Jaime grimaces, and then explains what he discovered. “So, Malzen is a demon of cancer. They can sometimes inflict cancer by touch. So don’t touch it if you can avoid it.” He pauses and thinks a moment, then adds, “Some demon tricks: they’re stronger, faster, and tougher than regular humans. Demons come to the world in two ways. They possess someone or build themselves a body. Cancer demons always possess.”
Everyone is silent. “So, who wants a glass of whiskey?”
After Jaime has distributed the beverages, he sits down on the big, black arm chair. “So what’s the plan? How are we going to do this?”
“Do you have an idea of the layout of her shop?” Matthew asks.
Jaime frowns thoughtfully. “I sort of know the layout… It’s one of those older houses, it has a porch. She uses the front as her store.”
Matthew nods. “So not much of a threshold?”
“No, not much, if any. She uses it as a place of business.” Jaime is still frowning. “The one thing I don’t know… they’ve got the house, but they also have some building out back for the motorcycle club. I’ve only been there once, as it’s good to know the other practitioners in the area.”
Elena is perched on the edge of the couch, both feet on the ground, leaning forward slightly. Conor is lounging comfortably on the long couch, one muscular arm along the back of the couch and the other resting on his knee holding his glass. Ren is curled up on the other side, her strikingly aqua blue eyes wide and alert. Matthew is sitting in the matching arm chair as he drinks from his glass.
No one says anything for a little bit, so Jaime continues. “So in terms of tactics, we’ve got the demon. We’ve probably got Sarah Tyler.”
“That demon causes cancer by touching,” adds Conor.
“Since it’s in possession,” says Matthew, “does it have its supernatural strength and whatever? Or the strength of its host?”
“Some demons imbue the host with their own physical powers,” explains Jaime.
Conor grins. “So multiply repeated application of firearms, then? Is that what you’re saying?”
Elena is concerned for the host. “Do we want to try to save the dude, or do you think he welcomed the demon in?”
“Even if he welcomed it in, it can be pushed out,” says Matthew confidently.
“I don’t know if I’m comfortable with killing a guy just because he’s possessed,” explains Elena.
Jaime frowns again. “Are there any other potential problems?”
“Well, the rest of the gang…,” Matthew says.
Jaime nods. “Yeah, the motorcycle goons.”
Matthew looks over at Conor. “What about the one that hit you, Conor? The one with the tire iron?”
Conor scowls. “I definitely don’t like him, if that’s what you mean.”
Matthew nods, and then continues. “Didn’t we conclude that there is more to him than just a big mean guy with cold iron?”
“Yeah,” Conor replies, “he was easily as strong as I am.”
“So, another potential problem,” confirms Matthew. “If it has one goon, odds are it may have more.”
“Yall already considered his wife, right? She’s in on it,” says Elena.
“She’s a light weight,” retorts Jaime dismissively.
Elena is not convinced. “Until she made a deal with a demon and got a sphere.”
“Right,” responds Jaime reluctantly. “She could have all sorts of… sponsored magic.”
“If she’s the host,” Matthew adds, “it could be even worse.”
“I like to think I would have noticed that, at least.” Jaime hesitates. “But maybe I didn’t.” Again he pauses. “There was something off about her, but I don’t think its demonic possession.”
Jaime counts off the threats. “So, it sounds like we’ve got Malzen, Sarah… do we have a name for Tire Iron?”
Elena shakes her head. “Just Tire Iron.”
“And potentially a group of goons,” Jaime adds.
Matthew nods and contributes, “Armed with various implements such as tire irons, baseball bats, chains, guns.” He adds jokingly, “So, frontal assault, then?”
Jaime shrugs and looks over at Matthew with a grin. “Demons are your area of expertise…”
“I wouldn’t go that far!” Matthew protests.
Elena shrugs. “Well, they’re weaker against you.”
“Unfortunately,” says Matthew, “they didn’t offer me a course for exorcism at Seminary.”
Elena laughs. “What? Isn’t that standard?”
“Wasn’t there a movie about it?” Conor agrees. “Oh, right! You’re not Catholic.”
Everyone laughs, welcoming the lightening of the mood.
Jaime laughs at Conor. “Neither are you, exactly.”
“I’m as Catholic as a vast bulk of my faith. I go twice a year!” Conor protests.
Matthew nods. “I’ll do what I can against it.”
Elena looks over at Matthew and asks, deliberately, “Can you bless my bullets?”
