Disclaimer from Jaelie: I don’t pretend or aspire to be published author material, but this was fun and’ll be awesome to re-read a few years down the road. Some parts are much smoother to read than others. ;)
Be warned, this is LONG. Like 10,000 words long. :P
Also, please be aware there is some strong language.
She knows it is a dream as soon as she realizes she is flying. She sees that she is high above a man on a motorcycle and seems to be following him. She watches with detached surprise as he grabs a pretty, young Latina and takes her on a long, winding ride.
Her detached surprise turns first to horror, then to rage as Elena watches him do terrible things to the girl, and ultimately murder her. The glimpses she has of his face are fuzzy, but what she does catch is burned in her mind – he is Hispanic, has a mustache, and seems in his mid-thirties. Her dream cuts from the grisly murder to the monster rolling a metal barrel into a pond. Instinctively, Elena knows the remains of the poor girl are in that barrel. She has a clear view of the patch on his biker jacket as he walks away, but nothing specific about the bike. Suddenly, her gaze swings back to the pond and into the pond, where she can see many barrels, each painfully similar to the first….
She awakes with a start, so filled with rage that she doesn’t immediately realize that her feet are wet. That she is standing, in her pajamas, barefoot, on the muddy bank of a small pond. It takes her several minutes to fully adjust to the reality of her new surroundings. The dream hadn’t been a dream. It hadn’t merely been her subconscious re-imagining what had happened to her little sister. It had been a vision of something that actually happened, and somehow, here she is.
Where ‘here’ is, she isn’t yet sure, but she knows that she is not going to forget this place.The morning chill is starting to set in, and it helps her focus. She looks around, this time looking for clues. Maybe the monster’s boot tracks or his vehicle tracks… cigarette butts, anything. After a moment of searching, Elena acknowledges that she really is in the middle of nowhere. She sees an ancient oil derrick a short distance off, the pond and its awful contents to her east, and the dirt ruts of a seldom used ‘road.’ She walks carefully to the path, very conscious of her bare feet and the rough, dry grass. When she gets to the vehicle path, she looks around again for any clues. After a short search, Elena finds the tracks for what could be a truck or SUV.
She studies the tracks for a long moment, and then decisively heads west, away from the pond and all those barrels with a mental promise of justice. Before long, she arrives at an actual gravel road, one that looks like a county back road, running north-south. She pauses, looking first north, then south, not sure which way to choose. The very, very faint sound of tires buzzing across concrete makes her decision for her and she heads north.
She walks for a long, long time, sunrise past and well into the morning when she finally reaches a highway. She sees a sign in the distance and trots over to it, which says “I30” and “Canton, Next Exit.” With a sigh, Elena begins jogging towards Canton. Yes, in bare feet and pajamas, along an international freeway.
She runs down the off-ramp and at the intersection she sees a gas station, a Dairy Queen, and a Whataburger. The gas station is first, so she jogs up to that, looking for a pay phone. When she doesn’t see one, she sighs resignedly, not looking forward to talking to anyone. She pushes the door open and looks at the clerk, an over-weight, middle-aged white woman, who looks up at Elena.
Social subtleties have never been Elena’s strong point. “Hey, can I borrow your phone and make a call to Dallas?”
“What you…. Darlin’, where are your shoes?” The woman’s voice isn’t quite accusatory, but she is definitely curious.
“Uh,” Elena has been so busy stewing over the dead girls and her horrible dream that she hasn’t given any thought to a cover story. “I left them with my car…. I was wearing flip-flops and they broke.”
The woman is suddenly sympathetic. “Aw, you poor thang! Awright.” she digs around for a second and pulls out an old, beat-up cell. She looks at Elena. “I hope it ain’t long distance?”
Elena manages not to sigh, and says apologetically as possible, “I need to call Dallas.”
“Awright,” the woman says reluctantly, and passes over the phone. “Make it quick.”
“Oh, it’ll be real quick,” Elena replies, taking the phone in relief, and after thinking a moment, dials Conor’s number.
It rings for a bit, then Conor’s voice answers groggily. “Ah, hey, lass. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?” The man speaks with a thick Irish brogue.
Conscious of the curious clerk, Elena speaks quickly. “Uh, yeah. I have a favor to ask.”
Conor’s voice perks up immediately. “Oh, a favor! Is it of a sexual nature?”
“Uh,” Elena is stumped for a brief flash, and then with an amused shake of her head, she continues, “Ah, no, actually, I need a ride.”
Elena knows Conor has no car, so she’s not surprised to hear his own astonishment. His thick brogue comes through the receiver. “Wait. What?”
“I need a ride.”
“I don’t have a car!”
Elena is ready for this argument, and replies quietly, “Look, you can go to my place and get my car.”
“Wait.” Clearly Conor is still processing. “Where are you?”
“I am in Canton. Let me give you the address.” Elena looks over at the clerk, who is unashamedly trying to listen in. The clerk smiles and gives Elena the address, who starts to repeat it back to Conor.
“So, ok.” Conor is confused. “Isn’t that where they have the football hall of fame?”
Now Elena is confused. “I… don’t know?”
“What ya doing in Ohio, anyway?!”
“No, no. Canton, Texas.”
“Where in the great name of God is that?” he asked, truly out of his element.
“It’s down I30, east of Dallas,” Elena replied.
Long pause. “Right.”
“Look, I gotta make this quick, cuz I’m using someone else’s phone.”
“Right, I’ve got a paper.”
Elena gives him the rest of the address while moving a bit away from the clerk toward the back of the store, and then says quietly, “Listen, the housekeeper’s name is Estella. Tell her I said it was okay for her to let you in. Then you can get my keys and my car.” Elena gives Conor the address to her current place.
“Gimme a minute to write it all down,” Conor mumbles. Elena listens to his pen scratching on paper. “Got it.”
Elena adds, “Estella is a good lady. She’ll help you.”
They end the call and Elena steps back over to the clerk. “Thanks for the use of your phone,” she says as she hands it back.
“You all settled, darlin’?”
Elena can tell the woman wants to ask more questions, and not wanting to answer them, Elena nods, waves and steps outside for the long wait for Conor.
Ten minutes later, Elena sees Conor strolling through the underpass, looking cheerfully nonchalant. Elena stares at him in confusion as he approaches. On foot.
“…. Uh, okay, cool….” She is totally nonplussed for a moment.
“So, you ready to go back then?” Conor asks, hiding his amusement.
Elena tries to cover her bewilderment. “Uh, yeah,” she replies quickly.
Conor looks at her quizzically for a moment, taking in the blue pajama bottoms and white tank top, bedraggled hair that he has never seen down before, and the bare, dirty feet. He doesn’t comment, and she doesn’t offer, saving explanations for a more private moment.
