False in Some Sense

Those Caught Between; Chapter 1

Friday, February 20, 2009, around 7:00 PM (and over the following day)

Agatha is prepared to spend a quiet evening at home. Meanwhile, Chuck takes Angela Johnson to see Coraline, and ends up running into Katrina and “James” — as Michael is now known — who are also going to see Coraline. After introductions are made, the group happens to see Elena with her date and wave at her. She pretends not to notice and slips into the theatre.

Chuck notices an older man wearing dingy work clothes following him. He makes a note of it and continues into the theatre.

Angela really enjoys the movie, but a modern fairy tale about other dimensions and abductions hits a little too close to home for the others. They decide to make their way to Eddie’s to get something to eat, and Chuck notices the man from earlier getting into a Mack truck without a trailer. Someone — or something — small clambors onto him and the lit cherry of a cigarette smolders into view. Chuck points this out to the others, and after some discussion, they decide to ignore the old man with the child or whatever he has. They go to Eddie’s.

The group engages in some idle chitchat, mostly about the movie, though Angela does ask a little about Katrina’s time in Russia. After the two groups part company, Michael is a little relieved that Angela did not recognize him. Then, Katrina and Michael return to Katrina’s apartment, while Angela and Chuck go back to Chuck’s house.

Katrina and Michael return to Katrina’s apartment without incident, but as they approach the door, they hear heavy footfalls inside. They quietly retreat to the stairwell and debate whether they should call the police or call someone else in the group. Eventually, Katrina settles on calling Chuck.

Chuck, meanwhile, returns to his house with Angela. Agatha calls up after Chuck when he enters, and Angela gets to meet Agatha before she leaves Chuck and Angela alone. The two chat and have tea before Chuck takes her home. That’s when he gets the phone call from Katrina. With Angela in the car, he manages to make it seem as if all is well as Katrina explains that there are people in his apartment. He indicates that he will call her back, and after he drops off Angela — having explained that he doesn’t want to talk on his cell phone while driving — he drives a little faster and calls Katrina. After finding all the details, he goes home to put on a big coat and grab his shotgun. Then he makes his way to her apartment.

After calling her to let him enter, the three go up to her apartment. Katrina is to unlock the door, and Chuck will enter first. She does so, and he runs into the apartment, turning on the light. Seeing that the only light currently on is in the bedroom, he sneaks over to the bedroom door and peers in. He sees a slight, mischievous girl with long black hair and a knife crouched behind the bed. A large, bald, muscular man wielding a baseball bat is crouched next to her. Both seem strange to his sight. Katrina ducks back out into the hall and calls the police before going back into her apartment. After a moment of waiting, the woman and man start to creep out of the bedroom. Chuck backpedals, and when the woman rounds the corner, he discharges one of the barrels of his shotgun as she rushes up to him, slashing at him with the knife. Both attacks hit home, as Chuck is bloodied and the woman has pellets of shot embedded in her skin. The window breaks behind her. As the man exits the bedroom, he grows from an already impressive height of nearly seven feet tall to easily nine feet tall, still clutching the baseball bat. Katrina throws an ashtray at him, opening a cut above his eye, and Michael throws a shoe at him. As the scuffle continues, the woman whistles and starts to run, dodging between the giant’s legs and returning to the bedroom. Before the man can turn around, however, Chuck discharges his other shot right into his crotch, dropping him where he stands. The woman, hearing his groans, turns around and begins running at Chuck, screaming and slashing at him with the knife. The last thing he sees before the knife hits home and he passes out is the older man from earlier peering into the broken window. A chimpanzee dressed in an old-fashioned, striped prison uniform appears next to him in the window.

