Blood Boys, Episode 9

(Because Adidas_Fiend was in Aruba this week, he was not present. Thus, there will be no Roman this game.)

In the nightclub, after talking to Mr. Clay about the symbolic importance of the Cathedral, Don turns to Will and says, “Let’s talk about your girlfriend.”

Will shifts in his seat. “I don’t see why we have to,” he says.

Don asks, “How far is this going to go?”

“You mean third base?”

Don sits for a moment in silence. Then, he says, “No. Not third base. You are going to parties. When did you get a personal life?”

“I had a personal life!” Will protests. “I have four characters on WoW at level 60!”

“This is dangerous,” Don tells him. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you put an end to it.”

Will shakes his head. “Look. It’s not dangerous. It’s just hanging out, you know. I’m not endangering the Masquerade or…”

“WILL!!!” the petite blonde in the tight leather pants shouts, nearly spilling her drink all over her baby tee. She rushes over and hugs him. She looks at the others. “Is this a party? Can I join?”

Before Will or Don or _________________ can say anything, she jumps in Don’s lap. “I’m Daphne!” she says.

“You know her?” Don asks Will. Daphne is already texting Melanie.

HEY GF! I W/UR WEERD BOI!

“Of course he does, silly!” Daphne says. “We hang out all the time.”

Don asks her, “You mean with Melanie? Will’s girlfriend?”

Daphne laughs. “Melanie has a lot of boyfriends,” she says.

Don looks at Will. Will lowers his eyes.

_________________ says to her, “Come here, Daphne.” She obeys. He walks her down to the bathroom. She follows him. When he drinks her blood, she forgets and wanders away. _________________ returns to the others. “We don’t have to worry about her anymore.”

Don’s phone buzzes. It’s Trent. “He shot Laura,” Trent says over the phone.

“What?” Don asks.

“He shot Laura,” he tells him. “But he’s dead now.”

“Who?” Don asks. “Trent. Are you all right? Who’s Laura?”

“He shot her,” Trent says.

“I’m sending someone to get you,” Don says, looking at Will. “You’d better go get him. He sounds like he’s been drugged or something.” Then, he talks to Trent again. “Listen. Meet Will by the West Dinkytown Bridge.”

Will grabs his messenger bag and heads to the stairway leading up to the roof.

* * *

Meanwhile, across town, Trent makes his way to the Bridge. On foot. When he gets within a few blocks, he notices someone is following him. He dodges into a dead-end alleyway. He waits.

A slim figure in a heavy coat steps in front of the alleyway. Trent squints to see who it is. Then, he decides he doesn’t care. He pulls out his gun and fires. A shot at the leg.

The bullet hits its target, makes the sound of metal on metal, ricochets into a wall. With a woman’s voice, he figure at the end of the alleyway says, “Thank you for shooting first. It means I won’t break the contract.”

She drops her overcoat. The armor under it lights up the alleyway with a brilliant blue. She draws a sword two times bigger than she is. She screams a warrior’s cry and rushes into the alleyway.

Trent fires again. Another ricochet. She slices him with the sword making a deep wound that bleeds blue fire. He turns the pistol in his hand and smashes it into her face. The move catches her off guard for a moment and he rips the helmet off with his left hand, thrusting the barrel of the pistol against her naked forehead.

And he stops. The woman’s face is almost identical to the little girl he saw murdered not an hour ago. Same eyes. Same hair. Same…

She slams the sword into his belly. Trent has never felt such pain. He falls to his knees. He looks up at her.

“Laura?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “Laura is my mother’s name.” She twists the sword in his belly and he writhes. “That’s for dirtying my mother’s name with your vampire lips.”

She kicks Trent to the ground. She puts her foot on his chest.

“Laura?” he asks. “He shot you. He killed you.”

“Too bad for you he didn’t,” she says. She raises the sword.

Up above her, Will shouts down, “Mathilda? Is that you?”

The woman in the armor looks up. “Will?” she asks.

“Don’t hurt him!” Will says, jumping down from the rooftop. “Please! Don’t hurt him!”

She looks down at Trent. “He shot at me,” she says. “That gives me the right to defend myself.”

Will reaches the street. “Please don’t hurt him. He’s confused. Can’t you tell?”

She looks down at Trent. He’s saying the same thing over and over again. “He killed you. He killed you. He killed you.”

Mathilda looks at Will. “Get your friend the fuck out of here. And don’t come back.”

Will nods. She leaves, taking up her coat. She puts it back on her shoulders and the armor and sword disappear.

* * *

“What the fuck happened?” Don asks. He’s looking at Trent. The wounds on his chest.

“He got hit by a lightsaber,” Will says.

Don frowns. “Dinkytown girls?” he asks. Will nods. Don shakes his head. “I wish we never drove into that place.”

(Somewhere, Roman is kicking something.)

“She’s dead,” Trent says. “She’s dead. He killed her. She’s dead.”

“What’s he babbling about?” Will asks.

“He went to see his great-great-great-granddaughter,” Will says. Then, he thinks about it. “No. I think it’s just his great-great-granddaughter. And someone shot her. So, he killed her.”

_________________ touches Trent and looks with his Mekhet sight. He sees everything Trent has seen the last few hours. He nods. “That’s right,” he says. “He’s been watching his family. Someone shot the little girl. She turned into sticks and strings.”

“A fetch,” Don says, shaking his head. “His great-whatever-granddaughter is a Changeling.”

_________________ nods. “And he killed the man who did it. Detective Ben Schullson.” He points at Trent’s jacket pocket. “He still has the badge.” Then, he tilts his head. “But Schullson was talking to someone inside the house. Someone Trent couldn’t see. Someone sitting next to him. Invisible.”

Will says, “She said he shot first. So, she didn’t break the contract.”

Don nods. “A good thing we don’t have a contract with Dinkytown…”

The other vampires glare at him.

“… except for that one, of course. Of course that one.”

Will scans Don’s face. _________________ scans his aura. After a moment, they both nod.

“All right,” _________________ says. “We pissed them off again. We don’t want them blowing up the club.”

Will says, “We should meet them. Clear things up. Make sure everything’s cool.”

Don nods. “And after that, nobody goes into Dinkytown. Never again.”

* * *

Will has Mathilda’s phone number. He calls her. Arranges a meeting at the bridge. He promises they will not cross it.

An hour later, the four Boys are standing at the bridge. Waiting.

Mathilda shows up. She’s not alone. She’s got a white-haired man with her. He looks like he’s made of scars.

“Hello, lads,” he says. His eyes and grin are Bedlam.

“We don’t want any trouble,” Don says. “What happened tonight was a misunderstanding. My friend Trent was confused.”

Trent reaches out with his hand. He puts it on her shoulder. He says something the Boys have never heard him say before. His voice is like a china cup.

“Are you okay?”

Mathilda looks at his hand. She slaps it away. She holds up an old photograph. She thrusts it into Trent’s face. “Is this you?” she asks.

He looks at it. Years of memories flush up into his heart. Memories of breath. Memories of laughter. Memories of tears and joy. Memories of the simple pleasure of laying down after a hard day’s work. It’s almost too much for him. A crimson haze passes over his eyes. But he sinks it. Ties it to an anchor and sinks it down into his belly.

“Yes,” he says.

Her eyes are like the blue fire of her sword. “You think just because you’re in a picture you mean something to me?” she asks. She throws the photo down at his feet. He watches it tumble through the air.

Then, she takes out another one. She doesn’t show it to him. “You want to see a picture of her?”

That red mist rolls over his sight again. He fells the other Boys’ hands on his shoulder. He swallows it down again.

“You mean nothing to me,” she spits at him. Then, she throws the other photo to the ground. She turns and walks away.

The white-haired man grins. “Good night, lads,” he says. “Don’t come back.”

* * *

Dawn. Sleep. Darkness.

In the middle of that darkness, Trent awakens. The white-haired man is there. Trent reaches for his gun, but it isn’t there.

“Shh,” the white-haired man says. Then, he takes something out of his pocket. It’s a photograph. Her photograph.

“Listen, lad,” he says. He takes a flask from his pocket. “Where I come from, if a family don’t have problems, it ain’t a family.” He drinks from the flask. He looks at Trent. “You know what I’m sayin’?”

Trent nods. The man offers him the flask. Trent drinks from it.

And he tastes it.