Together they walk behind the gas station, near the huge dumpster. There, Conor does something weird and opens a hole in the air and leads Elena through. “Just stay close and quiet,” Conor mumbles, and Elena does, looking around in amazement. As they wander around, she is supremely conscious of being unarmed and unarmored. Before too long, though, they ‘push through’ some kind of odd membrane-feeling thing and suddenly Elena sees that they’re standing behind an old strip mall just off Business 121, not more than two miles from her place.
Elena knows exactly where she is, as she always thoroughly cases the lay of the land within five miles of her current residence. “Okay, I know where we are. My place is this way,” she says, pointing.
Conor smiles, “Right! Lead the way!”
They chat as they walk, and finally Conor says, “Ah, so, uh… do ya mind me asking you a question? What in the hell were ya doing in Canton, Texas at nine in the morning? Without your clothes, or shoes, or car?”
Elena shrugs and looks a little confused. “I have no idea how it happened, because it has never happened to me before.”
“Oh, so you were out drinking a bit much the previous evening?” asked Conor knowingly, tipping an imaginary cup to his lips, eyebrows raised in amusement.
Elena replies, “No, I had a dream, and when I woke up, that’s where I was.”
“Right, when we tell this story again, you were drinking. Alright? Sounds better. Sounds less crazy.”
“Um, well, this is something that I wouldn’t tell anyone that wasn’t ‘in the know,’” Elena says quietly, “but I had a dream and I think that dream was true. And I think that my patrons sent me there.”
Conor looks surprised, then says, “Oh, so it’s like a… a… what do you call it?” He pauses a second. “A vision quest, then!”
“I would think… yes.” Elena is thoughtful.
Elena, blunt as ever, says “I have a homicidal maniac to murder.”
Caught totally off guard, Conor says, “What?? Oh, it’s a homicidal…” He pauses, and then asks, “Would you like some assistance?”
“I would love some assistance. In fact, I think this is right up your alley.” Elena replies. “He’s been raping and murdering girls and putting their bodies in barrels and dumping them in a pond!”
As soon as Conor digests those words, all of Conor’s visible skin flashes with bright silver-blue runes and the whites of his eyes change briefly to a terrifyingly deep black. His eyes are back to their clear blue when he speaks again. His tone is totally flat. “Really?”
“Yes.” Elena’s tone is flat, too.
“Yes. I’d be happy to help,” he says with studied calm.
“Good. I think I may need some help on this one,” Elena says briskly. “First I need to find out what biker gang he’s with. I know what his patch looks like, so when we get to my place, I’m going to do a search on the internet and see what I can find.”
They walk in silence, and then Conor asks, “Right, well, have you had breakfast?”
Conor smiles, back to his usual cheerful self. “I’m no good on the internet thing, but I can cook breakfast.”
They chat on the way home, Elena a bit absent-mindedly. Once at Elena’s place, Conor makes breakfast from the sparse things she has at home, while Elena searches online on Aztec or Mayan themed biker gangs. She turns up a gang based out of Dallas called “The Mayans.” She finds their website, which is very short on specifics. It talks about how cool they are, how awesome their rides are, what events they attend. They do, however, have a gallery, and the monster is in it. Elena prints a picture of both the gang emblem and the murderer. There’s no name, but he’s there. The Mayans are a 1%er gang, hardened, violent criminals. She finds an article in The Observer that says that as far as biker gangs go, this gang is one of the scariest groups. Other gangs leave them alone. The article ends with almost a warning. Don’t mess with the Mayans.
Elena barely notices as Conor sets the crepes and eggs next to her on the table, but does manage a quick ‘thank you.’ When she sees him trying to get comfortable on the awful couch, though, she says, “Hey, go crash on the bed.”
Conor mumbles, “Sounds good.”
Elena watches him stagger from the room, and wonders idly if he’s awake enough to notice the pistol under the pillow. After a moment of listening to him stir around, the steady breathing indicates his sleep. She returns to her web searches, where she finds some discussion boards for motorcycle “clubs” and discovers some random facts about the Dallas motorcycle community:
There’s a lot of chatter about a big motorcycle rally in McKinney on Saturday. She follows up on that and researches the rally site thoroughly, as well.
She notes several posts about female members of the community, hangers on called “old ladies,” who have disappeared in the DFW area in the last couple of weeks.
She also can’t miss the huge post about another motorcycle club called the Steel Knights. Their president, called JT, has cancer. There are a lot of people well-wishing him, even from other clubs. That topic has such a huge presence on the discussion boards that she has to filter through it.
Elena eats her cold breakfast absentmindedly as she searches the internet, noting the temperature, but not really caring. She can’t complain. She didn’t cook it and it’s food.
She finds a little bit more info on the Mayans. They are purely Hispanic. Like many clubs, they’re not just limited to DFW. The Mayans have charter clubs all over the US. She finds one reference of them in Pleasant Grove, but no hang out is specifically listed, unsurprisingly.
The research takes hours, and after she feels like she’s found all the useful information available, she wakes up Conor. She relays all the information to him.
Elena says thoughtfully, “There’s going to be this motorcycle shindig on Saturday.”
“Okay, so that’s two days from now.”
Elena sits quietly for a few seconds, and then says, “I’d rather not kill him in public, because I don’t want to hurt anyone besides him. If I shoot him there in public while he’s wandering around a fair, there’s too many innocent people that might get hurt.” She thinks, and then goes on, “But if he goes to the rally, we can follow him when he leaves.”
She continues, “In the meantime, maybe head to Pleasant Grove and find out where the Mexicans hang out?”
Elena looks at Conor significantly, noting his pasty white skin and blue eyes. Well. At least he has black hair. She says, “I’m a Mexican.” She looks at her bare arms, still a rich tan from the not distant summer. “Well, I’m a Tejana, but to most people they’re the same.”
Conor does a glamour, and whoosh, he suddenly has brown skin, brown eyes and is dressed like a blue collar working Latino. They discuss strategies, and Conor decides to remain silent unless there’s trouble (Elena’s no good at talking to people).
“Ok, so I’m going to get dressed, and we can go today.”
Conor grins suggestively. “Need any help?”
Elena is surprised, and oblivious. “Uh, no. I’m a grown woman. I think I can manage.”
“I know you’re grown…” Conor wiggles his eyebrows.
Elena almost sticks her tongue out at him, but resists. “Uh, no thanks.” She rises from the desk and heads to her room, shutting the door with a decisive click.
