False in Some Sense

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 6

Saturday, February 14, 2009, at various points throughout the day and the next

After returning home the previous night, Elena made her way out to get horrendously drunk at a party. Katrina, for her part, updated her LiveJournal, and then went to sleep with Michael. Agatha simply goes to sleep, keeping her samples in a safe place, and Chuck and Jonah being treated in the ICU.

Later that same day, after awakening, Agatha goes to purchase a small laptop at Wal-Mart so that she may communicate online more easily and compile her notes.

Meanwhile, Jonah is the first to awaken, finding himself in a hospital room next to Chuck. Chuck’s bed has many flowers, cards, and balloons around it. Jonah demands to know the day and demands to make a phone call, though ends up being distracted by his morphine drip and never quite returns to the line of inquiry. Chuck awakens two hours later, similarly disoriented; sometime in the intervening two hours, Jonah received flowers. Jonah asks to use the phone again, and the nurse lets him — he calls an escort service in Indianapolis to get his three escorts to come to his room. Chuck also asks to use the phone, and calls Elena to ask what happened and let her know that he is awake. She says she is in the process of making her way over and will bring some things. Chuck also asks her to call Ms. Johnson and cancel Chuck’s date, which she agrees to do. When she calls Ms. Johnson, she indicates that she heard on the news, but is glad that Elena called.

Having decided the previous night that they would visit, Katrina and Michael make their way over first. Jonah asks Katrina to check the flowers, and she does, seeing that they are from Mrs. Bishop. He then requests that she feeds him a petal, and she does. Satisfied that they are real flowers, he allows them to remain. Elena makes her way over a little after that, bringing a cheerleading bear for Elena and some bags of tacos for Chuck and Jonah, based on the fact that Jonah was shouting something about tacos over the phone when Elena was talking to Chuck. Jonah tries to eat a taco, but is unsuccessful, forcing a nearby nurse to confiscate the tacos and clean him up. Jonah also asks for someone to move his car, since he has heard that the police might be around to ask questions, and Elena agrees when he offers her $5,000 to do it. She gets his keys, drives it out to the woods, and returns to the hospital by taxicab. She keeps his keys, though, possibly as a bargaining chip for a monetary reward. Agatha arrives a little after that. Since they do not consider the area safe, they do not really discuss the details of last evening, instead seeing how people are doing. After a bit of conversation, Kenneth enters. Chuck is uneasy, and Jonah starts rambling incoherently and tries to throw something at him, but only succeeds in knocking the flowers off the table by his bed. Kenneth explains to Chuck that he is paying for their hospital bills and that they can use the property, but he’ll explain all the stuff Chuck missed at a later time. Seeing the distress he’s causing Jonah, he then leaves. The others spend a little more time chatting before going their separate ways before visiting hours are over. As they leave, they see three women entering the room. Jonah’s three escorts arrive, but leave as the hospital staff announces that closing time is near. Jonah calls to complain, saying that they “weren’t professional enough,” though the manager argues that they are being quite professional by not breaking the law.

Agatha returns to Chuck’s house to make dinner and watch An Officer and a Gentleman. Katrina asks Michael if he would like to go out to eat, but he offers to cook dinner since he lacks money or a legal identity. She agrees, so he cooks a fish dish and the two spend a quiet evening at home, having dinner and dancing to music.

Elena, meanwhile, goes out to dinner with her school mate from the football team and sometime boyfriend, Dirk Allen. After they go back to his place — his parents are out for the evening — there is a knock on the door. Dirk answers it to find a somewhat older blonde woman who asks if she can use the phone. He agrees, and as the door closes and she walks into the kitchen, they start to follow. That happens to be when the woman turns and lunges at Elena.

Dirk seems fairly surprised to see Elena kicking ass and shouting profanity, but Elena and Dirk both start fighting the woman. They trade blows before Elena shouts for Dirk to “Grab her!” causing him to tackle her. She does not fall, instead easily breaking free from his grasp and continuing to go after Elena. Elena, for her part, manages to punch the mysterious assailant in the face hard enough to draw blood and loosen teeth, though the woman seems unphased by the injury. Dirk tries to pin her again, but she easily breaks free. Finally, the woman grabs Elena and starts to strangle her, but Elena manages to flip the woman over her and grab hold of her. The two roll for a moment before they both disengage and find their way to their feet again. Finally, Elena and Dirk manage to knock her unconscious, and Elena asks Dirk to grab something with which to restrain her. Elena holds her so that she cannot move while Dirk rummages around and finally finds duct tape. Elena uses much more than is necessary to ensure that the woman will not break free. In the process of taping her, she notices that the woman’s body is marred by extremely fine, well-sutured stitching scars — obviously done by a professional. When she reacts, Dirk comes over for a closer look — and completely loses his head upon seeing a woman of stitched parts, vomiting and eventually running to the bathroom. Elena first calls 911, then calls Paul to talk to Lilith. After Elena explains the situation, Lilith suggests that her kind typically looks normal to the human eye, so she is not entirely certain what this is, though it might be one of her kind and it might be dead. Frankly, she doesn’t know. She also indicates that she and Paul have left Las Vegas after Paul was stabbed — he’s doing much better, now — and are headed to the coast. Both Lilith and Paul wish her well and tell her to call if she needs anything further.

The police finally arrive, and cut the woman out of the duct tape before hauling her unconscious body to the car. They notify Elena’s parents of the situation and then take Dirk and Elena to the hospital to check them out, and recommend that Elena stay for observation as she was significantly roughed up in the struggle. She agrees.

The next day, Chuck calls Agatha early to obtain the cog, as he has noticed some personnel who seem odd and he wants to determine if they are Fetches. She delivers the cog, and he finds that everyone who seems odd also activates the cog, suggesting that there are several Fetches in the hospital alone. He decides not to tell Jonah right this moment.

Later that morning, Elena is released. She passes by Chuck’s room and throws up the horns, prompting Chuck to decide to call her later. Johnny comes by the room to visit, and is glad to see Chuck and Jonah are doing well. Chuck calls Elena and gets the details of the attack on her the previous night. Jonah asks Johnny to ask Elena about his car, and once they realize that Chuck is talking to Elena, Johnny asks if he can talk to her when he is done. He agrees, and once finished, Elena indicates that things are odd, but she will meet Johnny at the Jumping Bean at six o’clock. He agrees, and after hanging up the phone, wishes Chuck and Jonah well and leaves.

Meanwhile, Katrina tells Michael that she is going to call her mother, and wants to know what to call Michael. He thinks for a moment, then decides on “James Mitchell Eliot.” She takes a moment to commit it to memory, and then calls her mother, telling her that all is well, and though things are hectic in Terra Lake, things are good right now. She indicates that she also has a boyfriend, and lets her mother talk to “James.” After exchanging pleasantries and catching each other up, Katrina and her mother end the conversation. Katrina and Michael then decide that, since he has an identity in mind, they can contact Mrs. Bishop for falsified documents. Katrina calls her, and she asks if they can come by her shop tomorrow, Monday, to discuss things. Katrina agrees.

Meanwhile, Agatha goes to work to analyze the samples she took. She finds that most of the tissue has dissolved into a sticky, greyish powder, but the bone and blood samples are still noteworthy. The bones appear to be old, though she cannot tell how old with her equipment. Otherwise, they are normal human bones. The blood, however, appears to be somewhat fresh blood that even has some active enzymes in it. Though mostly human blood, it has structures in it that are more similar to earthworm platelets, and also has structures that she cannot identify at all. Indeed, there are some chemicals that she cannot break down with the equipment she has, and possibly with any equipment she could find. Satisfied with her results, she takes copious notes and returns to Chuck’s house.

As promised, Elena and Johnny meet at six o’clock, and for privacy, go driving in Johnny’s car. Elena explains everything as best as she can — Rhys, the first night in the woods, the Kineepikwa’mahkwa, Lilith, Reverend Caulfield, Paul, Michael, the Mothman, and the vampires in the missile silo. Though a little overwhelmed, Johnny accepts these facts and thanks her before the two of them return to their respective homes.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 5

Friday, February 13, 2009, around 8:00 PM

Before the meeting, Jonah and Johnny go to the mall to get Johnny a black suit. Then they make their way over to Chuck’s house.

Agatha, Katrina, and Michael arrive at Chuck’s house first, with Jonah and Johnny appearing right after them. Chuck invites everyone to partake of pizza, though Katrina says that she, Michael, and Agatha just ate. Within a few minutes, Elena arrives, her car stereo blaring Lady Gaga at obscene decibels. After people exchange greetings and a few introductions are made, Jonah leaves the room for moment. During this time, Elena realizes that Johnny is in the same room as Michael, whom he would know better as Mr. Herman. She makes a reference to explaining things first, and as Johnny looks at the faces around the table, he determines that Michael strongly resembles an older Michael. He takes a deep breath, says, “Wow,” a couple of times, and excuses himself to take a walk. Elena and Michael then proceed to explain that he was a student at the high school, and likely just determined who Michael actually is. Chuck and Elena go on a walk themselves to go looking for him, but cannot find him. They also determine that his car is gone. Jonah calls his house to find that he isn’t there. They then decide to let it go for now, and get down to cases.

Jonah explains that he has called everyone together to look at a property, which he would like to purchase, containing an abandoned missile silo. He explains that he just wants to go under the pretense of purchasing the property, though he might be inclined to break into it if necessary. He further explains the emails sent to him from two different email addresses, and how one seemed to be telling him to ignore the other and avoid the property. When Chuck asks if he has contacted the man again to let him know that he is coming to the property, Jonah says that he won’t return Jonah’s emails. Chuck then proceeds to explain how Jonah told the man to show up at the Bird of Paradise, then called Chuck — to send him ahead of a possibly dangerous situation — to go talk to the man without really informing Chuck of the matter at hand. Thusly, when Chuck couldn’t discuss the topic at all, the other man got angry and left. All of this, taken with the man’s ominous comment about possibly “not trusting [himself],” leads Jonah to think that something strange is happening. The others quickly agree.