Matthew laughs and rolls his eyes. “And here we go back to the blessed bullets!”
Jaime is thoughtful. “It’s not a bad idea…”
“Can you bless my flask of water?” Ren pitches in.
Matthew pauses, and then says reluctantly, “Yeah.”
“You know,” Conor laughs, “the Catholic church has a ritual for this! Makes it easy to do.”
“I’m sure it does,” replies Matthew, voice full of irony.
Jaime grins. “So you’ll try to take care of the demon. We’ll have assorted items that will hopefully facilitate our dealing with it and its goons.”
Elena is still somewhat bothered by the idea of killing the host. “I say we try exorcism first.”
Jaime nods. “So, it sounds like the plan is: we wake up in the morning. Yall go in with your blessed stuff and just hope this works.”
Everyone agrees. They all are staying at Jaime’s house, so Jaime hooks people up with blankets, etc. Elena & Matthew record his sermon, and then Matthew takes a long walk.
Elena is going to go recon the house during the night. Elena drives her car over, parks it a mile or so away, and runs over to the house to observe it for a little while. The house is a couple of blocks east of downtown Grapevine in a nice, older neighborhood. There is a porch, and on the porch are two younger guys (“prospects,” probably) just kind of sitting.
Elena sneaks around back to have a look. There are two buildings, a garage, which is more like an industrial building with two huge garage bay doors. Also in the back yard is what looks like a shotgun style bunk house or barracks. She listens for any chanting or oddness, but doesn’t hear anything. She peeks into a few windows. The shotgun style building is in fact a bunk house with people sleeping in it, with other bunk rooms empty. The garage has a small side door that may go to an office, but the one window is blacked out.
She watches the property for an hour or two, just to get a basic feel. The prospects out front are bored and start drinking beer. They’re supposed to be watching for something, but…. well, they get bored. Elena also notes all entry/exit points for each of the three buildings (house, bunk house, garage) for their assault in the morning. Things that might or might not be flammable near the buildings in case they need to burn the place down. She evaluates the exterior property as a tactical terrain.
Then she heads back to Jaime’s, does her work out, and goes to sleep.
In the morning, Elena wakes up to the wonderful smell of breakfast. Jaime is making pancakes, bacon, and eggs.
Jaime doesn’t look up from the griddle, but motions to the coffee pot. “So did yall sleep well?”
Matthew, who is sitting quietly at the table, replies pensively, “Better than I have in a long time.”
Ren is also at the table, sitting in a chair with her legs pulled up. Conor helps himself to a cup of coffee and also sits down, as does Elena. Matthew waits for Jaime to join them, then looks around the table, “Ok, what’s everyone wanting me to bless?”
Conor plops down some smelly gloves.
Matthew looks at them, then back at Conor. “These are your training gloves?”
Conor shakes his head. “These are my fight gloves.”
Jaime stands up from the table and goes into another room. Shortly, he returns with a Greek short sword and sets it on the table with Conor’s gloves.
Conor eyes the sword. “You’re kidding me, right?”
“Nope.” Jaime shakes his head.
“Are ya bloody SCA or something?” wonders Conor.
Elena is skeptical. “Do you know how to use it?”
Jaime shrugs. “A little, actually.”
“Pointy end goes into the other guy,” Ren laughs.
Jaime points at Ren triumphantly. “Exactly!”
Elena is still skeptical. “Huh.” Elena pulls out a box of .45 ACP and adds it to the table with the other things.
Matthew bows his head and sits silently for a while, and then he gathers up the things and heads outside. While he’s gone everyone eats their meal quickly and in silence. After a while, Matthew returns and redistributes the items.
“So I guess the only question left is who’s driving?” Jaime looks at Elena. “I’ll follow you. You know where to park.” Jaime pulls out a knee length leather coat that has a sheath built into it, all “Highlander” style.
They pile into two cars. Elena driving herself, Matthew and Ren; Jaime driving himself and Conor.
When they pull up to the spot Elena had scouted the night before, Elena turns to the group and says, “It’s a bit of a hike from here.” As they stand there by the cars, Elena asks, “So, are we just going to walk up and knock on the door?”
Jaime shrugs. “I really don’t know what the plan is…. Where do you think they are?”
Elena describes the layout of the buildings. “It seems to me that the garage would be the ideal place to do that kind of thing. It’s isolated, with no windows, really. Maybe they sound proofed it, too. If it has a concrete floor, they can clean it up pretty easily.”