‘I know you’re grown’ she thinks, imagining his voice with it’s think Irish brogue. Does he ever quit with the chicas? she wonders with a wry grin as she pulls off her tank top and pajama bottoms. Before she gets her shirt and pants on, she straps on her ankle holster and pistol. The next item is her new and much beloved Flashbang holster and compact Kimber 9mm, which she clips to her bra between her breasts, and adjusts the gun and holster until she’s comfortable. Then she pulls on a dark t-shirt and jeans and straps on her shoulder holster and silenced .45, another Kimber. With a confident smile, she throws on her jacket and checks herself in the mirror, making sure none of her weapons are visible. She heads back out to the living area.
Elena turns the old car into the neighborhood known as Pleasant Grove. It really wasn’t that pleasant anymore, but Elena supposes maybe thirty years or so ago it could have been. She drives around for a bit until they are in the obviously Hispanic neighborhood, with Tejano music blaring from various businesses and the signs were all in Spanish. She finds one business that seems to be fairly busy and parks on the far side of the parking lot. After they get out of the car, Elena hooks her arm with Conor’s.
“Oh! Well, this has been my favorite day so far,” says Conor flirtatiously.
Elena snorts. “Oh, whatever. You have a girlfriend.”
Conor nods. “This is true, this is true. But I’ve been pursuing you for longer.” His blue gaze laughs at her.
Elena shrugs and repeats emphatically, “You have a girlfriend.” She grins slightly, amused, and says, “You always have a girlfriend.”
“This is also true.” Conor’s voice is falsely somber, and his eyes are dancing.
They stroll around for a while, appearing nonchalant. After twenty minutes or so, they see a motorcycle pass them down the street. The rider has the Mayan patch on his back. Elena notes where he is going and they stroll that direction. He goes two blocks then takes a right. They take a right where he did, but don’t see him anymore. They walk and listen. The street changes from shops to residential.
After a bit longer, a moving truck passes them with two guys up front wearing heavy black leather jackets. The truck goes up the street and makes a left, so they head up there and go left, too. They see the truck move to the right curb a few blocks down. It sits there for a moment, and then turns right. When Elena and Conor get up there, they see a gate with two young Hispanic guys standing about. It’s like a farm or ranch gate that the two guys manually open and close for their people. Surprisingly, the two guys barely even note Conor and Elena.
Elena glances at the fence and gate as she and Conor stroll past. She sees a dirt road and a few houses back there in what once had been a nice gated community. They decide to leave and come back under cover of darkness.
On the way out, Conor calls his girlfriend to let her know he’s going to be busy. When the call ends, Elena asks idly, “Is she the jealous type, your Muse?”
Conor grimaces. “She’s a Greek Muse and an actress.”
“So, yeah. The crazy jealous type,” Elena laughs.
Elena decides to discuss tactics. “So, I know you don’t have a car, but can you drive?”
Conor shrugs. “I can drive a single masted Galway hooker -”
Elena interrupts, “A what??”
“A single masted Galway ship,” Conor rolls his eyes and continues, “and a cart pulled by a horse, but never a car.”
“Ah, ok.” Elena thinks a moment and then starts thinking out loud. “So my plan is to go in and check it out, and to kill him if I get a chance. And if I happen to take out any of the bikers with him, I’m not gonna sweat it. After we deal with him, I’m going to notify the police where the bodies are.”
Elena pauses again, and then says, “You said there’s a way to tell if people are marked by power?”
“So, how do you tell?”
“Well, you have to know what you’re looking for,” Conor explains. “And after you’ve been around our kind for a while, you kind of just see it on them, really, if you try. I’m sure you’ve seen my true seeming slip out once or twice.” He studies her. “I see yours, you know. Your Indian looking fella.”
“I wonder if I’m up against anything abnormal,” Elena muses. “I guess I’ll figure it out after we roll. I need to figure out how to see that stuff.”
She looks at Conor. “Can you run very fast?”
“Okay. I’m just trying to figure out our strengths and where I’ll need you.”
Conor shrugs. “If you want me to pick up a cow for you, I can do that. And I don’t have a glass jaw. It takes a bit to get me down. But other than that, you’ve pretty much seen everything else I can do.”
“You can do the steppy thing through the…” she stumbles over the other word.
“The Never Never?”
“Yeah,” she replies.
“So can you,” Conor says. “You just haven’t figured it out.”
Conor nods. “Even the vampires can do it. They just have to be in a place of spiritual significance to them. I don’t. That’s my specialty.”
“Ah.” Elena thinks about her two patrons, spirits of the Southwestern Native Americans. And here she is, in Dallas. “Well, then I probably won’t be able to step through it anywhere around here.”
“Well, if you had a house, you could do it there,” he replies.
Elena shakes her head. “If you have a house, they can find you.”
“True. Just saying.”
Elena thinks about her own contributions to their group tactics. “Well, you know how I am with a gun. I can also run fast, really darn fast, so if I get in trouble, I can hoof it, and you can do your steppy-through thing. Can you do it quickly?”
Conor nods. “Fairly quickly, yeah.”
Elena ponders some more, then asks, “You’re tough, but you’re not bullet proof?”
“Eh, not that I know of. Never been shot,” he adds.
Elena eyes him. “Have you ever been shot at?” She wonders if the big Irishman might flinch or, worse, panic under fire.
“Yeah,” he replies calmly.
“Ok, so you’re not like to freeze?”
“No, not like to, no,” his grin is a little like that of an open plains predator. “I tend to take a dim view of people trying to kill me. Tends to make me mad.”
Elena suddenly looks extremely curious. “Are you going to get all glowy?”
“Only if I let my powers out.” He pauses thoughtfully, then continues, “That’s why I stopped with the amateur boxing. It was difficult for me to not get mad in the ring. Difficult to conceal what I am. So, I stopped.” His eyes stare in the distance, remembering. “It’s not that I wasn’t any good -”
Elena interrupts him, “I saw how good you are. I believe it.” She remembers his invaluable help on that stage with Prospero’s monster.
“I probably could have booked a ticket at the Mandalay Casino, but it wasn’t meant to be….”
When it’s dark, they head back and Elena parks in a different place. They walk to the compound, under a veil that Conor puts up. Elena is armed and carrying plenty of ammo. For this excursion, she is carrying three pistols – two in shoulder holsters and the ankle gun. She forgoes the Flashbang in favor of a ballistic vest, since she’s on an actual op. She leaves her rifle back at her place, as they are harder to conceal, and not practical on a scouting mission.
They walk up, the compound is lit. Two guards at the gates. The fence is a crappy old wooden fence, backyard style. Behind the fence is a small expanse of trees. No visible security cameras. These old neighborhoods never maintain their fences very well. There’re always gaps wide enough for the dogs to come and go. They never keep up their neighborhoods. So, they look around and see a gap that Elena can squeeze through, and then she holds it open for Conor. The veil covers sound, too.