After some discussion, the group determines a course of action. Jonah will go to the front door to inquire about the property. Agatha, Chuck, Elena, Katrina, and Michael will wait a short distance away to come and help if it becomes necessary. To prepare, Chuck grabs some of the iron objects he acquired and Agatha gets her cane and some equipment to gather samples. With this in mind, the group assembles — Jonah in his own car; Chuck and Elena in Elena’s car; and Agatha, Katrina, and Michael and Katrina’s car — and drives out to the property. About a half-hour away, off the main road, they find a small house out in the middle of nowhere. The others park a little down the road, while Jonah parks next to the man’s red pickup truck. He then goes and knocks on the door.

With the chain on the door, the man opens it and asks what he wants, admonishing him to leave when he says he is there to purchase the missile silo. When Jonah insists on shouting at him through the door, he opens it again to talk to Jonah, but is annoyed when Jonah repeats what he says. When Jonah still refuses to leave, he opens the door, brandishing a double-barreled shotgun. He gives Jonah to the count of five to get in his car and leave, but Jonah doesn’t move. Before the man can fire, however, Jonah leaps at him and gets a hold of him. He discharges a shot, hitting Jonah in the side, before Jonah can grab the gun and throw it. He then indicates that he desperately wants to look at this house. The man sighs and says that it will be fine. He retrieves his shotgun, and he and Jonah enter the house. He puts the shotgun down and shows Jonah his basement, which happens to be the silo proper. He shows Jonah the large room where he is presently storing some items, and then shows him the silo proper. Jonah seems impressed, at least until a rather imposing man — perhaps Hispanic, perhaps Arabic, as Jonah does not really get the time necessary to discern — ascends the stairs and grins. Jonah nods in greeting, and then all hell breaks loose. As the Hispanic man gives chase, Bowie knife in hand, Jonah starts to run, but is swiftly overtaken. He does not get an opportunity to successfully attack before the man swings his knife across Jonah’s chest, and he loses consciousness.

Meanwhile, the others recoiled in horror at the gunshot. When Jonah and the other man went inside, Elena goaded Chuck into leaving the vehicle, saying that the crazy guy with the shotgun is obviously taking Jonah to the murder room. Chuck checks the window, and sees Jonah go downstairs with the other man. They then notify the others, and Chuck tries the front door. Finding it locked, he attempts to pick the lock on a window. When he is unsuccessful, Elena goes to the front door and kicks it open. The group goes inside. Chuck picks up the gun, but Katrina indicates that she actually knows how to shoot, so he gives the shotgun to her and keeps his old iron. The group goes down the stairs to find two figures entering the room — an imposing man with blood on his shirt and blood dripping from his Bowie knife, and a small, muscular Hispanic woman with a knife in hand. Chuck attempts parley, but the pair just chitters and hisses at each other in some strange, guttural language, and then they rush forward. Elena goes for the woman, punching her in the side of the head while deftly avoiding her knife. Michael attempts to punch the woman, as well, but misses. Katrina unloads the remaining shotgun shell into the man, who is injured but still appears to be going strong. Chuck then sprints forward and opens the thing’s belly with his iron. Though injured, the thing still cuts into his stomach with the Bowie knife, and Chuck falls unconscious. Agatha then runs forward with her cane and stabs him in the shoulder, causing him to fall over. As he does so, his lips peel back in a rictus grin, and he begins to desiccate. Agatha then goes over to treat Chuck and stop his bleeding, while Elena, Katrina, and Michael start working on the woman. Among the three of them — though Elena and Katrina really do most of the injury to her, as Michael only gets one solid hit on her — they eventually manage to take her down without suffering any injury, though it takes them quite some time to drive her to unconsciousness unarmed.

With the two creatures down, Elena, Katrina, and Michael go into the silo to find the man with an unconscious Jonah at the bottom. He indicates that he’s in bad shape, but he should be stable. They decide to move him up the several flights of stairs so that he can be taken to the hospital. Meanwhile, after making sure Chuck is stable, Agatha gathers a few samples from the desiccated corpses. The group then decides a plan of action. As the man indicates that a third will likely be on the way, probably having gone to the city to retrieve some of the youth for whatever rituals they perform, the group decides to have him and Agatha take Chuck and Jonah to the hospital. Elena, Katrina, and Michael will wait for the third. He gives Elena and Katrina his guns — the double-barreled shotgun and a Colt .45 — and extra ammunition. Then, he and Agatha go to the hospital.

Their time at the hospital is relatively uneventful. The man, who introduces himself as Kenneth Woodward, indicates that he found the two like this, and suspects that they were overrun by someone. He also offers to take police there when they need it, assuming he can find the place again. In response to Agatha’s questions, he answers that the things overran his house a couple of months ago and started using it as a base of operations. He did not interact with them heavily, though he did know that they had some sort of Satanic ritual setup in the silo, and that they could communicate in English but typically spoke to each other in some hissing, guttural tongue. They fed him blood to keep him in line — he apparently found it difficult to act against their wishes or even act against them — and largely used him as a source of cover for their activities. His primary method of helping them was to dispose of the bodies, though he indicated that he won’t show where the dump site is located. He also indicated that, yes, he sent Jonah two emails trying to warn him. He strongly suspected that the creatures were reading the one email, so he was trying to warn Jonah discreetly. Indeed, he wasn’t looking to part with the missile silo, but the creatures said that it was for sale to lure more people to the site.

Meanwhile, Elena, Katrina, and Michael wait for a few hours before finally someone arrives — a black-clad woman with two young people wearing club clothes in tow. When she sees the desiccated corpses and the three people, she tells the club kids to wait there. She then pulls a kris dagger from her boot and moves forward. Elena fires the shotgun at her, ripping through her stomach. The woman pauses, then drops the dagger as all intelligence leaves her eyes and she becomes a ravening, fanged beast running for Elena. She does not manage to grab hold of Elena, instead being shot by Katrina with the .45 and then shot again by the shotgun. She falls, her body shrivelling and her lips in the same rictus as her fellows. As Elena goes to ask the club kids if they are all right, they run from the house. Elena and Katrina then wipe the guns, and Elena gets in her car to go home, and possibly make her way to some party or other. Katrina and Michael join Agatha and Kenneth at the hospital.

Katrina and Michael indicate that they took care of the last one. Kenneth, however, indicates that he still feels the same difficulty in talking about the creatures, so they decide to make certain that they are really and truly dead. Agatha uses a computer in the lobby to look up some methods of killing vampires, and the group goes back to the missile silo to eliminate the threat. After taking some time to debate what to do, Kenneth rises and retrieves an axe from the supplies along the wall. Agatha grabs another axe and the two decapitate the things, releasing a putrid stench as the creatures begin to decay swiftly. Before they do, Agatha performs a brief autopsy on one, noting that the eyeteeth are elongated and retractible, and the internal organs are shriveled. Agatha takes a few samples, including some bits of hair and skin, a couple of bone fragments, some teeth, and some samples of the heart tissue and their blood. During this time, Katrina and Michael went upstairs to escape the smell, though it quickly dissipates as the things start to decay and crumble.

Once finished, Kenneth thanks the others for ridding him of the things, and indicates that while he is not considering parting with the property, he will let them use it for whatever activities they do. He will probably make is way out to California or some such, just to get away from this mess. With a job reasonably well done, the others go home to sleep.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 4

Thursday, February 12, 2009, at various points throughout the day

The day begins comparatively normal for the residents of Terra Lake. With Roger Mason still possibly on the loose — so far as most residents of Terra Lake know — the schools are closed. Agatha goes to work, and has a fairly normal day. So does Elena, as she’s staying at home, planning all the things happening at school and over spring break. That afternoon, she goes to work, happy to have a relatively normal day for once. Chuck does a little research on stories about other people who are reported to have fallen into pieces after death, though he finds only vague rumors. After work, he goes to a local shooting range to get a little practice.

Katrina spends the day reading John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies and doing a little research on her pregnancy. Later in the day, she and Michael go to Bishop’s Antiquities to talk to Mrs. Bishop, asking about what information she can find on the children of Fetches. She says that she does not know anything further, but can try to do some research. Additionally, Katrina also asks what Mrs. Bishop might do in that situation, explaining about the murder attempts and the Mothman. Mrs. Bishop suggests that, if the Others want this thing around, even if some of them don’t, she might be inclined to get rid of the baby. As she says, though, she has never been in the situation to have to think about it, and it’s ultimately Katrina’s decision. She offers Katrina and Michael tea before they go, which they enjoy before returning to Katrina’s apartment.

Jonah, meanwhile, is using his survey equipment in the woods. While he is attempting to scan his surroundings, an older Honda Accord pulls up nearby. The door opens, and Johnny gets out. After initial greetings, Johnny explains that he understands that Jonah has access to certain substances, and Johnny would like to acquire some LSD, specifically in liquid form rather than soaked into a sheet or some such. When Jonah asks, Johnny indicates that, as Jonah likely has guessed, there are messed up things in town. He would like to perform an experiment; specifically, he would like to arm himself with LACE, a chemical complex involving LSD that causes it to be easily absorbed through the skin. Thus, if placed in a water pistol, it can easily be shot at hostile opponents as a distraction. Jonah thinks this is an amazing idea, and agrees to help. After a brief discussion, Johnny also decides to help Jonah with his surveying when Jonah indicates that he would be interested in acquiring a personal assistant. Johnny indicates that he will consider it, and proceeds to help Jonah finish his scanning. Then, the two part company so that Jonah can order some chemicals to help finish manufacturing LACE.

