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.

* * *

<br />
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.

Changeling, Episode 16

(For some reason, LJ insists on uploading all my pictures landscape rather than portrait. I cannot explain why and I can’t find an option to fix it. So, I’ll just upload the pictures that make sense sideways. Sorry. Next week, I’ll be updating Glamour Girls and Blood Boys at a new blog. Probably from the www.johnwickpresents.com website.)

After the Blood Boys leave, the Girls realize just how exhausted they are. They all agree to crash in Dinkytown. Except for Kiera. It’s almost dawn anyway. She’ll stay up. Misty tries to lie down, but the pain in her chest is too great. A stabbing pain. Going to the hospital gets mentioned, but the Girls decide against that. “I know a couple medical students,” Melanie says. “They work in the campus clinic.” That’s a better suggestion.

Melanie gives them a call. “We need some help,” she says. “We had a party last night and one of the girls got hurt. She’s really afraid of hospitals. Could you come over here?”

The voice on the other end is Elliot (of Elliot and Ryan). Elliot asks a couple of questions and then agrees to come over. He shows up. Melanie asks how Ryan is. “A drama queen,” he tells her. “As usual.”

Elliot takes a look at Misty. “What happened?”

“Camping,” Melanie says. “We were camping.”

Elliot looks further. “You’ve got some glass in your back. How did this happen?”

“She fell on a bottle,” Melanie says.

Elliot frowns. “I know you’re afraid of hospitals, but I should take you to the clinic. I’ve got more equipment there. I’ll need it to get this glass out. If I do it wrong, you’ll get shards in your back and they won’t heal right.”

The Girls all look at each other. They nod. To the clinic.

Once they get there, Elliot starts working on Misty’s injuries. He removes the glass from her back. He tells her, “You have a couple broken ribs.” He gives her pain killers. “These are really addicitive,” he tells her. “Be careful with them, okay?” Misty nods.

Slowly, as he treats her wounds and asks questions, the lie the Girls told Elliot unravels. But in the end, he looks at Misty and says, “No more camping. Okay?”

Misty nods. The Girls say goodbye to Elliot and they leave.

Back in Dinkytown, the Girls are even more exhausted than before. They all decide to get some sleep.

And that’s when Jack O’Bannon walks in the coffee shop.

“Where have you been?” Kiera asks.

“What the fuck happened to my pub?” Jack growls.

“Vampires,” Kiera tells him. Then, she remembers the contract the Blood Boys showed them. She asks, “Are you the Duke of Dinkytown?”

“That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard,” he tells her.

“Are you sure you weren’t drunk?” Kiera asks, smiling.

He glares at her. “Yes.”

He asks what happened and where they went. Kiera says, “I died. But the Holy Grail brought me back to life.”

“Bran’s Cauldron?” Jack asks.

“No. The Holy Grail,” she says.

“Same thing,” he tells her. He looks at Misty. “You look hurt,” he says. She nods. He opens up a satchel and pulls out a bottle. He pours a single shot into it. “Drink this,” he says. She does. He catches her as she falls. “She won’t be up until tomorrow,” he tells them. “Put her to bed.”

“Sounds like a great idea,” Lilith says. Everyone goes upstairs. Sebastian curls up on the floor. The rest of the crew sleeps above the pub. Not Kiera. It’s morning. She’s already awake. Might as well get some work done.

Kiera goes across the street to the coffee shop. She finds Barnabus there cleaning the dust off the tables and equipment. “We could re-open the coffee ship,” she tells him. He nods. “I plan on it.”

* * *

That night, the Girls all wake. Misty feels much better. She remembers Mister Fingers warning. She decides to call her grandmother. She doesn’t believe the serial killer would go all the way out of state to…

“Hello, grandma?”

“Hello dear.”

“How are you doing?”

“I’m fine dear. I’m always fine. You know that.”

“Great. I wanted to tell you. I know you never lock your doors out there, but you really…”

The number you’ve dialed has been disconnected. Please try again.

Misty looks at the phone, confused. She tries calling again.