Then, a swirl of darkness. Sleep. Darkness.

* * *

Come darkness, Anton Fix is the first to call.

“Have you seen the Sheriff?” he asks.

Don is grateful the Mekhet cannot see him on the other end of the phone. He tells Fix, “No.”

“He’s gone missing,” Fix says. “We’d like him located.”

Don says, “If we see him, we’ll do something about it.”

Fix thanks him and hangs up the phone.

Lethe arrives shortly thereafter. “I was on my way somewhere else,” she says, “and thought I’d drop in and say ‘hello.’”

Don shows her the picture from Will’s phone. The picture of her putting the St. Paul Sheriff’s body in the Prince’s trunk.

“Anton Fix called,” he tells her. “The Seneschal of St. Paul would like to know what happened to his Sheriff.”

She shakes her head. “I have no idea,” she says. “And, if a recognized vampire of St. Paul was attacked and dispatched, I’m sure the Prince of St. Paul would have a legitimate complaint against the regency of Minneapolis.”

Don nods. “Understood.”

Lethe says goodbye. Don turns to say something to Will… but Will is gone.

* * *

Tex-Mex Burgers with Cajun Mayo! (from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices pepperjack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground sirloin, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce using your hands. Divide into 4 balls, and flatten into patties.
  3. Lightly oil the grilling surface, and place the patties on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until well done. During the last 2 minutes, lay a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Spread the seasoned mayonnaise onto the insides of the buns. Put burgers in the buns, and top with lettuce and tomato to serve.

Blood Boys, Episode 8

When last we left the Blood Boys, the new Prince, Jacob Collins, stepped into his limousine. His assistant, Ms Lethe, mouthed a single word to the Boys. “Help.”

As the limousine pulls away, Roman asks, “Why help her?” He looks at Don. “I mean, other than the fact that you two are…”

“I’ll tell you why,” Don interrupts. “Because Jacob Collins is ambitious and dangerous. And he will make our jobs as messengers irrelevant.” He pauses. “He wants to be Prince of both cities. If he does that, we lose any status we have.” Then, Don looks at Will. “Follow the Prince. Tell us where he goes.”

Will leaps into action, springing up to the rooftops, jumping across buildings, following the limousine. It first stops at an expensive apartment building that Will recognizes. This is where they found Detective Walker with that Theda Bara lady. Will watches the new Prince enter her building. She’s panicked. Terrified. He talks to her and soothes her fears. She finally smiles and he kisses her gently on the lips. Then, he leaves. The limousine pulls away toward Dinkytown.

Will leaps across a building just looking down on the Tapped Grounds coffee shop. He watches the Prince enter the building. He talks with the girls for a long time. Will texts the other Boys to tell them where the Prince is. They drive up to Dinkytown’s west bridge but do not enter. They wait to see what happens.

From the east bridge, a large blue pick up truck (with a Texas flag bumper sticker) pulls up to the coffee shop. A man Will recognizes gets out of the truck. He walks into the coffee shop. There’s a flash of red light, then nothing. Ms Lethe appears carrying the man from the blue truck. She tosses him into the trunk of the limousine. The Prince gets into the back seat and the limo drives away.

Will tells the other Boys what he saw. Roman asks, “Why are we here? The new Prince isn’t a problem. Lightning Boy is the problem. We have to take care of him before anything else.”

“The new Prince is the priority,” Will says. “But I thought Alice diablerized him.”

__________________ shakes his head. “No,” he says. He tells them of the vision he received while using his Mekhet sight. He saw Alice pull a stake from the Prince’s chest. He also saw Alice tied up and gagged. Don wonders about that.

Roman says, “It doesn’t matter. We still have to deal with the guy who tried to kill Trent.”

But Don is unconvinced. “We have to know more about the new Prince,” he says. He divides the Boys up. Will and __________________ follow the limousine to the Cathedral. Don, Roman and Trent head off to visit Theda to see what she knows and what the Prince told her.

* * *

Theda is happy about the new Prince. But when Don asks her about their conversation, she shuts up. “You want me to gossip about Jacob?” she asks. “No.”

Don pushes her with his Daeva charm. “You owe us,” Don tells her. “Remember your mistake and how we covered up for you?”

She shakes her head. “No. There’s a new regime and Jacob forgave me for that crime.”

“What else did he tell you?”

She smiles and almost blushes. “He said everything is going to be all right now that Alice is gone. And I believe what Jacob tells me.”

Just then, the Boys feel something drop in their stomachs. Like falling off the top of a roller coaster. A rush of energy. A rush of power.

Theda feels nothing.

* * *

At the Cathedral, __________________ and Will watch Collins exit the limousine. Lethe does not. The trunk pops and Collins waits a moment, then opens it. There is no body in the trunk. He walks to the back door of the Cathedral and opens it. He waits for a moment. Then, he closes the door behind him.

For a long time, __________________ and Will watch the Cathedral. Nothing. Will plays with his phone.

Then, a pulse. __________________ and Will see it differently. Will sees it as streams of energy rushing down the streets away from the Cathdral. __________________ sees it as stretches of energy. And they feel powerful. They feel the blood in their bodies rush through their veins. And their blood is powerful.

Potent.

Will’s phone rings. It’s Jonas Clay. “Did you feel that?” he asks. Will says he did. “Meet me and the other brothers at the Lodge just north of the Cathedral.” Will agrees. He and __________________ head off in that direction.

* * *

Roman, Don and Trent go off to see Freddy. Kneecap Freddy. Trent’s other Deava contact. When they arrive, a naked woman opens the door. Music pounds through the walls and windows. She has bite marks up and down the inside of her arms.

“Are you friends of Freddy?” she asks, a little dazed.

“Yes,” Don says. “The closest of friends.”

She invites them in.

All through the house is decadence. Masses of naked, writhing bodies and blood. They find Freddy sitting on a throne, surrounded by naked women. One of them kneels in front of him, her head bobbing up and down.

“The bitch is dead!” Freddy exclaims. “Long live the king!”

Don starts getting undressed. Roman heads down to the basement. Trent finds someone who looks like he doesn’t belong. All of them drink.

* * *

At the Lodge, __________________ and Will try to enter through the back door. But a Ventrue stops them. Francesco Sabatelli. “Franky the Stick.” So named because of the sharpened pool cue he carries in his jacket.

“Nope,” Franky says to Will, pointing at __________________. “He ain’t square.”

__________________ says he’ll wait outside. Will goes inside.

The other brothers sit with Will and talk. They talk about what just happened. Franky the Stick says, “That fucker Collins is up to his old tricks again. Fuckin’ with the city’s geography.” The other brothers concur. Something must be done. That’s when Will gets a text from __________________.

The Prince just pulled up outside.

* * *

Back in Freddy’s Bordello of Blood, Trent leads his prey down to the basement: an average looking guy who brought his good looking girlfriend to a party and has since lost her. He looks down and finds Roman carefully removing a woman’s fingers from her left hand.

“What are you doing?” Trent asks.

“Feeding,” Roman says. He points at the lonely looking man. “Same as you.”

“This isn’t right,” Trent says.

“You feed your way and I’ll feed mine.”

Trent takes the woman away from Roman. He uses his blood to heal her wounds. Then, he uses the car to drop her off at her home. He drives back to the party…

… where Don’s phone rings. Lethe’s ring. It’s a few feet from where he is now, so he disengages from his current activity and carries the phone to the bathroom. “Hello?” he asks.

“Don. Thank the Goddess. I have only a second to talk.”

“What’s wrong?” Don asks.

“Collins. He’s inside the Masonic Lodge now. He’s dangerous, Don. He knows how to make the Cathedral work. He built it. He knows how to do what it’s designed to do.”

“What is that?” Don asks.

“I can’t tell you. Blood oaths, curses. It would take me centuries to recover. But I’ve stood inside it. It’s… oh, fuck, how do I say this without… it’s not what it looks like, Don. It’s the exact opposite of what it seems to be.”

“What does that mean?”

click

Don looks at the phone. Then, he hears, “Stop squirming.” The voice comes from the bathtub. It sounds like Roman. He peeks inside.

Blood.

Don turns away quickly. He sees himself in the bathroom mirror. He also sees the slender, angular face of Mister Finger, grinning back at him from the bathtub. Don spins around but only sees Roman. His face is covered with blood.