Having sought an abandoned missile silo to purchase as a group safehouse, Jonah has found a missile silo within a half hour’s travel. He receives a response to his inquiry by email, indicating that he should let the seller know when would be a good time, and to come over some evening. He gets a second email from a different address indicating to disregard the first email; there’s something wrong, and he should just stay away, sending an email to the original address that something came up and he can’t make it. After sending confused emails about the nature of both addresses, and specifically disregarding the warning of partitioning the email between the two email addresses, Jonah and the other party finally agree to meet at the Bird of Paradise in about a half-hour.

To prepare, Jonah smokes a little marijuana and calls Chuck. He explains that he is meeting a man at the Bird of Paradise in about a half-hour and would like someone to come with him. Chuck agrees, and heads over to the Bird of Paradise at the appropriate time. As it is somewhat early in the day, and people are reluctant to be about, Chuck finds nobody really in the club, except for an older man with black hair swiftly turning white and a large beard. The man looks at Chuck as he enters, but says nothing. Chuck goes to the bar and orders a beer. After waiting ten minutes with no sign of Jonah, he calls Jonah and finds that Jonah will probably be over in about fifteen minutes or so. Chuck sighs, and goes over to talk to the man. The man asks if he is the man to whom he spoke earlier about the property, to which Chuck replies that he is not, but the other man should be around in about fifteen minutes. The man decides that this is a waste of time, and insinuates that Jonah can do what he likes, though it might result in his death. He leaves, and Chuck follows to get the license plate on his truck. He then calls Jonah, letting him know that the man left. When he mentions that the man was driving a red pickup truck, Jonah hangs up and immediately starts driving. He pulls alongside the first pickup truck he sees, signaling that it should pull over. The woman ignores him, so he pulls in front of her, cutting her off. He steps out and starts shouting to her through the window. Though initially dialing her phone, she just drives away at that point. He then gets back in the car and starts driving toward Bird of Paradise, passing by another pickup truck with a grizzled-looking fellow inside. He swings around quickly, and attempts the same maneuver. When the man doesn’t pull over, he attempts to pull in front of him, but overshoots and drives off the road. The man just zips around him without trouble. Jonah then calls Chuck suggesting he’s in trouble, and the two confirm that he just harassed the man with the missile silo. As Chuck doesn’t actually know the situation, the two agree to meet at Chuck’s house so that Jonah can inform him of the details.

He explains that he has been looking to purchase an abandoned missile silo, and contacted this man with an offer. He received two emails from two different email addresses, each giving him conflicting instructions. Chuck then insists that he just made the man mad, so the deal probably won’t go through. Jonah then takes the opportunity to call his publisher, informing him that he has found a candidate for his personal assistant, and how much might he offer. His publisher indicates that, given Jonah’s consideration for a part-time position, the wage would probably be around $25 an hour. Jonah says he’ll keep in touch, and as his publisher explains that his lawyer is still in town, Jonah says it might be useful to keep him there. Once he hangs up, Chuck understandably asks what he does, and Jonah indicates that it’s secret work, and unimportant. After a little more discussion, Jonah leaves, and everyone retires for the evening.

Katrina awakens early the next morning, feeling a little nauseous. As her stomach starts to feel worse, she goes to her kitchen to get a drink of water. At about that time, the pain increases and her stomach starts to distend. She starts to see blood as the tentacle punctures her stomach and wraps around her throat. She goes for a kitchen knife and starts hacking at it, when —

She gets a feeling of vertigo as her surroundings change, and she sits bolt upright in bed, screaming and crying. Michael wakes up and tries to calm her down, and as a wave of nausea overtakes her — in retrospect, likely why her stomach hurt in the dream — she has enough presence of mind to grab a nearby garbage basket and vomit into it. Michael gets her some water, which she sips very carefully, and Katrina indicates that she’s going to watch television. Michael joins her and sits with her. She starts to fall asleep, but catches herself, and Michael tells her that it’s all right, and that there shouldn’t be anything to fear. The second time she falls asleep, she stays asleep, awakening to find Michael still sitting next to her on the couch, apparently awake. He offers to make breakfast and clean up and such, and day largely proceeds as the one before it, with Katrina voraciously reading The Mothman Prophecies.

Elena continues to prepare for her various activities, including Valentine’s Day tomorrow, thankful for both the day off and the relative normalcy of the day.

Chuck has a fairly quiet day. He continues to research possible information regarding Fetches so as to compile a file for Chief Roth. He finally finds a story with actual names, talking about a Greg Jefferson of Chicago who died in a gang shooting and who fell, according to eyewitnesses, into “shell casings, bandanas, and dirt.” Otherwise, his day is fairly mundane.

Agatha has a much more interesting day at work when a meeting is called. Apparently, representatives from a company called “Perkona Biotechnologies” have offered to buy Phoenix Chemicals, keeping the original staff on hand. A Mr. Jones from Perkona speaks a little about Perkona, and then everybody has the opportunity to ask a few questions before going back to work. Agatha plans on looking up a little about Perkona when she has the time. A little later, Katrina calls Agatha and invites her over for dinner. When Agatha leaves work and comes over, Katrina asks her details about her missing time, indicating what she has read in The Mothman Prophecies.

Jonah, however, ends up meeting Johnny again in the woods. Johnny helps him use the geological survey equipment, while Jonah watches as Johnny mixes the ingredients to make LACE. Jonah also talks a little more about his job offer from yesterday, and Johnny insists on asking what he does. He indicates that he works for a publishing company, and Johnny correctly guesses that, as some internet rumors have stated, Jasper Felix is actually active in Terra Lake. Upon making this revelation, Johnny agrees to work with him, and asks to be put in contact with his publisher or to be given the information to contact his publisher.

Then, as Jonah wishes to call everyone together to go to the missile silo site, he has his new personal assistant make the phone call, calling everyone to gather. After rejecting the plan to gather in the cold dark woods, Johnny asks Chuck’s permission, and they all agree to gather at Chuck’s house.

The Weird Turn Pro, Chapter 3

Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at various points throughout the day

The previous evening, before talking to Jonah and all that, Katrina received a call from her cousin Yuri in response to her assertion on her LiveJournal that something was wrong and she needed to talk to someone. Yuri, however, finds that she is doing better, even if everything is not exactly normal, and that she thinks she will be okay. Yuri says he’ll let everyone know, and that if people have the opportunity, he’ll also let them know that they should visit. If she has the time, she should do likewise.

The next day sees everyone make their way to work or school. Things are going in a relatively mundane fashion until lunchtime at Terra High School. Elena looks up to see Roger walking into the cafeteria, trenchcoat on, backpack on, coming over to her with grim purpose. He walks up to her and the shotgun comes out. He starts babbling, says he can’t remember his name, and he needs to know what it is. The lunchroom grows hushed and panicked as the gun comes out. Elena manages to convince him to move the shotgun directly off of her, though it’s still out, and she starts to explain that he’s Roger, he goes to Hot Topic. She then looks up to see another student sneaking around the back of Roger to try to take him down. She tries to wave him off, but as Roger notices the movement, he turns and fires. The student, Montgomery Chase, gets hit in the shoulder and collapses on the ground, screaming. Roger then turns back to Elena, again asking for his identity. When she cannot say much further, he intimates that the Doctor wants to know how it will end. When she doesn’t know, he says that we’ll all meet the Doctor eventually. He rests the shotgun under his chin and discharges it. The scene is initially bloody, but all that hits the ground are twigs, black candles that have been bitten in half, and scraps of black lace. At this, the student body panics and rushes the main entrance. Elena tries to move Monty to ensure he’s not crushed in the stampede. She becomes aware of somebody helping; it’s Johnny. After the lunchroom has cleared out a little bit, he starts tearing off strips of his jacket and asks Elena to get some paper towels or something. She returns with napkins, and Johnny wraps Monty’s wounds. She then calls 911.

Meanwhile, Jonah has an idea to get some of the students studying electronics to help him repair his survey equipment. He starts heading over to the school.

Once emergency personnel arrives and cordons off the scene, they start interviewing witnesses and checking injuries. When he arrives at school, Jonah sneaks past the police and goes to the audio/visual labs. Finding everything abandoned, he comes into the cafeteria to find Elena, Johnny, and the emergency personnel. The police, being well-acquainted with Jonah, lead him out but do not press charges. They do, however, inform him that he should likely use the main entrance to the school in the future.

Meanwhile, Chuck is informed that he needs to go down to the high school to report on the shooting at Terra High School. Elena calls him before he goes on, and gives him the basic gist of what happened. He sees Jonah get led from the school just before going on camera.

Katrina becomes aware of the shooting as several parents pull their young children out of the dance studio. After a bit, the studio shuts down with the revelation of the official story: there’s been a shooting at Terra High School and the adolescent shooter is still at large. Katrina returns to her apartment and eats lunch with Michael.

Agatha only becomes aware of the incident tangentally, as some parents leave work to pick up their children.

After being interviewed by police and paramedics, Elena goes home with her parents. She goes to her room and watches Chuck’s coverage on television.

Once Chuck is finished with his report on television, he speaks to everyone briefly, and one way or another, they all agree to meet at his house.

Jonah, however, goes to Katrina’s apartments first. Before visiting her, he goes to the abandoned apartment that apparently has a portal to another place in it. He tries to force the door to no avail. Then he goes to his car, gets a hammer, and smashes open the lock before going inside. He looks around, finding the place abandoned and otherwise appearing normal, when the landlord arrives. Jonah asks if he can squat there for $800 a month, and the man refuses, making the counter offer that if he pays for the door, he won’t call the police. The landlord says $200, Jonah says $300 and eventually makes it $400 for good measure. At that point, Katrina and Michael walk by, and hear Jonah. Jonah notices them and the group decides to make their way over to Chuck’s house.