The number you’ve dialed has been disconnected. Please try again.

Misty tries calling her parents.

“Hello?” says an unfamiliar voice on the other line.

“Dad?” Misty asks.

“Beverly? Do you have a cold? You sound odd.”

These are not Misty’s parents. She confirms the number. She confirms the address. “How long have you been living there?” she asks. They tell her fifteen years. Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong.

Misty remembers Mister Finger trying to convince her that Bess was the created identity that Misty invented. But that was a lie. A trick.

Just then, Walker comes up from the basement. He looks ghastly. “I… need something,” he tells them.

The Girls all look at each other. Nobody willing to say what needs to be said.

Melanie says, “The clinic has a blood bank. We can call Elliot.” The Girls decide to drive Walker to the blood bank.

Elliot is there, working the emergency room. He’s talking to two guys with bruises. One of them with a broken arm. “This was really fucking stupid,” he tells them. “Next time, I’m calling the cops. You understand?” He sees the Girls. “Hey ladies. What can I do for you?”

Melanie turns on the Glamour. Walker and Misty slip by, unnoticed.

Walker tells them, “I can smell where it is.” He shakes his head. “It’s like walking into a steak restaurant, smelling it.” They find the right room. They unlock the door without trouble. Walker steps up to one of the refrigerators. He takes one of the plastic bags. Misty can’t watch.

When he’s done, he says so. Misty asks him, “Are you okay?”

“It’s like eating a whole tub of popcorn. Or cotton candy.”

She asks, “But you’re full?”

He nods. “I’m full. Let’s go.”

* * *
 

Back at the pub, Sebastian the Wolf looks for food. Kiera goes into the freezer and fetches a leg of lamb. Sebastian holds it in his hand. “It’s like it’s been in the snow all night.”

“We’ll cook it,” she says. “Put it in the oven.”

He looks confused. “The what?”

“The oven,” she says, pointing at it. He opens the oven and puts the leg of lamb inside. Then, he looks at her. “Now what?”

She smiles. “Here, let me show you.” She preps the lamb, pre-heats the oven and puts it inside when she’s finished. “Give it about forty minutes,” she says.

A little later, the lamb comes out. He bites into it. “This is…” he stops talking and eats more.

“It’s the spices,” she tells him. He doesn’t stop eating.

The other Girls come back from the blood bank. The Girls ask Walker about the serial killer. What does he know.

“He’s probably in his thirties or forties,” Walker says. “White. Wears glasses. He’s left handed. He’s a professional. He has a college degree. He makes a decent wage. Lives here in the Twin Cities. Probably in a home. About six foot tall, balding.”

The Girls all stare at him. “How do you know this?” they ask.

He shows them his badge. “Because this is what I used to do.” He continues. “He also knows about you. What you are. He’s taking pieces of the bodies. Different pieces from each one. He’s probably eating them.”

“Why?” Misty asks.

“Because he wants to become like you.”

Lilith says, “When a fetch dies, they usually collapse into sticks and string. Why isn’t that happening?”

Walker tells them, “I didn’t know that.” He thinks. “I don’t know. I don’t know why.”

Kiera looks at the newspaper. “It says here the reporter got his information from inside the police force.”

Walker nods. “Beat cops are easy to bribe. They make shit and they know someone will talk. Might as well be them and take the money.”

Lilith says, “We should talk to the reporter. Find out who he’s been talking to.”

They find the reporter’s name. Walker looks at Lilith. “Find him,” he says. “Close your eyes and find him.”

Lilith shuts her eyes. She concentrates. Then, her eyes snap open. “Hank’s Spaghetti,” she says. “He’s right down the street.”

Walker and the Girls step in to the restaurant. As they do, Misty’s ring tingles.

Misty asks Walker, “Did you feel that?” He nods. “What happened?”

“What are the chances he’d be here? Right down the street?” He smiles. “Wouldn’t that be… strange?”

The Girls find the reporter, Phillip Dafoe. He’s eating dinner with a beautiful woman wearing a white dress. As they approach the table, Melanie bumps a glass of wine on the dress. The woman looks up, furious. “This is Dolche Cabana!” she shouts.