“What?” Roman asks.

After a moment, Trent says, “We have to leave.”

“I’m done,” Roman says. He steps out of the bathtub, leaving the bleeding mass of twisted flesh and pain behind him.

* * *

Outside of Freddy’s, Trent and Don have a talk about Roman.

“Something is happening to him,” Don says.

Trent nods. “Yeah. I saw something scary.”

“I saw something scarier,” Don says. They share stories. Don tells him, “We may have to kill him.”

Trent says, “Just tell me when.”

“I don’t know,” Don says. “There may be some way to help him…” his voice trails off with his thoughts.

Trent says, “I have to go do something. I’ll be back later.”

“We’ll be at the nightclub. We’ll see you there.”

* * *

Back at the nightclub, the Boys meet up. Will brings Jonas Clay with him.

“It is the opposite of what it appears to be?” Clay asks. Don nods. Clay thinks about it. “Have you been inside the Cathedral?”

Don says he has.

“It appears to be a… pardon the vulgarity… but a vampire church. The symbols are all the symbols of the Clans and Covenants. But the predominant symbol is the Blood Cult.”

“The Circle of the Crone?” Roman asks.

Clay nods. “Yes. Dark Goddess symbols everywhere. Easy to see them if you know what to look for.” He thinks for a moment. “But if it is the opposite of that… I don’t know what the opposite of that is.”

“Metaphysical misogyny,” Roman says. They all look at him. “If it’s the opposite of Goddess worship.”

“Blood God worship?” Will asks.

“No,” Clay says. “That makes sense. He’s not revering the Goddess. He’s subduing Her.” He looks at the others. “Did you all feel that pulse of energy?” The Boys all nod. “I wonder if any women did…”

“You mean women of any kind or just our kind?” Don asks.

“I don’t know.”

Will texts Melanie to ask her about the Cathedral. He asks her how she felt going into it. She replies:

terrified.

When Clay tells Will to ask her if she felt a supernatural weight put upon her when she walked in, she replies:

yes

“Metaphysical misogyny,” Roman says.

* * *

Elsewhere, Trent sits in front of the suburban house he sat in front of before. A little girl plays in the front room. He watches her through the window.

Then, a plain brown sedan drives up in front of the house. Trent draws his gun. The man who steps out is a man he’s never seen before. He wears a plain suit. He rings the doorbell. He shows something to the woman who answers the door. It looks like a badge. She invites him in.

He sits down with the little girl. He says something to the mother, and the mother leaves the room. The plain man with the badge waits for the mother to leave. Then, he draws a small pistol with a silencer. He shoots the little girl. She falls to the floor.

Then, he stands up and looks down at the floor. Trent cannot see what he’s looking at. The man takes a piece of paper from his jacket and looks at it. Then, he looks over his shoulder and walks to the front door. He leaves. He gets into his car and starts it.

Trent is already in the back seat. He reaches forward and grabs the man’s throat. “Drive,” he says. The man does as he’s told.

“Who are you working for?” Trent asks the man.

“Nobody. I…”

Trent breaks the man’s neck. The car swerves and crashes. Trent searches the man’s body. He takes both the guns. He looks at the man’s ID. It’s a detective’s badge.

Detective Ben Schullson.

He looks at the piece of paper the man had in his jacket. It’s a list of names. Some of the names are crossed off.

Trent leaves the car behind and walks back to the house. He looks in the window of the front room.

On the floor, the little girl’s dress lays on the floor. But there’s no body. Just twigs and string.

* * *

John’s Wicked Chili

This recipe fed six hungry gamers (plus the Wife) with left-overs. Preparation was about twenty minutes. The cost was low because we already had most of the spices in the house. It’s an easy recipe because all you do is brown the meat, then throw everything into a crock pot and let it simmer all day. Cheaper than fast food and damn yummy to boot.

Ingredients

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar or honey (or both!)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder (yes, I said cup. don’t be a wuss.)

Directions

  1. Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble.
  2. In a large crock pot, combine rest of the ingredients. Set on low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.

Changeling, Episode 19

(Unfortunately, LJ is still posting all of my pictures at odd angles. My apologies.)

The Girls step sideways back into the Real World and see the sun just setting on the horizon. For a moment they panic—Walker is with them. He hides beneath a shadow… but nothing happens. He cautiously extends his hand into the dim sunlight… but nothing happens.

“Strange,” he says.

The Girls and Walker head back to the coffee shop.

When they arrive, Sebastian is there waiting for them. “There’s been an accident,” he says. He shows them Adam, up above the coffee shop. “He’s been shot,” he says. “The bullet almost hit his heart. Nearly killed him. The only thing that saved him was Jack’s whiskey.”

The Girls leave Adam alone and walk back downstairs to the coffee shop. That’s when the phone rings.

“Tapped Grounds,” Kiera says. “Whuddya drink?”

“Is this Kiera?” a woman’s voice asks.

“Yeah. So what?” she says.

“One moment please.” There’s a pause on the other end of the phone.

Then, a man’s voice. “Hello. Kiera, I presume?”

“This is getting kinda creepy,” Kiera says.

“This is Jacob Collins. I’m the new Prince of Minneapolis. And I’d like to visit Dinkytown this evening to arrange for a new contract between my city and your people.”

The Girls pause for a long moment. Kiera says, “You gonna show up by yourself?”

“No,” Collins says. “I’ll be bringing along my associate, Ms. Lethe. But that’s all.”

Kiera talks quietly with the other Girls. They agree.

“You can show up,” Kiera says. “But if you bring anybody else, you’ll be seeing sunlight.”

“I understand,” the gentleman on the other side of the phone tells her. “Ten o’clock, then. I’ll be there.”

The Girls spend the next couple of hours preparing. Walker says, “I can be invisible when he arrives. Stay out of sight. If there’s any trouble,” he touches his revolver, “I can help.” He stands behind Misty. "If he lies to you, I can tell," he says. "If he lies to you, I’ll tap you on the shoulder." Misty nods.

Misty sits in the back of the coffee shop away from the other girls, near Walker.

When ten o’clock rolls around, they see a limousine pull up outside the coffee shop. A woman who looks like she belongs in the cast of Ally McBeal steps out and opens the back door. Jacob Collins lifts himself from the back of the limousine and walks to the coffee house door.

His coat looks Victorian, although made from modern materials and tools. He walks with a cane. He has a slight moustache and goatee. And a glimmer in his eye. He smiles when he reaches the doorway. “May I come in?” he asks.

Misty asks, “If we don’t invite you, do you have to stand outside?”

He shakes his head. “Oh, dear no. But I am a stickler for formalities.”

The Girls invite him inside. He steps across the threshold with his companion just behind him. “This is Ms Lethe,” he says. “My only attendant this evening.”

He sits down and says, “I see there’s some coffee. I’d very much like some. And those biscuits look wonderful.”

“You can drink?” Misty asks.

“And eat?” Melanie asks.

“Of course I can,” he tells them. “A little trick I learned not too long ago. It makes my presence among mortals a little less uncomfortable.”

"Did you build the Cathedral?" Lilith asks.

"Indeed, I did."

Lilith watches him closely when she asks, "Are you a Magician?"

Collins looks startled. "A what?"

"And Alice. She was your… assistant?"

"I’m afraid I have no idea what you are talking about."

Walker taps on Misty’s shoulder.

He smiles and points at each of the Girls. “Melanie,” he says. “Kiera. Lilith.” And then at the back of the room. “And Misty. Am I right?”

The Girls all nod. He laughs.

“Very good. I’m glad my information was correct. Now, I understand that your previous contract with Minneapolis was unacceptable.”

The Girls nod again.

“Excellent. Well, I am open to suggestions. Please. Tell me what would be acceptable.”

The Girls talk about it. Kiera says, “The previous contract was fine. Except for that clause about us giving up one of our own every Halloween.”

“I agree,” Collins says. “Terrible. Absolutely terrible.”

“So, we want a non-aggression clause. If a vampire attacks a changeling or if a changeling attacks a vampire, the contract burns.”

Collins shakes his head. “That isn’t a severe enough punishment,” he says. “’The Contract burns.’ And what does that accomplish? It only means we have to sign another one.”

The Girls listen to what he says.

“I assume your contracts are magical of some kind?”

The Girls nod.