He discharges a shot into the fallen, moaning giant. At the sight of all the blood and intruders, Katrina starts screaming and punching the woman. She sustains a cut on the arm, but manages to render the woman unconscious. The older man with the chimpanzee fires a few more shots into the giant. Katrina starts tending to Chuck and yells at the older man, asking why he is here. He says that he is Billy Jack Puckett, and that he came around to help. Katrina, who is far too angry to speak to him calmly, continues to help Chuck. Billy Jack tells his chimpanzee to get some water for everyone, and he gets glasses of water for Katrina and Michael. Michael, in the end, speaks to him, coordinating the stories. To avoid any cries of premeditation against Chuck, he tells Katrina to claim the shotgun as her own. He also decides to go with a Good Samaritan story for Billy Jack.

Finally, the police arrive and Michael does most of the talking, explaining the incident within the discussed parameters of the story they have made. After investigating, EMTs take Chuck away on a gurney. The big man also leaves on a gurney, though he has a sheet over his face. The girl, still unconscious, is taken away to be examined, and presumably to be interrogated by police. Everyone else is taken in for questioning, and Katrina is treated at the hospital for her injury.

Billy Jack returns home to sleep, while Katrina returns home to gather some things before going to the hotel room, courtesy of the police department. That’s when she notices the dark, clotted blood on her pants — a definite sign of some internal hemorrhage. She and Michael return to the hospital to learn that her unborn child did not make it. Saddened, though slightly relieved, they stay overnight at the hospital for observation; Michael sleeps fitfully in the room. Agent Sklar does talk to them before they sleep, asking how they are doing and saying that he is sorry for their loss. If they need anything, let him know. Then, he lets them sleep.

The next day, everybody goes their separate ways. Katrina and Michael leave the hospital; Katrina checks on Chuck, and then the two of them go to the hotel. Tired and thoroughly demoralized, they stay there for the rest of the day.

Billy Jack checks on Chuck, leaving a gift basket of assorted meats. Being a regular, he then goes to the children’s ward with Duke, his pet chimpanzee, to cheer up the kids.

Elena runs through her busy schedule, going to clubs and meetings, followed by work. At work, Johnny calls her to say that he heard on the news that something happened to Chuck, and that he wanted to let her know. She says she will probably go to visit after work.

Agatha makes her way to Indianapolis for her interview with the FBI in the morning. It goes quite well, and the interviewer indicates that they will need to get back to her, but she should have the job. When she leaves the interview she sees that she missed a call from her mother. She returns the call, and her mother indicates that she just wanted to see how she was doing and if she had heard anything about Michael. Agatha lies, saying that she hasn’t, but she says she isn’t worried about him; he should be all right. She also tells her mother about her interview, and the two exchange pleasantries before hanging up. After hanging up, she makes her way around the city before going to Dr. Joyce Gallagher’s office. The appointment goes well; she indicates the anomaly on her X-ray and mentions the fact that she would like the kidney removed. Dr. Gallagher agrees, and says that she would like to run some tests. The two then schedule an appointment for March 19 as her surgery date. Dr. Gallagher says she will be in touch to discuss further details, and the two part company. Agatha then returns to Terra Lake. Since she has not heard from Chuck since last night, she tries to call him. When she is unable to reach him, she calls Katrina. Katrina then explains what happened, and Agatha says that she will visit Chuck and visit Katrina and Michael afterwards.

Chuck awakens within the hour before Agatha and Elena both arrive to see him. He explains what happened, at least until the part when he blacked out, and everyone is filled in by the timely arrival of Agent Sklar. Agent Sklar indicates that he should keep in mind that the shotgun is Katrina’s, and that the man did not grow to unusual size. He further explains that the woman they captured is Irish, though her identity has not yet been determined. She and her accomplice used lockpicks to gain access to Katrina’s apartment, and were apparently waiting for her there. They wanted to get her as part of some slave trade, but Agent Sklar thinks she is safe now. After a bit of discussion, he indicates he will let them know if anything else is happening and takes his leave. Eventually, Chuck goes to sleep, so Elena and Agatha go their separate ways.

Elena calls Johnny before leaving, to let him know that something bad happened, and he should be careful. He thanks her and tells her to take care of herself, as well, and to call if she needs anything. She then goes to hang out with her friends and party.

