Bitter Friends 1

Backseat Muse

Montgomery smoothed out the saliva covered bills; bearded cheeks flushed with anger. The similar taste of urine and metal from the money so recently stuffed in his mouth was inescapable. Looking about the cramped cluttered room his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

Nothing to assist him getting out of a simple locked closet, just a bar that held an assortment of  suits and dresses of various styles and colors. Balling his free hand he struggled to calm himself. Forcing his breathing he concentrated on the muffled voices that reverberated though the door.  His master would be furious, but the circumstances were beyond belief…
*****************************
Franco adjusted the swivel lamp to get a closer look at the body on the table. The lighting being poor to begin with; the adjustment just splayed shadows about the already darkened room. Fidgeting a sun grayed fedora over his winkled brow the near elderly man…

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Bitter Friends 4

Backseat Muse

***** **** **** ***** ****** ****** *****

The necromancer known as Sinister slowly walked the rows of headstones in Mountain View Cemetery. Places of rest such as this were seldom haunted, though tonight would be quite the exception to the rule. Head bowed as Sinister grazed a hand along the cool moisture tops of tombstones, a slow satisfied smile coming to his face. Soon, very soon, all would be right and he would feel complete again.

The air weighed heavily; the presence of the dead increasing. Sinister could almost feel the universe turn its eye to watch the proceedings. Ahead robed figures bobbed almost in a mechanical motion, passing buckets of loose earth to each other to be poured into an ever growing pile next to his wife’s grave. Murmuring to his coven as well as the night; “Gently now. Let’s not wake her before it is time.”

Sinister’s coven…

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The Witching Hour

The Witching Hour, a simply complex game for witchfolk. Ages 8-Adult.
Players 2-4.
Materials needed. A deck of playing cards. Additional markers may be needed if there are more than two players.

The goal is for the players to get their marker from 1 to 13 o’clock, or construct 13 o’clock in a hand.

Take out a suit from the deck and arrange them in a circular pattern much like a clock. Ace through King.

All markers start at 1 o’clock.

Shuffle the remaining deck. Each player gets four cards. The cards are face value with the Jack, Queen, King being zero or double zero.

Winning hands: Ace, 3, and two face cards. 13 O’clock. Or 10, 3 and two face cards 13 O’clock again. If a player has either of those two hands dealt or constructed the player wins and the game is over.

If none of the players have 13 O’clock they construct the best time they feel will beat their opponent. Players can play 2-4 cards a round. After each round the cards are refreshed so each player has four cards.

Example: Player one has, 4,7,6,9. Player two has 10, King, 6, 2. Player one’s best time would be 9:47. Player two’s best time would be 10:26. The winning hand advances an hour on the clock. Losing hand does not.

Players that have a hand close to 13 O’clock may choose to discard 1-4 cards in their hand, but forfeit the round.

Example: Player has 10, King, Queen, 4. Player discards the 4. If a player is unable to make a time they may discard 1-4 cards but also forfeit the round as well. Any additional players that cannot construct a time do not move either.

Special hand: If a player possesses four face cards that is considered zero O’clock. The player lays down their hand and points at an opponent and says in a sinister voice, ‘You are out of time!” An additional card is then drawn to see how many hours the opponent loses.

Example: Player one’s marker is on seven O’clock when Zero O’clock is played against them. The additional card drawn is a 5. The player is moved from seven O’clock back to two O’clock. Players cannot be moved back further than one o’clock. If a face card is drawn on additional draw it is discarded until a card of face value is drawn.

If this occurs and all players are on one O’clock a card is drawn and the player of zero o’clock advances half the face value of the card rounding up.

Example: All players are on one O’clock when Zero O’clock is played. The additional card drawn is a 7, the player is advanced to 4 o’clock.

The game continues until a player advances to 13 O’clock or is dealt 13 O’clock.
The winner must announce in a most witch like voice, ‘The Witching Hour is mine!”

(Optional variations and fun stuff!)

1:01 (In the beginning…) If this time is played all opponents can only play three cards the next round, while the player of that time can play their full four. If they cannot construct a time on that round they forfeit the round and discard.

12:34 (Too Orderly DAMNIT!) If this time is played the player shuffles the deck furiously and in a comedic fashion for a full minute. The player can rant about anything they like, and if any opponent smiles or laughs they lose an hour. If all opponents laugh or smile the shuffler advances an hour, in addition to the hours lost by opponents.

