Little pockets of paranoia like mini twisters whip their way around the city in all directions. It’ll be hard to get a bead on what’s real and what isn’t. So far, two groups of street kids have led me on false alarms, getting too aggressive, spreading panic. I think they’re in on it. A little wisp of paranoia dances around me now. When you’ve been where I’ve been you dread full moons.
Over at Beekman’s Diner I get the usual, black coffee and a hard boiled egg with ample table salt for both. The Wizard says it’s no good for my ulcers, but what am I supposed to do?
In walks Carl Abbott with a folder under his arm, hotshot, fed. He’s with the Paranormal Research Division, we met a while back, kept bumping into each other. We’ve formed a mutual - grudging - appreciation society. He keeps his bosses in the dark about what I do, it turns out we have a similar objective: scan and sweep, then keep quiet. Anyway, it means less paperwork for him by not mentioning me or my results.
“Take a look at this,” he says, tossing the folder across the table.
I open it up. The first thing I see is a black and white satellite image map of the city with four red circles.
“The four attacks,” he says, “now watch this.”
He pulls a ruler out of his inside jacket pocket and starts connecting the dots.
It’s a pentagram with the lowermost point missing.
“There’s your next attack,” he says, leaning back, throwing an arm around the back of the chair, smug asshole.
“The heights,” I say, “great. The constant muggings and shootings are going to be a real pain in the ass. It’s going to be hard to pick out a demonic attack. Can you give me an exact location?”
“Right on the corner of Zero Ave and Kildare.”
I nod, flaking off the last bit of eggshell from my hard boiled egg.
“Come on,” he says, getting up out of his chair.
“Slow down,” I say, with a mouthful of egg. “We ain’t going nowhere. I’m going up to Zero Ave, you’re going here.” My finger lands in the center of the pentagram, on the map.
“Victory square,” he says.
“If I can’t stop this thing, you’re gonna have to be there to deal with the aftermath.”
He sits back down and runs his fingertips over his bottom lip.
“It’ll be hell on earth,” I say finishing the egg, “are you up to it?”
“He’s freaking out here, man!” Padraic was getting a little freaked out, too.
“Hold him down,” Dagda said, “don’t let go.”
Little Gary was convulsing and foaming at the mouth. He had ever since the sun went down. He was becoming feral. His strength and rage had swelled like the tides under the influence of the moon and the piece of it that hung around his neck.
“Okay,” Dagda said, “get him in the cage.”
“Don’t hurt him,” Boann piped up.
Dagda stared deep into the eyes of his two comrades, “we’ve got work to do.”
To be continued...
ONE MORE SMOKE FOR THE ROAD
9 years ago