“Hey,” Melanie says, “you wore white to spaghetti. Not my problem.”

The woman storms off. The Girls look at Dafoe.

“We want to know what you know about the Changeling Killer,” they say.

Dafoe says nothing. The Girls turn on the Glamour. He starts talking. He tells them his contact is Ben Schullson. (The Girls recognize that name. He’s Walker’s old partner.) He’s the one in charge of the investigation. Happy with their results, the Girls head out. Next stop? The morgue.

* * *

Walker pulls the body out of the cooler. He unzips the bodybag. The Girls look at Lilith’s dead face.

He pulls over a large machine, puts on rubber gloves. He asks Misty to hold the girl’s jaw as he pries something out of her throat. It’s a tiny plastic bag. Walker opens it. He unravels it. Removes a piece of paper. There are words on the paper.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Walker sniffs the paper. “Goddammit, I hate these assholes,” he says. He asks if anyone has a lighter. Melanie does. He holds the lighter under the paper. Letters appear. “Lemon juice,” he says. “I hate them so much. Fucking think they’re clever.”

Slowly, the letters fade in. The Girls get closer to read.

TENNYSON

___

This week, I made spaghetti sauce and cherry pie from scratch for my Girls. The recipes are secret. :)

Changeling: Interlude

I don’t have time to make my usual Changeling post today; I’ve been busy prepping for WyrdCon. But I’ll post it as soon as I can.

In the meantime, here’s a rather cryptic tune from my favorite cryptic band. Does it have something to do with what’s going on in the story?

Maybe…



Harvester of eyes, that’s me
And I see all there is to see
When I look inside your head
Right up front to the back of your skull

Well that’s my sign that you are dead
My list for you checks off as null
I’m the harvester of eyes

Changeling, Episode 15 (Finale)

(Unfortunately, I’ve run out of pictures. This was a looooong game. Almost five hours. But this is the conclusion. End of Act 2. Act 3 begins with the next entry which I’ll post shortly. Enjoy!)

When Mister Finger arrives, the room grows colder. He has a thin, sweet smelling cigar in his hands. He looks at the room packed with changelings and vampires. He smiles. “I see,” he says.

“Before you do anything else,” he tells them, “you should know that I called you for a reason. I know the identity of the ‘Changeling Killer.’ I was willing to take you young ladies to him tonight.”

He waits for a reaction. He gets nothing.

“Very well,” he says. “You may have him or me. You cannot have both.”

The Girls look at each other. They agree. “We’ll have you.”

Melanie raises her hands and sunlight burns through the room. The other vampires run and hide. The sunlight blasts Finger, burning his flesh. When the smoke clears, he turns back to them, half his face gone. His bones are blackened. “You cannot be a dragon,” he says, “if you are afraid of fire.” He laughs. “And it has been so long since I fire danced.”

Misty turns a bottle of whiskey into a makeshift Molotov cocktail. She throws it, setting the place ablaze.

Outside the bar—far from the sunlight and fire—the Boys ponder what to do. Roman runs to the street where the Man with White Hair rose up before. He pounds on the ground. “Help us!” he shouts. Nothing.

One of them asks, “Where’s Trent?” The answer, of course, is that Trent never ran from the sunlight or the fire. Inside the bar, he lifts his gun and points it at Finger. Reaching across the bar, Lilith touches the barrel of the gun. “Be magic,” she says.

In his hands, Trent’s gun feels suddenly very heavy. Heavy like Walker’s gun. He pulls the trigger. Bullets, like fire, burn into Finger’s side. Finger curses and spits. And then, he changes. Changes into something awful.

(And, of course, at this point, I remind everyone that the scene is under the rules of Dire Peril.)

His skin twists and bursts. Bones break and meld. He turns into a mass of flesh and teeth and awfulness. His mass nearly fills the bar. One of his fleshy tendrils smashes into Misty, sending her flying across the bar. She lands on broken glass, cutting into her skin. She feels something in her chest snap. Her head ringing, she tries to stand, but cannot.