4:44 (Wendy Rule Edition) If this time is played the next turn the player of that time gets two hands, representing their ‘pack’ or coven. Player may mix and match from those two hands, for a total of eight cards they can choose to play from. The effect is only for that turn, afterwards the game resumes as normal.

6:66 (No such time) If this time is played, the player is ‘accidentally’ dealt six cards for the remainder of the game.

100,000 BC. (In honor of Doctor Who’s first episode) Card Combination: Ace, and three face cards. If this time is played the player may exchange 13 o’clock with any other number on the board, save for the one the player is on.
Example: If the player of 100,000 BC is on five o’clock, they can move 13 o’clock to the six o’clock position and the six goes to the 13 o’clock position. Then the game resumes as normal, with the player suddenly in position to win.

Feel free to add your own rules and times.
May the Witching Hour be yours.

(Inspired by an encounter with a young witch at Pathways Spirit, Reno Nevada.)

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Equality

Lately some of my friends are taking on the mantle of feminism. That to me is great; striving for equality is something that is very much needed. I want to see all these things they are working for come to be, hell I even want to help. Lately however it has been a bit heavy on the mind. My friends have been changing and I am not exactly sure how to take it.

They are beginning to tell me how to live. Well, they tell my wife and expect her to parrot it to me. Since you know, I’m a brutish thug that only listens to one woman. If one of them needs help and I offer, it is turned down sometimes venomously. Yet if a female offers it is taken and treasured. A bit disconcerting, but whatever. Carry on man, carry on.

They take the liberty of being able to touch me whenever they feel like it. It makes me uncomfortable, and I know returning the action would be considered a violation of their boundaries. I am finding my leniency on the matter approaching a verbal end.

I got a friend that refuses to speak to me now since I don’t consider her a peer in all things. No explanation, just a given statement and a dismissal. Another one just reads what she desires to read and fails to listen to when we converse. Demands of respect without granting respect in return is becoming a trend with them.

Suddenly, I feel like I am in a mine field and I am really not sure how I got there. I don’t like being hedged in so I decided to study feminism. I did not find a solution, just more problems. More things I have to be aware of when dealing with my feminist friends.

Reading poetry, articles, watching videos about how all men are rapists, abusers, and oppressors. How all men do ‘this’ how all men do ‘that’. The one view that is common through all these articles, poems, videos, is every man is lumped into this category. My friends are driving a proverbial tank; its powerful engine grinding the way to equality. Running over oppression, social stigmatism…and the people that already know them as equals…

I guess it is one of those, ‘can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs’ kind of scenarios. Of course being a male I could not possibly understand these sorts of things. I am just a potential, rapist, oppressor, abuser waiting to happen. Just another person to run down with the mighty tank. I don’t have a name, or a face, I am just one of those men.

I am fighting my own war for equality on a different front. I am classified as pagan. A heterosexual male, neck deep in a female dominated field. I fight for the god in a goddess based ‘religion’. The gods of paganism are usually just considered a sperm donor, or a tag along, or even a fashion accessory. Their role is just as important as the goddesses out there.

I teach male pagans how to be men without the shield of bravado, machismo, and outright arrogance. Helping these men recapture their masculine nature and spiritual heritage. They are learning that equality is not a bad thing, that it is a necessary prerequisite to being a real man. Sad thing is I am getting these men, these good men ready to be run over by something that only cares about its self and past hurts done to it. We are fighting for the same thing, with different methods.

I hope my feminist friends get what they are after so we can go back to being friends.

Enjoy your omelet…

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Empire 6

Reiner adjusted his rear view mirror at the stop light, his mind split on the matter with the beasts. On one hand Reiner actually liked them; they were good fey; minus the trouble with humans they seemed to cause. Upon the other hand, the noble inside him seethed. They lied to him openly and his hands were tied on the matter; all Reiner could do was point out what he partially knew of their crimes. Perhaps they would slip up, that quartet was very tightly knit in ways Reiner found endearing and frustrating.

The car being stolen and wrecked was Hesh’s style, but why? It could attract unwanted human attention the way it was destroyed in such a spectacular fashion. Ching most likely had the encounter with Valentine, the wounds the fellow Sidhe received would be her style. Assault on a noble, was a death sentence. No matter how much the local populace wanted Valentine gone. The break in at Area 42 could be Hawg, but the Under Folk refused to indentify the vandal. Restitution was the usual outcome for crimes of that sort.