Conor holds a hand up. “Give me a few minutes.” He wanders off and looks around for existing ways into the Never Never. The others wait near the cars.
He finds an entry in a small park down the street, and then heads to the house to look at it from the “other side.” The house itself doesn’t seem weird or anything, but the garage is a Giant Dark Spot. There is also a barrier of some sort around the garage. The barracks has about five guys sleeping in it right now. In front of the house is Dan, the VP. He’s sitting on a chair on the porch. Near him, out of sight from the street, rests an AK47. Conor goes back to the group and recounts what he saw.
“I might be able to do something to make the gun not work…,” suggests Ren.
“What, with your sprinkles?” Conor asks.
Ren smirks back at him. “Yes.”
“Right,” retorts Conor, who then turns to Jaime. “Jaime, do you think there is something you can do to make the gun not work?”
Jaime rolls his eyes. “Sounds like there’s a ward around the garage, too.”
Conor nods. “I can tear a hole from that side into the building, but I don’t want to be doing that too much. I can get us in the house through the Never Never.”
“All of us?” asks Jaime.
“Well, when I open the Way, the Way is open.” Conor shrugs. “We can enter in the park, that’ll minimize the damage to the barrier. But I can open a nice big one in the house.” He adds, “The guy with the gun probably deserves a nice big thumping on the head.”
“So we want to start there?” Jaime asks. “Knock him out?”
Conor nods. “Yeah, because we have the other guys in the barracks to deal with.” He pauses a moment, then asks, “Or do we want her to sneak in?” He gestures at Elena. “I could go with her with a veil, but he may see me through that, although not her due to her sneaking.”
Elena looks at the group questioningly, “Do we want me to kill him? Because that’s what I do.”
Conor looks puzzled. “Can’t ya do the karate chop thing?”
Elena shakes her head.
“Isn’t that what they teach the cops on television?” Conor asks incredulously.
Elena shrugs. “I can do some minor hand to hand, but not anything special. I have this thing called my size that’s not in my favor.” She looks up at Conor from her five feet, one inch.
“Don’t even look at me,” Ren adds. “Just because I’m Asian does not mean I know martial arts.”
Jaime looks over at her. “You’re Asian who doesn’t know martial arts?”
“Is that even possible?” Conor laughs. “What’s the point of cultural stereotypes if you don’t abide by them??”
“That’s like a sober Irishman,” quips Jaime. “It’s not possible.”
Conor nods sagely. “Fair and true words.” Conor looks around at the group. “Ok, so what do you want me to do? Step out of the Never Never and punch him in the back of the head or something? Is that what we’re saying?”
Matthew nods. “Sounds like that’s the non-lethal solution.”
“Aw, jeez.” Conor frowns. “Right, so no Queensbury rules.”
“Well,” Matthew says, “that’d be no hitting below the belt.”
“Cold-cocking a guy in the back of the head coming from the Never Never,” retorts Conor, “I’m pretty sure that the Marquis of Queensbury would not approve.”
“He’d also have a problem with the other guy having a gun,” replies Matthew.
“This is probably true.” Conor is somewhat mollified. He shrugs and looks around. “Well, it’s the only idea I’ve got, so if anyone else has a better one…”
“We don’t know what else is there,” says Matthew, “so take out the obvious threat and then deal with whatever comes. Sounds like a plan to me.”
There is some other discussion as Elena tunes out, mentally prepping for the raid on the bikers’ place. She is somewhat amused by Conor’s astonishment at her lack of physical prowess, but she is also very aware that it is one of her weaknesses. Something to possibly address later.
“One of these days I’m gonna have to pay the piper for opening up all these Ways,” she hears Conor say wryly. She looks back at him as he continues. “I’ve done it less than half a dozen times. We won’t be in that long. We should be ok.” He starts to repeat the ‘plan,’ such as it is. “So we’ll go in through the park, that way I’ll only have to open up one. After I open up the way into the Never Never in that house, it’ll be a horrible place to live after this. Whoever is going to live in the house after this is gonna have to deal with strange noises in the night, that kind of thing.”
Elena is confused. “You’re not gonna close it?”
“Oh, it’ll close,” Conor explains, “but it will always leave a scar. That’s why we don’t do it if we can avoid it.”
Jaime nods. “It’s property damage.” He looks around at the group assessingly. “Alright, well, let’s go.”