Agatha, meanwhile, goes to visit Katrina and Michael. She explains a little of what happened, but finding them mopey and not really interested in doing anything that evening, she takes her leave. Before leaving, she does tell Michael that their mother called, and what should she tell her? Michael says that he doesn’t know just yet, but for right now, claim that she hasn’t heard anything. Agatha then leaves.

Deciding that she does not want to spend the night cooped up in the house alone, Agatha decides to see a movie. Since most other people are moping, injured, imprisoned, or suchlike, she decides to call Agent Sklar to see if he is available to see a movie. He says he will be busy, but will nine o’clock work? She agrees, and the two meet at nine. Looking at the available films, they watch Coraline, and decide that it is damn creepy given the circumstances. Then, they part ways and Agatha goes home to sleep.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 8

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at various points during the day and the following week

Chuck and Elena eventually decide to not do anything tonight regarding Dr. Sherman. Since Chuck doesn’t want to go home and doesn’t want to leave Elena untended, he wanders around the mall.

During this time, he runs into Katrina and Michael, who have awoken from their nap and have gone shopping for clothes for Michael’s new job. They exchange pleasantries, and Chuck explains the situation with Dr. Sherman and Jonah. Then, the two groups go about their business.

Then, Agatha gets home from Phoenix Chemicals. She walks in the door to hear it close behind her, and she turns around to see an attractive young girl with her finger to her lips. She then calls to someone elsewhere in the house, indicating that she doesn’t know who this person is. An older man and another girl walk out, and have a moment where they don’t know, either. Agatha, assuming they’re with Jonah, tells them that Jonah isn’t here. After some brief discussion, the man directs Agatha to the living room, wherein sits another girl. He goes to confer with one of the girls while the other two watch her. He returns, and tells her to call Mr. Storm. She does so.

Chuck answers his phone and quickly determines that something is wrong when Agatha tells him to come home. He explains that Jonah is in the hospital and asks if “Jonah’s friends” happen to be an older man and some younger, athletic, blond women. She indicates that this is the case, and he says that he will not be home until after the mall closes. He then tells her to put the phone on speaker phone and leave it on. She accepts this, and after putting the phone in her pocket, she explains this fact to the man. Seeming displeased, he whispers something to one of the girls who wanders elsewhere in the house, returning with random sheets and whatnot. He then explains that Agatha will need to be tied up while they wait. Seeing her options, she does the sensible thing and bolts. Swiftly dodging past the three women, she swings open the front door and begins running to the neighbor’s house. On the way, she pulls her phone back out to talk to Chuck.

Chuck, meanwhile, contacts Katrina and Agent Sklar, explaining to both that Dr. Sherman is at his house and has Agatha. Everyone agrees to meet at Claire’s in the mall. When everyone assembles, Chuck explains the situation, and indicates that they should probably go over there. Agatha starts talking on her phone, again, indicating that she was able to escape. Chuck indicates that it actually would have been useful if she had stayed captured, so she decides to try to sneak back and hangs up the phone. Since Elena is at work, she decides to stay, but Agent Sklar offers to get a police presence around her store, which she greatly appreciates. Agent Sklar, Chuck, Katrina, and Michael then go to Chuck’s house.

Agatha, meanwhile, tries to make it look like she is sneaking back to the house. She looks around to find no one inside. Additionally, she finds the back door and gate unlocked, indicating that someone probably left by that method. After looking through the house and finding no one, she waits for the others to arrive.

When the others arrive, they enter the house to find Agatha in the living room. She explains what happened and what she found on her return — simply being the fact that they probably left. After some discussion, Agent Sklar says he has enough evidence to investigate Dr. Sherman’s house, and that if Agatha, Chuck, and Katrina don’t want to deal with it, he can have the police investigate. They suggest the police, and Agent Sklar agrees. He also says that the police will come by the house within an hour or two to take fingerprints, statements, and suchlike. He then takes his leave. Since the police will soon arrive, Chuck indicates that Katrina and Michael may want to leave so that not everyone is in the same place at the same time. They return to the mall to continue shopping. When the police arrive at Chuck’s house, they collect evidence and take Agatha’s statement. When Elena gets off work, she does some homework and other activities before bed. When Katrina and Michael return home, they likewise settled down for the evening and go to bed.