“Very well. Make it this. A non-aggression treaty. But if one side attacks the other, the individual who sparked the violence becomes… helpless. Is that possible?”

The Girls look at each other. They talk a little while.

“Yes,” Misty says. “We can do that.”

“Very good,” Collins tells them. “Write up that contract. I will sign it.”

The Girls spend a moment writing up the contract. They hand it to Collins. He looks it over. He nods. “Very well,” he says. “This seems perfectly acceptable to me.” He raises his pen and is ready to drop it. But then, he hesitates. “Oh. I’m sorry. I forgot one small thing.”

“Of course,” Misty says.

“I cannot sign this contract unless I am allowed to return to my city with the individual who is responsible for the many deaths of my people. I’m afraid the Council will not allow it.”

“Aren’t you Prince?” Melanie asks. “Aren’t you in charge?”

He shakes his head. “I am Prince,” he says. “But a newly restored Prince. My power is not yet consolidated. The Council will strip me of my title if I do not return with what they demand. And then, you girls will have to deal with a new Prince.” He pauses. “One who may not be so agreeable as I.”

Misty waits for Walker’s tap. It doesn’t come.

“We’re not giving up Adam,” Kiera says.

“As you wish,” he tells her. “But if you do not give him to me, I shall be forced to try taking him myself. Against your will. And I am certain no-one in the room wants that.”

The Girls stiffen.

“Give him to me. I will sign the contract. You will get everything you want. Just give me the one who is responsible for murdering my people.”

The Girls talk about it. They agree. “We’re not giving you Adam,” Kiera says. “We can’t do that. But… can we give you someone else instead?”

The Prince shakes his head. “I’m afraid not. You see, there are members of the Council who will know if they are being tricked. It must be someone who has murdered Minneapolis vampires.”

“We can give them Smith,” Melanie says. The other Girls glare at her.

“Who is Smith?” the Prince asks.

“He’s a mortal living in St. Paul. He kills a lot of vampires,” Melanie says.

“What are you doing?” Lilith asks Melanie.

“He doesn’t mean anything to us,” Melanie says. “He kills people. He likes guns. He’s scary.”

“He’s not family,” Kiera says.

Misty doesn’t say anything.

“If he’s responsible for vampire murders, he is an acceptable substitute.” The Prince sips his coffee and eats a danish. “Can you bring him here?”

Misty nods. “I have his phone number.”

“Then do it. I will take care of him when he arrives.”

“He’s very dangerous,” Melanie says.

The Prince nods. “I will take care of him.”

The Girls call Smith. They tell him there’s a vampire they want him to kill. He says he can be there in forty minutes.

The longest forty minutes of their lives.

When Smith arrives, the Prince has already spilled blood on the table in front of him. The wound in his hand is open, but not bleeding. Smith opens the door. The Prince raises his hand and all of Smith’s blood rushes out of his body into the Prince’s hand. He clenches his fist and Smith falls to the ground.

“Excellent,” the Prince says. He looks at the Girls. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

Then, Ms Lethe lifts Smith’s unmoving (but still living) body with one hand and throws him into the limousine’s trunk. The Prince gets back into the limousine and Ms Lethe shuts the door behind her.

And the Girls watch the limo pull away.

Changeling, Episode 18 (Part 2)

When the Girls return from the warehouse, they have another problem to sort out. Actually, two problems. One of them is Walker. The other is Lilith’s eye.

“I want my eye back,” she says. “Can we find something in the Goblin Market that can find my eye?”

Kiera nods. “I’m sure we can.”

“And Walker,” Misty says. “Something that can cure Walker.”

Kiera looks concerned. “I’m not as sure about that.”

The Girls head off to where the Market has moved: behind an old woman’s house in her back yard garden. Kiera looks at Walker. “Ever been to the Goblin Market before?” He shakes his head. She smiles. “Get ready!”

They step through…

… and they are in the Market.

They look around for a while but they cannot find the contract maker.

“I got something for you!” their little goblin friend says. “I got magic watch!”

Lilith shows him her watch. “Already have one of those.”

“Hmmm…” he says. “How ‘bout magic rock?”

Kiera shows him her magic rock. “Already have one of those.”

“Hmmm…” he says. “Whatchoo need?”

“We need to know where the contract maker is,” Kiera says.

“Oh! I know! I know! But, you have to give me something.”

They ask him what he wants.

“Go witchoo when you leave!” the goblin says.

The Girls look at each other. They nod. “All right,” they say.

He laughs and jumps and claps his hands. “Yes! I show you contract guy! He sick!”

They follow him to a back part of the Market. Far in the corner, under a shadow, his caravan sits. Locked. They knock on the door. He answers feebly, “Go away.”

The Girls chat with him through the door. They make promises. He lets them inside. They ask why he hasn’t gotten a cure for his sickness. “The Remedy Lady,” he says, “doesn’t like me.”

The Girls make him an offer. They’ll get his remedy if he gives them the contracts they want. He agrees.

At the Remedy Lady’s caravan, the Girls show her antique jewelry from Misty’s house they brought with them. “From the hand of Lady Fate,” the Remedy Lady says, “This is payment enough.” She takes the jewelry and gives them the remedy they need.

Returning to the Contract caravan, they dip the remedy into his mouth. He thanks them and asks what kind of Contract they need.

“Something to find my lost eye,” Lilith says. The contract man nods. “I have something for that.” He points at a cabinet. “That one. No, not that one. The one behind it.” Lilith has the contract in her hand.

Misty says, “Something to cure Lord Strange.”

“That,” the contract man says, “is a little more difficult.” He points to a secret panel in his floor. They lift it and find a box of contracts that seem to be written on an oily black parchment.

“I will not lie to you,” he says. “These are extremely dangerous. Using them could cause… unintended consequences.” He pauses. “Dire consequences.”

The Girls look at the contracts, afraid to break the seal. They put them back in the black box. “We know where they are,” Misty says. “If we need them.”

Walker nods. “Probably for the best.”

The Girls leave the Contract Man and meet up with the Fortune Teller. She bows to Lord Strange and Lady Fate. She offers Walker a gift: a solution he can drink to “suppress your baser desires,” she tells him.

On the way out, they find the Book Buyer. Misty shows Walker the multi-volume set on Lord Strange, Lady Fate and Lord Action. She reads a little from the last volume.

Edward kissed her then. She held his hair in his hands and kissed him hard…

Misty closes the book. Walker says, “Edward was my father’s name.”

Misty puts the book back.

They step sideways then. Out of the Goblin Market and back into the world…

Changeling, Episode 18 (Part 1)

(Because of Blood & Honor, I haven’t had time to keep up with the Glamour Girls entries. This is from three weeks ago. My notes and memory are scant and there are bound to be things I overlooked. My apologies. The next update—from last night’s game—will be later today.)

The Girls sit in Dinkytown thinking about what they need to do. Prioritizing their goals.

The Changeling Killer is the primary goal. They have to stop him first. That detective they met, Ben Schullson, told them that he needed a list of fetches. They get him that list. They also realize they need to examine the latest body. “Wouldn’t the police have found anything?” they ask Walker.

He shakes his head. “No. Some things, they just can’t see.”

They head off to the Morgue. Once there, Walker examines the body. He finds a small piece of paper wrapped in plastic shoved down the fetch’s throat. They open the paper. It reads:

fly little bird
fly away home
your house is on fire
your children all alone

“That’s a nursery rhyme,” Misty says.

Kiera looks at the list of fetches and finds hers. Ann Bradstreet. They have an address. They drive off. But when they arrive, there are police around the house. The Girls are too late. Ben Schullson is already there. They ask him about details. “The girl is missing,” he says. “Kidnapped from the house.”

Kiera calls birds from around the house and starts asking questions. “Where did she go?” she asks. The birds tell her, “Big hoova!” Kiera explains that’s bird talk for “truck.” She asks the birds to help her find the truck. They squawk and fly out. Lilith tries to get a sense of what happened. She closes her eyes and sees a white van. The birds return with news: the big hoova is not far away. They drive off toward an industrial complex not far away from the Mississippi River.

Just outside one of the abandoned buildings is a white van. Misty turns invisible and moves closer. The van is empty. She moves toward the building.

“Wait a minute,” Ben tells the other Girls. “We can’t go in there.” The Girls ask him why. He says, “I don’t have any legal reason to go in there. I have no search warrant. I have no witnesses identifying the van. If I go in there, any shred of evidence we get will be thrown out. The guy will walk.”