Chuck gets home first and finds a large package on his doorstep, apparently delivered from Bishop’s Antiquities. When Chuck looks inside, he finds an antique armoire. When Jonah, Katrina, and Michael arrive, Jonah explains that Chuck received his package; when he went into Bishop’s Antiquities to plant the tape recorder, he had to buy something so no one would get suspicious. The four then move the armoire in the house and start to get situated. After spending time to primp and get ready, Elena makes her way over, though quite sullen. The meeting starts, and Chuck and Elena explain what happened at the school. With that out of the way, Jonah starts discussing strategy, wondering about things that might be done to take the battle to the mysterious Others. Agatha comes home around this time, just in time to hear Jonah’s rambling, and starts suggesting that his ideas are pure science fiction. The argument only escalates after that, as Agatha argues that Jonah is dangerously unbalanced while Jonah argues that he is merely acting as an advisor for the group, and suggesting courses of action, and perhaps if his advice is unwarranted, he should leave. The argument grows more heated once attention turns to Katrina, and she explains that she is pregnant, but due to the timing of the pregnancy, it was most likely with Michael’s Fetch. The argument continues, with Jonah putting forth the idea that Agatha’s implanted kidney, Katrina’s baby, or Michael’s new state might compromise them. Agatha retorts that he discusses things with his Masonic fellows with impunity, and that he and Chuck have demonic seals on their chests.

Around this time, there is a knock at the door. Chuck looks to see two strangely angular men in dark suits, both of whom appear odd. He tells Agatha to run out the back door, which she eventually does, before he opens the front door. They suggest that it was very stupid to send her out with the gunmen out back, to which Chuck closes the door and tells Agatha to re-enter. Jonah then opens the door, and the two Men in Black make their way in. The lights flicker as they enter. After acknowledging everyone, they suggest that those who witnessed the boy fall into pieces, or those who think that Katrina’s baby is anything other than Michael’s and anything other than normal ought to reconsider, lest their bodies find their way into shallow graves. Chuck asks for credentials, which they give, suggesting they are with the CIA, and when everyone has agreed, they leave. Chuck watches as they get into their Cadillac and drive away.

With a brief pause, the argument continues. An offhanded comment by Katrina implies that Chuck has known about this child for some time, implicating him among whatever problems the cell is having. With the idea being apparent that everyone might be a security leak, Michael brings up the fact that the Others operate by cutting deals with everyone and everything, and this sort of strife can only help. He goes further to suggest that, rather than segregating everyone who might be compromised, maybe none of these things suggest that the group is compromised, and everything might be all right. The argument ends with the agreement that people might mention to others if they want to let people outside the group know important information, and with Agatha’s assertion that she is trying to get her kidney removed. Katrina has already said that she doesn’t know what will be done about the baby, but she will figure it out. Based upon the events of the previous evening and Roger’s reaction, the group also determines that some Fetches apparently freak out if someone confronts them about being Fetches, and maybe that’s a poor idea for the future.

Finally, having brought it up earlier, Michael brings up that he could take a look at Jonah’s survey equipment. He says, however, that he will probably use abilities that he learned in his time away to repair it. Given the current uncertainty, everyone decides to allow it to happen. Chuck, Katrina, and Michael go downstairs to look at it. Michael says it needs a few parts, goes outside to gather twigs and rocks and such, and then takes Chuck’s tools and gets to work. Chuck winces as Michael hammers rocks and rubs dirt into the machine, but swiftly turns to amazement as the foreign objects actually meld with the machine. After around half a minute, Michael says he is finished. Chuck jokes that he might want to hold off on telling Jonah, as that’s a little embarassing, but the group goes upstairs and tells Jonah that his machine is done. Jonah takes the device and goes off to the woods to see if there are caves to map, while everyone else calls it an early night and goes home.

After everyone has left, Chuck calls Angela Johnson, Elena’s biology teacher. He sets up a date for 6:00 PM Saturday, being Valentine’s Day, at the Emerald Dragon, an upscale Chinese restaurant in town. She agrees, and Chuck says he’ll pick her up around 5:45 PM.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 2

Monday, February 9, 2009, at various points throughout the day (and following week)

The next morning, Katrina awakens to find that Michael is not in bed. She instead finds him in the living room, absently watching television, and apparently ecstatic to find that he’s still in her apartment and not…elsewhere. After composing himself, she fixes breakfast and the two eat before she gets ready for work. Then, she makes her way to the dance studio. Her workday is otherwise unremarkable.

Agatha’s workday is similarly unremarkable, although the mood is somber following the news of the possible collapse of Phoenix Chemicals. Chuck’s workday is comprised of filing paperwork while exchanging emails with Elena from her new iPhone. He still hasn’t gotten any airtime on camera.

Meanwhile, Elena is at the hospital. She finds herself among a parade of nurses, doctors, and police personnel. Her room is filled with several obnoxious items, such as balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, and suchlike. Special Agent George Sklar takes a moment to ask if there is anything odd he should be investigating, but she suggests that everything is normal, other than the attempted murder of last night. After school, the cheerleading squad comes by to cheer her up, and after work, Chuck Storm makes his way to the hospital just as they are leaving.

Chuck Storm finds his way to the hospital and discusses events with Elena, leaving and returning to fulfill her request for coffee. Upon his return, he meets Johnny Page, who has come to the hospital to see how Elena is doing, having also emailed her during the day. After giving her the letter that the school sent home, detailing the attack on Elena and the threat to students, he then expressed his well wishes and such before leaving. Chuck continues to discuss matters with Elena at the hospital, and she is finally prompted to call his boss and not only say that she misses seeing him on television, but that she will only grant an interview to him.

Katrina gets home without incident. When she checks her mail, she finds an unaddressed envelope in her mailbox; it only has a quote on the front, reading, “What we had here was a duty to warn people, to give them the evidence so they can make an informed choice. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice.” As she is walking to her apartment, about to open it, she encounters someone who lives on her floor, a matronly woman in her twenties or thirties with short, blond hair. Katrina is understandably on guard, but listens as the woman asks about the attack on Katrina the other day, and asks for clarification as to what she saw. Apparently, the attacker froze after looking into an open apartment, then knocked three times on an abandoned apartment door and opened it. It apparently opened into what appeared to be a forest before the woman ran in and closed the door. Katrina’s neighbor wanted to know if that sounded possible or reasonable or what, and Katrina suggested that it is a possibility, given the odd things happening in town. Then, she went about her way, finally looking at the mysterious parcel. Inside is a news article from spring of 2004 describing a murder on the University of Miami campus. Also included is a photograph of a young woman named Catherine Howard, and on the back is written her birthdate and the date she was last seen, which corresponds to both the murder and to her 21st birthday. Katrina enters her apartment to find that Michael has apparently been cleaning, and when she asks him about the parcel, he says that he has never seen the girl before. Then, the two begin to discuss dinner plans for the evening.

Jonah’s day consisted of completing his map of the woods, calling Chuck to ask about his device. After considering his options, he decides that he wants to talk to Michael, and thinking he is at Chuck’s house, he goes there. Finding no one home, he breaks in, and finding that Michael is not there, he goes into the basement to watch gay pornography and meditate.

When coming home, Agatha finds that the front door is unlocked. She calls Chuck to see if everything is all right, and swiftly determines that Jonah has broken into his home, so everything is more or less all right. After puttering around for a bit, she decides that she would like to talk to her brother, so she calls Katrina and goes over to her apartment. The three of them decide to take Michael clothes shopping, and then go out to dinner.

Chuck finally gets home, and finding Jonah still in his basement watching gay porn, he goes into his workroom, puts on headphones, and starts working on the survey equipment. After a few hours, Jonah comes in to ask him about how the device is coming along. Finally, the two decide that they would like to talk to Michael, so they call Katrina and Agatha and arrange a meeting at Katrina’s apartment.

Once everyone has arrived, they see how Michael is adjusting. Katrina also tells everyone about the mysterious package she received, and Chuck describes that Elena is doing well. Chuck says he will research the woman in Katrina’s package tomorrow at work, and the group also decides that they will meet with Mrs. Bishop to see what Michael may need to know. Since it is his Masonic meeting night, Jonah says he won’t make it, but he and Chuck agree to meet afterward at Eddie’s. Katrina also explains her neighbor’s observance of the door, and Michael indicates that he can probably just open that portal. Jonah is interested, so everyone goes out into the hall as Michael opens the door. Sure enough, it reveals a heavily-forested area with trees and brambles before finally fading into the abandoned apartment. Everyone then goes their separate ways for the night.

The next day, everybody goes to work as normal. Elena is released from the hospital to find that school has been cancelled out of concern for the danger to the town’s children. Chuck, meanwhile, researches Catherine Howard on his work computer. He finds that she was indeed last seen on May 15, the day before her 21st birthday, and that she is suspected of committing the murders on the University of Miami campus along with several other murders in the Miami area. She floundered around the foster care system for a time, as her antisocial tendencies tended to get her moved among families. She was initially put in foster care after the death of both her parents; her mother died during childbirth, as the pregnancy was apparently a very difficult one, while her father died after being hit by a car. Oddly, police considered this a hoax or a feigned death for a while, as eyewitness accounts claim that he fell into chunks of pumpkin and pieces of burlap after he was struck.

Alarmed by the implication that the child of a Fetch might be some psychopathic hellion whose trail of murder begins with the mother and continues for however long, he calls Katrina to inform her of the new information. She is noticeably upset, but takes the information in stride and knows that this will come to a head soon.

Jonah, meanwhile, pays an early visit to Bishop’s Antiquities, and after buying some iron pieces and an armoire which he asks to have delivered to Chuck’s house, he plants a bug in her store so he can listen in on the meeting this evening. He then leaves.

Agatha starts getting ready for the meeting when she gets home. Chuck takes the package to a friend in the police department to get it fingerprinted. He speaks briefly with Chief Roth, who asks if he knows why Chief Roth might be upset with him. Chuck expresses his desire to regain Chief Roth’s trust.