They find themselves in some trees and see cigarette wrappers, and some beer and soda cans scattered about. They walk towards the houses. They come to the edge of the trees and see six smaller, older houses that are pretty run down. They’re grouped together. Lights are on in some of them, some have Tejano music coming out of them. There are a couple guys outside smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on one of the patios, but none of them are the one Elena is looking for.
They have different patches. One looks younger. The younger guy turns around, and on the back of his jacket it says “Prospect” in Spanish. It doesn’t even say “Mayan.”
Elena and Conor decide to go and peek in windows to see if they can find their guy.
In the first house, they see a large Hispanic family sitting down to dinner. One guy is in there, his jacket is on the chair, and he’s clearly the man of the house. He’s not the guy.
Elena notes that he has daughters. She thinks that maybe, if she has to end up snatching him and questioning him, that she can use the fact that he has daughters as guilt-leverage if need be (along the lines of what if these girls were one of YOURS that he was raping and murdering??). If she grabs anyone, she wants a family man, since he might have a conscience. At the very least, a family man might have a stronger motive to survive an encounter with a pistol under his chin.
The next building is the largest, nicest house. They peek in the window. There’s an older Hispanic guy in a chair. He has a wife and a couple of kids. While they’re looking through the window, he suddenly looks over at the window. They duck and back up into the tree line.
Thirty seconds later, the guy comes around the corner of the house with a shotgun. He pauses and looks around. Elena and Conor freeze.
“Hey, you!” he calls out, and points in their direction. He starts walking towards them.
Conor quietly slips into the Never Never. Elena quietly slips deeper into the trees.
He comes up to the bushes and looks around, unsure. Then he goes back into his house. A few minutes later, five guys come out of one of the other houses, all armed with shotguns or handguns. The murderer is one of them. The leader comes back out. He has put his jacket back on. He has more patches than anyone else, and Elena surmises that he must be the boss dude.
In Spanish, he tells the men to search the area. The guys split up a little, and Elena silently creeps towards the murderer, skillfully evading the other men. The guys are working their way through the woods, searching carefully. The leader goes back in the house.
The monster takes charge. He has a patch that says “Sergeant in Arms” in Spanish. Elena checks him out, trying to determine whether or not he is supernatural. She can’t exactly tell, but there is something off with this guy. He is also holding a shotgun.
He directs the guys, and they call him “jefe.” He never really moves further in to the tree line, so Elena moves right up close to him. She checks out the situation some more, and decides to put a bullet in him. She aims for several seconds, and decides not to aim for center of mass. Instead, she targets his head.
She comes forward with the pistol and squeezes off what she knows is a perfect shot. She notes incredulously that the blood flowers at his upper left shoulder as he drops to the ground?! Elena knows without doubt that the shot had been good. She is at almost point blank range, and never misses at this range.
He grabs his shoulder and starts yelling, and Elena melts into the darkness, confused and displeased. The other bikers start yelling and some of them fire randomly into the dark. Two of the guys run up to him, everyone yelling and gesticulating wildly. The two guys help him stand up and get him into a pickup.
They take off, and (using her super speed and cover of darkness) Elena follows them until they get to the freeway, where she loses them. She heads back to her own car, extremely disgruntled.
Elena thinks about her options. Considers, reluctantly, involving the police, but decides against it. Even if he were convicted and sentenced to death, Elena wants him in the ground, and the death penalty takes too long in Texas.
When Conor shows up at the car, they head out. Elena watches for tails, and sees none.
A little way down the road, Conor muses out loud, “You know, there’s a lot of corpses buried out there, under the tree line. I saw their spirits running around. A black fella from the Grim Bastards, and a whole bunch of ‘prospects’ were lying in the tree line. Their bodies are under the dirt there.”
“Well,” Conor explains, “their spirits are hanging around, and that tells me pretty much that the bodies are still there.”
Elena ponders on that as she drives. “Maybe we could get this branch shut down if we could get the cops probable cause.” She looks over at Conor, then back at the road. “Did you talk to any of them? Can you talk to ghosts?”
“Well, I mean on that side, yeah.”
“Huh,” she says, in a well, how ’bout that? kind of tone. “Well, you could get their names? I don’t know anything about ghosts.”
“Sure,” Conor replies. “Well, I know a little. They’re not really people, ya know. They’re more like a sad echo of what they were.”
Elena grins. “Because if we could get some probable cause and get the cops to dig that place up…”
“What’s ‘probable cause’ mean?”
“The police need a reason to go in. They can’t just go in.”
Conor looks confused a moment as he digests it. Elena guesses that things might be different in Ireland, but she doesn’t know anything about Irish law.
“Oh,” Conor says. “What, so, a neighborhood kid wanders by and sees a skull lying in the leaves and calls the cops? Is that probable cause?”
“It’s enough to get a cop out there to have a look at the perimeter of the property, and if he sees anything, then yeah. Something like that, anyway.”
“And what if the person who called it in just happened to sound like a kid?” Conor gestures to himself with a grin. “We can go back and make sure it’s visible.”
Elena looks a little sheepish. “I kind of kicked the hornets’ nest.”
“Ah, I saw that,” says Conor. “You know, what we really need is the ability to bring the bones up. We need magic, really.”
Elena slides a glance over at Conor and smiles. “Yeah, I think we know somebody.” Then, in uncanny unison, they say, “He costs money, though!”
“I’m broke!” Conor adds.
Elena thinks a moment, and then asks, “Well, can someone who talks to ghosts… maybe bring them out or something?”
Conor shrugs. “Eh, we can ask him. Ask him how much he costs. And if he’s too much, we’ll just try something else. We need magic. Just a few of the bones close enough to the surface to see as you walk by. Right? ‘Cause cops don’t need probable cause if they see it with their own eyes.”
“Right,” says Elena. “So, do we want to do that?”
“Yeah, at least ask.” He adds, “This’ll be tomorrow, right?”
Elena laughs. “Yeah, yeah. You need to see your lady. I’ll call him tomorrow. He’s a family man, and it’s late for people with little kids.”
“Do ya need me anymore this evening?”
Elena shakes her head. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Would ya mind dropping me at the theater?”
“No problem,” she smiles, then adds, “Maybe you ought to pick up some flowers or something for your lady, since she’s probably mad.”
“Oh, okay. That’s a great idea.”
They stop at a grocery store and Conor runs in. He returns shortly, bearing a very colorful bouquet of beautiful summer flowers. Just as they pull up to the theater, Conor gets a text. He reads it and grimaces, then hops out of Elena’s car.