Over the next few days, everyone quietly goes about their business. Everyone makes their way to work, and Michael goes to his new job at Mrs. Bishop’s Antiquities. Chuck, meanwhile, purchases a shotgun at the Wal-Mart about twenty minutes outside town, and finds time for some shooting practice. Chuck does make a note of the fact that, for the first time in a while, he does not note a lot of people who appear strange to his sight at Wal-Mart — likely only two people in the entire store. When Agatha calls Agent Sklar to make sure that all is well, he indicates that Dr. Sherman will cause no further problems, and Agatha probably will not even need to identify him in a lineup; there is plenty of evidence. She conveys this information to Chuck when he gets home, catching him just before he goes on his date with Angela Johnson. Elena also calls him to see if everything is okay; when he indicates it is, she hangs up without fanfare. Chuck’s date goes well, and they decide to see a movie that Friday. Katrina and Michael manage to go about their business without incident.

The next day, Chuck arranges a meeting after Elena leaves work at 9:00 PM. Once everyone has assembled, he explains the current situation as he understands it with Dr. Sherman. Then he mentions that they still need to research and investigate the underwater panther in the lake, the Snake-Bear, and the Doctor. He mentions that Clark Borde with the “Good Medicine” shop knows some things about local legendry. Chuck also realizes that he forgot to go to Ken Woodward’s house to help him move, so he calls to apologize and the two agree to meet tomorrow, on Friday. Nobody else indicates any business to report, when Agent Sklar calls Chuck. He indicates that he is free to discuss the events of the other night, and Chuck invites him over.

After he arrives, he is introduced to “James” — Michael’s new identity — and proceeds to explain that Dr. Sherman was indeed behind the disappearances. When police arrived, he broke down, though his stitched women tried to defend him and had to be gunned down. In a sobbing heap, he confessed to all he had done. Agent Sklar also indicated that he was trying to recreate his dead wife, but her personality never shone through, so he kept trying. He said that Dr. Sherman indicated that it just seemed the natural thing to do. Additionally, human remains were found in the backyard, and if he had to make a guess, Agent Sklar would say that the remains and the stitched women correspond to roughly eight or nine people, all told.

When asked, he indicates that he really shouldn’t allow them to see Jonah, though when the group brings up the prospect that Jonah might not be Jonah, Agent Sklar does tell Chuck to call him tomorrow and he will show Chuck past Jonah’s room so he can check. Agent Sklar does also ask about the tattoo that both Chuck and Jonah have on their chests, which Chuck explains came about from making and breaking a deal with a demon — in fact, it came about by refusing to mutilate Sklar’s partner. Chuck also asks Agent Sklar if he might be able to find the maps that Jonah was making, and he says he will try. When no one has any other questions or information, he indicates that he will take his leave, though he will see Chuck tomorrow. After leaving, Chuck says he is going to bed, so everyone retires to their homes to sleep.

The next day, Chuck goes to the hospital and passes by Jonah’s room to learn that he does not seem odd — in all probability, it is Jonah. He then goes to the silo to help Ken move some things, he gets some practice at the shooting range, and he prepares for his movie date later in the evening. Likewise, Elena talks to Johnny — largely at the request of the others — to see if he has any of Jonah’s notes regarding the woods. He says that, sadly, Jonah kept all the notes. Afterward, Elena goes to practice and her various social functions, and then goes out on a date.

