Enid’s adventures in the world of light and shadows is about to come to an end as all hell breaks loose. Literally. The trail of the missing mystics leads them to the Paranormal Society where they find skeletons hidden in the archives. Old foes make their reappearance and old allies come to the rescue as Enid faces who, and what she is, in order to win victory for the forces of light.
You ever have one of those days that just isn't yours? The kind that you wish you could just crawl back into bed and sleep the day away? That long, terrible night was like that.
It started as our adventures always did. I got up and found trouble downstairs. Usually it was just Ian with another suicidal job, but this time he had company. I walked into the front room and found myself face to glare with Ruthven. He stood near the doorway close to the coffee table and was half-turned to me.
Ian sat in his chair with the usual cigarette in his mouth. His eyebrows were crashed down and the cigarette between his lips was a little crushed.
"So nothing?" he wondered.
Ruthven's attention was stuck on my face. "What is that?" he asked me.
I raised an eyebrow. "It's called a face."
"Your eye," he elaborated.
I reached up and recalled the problem with my eye. It was still blue, and still not very useful as an eye. "I-um, I-um-"
She had a terrible accident with a contact lens, but back to our business," Ian spoke up.
Ruthven grudgingly turned back to Ian. "As I told you, I found nothing on a 2-4-H."
"Maybe it's some diabolical kids group. You try out that angle?" Ian asked him.
"No, but I did not attempt a thorough search of human activity groups before you inquired of the Four Horsemen and Lilith," Ruthven commented.
"Any leads there?" Ian wondered.
"The joint business affair between the Whisperers and Lilith is very secretive, but I gathered the rocks had been collected for at least eight months," Ruthven revealed.
"And the warehouses? Could the rocks have been transported from the Four Horsemen to there?" he guessed.
"There is no connection between the warehouses and Lilith," Ruthven told him.
Ian slumped in his chair and frowned. "Damn it. She really pulled one on us. . ."
I furrowed my brow as a half-through struck me. "Four Horsemen. . ." I murmured. There was a familiar ring to it that I couldn't quite place. "Four H-" My eyes shot open and I sat up. "Four Horsemen!"
Ruthven and Ian paused and stared at me. I whipped my head to Ian. "The Four Horsemen!"
Ian raised one eyebrow, and as it dawned on him he raised the other. "2-4-H. To the Four Horsemen."
I smiled and bobbed my head like one of those dolls. "That's gotta be connected to the kidnapped women!"
Ian leaned back in his chair and smiled. "It seems we're going to have to pay Lilith another visit." His eyes flickered to Ruthven. "And we're going to need your help."
Ruthven started. I blinked at Ian. "Why do we need his help?"
"A vampire is quite an adversary. I'd like to have one on my side when we went up against Lilith's silent partner," he explained.
Ruthven pursed his lips together. "I do not fight."
"But I know that you know how to fight, so you're coming," Ian insisted.
"I will not fight your battles for you."
Ian chuckled. "That's fine. I only want you to fight this one battle with me. It might be more of just a skirmish."
Ruthven's eyes narrowed. "I will not be your puppet."
"Then you can be my mercenary," Ian suggested.
Ian leaned forward and opened one side of his coat. A large pocket hung inside his overcoat, and from it Ian pulled packet after packet of money. Ruthven and my eyes grew wider with every stack until there was a dozen stacks on the table. The money was in denominations of hundreds.
Ian patted the pile. "There's a lot of blood in these packets. Care to reconsider my offer?"
Ruthven didn't have much time to rethink his options when there came a loud, clear knock. The sound echoed down the hall from the front door.
Ian jumped to his feet and narrowed his eyes. Ruthven stiffened. "I smell human," he commented.
Ian took in a deep breath of scent and his lips curled back in a growl.
I whipped my head between the door and him. "Sebastian? The Paranormal Association guy?"
"Paranormal Society, and yes," he corrected me.
"Did you tell him where you lived?"
"Do I look that stupid?"
"I don't think I want to answer that question right now."
"Good, now let me think for a moment." He closed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. Our uninvited guest knocked again. Ian sighed and dropped his arms. "Ruthven, you'd better go. We'll get in contact with you again."
"And the money?" he asked him.
"We might need that for bail, but you'll get your money somehow," Ian promised.
Ruthven reluctantly stepped backwards away from the money and bowed. "Good luck."
"We might need it. . ." I heard Ian mutter.
The vampire left, but our knocking guest didn't. "So what do we do?" I asked him.
Ian stuffed the money back into his overcoat. "We let the man in."
Sebastian is there because heard rumors of a most spectacular occurrence of angel energy the other night, and they were involved. Ian seats him in the living room.
"How'd you know I was here?" Ian questioned him..