Elena heads back to her place. She sets her alarm and trip wires. Then, she carefully straps on her ankle gun after changing into her pajamas, even though she is heading to bed, just in case her patrons decide to transport her somewhere else. It’s not her favorite gun, as the caliber is a little smaller than what she usually prefers, but she’d really rather not find herself in the boonies unarmed ever again. She curls up in bed and falls asleep with one hand under her pillow.
Elena wakes up early and works out. While going through her exercise routine, she thinks about her day, and when she should get her guy. She really wants another option to get the murderer than at the fair. She can’t take the chance of injuring an innocent bystander. She also knows from reading about the rally that there will be police at this kind of thing, to keep the peace between the biker ‘clubs.’ Lots of police.
After she finishes her workout, she calls Jaime, but ends up leaving a message for him with Alice, his secretary.
She ends that call and then calls Conor. “So Jaime is unavailable. Do you know anybody that can talk to ghosts?”
“Not personally, but I know of somebody.”
They decide to meet up at the Purple House on Bell. Just before she leaves, the phone rings. It’s Jaime.
“Elena, this is Jaime.” His voice sounds weird.
“Hey, Jaime.” Elena gets to the point, in her ever-blunt way. “Can you meet us at the Purple House on Bell? Me and Conor?”
Jaime speaks very slowly and deliberately. “Is it urgent? Because I’m kind of in the middle of something.”
“Um… It can wait, I guess.” Elena thinks rapidly. “Uh, well, let us talk to this other consultant first, that way you can get whatever you need done, done.”
“Okay. If you guys run into trouble, call me.”
His odd speech really throws Elena off. Hesitantly, she asks, “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” he replies slowly. “What I’m doing requires a lot of concentration.”
Elena pauses a second, then says, “Alright, well, sorry to bother you.”
“No problem.” He pauses, and then says in that same ultra-slow, deliberate way, “Call this number if you run into legitimate problems. Whatever you’re doing.”
He gives her a number and they terminate the call.
She heads to the Purple House on Bell, grabs a bite to eat on the way. There, Conor flirts with the owner Barbara and gets the name and address of the local, real-deal medium, a woman called Doña Esmeralda. They go to Doña Esmeralda. Since most of her clients are normal, she very much dresses the part of the gypsy medium. She recognizes them as ‘in the know.’ Elena and the Doña discuss things in Spanish about ghosts, etc. Elena gets a lot of good information, but nothing pertinent to their current need.
Conor and Elena leave. In the car, Elena says, “Okay, looks like we need to call Jaime, then. Maybe he’s had enough time to finish… whatever it is he is working on.”
“Er, what do we need? I didn’t understand what you were talking about…”
“Oh, sorry. Well, Doña Esmeralda said that ghosts could do pushes, but nothing sustained. So, the ghosts won’t be able to un-interr themselves,” Elena explains. For once, she knows more than Conor. Cool.
“Well, then okay.”
“And she knew of course that we are ‘unusual’,” Elena adds. “She’s familiar with the biker gang, but doesn’t know anything of significance about them.”
Elena ponders as she drives, thinking she needs the names of the ghosts, as they could be useful to Jaime and, of course, the police. She laughs as a thought occurs to her.
“If we could get the names and bones out tonight and call the cops tomorrow, they’ll only have a skeleton crew at the compound, so the cops will have a lower chance of getting hurt when they come out in response to the call.”
“Yeah, sure!” replies Conor.
It’s Friday afternoon, and Elena calls the number that Jaime left. It’s to Medical City, the children’s ward. Elena gets connected to Jaime Harper’s room.
“Hello, it’s Elena again.”
Elena is uneasy. Hospital, children’s ward…. “Uh, is there anything I can do to help you?”
“No. My son is sick.”
“If you’re needed at your son’s side, we can definitely come up with a different plan.” As usual, Elena jumps right in to business, “but we have need of your abilities. If we could do it tonight, that would be helpful.” Then, remembering, she adds, “And also, if it’s going to cost money, I need to know the price so I can know if I can come up with the cash.”
There is a long pause, then Jaime speaks slowly, “How long will it take?”
“I don’t know how long it takes for you to do that thing that you do.”
Jaime asks slowly, “What are you asking me to do?”
Elena tries to think of nice ways to say what she has to say, not so much for manner’s sake as for eavesdroppers. “Some minor excavation?”
“Of what?” He is still talking in that deliberate way, but now his interest seems piqued.
“Er… mortal remains.”
The wry tone still comes through. “Of course. Ghost stuff, huh?”
“Where would I meet you?”
Elena thinks a moment, then suggests, “How about Conor’s place?”
At Conor’s, Elena runs through one of her exercising routine while Conor spends the afternoon practicing. He picks one of his crooning, sad-sounding songs, in his Irish language. Elena finds it so… calming that she decides to stop exercising and finds a spot on the floor to doze.
Sometime later, Jaime shows up. Conor invites him in, and when Jaime steps in, he shakes off, as if he is shaking off rain, although it’s been dry as a bone for weeks. It looks like he is doing something.
“You alright, Jaime?” Conor asks.
“Ugh!” Jaime shudders, then continues, “Being that my son is in the hospital, I have to a magical suppression spell so I don’t blow up all the monitors and the equipment.”
“Oh, shite,” says Conor with concern. “I never even considered that.”
“It requires a great amount of concentration,” Jaime sighs. “I am quite happy to be out of there for a while.”
Conor asks, “Is he alright? Anything we can do for him?”
Jaime shakes his head. “He just has pneumonia. He has some stuff in his chest. He’ll be released tomorrow.”
“Oh, well. Thank god!”
Jaime sits on the floor. He looks a little odd sitting on the floor in his expensive dark gray suit, but furniture is scarce in Conor’s unintentionally Spartan apartment. He exhales deeply and relaxes.
“Well, can I get you a drink?” Conor asks.
They all have a drink and Elena brings Jaime up to speed, starting from the beginning. After she’s done, Jamie sighs. “Okay, full disclosure.”
Elena and Conor look at him alertly.
“I have cast a ward for these guys before, on one of their houses.”
Conor describes the main house.
“No.” Jaime describes one of the other houses. “Not the most ethical thing I have ever done, but I am a bit of a mercenary. And they paid well.”
There is silence for a moment.
Conor breaks it. “There are at least four corpses buried back there. We’d like to give the cops probable cause, if you know what I’m saying.”
“I won’t give you access through my ward, because that’s my professional reputation,” Jaime replies, “but I’ll help you with the rest. Especially for this.”
Elena breaks in. “I don’t think we need access through the ward.”