Outside the bar, the Boys see what Mister Finger changed into. Roman pumps blood through his veins. His skin turns almost red. He turns and grabs the tail end of a compact car. He screams as he lifts, feeling his muscles ache and his bones straining. He throws the car through the front window of the bar. It smashes into the Thing that is Mister Finger. It laughs.

Trent fires more bullets into the fleshy mass. Each of them burns the skin.

Misty stands up. She feels the ring pulsing on her finger. She raises it up, hoping it will do something. Anything. Across the room, the Thing that is Mister Finger sees her. It’s many mouths laugh.

“Ah,” they say, in a twisted chorus unison. “I was waiting for this.”

Then, it says, “Rumpelstiltskin.”

Suddenly, Misty is replaced by Bess. Innocent Bess who knows nothing of vampires or changelings or serial killers. She panics. She falls to the ground. She doesn’t know what’s going on…

“Now!” Kiera shouts. And a thousand black birds swoop into the broken window. They peck and claw and rip at the mass of flesh. The Thing that is Mister Finger turns and twists. It cannot attack. There are too many enemies.

And that’s when the Wolf slams its massive form against him. The Thing that is Mister Finger falls back a step. Outside, Roman grabs a streetlamp. He pulls with his inhuman strength, bending it down. The Wolf hits the Thing that is Mister Finger again. It stumbles again. Trent fires from his gun until all the bullets are gone. The Thing falls back again, the birds pulling it. It slips. It falls. The old lamp post (with the needle sharp top) pierces the Thing’s back and pierces the Thing’s front. Straight through the heart. It freezes. It doesn’t move. It transforms back into a man.

The vampires check. “He’s torpid,” Don says. The Girls ask what that means. Don tells them, “It means he won’t be moving until someone feeds him blood.”

“Potent blood,” Roman tells them. “None of us can do it.”

They drag the body back into the bar. Don calls up a few favors to keep the police out of Dinkytown tonight. They have the torpid body of Mister Finger.

Lilith finds Roman with Bess. He tells Lilith that he dragged her out of the building. He didn’t want her to get hurt. Lilith says, “Rumpelstiltskin” to Bess. Misty comes back. Roman makes a note of that. Lilith asks Roman, “What did he do?” Roman explains that some vampires can plant commands in humans’ minds. Lilith thinks, “Mister Finger must have planted that command when he kidnapped her.” When Misty comes back, she remembers everything Finger did to her… as Misty and Bess.

Misty finds a big knife from the pub’s kitchen. She comes out looking for Finger’s body… but she can’t find it. Roman has it. He’s Obfuscated. And he’s drinking Finger’s blood.

That’s when Walker puts his Magic Gun against Roman’s head. “I can see you,” he says. “And you’ve got three seconds before I pull the trigger. One… two…”

Walker and Roman scuffle for a moment. The body drops into sight. Misty grabs it. She uses the knife and cuts off Mister Finger’s head. The Grinning Man crumbles into dust. He’s gone.

“You drank his blood,” Walker tells Roman. “He’s inside you now. He isn’t dead.”

“We’ll see,” Roman says. Misty takes a long look at Roman. Memorizes his face.

Don and Kiera talk then. They talk about contracts.

Kiera says, “We want to renegotiate our contract with the Prince of Minneapolis.”

Don says, “I can arrange that.”

“We want it back the way it was. None of this ‘sacrifice on Halloween’ crap.”

Don says, “I’m sure that can be arranged.”

Across the room, Melanie and Will stare at each other. Hate. Hate. Hate.

But then, one of them notices the time. It’s getting late. Or early. One of the two. Time to go. The Blood Boys wish the ladies well. Don promises he’ll talk to the Prince of Minneapolis about the contract. Misty stares at Roman. Will stares at Melanie. The Blood Boys leave.

And the pub is a wreck.

Blood Boys, Episode 5

The session began in Elysium. Don’s club is hopping with vampires tonight; everyone is afraid to go out. Rumors of a war between Minneapolis and St. Paul brewing in dark corners.