The Girls think about this. Melanie calls 911 on her celphone. “Hello?” she says. “I was jogging by this building on my normal morning jog and I saw a guy lifting a girl out of the back of a white van. Yes, I have the address. No, I would like to keep this anonymous.” Then, she hangs up the phone. “How’s that for a lead?” she asks.

Moments later, a call comes over Ben’s radio asking for a car to investigate the address. Ben pulls his gun from its holster. “Good enough for government work,” he says.

Meanwhile, invisible Misty has made her way into the building. She sees a girl who looks like the Barbie version of Kiera—blonde hair, sweater, painted on jeans—strapped to a table. She hears another sound further in the building. She waits. Kieara climbs up to the top of the building where the windows shine light down on the scene. Ben, Walker, Melanie and Lilith are at the door. The cops kick it in. Everyone rushes into the building.

The guns make the man with the knives stop in his tracks. The Girls all recognize him.

It’s Elliot. Melanie’s friendly campus doctor who helped them not too long ago.

The cops handcuff him. The Girls ask him questions. “Why did you to this to us?”

He shakes his head. “I didn’t do this to you. I did it to your fetches.”

“Where are the hearts?” they ask.

“I ate them,” he says. “So I could become like you.”

“You’re guilty of murder,” Walker says. But Elliot shakes his head.

“I’m not,” he says. “Those things I ‘killed?’ They’re not real. They’re fetches. They’re dolls. Magic dolls. I haven’t killed anyone. All I did was dismantle a bunch of dolls.”

He looks at the Girls. “Did any of you actually give a single shit about your fetches?” The Girls don’t answer. “Of course you don’t. You don’t care about them. You hate them. They represent everything you lost. Why do you care if someone does anything to them?”

The Girls think about that. He isn’t entirely wrong. Until they started dying, the Girls didn’t even think about their fetches.

Elliot looks at the cops. “You can’t convict me of murder. I haven’t killed anyone. None of them were real. They’re clever faerie illusions. Glamours.” He points at the Girls. “The real ones are right there. I only dismantled facsimiles.”

Then, Elliot smiles. “Send me to court and I’ll have my lawyer tear apart Dinkytown. He’ll find all of you. He’ll ruin everything you’ve built there. You’ll lose everything. He’ll serve each of you. You’ll have to testify in court. And all of my victims will stand in the box and testify that they’re alive.”

Kiera snarls, “You want to be one of us? You want to be a faerie?” She grabs him. “Fine,” she says. “Let’s put him there.”

“Where?” Ben asks.

“Let’s put him in faerie. If that’s where he wants to go. Let’s give him what he wants.”

Ben says, “I need a body. I need something to hand over to the system.” He thinks for a moment. Then, he takes out his gun and shoots Elliot in the leg. Elliot screams. He looks at the Girls. “Take him to the River.” He looks at Elliot. “You tried to escape. I shot you. You jumped into the River. They’ll look for your body but they’ll never find it. And the murders will stop.”

The Girls nod and drag Elliot to the River’s edge. They find a soft spot in the Hedge. Kiera drags him through. He screams for help. They slug him.

On the Other Side, Kiera contacts a bird. “Tell Baba Yaga I left something for her,” she says. The bird nods and flies off. She looks at Elliot and his wounded leg.

“Run,” she says. “Baba Yaga is coming for you.”

Then, she slips out of Arcadia and back into the real world…

Blood Boys, Episode 7

 

Looking at the burning wreck of a car, Trent thinks, “At least it was a rental.”

 

He moves forward, following the trail of blood. He’s moving through a suburban neighborhood; that means police soon. If he wants to catch the Lightning Man, he’ll have to do it quick.

 

Trent follows the blood trail into someone’s backyard… and then it stops. He looks around. Across the yard, just behind the corner of a house, he sees the Lightning Man. They have a brief exchange of intimidating words. Trent fires the gun again. It rocks the Lightning Man out of range. Trent rushes forward again, but this time, his eyes are blinded by a flash of lightning, skidding down the road. Trent calls Walker. “What the hell is this guy?” Trent asks.

 

Walker tells him, “I don’t know. I’m not sure, I mean. He has some kind of alchemical connection to the sky. Weather.”

 

“He’s bulletproof,” Trent says.

 

“He’s not bulletproof,” Walker tells him. “He’s… he’s complicated.”

 

“I’m going after him,” Trent tells him, re-loading his gun.

 

“Don’t,” Walker says. He’ll kill you. If he didn’t kill you with the first lightning blast, it’s because he’s fucking with you.”

 

Just then, Trent’s phone buzzes. He looks. WE LOST DON it says. Trent curses and takes another look down the street where the lightning went.

 

* * *

 

Back in the Tennyson House, Don, Roman and _________________ prepare to leave.

 

That’s when Don disappears. Completely. Vanishes from sight. Not even an aura trace left behind.

 

Roman and _________________ look around, but cannot find him.

 

“Fuck this,” Roman says. “I told you guys not to take the books.” _________________ begins to wonder if he’s right. The two of them leave the house, get into the car and drive away. Pulling down the driveway, they see the woman in the portrait standing in a window.

 

_________________ looks at her with his Mekhet sight. “Shit,” he says.

 

“What?” Roman asks.

 

“Her. It’s her. Get the fuck out of here. Right now.”

 

Roman drives fast. As soon as they pass the gate, a pain strikes _________________ directly in the chest. “Crap,” he says. Roman looks at him, says nothing, and keeps driving.

 

* * *

 

Don blinks and he’s no longer in the library. Pitch black. He turns on his cell phone light.

 

He’s in a small room (10’ x 10’) with a single door. He puts the books down and opens the door.

 

The woman in the portrait is there.

 

Don screams, falls back and he’s in the main hallway, downstairs by the front door. He picks the books back up and rushes for the front door. Just in the nick of time, he notices light coming from the windows. He checks his cell phone.

 

7:33 AM. One hour after sunrise.

 

Don carries his books downstairs into the cellar. Surrounded by shelves of wine and bags of rice and jarred fruit, he piles heavy bags in front of the door. He sits down on the floor. He tries not to fall asleep.

 

He fails.

 

* * *

 

(Time gets tricky here. Pay attention.)

 

As Roman and _________________ drive toward the club, Trent tries to find a way back to the club and… who knows what happened to Don?… Will is at the club already. Jonas Clay approaches him with a secret handshake. Will returns it as he was taught. They talk for a little while about the city and the reporter who disappeared. Will asks Mr. Clay, “What’s all that about?”

 

Clay says, “Follow me.”

 

The two of them approach a statue. Clay extends his hand. “Give me the grip,” he says. Will does as he’s told. Suddenly, the streets fill with a blue light as if the streets were transparent and huge flood lights were below them. The statue as well.

 

“Take a step this way,” Clay says. They do. And with that step, the two of them stand in front of the Sears Building. It burns with a blue light so blinding, Will can barely look at it.

 

“It is not mistake the Prince makes his residence here,” Clay says. “Whether he knows that or not.”

 

Another step and they are at the bridge leading into Dinkytown. “The power does not extend beyond here,” Clay says. “I do not know why.”

 

Another step and they are back at the club. Will is wide eyed. “Whoah,” he says.

 

“I’m glad you are so impressed,” Clay tells him.

 

“Can I do that?” Will asks.

 

“If you learn,” Clay says.

 

Will nods. “I’ll learn.”

 

* * *

 

On their way back from the house—leaving Don behind—Roman and _________________ text Trent. WE LOST DON. They rush over there themselves.

 

At the club, Trent, _________________, Roman and Will meet up. “We lost Don,” Roman tells them.

 

“I know that,” Trent says. “I read the text. What happened.”

 

“One second he was there,” _________________ tells him, “and the next he wasn’t.”

 

“Hey!” Will tells Trent. “That happened to you!”

 

Trent nods. “Well, if it’s the same thing that happened to me, he’ll be back some time later. We’ll just have to wait.”

 

The night passes without incident.

 

* * *

 

Galloping. That’s what wakes Don up. Huge feet pounding the roof above him.

 

He hears a woman’s voice. “Sebastian! No!”

 

He sits very still. He waits. He hears other voices. He hears footfalls. Then, he hears bodies leaving. A car starts up outside. It drives away. Don realizes he was holding his breath… even though he doesn’t breathe.