The most puzzling was the abduction of the human infant, Jarvis was the prime suspect, being a repressed cannibal, but the big cat was a hunter and hated guns. If news of the abduction became public knowledge or if information fell into the wrong hands it could spell doom for the beast fey. Reiner would do his duty regardless but he would be absolutely certain on that matter before acting upon it.

Humans could learn some of fey magic, if they were trained young enough. Or they could be taught the ways of the fey, and how to hunt the fey. Reiner shook his head, hands death gripped on the wheel, forcing the thoughts from his mind. Reiner did want to consider the possibilities, yet he did. The traffic light turned green, Reiner moved his foot to press the accelerator, only to stop cold, frozen in place.

A single snow flake struck the windshield, sticking. Reiner was captivated by its beauty, every fractal glittering, unique and riveting his attention. It was the middle of June, but the sight held a timeless quality. Reiner felt a shiver roll up his spine, something large was stepping into this world from Fairy, or more likely… someone.

The world exploded into sound, cars horns blaring; Reiner’s cellphone began to chime. Pressing through the light, Reiner could not even wave apologetically to the drivers behind him, groping for the phone Reiner ground the walls of the car tires on the curb pulling over to answer the call. The single flake had melted only to be avenged by hundreds, thousands more building into a flurry from the nearly cloudless sky. A quick intake of breath to compose himself and Reiner said. “Captain Reiner.”

The male voice on the other end mirrored Reiner’s rattled composure and said. “Queen Bora just arrived, unannounced. We are ill prepared to have such a prestigious guest in our fiefdom. You know the queen best, Greyson says you are to be her escort until we can assemble a feast and proper lodgings for the queen.”

Stammering Reiner felt the pit of his stomach drop, and said. “Bu-wha-uh. I am twenty minutes out.”

There was a long pause on the phone as obviously the information was being relayed. The voice came back, quick and stern. “Greyson says to use that time to think of an excuse as to why you were late to receive the Queen’s arrival.”
Before Reiner could protest the messenger hung up. Reiner sighed, wanting nothing more than to rest his head on the steering wheel, but there was no time for that. Fighting traffic and the thickening flurry of snow would only add to the travel time. That time could quite possibly be now borrowed. It would all hinge on the mood the Queen was in.

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

Reiner still could not conjure an excuse as his car skidding into the parking lot of the business complex. The Sidhe each had their individual homes, but held and conducted court in a villa styled shopping center. High end boutiques were firmly entrenched here; every hedge and flower in the bordering gardens perfectly tended, marking it a place of social class and difference.

Reiner could easily pick out the shop the Queen was likely in. It was the one people were leaving from in disguised haste. Shaking off his nervousness Reiner put purpose to his stride, letting his booted feet clack against the pavement, rhythmic and strong. If he was to be chided or punished for his supposed tardiness Reiner would meet it with all the dignity he could muster.

Entering the shop the walls screamed with knick knacks over populating shelves and gathered in various baskets. The air carried a chill that could be considered unnatural as did the voice of the Queen that flitted through it. Queen Bora stood before the register counter, whispering to the shop clerk. Queen Bora’s presence seemed to take up the entire room easily cowing the clerk.

Dressed in dirty riding silks of black and white, her beauty so striking the queen could easily be considered unearthly and androgynous. Tilting her head, stark raven hair spilling down Queen Bora’s shoulders from under the dented rider’s helmet, the ends stirred by unseen chilling breeze. Shifting her stance gracefully the Queen’s perfectly polished boots caught untraceable light. The movement revealing her left boot was torn at the ankle, as if she had fallen from a horse and had been drug for a long distance. Leaning closer to the shop clerk, she held a large silvered straight razor over her eyes as if they were opera stemmed glasses.

Queen Bora regaled the tall fat man with tales of his personal fears and fate in hushed yet very sure tones. Queen Bora retold the clerk about his father dying at a young age, leaving the clerk wanting competition of father to son guidance. Moving on to the clerk’s fear of being trapped in a city that held no future for him, no matter how many vices he delved in to deny it. Queen Bora dismantled any shred of defense the man had built to hide his low self image. The clerk was not only fat, he would become fatter, his joints would give out, leaving him unable to do anything other than be a leech upon the city as long as he remained in its bounds. Everyday would be a shadow that chased and hounded him.

Broken the clerk bore the expression of a glassy eyed shock, as the Queen stepped back expressionless. Slowly Queen Bora turned to Reiner the clerk instantly forgotten; it took every ounce of willpower for the Sidhe not to flinch before the Queen. Her angelic statuesque features only enhanced Reiner’s feeling of being well beneath her in station.

