False in Some Sense

Those Caught Between; Chapter 7

Monday, March 2, 2009, around 8:00 PM (and throughout the next day)

With Elena freshly relegated to a hospital bed, Agatha, Billy Jack, Chuck, and Katrina go to Bishop’s Antiquities, meeting Jim there. After Mrs. Bishop is introduced to Jim and Billy Jack, as well as Duke, they get down to cases. Chuck shows her the armor and the baton that the group acquired from the hairy man, as well as the firearm the police officer gave him. She indicates that they are what is claimed — the armor is armor, enhanced by faerie magic, and the baton is a weapon, also empowered by faerie magic. The pistol, however, is normal.

Afterward, she answers some questions. When Chuck asks whether Fetches still serve the Fae that made them, she says that all things are possible. Some Fetches don’t know what they’re Fetches, while some do. Some go about their business, some serve the True Fae, and some are actually on friendly relations with others of her kind, though that tends to be relatively rare.

As Billy Jack and Jim ask more questions, Mrs. Bishop explains a few things. She explains that, yes, she is a changeling, one of the people who was taken by the True Fae. The True Fae live beyond the Hedge in their own realm. She is not entirely certain why they take humans, but they typically use them as labor or entertainment. Typically, if those who were taken find their way home, they do so through their memories of home. However, some forget home and do not return; this is especially common among those taken as children. Incidentally, this may be part of their plot; it is theorized that children raised in the land of Faerie become the True Fae themselves as part of some arcane life cycle. The True Fae seem to see everything as a contract with their surroundings; fire both warms and burns because the two have agreed that they will interact with it in that fashion. As such, they gauge themselves by comparison. Likewise, those who are taken likely must make these arrangements to survive, granting them arcane fae traits; this is why she can identify fae items, among other things.

As Billy Jack puts forth ideas about possibly drawing the True Fae out to fight them, perhaps in a trapped area, Mrs. Bishop further explains that changelings organize themselves into survivor cultures, and there are groups of changelings who specifically fight the True Fae. Likewise, however, there are some few groups, called Loyalists, who still serve the True Fae. When Billy Jack asks if they could speak to some of these fighters, she says that it would probably be unwise, but she could try to talk to them, though she largely keeps to herself and does not engage her fellow changelings too often. When Billy Jack asks about a way to draw them out, she says that it might be possible, but she will have to ask around, which might take a couple of weeks.

Afterward, Chuck explains about the encounter with the Sasquatch man and the Men in Black the previous day. Mrs. Bishop explains that there are tribes of Men in Black living in the Hedge — this idea seems to disturb Agatha. Likewise, the Sasquatch Warrior Guard is a unit of the Draconian Doctor’s forces, essentially watchmen. As such, Billy Jack assumes that he could probably not use the captured fellow to lure the Doctor out of his domain, and Mrs. Bishop indicates that the True Fae frequently, but not always, just abandon escapees, finding it easier to take more. They are a strange lot.

Once everyone’s questions are answered, they decide to take their leave. Mrs. Bishop promises to ask her contacts about possible tips for fighting the True Fae, or ways to draw them into the open. Katrina, also having things to discuss with Mrs. Bishop, says that she will visit her later. With that, everyone leaves.

Billy Jack goes home to have a beer. Jim goes to report his findings to his masters. Katrina goes home to let Michael know that everything is all right. Chuck and Agatha go to the hospital to check on Elena.

Meanwhile, Elena has been at the hospital. After her parents left, Agent Sklar arrived, telling her that Chuck called him and suggested that someone ought to watch her in the night. The two of them make small talk before Agent Sklar asks her some questions about the other members of the cell. First, he asks about Jim Soldati, and about whether he’s part of some secret X-Files division, which Elena indicates to be the case. Then, he asks about Billy Jack, just curious if things are working out all right with him. Finally, he asks about James Eliot, Katrina’s boyfriend. Elena gets a little flustered, but manages to stammer that he’s older and that he seems all right. She then asks why he asked about James, and he replies that he’s just being thorough. After a bit of an awkward silence, Elena gets a bit more chatty before Chuck and Agatha enter.

They check on Elena and make sure she is doing well. Then, Chuck asks Agent Sklar if it would be possible to see Jonah before he leaves. Agent Sklar agrees, and leaves Agatha in charge of Elena in his stead. The two go to Jonah’s room, where Chuck briefly speaks to him. After Jonah jovially threatens Agent Sklar, Chuck explains that the Snake-Bear is dead, and gives a brief update before asking Jonah who he is; how he has all this money and a lawyer when he just appears to be some bum. Jonah explains that he’s just been around. Finally, Chuck says good bye to Jonah, and he and Agent Sklar return to Elena’s room.

After a little more chatter, Agatha and Chuck leave for the night. Elena and Agent Sklar talk a little more before she goes to sleep.

The next day, Agent Sklar leaves early and Jim Soldati comes to visit Elena. After a little discussion, the two end up playing Battleship and talking. Jim says he will be around to visit more. Elena also gets several visitors in the afternoon, largely the cheerleaders and members of the football team, though Johnny visits a little later to see how she is doing.

Meanwhile, Chuck looks up Jonah to see what he can find. After a couple of hours, the information is vague, but he finds a few references that suggest Jonah Flood to be connected with Jasper Felix, who has incidentally been sighted in Terra Lake.