“Okay,” says Jaime, relief very slightly tinting his voice, “I don’t know what goes on in the warded building. I always assumed drugs or something like that.”
Elena shakes her head. “No, what I am mostly interested in is justice and these people…. Well, their pre-gang banger dead guys, I’m not interested in. They kind of got what they were asking for.”
“You’re just interested in the one guy.”
“Yeah. Specifically,” nods Elena. “And the fact that I can cause some problems for the gang in general is a bonus, without it being pinned on me at all.”
“Let me see the picture again?” asks Jaime.
Elena hands over the picture of the murderer. “Do you remember the guy?” she asks, as Jaime studies the image.
“They called him….,” he muses, “I don’t remember his name, but they called him Big Fish.”
Elena nods. “He’s like their sergeant. At least, that’s what his patches say. It’s probably a title.”
“They all have goofy names. Bikers don’t really use their real names,” says Jaime. “So the El Presidente, his name is Carlos…”
Elena doesn’t laugh (“the El Presidente”? Gringos! Like Rio Grande River), but says instead, “He almost spotted us.”
Jaime nods. “Carlos is not stupid. Do not assume that just because they wear leather jackets and ride motorcycles that they’re stupid. A lot of them are, but he is not.”
“No, he isn’t,” agrees Elena. “He acted on his instincts, and they were solid. We were there and he almost saw us. His instincts are good. Just not as good as ours.”
“I don’t think any of them are supernatural,” Jaime adds.
Elena thinks for a minute, and then asks, “Do your wards work on the grounds, or just the one house?”
“Just the house. They wanted that particular building protected.”
“Because if we can get the body….,” Elena says, “One body will do the trick.”
Jaime nods again. “So, you’re just looking to dig up a body inside the compound?”
“So that it will be visible from the perimeter,” she replies.
Conor chimes in. “The hope is to get uniformed officer to at least do a walk around the place. You know, there’re human remains visible on a walk around, that should be enough to get a warrant.”
“So you just want to bring a body up to the surface. Where were these bodies?” After Conor gives a brief description of the grounds, Jaime nods. “Yeah, I remember there was a group of trees. Right.”
“The way we see it,” Conor explains, “tomorrow there is a big motorcycle to-do, and a lot of these fellas are going to be there.”
“Which means there will be less possible harm to the police office if there’s a skeleton crew,” Elena adds.
“Right,” says Conor. “And then we’re going to give them an anonymous tip that some kid is going to report. He goes by the place and sees something that scares him.”
Jaime clarifies. “So you need a skeleton brought to the surface. That’s it?”
“Yeah,” nods Elena. “Unless you can think of anything else we need?”
“So we’re doing this tonight? Sneaking onto their grounds?”
“Yeah,” replies Conor. “The ghosts are not awake during the day, that I know.”
“Okay, so I can do this at night,” Jaime says. “Anyhow, so tonight we’re going to walk up to the place and drop a big veil over us?”
Conor nods. “You drop a veil, I drop a veil so we’ve got a double whammy. One by magic, one by glamour. I figure with my glamour and your spell, we should be pretty hard to spot.”
“They’re going to be on pretty high alert because of last night,” Elena adds.
“That’s why we’re going to use my glamour and his veil at the same time.” Conor looks at Jaime. “Can you open a way into the Never Never without causing a rip?”
Jaime looks a bit uncertain. “I… technically can do that…”
Conor smiles. “Never tried?”
“It’s nothing I’ve ever messed with. I mean, I can. I know the theory behind it… But you’re the expert.”
“Okay, so we’ll try to do it on this side without having to go through,” says Conor. “It’ll be an emergency if we have to retreat through the Never Never.”
“Well, I probably can get away. So don’t worry about me,” adds Elena.
Conor nods. “Okay, then I’ll save it to get Jaime’s ass out of there.”
“Because you can only take one at a time?”
“Nah, I open a gateway.”
“Huh. Okay,” she says, impressed.
Jaime thinks aloud. “If I can see the ghost, and it’s approximately where its body is, I can get the body up.”
“Well, I think I can talk to the ghost on the other side and probably get their names,” says Conor.
“Well, will that make it easier for you?” Elena asks.
Jaime shrugs. “You’re just basically looking for a skull, right?”
“Skull, thigh bone, rib cage. Something distinctive,” says Conor.
“Let’s go skull. That’s easy to pick out.” He pauses a moment, thinking. “I’ve never dug something up before. Shouldn’t be too hard. Okay. So.”
“I don’t know how this will get me closer to my guy other than getting trouble stirred up,” muses Elena.
“Well, if you shot him, they’re going to be stirred up for a while,” Jaime says.
Elena gives a satisfied smile. “Yeah.”
Jaime looks puzzled. “Why don’t you do that sneaky-sneaky wait til he’s alone and pop him at like 2000 yards?”
Elena nods. “Yeah, I’m going to have to do that. I took the shot because he was right there. He was like ten feet away.”“Can’t say I blame you. Sounds like he is a scumbag,” Jaime agrees.
There is a long silence, and then Elena says quietly, “Jaime, thank you for helping with this.”
Conor nods, too, and asks, “Elena, do you still have that throw away cellular?”
“Well,” Conor says, “if you call in an anonymous tip on a phone, they can ignore it. It’s difficult to ignore a picture from a cell phone of a skull on the ground. You know?”
“That’s tricky,” Jaime says. Then he looks at Conor. “So they have cell phones that you can just throw away?”
Elena grins. “You can take pictures with cell phones. And movies.”
They make small talk about technology, kids, club houses, things that can be warded, magic items, a cultist raid gone wrong at Jaime’s house, etc. They pass time chatting around until the evening, and when the dark comes, they pile into Elena’s car. She finds a new place to park, keeping an eye out for people who might make a special note of them. Conor throws up the veil just before they enter Pleasant Grove. Jaime starts wrapping up his veil spell, too. They park, and just walk up to the compound, effectively invisible. Elena and Jaime wait for Conor while he steps into the Never Never to get a ghost’s name. Conor pops back.
“The black biker’s name was Willis Jones,” he says.
The hole in the fence has been repaired, so Conor just lifts Jaime and Elena over the fence. They show Jaime where the remains are. Jaime starts whispering in Greek, and then the earth starts to just move. There are some guys that are close, so Conor does a sound veil and a glamour to make the area look like it always looks. The earth stirs slowly and a set of bones comes up. The skull has a bullet hole dead center of the forehead. Conor decides to stay overnight and keep the veil over the area until the police arrive.
After Elena drops Jaime off, she parks the car in a different neighborhood (not Pleasant Grove), and works her way back to the compound on foot. She cases the area for several good sniper positions looking into and around the compound. Then she goes home.