Meanwhile, Elena starts getting ready early, wanting to look her best for Michael. While preparing, she receives a call from Paul who asks her how things are going. Lilith similarly sends her regards. Paul then asks if Elena would like to accompany him to Las Vegas over her spring break, and she giddily agrees.

Chuck gets home to find a package waiting for him, apparently from Lilith. Inside, he finds a handmade flag bearing an odd, alchemical symbol on it, presumably to let others of her kind know that this house is a safe place. A smaller one is also inside, this one with suction cups for Jonah’s car. Chuck calls Lilith to thank her, and she also sends her regards to everyone, indicating that she just talked to Elena.

Upon getting home, Katrina is very withdrawn, and Michael keeps making certain that everything is okay. At one point, she makes a specific effort of kissing him and telling her she loves him.

Finally, with Jonah at his Masonic meeting, Agatha, Chuck, Elena, Katrina, and Michael go to Bishop’s Antiquities. Mrs. Bishop offers to allow him to work at her shop and to help forge any papers he might need to reestablish an identity in Terra Lake. She also explains that there is a larger society of Lost around, though he doesn’t need to join them. When talking about the woman who looked like Agatha and who tried to attack Katrina, Mrs. Bishop indicates that it probably wasn’t Agatha’s Fetch, as Agatha is not Lost. Some of the Lost, however, can impersonate the features of others, so it’s entirely possible that it was one of them. When asked about the possibility of a Fetch siring children, Mrs. Bishop says that she has heard of such things. Fetches are ordinarily sterile, but if they really love the person, they can sometimes conceive a child. The pregnancy is usually a difficult one. Complicating this is the fact that sometimes the child is reasonably normal, if mischievous, and can sometimes be used as a weapon against the Others. Other times, the child is an antisocial monster who cannot understand human interaction, cannot be held by locks, and disappears around her 21st birthday. Mrs. Bishop cannot really say why, but those are the rumors she has heard. When asked about the door to the woods, Mrs. Bishop indicates that it is something they can do, to open these portals. Once opened, the portals are permanent, though they can only be opened through certain means. With all the questions done, everyone goes their separate ways. Elena goes home, and Agatha goes to Chuck’s house, while Chuck goes to Eddie’s to meet Jonah.

Chuck finds Jonah meeting with his Masonic friends. As per an earlier agreement, Chuck goes into the bathroom after making sure that Jonah’s Masonic friends are not touched by whatever force sets off his “weirdar” (though Roger is in the diner and seems strange, as do a few others in the restaurant). He then leaves a note in the middle stall saying that everything is normal. He waits a while, and finally Jonah comes into the bathroom. After asking why Chuck never came back out, Chuck explains that he thought it might be awkward and less secretive. Jonah then goes into the middle stall, finds the note, and acknowledges that his friends are clean. As they are talking, Roger comes into the bathroom. After seeing the two of them, he gets a little nervous and says that he’s just there to use the bathroom. Chuck asks if he’s “Lost” or just a “Fetch.” Jonah blocks the exit. Roger starts screaming and goes into a stall. Jonah kicks the door down. Chuck leaves the bathroom and gets a drink at the bar. When patrons enter the restroom, Jonah says that Roger is having a bad trip. The guys help him out while someone calls an ambulance. Jonah then makes his way to the bar, and he and Chuck make their way over to his Mason buddies. After introductions are made, Jonah starts explaining some of the odd happenings to his Masonic friends, including that Michael is back, but that this should not be mentioned to anyone. Chuck, upon hearing some of the more intimate secrets of the group, such as that one, mentioned casually to people he doesn’t know, starts drinking. Chuck also indicates that he would like to join the Masons, and Jonah says that he’ll help him out. Eventually, Elena calls Jonah and asks about getting a fake ID. Jonah says he can help her out. After hearing Chuck in the background, she calls him, giving him a hard time for being drunk. After a bit more discussion between Chuck and Jonah, Chuck calls Elena again to get a ride home. Chuck and Jonah start harassing people who seem odd at the bar, before finally Elena arrives and Chuck leaves. Jonah leaves shortly thereafter.

After Katrina and Michael get home, Katrina tells Michael about the baby. To her surprise, he is not mad, although he admits that he is not entirely certain how to feel. But he says that he will support whatever decision she makes, and they’ll figure out what to do about it together. Though still upset, she is much relieved, and the two again sleep in the same bed.

The next day, Chuck and Jonah talk on the phone after Jonah has retrieved his tape from the antique store. He indicates that he doesn’t trust Mrs. Bishop, that Michael may be iffy, and that he doesn’t trust Katrina, either. Chuck argues that they all seem trustworthy, and finally tells him to ask Katrina about why she seems off to Chuck’s sight. He does, and Katrina indicates that she will explain, but not over the phone. Jonah, however, is upset at the prospect that Katrina has known what is wrong for some time, but hasn’t seen fit to tell anyone.

Additionally, Elena sees fit to contact Ms. Johnson, her biology teacher, to try to get a date for Chuck on Valentine’s Day. She sends him a text message with her phone number and a bit of information, telling Chuck to call Ms. Johnson.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 1

Sunday, February 8, 2009, at various points throughout the day (and following week)

During Katrina’s recovery, Elena has been trading emails with Johnny and when talk turns to the black-clad woman she saw the morning it snowed, Elena indicates that she saw her. Johnny, in turn, goes through newspaper entiries and determines that a number of young, blond, athletic girls, probably around six, have gone missing over the past fifteen years, or so. Despite rumors placing her at various crime scenes, she is verifiably found at two of them, according to newspaper reports.

Also during Katrina’s recovery, Agatha receives word at her work that, with the economy as it is and with certain grants not having come through, Phoenix Chemicals may be forced to fold in the not-too-distant future. However, they will not be firing anyone until they are forced to fold.

Jonah also acquires a broken set of geological survey equipment, which he gives to Chuck in the hopes that Chuck can fix it.

Finally, Sunday comes around and Chuck organizes the weekly meeting. Everyone attends to trade the stories of the previous week. Chuck brings up the fact that there are a few people in town who seem strange and should be investigated, so Jonah starts compiling names. They mention the goth kid they encountered at the mall — whom Elena names as Roger — as well as the few people Chuck encountered at Eddie’s. Jonah lists that as a possible hangout and suggests that it should be watched. He also indicates that he might follow Roger around to see what he does.

Around this time, there is a knock at the door. Chuck looks through the peep hole to see a man and a woman in suits standing at the door. When Chuck opens the door, the man flashes an FBI badge and introduces himself as Special Agent George Sklar, and his partner, Special Agent Hepburn. They indicate that they want to ask some questions about the events of last week regarding the attack at Chuck’s house. Chuck lets them in, and they come into the kitchen with the assembled party. Special Agent Sklar greets Dr. Herman, apparently having met her before, though she admits to never having met him, or at least not recalling having met him. After that is cleared up, he asks if there is any further information that they can tell him about the attack last week; a better description of the assailant, perhaps. The only information he actually finds, however, among Jonah’s jabbering about Katrina being part of the Russian Mafia and other such strangeness — prompting Special Agent Hepburn to leave in a huff — is that the second attack on Katrina was not performed by the woman who resembles Agatha, but by a woman who resembles a coworker. She did not initially report this information to the police. Otherwise, he learned no real information. Before leaving, Agatha asked if the FBI might have use of a good chemist, as her workplace may be folding soon, to which he replied that he would send her an application. Chuck then asked for his name and his partner’s name again, and he left.

After the FBI agents departed, Katrina and the others spoke sharply to Jonah about causing trouble, particularly in front of FBI agents. As he made his plans to leave so as to investigate further, Chuck asked if there was any further news, and Elena started to speak. After some prodding, she started to describe how a series of disappearances among young, blond, athletic girls have been connected with the woman in black whom she saw on the morning of the snowstorm. When Agatha asked how she learned of this information and Elena indicated that it came from her schoolmates, Agatha’s offhanded comment about it being a “high school urban legend” prompted Elena to run from the house, get into her car, and drive away. Chuck tries to call her, but she hangs up on him. His future calls go straight to voice mail. After a bit more discussion, Jonah leaves to perhaps snoop around in the woods or Roger’s house, and the meeting ends.

Meanwhile, Elena is driving home, crying, when thin, steely fingers wrap around her throat and a harsh voice urges her to drive to the outskirts of town. She looks in the rearview mirror to see a vaguely feminine figure in black sunglasses, black shawl, and black coat. Vainly hoping for something, anything to save her, she drives to the woods. When she is in, the figure tells her to stop. Elena then sees an older man wearing some odd, cheesy silver jumpsuit stagger out of the woods. Elena blasts her horn before the grip around her throat tightens and she loses consciousness.

She awakens to find the figure gone from her car. The older man is sitting outside the car. With a start, she recognizes him as Michael Herman, albeit thinner and older-looking. She steps out of the car, blubbering about how he saved her. She finally pulls herself together enough to call Chuck, and indicates that she was attacked, and is in the woods, and can everybody come now? Chuck calls Jonah and then Agatha, Chuck, and Katrina pile into Chuck’s car and head to the woods.

Everybody arrives at the woods and they are all ecstatic to see Michael, even if he seems off now and looks much different. After a bit of discussion, Chuck decides to take Elena to the hospital in her car, while Agatha and Katrina take Chuck’s car back to his house, with Michael in tow. Jonah also returns to Chuck’s house.

Among Agatha, Jonah, and Katrina, they get Michael up to speed on all that has happened in the interim, while asking him his impressions of the other place. He says he doesn’t remember much, although he responds to Jonah’s questions by saying that, yes, he does recall some humanoid aliens there. He seems somewhat bewildered that less than a month has passed, but otherwise all right, if someone out of it.