That morning, as well, Katrina calls Yuri to say that he is welcome to come over and to ask for details. He says that her friends Dimitri and Mishka will likely be with him; he explains that Dimitri had to make certain he would approve of Michael. This prompts Katrina to begin stammering, eventually explaining that things are strange and Michael left. She is with James, now. After trying to find more information or even determine if Katrina is all right, Yuri finally deigns to learn more upon his trip. He says he will probably make arrangements for the trip to be in a couple of weeks. After sending his regards and hanging up, Katrina calls Mishka to comment on the fact that everyone is coming to visit. She also asks how long they think they might be, as she forgot to ask Yuri; Mishka indicates that they will probably be in Terra Lake for a week or two. Katrina then makes her way to work.

Billy Jack calls Jim and Chuck to arrange a trip to Indianapolis to meet Packrat Pete. They agree, and after a brief delay, the three are off to Indianapolis in Billy Jack’s big-rig. After an hour and a half trip, they make their way to Packrat Pete’s apartment. There they find a gaunt, sallow man in a dirty bathrobe who recognizes Billy Jack and invites them in. He explains that, regarding Billy Jack’s story about the gate and the shapechanging man who came through it, he once had the opportunity to look at a sheaf of papers that apparently belonged to the feds. He made a few photocopies of them, and found a grouping of papers that seemed to allude to a similar story. He then gives Billy Jack a set of paper-clipped, wrinkled photocopies and says that he can have them. Billy Jack asks if he is inactive on the Vigil, which he indicates that he is, but he is willing to help them in the future. They can get in contact with him through some of the local Union members. The three then take their leave and read the papers in a coffee shop before returning to Terra Lake. Apparently, it relates to a cell of hunters in Philadelphia who encountered somebody using a door as a gateway to “somewhere else.” When the man passes through it he develops strange characteristics. Apparently, things went south and resulted in the deaths of the cell — but there is decent primary source material regarding a fae incursion. The three then return to Terra Lake.

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Those Caught Between; Chapter 6

Monday, March 2, 2009, various points throughout the day

The previous night, Katrina told Michael about the day’s events, and said that they will probably need his help to confront the Doctor — specifically in the form of whatever recollections he may have about his time away. He says he will try his best, though his memories are sketchy.

The next morning, Jim Soldati receives receives an early call from his employers indicating that the John Doe he recovered the previous day — that is, the man claiming to be a Sasquatch — was identified as Officer Francis Hayward with the Terra Lake Police Department. More importantly, he was never reported missing; he apparently still works there.

Early that morning, Billy Jack awakens to find that his truck has been vandalized. He steps out to find a bear trap on his front step. Additionally, his tires have been physically ripped open, a series of claw marks has been left in his driver’s side door, and a series of claw marks has also been left on his front door. He checks his house, and finding nothing else out of place, he calls his insurance company and the police to report the vandalism. Then, he calls Jim to tell him, and make sure that nobody else has been visited by anything strange in the night. The police arrive, take his statement, take photographs, and tell him that they will be in touch.

Shortly thereafter, Billy Jack receives another call from some of his other hunter associates in Indianapolis. His friends indicate that, in response to what happened yesterday regarding the hairy fellow in the woods, there is someone with information regarding a similar phenomenon. However, the man who has this information is “Packrat Pete,” a fellow hunter who ran afoul of something and became a total recluse and an obsessive hoarder. Billy Jack will need to go to his apartment in Indianapolis if he wants to talk to him.

Jim calls Chuck and Agatha to make certain everyone is all right. He texts Elena when determining that she is in school, and he calls Katrina after he learns her number.

Chuck, meanwhile, is alerted that there is a story in the woods, but first, he has a visitor. The man, in police uniform, introduces himself as Officer Francis Hayward, though Chuck notices that he is somehow wrong. When the man asks for Chuck to close the door, he grudgingly accepts. He then says that Chuck has surely noticed the strange things in town. He then presents a parcel, which he instructs Chuck to open; there is a pistol inside. Officer Hayward asks for the paper back, and Chuck gives it to him, sliding the gun into his desk. When he asks why Officer Hayward gave that to him, he answers that it is for his own protection. He admonishes Chuck to be careful, and then leaves. With all his other business complete, he starts to get ready to go to the woods when he hears what happened. Apparently, a couple of teenagers died in the woods last night, the victim of an apparent bear attack. He makes sure that Agatha and Billy Jack are updated, and then travels with his crew to the woods.

When he arrives at the site, he learns that it appears that one of the kids blundered into a bear trap and could not get away when the animal attacked. Chuck checks and notes that the bear trap is not near any of the Snake-Bear’s caves, and has evidently been moved. Additionally, it was not dragged to its currently location, suggesting that it was specifically lifted and moved. During breaks, he manages to coordinate with the others to arrange some sort of meeting in the evening. He also manages to enlist the aid of one of the technicians to see if he can track the “bear.” They manage to track it back to a cave, which prompts the technician to call animal control and Chuck to call Jim, asking if there is anything he can do to prevent animal control from investigating the caves. Jim agrees and calls his superiors.

By this time, most people have heard the news. Despite not having seen any news, word spreads through the school so Elena knows that a couple of goth kids were killed in the woods, evidently by a bear attack.

Chuck also takes an opportunity to call Mrs. Bishop, who indicates that she received his message and just hadn’t had the opportunity to call him back. The two agree to meet this evening after her shop closes.