Reiner awaited the Queen to address him, remembering his previous encounter with Queen Bora. Six drug addicts had overdosed and died on a mountain of narcotics the queen provided them for her amusement. It took nearly a week to dispose of the bodies from the penthouse suite of the high rise casino in downtown. Of course Reiner had been selected to take charge of the task having been her escort.

One of the many queens of winter, Bora submerged herself with spreading depression, suicides and often encouraged people to end their misery. Queen Bora loved to see humans torture themselves and on special occasion even fey do the same. Queen Bora whispered but her voice carried clearly as it said. “Captain Julius Reiner. I have been waiting to be greeted.”

Reiner took a knee instinctively, bowing his head. Nervously, Reiner said. “I beg your forgiveness my Queen. I can offer no suitable explanation for my tardiness.”

Minutely Queen Bora canted her head forward, eyes still hidden by the large silvered straight razor. “Rise Captain Reiner. I understand my arrival was unannounced, and that you were… How do the humans put it again? Ah yes, you were thrown under the bus.”

Reiner rose to his feet, keeping his eyes down cast submissively. Humbly Reiner asked. “To what do we owe the pleasure of your presence my queen?”

Queen Bora remained expressionless, her features blank and beautiful. Her voice angelic and lacking emotion. “I am here to witness the Wild Hunt. I seldom get to Reno, and I am very curious about a few things.”

Reiner dared a look up, puzzled. “Curious my Queen? As to what I might ask?” Reiner said, already regretting the answer that may come. Reiner’s mind spun in a dozen directions and centered on the infant abduction he confronted the beasts about. Reiner had told no one and even hindered the police report from being filed. How could she have known? Did she know?

Sensing Reiner’s unease Queen Bora flicked slight smile. Like a cat playing with a mouse the queen drew upon the silence allowing it to build and form into tension. Finally when Queen Bora was certain Reiner was about a hairs breathe from soiling himself with worry, she spoke. “Take me to Lord Greyson. He will answer the questions I have; you can stop fretting, Captain Reiner.”

The queen glided towards the door pausing to add a pair of words that re-shook Reiner’s resolve. “For now.”

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Case Number: 94-85-1313

 

September 10, 2013 at 9:30pm

Every twenty minutes a crime is committed in the Reno, Sparks area. For every fifty crimes, one of them is a magical crime. As a member of ECI (Esoteric Crime Investigation) it is my job to solve these crimes before they become known to the public.

 

I was hip deep on the trail of some illegal wand trafficking in my own backyard of Sparks, Nevada when we get an anonymous tip at 10:30 PM September 8th, 2013. The tip took us to an after party scene for one S. Rune Emerson.

Whatever happened here took place after the party was over. The scene looked like a wizards duel gone bad.

The coat is of obvious quidditch cut, along with the goggles. House markings and been torn off and judging by the wear it had been worn often. That could only mean one thing; the now dead spell slinger had to have been expelled from the prestigious school of Hogwarts.

What was this? A wand deal gone south turning into a duel? The bag tells me a bit more, five wands inside but pink bags of this style hold up to seven. Two were missing…

Then I get a bombshell thrown in my lap. A few feet away I find a bloodied Hex-0-Matic 120. Standard issue for the Fairy Godmother’s mid level enforcers.

This could be worse than I suspected and things were getting complicated fast. What was the Fairy Godmother or Reno doing this far south east? Was she pushing her bounds from North Reno into West Sparks?  The Godmother always made sure to mark the borders of her territory clearly to keep undesirables out. I found my answer fifty yards down the street. Fair wings; a sure sign that her borders had shifted and recently too.

A hundred scenarios play out in my head as I examine the scene, and I finally find what I suspect as the sixth wand.

Taking the wand to warded forensics we were able to determine the wand was indeed used that night. The makers mark had been filed off making it harder to trace to the owner.

Ethereal ballistics showed the wand had misfired in the middle of a Avada Kedavra curse.  The cause of the misfire was apparent by a crack in the shaft of the wand; repaired hastily with dollar store scotch tape.