Elena gets a text the next morning from Conor that the gang has left for the motorcycle rally, and that Big Fish is with them. Conor also sends a picture of Big Fish to Elena that he snapped with his cell. Big Fish seems completely unharmed, she notes, disgruntled all over again. She had shot him in the back of the head, dammit!!
About an hour and a half later, she gets another text from Conor: “They paid off the cop.” Then, “I’m on my way out.”
Elena heads to Conor’s place. Once there…
She looks at Conor expectantly. “Did you case out the dude, figure out what his patron spirit is, or whatever he is?”
Conor shakes his head. “I don’t know. I couldn’t see.”
She knows she needs to find out what that man is and what will kill him.
Conor gives her the phone with the images he took of the cop getting paid off. Elena hooks the phone up to Noreen’s stripped laptop and transfers the images. She looks over at Conor. “I need to know what can kill this guy. If a bullet to the head won’t do it, what caliber round will I need next time at 1500 yards?”
“Well,” replies Conor, “you have to figure out what goes right past it. You have to know more about the spirit, and I don’t know a thing. It’s got to be something. Holy water, silver bullets, something like that.”
“Hm. Wonder where I can get a holy silver bullet…”
Conor laughs. “I don’t know if that’s what’ll do it, I’m just saying…”
They both ponder a moment. After the images have all transferred, Elena packs up the laptop, then pulls the SIM card out of the phone. She tosses it in the fire burning in his fireplace and waits as it melts.
“Maybe there will be something in Miranda’s books,” she says, thinking." I’m gonna go visit Miranda. She lives near here."
“Miranda?” Conor asks. “She the one with the green eyes and red hair? Attractive lady…”
“Yeah,” Elena laughs. “She inherited her father’s library, did you know that?”
“It’d be the last thing I’d be interested in.”
Elena is amused. “I guess.”
“Well do you need me for the rest of the day?” Conor asks.
“Nah, I don’t think so.”
“I’ve got damage control to run with my girlfriend,” he says as he pulls on his jacket. “So, I’m gonna go eat a gyro or something.”
They both leave, Conor to his lady, Elena to the library.
At the library, she composes the email with the incriminating images of the skull in the dirt and the series of images of the cop accepting the bribe and sends it to Dana Hawthorne, that reporter. She doesn’t include much text, only mentioning that the bones are on the surface, so she’ll want to act fast. She should get a news van out there or the story will be gone. Elena leaves it anonymous.
Then Elena heads to Miranda’s and starts researching. About late morning, Jaime calls. Elena updates him.
“Wait, you’re going to war with the Mayans?” Jaime sounds incredulous. “Why don’t you just shoot him in the head?”
“I did shoot him in the head!” Elena is disgruntled again, and defensive. “Point blank! And it didn’t work!!”
“Then shoot him lots of times!”
“I will, next time!” she retorts.
She is quiet for a second, and then asks, “You don’t want me to do this thing with the Mayans? You want me to leave it be?”
Jaime’s voice is indifferent. “I have no emotional attachment to them.”
“Well, it’s not traceable to me.”
“Let’s keep it that way,” Jaime says. There’s a pause, then he adds, “If I can see the guy, maybe I can identify what he is.”
“He’s at a motorcycle rally in McKinney right now,” Elena suggests. They discuss the rally and decide to go. They ask Conor to come, too. Jaime (Mr. Suit) decides to wear jeans and a leather jacket. Heh.
Jaime drives, and they get to the rally mid-afternoon. Elena had previously studied the event, so she is familiar with the schedule and grounds. As they start to walk around, Jaime and Conor start talking about Conor getting a bike when his iTunes makes it big, etc.
They join the throng of people and wander about aimlessly. Elena constantly scans for the killer. Elena also notices several “missing persons” signs posted around of those girls she read about on the message boards and makes a mental note.
Most of the clubs don’t have tents; they’re just grouped in specific areas. However, the Steel Knights do. As they are admiring a bike, a guy with a shaved head (not cool shaved head, more like I-have-cancer bald) comes up to them. Elena immediately recognizes him from her earlier research as Joey Tyler, the president of the Steel Knights, who does, in fact, have terminal cancer.
“Hey, how y’all doing?” he asks with a friendly smile.
Conor flashes one of his own friendly smiles. “Hey, how’re you?”
“Good, good,” he says. “Hey, I’m Joey.”
“Pleased to meet you,” replies Conor. The two shake hands, then Joey shakes hands with Jaime, but, Elena notes, not with her. Elena doesn’t offer comment.
“So, what’re y’all doing out here?” asks JT.
The guys make small talk, and Elena only paying half attention while she checks out the crowd. Joey pitches their charity events and raffle. They also talk about Joey’s cancer. It hit him a few months ago and has progressed quickly. Joey also introduces them to his VP, Dan, and they all go over to the tent to sign up for the raffle. Jaime just kind of hangs back. Joey has to leave and take care of other things, but assures them that his wife will be happy to sign them up. Good-byes, well wishes, etc are said (by Conor. Elena and Jaime are mostly quiet), and Joey leaves.
They go into the tent. Upon entering, Jaime gives a thoughtful grunt. “Huh”. He is staring at Joey’s lady. “His wife. Sarah Tyler. She’s a practitioner.”
Elena looks at him askance. “You can tell just by lookin’ at her?”
“No,” he replies, voice low. “I know her. I’ve been in her store.”
They approach Sarah, and she and Jaime chat a little, while Conor signs up for the raffle. After Conor finishes, they start to move away. Then Conor suggests Jaime ask her if the Steel Knights are friends with the Mayans. So while Conor and Elena admire bikes, Jaime pulls Sarah aside and talks to her some more, then rejoins Conor and Elena.
“She didn’t really appreciate the mention, but no,” says Jaime. “She says they’re not.” He gestures at the charities the Steel Knights are involved in, and asks, “I mean, do these seem like hardened criminals to you?”
Elena knows that the Steel Knights have a good reputation. They seem like a motorcycle club that actually believes in and supports charities. Not a “one-percenter” gang. They do seem like nice people.
Elena shrugs. “Guess that’s why she didn’t appreciate the mention.”
They decide to resume their hunt for Big Fish. While they are walking out, Jaime says, “Go on, I’ll catch up with you guys.” He disappears back into the tent. Elena is briefly concerned, because she needs Jaime to ID Big Fish for her, but worse comes to worse, maybe the guy looks different by daylight… Elena keeps an eye on the cops, too, because cops know who the trouble makers are. They’re mostly watching the actual bikers. Jaime catches back up with them about fifteen minutes later.