 

Now that he’s awake, he looks at the books. He has the last five. He begins reading. The first volume he has picks up in the 1800’s. He reads:

 

… some lout named Alex is going on about throwing invisible vampires at Yeats. Imbecile wouldn’t know a vampire if it bit him.

 

He reads a bit more. Learning about this “Lady Fate.”

 

The day passes slowly…

 

… but then, a shadow crosses over him. He stops reading.

 

Standing above him is the woman in the portrait.

 

“Elaine Tennyson,” he says.

 

She glares at him. “Get out of my house.”

 

“Are you Elaine Tennyson?” he asks.

 

“Get out of my house. And leave behind what you stole.”

 

“I didn’t steal any…”

 

GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!

 

He runs to the front door. Lucky for him, the sun has set. And he leaves the books behind him.

 

* * *

 

Far below the Cathedral, out of sight, a woman walks through the catecombs. She reaches one that is darker than the rest. There is a man with a stake through his chest. An ivory stake, carved with intricate detail.

 

“You were right,” she tells him. “You bastard. You were right.”

 

She puts one hand against the man’s chest and the other wraps around the stake. She pulls.

 

* * *

 

“Where are you?” Lethe asks Don on his cell phone.

 

“I’m north of the city,” he says. “Walking.”

 

“I’ll pick you up,” she says.

 

An hour later, Don sits in the back of her limo. She asks him, “What were you doing all the way up here?”

 

“Long story,” he says.

 

Just then, both of them feel something… break.

 

Across the Mississippi, Will feels it, too. So does Trent.

 

“You feel that?” Will asks. Trent nods.

 

“Something happened,” Trent says.

 

Back in the limo, Lethe curses something under her breath. She turns and tells the driver, “Head for the Cathedral. Now.”

 

The driver changes direction, spinning his wheels on the pavement.

 

“Something wrong?” Don asks.

 

She shakes her head. “Covenant business,” she says. Then, she turns to the driver. “Stop here!”

 

The driver stops. Lethe looks at Don. “Get out.”

 

Don doesn’t ask questions. He notices he’s by the club anyway. The limo begins peeling away before he can get both feet out of the door.

 

* * *

 

“What was all that about?” Roman asks.

 

“Covenant business,” Don says. “And you guys fucking left me in the house.”

 

“We didn’t know where you went,” _________________ tells him.

 

Trent asks, “Did you end up in a bar?”

 

Don looks confused. “What?”

 

Trent shakes his head. “Never mind.”

 

They all sit down together. Don says, “Do you still have the books?”

 

_________________ nods.

 

“Good. We should put them back.”

 

_________________ shakes his head. “I’m not going back into that house.

 

They argue for a short while, deciding what to do about the books they have. _________________ begins reading them. He has the earliest entries. 1603. Elizabeth’s England. John Dee has five spies, each with orichalcum rings. She’s been dubbed “Lady Fate” by the magician.

 

Don texts Mister Fix. PROBLEM IN MINNAPOLIS.

Fix texts back. WHAT PROBLEM?

Don: CAN’T SAY.

 

Roman says, “The Dinkytown bitches hit us where we eat.” He looks at the others. “We should do the same thing. Get Don’s contacts to cut off their liquor and food at that pub of theirs.”

 

Don says, “I don’t have those kinds of connections.”

 

Will sits uncomfortably.

 

Roman says, “I bet Fix does.”

 

Don texts Mister Fix, asking about liquor and food. Could he help?

Fix: NOT OFFICIALLY.

Don texts back: THIS ISN’T AN OFFICIAL REQUEST.

 

There’s a knock on the door. They look through the security cameras. An insubstantial blur stands at the front door. “One of us,” Roman says.

 

They open the door. Standing there is a man in a black suit with a hole through the chest. He takes off his hat.

 

“Gentlemen messengers,” he says. “Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the new Prince of Minneapolis.”

 

Behind him, Ms. Lethe stands at the door of her limo. She says nothing.

 

“Please come in,” Don says.

 

The Prince asks them many questions. They eventually ask for his name.

 

“Jacob Collins,” he says.

 

They all remember him. He doesn’t remember them. Torpor can do that to a vampire.

 

They fill him in on a few questions. Is Marcus still Prince of St. Paul? Fix is his seneschal? How is Nathan? And… the Duke of Dinkytown?

 

“Really,” he says, letting the word roll off his tongue.

“Are you going to live in the cathedral?” Will asks.

Collins laughs. “Of course, boy. I built it.”

 

Then, he says, “I’ve learned enough for now. Please allow me to reward you for your generosity.”

 

He puts a hand on Don’s shoulder and… something changes inside Don. Something… he can’t quite explain.

 

“I will leave you to your duties. Please arrange a meeting between myself and the Prince of St. Paul, would you?”

 

Then, he walks out to the limo. Ms. Lethe opens the door for him. He sits inside. They watch her close the door.

 

And as she steps away from the door, she mouths a single word that only the Boys can see.

 

help

 

 

Changeling, Episode 17

Walker still holds the paper he pulled from the corpse’s mouth with the name “TENNYSON” written with lemon juice.

“Do you remember?” he asks them. They think back.

Lilith says, “The woman in the boat!”

Walker nods. “She was murdered a few months ago. You girls found her body floating in a boat down the Mississippi.”

“I did that,” Kiera says.

“But if she’s already dead,” Misty asks, “why is her name hidden on that piece of paper?”

Walker doesn’t answer.

“We need to talk to your partner,” Lilith tells Walker. “The one in charge of the investigation.” She pauses. “The one who thinks you’re dead.”

“Oh!” Kiera jumps up. “I saw this movie with a ghost. And he was wearing chains and spooky.” She mimics the ghost she saw. “We can put the chains on Walker and he can be a ghost!”

Everyone looks at Kiera.

“I’ve got chains,” Melanie says. Everyone looks at Melanie.

“I’m not wearing chains,” Walker tells them.

The Girls talk through what they need to do. They decide to split up. Misty and Kiera will go to the Tennyson House while Lilith, Melanie and Walker will go talk to Detective Schullson.

And in her pocket, Lilith’s watch clicks.

* * *

Ben Schullson walks out of the St. Paul Police Department. Across the street, the Girls and Walker watch him. He comes close to the car. The Girls shout out his name. He turns and sees them. Sees two girls sitting in a car that he’s seen lying flat in the morgue. He almost falls over.

“Detective Schullson,” they say. “We’d like to talk to you about the Changeling Killer.”

He doesn’t know what to say. He holds his hand over his heart.

“Maybe we could get some coffee?” Lilith suggests.

He nods. “All right. All right.”

They get out of the car, noticing that Walker has vanished.

In the coffee shop, the Girls start to explain what’s going on. They tell him about faerie abductions. They tell him about Changelings. They tell him about fetches. He sits and listens. And then, he tells them, “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what’s going on, but… faeries?”

Lilith and Melanie look at each other. They decide to do something extreme. Lilith recites an Oath and asks Schullson to agree.

“Whatever. Yes.”

That’s when he sees the Girls for what they truly are. And that’s when he spills his hot coffee all over the table. One of the coffee shop girls comes over. “He saw a bug,” Melanie says. Ben nods. She cleans up the coffee.

“Okay,” he says. “Faerie magic. Okay. Just let me get my head around this, okay?” Then, he pauses. “Aren’t you the girls who told me Will Walker is still alive?”

The Girls look at each other. “Uh,” Lilith tells him. “Yes. He is. Sort of.”

“What does that mean?”

Melanie says, “Maybe he should tell you himself.”

Ben nods. “All right. What’s next?”

“We need to know everything you know about the Changeling Killer. He’s killing fetches.”

“He’s white,” Ben says. “He’s left-handed.”

The Girls speak together, “He’s middle class. He’s a professional. He went to college. He’s about thirty to forty years old.”

Ben nods. “Yeah. But I don’t think he’s that old. I think he’s younger.” He pauses. “How do you know all this?”

“Because you and Walker think alike,” Melanie says.

“There’s something else,” he says. “Now that you’ve told me what you have.”

“What’s that?” Melanie asks.

“He knows you,” Ben says.

Their eyes widen. They grip their coffees a little tighter.