The Weird Turn Pro; Chapter 7

Sunday, February 15, 2009, around 6:00 PM (and over the next two days)

Chuck and Jonah are resting in the hospital when they are visited by Special Agent George Sklar with the FBI. He closes the door as he enters, asks how they are doing, and proceeds to ask Chuck and Jonah about the incident that sent them to the hospital. Jonah starts yelling about the man who shot him, but Chuck indicates that the man is actually the one who saved them and brought them to the hospital. Otherwise, Chuck does not really remember what happened, other than he understands that he was found by the side of the road. Agent Sklar writes this information on his notepad, and then asks Chuck for the actual story that he would likely be unable to tell his bosses; since the same five names seem to be mentioned whenever anything strange happens in town, and since Chuck told Police Chief Roth an odd story about replaced people a little while ago, Sklar figures that they know more than they are telling. Jonah starts launching into his tirade about the man who shot him and how he would like to press charges, but Chuck manages to calm him. Chuck then says that he does not feel comfortable discussing the situation without consulting the others of his group, but he will give Agent Sklar two names to research: Gary Jefferson and Randolph Bronson. Chuck says he will discuss the matter with his associates and give Sklar a call when he leaves the hospital. Agent Sklar indicates that, if they continue to stay in the ICU, they will probably be released within then next day or two. Agent Sklar then leaves, prompting Chuck to call Elena — who calls Katrina, who calls Agatha, who calls Chuck to clarify — to get the word out that there will probably be a meeting in the next day or two.

Then next day starts rather quietly. Katrina goes to work and has a relatively uneventful day. Elena goes to school, and other than a few questions about her being attacked on Valentine’s Day and her being seen with Johnny on Sunday, her day was relatively uneventful. Agatha went to work, and received word that the deal between Perkona Biotechnologies and Phoenix Chemicals should be complete; Perkona will shut down Phoenix for a couple of weeks to renovate. All current employees will be paid during their time off. In addition, Dr. Stanton, a representative of Perkona, asked Agatha if she would be interested in joining Perkona’s Special Projects Division, which will be operational after the renovations. Agatha admitted that she has been waiting to hear from the FBI, but that she will consider it.

After work, Katrina and Michael go to Bishop’s Antiquities to talk to Mrs. Bishop about Michael’s fake identity. When they arrive, she gives them an envelope, saying that she has odd contacts and already has the papers printed. Michael checks and sees that he is indeed now James Mitchell Eliot. Mrs. Bishop also indicates that he can start working at her shop at any time, and the two agree on Wednesday to start. After thanking her profusely, Katrina and Michael go home and then go see a movie to celebrate.

After spending much of the day in the hospital, Chuck and Jonah are finally released. Just before leaving, Angela Johnson comes with flowers, and is surprised to find Chuck being released. She is briefly harassed by Jonah before he decides to leave her alone, and she takes the opportunity to wish Chuck well. The two of them agree to try their date again at the Emerald Dragon, this time on Wednesday. Then, they go get coffee and talk for a bit.

Jonah, meanwhile, calls Elena to get her to pick him up and take him to his car. She agrees to do it on the pretense that he gives her the $5,000 he previously promised her. He agrees and she makes her way over to the hospital. When he explains that Chuck has gone away with some mysterious woman and that he is worried, Elena agrees to try to find him. Seeing his car out in front of the Jumping Bean, and seeing him inside with Ms. Johnson, she says that Ms. Johnson is her teacher and that she knows she is not some monster or some such. When Jonah is insistent, Elena calls Chuck and asks if all is well, and then passes this information to Jonah. Jonah then has Elena take him to the bank. After attempting to use the ATM with no debit card, and using the drive-thru while out of the car, Jonah finally goes inside and determines that he does not have an account with this bank. He finally convinces Elena to take him to his car in the woods, because he has money there. He signs over some of his Patmos Publishing checks to Elena, prompting her confusion as she still does not know what he does, and then she leaves with her money — making her way to the bank to cash her checks before going home — when he starts smoking salvia. After she leaves, Jonah gets very high and goes to Chuck’s house. When he finds the windows to be locked, he attempts to climb the fence, falls off, and starts laughing.

This is how Agatha finds him when she comes home; she chooses to ignore him. When Chuck gets home, he manages to convince Jonah to enter his house. Chuck then calls Elena and Katrina to invite them to his house.