Ms. Lethe arrives for a meeting with Don. He tells her that what’s happening in Minneapolis (the missing vampires) is also happening in St. Paul. Lethe tells Don that Prince Alice doesn’t mind much; the hunters are weeding out the weak. Of course, that isn’t what she tells her people.

She tells them that St. Paul is plucking them off. She also tells Don that Prince Alice has some sort of “weapon” she plans on using if St. Paul gets out of hand. Don asks what kind of weapon it is, but she smiles and says, “No.”

During their conversation, a cockroach scurries across the floor. Don looks at one of the bouncers. “I’ll take care of it, boss!” he says.

* * *

Meanwhile, at a dark drainage ditch, Will and _______________ arrive with some of Jonas Clay’s blood—to revive Roman. A little girl meets them. She’s wearing a white dress and walks with bare feet. ______________ looks at her with his Mekhet sight and sees she’s a ghoul. They follow the girl through the sewers until they reach a room they’ve seen before. On a slab lies Roman. They dribble the blood on his lips. He screams when he sits up. “Fire!” he shouts at them. They help him calm down. He’s starved. He wants blood. The little girl offers and he takes it. Then, she leads them out as Will and _______________ fill Roman in on what’s been going on since he was in torpor.

* * *

Across town, Trent looks at the cold, unmoving body of Detective Walker. He’s holding a knife. He planned on killing whoever was in this room. Now, he’s considering killing the vampire who turned Walker.

“You have any idea how bad this is?” he asks her. She’s in a complete panic. She doesn’t give any kind of coherent answer. “I have to get him out of here,” he tells her. She resists. He shows her Walker’s ring. “This,” he says. “This is why you fucked up so bad.” He calls for maid service and bundles up Walker in bed sheets. Then, he Dominates the maid to help him carry the bundle out to his car. He drives as fast as he can, calling Don.

And he gets the strangest feeling of déjà vu…

* * *

Back in the club, Don’s phone rings. He excuses himself from his conversation with Lethe and answers it.

“I need your help,” Trent says. “We need a safe place. I have something to show you. Meet me at your house.”

“I’ll be busy,” Don says. “Make it early. 4:00 AM.”

“Done,” Trent says and hangs up the phone.

Don returns to Ms. Lethe. “Have you ever seen the Prince of St. Paul?” she asks.

“I’ve met him many times,” Don tells her.

She asks again. “Have you ever seen the Prince of St. Paul?”

Don understands. “No. I have not.”

“I want to meet with him. Privately. Can you arrange that?”

He nods. “I’m sure I can.” Lethe thanks him and leaves. She walks down the stairs just as Will, Roman and _______________ walk up the stairs. They all watch her leave.

When Roman hits the room, he hits Don. Slams him right down to the ground. Then, he offers him a hand.

“I deserved that,” Don says.

“I need a new car,” Roman tells him.

“I’ll arrange for something. A new taxi?”

Roman shakes his head. “An armored hummer.”

“Oh!” says Will. “You gonna get one of those ones like Arnold drives around? That would be sweet! Could I ride in it? I’ve never been in one of those before.”

Roman doesn’t say anything.

* * *

Four AM. Don’s house.

Trent unwraps Walker. _____________ looks at him. “There’s something wrong with his aura,” he says. “It’s flickering. It’s like a vampire aura, but it’s something else, too.”

Roman asks, “Why is this our problem?”

“It’s my problem,” Trent tells them. “I just need your help.”

Roman laughs. “What, is Don suddenly Mister Wolf?”

Will says, “That was an awesome movie! Except, if Don was Mister Wolf, he’d be more like Mister Fix, wouldn’t he?”

_____________ looks at the ring on Walker’s hand. It shines and swirls. He looks deeper…

 
… and he’s rushing out the door, down the street, across town. He’s in Dinkytown where they saw the man crawl out of the street. In front of that Irish pub. O’Bannon’s. A young woman steps out of the pub. He watches her cross the street. He sees her aura… bright and brilliant. And the ring on her finger…

… it’s the same as Walker’s.

