Danica switched off with Nash on the drive, which was mitigated by the fact that "conversion van" actually meant a mini-camper with two cots, a fridge, and a tiny bathroom.
She kept checking on Eleni, part out of worry and part out of guilt. The blunt ex-Juvie inmate didn't have much business around small kids, at least when it came to her level of competence with them. Nevertheless, once she was rested, she planned to reunite her with her parents--in the ritual-summoning sense--so they could explain the mess and reassure her themselves.
She was trying not to smoke with a kid in the van, but the pain really wasn't helping. After ten years of healing up ordinary wounds easy as anything, the blisters and sore skin under her shirt were a surprising distraction.
As for Nash, well, even when it was her turn to rest she found herself keeping half an eye on him whenever the pain kept her awake. When she finally went down for a proper nap, her dreams were less than pleasant.
The drive itself was uneventful. As they neared New York city limits, Danica's cell phone on the shotgun seat shrilled while she was still asleep.
Danica Koldovnik, nee Grey, is a necromancer from my novelverse. Unlike Miriam Neiman, no stories about her have actually been published yet, but I'm working on it! :)
Danica's parents and grandparents were Cold War immigrants who settled in Nevada, where Danica and her twin sister Marina were born. The pair grew up in an unstable family on the dole: alcoholic parents and their senile but loving grandmother. Surrounded by rednecks who gave them endless crap for their origins, Danica grew up fast, bitter and very protective of her tenderhearted sister. Desperate for a means of protecting them all, Danica developed a ruthless streak, and spent a great deal of time in detention for fighting in defense of her sister.
But her real interest was in the arcane mumblings which sometimes slipped out of her grandmother's mouth and caused supernatural havok around them. Danica's maternal line had a legacy of necromancy, which in fact had been used by her great-grandfather to help the family escape across the border. So she grew up watching Grandmother reanimate the odd cat-killed bird (and occasional Thanksgiving turkey), keeping a notebook of every strange word that fell from the old woman's lips. Command of magic, she believed, was the only resource unique and powerful enough to put her above both her situation and the town bullies.
When her sister's cat was horribly killed by neighborhood boys, Danica finally had a chance to use what she had learned: in a rage, she reanimated the creature and sent it to give the perpetrators a good scare. Instead, it turned into a raging monster that murdered one boy before she could do anything. She had to face it down to save the others, which she did, finally destroying the cat before anyone else could die. Scarred from the experience, she was bitterly unsurprised when she was blamed for the murder and sent to juvenile hall.
Disowned by her family but comforted by regular, surreptitious letters from her sister, Danica deliberately developed a reputation as a hardcase in the lock-up in order to protect herself. But her sister and a few friends made along the way helped her maintain some amount of compassion for others, and she discovered that her power could be used to protect others as well as for revenge.
She was dumped out of the system at eighteen, becoming a streetie, wandered for a few years and finally drifted to Seattle. Slowly she learned to support herself by developing a clientele that didn't give a damn about her criminal past--the dearly departed, and sometimes their mourning relatives. Working for a bunch of ghosts suited Danica; she didn't have to spend a lot of time "playing normal", and she could use her powers for people who would be properly grateful instead of condemnatory or terrified. She worked her way up to a small houseboat, a feat she was incredibly proud of after living in squats and shelters for six years.
Unfortunately, Danica's sister Marina had caught the eye of a local serial killer, and in spite of all of her power Danica could not save her. Her quest for revenge led her into a very dark place, where she had to face her own personal demons, the overdeveloped interest of the local police department, and the horribly reanimated corpse of her sister. She resolved the issue, but was forced to give up her life in Seattle.
She now lives out of a converted van in the New Orleans area, where she is attempting to help the local dead as much as possible.