eden Crowne. All rights reserved.
I was not sure if I liked Tokyo but for Hex, my mother’s wayward werecat, it was love at first bite.
The twelve-hour flight from London had been uneventful. Mostly because I drugged Hex up to her furry eyeballs with tranquilizers before locking the ugly beast in her shipping crate. The last thing we needed was Hex taking exception to being stowed in the hold, transforming, and ripping through everyone’s luggage. Or worse, clawing her way into the passenger section and turning us into an episode from one of those badly made supernatural TV programs people who are not me watch.
It was a long walk through the brightly lit airport and only a very few foreigners waited with me in the immigration line. We seemed to be the last passengers in. The officials took my picture and my fingerprints. I smiled for my photo, knowing neither the camera nor the computer could reveal my true self – without or within.
Sorcerer, Soul Eater, murderer. Murderer many times over.
A new Soul Eater Cell was setting up in Tokyo and I had come for revenge. It was two years since Caroline’s death at the hands of the Club. My Caroline. Her soul ripped from her in a terrible ceremony of dark magic. Ironic justice that the one person I loved would suffer that fate at the hands of the sorcerers I had pledged myself to since childhood.
I was a master of the Dark Arts, an initiate into the Soul Eaters at the age of twelve, one of the youngest in their long history of murder and magic. How clever I thought myself. How wise and wicked. The Gods, the Greeks liked to say, did not like hubris. ‘Pride goeth before a fall’ and all that. I had fallen hard and deep, taking Caroline with me.
The Council, masters of the Club and my fate – or so they thought — had grown wary of my power and sought to teach me a lesson with her death. I knew exactly what she had gone through in that final, terrible ritual. Who better? I had ripped the souls from our young victims myself many times since I joined the Soul Eaters.
People have an amazing amount of energy, so much their physical bodies can barely contain it. The soul, or whatever you choose to call it, holds and harnesses that power. Magic has its own rules; its own physics and the power of the soul is all too real. Soul Eaters wanted, needed, to harness those stores of energy to power our magical abilities.
Oddly, removing a soul does not kill the victim outright.
Depending on the strength of their spirit, they can last days, weeks, even months – though that is rare. It took all my magic to keep Caroline alive for six months as I tried in desperation to find all the pieces of her broken self.
When the victim becomes too weak, body and mind, to keep their soul tethered to this earth, the sorcerers break the chain binding them and consume the energy utterly. At that moment, the body turns to dust. Caroline had become a swirl of spiritual dust in my arms and taken what little of my humanity remained with her.
What the Council learned from their lesson was that I could be terrible in my vengeance. Now I hunted them and took their souls. Any Soul Eater would do to power up my own alchemy. Their blood was one of the most powerful accelerants for spells I had discovered so far. But I was hunting for a special few, those who had taken the three parts of my Caroline’s soul. Two had fallen to my blade. The last one still eluded me.
Good thing there was no human database for supernatural felons. I’d have been in handcuffs in a heartbeat. Little good that would do them.
Still smiling, I took the escalator from Immigration to the Customs level to pick up Hex and my luggage.
The werecat and I had been traveling companions many times. I stole her from my mother when I was sixteen, the last time I’d been back to our family estate outside London. Hex didn’t seem to mind the change in ownership. She probably didn’t like my mother any more than I did.
Meet Edin Crowne
Eden Crowne is an American author of occult and paranormal thrillers. In her other life she is a journalist based in Tokyo, Japan. She writes on business, technology, pop culture, and travel. Eden travels frequently between Japan, the U.S., and Europe. The British Museum, Louvre, Vatican Museum, National Gallery London, the Prado, and museums, shrines, and temples throughout Japan have all inspired places, characters, monsters, magic, and general mayhem in her books.