Meanwhile, Chuck takes Elena to the hospital. Very little discussion transpires on the journey over, save that Elena cries a lot and mutters “I told you so” several times. Upon eventually getting to the hospital, Elena is processed and Chuck is asked to give a statement, which he does, indicating that he came upon her and that a woman in black ran away when he arrived. Elena gives a similar statement when police arrive. Chuck waits around outside the room until Elena’s parents arrive, whereupon he takes a taxicab home. Elena, meanwhile, stays overnight for observation, and her parents stay with her.

Upon returning home, Chuck talks to Michael, deciding that they should meet with Mrs. Bishop tomorrow, for a little while before everyone retires for the evening. Since the police are looking for him, it is recommended that Michael stays out of sight, although they do also note that he looks quite different. Likewise, Jonah decides to stake out Michael’s house to make sure that no one is going in or out of it. As such, Jonah drives to Michael’s house to watch it. Katrina and Michael retire to Katrina’s apartment, sharing the same bed for the first time in a little while.

To Light the Way; Chapter 4

Thursday, January 29, 2009, at various points throughout the day (and following week)

The day passes fairly quietly. Agatha and Katrina stay at Chuck’s house during the day, with Katrina emerging briefly to take a walk. Chuck confronts his boss to determine why he hasn’t been getting camera time, and his boss indicates that there were some complaints following his story on the 25th, possibly about him harassing people. When he gets home, he asks Agatha if she could perhaps call Channel 5 and indicate that the matter has been resolved, which she does. Of course, all of this happens after the other call he receives that day.

At school, Johnny asks Elena at lunch if she is free to talk after school. She agrees, and they meet in the library when school ends. Johnny asks Elena how deep she is into whatever occult activity in which she has been engaged — including where she saw the symbol originally, where she indicates that it was on someone’s body — and then proceeds to explain how he posted the picture of the arcane symbol in a couple of places online. That night, he had a dream where a cloaked figure told him the symbol meant “Oathbreaker,” and that he should “stop meddling.” She thanks him, and he says that if she needs any further assistance or even just someone unconnected to talk to, she can contact him. He gives her an email address, but before they leave, Reverend Caulfield walks in. Elena immediately goes rigid, and Johnny surmises that something is amiss. The Reverend asks her if she is interested in accepting his agreement, which she declines. He then explains that if her friends want those symbols removed, they might want to catch him before he leaves town. She nods and he leaves. Johnny again asks her how deep she finds herself, and again offers his assistance if she needs it. She then leaves and calls Chuck about it, whereupon he invites her to dinner whenever she’s free, which happens to be earlier the next night.

During the next day, Chuck finds that his situation at work has not changed, but he decides not to press the issue. That night, everybody gathers for dinner and discusses their plans for the coming week. Dinner is interrupted, however, by a knock at the door. Chuck answers it to find a slight woman with a large bouquet of yellow roses. She also seems wrong to his senses — and to Elena, as well. She says her name is Shannon and she is coming to see how Katrina is feeling. As Jonah starts jabbering at her, she says she would like to talk to Katrina alone. She and Katrina go to the back porch — with Chuck quietly watching them — and she says that someone came around the dance studio looking for Katrina; fortunately, Chad was good enough to snap a picture. She reaches into her pocket for the picture — and pulls a knife, ready to attack. The knife hits home, cutting across Katrina’s abdomen and cutting deep into her side. Panicked, she starts to run, but is grabbed and pulled inside by Chuck. As that happens, a seven-foot-tall, grey, furry creature with large, muscular wings and two, glowing, softball-sized eyes swoops down and starts kicking the woman. Hearing the commotion, everybody except Jonah gathers to see what is happening. Elena starts screaming at the sight of the moth creature, and Jonah opens the second-story window where he is watching and leaps on top of the woman, knocking her to the ground. The woman then gets a kick to the face by the creature’s clawed talons, and loses consciousness. Chuck then opens the door and asks the creature what it is doing here. The creature stares at Chuck as he manages to suppress a wave of fear and revulsion. He raises his phone to take a picture of it, but the phone crackles and stops working. Then, with a taloned foot, it grabs the mystery woman, her features beginning to run like wax, and takes wing into the sky. Before it gets very high, however, Jonah leaps at it and grabs on to its other leg as the others stare on incredulously. The thing lands, dropping the body, and Jonah hops onto the ground. It stares at him, and he is gripped by a great wave of fear that sends him running away from it. Then, it grabs the woman and takes flight, with Chuck managing to snap a blurred picture before it leaves sight.

After that shock, Elena leaves and searches around until she finds a party, washing away the events of the evening in drunken debauchery. Meanwhile, Katrina, bleeding profusely, asks to be taken to the hospital. Chuck agrees to take her while Agatha and Jonah remain behind. Agatha is to take care of the knife, which she does by washing it, putting it in a plastic bag, and hiding it in the back of the linen closet. When Chuck and Katrina arrive at the hospital, they take an immediate interest in her condition upon finding out that she is pregnant, and take great care to ensure the safety of her and her child. The police ask Chuck some questions about what happened, and then leave. After Katrina has been stitched up and examined, they approach Chuck and tell him that she will be fine, but she is being held for observation. He visits her, and she asks if he can stay the night, which he agrees.

Meanwhile, the police arrive at Chuck’s house and begin their investigation. After a few hours of evidence gathering, they thank Agatha and leave, saying that crime scene cleanup will be along within the next few days when the preliminary evidence gathering is secure.

Over the next few days, Agatha and Chuck take shifts at the hospital. That weekend, Chuck and Jonah decide to confront Reverend Caulfield. Jonah prepares by getting his holy water (and loading a couple of water pistols with it), as well as some blessed Benedictine crosses and other books and such. Chuck and Jonah drive over to where the tent has appeared intermittantly, and enter to find the Reverend Caulfield. He explains that the symbol indicates that they broke an oath, marking them as liars. However, he did not burn the sigil on their chests — God did when they failed to uphold their end of the bargain. However, the symbol can only leave disappear with the Reverend’s forgiveness. They ask what they can do, and after some thought, he suggests that there is an FBI agent in town who is too prideful, and they can carve her face to take her down a notch. When they disagree, Jonah suggests that they could burn down the antique store due to the sinner within. The Reverend indicates that he would accept that, but Chuck disagrees. Finding themselves at a stalemate, Chuck and Jonah leave empty-handed. After leaving, they call Paul and Lilith to find out more about this phenomenon, and they indicate that the symbol probably does mean “Oathbreaker” and likely does mark them as liars, which could color their dealings with spirits and anything that responds to oaths and can perceive such marks. They do not know if there is any other way to remove the mark, although there probably is. Chuck and Jonah thank them, and then hang up.

The next few days pass quietly, until finally Katrina is finally released from the hospital on Thursday, February 5. Upon returning to work, she asks about Shannon, and learns that Shannon has been unable to come to work. She was apparently discovered on January 31, tied up in her closet, and claiming that a woman in police uniform did this to her. She was uninjured, but was still severely shaken by the incident, and so has taken some personal time.

To Light the Way; Chapter 3

Wednesday, January 28, 2009, starting at around 5:00 PM

Katrina is suddenly awakened from her nap by a knocking on her apartment door. She looks and opens it to find Agatha. They exchange pleasantries, and Agatha indicates that she just wanted to see how things are going. Katrina makes some popcorn and then they sit down to watch television. That’s when the knife comes out.

Agatha leaps at Katrina, slashing at her wildly and cutting her right arm. A struggle ensues, with a fear-crazed Katrina desperately trying to run from the room with an apparently demented Agatha tries to kill her with a knife. She slashes Katrina across the chest, and Katrina manages to escape her apartment with her keys, beginning a mad dash down the hallway with Katrina screaming for help. Agatha catches up, gets kicked in the face by Katrina, and manages to catch her once in the left shoulder with the knife before her attention is drawn to something in one of the now open apartments. Katrina, no longer hearing the sounds of pursuit, turns once to see Agatha looking distantly into an apartment in utter horror, and continues to run down the several flights of stairs to her car. She then starts a mad drive to Chuck’s house.

Jonah, meanwhile, is also driving to Chuck’s house, and arrives just in time to see a bloody Katrina running frantically to the door and begin knocking. She is greeted by Agatha, and she immediately screams and runs for her car. Agatha follows, attempting to learn what is wrong. Jonah, in the confusion, goes inside and begins taking a shower.

Meanwhile, Chuck and Elena are researching local history at the library. They learn that the town has suffered very little in the way of violence throughout its history. It was settled primarily by Germans, and prominently cultivated by the Schwann family, who runs the local farm. The only odd thing is two disappearances on the lake; one of Michael Schwann in 1896 and the other of David Sergeant in 1932. Otherwise, the town has been fairly peaceful until recently.

On their way back home, Chuck gets the panicked call from Katrina saying that he has brought a killer into his house. He indicates that he is on his way home. Likewise, Agatha ends up calling him, asking what is wrong with Katrina. Eventually, Agatha manages to convince Katrina that she is not trying to kill her, and Katrina realizes that Agatha’s clothes are different and remarkably unbloodied. In fact, she looks fairly well-composed for someone who just engaged in a mad flight after Katrina with a knife. Agatha asks Chuck about where a sewing kit and first aid supplies may be, which he tells her. She and Katrina then go into the house.