“She’s up to something. I don’t know what, but I don’t like it,” Jaime says tersely. He pauses, then shakes his head. “But that’s not why I’m here. I can’t get distracted.”
They walk around some more and see a big group of Mayans walking around, and there he is. He appears completely uninjured, Elena notes with a silent snarl. She studies him again, looking for that tell that gives him away, but she still can’t see it. She tosses a glance at Jaime, who is studying the guy. After a moment, Jaime turns away and looks significantly at Conor and Elena. Then he draws a pentagram in the palm of his hand.
“Oh, like with the horns and the red fire?” asks Conor.
Jaime gives an almost imperceptible nod. “Similar,” he says quietly.
Conor laughs. “So maybe I wasn’t kidding about the silver bullets and holy water.”
Elena looks thoughtful.
“So, what’s the plan?” Jaime asks. “Do we want to find out more about these guys?”
“Well, if he’s sold his soul to the devil,” Conor muses, “we’ll need some help on the other side. D’ya think he’s one of Don Diablo’s boys?”
“Not to, um, stereotype,” Jaime glances apologetically at Elena, “but they are both Hispanic.”
Conor also looks at Elena. “D’ya know about Don Diablo?”
Elena nods. “He sold a book to Prospero.”
Elena adds, “A book that came alive and tried to suck all his magic and kill him.”
They decide to head out to think, and to plan their next move. Oh, and to let the heat die down, too. On their way out of the rally, they find their way past a beer stand. Elena happens to notice one of the Steel Knights as he is buying a girl a beer. Then she sees him drop something in it. Elena assumes it’s a roofie and is instantly incensed.
She stops dead in her tracks. “I’m sorry. I’m gonna have to go pick a fight.” She points at the Steel Knights biker. “He just gave her a roofie.”
“Let’s go talk to him,” suggests Connor, and the two start toward the biker.
“Is this really something we need to be getting involved in?” Jaime asks.
“You don’t get involved,” Conor says over his shoulder.
Jaime sighs. “I’ll just have to make sure you don’t get killed by the biker gang.”
Elena walks up to the lady with the spiked beer. “Hey, lady.”
The tall bleach blond looks blearily down at the little, angry Hispanic chick. “Uh, what?”
“That guy,” she points at the biker standing next to her, “just slipped you a roofie.”
The bimbo blinks slowly. “What?”
“He put a roofie in your beer.” Elena speaks loudly and clearly.
The biker bows up. “What are you talking about?”
Elena shoots a fierce glare at him. “Dude, I saw it.”
“Man, fuck you, brown!” he retorts.
The bottom of the woman’s beer starts fizzing lightly; something is clearly dissolving in her drink. The blond holds her glass up to the light and peers at it, swaying slightly. “Uh, what the hell?”
“Man, I don’t know what that is! They’re making stuff up!” the biker says defensively.
“Why don’t you empty out your pockets?” suggests Conor.
“Man, I’m not doing anything! Fuck you!”
Elena looks intently at the drunk woman. “Hey, lady. Do you wanna press charges against him?” The bimbo looks confused. “It’s assault,” Elena adds.
“Forget this! I’m outa here!” The biker turns away and stalks off.
“Chicken,” Elena says to his retreating back.
Conor can’t help but stir the pot, too. “Running from a little girl?” The mam pauses for a second, then continues away.
Conor turns to the woman. “What are you doing with the beer, lass?” She stares at him, befuddled. Conor almost sighs, then smiles and turns his full charm on her. “Why don’t you take that to the police and tell them you want to press charges? He’s probably done this to other girls, you know.”
She stares at the cute Irish guy who came to her aid like a knight in shining armor.
“You should get mad about this. This is the kind of stuff that if women don’t stand up to jerks like him, they’re gonna rape other women!” he encourages. “You have a chance to make a difference!”
The woman starts to get mad. “Yeah!”
“Today. Right now. There’s evidence,” he says vehemently and jabs a finger at the beer. Conor sees a passing cop and points her toward him. “Take it to the police!” The woman walks over to the cop, points at her beer and starts talking and gesticulating wildly.
Elena says quietly, “He was one of those Steel Knight dudes.”
“Hm,” responds Conor.
Elena is cynical. “They’re not all goodness and light, I guess.”
“Well, you know, all the missing girls make a lot more sense now,” muses Conor. “You know, if they really care about all this stuff, they should police their own.”
They give each other a look and stalk back to the Steel Knights pavilion, looking for JT. They see Dan, the VP.
“Ah, hey! You back again?” Dan says upon seeing them. “We haven’t done the drawing yet…”
Conor shakes his head. “Can I talk to you in private? This is, ah, not pleasant, but I think you should know.” He looks around for JT, then back at Dan. “Maybe the both of you, since you’re both, like, presidents, right?”
“Oh, JT had to go back. He was tired. He can’t get around much,” replies Dan somberly.
“Well,” says Conor, “I don’t want it to get out and possibly ruin your reputation or whatever, but one of your fellas stuck a roofie in one of the lasses’ beer.”
“What??” asks Dan, surprised.
Conor describes the guy and tells Dan that the girl took it to the police. Conor and Elena watch him carefully for his reaction. Elena cynically wonders if he is concerned that the girl got assaulted, or if he’s concerned that his guy got caught.
“Really?” his voice is troubled, but it seems to Elena like he’s trying to play it off and get rid of them. “I’ll talk to the guy.” He looks pointedly at the charity raffle, then back at Conor. His gaze encompasses Jaime, too.
“You know, we try to do things right,” Dan explains, “but some of the newer guys, some of the younger guys are really kind of involved with JT’s nephew Hanson. He’s our sergeant at arms. A couple of them, I think they want to be 1%ers and that’s not us, but…,” he pauses, “So, let me see what I can do.”
“Okay…,” replies Conor, not totally convinced.
“I know exactly the dude you’re talking about,” says Dan, still looking at Conor. "Thanks for bringing that up. You’re Conor?
“Man, I appreciate it,” Dan replies.
Conor says simply, “Hope you sort out your own numbers.”
Elena studies Dan, wondering if Dan is marking Conor for dealing with later, but she doesn’t sense anything menacing about him. Elena and Conor leave.
Jaime is waiting outside the tent. “So what was that all about?”
“Date rape,” Conor replies.
“Oh. The roofie thing.”
Elena nods. “Yeah.”
“Okay, so anything else here?” Jaime inquires.
Conor shakes his head. “No, let’s go.”
They head out to the parking lot, walking to the car. They’re all quiet and kind of grumpy. Elena sees two Steel Knights carrying a girl who appears drunk to a van….
Wow. A full transcript of the game from her point of view. iPads are so cool!