Elena arrives first, followed by Katrina and Michael. When everyone is assembled and the meeting is begun, Chuck asks the others about what happened after Jonah and he fell unconscious. Then, he explains that Agent Sklar seems friendly and wants to know about the events in town. When everyone agrees to talk to him, Chuck calls and Agent Sklar says he will make his way over to Chuck’s house. Katrina and Michael quickly explain that he is now James Eliot, and he goes upstairs to wait while Agent Sklar is at the house.

Chuck opens the door when Agent Sklar arrives. After everyone exchanges greetings, Chuck asks if Agent Sklar researched the two names he gave. Mr. Sklar says he did, and did not find anything officially. Unofficially, though, he found reports of those two men falling to pieces when they died. Chuck then explains about some of the events in town — the Fair Folk replacing people with Fetches, the Snake-Bear, and the stitched woman. Upon mentioning that, Agent Sklar indicates that he is aware of that last one, as a couple of police officers had nervous breakdowns upon realizing that the thing bears Mrs. Sherman’s face, late wife of Dr. Cassius Sherman. Examining her coffin proved that this was accurate, as there was no body within and decomposition within the coffin indicates that the seal was broken years ago. In addition, the rest of the stitched woman’s body was made by piecing together several young, blond, athletic girls. He indicates that he has not notified Dr. Sherman as he doesn’t know if Sherman might be behind this somehow; after all, Sherman witnessed his wife’s brutal death and rape and was himself attacked and raped in an animalistic fashion. Sklar further indicates that descriptions of the attack at the Sherman house were consistent with the attack on Rhys Nolan, save that Rhys was not sexually assaulted. Agent Sklar adds a further detail in discussing local legendry by asking them if they are familiar with the underwater panther that the Southern Cult indicated was in the lake. The group indicates that they were not aware of this, and Chuck writes it down for future reference. Once everyone is content with the information exchange, and after Agent Sklar has mentioned that he is inclined to ignore the group’s paranormal research activities so long as they are not caught, Agent Sklar says he will speak to them again, and leaves.

Chuck indicates that he got the impression that Agent Sklar was suggesting that they look closely at Dr. Sherman, possibly even investigating his house. After deciding to consider this later, Chuck indicates that he will go to the gun range tomorrow. Elena and Katrina both express an interest in going to gun range, prompting Jonah to yell about how he does not use guns because guns kill children. An argument starts, ending in Katrina and Michael leaving, largely because Katrina does not want to get really angry and do something she will regret. Jonah also leaves rather angrily. Agatha busies herself on the computer, while Chuck and Elena decide to check out Dr. Sherman’s house.

Katrina, wanting to leave Terra Lake for a time, decides that she wants to skip work tomorrow and go party in Indianapolis. Michael agrees, and the two make their way out of town.

Jonah has a plan. Having watched Agent Sklar’s car as he left, he looks for the same car, finding it parked in front of a local hotel. After looking and determining which room Agent Sklar is currently occupying, Jonah prepares himself with his squirt gun filled with LACELSD mixed with other chemicals to absorb through the skin. Then, he goes up to that room and knocks on the door. Agent Sklar answers the door and lets him enter when he says he has something important to discuss. Jonah indicates that Katrina has been impregnated with a creature, which Agent Sklar initially says is none of his business and is outside of his jurisdiction, but finally agrees to look into it. As Jonah goes to leave, he spins around and pulls out the squirt gun, fully intending to squirt Agent Sklar. Agent Sklar pulls his gun, largely seeing Jonah going for something in his coat. The arc of fluid goes wide, missing Sklar completely, but his bullet slams Jonah in the shoulder. This knocks him off balance enough to try to fire again. Missing again, Agent Sklar shoots him in the hand, causing him to drop the gun. When he tells Jonah to get on the ground, Jonah leaps at him to tackle him. Jonah successfully gets a grip and is about to hold him steady and shove LSD into his mouth when Agent Hepburn kicks open the door and takes aim at him. Agent Sklar manages to break free and Jonah runs for the window, slamming into it and leaving a huge spiderweb of cracks in it. To prevent him from fleeing, Agent Hepburn shoots him in the knee. He collapses, and the two put cuffs on him and take him away. Agent Sklar briefly questions him, asking him why he did that when Sklar was trying to help, but when Jonah proves difficult, he leaves him be and Jonah is transferred to the hospital where he is handcuffed to the bed in a guarded room. His one call is to Patmos Publishing, who says they will try to take care of him. His lawyer comes to join him.