Agatha and Katrina begin trekking to the bathroom for the medical supplies when the hear the water running. Agatha tells Katrina to wait and goes upstairs. After knocking, she asks if it is Jonah, who indicates that he is busy and has his hands full. Agatha says that she needs to get some things from inside the bathroom, and finally goes inside to find the shower curtain wide open and Jonah in the shower with a razor and half of his head and stubble shaved. In his other hand, he has a mound of hair. He asks if he can get a Ziplock bag. Agatha begrudgingly agrees and gets the sewing kit and medical supplies, then returning to give Jonah a bag. She and Katrina go to the kitchen as Chuck and Elena enter, seeing the blood drops around his house, and Agatha explains what happened to Katrina as well as the fact that she now has an abnormal kidney — a “lead kidney,” as she calls it. Chuck, upon learning that Jonah is in the bathroom, goes up to check on him, but Agatha warns him off of the idea. After a bit, Jonah comes downstairs wrapped in a towel, his head and face shaved, and goes outside with the Ziplock bag. He sets fire to the thing, and asks Chuck if he can borrow a suit, also explaining some of his ideas about the strange events in town. Chuck goes back inside to get some clothes, and is momentarily stopped by the vision of Agatha stitching Katrina’s wounds, briefly pondering the surreal moment. He continues upstairs, and gets Jonah a gray suit. Jonah changes, then goes to his car and returns with a duffel bag, asking Chuck how much money he wants for the suit. Agatha suggests that a good suit runs about $2,500, so Jonah gives Chuck that much. Around that time, Katrina receives a phone call from her landlord, who asks if she is all right and says that the police want to talk to her, and where is she now? She gives him Chuck’s address and explains that the police will be around shortly. Agatha, Elena, and Jonah all decide to make themselves scarce when they arrive, and when the inevitable knock comes, Jonah goes out into the backyard and Elena and Agatha go upstairs. Chuck answers the door and leads the officers to Katrina. They question her briefly, and as Agatha recalls that they will ask about who treated her wounds, she comes downstairs so that she can explain herself. Between the two of them, they explain that a woman who looked very much like Agatha attacked her, Katrina came to Chuck’s house in her panic, and had Agatha patch her up. The police accept the report and insist that Katrina go to the hospital to be checked out. Chuck decides to accompany, and Agatha says she can help clean Katrina’s car while she is gone. Meanwhile, Jonah has slipped away while the police were inside, and has driven elsewhere. Agatha goes about busying herself, while Elena putters around, the gravity of her situation having just hit her, along with the fact that her car is elsewhere.

Katrina is released within the hour, with the doctors saying that the person who sutured her wounds did a good job, but in the future they would recommend that she come to the hospital first. If she would like, they can remove her stitches in about a week. She and Chuck then return to Chuck’s house to prepare for the meeting with Mrs. Bishop later. Meanwhile, Jonah goes to a Catholic church to prepare for his battle with the demon. He fills a canteen with holy water and corners someone in vestments. The fellow appears to be somewhat young, and seems quite overwhelmed with Jonah’s assertion that only he can help Jonah fight this demon. All he can recommend is holy water and reading the Psalms. Jonah indicates that he will donate generously to the church if the priest can help him, and he gives $500 to begin. He then goes over to Bishop’s Antiquities to await the others.

Finally, Agatha, Chuck, Elena, and Katrina all pile into Chuck’s car, and after a stop at Subway, they go to Bishop’s Antiquities. Jonah meets them. After introductions are made with Mrs. Bishop, they explain their predicament — the change in Michael, the creature in the woods, Agatha’s abduction, and so on — before gaining her insight. She indicates that the woods form a gateway to some other place — the place from which she escaped after her abduction, and killed her Automaton double, more properly called a “Fetch” — and that the outlook of attempting to close the gateway or kill the entities on the other side seems bleak. She does however indicate that these things resemble the Fairies of legend and that iron may be able to harm them, but they are still powerful beings regardless. She also indicates that the gateway can be opened by the group, although she doesn’t know how to do it; her kind can open those gateways naturally, though she is not inclined to do so. Finally, before everyone leaves, she gives Jonah the music box he left earlier in the day, and bids everyone good evening.

Katrina asks if she can stay at Chuck’s house, which Chuck agrees and insists on her taking his bed while he takes the couch. As such, he, Agatha, and Katrina go back to his house, while Elena goes home to finish her homework before bed. Jonah gets in his station wagon and goes to the woods to sleep.

To Light the Way; Chapter 2

Tuesday, January 27, 2009, various points throughout the day.

Chuck and Katrina return to Chuck’s house to find Agatha perfectly fine, having been staying at his house throughout the day. When Chuck receives a phone call repeating something Agatha just said, however, Agatha assumes that she’s being bugged and considers for a moment, finally forming a plan to determine this for certain. She enlists Katrina’s assistance in going to her work and speaking to Kevin Roberts about having a series of X-rays done under the pretense of a collage for some sort of play. They went through the process and she received her X-rays, whereupon she and Katrina return to Chuck’s house. By this time, Chuck is about to meet Clark and Jonah, so he indicates that he will see them later. Agatha, Chuck, and Katrina did, however, decide that the women should stand guard while the men are engaged in the sweat lodge, so Chuck will definitely see them later. He goes off to the mall.

Chuck, Clark, and Jonah meet again at the mall, Jonah hauling lumber. Clark explains that he made a few calls and received permission from the local government to do this. After Clark closes his store, the three go down to the lake to start building the structure. Jonah leaves after an hour or two so that he can get to his Masonic meeting, but Chuck and Clark manage to finish the structure by 9:30 PM.

Meanwhile, Elena spots Reverend Caulfield in the mall. He quietly passes by Claire’s and tips his hat to her.

Additionally, Agatha notices something wrong with her X-rays. Where her left kidney should be, it appears to be solid enough that no X-rays passed through it. Alarmed, she asks Katrina about it, and then returns to work to ask Kevin about it. Among the three of them, nobody recognizes any precedent for this sort of thing, though Kevin suggests she talks to her physician and wishes her the best of luck. Then, Agatha and Katrina return to Chuck’s house to plan until after midnight, when they will go to the lake.

Having finished building the sweat lodge, Chuck and Clark go to get something to eat. Chuck is immediately struck by two people who seem off — a construction worker and the goth kid from the mall earlier. Shortly after arriving, Elena calls and swings by to pick up the papers on Reverend Mortimer Caulfield, having called Chuck and explained that the Reverend was actually in her home this morning, and offered her some sort of pact. She then returns home to look over the papers before she meets them by the lake at midnight.

Meanwhile, Jonah explains to his lodge mates about the Reverend, and shows them the photocopied evidence from earlier. They agree that this is both interesting and unusual, and say they will investigate more later.

Finally, the time comes and everyone reconvenes at the lake. Chuck, Clark, and Jonah strip down and go into the sweat lodge, while Elena waits in her car. Agatha and Katrina arrive within a half hour.

While the others are without, watching, Chuck, Clark, and Jonah are inside. At first, it is merely warm and humid, but soon the light from the coals grows more intense until it is all they can see. They find themselves in a forest — find themselves to be the forest. All the creatures move through it like bacteria on the skin. And throughout the woods is a network of tunnels, though they are not just underneath the woods, but beside the woods and all around the woods. At first, this land held only coyotes, who refused to stay because game was scarse and bear preyed upon them. Then, sheep came to the land, and stayed for grass was plentiful. They were ignorant of bear, and so when bear came to them and spoke to them, they did not know better. Those sheep to whom he spoke were transformed, turned into wolves that attacked and devoured other sheep, bringing them to bear. But knights rode in and slew the wolves, for those wolves had slain a sheep precious to those knights, and they left. Then bear grew hungry, with no one to give him tribute, and started hunting sheep again. Finally, he found a sheep and made that sheep into a wolf…

Eventually, a very disheveled and naked Chuck, Clark, and Jonah came out of their stupor and wandered outside, prompting Elena to photograph them. Once they regained themselves, they tore down the structure and discussed what they saw. However, when Chuck and Jonah started talking about how the vision relates to the Automata and the Snake-Bear, Clark is initially interested, even suggesting that the talk of people being replaced is a little like Irish tales of changelings replacing children that can be differentiated from the original by placing iron in the crib. As the conversation continues, Clark seems somewhat wary of the discussion and politely excuses himself to go home. Chuck calls Elena and Katrina, and the assembled group goes back to his house.

Back at Chuck’s house, Chuck and Jonah explain what they saw, having concluded that the Snake-Bear may be making the Automata that they have encountered, though they do realize that they are not totally certain. After discussing things for a little bit, Chuck and Jonah both display alarm, with Jonah running outside and Chuck clutching at his chest. When they regain their wits, they find that a seal has been burned into their chests. Chuck thinks it is a bad thing, though Jonah believes that it is a sign that they must rebuild the Temple of Solomon. Curious about the thing, Chuck, Elena, and Katrina begin looking online to determine what sort of seal it might be, determining that it has similarity to some of the goetic seals, but they can’t be certain. Meanwhile, Jonah calls Wendel Thompson — the Tawa Masonic Lodge chaplain — and inquires about it before Wendel finally concedes to come to his current location and take a look.

As they search and find that they cannot match the seal, there is a knock at Chuck’s door and Jonah answers it to find Wendel. Jonah explains the situation and shows him the seal, leading him to the others. He sees the seal on Chuck’s chest — and then notices that Elena is present, she being a friend of his daughter’s and Wendel finding it quite interesting as to why she is hanging about with several strange people at around two in the morning. Finally, Wendel admits that this thing is rather out of his league, and wanting to have no part of it, he agrees to see if any of the fellow Masons know anything, but he otherwise won’t speak of it. Before he leaves, he tells Elena that “she got lucky.”

With everything winding down and the hour quite late, Agatha, Chuck, and Katrina go to bed, Elena goes home, and Jonah takes a shower before going out to the woods.

The next day, everyone awakens and engages in their respective routines, dragging for the most part from the late night before. Chuck goes to work, fueled by lots of coffee, and engages in his routine at the news desk. Katrina goes to the dance studio, teaching the little ones and catching naps when she can. Before going home, she purchases a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Elena goes to school, trying her best to get through the day. During lunch, she goes to the library to get a second opinion on her predicament, finding a group of five playing Unknown Armies. The group stops as she approaches, though the man at the table’s head — the prematurely grey seventeen-year-old Johnny Page — cheerfully asks what she needs. She shows him a picture of the sigil from the night before — much to his surprise, as one of the most popular girl’s in school starts rambling about goetic seals and the demon Malphas — and he indicates that, sure enough, it resembles Malphas’ seal but is not the same. He makes a copy of it and says he’ll look into it, giving her information if he finds anything.