While Chuck is in the woods, Agatha is getting insistent messages from Rhys that something must be done about the Snake-Bear. She calls Agent Sklar to ask him how one would go about casting gold bullets; he recommends filling shotgun shells with chunks of gold, because that’s easier. From there, she calls around until she gets a hold of Jim, and invites him to Chuck’s house. There, the two of them empty some shotgun shells and attempt to reload them with chunks of gold jewelery that Agatha and Jim obtained from some pawn shops. Finding the process of loading and crimping to be a difficult task, Agatha calls Chuck and asks who might be a good person to help. He recommends Billy Jack. As such, they call Billy Jack, who comes to Chuck’s house, having obtained new tires earlier in the day. After a few hours, he manages to fill and crimp seven shells with chunks of gold for fighting the Snake-Bear.

Finally, as everyone’s business for the day winds to a close, Chuck makes his way back home. As she has been communicating with the others during the day, Elena goes home and gets ready to go to Chuck’s house; having heard that they may prepare to fight the Snake-Bear, she gathers her gold jewelery so that she can wrap it around her hands as an improvised weapon. When everyone winds up at Chuck’s house, Agatha calls Katrina to let her know what has happened. She lets Michael know, and since he has not yet met Jim, he decides to stay behind, but says that he will see her later.

Once everyone has assembled, they are brought up to date. When Katrina asks, Chuck explains what happened to the kids in the woods. Likewise, Jim explains that the person they captured yesterday is Officer Francis Hayward with the Terra Lake Police Department, and he is still there. Chuck explains his encounter with Officer Hayward, and concludes that he is a Fetch. He also explains that he has arranged a meeting with Mrs. Bishop later, and decides to bring the gun that Officer Hayward gave him as well as the other items left behind. Billy Jack also explains how his automobile was vandalized in the night, presumably by the Snake-Bear, and further explains that someone in Indianapolis, a person named Packrat Pete, has more information about the Snake-Bear. The group starts to divide into two; one group that will talk to Mrs. Bishop, and another that will talk to Packrat Pete. However, as Rhys begins to send increasingly insistent messages that the Snake-Bear must be stopped, Billy Jack recalls that Packrat Pete’s information actually refers to the Lost encountered on the previous day. With this information, and Rhys’s repetitive writing and threatening, the plan changes; the group will go to the woods, and try to draw the Snake-Bear out, then attack it with their gold weapons. Specifically, Billy Jack plans on getting a few extra shotguns, and loading them with the gold shot. Then, once everyone decides that Elena is the fastest, she will try to attract the thing out of its cave. Once it is out, Billy Jack will have trapped the area to slow it down, and when it is sufficiently slowed, everyone will fire upon it. Everyone agrees to the plan, and gets to work.

First, they go to Wal-Mart and pick up a few shotguns; Agatha, Billy Jack, Chuck, and Katrina are each outfitted with them, while Jim uses his pistol. Agatha, Billy Jack, and Katrina each get two of the gold-filled shotgun shells, while Chuck gets one. Then, they make their way to the woods. Making sure everyone else understand what is happening, especially Elena, Billy Jack sets up five trip wires in a straight line from a cave entrance. Then, he lays down a puddle of slick at the end of this path, hoping that if the wires don’t slow it down, the slick will. Finally, he has everyone position themselves at a trip wire with himself at the end. Without anyone’s knowledge, he sets a motion detector behind him, just in case. Before everyone moves into position, Chuck makes sure that Elena is outfitted with the armor they took from the man the previous day, just to give her some extra protection. She wraps the chains and rings around her hands, and descends into the cave.

Finding this place to be a cave network, she just shouts down into it, eventually hearing a rustling. As the strange, reptilian form of the Snake-Bear slides into view, she starts to run. She almost makes it to the first trip wire before the Snake-Bear catches up to her, tearing through the armor and driving its claws across her chest and stomach. She staggers back as Chuck, seeing the situation, unloads one of his barrels, the one that doesn’t contain gold, at it. Elena swings at it with her gold-laden fist, and leaves a smoldering wound in its shoulder. It gives a satisfying roar as the strike connects. Jim fires at it, striking it in the shoulder again, though this wound does not smolder and smoke as the bullet rips through. Billy Jack, though overcome with fear, manages to stand his ground and fires a panicked volley at it, striking it in the torso with chunks of gold. Katrina’s shot misses, and Agatha is overcome to the point that she starts to run away.

As the bullet wound it sustained from Jim closes, the Snake-Bear rears back for a second strike on Elena, but she is swift enough to dodge its sharp claws. Chuck fires at it again, the gold in the shell biting into its flesh. It is finally dropped when Elena swings across its jaw with her gold fist. As it falls, it begins to dissolve into a greasy, putrid substance. Chuck goes to get Agatha and calm her down, while Katrina unloads her second shot into the Snake-Bear’s corpse. Billy Jack, having calmed, starts to gather his equipment. Katrina grabs a first aid kit and makes sure that Elena is okay. Once Agatha is calmed down, Chuck takes photographs while Agatha takes samples, though she only really gets soil samples as the rest of its remains dissipate. Jim agrees to take Elena to the hospital while the others clean up. Since Chuck notes the time to be close to 8:00, everyone else decides to accompany him to Bishop’s Antiquities.

On their way out of the woods, Elena and Jim notice an African-American man sitting by the lake. Parked next to him is a big, black SUV, and it appears that he is fishing. Since Elena should get to the hospital, Elena calls Chuck to let him know about this man, especially since he is close enough to have heard the shots. Chuck and the others agree to check it out before they go to meet Mrs. Bishop. Jim manages to get Elena processed without incident, and her parents come to check on her.

