Walking with Synn
by L. Shannon
Bryck stared down at Sayvor and knew the Synn demon wasn’t going to make it. Already his mind chased the shadows, searching for the lost connection to his twin.
Damn the soul madness.
Why did it have to be like this? Always the Anom’tan walked on the dangerous edge that all too often led to insanity and death. Only the bonds of a mate or twin held back the nightmare. Yet every one of them had volunteered for the duty, offering to walk under the sun and complete the tascs the night-working Tascryn would otherwise miss.
Each had ritualistically reclaimed their souls to allow them to walk under the sun without being burned alive. The blessing was also a great burden. The very act of tascing a mortal soul put the demon’s soul in jeopardy. The balance wore heavily on each one of them, but it was bearable as long as they had an anchor.
With the twins separated, they were both without anchors and within days could be overcome by the madness. Tascing mortal souls was out of the question, yet Sayvor would still need to find strength through sex.
Not that it would matter if they couldn’t find Flayvor. Bryck shook his head. The twins were his responsibility. It was his duty to protect them, and he’d failed.
Sayvor’s eyes blinked open. His blurry gaze met Bryck’s and cleared quickly with a frantic rush.
“I need to know more about the attack, so I can track the ones who took your brother.” Bryck knelt beside Sayvor, pressing his body close to help the Synn focus. He’d led them long enough to know how important touch was to the Synn. “Can you remember anything? A face. Maybe a name?”
Sayvor’s expression crumbled. He moaned, “No, I don’t remember.” The Synn’s voice barely rose above a whisper.
“Do you remember where the attack happened?” Sayvor shook his head mutely. Bryck hated to push but he needed to know the truth. “Do you remember where you’d come from or where you were going?”
Sayvor shook his head again. Then all at once, he was sobbing into his hands.
It was just as Mayce said. Sayvor had blocked out the entire attack. Even what he’d known before was gone.
Bryck stepped back to the doorway of their strange new home. He had an idea. It probably wouldn’t work, but maybe when Sayvor was back to full strength the Synn could be helped to remember.
“Doctor Washington, are you ready to see him?” He spoke quietly to the woman sitting on one of their mismatched sofas. Her navy pants suit was proper and professional, yet it clung nicely to her body and showed off her pleasing, trim lines.
Sasha Washington stood, using all her self control to not reach up and fuss with her black hair. It was a nervous gesture, but she couldn’t help her reaction to these people. They were entirely too beautiful to be human. They set off her radar like a nuclear waste dump.
She just didn’t know what they were.
“Yes, I’m ready.” She paused next to the huge man. “You never said what exactly is wrong with your friend.” Nor had the man said how they were connected or why she was the one to whom he’d come for help.
Mr. Bryck shook his head and waved her into the room.
She entered what must have once been the former warehouse’s office space but was now a combination bedroom and hospital ward. At first she didn’t see her patient. The bed was rumpled and the room was sparse, at best. Someone had hung a poster of a sunrise on one wall.
Then she saw the window with its heavy iron bars and steel mesh, and she went still. Good Lord, was the man dangerous? What had she agreed to?
She stepped backward until her hip met the thick door. Fear crawled up her spine. Mr. Bryck had closed her in the room!
Her hand rose to bang on the door, but froze at the quiet whimper coming from the bed.
She had to at least speak with the man. Surely she wasn’t so cowardly that she would run before she even met him. It wasn’t as if Mr. Bryck could contact anyone else for help. She was the only practicing clinical Paranormal Psychologist in the whole region. She already knew these people were not human. She had to help them if she could.
“Hello.” She edged closer to the bed. “Mr. Bryck didn’t tell me your name.” The bed covers shifted and a quiet moan immerged from beneath them. She made it to the side of the bed and looked down anxiously, searching for the man she was supposed to help. “My name is Doctor Sasha Washington. Your friend thinks I may be able to help you.”
The man was completely covered. She couldn’t even see his face. But by the sound of his panting breath, she could guess at his position.
With one hand, she carefully drew back the blankets to reveal thick, tangled, brown hair. When he didn’t object to being uncovered, she pulled the blanket back further.
His face...he was so pale. The man’s white skin glistened. It was almost bluish, with pale smudges of tan. He looked fragile and ill, but behind that terrifying exterior was a stark beauty so breathtaking she thought for a moment he must be an angel.
Then his shadowy eyes opened, and she saw the madness lurking in their dark brown depths, ready to claim him. He bit down on his lip and pinched his eyelids closed.
She couldn’t help but stroke her hand down his smooth cheek. What could she do for this man? Most of her work was to analyze nonhumans just as regular shrinks worked with people. She didn’t work with physical injuries or illnesses.
The door opened.
“His body is not badly hurt.” A petite, young girl crossed to the bed, crawled up beside the ill man, and wrapped her arms around him. “He fails with fear and grief.” Her high pitched voice matched a body that looked to be no more than ten years old, but her words and the expression in her eyes were so much older.
“I don’t know if I can help him.”
“You can.” The girl nodded. “We just don’t know how much.”
As much as she was intrigued by the girl and curious about her origins, Sasha forced herself to focus on the man who was now her patient. “How was he hurt? What happened to him?”
“Sayvor and his brother were attacked. The betrayers took his twin. Sayvor is now without an anchor, which keeps him from tascing. Without the act of tascing, he weakens. Now he isn’t strong enough to fight his own grief.”
“What is tascing?”
“It is what we do. We tasc mortal souls, helping them find the path back to the Creator.”
What we do. So the little girl was a demon. But what kind of demon looked like a child? She frowned. “And you’re saying that if he did this work, he would become stronger?”
“Sayvor is a Synn demon. He grows strong through sexual pleasure. He tascs souls with seduction.” The girl appeared too young to be talking about such things, but she continued, “He doesn’t know how to love without a tasc. But that is what he needs if he is to survive long enough for Bryck to save his twin and return his anchor.”
“I think I understand. Why is the anchor important besides the fact that this other demon is his brother?”
“Without an anchor, Sayvor will tasc his own soul. His twin, Flayvor, is who holds his soul and keeps him from being lost.”
“How do you know so much?”
“I am the same as all the Anom’tan. My mate, Dyce, is my anchor, and I am his. As long as we have each other, we can dance through dreams and guide mortals without risk. Without an anchor, we become lost in those dreams and are put at risk by our own Tascryn skills.”
“I take it that you are nowhere near as young as you look? I don’t know your name but you must realize that you look like a human child.”
The little demon sighed. “I am so sorry I skipped the introduction. We’re all worried about Sayvor.” She held out a petite hand to Sasha. “I am called Wyk. I am a Tascryn Dream demon, an Akyrn, and have been tascing mortal souls for over five thousand years.” After a short handshake, Wyk released her hand and returned to Sayvor.
Sasha considered all she’d learned while the little demon hugged and caressed the patient. She’d heard of Tascryn demons before, but had never met one until now. How could she help this one? “I want to help, but I don’t even know where to start.”
“You must have sex with him,” the little girl said.
Watch for Walking with Synn with Cobblestone Press, available July 20, 2007!