Conor rolls his shoulders, stretches his neck, and then says, “Right. Follow me.”
They walk to the small city park that is near. Conor steps behind a large evergreen tree of some sort and does something that makes a “door” open. One by one, they each step through, followed by Conor, who closes the Way behind him. Silently (for once), he guides them through the Never Never. It’s not far. They come out inside the house, near the door. Elena plans to shoot if things look like they might get lethal for her friends.
Once they’ve all come through the Way, Conor closes it behind him. Ren moves quietly to the door and holds the knob as Conor, Matthew and Jaime queue up near the door. Elena pulls her silenced .45 and holds it close to her side, watching the outline of the man sitting quietly on the porch. With a quick motion, Ren pulls the door open, and Conor, then Matthew and Jaime pop through the door.
Elena sees the man’s head turn to glance at them, and then his face turns back to the street. She hears him speak expressionlessly as he stares at the empty street, “I was wondering when you guys were going to show up.”
Conor is drawn up short. “So… you don’t mind that we’re here?”
Jaime and Matthew stand there, all puzzled and wasted adrenaline.
Dan shrugs noncommittally. “I don’t know what to think.”
“Well do ya mind setting down the AK, then?” Conor’s voice is still tense.
The tension visibly slips from Conor’s broad shoulders as Dan carefully sets the gun down on the porch. Jaime and Matthew are also slightly less tense. Dan is still staring out at the street.
“I hadn’t decided what I was going to do when yall showed up,” he drawls slowly.
Conor’s voice is puzzled. “So, why are you here?”
“It’s my club,” replies Dan, matter of fact.
“How much do you know of what’s going on?” Elena hears Conor ask.
Elena looks over her shoulder at the door leading into the front room. She creeps quietly over to it and listens for any other activity, just in case Dan is stalling for his backup or something, but as she hears him speak she gets the sense that he’s being straightforward. The ambient noise and effective quiet confirm it.
“So JT gets cancer.” Dan is talking conversationally. “We get told this story by Sarah that there’s this doctor from Arizona that has some experimental treatment. We all think ‘great, sounds good.’ Then this doctor supposedly comes here.” His voice is still conversational, but she can hear something else there. Maybe regret. “But none of us ever seen him. Sarah says he needs people to ‘work on’.”
“The girls.” Elena can hear the clear accusation in Conor’s voice.
She glances back at the window in time to see Dan’s head dip. His voice is full of shame. “Yeah. I feel bad about that.”
The silence is palpable. Elena wonders what Conor’s next move will be. After about ten seconds of silence, Conor speaks again. “Where is the closest convenience store? A couple of blocks?”
Dan’s head twists to stare at Conor. “That’s not what I expected you to say,” he states blankly.
Conor shrugs. “I think you should take a walk. Get a coke. Because there’s going to be some unpleasantness, you know?” He looks pointedly at Dan. “You already know the story they’re feeding you is BS. But it’s much worse than that.”
Dan looks back at the street. His voice is still ashamed. “It’s always one more girl that we have to take. And I tried to go in there, but I can’t.” Now he sounds just flat out confused. “I can’t open the door. I can’t…. go near the door. I know Sarah’s into some stuff, and I’ve seen some things that I can’t even explain.”
Dan looks at Conor and past him to Jaime and Matthew, who are also standing on the porch. “Who the hell are you guys, anyway?”
“You won’t believe us if we tell ya.” Conor pauses, and then says, “Do ya want us to try ya?”
Dan is quiet briefly, and then asks, “So what’s your intent?”
Elena tenses. Ren’s hand moves to her water pouch.
Matthew’s voice is calm. “Our intent is to keep any girls from being harmed.”
Elena sees Conor nod. “Yeah. Sarah’s been hurting them pretty bad, those girls. Really bad. They may not really be coming back from it. If you know what I mean. So, we’re going to stop her.” Conor shrugs. “I’m not asking you to help us. Just… go get a coke.”
“But Hanson’s in there. And maybe this gets JT back.” Elena can tell Dan is conflicted between his loyalty to the club, and the bad things they’ve been doing to the girls.
“The fella that hit me with the tire iron…” Conor says.
Dan interjects, “Hanson.”
“Hanson.” Conor chin tilts up. “Is he pretty close to Sarah?”
Dan nods “He’s JT’s nephew.”
“He’s probably involved in the bad stuff,” says Conor quietly.
Dan looks down at his hands. “He’s the only one besides Sarah that goes in there.”