Meanwhile, Chuck calls Agent Sklar to let him know that the bear attacks should no longer be a problem. Additionally, since there are Fetches all over town and they were threatened yesterday, he asks if Agent Sklar could secure extra protection for Elena. He says he will see what he can do. Then, the group goes over to the lake, where they speak to the man there. He says that he heard a little commotion, but he figured it was nothing, and is just fishing. Billy Jack notes that he is hiding a pistol underneath his clothes, and mentions that the lake is known for some drownings and is largely infested with snakehead. The man says he’ll be careful, and these things shouldn’t be bothersome. Just before they leave, Chuck takes down the man’s license plate, noting that it is a California plate. He gives this information to Jim, who calls his superiors and learns that the car is registered to a Tyrell Washington. His record suggests he has done some stints in prison, but is out legally.

With all this information in hand, Agatha, Billy Jack, Chuck, and Katrina go to Bishop’s Antiquities. With Elena having been processed at the hospital, Jim does the same.

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Those Caught Between; Chapter 5

Sunday, March 1, 2009, various points throughout the day

Everyone awakens and begins going about their respective routines until they have to meet that afternoon. Chuck goes to church with his parents, though he plans on later ensuring that his equipment is in order for the expedition to the caves. Agatha prepares similarly, as does Billy Jack and Jim Soldati. Katrina simply takes time to relax before the expedition, and to make sure she has a knife and a few tools at the ready. Elena does homework, and then goes to work.

While at work, she is greeted by an older gentleman with grey hair and beard, wearing a black suit and leather duster. He greets her by saying, “Very few mongooses, however wise and old they may be, care to follow a cobra into its hole,” and then proceeds to say that she and her cell are doing good work, but must take care to carefully research and to not rely on his aid. He then gives her a manila envelope before leaving. After she leaves work, she reads the contents — an old legend about an Indian warrior named Red Horn’s Fury and his fight against the Snake-Bear — and decides to bring it up when everyone meets in the woods.

Around 2:30 PM, everyone arrives at the appointed spot. Chuck makes certain that everyone has photocopies of Jonah’s maps. Elena then explains that she was approached by an older man who gave her the parcel she currently has. She gives it to Chuck, who reads it aloud. From the story, he gathers that the Snake-Bear is vulnerable to gold, and also decides that he should do further research on the story by asking Clark Borde and doing research at the library.

Around this time, everyone is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Johnny, who has appeared without being previously heard and without his car. He has a distant look and absently responds to everyone’s inquiries about gold. He then explains that the Dragon is going to come for Elena, though he is not certain what precisely will happen. He starts to wander off into the woods when Chuck and Elena both feel a surge wrongness from the gate between the trees, and a forested path opens between them. Out from the path steps two, strange, angular men in dark suits and a muscular, hairy beast with a strange armored, silver jumpsuit and a sparking baton. When he clears the gate, however, he simply appears as a hairy man wearing a flimsy silver jumpsuit and football pads and carrying a scuffed police baton wrapped in copper wire and duct taped to a taser.

The Men in Black level their weapons at Elena and indicate that she will come with them. Before a true parley can occur, however, Agatha — frightened and enraged at the sight of the Men in Black — and yanks the shotgun out of Chuck’s hands, ready to fire. Billy Jack has his revolver while Katrina has her knife in hand. Billy Jack tries to get the gun out of Agatha’s hands while Elena holds her hands in the air, Katrina waits to see what will happen, and Jim positions himself protectively between Elena and the Men in Black. Chuck, also, tries to maintain order. Agatha, however, discharges the shotgun, and one of the Men in Black falls to the ground, a sucking wound erupting in his chest. He loses consciousness and breathes shallowly as a growing pool of scarlet forms around him. As he falls, he discharges his firearm, which grazes Chuck’s arm.

In the scuffle that ensues, Billy Jack shoots the hairy man in the silvery jumpsuit, though it seems to only cause him to stagger slightly as it bounces off his armor. The stun gun at the end of his baton starts to spark and hum as he reaches Billy Jack; when he strikes Billy Jack with it, he is momentarily stunned and acts only with great difficulty. Chuck grabs the fallen Man in Black’s gun, while Elena and Katrina try to gauge the situation. The remaining Man in Black levels his gun at Agatha and fires, managing to miss her in the confusion. However, when she fires the shotgun at him, the shot hits home, dropping another Man in Black with a sucking chest wound.

The Men in Black down, Chuck grabs the other weapon while Agatha starts to reload the shotgun. Billy Jack, Elena, Jim, and Katrina then struggle with the hairy man. Billy Jack fires another shot before the group tries to drag the hairy man to the ground and beat on him; when Jim pins him, he manages to break free and make his way back to the ground, but eventually loses consciousness from the combined assault of the group, as well as a discharge from Agatha’s newly reloaded shotgun.

As the dust settles, everyone realizes that Chuck is talking to Agent Sklar, who called him during the battle. Chuck quickly hangs up as Agent Sklar, having heard the struggle and the gunshots, says he will shortly make his way to the woods. Billy Jack sends Duke to retrieve some chains from his truck, while Katrina and Agatha check on Chuck and the fallen, hairy fellow. Agatha also collects samples from the Men in Black. Chuck searches the Men in Black, finding only some random odds and ends, and when Johnny makes a comment about the struggle and begins to walk further into the woods, Elena follows him to determine what is the matter.

Duke returns with the chains and Billy Jack makes certain the man is carefully bound. Elena follows Johnny to learn that he is looking for a watchtower of some sort, and Chuck says that he thinks that is further north, referring to the legend regarding Red Horn’s Fury and the Snake-Bear. Johnny, however, says that he thinks it is in the woods. He walks up to a tree and begins to scratch something on it with his pocketknife; both Chuck and Billy Jack attempt to restrain them, but he manages to struggle free and finish his carving…at which point he looks around, rather confused. When asked, he explains that everything just went strange, but he thinks he is okay at present. He does, however, ask Agatha why the thing around her neck — the gear, actually — seems strange, and he asks the same question about the chained, hairy man. Everyone seems rather puzzled at the development, though they do not have long to consider this as the Men in Black melt into viscous, black goo. Agatha finds that her samples have also turned into the stuff, as did the guns that Chuck took.