“Look,” he says. “I’m on my way to the last crime scene. I need to get there before dark or my wife is going to kill me.” He gives them his business card. “If what you say is true, if he’s killing… fetches? If he’s killing fetches, he has a list. I need that list. I need a list of all the fetches in the Twin Cities. I can put cops on them, just to watch and see. If that’s what he’s doing, we know what he’s going after. And we can anticipate where he’s going next.”

The Girls nod and tell him they’ll get him a list. Then, he stands up. “I have to go. But I’ll call you later.”

Ben leaves. And the Girls wonder where Walker went.

* * *


When they leave for the Tennyson House, Sebastian asks, “Where are you going?”

“To a murder scene!” Kiera says.

“I’m going with you,” he tells them. “I don’t like the idea of you two going anywhere by yourselves.”

All three of them take a bus as far as it will take them. They walk the rest of the way.

The security on the House is easy. Sebastian jumps up high enough to reach the fifth floor. Kiera climbs. Misty gets in through the bottom floor.

They move through the house slowly. Misty finds a portrait on the wall. A woman with long, black hair wearing the ring that’s on her finger now.

Upstairs, Kiera and Sebastian find the murder scene. Kiera finds notes on the carpet next to blood stains. Most of them are letters. One says, BLUNT TRAUMA. She takes that one. It must be important.

Misty finds the library. She finds a hidden panel that someone left open. She goes inside. There’s a desktop with bookends but no books. Lots of dust.

Sebastian and Kiera come down to the library. They look at the secret room. “Something was here,” Misty tells them.

Kiera shows Misty pictures she found in the bedroom upstairs. Pictures of her and the woman in the portrait downstairs.

“This isn’t me,” Misty says. “And I don’t have a fetch.”

Misty hears a voice behind her. It calls her name. She turns and sees the woman in the portrait. Her sad eyes call to her. And then, she’s gone.

Kiera points at the picture. “This picture says you do have a fetch,” Kiera tells her.

Confused, Misty tries to recover. “But I’d know it if I did,” she says, still looking at where she saw the woman.

That’s when someone opens the door at the front of the house. Sebastian and the Girls look for a hiding spot. Misty disappears. Kiera and Sebastian hide in the secret panel. As they shut the door a light turns on. A black light. And words appear on the walls…

* * *

Ben Schullson walks upstairs to the bedroom where Kiera and Sebastian found the murder scene. Misty follows him, unobserved. He goes to the desk in the room, reaches under it and finds a hidden switch. That unlocks a picture on the wall. Behind the picture is a safe. Ben takes out a piece of paper with writing on it. He looks at the writing, looks at the safe and turns the lock. The safe opens. It’s filled with papers and folders.

Ben takes out the papers as Misty watches. The first one says WILLIAM WALKER. He opens it and Misty watches as close as she can. One of the folders has the label, “The Kindred of St. Paul.” He removes that one and opens it. On the top is a folded piece of paper. It unfolds like a map. On the paper is names and arrows. Almost like a family tree. In the center of the paper is a name: MARCUS. Under the name, the word “Seneschal” is crossed off, replaced with the word, “Prince.” There are other names on the paper. ANTON FIX. JONAS CLAY. Misty can’t get too close or she’ll alert the detective. But she looks. And she remembers.

Ben puts that folder away and takes out another one. “The Kindred of Minneapolis.” He opens it and looks at it. The name J. BLACK is in the center of the paper, but it is crossed off, replaced with ALICE. Under her name were the words “Scarlet Woman.” They’ve been replaced with “High Priestess.”

Down below, Kiera writes down the letters she sees. “Do you know what language that is?” Sebastian asks?”

“No,” Kiera tells him. “But Misty or Lilith will know.”

Ben starts taking folders out of the safe. Misty decides to step out of the room and walk back in, unshadowed. When she does, the papers fly from Ben’s hands.

“Shit!” she shouts. “Wait. You’re… one of the… changelings?”

She tells him she is. And that she’s the girl in the picture.

When Sebastian and Kiera hear shouting, Sebastian turns into his Wolf and Kiera grabs him by the scruff of the neck, riding on his back. He leaps into the bedroom. Ben freaks out again.

“Everything’s okay,” Misty tells the Wolf.

“Are you a werewolf?” Ben asks, still startled.

“Why does everyone ask me that?” the Wolf says. He turns back into Sebastian.

Misty tells Ben, “I’m the girl in the pictures. And those papers belong to me.” Then, she asks, “How did you find the combination?”

“It was in her diary,” Ben says.

“You have her diary?” Misty asks.

“Yeah. I was going to take these down to the station.”

“You can’t do that,” Kiera says. “The vampires own the police.”

“There’s vampires?” Ben asks, his breath almost gone.

“Let’s go to Dinkytown,” Misty says. “And bring those papers with you.”

* * *

Back in Dinkytown, the Girls look over the folders. They have vampire names. Relationships. They also have a folder on Walker. Misty starts looking through it. Lilith calls Walker and tells him his partner is here.

“It says here the Prince of Minneapolis was a scarlet woman,” Kiera says. “What does that mean?”

“It means she’s looking for a magician,” Misty says.

Lilith and Misty explain “scarlet woman” to Kiera, Melanie and the rest. Lilith and Misty look at each other. “She wanted Walker,” they both say.
As if on cue, Detective Walker steps into the coffee shop. Ben turns to look at him. The two friends don’t say a word until Walker says, “Hi Ben. Let’s go across the street and I’ll buy you a drink.”

“After today, you’d better make that two.” Ben and Walker step outside and cross the street.

“Oh!” Kiera says. “I found this in the room. When the door closed.” She hands the paper to Lilith.

“It’s Latin,” Lilith says. Misty agrees. They spend a moment translating.

“What’s it say?” Kiera asks.

Misty says, “It says, A CURSE ON THOSE WHO VIOLATE THIS SACRED PLACE.”

Kiera nods. “A good thing we didn’t violate it.” Then, she thinks. “I wonder who did.”

Blood Boys, Episode 6

(As I said before, LJ won’t allow me to post the pictures I took. My apologies. I’ll have the problem fixed as soon as I can.)

The night before, each of the Boys was alone. Don taking Lethe back to his place. Trent sat in front of a family’s home, watching. Roman was below the streets. Will was… not alone. And _______________ was hidden, follwing Don.

The next night, Don woke up alone, but he didn’t fall asleep alone. Bit by bit, he remembers the night before. And he remembers Lethe declining his offer to share blood. Maybe next time.

As the memory still swirls in his mind, the phone rings. Trent is on the line, telling him there’s a problem at the club. An infestation. Roaches. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk in a room without seeing them. Everywhere. Don says he’ll be down as soon as he can.

Roman takes an hour or two to visit Bob (the security guard). He asks Bob about his two daughters. Are they okay? What are they watching on TV these days? Simple questions to remind Bob exactly who he belongs to.

Back at the club, Trent and ___________________ talk to the exterminators. They’re told the problem is so severe a tent will be necessary. The roaches skitter here and there. You can’t look anywhere without seeing one. ___________________ looks at them with his Mekhet sight… and he sees the roaches have the same aura as the Dinkytown Girls.

That’s when Will walks in. He says hello. ___________________ looks at him. And in Will’s aura, he has a hint of the same glow as the roaches. Roman shows up then. He’s been spending time at the local Walmart looking at missing children signs, seeing if he recognizes any of them. He doesn’t like Will’s new girlfriend.

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Will mutters under his breath.

When Don arrives, ___________________ tells him about the glow. Both the roaches and Will. Don wants to know what Will’s been doing. “I was at a party,” Will says. “She invited me. Melanie invited me. There were a bunch of people.”

“Did you drink her blood?” Don asks.

“Maybe. Yeah. A little.”

Don curses something. ___________________ suggests calling the Girls to see if they know anything about the roaches. Don looks through his phone and finds he has Lilith’s number. He gives her a call.

(I give bella_surena a call. I hand the phone to nihilistic mind.)

The Boys hear one side of the conversation. ___________________ hears all of it. Don and Lilith talk about the roaches. She suggests talking to them. If that doesn’t work, maybe the Girls can do something about it. “And yes,” Don says. “I did get your warning about Roman.” Roman doesn’t like the sound of that. Don hangs up the phone.

“She says we should talk to them,” he tells them. So, Don kneels down and says to one of the roaches. “Hello. I’d like to talk.”