And then he’s back in Don’s house.
___________ tells the other Boys what happened. “She’s like him,” he tells them. “She has the same ring.”

“He’s been helping them,” Will says. “The faerie girls. The ones who hang out with Melanie.”

Don thinks about the problem. “We need to get rid of him. He’s not our problem. He belongs to them. We need to give him back.”

“We don’t have permission to go into Dinkytown,” Will says.

Don thinks more. “Let’s put him in a secure room,” he says, pointing at Walker. “If he wakes up tomorrow night, that changes things. If he doesn’t, we’ll consider what to do.”

The Boys agree and put themselves in dark rooms where they can sleep.

All of them except Don and Roman.

* * *

“I have a project for you,” Don tells Roman. “I need you to create a contract. It has to appear old. It has to appear real. It has to look like it was signed by… the Duke of Dinkytown. A contract between the messengers and the faeries.”

“This isn’t going to work,” Roman tells him.

“It will work if people believe it. So make the contract convincing.”

“Who is the Duke of Dinkytown?”

“That Irish guy who drug himself up from the ground,” Don says. “It was outside of O’Bannon’s Pub. Say the Duke of Dinkytown is O’Bannon.”

“You want me to do this? I want something in return.”

“What is that?” Don asks.

“I want all the Saint Clare wine.”

“Not all of it belongs to me,” Don tells him.

“That’s your problem, not mine.”

Don considers the options. “Done,” he says. Roman gets to work.

* * *

The next night, Walker still isn’t moving. ____________ tells them, “His aura hasn’t changed. It’s still blinking.”

Don shows the Boys the contract. “It’s old,” he says. “I think most people have forgotten about it. But, it gives us permission to enter Dinkytown under very specific circumstances. We have to bring food and drink. And we have to carry fire.”

The Boys all look at the contract.

“We have to sign it. As the new messengers.”

_______________ looks at it with his Mekhet sight. The contract is not magical.

Trent signs it. Will signs it. Roman signs it. ___________ signs it last.

Then, they put Walker into a body bag. They get into a car and drive to the bridge…

* * *

What happens next has been detailed (to a certain extent) in the Glamour Girls entries. You can read them here.

* * *

After the violence in Dinkytown, Trent drives to a suburb in Minneapolis. He watches a family there. All night.

Will goes back to his room in his hotel… and gets a phone call from Melanie.

Don calls Mister Fix. The Seneschal tells him that the Prince’s “temper tantrum” is over. Don asks if he can have a meeting with the Prince and arranges for Ms. Lethe to join him. He picks up Ms. Lethe with ____________ in tow (and invisible).

She tells Don that the Prince has lost her secret weapon. She doesn’t know where it is. Don asks what that weapon might be. Lethe only smiles and says, “No.”

They arrive at the Sears Building, park in the basement, take the elevator up to the top floor. Mr. Fix is there with his book. Otherwise, the room is empty.

“Would you excuse us?” Lethe asks Don. He bows out and steps into another room. ___________ stands at the door and listens with his Mekhet hearing. He texts Don what he hears. The only voice he hears is Lethe’s

(I took Lee aside and stood at the other end of the room. I wrote down what he heard and had Lee tell Fabien what he was hearing.)
“I’m here about the Praxis of Minneapolis.”

“Prince Alice is out of control.”

“She’s mass embracing soldiers.”

“She embraced the detective.”

“And she lost him.”

“Wait. Someone is listening.”

The door opens. Mister Fix looks into the room. “Is there a problem?” Don asks.

Fix says, “Not anymore.” Then, he closes the door.

* * *

Through sewer ducts and drainage pipes, Roman finds Nathan. The Prince of the Undercity.

“I wanted to thank you for helping me.”

Nathan gurgles. “Yessss….”

“I brought you something,” Roman says. He gives Nathan one of the Saint Clare bottles.

“Oh,” Nathan says. “How sssssweet.”

And then, he gathers his breath, and Nathan sings…