Shortly after this, Agent Sklar arrives to see what has transpired, and he also has the opportunity to meet Jim Soldati; when Jim Soldati indicates that his government position is classified, Agent Sklar responds with a sarcastic, “Great…” Chuck then explains what just happened. Before things progress, Elena agrees to take Johnny home, and indicates that she will likely return shortly.

On the drive back to Johnny’s house, Elena asks what happened. Johnny indicates that when he awoke this morning, everything seemed weird, like a medieval fantasy. He knows he went around looking for Elena to warn her about the people coming for her, courtesy of the Dragon, or the Doctor as he is sometimes called, and then he went to seek a tower which just turned out to be a tree. He indicates that he carved his name on it, and then absently asks her why she is thinking about prom at a time like this. Surprised, she indicates that it’s coming up and important, and then asks how he determined that. He indicates that it is written all over her face. After she is convinced that everything is all right for the moment, and finding his car still at his house, she drops him off and returns to the woods.

Meanwhile, Agent Sklar explains his past twenty-four hours; he and his partner took a trip to Illinois to the Dew Drop Inn. They found three people behind it; one was partially eaten, one was clawed to death, and one appeared to have been strangled; that last one’s clothes were removed. Likewise, their pistols were missing, and they had no other equipment, suggesting that whatever killed them took their things. He also indicates his unease at the fact that the three men were indentical; their blemishes and features were pretty much the same, which doesn’t even really happen with identical siblings. He also indicated that Dr. Sherman appeared to have committed suicide in his cell, and the Jane Doe that was hiding in Katrina’s apartment with the big man also died in her jail cell, though she appeared to be strangled; this suggests that she was either killed by a police officer, or someone who can walk through walls.

As conversation winds to a close and people start deciding what to do, the hairy man starts to rouse. Initially refusing to talk, he starts to explain that the Draconian Doctor of Dread Dark will come for them all, and that he is a proud member of the Doctor’s Sasquatch Warrior Guard. When Billy Jack infers that there is a war occurring, the hairy man suggests that he simply does not understand. He further indicates that the Doctor takes people for his own purposes, and suggests that he was likely taken in this fashion. Finally, he strains and breaks the chains, bolting for the gateway between the trees. Jim tries to grab him, though he manages to shake him off, and everyone else levels firearms while telling him to stop. When he refuses, Chuck is the one who strikes him in the legs with a shotgun blast, dropping him in the dirt.

As Elena returns, everyone figures out what to do. Katrina calls Michael to make certain he is all right, and when she determines that her help is no longer required and that there will not be any cave expedition this afternoon, she decides to go home. Billy Jack is going to set some traps — specifically bear traps and a couple of spike traps — around the cavern entrances and throughout the woods in the hopes of catching or slowing the Snake-Bear. Chuck tries to call Mrs. Bishop, but only getting her voicemail, he leaves a message for her to call him back. Agatha, Chuck, and Elena are going to go to the mall to ask Clark Borde some questions. Jim Soldati decides to call his organization to get rid of the hairy man, but says he will call Chuck when he is finished.

As Agatha, Chuck, and Elena go to the mall, Chuck mentions finding the axe; Agatha argues that they don’t need to deal with any more ghosts, and that they know someone who can make gold anyway. Agreeing that this is sound, they decide to go with this plan of action. When they get to the mall, Chuck goes to Good Medicine and talks to Clark; Clark indicates that Red Horn is a Southern Cult deity, and his area of expertise is more with the Miami tribe. Even so, though, the legend makes reference to things that the Miami tribe also indicate in their legends. Otherwise, though, he does not really know much about it. Everyone then moves to the library, but essentially find similar information. Finally, everyone makes their way home.

Elena makes one final call, however; she calls Paul to ask about the gold project, and he says he is going to Chicago, but will likely be back in Terra Lake in a few days. She then passes this information on to Chuck and the others.

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Those Caught Between; Chapter 4

Saturday, February 28, 2009, just before midnight

Having returned to the motel, Billy Jack and Agatha get in his truck and start going back to the Lake House. Katrina bandages Chuck’s wound before getting into her car, followed by Elena and Michael. Having left, everyone sees Paul’s car returning to the motel; he says that he should probably check out, and then goes inside before returning to the car. He follows Katrina’s car back to the Lake House.

Once back at the Lake House, Billy Jack asks what happened. They indicate that they rescued This Way Comes, but the other one got away when a group of identical triplets attacked and threatened the group. Billy Jack is less than pleased about the one that got away, but says that things could be worse. After everyone is settled, Billy Jack gets This Way Comes some clothes and Agatha asks him some questions about his imprisonment. He indicates that he didn’t really know where he was; he was captured somewhere in the vicinity of Terra Lake, brought to some unknown facility (evidently in San Francisco), and experimented upon. They removed his arm and some of his essence with it. He is not certain how they accomplished this — to his knowledge, even dangerous, cannibalistic Prometheans cannot really do that — or what purpose they have for his stolen arm. He never met the unnamed, biting Promethean before, and only really encountered him on the truck.