Meanwhile, Agatha is researching her kidney affliction. She finds that, while there is little precedent for this sort of thing, some dingbat on the internet claims that he was abducted and his kidney replaced with a protomatter duplicate that is opaque to X-rays. He goes on to rant about how John Tynes and Pagan Publishing know all about this, which is why they included it in Delta Green. Agatha contacts him, and through emails determines that he was on dialysis and learned about this fact when he no longer needed dialysis and X-rays showed his kidney to be as it is. He indicates that it was probably written about in some local journal or other, and that the attending physician was Dr. Bernard Jackson. Using these items, she finds the story in California newspaper, and makes the call to Dr. Jackson’s office in California. She reaches him to find that there is little more he can tell her — everything about the kidney is normal, except for the fact that it is not permeable to X-rays, suggesting that it bends light strangely. He indicates that he probably wouldn’t make the trip out to Indiana, though, and recommends that she consults with her physician.

Meanwhile, Jonah is following Elena throughout the day in the hopes of seeing Reverend Caulfield. While parked a block or so over from Terra High School, he receives a phone call from John Keel. The two talk, with John Keel explaining that most of these myths — aliens, fairies, spirits, and suchlike — are indicative of extradimensional entities that have been meddling in human affairs for eons. He seems interested in Jonah’s story, and suggests that he compile all the evidence to see if a pattern emerges. Additionally, John Keel indicates that he is not terribly familiar with the violent phenomena that Jonah describes; it may be possible that ordinary humans are behind the acts of violence in town. John Keel further says that he will take a look at any documents that Jonah forwards to him, and Jonah suggests that if he dies in the town, John Keel is free to write about this story. The two finish their conversation amicably, and then Jonah continues his stakeout.

Around when school is out, Chuck calls Elena to see if she wants to go to Bishop’s Antiquities today to investigate. Elena agrees, poking around on the internet briefly and taking a nap beforehand. Then, she gathers a few iron nails to arm herself against what may be some sort of fairy, taking a cue Clark’s advice last evening. Finally, she and Chuck meet and go to Bishop’s Antiquities. Unbeknownst to them, Jonah follows. Chuck and Elena enter, and immediate sense the wrongness hovering around Mrs. Bishop. They look around for a little while before Chuck purchases several iron keys and an old iron. When he brings his purchases to the front, Mrs. Bishop gives him a look, and after a bit of an awkward silence, Chuck finally asks Mrs. Bishop if she has been replaced, because she seems strange to him and Elena. She indicates that she was, but she escaped and took care of her replacement. As she determines that they know something about the weird things in the woods and in town, she agrees to meet them at her shop around eight o’clock. Chuck asks if he can bring the others, to which she nervously agrees.

As Chuck and Elena leave, Jonah leaps out with a tire iron asking if they found the demon. Elena screams, startled, and Mrs. Bishop comes outside to see what is the matter. Finally, Jonah calms down and goes into the store to look around, so she says simply that she shall see them later. Jonah purchases a small music box before leaving, although he forgets to take the box with him, and says that he will see her this evening.

To Light the Way; Chapter 1

Tuesday, January 27, 2009, various points throughout the day.

Elena awakens, aware of the sound of a clearing throat and the lighting of candles. She awakens to make out Reverend Caulfield in the gloom, holding a desiccated hand, its fingers alight. He explains that he’d like to make a proposition to Elena, considering how she and her friends claim to know something about him. He says that he may not agree with their conclusion, but it is obvious that he is something other than an average fellow. He makes her the offer to join with her, such that she may benefit from his guidance and prove herself useful to the rest of the group, especially Katrina. No catch. She says she’ll need to think about it, to which he agrees, and then tells her that she can turn off her alarm clock for reasons that will become obvious, and that opening her blinds will probably scare off the intruder skulking around the house. She goes to the window and opens it to see snow outside and a pale woman, dressed in heavy black coat, sunglasses, and scarf wandering around the yard. When the window opens, the woman makes her way from the house. Elena turns around to find Reverend Caulfield and his candle no longer there. Unable to sleep, she sits up until a little later, when she calls Chuck.

Chuck is preparing for his venture to go people watching when he receives a phone call from Elena. She tells him that she saw someone snooping around her house, but when the woman saw Elena, she ran away. Chuck ultimately agrees to talk to her later and that she should call if anything further happens. She goes downstairs to watch television and start making breakfast. Meanwhile, Chuck gets his things together and goes to a central bench in town to sit and watch. With the snow, few people are about, but he sights Mrs. Bishop skipping until she sees him. He also notices that she seems odd. He lets her go on her way but decides that he’ll investigate her further at a later time. He then proceeds to talk to a couple of the town’s homeless, and finds that other than a few disappearances and folk legends about steering clear of the lake or woods, they don’t know much. Then he goes in to work.

Katrina awakens that morning, and with the school at the studio closed, she still comes in to work out. Around lunchtime she leaves and sees a large, humanoid creature covered in grey fur with great wings where its arms should be and two red, softball-sized eyes. When it sees her, it flies off into the distance, in the direction of the woods. Curious, she follows, but finds nothing other than Jonah’s station wagon. Then she calls Chuck, and the two decide to meet at the mall. Likewise, he and Elena decide similarly.

Meanwhile, Jonah awakens and drives around to try to take a shower for his Masonic meeting this evening. Finding the school closed, and unable to break into it, he looks for a spa before finally going to the mall to use their woman’s spa. He attempts to bribe the woman manning the desk, though she is spooked by the sheer amount of money that the rather raggedy Jonah is flashing, and says that she wants no part of it. He passes by Elena and Katrina, and finally goes into Bath and Body Works to get some soaps and such, and goes into the bathroom to wash.

Chuck, however, leaves the stall to see Jonah’s clothes draped on the sink, and is greeted by a half-shaved and very naked Jonah. Chuck, surprised, tells Jonah to join them whenever he is finished. Chuck joins up with Katrina and Elena, finally meeting up with Jonah when he is finished, and they start planning. After a bit of discussion, Jonah’s cell phone rings.

It’s Paul. He indicates that he and Lilith — mostly Lilith, by his admission, though he helped — looked up Reverend Caulfield, and though they did not find reference to him being demonic, they did find references to him in three different books. One places him in D.C. in 1968 during the Poor People’s Campaign, another places him among the Okies in the 1930s, and the third makes a passing reference to him in the 1870s. He is, in all cases, pictured or described in the same fashion, indicating that he has not aged. The group thanks him for that information and asks if he can fax the pages to them, finally deciding on using Katrina’s work to receive the fax. He agrees. After hanging up, they have scant time to discuss these new events before Jonah receives a call from Maurice, the friend he called the night before about Chuck’s house possibly being haunted. Maurice indicates that, no, Chuck’s house does not reside on any ley lines or interesting places in town, though the town itself has a lot of odd rumors. Local historian Clark Borde might know more, and he happens to run the shop Good Medicine in the mall. With this information, the group goes to Good Medicine; Elena goes to Mrs. Field’s to flirt with the guy at the counter and make sure she isn’t seen with the others.

In Good Medicine, Chuck and Jonah introduce themselves and ask Clark about local legends. He seems fairly happy to oblige, and explains how the Indians used to avoid this area, based on folk legends that it was haunted by monsters. Specifically, they said that the woods were haunted by the Little People, the payiihsaki, who are essentially the fairies and trickster spirits found in most traditions. They also said that the lake contained some sort of monster that would eat unwary travelers, and they lastly claimed that a series of caves — though no caves have ever been reported in the area — served as the lair of a monstrous creature known as the Snake-Bear, the kineepikwa’mahkwa. He even went on to explain that the name of the town came from the settlers’ misunderstanding of the word Tawa — a reference to the legendary Naked Indians in the area. The settlers assumed the word was Terra, a word they knew, and the name stuck. Chuck and Jonah thanked him for his help, relatively excited by this new revelation, and Jonah purchased some pipes before leaving. Then, deciding that he wants to engage in a sweat lodge so as to perform a vision quest, Jonah started purchasing a tent and tobacco and such so that he can commune with nature. As they go to leave the mall, Chuck and Elena both notice a couple of kids coming out of Hot Topic, one of whom seems odd. When figuring out how to approach them, Jonah finally decides to call after them, and when they don’t respond, he runs at them. After a brief discussion, they figure that he’s just messing with them, and as the argument gets more heated, security comes over and separates the two. Elena volunteers that rather than trying to talk to them and learn who they are that way, she can just ask around at school tomorrow. Jonah returns to gather the things he dropped when running after the kids, then he then quietly invites Chuck along on his sweat lodge vision quest, though Elena and Katrina manage to hear enough to get the gist of Chuck and Jonah naked in the woods together, for which Elena gives him no end of grief. Jonah, having an idea, returns to Good Medicine to invite Clark along, and after some thought, he agrees and says that they should get lumber to build the lodge. Jonah agrees to meet him at five, and then returns the tent since he will not need it.

Meanwhile, with Elena and Chuck talking in Claire’s — mostly with Elena making fun of Chuck about the prospect of getting naked with Jonah — Katrina goes into the Dollhouse next door. Looking around, she asks Cassius Sherman about the set of dolls that all look alike, to which he replies that they are his wife. He starts quietly weeping. Awkwardly, both he and Katrina turn away from each other before she excuses herself, saying she may return again.

Finally, having received the call from her work saying that the fax came through, Chuck, Jonah, and Katrina go to the dance studio to pick it up. Elena stays at the mall as her shift is occurring shortly. Once they pick up the fax and Katrina makes copies for everyone, they part company so that Jonah can purchase lumber and Chuck and Katrina can return to Chuck’s house to check on Agatha.


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