The roach seems to look up at him, it’s antennae twisting.

“So, you understand me,” Don says. “This is our home.”

A swarm of roaches rushes along one of the walls. Together, they form two words.

OUR HOME

And then, they skitter away back to the dark corners.

Don says, “Can we find you another home?”

The roaches form another word.

MAYBE

“If we found you a new home. A better home. Would you go?”

The roach seems to nod. Don’s convinced. “We need to find them somewhere else to go.”

Will says, “We need some guy like the pied piper. Except for roaches.”

“Grow up,” Roman growls at him.

Trent says, “If that doesn’t work, we’ll need Dinkytown’s help.” He looks at the others. “I’ll go.”

Will jumps up. “I’ll go with him.”

___________________ glares at him. “To see your girlfriend.”

“Dude, she’s not my girlfriend.”

“Whatever,” ___________________ mumbles.

“All right,” Don says. “Go if you have to. I have to set up a new Elysium. We can’t hold it here.”

Trent says, “We’ll need the contract.” Don gives it to them.

Trent and Will head off to the market to get food and drink. Trent picks up the first thing he finds: chips and soda. Will gets a bottle of wine; the cheapest he can find. Two buck chuck.

* * *

Trent, Will and ___________________ cross the bridge into Dinkytown. On the first block, they come across a nightclub. Open mic night. As they pass, a man with a guitar nearly runs into them.

“Sorry,” he says. “So…” he pauses. All the color runs from his face. He lifts his guitar in front of him, as if it could protect him.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” he tells them.

Will recognizes the guitar player from last night. “Uh… Matt?” he asks, uncertain of the name.

“Yeah,” the guitar player says. “That’s my name. Matt. What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.”

“We’re looking for help,” Trent says. He holds up the chips and soda. “We brought food and drink.”

The guitar player’s hands shake. “Help with what?”

“Roaches,” Will says. “We’ve got a ton of roaches. And they glow like you guys do. Can you do something about that?”

The guitar player’s eyes gleam for just a moment. “Yeah,” he says. “Actually, I can. But I need your promise that you’ll protect me while I’m in Minneapolis.”

“I promise I’ll protect you,” Trent says.

“Say it again,” the guitar player tells him.

“I promise I’ll protect you.”

“A third time.”

Trent looks at Will. “Is this some kind of faerie thing?” Will shrugs.

“Say it a third time and I’ll come with you.”

Trent shrugs. “Fine. I’ll protect you in Minneapolis.”

The guitar player smiles wide. “All right. I’ll come with you.”

* * *

Back in the nightclub, Roman and Don have a talk.

“They fucked with the place we feed,” Roman says. “This wasn’t an accident.”

“I don’t know,” Don says. “Maybe. It may be someone else.”

“The roaches glow like they do,” Roman points at the insects. “They sent the bugs. You know they did.”

“I don’t see an advantage in that. They’re trying to make peace with us.”

“They’re fucking with us. They think we’re stupid. They think we can’t figure it out.”

Don nods slowly. “Perhaps.”

“We should hit them back. Just as hard. Hit them where they feed.”

“How do we do that? We don’t know anything about them.”

“Marcus does, I bet. And Fix. Fix seems to know a lot about them. And they don’t like Fix.”

“If they become a problem,” Trent says, “we’ll be expected to take care of it.”

“If it comes to that,” Roman tells him, “we can use Will as bait.”

“Bait?”

Roman nods. “Bait.”

“Even if that works, it will only get one of them here.”

“You bring one of them,” Roman says, “the other three will follow.”

Don thinks for a moment. “We’ll consider that,” Don says. “In the meantime, where do we send the roaches?”

“To the Cathedral,” Roman says. “Or the Sears Building. Either one.”

Don thinks for a moment. “Both Princes have been jerking us around.”

“And we can blame it on Dinkytown. The roaches did come from them in the first place.”

Don nods. “I don’t know if we want to make such a direct attack yet. Let’s think about it a little longer.”

Then, both he and Roman head off to Don’s jazz club to prepare it for Elysium.

* * *

Trent, Will and the guitar player arrive at the nightclub (long after Don and Roman have left). ___________________ is not far behind, still unseen.

The guitar player steps into the nightclub and looks at the roaches. “I see,” he says. He takes out his guitar and starts to play.

All the roaches stop moving. Then, they all look at the guitar player. He sings. They all move his direction. He steps out the door. They follow him.

“See!” Will says. “I told you we needed a pie…”

“Shut up,” Trent says.

The guitar player plucks a suspended chord on the guitar. The roaches all pause. He turns to Trent. “If I do this, I’ll want something in return.”

“Like what?” Trent asks.

“Matt” plays another suspended chord. “Free passage to the Twin Cities.

“I can’t guarantee that. I don’t have that kind of authority.”

The guitar player thinks, his music hanging in the air. “Protection, then. Upon request.”

Trent nods. “Done. Just get rid of the roaches.”

“Say it again,” the guitar player tells him.

“I’ll protect you, I’ll protect you, I’ll protect you. Now get rid of the roaches.”

The guitar player smiles. “Where do you want them to go?”

Will and Trent look at each other. Then, at the same time, they say, “The cathedral.”

The guitar player finishes his song and the roaches all skitter toward the sewers.

Trent calls Don. “We took care of it.”

“Took care of what?” Don asks.

“You’re welcome!” Will yells toward the phone.

“We took care of the roaches. They’re gone.”

“Where did they go?” Don asks.

Trent says, “To the cathedral.”

“You’re welcome!” Will yells toward the phone.

They hear a soft groan coming from the phone. “All right. I guess we’ll have to deal with that later.”

* * *

On the other side of the phone, Don hangs up. He sees Roman holding a copy of today’s newspaper. Roman shows Don the headline.

CHANGELING KILLER STRIKES AGAIN

The picture on the front page is someone they remember. The Dinkytown Girl with the ring.

Misty Tennyson.

Roman says one word. “Leverage.”

* * *

Four of the Boys (minus Trent) them pull up outside the house. High in the hills overlooking Minneapolis. Calling it a house is like calling a wedding cake a pastry. It looms up high, full of windows and gables. They bypass the gate easily, drive up the long driveway. The security at the front door is tricky, but not impassible. Into the home.

Ten bedrooms at least. Marble floors. Whoever lived here had a vast source of cash. Everything in the place looks priceless.

Roman looks at photographs. A mother and a daughter. No father. He recognizes the daughter but not the mother. At the top of the stairs they find a huge painting. A portrait of the mother.

Roman points out that she’s wearing the same ring they saw on the girl’s finger. The same ring Walker wears.

Upstairs, they investigate the crime scene. Two ex-cops look it over. The woman was beaten. A struggle. Then, she was thrown from the balcony down to the pool below.

In the library, ___________________ finds a secret panel. He looks around, finds the trigger. Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa. He pulls the book, the panel opens. Inside, he finds a small chamber. Ten large journals inside. Each journal has a different handwriting. No titles on the spine. The first has the date 1609. The last entry in the last book is only two months ago. ___________________ looks at Roman and Don.

Roman smiles. "Leverage," he says.

The Boys take them all.

* * *

Meanwhile, Trent sits outside the same house, watching the family inside. A knock on his window surprises him. His gun is out before he even turns.

A homeless man raises his hands quickly. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Please don’t shoot me!”

“Go away,” Trent says.

“I was only looking for some change. I’m sorry.”

“Go away,” Trent says. He doesn’t notice the wind picking up outside.

“Okay. Just please don’t shoot me.”

Trent turns on his headlights. “Start walking that way,” he says. “And don’t stop.”

The wind outside blows the homeless man’s hair around his face. Little drops of rain pock the top of the car. “I’m sorry. I’m going. I’m sorry. I’m going.”

The homeless man steps backward away from the car. A distant thunder rings on the horizon. The man keeps walking. The storm grows louder. More violent.

Just at the edge of the lights, the man stops. He smiles.

Lightning strikes the car. Straight through the roof into the cabin. It pulses through Trent from the top of his head to his toes. He can feel the blood in his veins reflexively react. He pulls the trigger until it clicks.

When his vision clears, his body is burned. His vampire blood protected him… somewhat. His training kicking in at the very last moment. Otherwise, he’d be ashes now. He looks out at the road. The homeless man is gone.

There’s only a pool of blood.