Once questions have been asked, Paul, Lilith, and This Way Comes leave to find a hotel before setting out in the morning. Everyone else goes to their homes; Chuck specifically sneaks into his home to make sure his parents don’t hear him getting home late.

The next day, everyone goes through their routines. Katrina spends some time at the dance studio. Elena goes to work at Claire’s. Agatha compiles her notes from the previous evening. Chuck gets his thoughts together and makes sure his work knows that he will be returning on Monday. Billy Jack speaks to some of his contacts to learn if they know anything about Prometheans or other weird things, and hears back that they don’t know anything about the Snake-Bear. He also monitors the news in Illinois to see if he hears about any strange animal attacks or anything of that nature. Finally, he does some research on Perkona, and after finding that he really doesn’t hear anything about them, he looks to see if they have any construction-related job listings online. Finding a need for a maintenance man, he applies.

Chuck receives a call from Agent Sklar, indicating that he has some papers to give him. When the two meet, Agent Sklar gives him photocopies of the two maps Jonah made. Chuck, likewise, tells Agent Sklar about what happened in Illinois. He says he will investigate, and while he is not certain about the legality of transporting reanimated corpses across state lines, he knows that identical triplets working for a biotechnology company sounds suspiciously like human cloning, which is definitely illegal. Since Chuck thinks that something illegal is happening at Perkona, Agent Sklar says he’ll keep an eye on the situation.

When Chuck receives a knock on his door from a man introducing himself as James Soldati — from the Government — he is understandably concerned. Mr. Soldati indicates that he is part of a government organization — he is not at liberty to name the one in question — that hunts supernatural creatures and helps others who do the same. He says he will also be speaking to the others in Chuck’s group. Chuck indicates that he would rather speak to them first, but he will call Mr. Soldati back and let him know about a meeting. James Soldati agrees and the two part.

Chuck then calls everyone to let them know what happened. They decide to leave “James” — Michael, that is — out of the situation due to the delicate nature of that situation. Likewise, Billy Jack agrees to get a hotel room where they can all meet. Everyone agrees to meet at 5:00 PM, and Chuck calls James Soldati again and lets him know that they’re meeting at 5:30 PM.

After getting the hotel room, Billy Jack messes with the door handle and sets up some motion detectors so he can make certain that only he or someone he knows is accessing the room.

While everyone else is getting ready, James Soldati goes to the hospital to visit Jonah and asks him some questions. Jonah indicates that Chuck and Elena are okay, but Agatha — his wife, he says — hasn’t even had the decency to come and visit. Katrina, meanwhile, is pure evil; she was a bad influence on Michael even before he disappeared, and she has some sort of demon-alien baby inside of her. Of course, James Soldati is free to learn more information when his book comes out; hopefully, there might be a movie in the works, as well. After some discussion, James Soldati thanks Jonah and leaves.

When five o’clock rolls around, everyone makes their way to the appointed location. Chuck makes sure everyone is aware of the situation with this government agent, and Billy Jack indicates that some of his other hunter contacts are familiar with government-sponsored hunters, and this sounds like it could be legitimate. Chuck also mentions the maps to the woods and the local caves, and indicates that he might like to go spelunking tomorrow. Everyone else agrees.

At 5:30, James Soldati arrives. Since he is not at liberty to say much of anything, nobody else is really inclined to give him much of anything. Finally, Billy Jack manages to get him to open up a little, saying he served in Afghanistan and helped develop the Marine Martial Arts program. He apparently saw strange things in Afghanistan and got recruited by his current organization at that time. He also indicates that he knows a decent amount about the hunter cell, remarking on their encounter with the Snake-Bear the previous month. They speak a little about it, and then Chuck indicates that he might feel a little better if they work together. He mentions that he has maps to the caves, and would James Soldati be willing to help them investigate? James agrees. Not wanting to deal with any more clandestine stuff, Katrina takes her leave and says she will meet everyone the following day in the woods. After a bit more discussion, everyone else takes their leave. James Soldati briefly talks to Elena first, making certain that her new lifestyle on “the Vigil,” as he calls it, has not impacted her life overmuch. Afterward, everyone goes to their respective homes. Billy Jack keeps monitoring the news, while Elena goes to hang out with some of her friends, Katrina goes home to see Michael and tell him what happened, and Agatha and Chuck go to Wal-Mart to get some gear appropriate for spelunking.

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Those Caught Between; Chapter 3

Friday, February 27, 2009, at about 8:00 PM.

After discussions have been made, everyone assembles their equipment — Katrina retrieves Chuck’s shotgun at Billy Jack’s request, Elena gets a spare change of clothes, and Agatha makes sure she has her computer and her chemistry equipment. Chuck, Elena, Katrina, and Michael get into Katrina’s car and Agatha, Billy Jack, and Duke get into Billy Jack’s truck and they start driving west along the interstate until they hear from Paul and Lilith. After about two hours of driving, Paul calls to indicate that they have just pulled into the Dew Drop Inn, just inside Illinois. The two cars make the remaining fifty miles to the little motel out in the middle of nowhere, where they see Paul’s car, a tractor-trailer truck with a Perkona trailer attached — the truck itself is red with a lightning bolt along the side — and a couple of other cars in the parking lot. A Waffle House is down the road.

Chuck calls Paul and lets him know that everyone has arrived. After some discussion, everyone goes into Paul and Lilith’s room to discuss the plan of action. Paul is introduced to Billy Jack and Duke — he seems quite amazed and humored by the presence of a smoking chimpanzee — and Lilith does likewise, though Duke takes a position as far away from Lilith as possible and just stares at her the entire time. After introductions are made, it is decided that Billy Jack is going to talk to Hank “Bearclaw” Samson in an attempt to find out if he knows anything about the truck’s payload and to keep him busy while the others break into the truck. The two groups then split; Billy Jack walks over to the Waffle House to see if Bearclaw is there, while the remainder of the group goes to investigate the truck.