So that leaves one wand unaccounted for. Wand deal goes bad, one low life quidditch player dead. Possible wounded enforcer for the Fairy Godmother and one deadly possibly defective wand on the streets. This is shaping up to be a long night. It is time to shake some trees and get some answers. Mabon is coming up in 11 days and all the usual suspects will be there…

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Bitter Friends 3

Franco glared at the trail that curved around the Basque monument leading to San Rafael, every step nearly a trial as the rocks dug into the soles of his shoes without mercy.  Glancing over at Benson, Franco noted the former detective was having just a bad of time as he was. Benson winced crouching down to rub at his knees. Benson shivered, “Is it too late to say that we are way too old for this?”  Franco snorted, “Yeah about twenty years too late.” Pausing, Franco let his gaze pan ahead upon the path ahead. “Think we’ll make it?”

Grunting Benson straightened up, reigniting the pain in his knees. “What choice do we have? It’ll be much better once we cross over.” Franco nodded, “Let’s do this.”

The air was cold and unforgiving on their bodies, cutting through the layered fabric, skin and flesh to rest in their bones.  The trail seemed to mock them. Where joggers would race it daily with grace and ease, the two appeared to shuffle at a snails pace.  Benson could almost see his breath; still conversation might take their minds off the journey. Curious and seeing he may never have another chance he had a few unanswered questions about his companion. “So…how did you get roped into it?  What did Falcon offer you?  How did you get the bones from the others? Did you pull a ‘Justin’ on them too? What power did you get? I could never figure it out.”

Stopping cold Franco tipped his hat forward low over his brow, shifting the Thompson strap upon his shoulder. His voice carried a bitter edge, “The fate of the city and maybe the world hangs in the balance and you want story time? Fine. First of all never mention that asshole’s name again. Everybody but you got forced into this, I owed that prick nothing but an ice pick in the back of the head.” Franco let his words hang in the air letting Benson figure it out for himself.

Benson blinked, “You were the one that killed, Fal-him?  Is that why you have possession of the book?”

Franco reached into his long coat producing a cigar ignoring the question, running it under his nose and suddenly jerking his head back. “Ugh. I think I got a little Justin on my smoke. Damn shame,” Wiping his nose Franco considered the cigar and shrugged and clipped off the end before igniting the cigar with a lighter. Benson blinked agape, and casually Franco continued his tale. “Elsa my wife was pregnant. I always wanted a kid. Someone to walk in the old man’s footsteps, ya know?”  Taking a long puff of the cigar, Franco let the smoke curl from his mouth as he spoke. “She was about to miscarry, docs did all they could. I prayed hard, going to the chapel. I just wanted Elsa to make it. I asked God Almighty to save them. Promised to go straight, settle down, be a good man. You know, the typical desperate shit.  God didn’t answer, that asshole did though. Said he could save her, all I had to do was do a favor for him.”

Benson felt for Franco, murmuring. “So you agreed.” It was not a question.

Franco nodded, and motioned for them to keep walking. “When I said yes, it felt like my Satan himself took my soul. Even after he saved her, I found I couldn’t keep any of my promises I made to God Almighty.  Life got hairy; I kept having to… to do things to stay ahead of Johnny Law. Every loose end I wrapped up turned into two more. I still lost her just after we stopped that ‘thing’ we were grouped into dealing with. So I paid that asshole a visit, and gave him a necktie. Asshole laughed the entire time even after he stopped breathing. His eyes, they kept laughing.”

Benson shivered at the mention of the ‘thing’ more than Falcon’s death. Just the thought of it opened the door to visuals that took years of hard drinking and illicit medications to forget, which never truly worked.  Some sort of demon or dragon thing from the other side that wanted to make Downtown Reno its chew toy. They were thirteen strong then, and only four made it out.  That was nearly thirty six years ago. Shaking his head, having no real time to linger on the memory for a few hundred yards away loomed the tunnel that connected to San Rafael.  “So you killed him, took the bones and the book?”

Shrugging, Franco took another draw from the cigar before stooping down and picking up a jagged rock about the size of his fist. Striving to keep the casual tone in his voice and failing into anxiety. “Didn’t I just say that?  What, are you recording this?  Doing it made me feel better for a whole day. It didn’t do any good. Look at us now, asshole shows up in our dreams and here we are. Fucking magic. ” Showing the rock to Benson, Franco changed the subject. “This one good enough?”

Benson sighed exasperated with Franco, eyeing the stone and shook his head. “Right size. Too jagged. Needs to be smoother. Like a river rock.” Franco tossed the rock over his shoulder with a grunt.

Benson scanned the path with his eyes, and reminded Franco of the pact they had been sworn to. The former detective’s voice took on an edge of duty, “We took an oath to protect the city from the unnatural.  We made that promise to the city, not to him.” 

