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She tugged the hem of his T-shirt up. The aroma of cinnamon pulled at his senses. With every touch of her hands, his heart beat more erratically in his chest.

“You’re bleeding. Badly.”

She tore off a strip of her colorful dress, wadded it up, and pressed it to the wound. He hissed as fire screamed through his intestines. He certainly wasn’t enjoying this part of having a physical body. God help the humans who had to put up with pain all of the time. Maybe he’d have a word with Danu when he saw her again. After the other choice words he had on his mental list of grievances.

Death grunted and closed his eyes to better feel her light, feathering touch over his torso. “When does it stop?”

“When your heart stops beating, but I can tell you it’s not a good thing when it does,” she said.

He opened one eye and peered at her. Seeing as his heart chose right now to start beating, that led to another question. How much blood did a physical body contain? All his time in hospitals and it was never something he stayed to see. “I don’t suppose it is.”

She leaned back to assess him. “You don’t seem to be acting like the usual gunshot victim.”

“All of the gunshot victims I’ve ever visited have died.”

She reared back, eyes wide. “That’s horrible. You must have a traumatic job.”

He shrugged. “It is what it is.”

Sophia shook her head, causing her locks to wave back and forth down her back. She glanced out of the window. “We missed the exit to the hospital.” Sophia pointed to the freeway exit as they passed.

“Don’t worry. We will go where the car takes us.” He eyed the decanter and poured himself a drink. Water. He would have preferred whiskey right about now.

“But you need a hospital,” she insisted.

“I don’t think I have much say where we go, to be honest.” He closed his eyes, feeling wearier than ever before in his long life.

She tapped on the divider. “Hey. Liam needs to get to the hospital. He needs a doctor.”

Death took the stained bunch of material from her hand. The wound was starting to feel a little better. At least the blood flow had stopped despite his still-beating heart. All he needed was a little nap and he’d be back to normal. Whatever that was. Recent events had made him question a few things. “I’ll take care of this. You hold the kitten.”

He scooped the small creature from beside him on the seat and handed it to her. It yawed and curled up in a ball as she took it. She gaped at him, holding the kitten like she didn’t know what to do with it.

“I think cats like it when you pat them.”

She shook her head, a faint frown marring her brow. She stared at him for the longest time. “Who are you?”

He sighed. “I wish I could tell you.”

They drew up outside of the bungalow and the door opened. “Looks like we’re here.”

“Where is here?”

“Home, apparently.”

He grunted as he tried to sit up, but the pain in his gut and the tiredness in his body made it hard. Sophia shuffled next to him and together they maneuvered his large frame out of the limo, up the steps, and into the house.

“Oh, it’s beautiful in here.”

From the corner of his eye, he saw a slight smile on her face as she looked around the well-used homey space and furniture. He grunted and walked up the stairs.

The next thing he knew, she ducked under his arm and had taken half his body weight. She hauled him up step by step until finally, thankfully, they reached the landing.

He took his arm from her slight frame, scared he’d be too heavy for her and staggered into the bedroom before falling face down on top of the daisies.


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