Billy Jack enters the Waffle House to find Hank Samson, and after asking him about his haul framed as an urban legend about bodies scraping in the back of the truck, he determines that Hank doesn’t know anything about the haul. He then continues to talk with Hank to keep him busy.

Meanwhile, the others go to the truck. After Chuck tries to pick the lock on the back, Lilith takes his lockpicks and gives it a try. She manages to open the door. Inside, there is a lot of biotechnology equipment. Among other things are two large, white pods bearing a vague resemblance to coffins. Lilith points out the one bearing This Way Comes and the one bearing the stranger. Each has an electronic lock on the side. After some quick discussion, Agatha asks Michael if he can do something to disable the lock. He says he can, and after touching it, the lock shorts out. Having found a toolbox and some assorted items, Chuck and Paul go to work prying open the lid. After a heave, they manage to break the door off its hinges and open it to reveal a somewhat large, nude, Caucasian man with a big, black beard lying in some sort of brine. His right arm appears to be neatly amputated, though he is otherwise uninjured. When he sees Lilith, he seems pleased and indicates that he’ll go with everyone. Brief introductions are made, and he introduces himself as This Way Comes, though he explains that he is quite groggy and thinks he has probably been drugged. Chuck and Paul manage to get him out of the pod and wrap a shipping blanket around him. When he suggests that they have another one captured who probably doesn’t deserve this, either, Chuck and Paul decide to open that pod, too. Michael disables the lock, and Chuck and Paul again pry it open with a crowbar. This time, they find a thin, jaundiced, emaciated, nude man inside. He takes a moment to compose himself, and then leaps up. Elena tries to use the door to block him from hurting anyone. Paul strikes him with the crowbar. The man, meanwhile, grows fangs and takes a bite out of Chuck’s arm. Katrina, having been given Billy Jack’s gun in case of emergency, cocks it and tells him not to move. Agatha starts looking around in her bag for a sedative of some sort. Chuck, meanwhile, just tries to make certain that he won’t get hurt again.

The fight quickly changes as the man sees the odds against him and starts to run away. Within moments, Chuck, Elena, and Katrina are all trying to drag him down while Agatha puts sedative in a needle and Paul hits him in the kidney with the crowbar. Agatha manages to inject something into him while the others finally knock him to the ground, and that is roughly the time when they hear voices telling them to halt. Three men — brown hair, dress shirts and khakis, unassuming features, silenced pistols, and all three of them looking the same, like triplets or something — tell them to stop what they are doing. They drop their items and step back from the struggling man on the ground, who then leaps up and jumps from the truck into the group of identical men. Paul then closes the door on the truck as the fanged man and the three other men begin struggling outside. He says that they should probably scatter when he throws open the door, on the count of three. Everyone gathers their items, Chuck does his best to wipe his blood from the floor and his arm, and then Paul starts counting. When he hits three, he throws open the door on the back of the truck. He and Lilith grab This Way Comes and start carrying him. Chuck, Elena, and Katrina close and padlock the door on the truck. Everyone sees as the monstrous man runs into the woods, pursued by the three identical men.

Chuck sends a text message to Billy Jack, letting him know that they need to go now. Billy Jack thanks Hank Samson for the opportunity to talk to him, and then pays for his meal before he leaves. Agatha waits by the truck for Billy Jack to return. Chuck, Elena, Katrina, and Michael return to Katrina’s car to wait for Billy Jack to get back. Paul, Lilith, and This Way Comes load into his car and get ready to go.

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Those Caught Between; Chapter 2

Sunday, February 22, 2009, throughout the day and following week

Chuck awakens to the smell of clove cigarette smoke, and can see a silhouette in the darkened room, illuminated only by the glowing cigarette. As introductions are made, the figure introduces itself as Alpa Chino and tosses Chuck a can of “Booty Sweat.” He turns on the lights by clapping, and reveals himself as a shaggy-headed, vaguely sinister man with definite glam overtones and eyes like a caged lion. He explains to Chuck that he wants him to retrieve a blastula — the ball of cells that exists before the tube-within-a-tube body plan — from the biomedical waste. If he does so, he can remove the brand on Chuck’s chest. Chuck disagrees, and then Alpa offers to give him information; he will answer any question truthfully, but as a toll, he will then offer one piece of information that Chuck will not want to hear. It may be an uncomfortable truth, or it may be a prophecy that will come true. Chuck agrees and asks him what he is doing here. Alpa says he comes from another dimension, and is doing a favor for a friend who might want to resell this thing that he steals. Alpa also says that Chuck will probably never see him again. He then tells Chuck that his parents, who were going to visit to see how he is doing, will not arrive in Terra Lake, because their plane is going to crash. For a moment, Chuck sits, stunned, but recovers when he asks if Alpa will save his parents if he does this task for him. Alpa agrees. Chuck then agrees.

He gives Chuck a set of doctor’s scrubs and puts a sticker — a yellow smiley face with a red smudge on it, just like the Comedian’s badge from Watchmen — onto the machinery. When Chuck is disconnected from the machines, they continue to take his vital signs, as normal. Chuck dresses and hobbles down the hall behind Alpa. The doctors, as they pass, do not seem to acknowledge Alpa.