Gritting his teeth Benson bent down painfully and pulled up a fist sized grey stone, smoothed by years of water and weather. “This one will do.”  Franco merely grumbled in response.

Benson had spent years experimenting with the power he was given. He could see the truth, and pathways to the other side. Nothing could be hidden from the former detective’s vision. However, everything came with a price; Benson could never forget the truths he witnessed. 
Standing before entrance of the unlit tunnel, Benson turned to Franco. “We have to spit on it at the same time, I’ll do the rest.” Franco arched a brow almost amused. The two leaned over the held out stone and the duo spat upon it. Benson reared his arm back, fiery pain lancing through his shoulder, up his arm all the way to his finger tips. Benson cast the stone at the entrance; the overwhelming sound of shattering glass filled their ears.  The echo of glass breaking was replaced with a rush of dark wind pulling the two towards the entrance of the tunnel. Franco swore in a yell, “I fucking hate this part!” pinning his fedora to his head with a hand. Swept off their feet the bitter friends were dragged into the darkness of the other side.

Mist rolled along the ground snaking around the two. Benson groaned his head throbbing; rolling over on his back from being face down.  A pale blue light cast about, feeling his forehead his fingers came away crimson. Muttering to himself, “Great.” sitting up Benson called out into the darkness. “Franco?” Benson’s call echoing as if he was in a bare room or tunnel.

Franco moaned in response, “Over here.” The gangster sat up, bracing the Thompson on his lap. He could see Benson near him, and chuckled. “Over here you blue jack-o-lantern.” 

Benson rose steadying his legs under him; staggering over to Franco he offered the gangster a hand up. “Yeah laugh it up, at least we got light.” Franco chuckled again, “As I recall that is not always a good thing here.” Taking the hand Franco stood and dusted himself off.   Letting go of Franco, Benson rubbed at his temple consciously. The blue light came from the arcane runes underneath the skin of his face.  Looking over his shoulder Benson watching the broken glass of the gateway began to rise, reforming itself to cracks and the cracks sealing in eerie silence.  The tunnel gaped, whole and complete once again.

Franco looked over the landscape, while silently offering Benson a handkerchief.  Downtown Reno loomed in the distance without light and without life. A lone pillar of smoke rose up from the center of downtown, frozen in time. The grass round them was stunted and grey. It was so quiet Franco could almost hear himself think, nothing moved. The sky gave way to countless stars, though Franco knew they were not stars at all. They were fragments of souls, lost and one day to be found.

The two began walking once again, the land changing around them structures rose and fell around them. Sometimes they heard voices, murmurs of life outside of the realm they walked through.  The path was straight and narrow, Benson cautioned Franco. “Careful, step off the path and you could end up anywhere. If it’s not on the path it’s not our business, no matter what you see or hear.” 

 Rolling his eyes Franco, pawed through his crowded pockets, responding sarcastically. “Yeah, yeah I know. I just don’t believe it.” Fumbling his zippo lighter Franco lost his grip on it and stooped to pick it up after it hit the ground. The gangster’s foot bumped the gold plated Zippo and it scooted off the path, winking out of existence. “FUCK!”

Benson looked at the spot it disappeared. Smirking he patted the gangster on the shoulder. “Well someone has an authentic Franco Milliner Zippo heading to them.” Franco balled his hand into a fist. “I’ll get it back, just you wait.”  Benson shook his head. “Come on.”

Time had no meaning here; the things they saw off the trail could have taken place years ago, or had yet to happen.  An impossibly tall and thin woman wearing a sky blue ball gown walked a young girl in pajamas into a thick cluster of bushes and out of sight. On the other side of the path a two story house engulfed in flames with a woman standing outside clutching a baby under her arm pointing a pistol at the doorway. 

Franco muttered, “How much further? This place gives me the creeps, worse than last time.”  Franco kicked at a black cat that held a playing card in its mouth from entering the path. The cat skittered away and into the darkness. Benson shrugged, “We get there when we are supposed to.”  Benson came to a stop and Franco crashed into his back. Benson noted he didn’t feel any pain, and had not since they entered this…spirit realm.

Franco squawked, “What is it?” Benson pointed ahead, “We have company.”  Looking over Benson’s shoulder to the person standing in the middle of the path, Franco arched a brow. This place was crazy, this chick was dressed in nothing but a cloak, and a smile that promised trouble…

 

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