Grim slowly opened his eyes, squinting at the yellow overtones of the world around him. "Well, Toto, we're not in Kansas any more."
He rolled over so that he was face-down in the "dirt", which was more akin to yellow-colored dust. "Maybe I am in Kansas..."
Something grabbed him by his neck and effortlessly lifted him out of the dirt. Grim cried out - almost screamed like a little girl. "Wheal, Wheal, who's this lost li'l lamb?" The voice was deeply southern. Grim couldn't smell him, and struggled to put his arm behind him to grab a hold of him. He'd steal his essence, he would, and get enough strength--
The man - he assumed it was a man because of the voice - throttled Grim. Since that wasn't going to work, he started a spell in ASL. "You tryin' t' weave magic, boy?" He was throttled again, but Grim held onto the spell until that was over, and then tried to continue. The man dropped him - the spell fizzled, and then Grim pulled out a fireball for this occasion.
He turned over, now on his back on the ground, and looked up at the creature. It was a minotaur...with breasts and no armor. Grim started to throw, but when he completed it, nothing was in his hand. The minotaur raised a hoof high, and brought it down on Grim's shin. Grim heard the break, and then heard himself scream.
The pain filled his vision. He tried to remember the anti-pain spell, the one that would soothe him, and then heal him, but he couldn't concentrate. He didn't hear a gentle woman's voice speaking to him, nor did he feel her touch him, nor did he sense anything but the pain in his shattered leg. Darkness claimed him for a moment as he passed out.
* * * * * * *
He came to. The pain was still there, but it was a throb. He opened his eyes again to find himself in a bed with curtains all around it. He was naked under the covers. He looked around, trying to see through the curtains. He breathed in deeply to try and scent something, but he couldn't. And still, the world had that yellowish sepia tinge to it.
The curtains parted, and a pretty woman peered in. "Good. You're awake." She turned and sat down.
Grim sat up and looked at the woman. If he wasn't straight, he would be, just for her. She looked like Kate Winslet, with a smaller nose. She had long luxurious blond locks, like Ben's, but hers were wild and free. When she smiled, he smiled with her. "Hi, there."
"I'm called Grim--"
"Names have power," she admonished, and put a hand on his thigh through the blanket.
"Where am I?"
"Don't you know this place?"
"I'm sorry, I don't."
"Oh, probably because you've never seen it with the curtains closed." She got up, and went back through the cutains. She parted them.
His eyes widened. He was in the bedroom of one of the first lovers he'd had in the Circle, an actual thorn mage. The room looked like half medieval torture chamber, half men's smoking room with a bed in the middle of it.
Weapons adorned the walls. Candles burned. Incense flowed through the place, but there was no scent. It looked as it had the last time he'd seen Bobby, even up to--
He looked to the side of him. A body lay there, headless, its blood all over the pristine white pillow and sheets. Grim screamed, and jumped out of the bed. The blood seeped through the sheets like a river, heading his way.
When he jumped out of the bed, someone put thier hands on his shoulders. He jumped again, turning to face another man, this time with a bullet in his forehead. He jerked from him, suddenly slipping on something wet. He fell against the bed, and as he looked, all he could see was people, people he knew that he had an instrument in handling - in being paid to kill them.
"I don't do this anymore!" Grim yelled, panicked.
"No," said the woman's voice, suddenly behind him, seated crosslegged on the bed. "You do worse."
"What do you mean?"
"You use their souls."