They finally arrive in the biomedical waste in the basement. Alpa gives Chuck some equipment and sets him to work at picking the lock. Chuck manages to open the door, and Alpa pulls out a large monocle with an iron rim, odd runes, and an emerald lens. He looks through the waste before pulling out a bag, which he then places into his own gym bag that he carries. He and Chuck return to Chuck’s room, Chuck changes back into his hospital gown, and Alpa hooks him back up to the machines. He removes the sticker, crumples it and throws it in the trash, and then he takes his things, turns out the lights, and leaves. Chuck does not return to sleep.

Things are quiet as everyone goes about their business. Chuck is recuperating in the hospital. Agatha is going shopping and running some other errands. Elena goes to work at Claire’s.

Billy Jack visits Chuck in his hospital room — Duke is asked to wait out in the hall — and Katrina and “James” arrive shortly after he does. Chuck notices that Katrina no longer seems odd. Billy Jack explains to the others some of the things that he has encountered while searching for the creatures of the night, while Chuck and Katrina explain a little about the fae things they have encountered. When Chuck indicates that the rest of this conversation might be better at a later time, Billy Jack exchanges information and leaves to go look around the hospital. When left in the room with Katrina — “James” goes to use the bathroom — Chuck then explains to her about Alpa Chino and the fact that he thinks he may have aided in the taking of her baby. Though Katrina is upset and finds the thing rather creepy, she does appreciate the fact that she doesn’t really have to deal with it anymore. Chuck also gives her three things he managed to acquire; the crumpled sticker, the clove cigarette butt, and the can of Booty Sweat. After she and “James” leave, Chuck turns on the news and learns about the situation at the mall.

While at work, a thin, imposing man with a shaved head walks into Claire’s and asks Elena if she is Elena MacKenzie. When she indicates that she is, he explains that he is Jonah’s friend and gives her the fake ID for which she asked. Then he indicates that he has need of her; as the gun comes out and his friends walk into Claire’s, he explains that he needs to get Jonah out of the hospital, and a hostage would be most useful, particularly if that hostage is Terra Lake’s golden girl. The man, Richard Anton Hiller, calls and makes his demands — namely a van, Jonah, and a route to Canada — and after a few back-and-forth calls, the group shifts to the hospital to pick up Jonah.

At the hospital, they encounter Agent Sklar and his partner, who suggests to Elena that she may hear a loud pop. He does not elaborate further. Richard Hiller then takes his group and they start moving Jonah outside. When they get outside, though, there are two loud pops and the guns being held to Elena’s head and her manager’s head are broken by sniper fire. The police descend on the assembled gunmen and the situation is brought to a close.

After being checked out at the hospital, Elena visits Chuck while waiting for her parents, and she manages to briefly explain the situation. Once Katrina and Michael get back to the hotel — first checking on her apartment and then talking to her landlord to see how things are going and if she can still live there — they turn on the news to learn about the situation at the mall and the hospital. Katrina calls Chuck, and he explains what he can. Likewise, he ends up talking to Agatha and explaining what little he can. He also asks if she can bring his laptop by at some point, and explains that Katrina has some samples to give her. She indicates that she might be around the next day.

The next day goes reasonably quietly. Elena gets a phone call from Paul saying that he is following a semi-truck that Lilith claims is carrying her creator This Way Comes along with another Promethean. After asking, he says it appears to be a biotech firm, “Perkona.” Elena tells him that Perkona just bought out Phoenix Chemicals in Terra Lake, so they may be coming back to Terra Lake. The two indicate they will be in touch over the coming week to figure out what to do. Elena then calls Chuck and tells him about it. Chuck then calls Paul again and gets Lilith, who explains that she can sense This Way Comes on board. Additionally, she thinks she probably would not like the other Created passenger, again by sensing him. Again, the two resolve to remain in touch with one another during the week.

When Agatha arrives later that evening, Chuck explains the situation with Perkona and also tells her about Alpa Chino, accidentally revealing Katrina’s miscarriage. Agatha then visits Katrina and Michael to retrieve the samples from Alpa Chino so she can run them in the lab. She finds that the DNA on the cigarette butt is totally anomalous, yielding impossible results. The sticker and energy drink, however, appear normal. She then tells these results to Chuck.

Throughout the week, things are quiet. He speaks to Kenneth Woodward to get the keys to the missile silo, and then Kenneth leaves for California. Chuck’s parents arrive and start staying at his house. Chuck is released on Thursday, and everyone agrees to meet Friday to discuss Billy Jack and to plan what they will do about the truck carrying This Way Comes.

Friday evening arrives and everyone meets at the cabin atop the missile silo, which Chuck codenames “the Lake House.” After everyone is briefed on current events — Alpa Chino, Billy Jack and the attack on Katrina, the miscarriage, the hostage situation, and the situation with Perkona — they decide to call Billy Jack and invite him over.

When Billy Jack arrives, they explain the situation with Paul and Lilith — Lilith is Created, but doesn’t seem to want to hurt anyone. Likewise, they don’t want to hurt anyone; they just want to save This Way Comes as a favor to Lilith, and to learn why Perkona might be transporting people by truck across country. Likewise, what else might they be transporting? Billy Jack feels a little odd about breaking into a truck — being an old trucker himself — but he understands the concern with shipping people or things across country. Elena calls Lilith and learns the truck’s license plate, and then Billy Jack calls some of his contacts and learns that the driver of that shipment is Hank “Bearclaw” Samson. Deciding that trying to talk to Bearclaw about the shipment might alert him and connect Billy Jack’s name to it, they decide that they will probably try to catch him at the next rest stop and peek in his truck.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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