“Yeah,” Conor replies. “He’s involved, then.”
Dan’s voice is quiet, almost protesting. “No one else really knows what’s going on.”
Elena moves to the door and says in a low voice, “Then maybe you should get your guys who don’t know what’s going on and all of you go get a beer.”
“Or go to church,” suggests Matthew. It’s Sunday morning, Elena realizes abstractly.
Dan looks over at Matthew and shakes his head slightly. “Our version of church is having meetings. We don’t do that church thing.”
“Give it a try,” Matthew encourages. “It can’t be any worse than what you’ve witnessed here, right? Might do you some good.”
Elena sees Conor glance quickly at Matthew, his bright blue eyes incredulous.
A slight smile flits across Dan’s face. “Will yall give me five minutes to wake up the guys and go?”
Conor nods. “Absolutely. And they won’t see us.”
Conor, Matthew and Jaime step back inside the house and they all watch Dan step off the porch. His shoulders are slumped in defeat and shame as he disappears around the corner. Elena positions herself to watch the door that leads into the rest of the house, while the rest of the gang waits in tense silence. After about five minutes, the roaring sound of multiple motorcycles being fired up fills the room. They watch as he and several other men tool out of the driveway and down the road. Elena waits until the noise of the motorcycles has gone.
Elena hears Matthew sigh. “Can’t blame a guy for trying,” he says. She looks over at him and grins.
Conor chuckles and nods. “I respect your sort. Always have. I just wear a different jersey, is all.”
Elena is a bit conflicted. She’s still out on whether or not those bikers deserved killing or not – they were accessories to kidnapping the women, and ignored what happened to them. Guess I’ll wait and make the call after I see what actually happens to the girls, she thinks.
She hears Conor speak, and looks back at him. “That went a bit differently than what I was expecting.”
Matthew smiles. “Purpose accomplished, violence avoided. I call that a win.”
“I actually prefer those options, personally,” Jaime adds.
“Eh, whatever.” Conor is flippant. “I’m sure it will get violent in a minute.” He grins fiercely, and looks over at Jaime. “So what about the magical wards on the place back there?”
Jaime nods. “I’ll deal with that.”
Conor looks over the gang, and says, “So, I’m going to let you that can hit from range deal with cancer-boy. I have a score to settle with Mister Tire Iron.”
Matthew glances pointedly at the gloves hanging from Conor’s belt. “Remember that you’re equipped to mix it up with Mister Demon.”
“Yeah, unless he touches me!” Conor shudders.
Elena steps through the door that leads into the rest of the house. Moving silently, she picks her way down the hall, pausing in front of each doorway and listening carefully for any movement. When she reaches the back door, she exits, the rest of the group following not quite as carefully. The back door of the house is about thirty feet from the garage. Elena positions herself near the house, crouched down and watchful for any threats. She sees that Matthew has his cross in one hand, rebar in the other. Conor is looking oddly both grim and excited. Ren’s aqua eyes gleam as one hand rests on her leather-looking canteen.
Jaime alone seems completely unaffected as he stares at the garage. “I’ll try to blast through the ward. I wouldn’t suggest that yall stand too close to it, because if it doesn’t work, there might be an aftershock.” Jaime does something and starts chanting in Greek under his breath.
While Jaime chants, Elena looks over at Matthew. “So, I say you try to exorcise it first.”
Conor looks back at them over his shoulder. “Wait, I saw that movie. That kind of thing takes weeks.”
Matthew grimaces. “I’ll see what I can do. If nothing else, I can distract it. I mean, I understand the theory of exorcism, but practical applications are few and far between.” He adds, “Thankfully!”
Conor grins. “Ya know, the Catholic church has a ritual for that.”
Matthew gives Conor a wry smile in return. “Which we don’t have time for in this instance, so it wouldn’t do me any good. But I appreciate the sentiment.”
A shimmer of force comes from Jaime and ripples to the garage. As the cloudy ripple arrives at the garage, it hits a green force field, and as it ripples, the field is completely shredded.
Conor looks satisfied. “Industrial Light and Magic doesn’t have anything on my homeboy.”
“So we didn’t just knock,” Ren states. “We kicked the door in.”
Matthew nods. “Oh, yeah. They know we’re here.”
Jaime walks swiftly to the door. “Come on!” He opens the door into the office, followed closely by the others.