Sebastian smiled. "Never forget you work at the whim of the Society. If they ever wanted to shut you down, they had that option."
"And they're exercising that option right now?" he guessed.
Sebastian shook his head. "Not quite. You see, the Society received a very interesting letter last night. It confirmed suspicions that arose at our previous meeting."
Ian's eyes narrowed. "And those are what?"
"Perhaps you'd like to read for yourself," Sebastian offered as he rummaged through his coat. He pulled an envelope from his pocket and handed it to Ian.
Ian opened the letter, and I moved to look over his shoulder. It read thusly:
Dear Sirs and Madams;
It might interest you to know that Ian Osman harbors a Nephilim.
Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen
Ian frowned and tossed the letter across the table and back to Sebastian. "So the Society's believing anonymous letters?"
"Not quite," Sebastian replied as he stuffed the envelope back in his pocket. "But we can't really take a risk. Not with a Nephilim. Besides, my observations of your young protege here-" he nodded at me, "-seems to confirm this. How else could a novice show such skill so quickly?"
"So what do you propose to do?" Ian asked him.
"I would like to take her with me to run a few tests. They're relatively painless, and should be done in a few hours," Sebastian explained.
I felt the color drain from my skin, and I moved closer to Ian's chair. He reached back and grasped my hand.
"And if we deny it?" Ian wondered.
Sebastian shrugged. "Then she still comes with me. We have to prove it with science."
Ian snorted. "Since when has the Society cared about science, or anything except their own dictatorial powers?"
Sebastian stood. "Regardless of how you feel, she must come with me."
Ian mimicked his movements and stepped between Sebastian and me. "And if we refuse?"
Sebastian stretched out his arm and pointed his finger at us in the shape of a gun. "Then we have no choice but to eliminate you."
Something caught my eye. A red dot zeroed in on Ian's forehead. Ian whipped his head towards the window and growled.
"Don't get too testy, Ian," Sebastian scolded him. "I wouldn't want my sniper to eliminate you with his silver bullets. After all, you're somewhat useful to the Society."
Ian pushed me towards the wall beside the fireplace and glared at our ‘guest.' "You think you can get her by threatening me than you're a bigger idiot than I thought."
I tugged on his arm. He looked over his shoulder, and I shook my head. "I don't want you to get killed," I whispered.
He gave me his lopsided smile. "Don't count me out just yet. I've got-" Sebastian pulled the trigger on his hand gun.
I heard glass break. Ian leaned back. He stumbled and pushed me into the wall. He fell against the mantel and glared a Sebastian. A thin line of blood ran down his forehead.
"Your sniper needs practice," Ian quipped.
Sebastian frowned and again raised his hand in the shape of a gun. The red dot reappeared on the side of Ian's face. "My snipers take a great deal of pride in their work. They won't miss again."
I tugged on Ian's arm. His eyes flickered to me. "They won't stop until they have me, so I'll go," I offered.
Ian pursed his lips. "They'll treat you like a lab rat, or worse."
"Better that than seeing you dead here," I argued.
Ian sighed and turned back to Sebastian. "Fine, we'll go."
Sebastian's smirk slid off his face. "I only want Enid."
"Too bad." Ian turned to me and grasped my hand. "Come on. I'll make sure you're back before sunrise."
Sebastian sighed and shrugged. "Very well, but don't expect the royal treatment. You'll go where you're told and wait until we're through."
"Just shut up and take us," Ian snapped.
Sebastian's eyebrows crashed down, and he spun around towards the doorway. He froze and started back. I couldn't blame him. Cronus stood in the doorway and his blue eyes were zeroed in on Sebastian. A weak wave of emotion emanated off Cronus, but I could tell it definitely wasn't happiness.
Sebastian's eyes narrowed. "I'm not taking anyone else with me, so step aside."
"You are taking no one," Cronus insisted.
"Try to obstruct me in my duties and some of you will get hurt," Sebastian warned him.
"Cronus, get out of the way," Ian told him.
Cronus' dark gaze fell on Ian. "No."
Ian's steady eyes met Cronus' glare. "How about you go find us a new place to live? This one's got too many cockroaches looking at us." He lifted his arm and brushed a finger against his right eye. "Maybe something with a nicer view."
Cronus pursed his lips, but stepped aside. Sebastian skirted around him into the hall, and Ian and I followed. I paused as we passed Cronus and tried to muster a smile, but I couldn't.
"Guess I'll see you later," I told him.
"Definitely," he promised.
Ian tugged on my hand and pulled me towards the door where Sebastian waited.
"Bye," I whispered.
Cronus turned and watched us leave. The anger emotion changed to concern as we stepped through the door. The last I saw of him were those sorrowful blue eyes as the door shut.