Meanwhile, Chuck and Elena drive past Dr. Sherman’s house. Unable to see much when walking around the house, other than movement inside when Dr. Sherman is presumably still at work, they creep closer. Chuck pushes the gate open, causing it to squeak loudly, but Elena quietly scampers across the yard and looks into the window to see a young, athletic, blond woman about to peer back out. Elena crouches just beneath the window, glancing again to see stitching scars across the girl’s frame when the light catches her. Once the woman goes back into the depths of the house, Elena runs across the lawn and both she and Chuck pile back into her car. Elena explains that she saw a creepy woman with stitching scars inside. They decide to switch to Chuck’s car and drive past the mall. Upon seeing Dr. Sherman leave, they follow him. Eventually, he pulls over to the side of the road, and as Chuck passes, Dr. Sherman starts following him. Chuck drives out on the highway, eventually losing Dr. Sherman in traffic, getting some gasoline, and going back to Terra Lake. On the way home, Agent Sklar calls him to indicate that he likely will not be seeing Jonah for a while as Jonah assaulted him. When Elena asks what that was about, Chuck turns on the radio, which happens to be playing a news story about how a Terra Lake man assaulted a federal agent. Both are quite shocked, though say nothing else on their way back home. After Elena is returned to her house, Chuck gets home and tells Agatha that Jonah was arrested for assaulting Agent Sklar. Everybody then goes to sleep.

The next day, Tuesday, Agatha goes to work. While at work she is contacted by the FBI and is told that they would like to interview her. They agree to meet in Indianapolis at 11:00 AM on Saturday. Having heard back from Dr. Jackson in California, she also contacts Dr. Joyce Gallagher, a nephrologist in Indianapolis who seems interested in her case. They also set up an appointment for Saturday, at 3:00 PM.

Later that day, Katrina and Michael, having stayed in Indianapolis the previous evening, return home. Before collapsing into bed, Michael checks some news and learns that Jonah attacked a federal agent. Katrina calls Chuck, who confirms the news, and then she and Michael go to sleep, planning on going clothes shopping for Michael later that evening.

Chuck takes the rest of the week off and goes to the missile silo to help with the cleaning effort. When he gets there, Kenneth Woodward greets him and says that he would rather take care of it himself. When Chuck says that he would be interested in at least seeing these things so that he can recognize them in the future, Kenneth says that he did take pictures and he gives Chuck several digital printouts. He also says that he would likely appreciate help moving actual items within the next day or two, and Chuck says that he would be happy to help. Kenneth then gives him some coffee and they idly chat for a moment before Chuck leaves.

Elena goes to school, which is now abuzz with the fact that their major drug supplier, Jonah Flood, has been arrested; otherwise the day is relatively uneventful. When she goes to work, she sees that the Dollhouse, Dr. Sherman’s store, is closed. She immediately calls Chuck, who says he will check on Dr. Sherman and come over. He drives past Dr. Sherman’s house to find that his car is there, and then he goes to the mall to plan what should be done with Elena. Upon discussing this, Chuck calls Agent Sklar, who explains a little further about Jonah. Chuck then explains about seeing the stitched woman in the house, and Agent Sklar says that he does not have enough evidence for a warrant, but he will keep an eye on the situation. Chuck and Elena continue to discuss, hoping to devise a plan to find such evidence for Agent Sklar.

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.


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