Elena steps in and sweeps the office. It is empty. After realizing that her ‘team’ has no idea about the hand gesture she made to signify “clear,” she sighs and they trip over each other following her in. Amateurs. She reaches out with a gloved hand to test the door that leads into the garage. Not locked. She pushes the door open slightly and looks through the crack. She looks for a place in the garage that might provide cover. She doesn’t see anything extremely close, but she spots a huge red Craftsman tool chest on wheels that’s close to the big garage doors. She slips in and quickly and quietly moves behind it.
It’s a big, two bay garage. Most of the tools, etc., have been cleared to the side. In a circle are seven women who are all lying randomly on blankets and are hooked up to IV bags. They look like they’re in terrible shape, with sores and lesions all over their bodies. Elena studies them for a few moments longer, watching the weak rise and fall of their chests. At least they’re alive.
In the center of the seven floats a black onyx sphere. Roughly three quarters of it is a splotchy, glowing red, with only one quarter the expected black. Next to it, chanting, is a woman who looked like she is in extremely advanced stages of cancer. What is left of what was mouse brown hair has mostly fallen out and is patchy. She has sores all over her body, and she is emaciated. She is swaying as she chants, her eyes open, but rolled back into her head with only the whites of her eyes visible.
Next to the demon stands Hanson, holding an aluminum baseball bat, and Sarah Tyler. They’re looking around, wondering what caused the door to open, and knowing something is going on. After all, they know the “door” got kicked in.
As the demon chants, another part of the sphere fills in with crimson, and the demon’s chanting stops. Its eyes roll back into place and they’re solid red. It looks around, and finally hisses with a menacing playfulness, “Come out, come out, where ever you are!”
Elena isn’t sure where her allies are, but she is confident that they are in the room, probably under Conor’s veil. She takes careful aim at the demon, when suddenly Matthew appears, holding his cross in front of him.
“The power of Christ compels you!” he yells, his voice filled with conviction in God.
Ren appears near Sarah and she throws a lance of clear, deadly ice at Sarah. It slices Sarah through the side, causing Sarah to stagger.
Conor appears right in front of Hanson and he delivers a powerful right to Hanson’s face.
Elena’s focus is the demon as it lunges for Matthew, but narrowly misses him.
Matthew stands his ground, stating clearly, “Touch me not, demon!” There is a flash of light as the crucifix he is holding glows gold.
Elena checks her trajectory to make sure that if the bullet blows through that it WON’T hit her friends or the Sphere. She watches to see if the demon is caught off guard by the Man of God. Her muffled .45 thwups softly and the blessed bullet pierces its target.
Elena sees a flash of blue lightning spring from Jaime, and hears the retort almost immediately. It strikes the demon with a blinding flash of power, causing the demon to stagger back.
“Begone, demon!” Matthew shouts as he takes a step back. The demon steps up to punch Matthew, who yells, “I said back!” The punch misses.
Elena assesses the demon, seeing that it was badly shocked by Jaime’s lightning bolt. She aims carefully and fires again, hitting her target. She sees another flash of lightning jump from Jaime and hit the demon, and Matthew holds his gleaming cross in front of him shouting again, “The power of Christ compels you!” The demon staggers.
Suddenly Elena’s attention is briefly distracted as she feels her veins shiver, but she’s able to shake off whatever spell that had been that was cast.
She watches as the demon tries to punch Matthew again. Matthew glares at it, saying firmly, “You cannot touch a man of God!”
Elena thinks the demon looks shaken, takes her aim carefully, and fires again, hitting the demon.
Matthew yells, “You cannot stand before the might of God! Begone, before you are destroyed!”
The demon shakes its head as if trying to dispel grogginess before reaching out to grab Matthew’s arm. Matthew shouts a scripture at it, but the demon finally grabs him, yanking his arm. Elena sees Matthew’s shoulder kind of pop, and he sags slightly. The demon tries to interpose Matthew’s body between Elena and itself. Elena, however, is always aware of her bullets’ trajectory, and still hits her target in the leg, staggering the demon.
Elena studies the demon, looking for a weakness. She targets one of the prior injuries and fires, injuring it again. She sees Jaime flash blue again and watches another bolt of lightning strike the demon, which finally collapses into a charred corpse. Conor has clearly taken care of Hanson. Sarah is clearly dead, as is the host of the demon, but Hanson, Elena can see, is still breathing but definitely unconscious.
