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"Are you afraid of that vintage prom queen? Or me?"

"Why should I mix it up with you in ned to show up in person in my reality, a pack of fiendish hyenas on your heels drove round"

"‘Clutches,’" she mocked "Kinda melodramatic for a former reporter Face it, vampires and the Strip are ations Come on, Dee Co trip"

"I don’t do drugs"

"Yeah, another black mark on your record The trip I have in mind doesn’t require artificial enhancement, unfortunately How’d you like to meet Mama?"

For a moment, words wouldn’t cos these days"

"Youadmit you’re my sister?"

"Ooh, you should see your face, Dee-li-lah As if you’d tasted a htier" Lilith’s puckered lips produced that calculated wicked expression I kneell

"Don’t go there, Lil," I jibed back "I know you’re mad, bad, and probably deeply sad"

"Oh, psych me out! I’m just sayin’ we take a stroll on the Darkside of thethose nasty biting-back fey paths"

"You can’t go there?"

"I’o anywhere without you Don’t you know that by now?"

"Butyou claim to have led a separate life from mine, even back in Wichita"

"Yeah, I’ht, but I’m always on your invisible leash"

Lilithpossibility I resisted her distracting taunts, working it out

"I’ve only seen you in the as"

"To find ht? You had to want to do that to see me, and now you do"

I went silent Lilith’s existence depended on !

"Come on, Dee, don’t wait until I need to pee and vanish into a powder rooood"

"Why do you know about her and I don’t?"

"Because you didn’t want to until now"

"And you think I care now?"

"Care? No I don’t either Why should we care? She du of h school

"Well, I’ to be seen like that outside your ernails tooff my reflection as shejeans and the sa’sin your look," I said slowly

"Oh, how suspicious you sound You look a little naked too Where’s your Snoered silver familiar?"

"Snow has no effect on the familiar I have that fros froency And you?"

Lilith laughed, then flourished a scrawny gyraduate ar it like a fey thorn forest, iesthe tattooist’s traditional barbed-wire hearts and banners, quickly followed by Egyptian hieroglyphics, Morse code, Dolly’s license nuns of the Zodiac and the planets, Ric’s phone numberand my locker co circled around and around her ar billboard

"Think Moreetroad h"

By now Lilith’s ly 3-D eel on her ar bicep, it was a viper s She flexed her muscle to make the fully ar into any crude pissing contest, but it earter under my dress that I could feel, but not flaunt, to a heavy char a slew ofiron with lock, binoculars, wishing ith bucket, h-heeled platform sandal, and wolf’s head Someday I’d solve the clues in that assorter to round that wasn’t part of my everyday life "I’reet monsters in the mirror-walk Me, on the other hand" I held outoutfit of ladylike vintage frock, high heels, and charuise

"You’ll confuse the hell out of the Moirl She always liked you best"

"How do you figure that?"

"You at least got a last name"

"Street? That was for where I was found I was a foundling, Lilith An abandoned infant Where did you coled above over-ly blue in contrast to the shtirl and show me the way? I want to knohy I’m stuck with you as much as vice versa Grab your cell phone and join the party You do have pockets in that loser antique frock, don’t you?"

I did indeed, but I had no reason to trust Lilith or even to wish her well She was not a sister in any interpretation of the word and ould I care about the woman who deserted me? Maybe because I did alant to knohat, when, where, and why, the reporter’s bywords

I ran back to the bedroom and slipped my PhD-level phone into my dial-phone-era dress pocket