Elena holsters her pistol and immediately begins the cleanup of her evidence, first collecting the shells, and then pulling out her own pocket version of an evidence gathering kit and collects her bullets. After she’s finished, she sees the rest of the gang checking on the women.
She looks around and locates an industrial blue tarp and proceeds to roll the corpses up in it, with help from Matthew and Conor. After the bodies are wrapped, Elena looks over at Ren and Jaime, who are staring at the Shadesphere. Its swirling black and red has stopped, and Elena can see that the red is starting to recede to black. Elena spots a large, thick drop cloth and tosses it over the Sphere.
Ren steps up to it, declaring, “I’ll take that!”
Elena glares. “Why is she taking that??” She draws her gun, holding it by her side, ready to be pulled up at a moment’s notice.
Jaime holds up a placating hand. “Let her take it.”
“She was sent to retrieve it,” adds Matthew.
Ren smiles. “I’m going to make this disappear.”
“With a promise,” adds Jaime.
Ren looks at him, startled. “What??”
Jaime glares at her sternly. “This is going to the White Council.”
“Yeah,” Ren shrugs. “I don’t want it.”
Jaime looks over at Elena, who is standing there silently, unconvinced, pistol still held by her side. “They’ll make sure that thing doesn’t see the light of day,” he assures her.
Conor is eyeing Ren. “Swear on your Power,” he states.
“Yeah!” Jaime agrees.
Ren gives an exasperated sigh, rolling her unsettling aqua eyes. “Yes, I swear on my Power.”
“You will give this to the White Council,” prompts Jaime.
“Yes. I will give this to the White Council,” repeats Ren in a sing-song voice, “by my Power.”
After a second, Matthew pipes up, “Don’t take the Shadesphere through the Never Never. That’s just asking to be ambushed by something wanting it.”
After some discussion (that Elena tunes out as she goes back to combing the scene of incriminating evidence), everyone agrees, so Ren veils and walks to the car with the Sphere. She hears Conor go to the office, where Conor glamours the voice of a scared sick lady, calling 911 from the phone in the office of the garage. In the call, he incriminates Hanson. Elena goes in there and makes sure there’s no evidence, too. Then Conor opens a Way and he effortlessly lifts the two bodies and takes them through the Never Never to the cars.
Jaime looks at the tarp on the ground, his lips curling in distaste. “Yeah,” he mutters, and turns to look at Elena’s old, beat up second hand car. “We’re putting them in your car.”
Elena laughs and opens her trunk. “No problem.”
Ren, clutching the wrapped up sphere, turns to Jaime. “Then you’re driving me to Uncle’s.”
Jaime shrugs. “Sure.” He turns to Elena. “Where are you guys taking the bodies?”
Elena looks over her shoulder at Jaime from the trunk of her car. “Where do you want to meet? Cuz you’re the melter.”
“You guys find a location,” Jaime replies. “I’ll come to you. Let me know.”
They pile into the two cars, this time Elena has Conor and Matthew, while Ren and Jaime go “to Uncle’s.” Whoever that is. Rather than sticking around, Elena starts to head towards Dallas’ industrial area, where she remembers an abandon warehouse is. After they’ve unloaded the heavy tarp, they wait patiently for Jaime to return and do his thing. Elena listens to Conor teasing Matthew about exorcisms and Catholicism while she meticulously cleans her weapons.
About two hours later, Jaime and Ren show up. The two bodies are placed over the industrial drain, still wrapped in a tarp. At Elena’s suggestion, everyone strips and throws their clothes onto the pile, too, except Elena, since she wasn’t in melee combat. Jaime adds his sword. Elena carefully checks her trunk to make sure there are no traces of evidence. Finally, Jaime draws a big circle around the pile, says some words in Greek, and Elena watches as the pile slowly dissolves into goo and drips down the drain. Ew.
Elena admires the view briefly. Conor stands at 6’2" and presents a nice view! He’s a fae lord, he looks good naked. Matthew isn’t bad either, all lean muscle. Didn’t get much of a chance to check Jaime out, since he almost immediately summoned up some clothes for himself. Then, following his example, everyone is clothed again. Heh.
They split up, and the next day on the news, Elena sees a story about a mysterious and creepy kidnapping ring whose victims are all miraculously cleared of cancer over night as they recover at a hospital. The perpetrator is being held without bail.
Elena nods with some satisfaction as she dresses and gears up for the evening’s patrol. There’s a biker she needs to follow for a while, and she has a few bullets with his name on them….