Sunday, January 14, 2018

67: Which Witch is which? – Pt. 2

“It’s important to remember to breathe,” Brad Devereux coached Victoria as he prepared to put her under. “Focus on what you know is real. Try not to allow your emotions to cloud your logic. The way this works, I will try and show you things to make you doubt yourself; make you suffer and trick you into doing what I want you to do.”

“Which is what exactly?” she asked, clenching her fists at her side.

“Well,” Brad smirked as he moved in front of Victoria, “That’s for me to know and you to find out. Are you ready?” She took a deep breath and Brad could see the fear and hesitation in her eyes. “We don’t have to go through with this.”

“No, we do. I’m ok,” she said with a heavy exhale. “Let’s do this.”

“8132 Skylark Drive,” Mike said, maneuvering his truck up the long driveway towards the front door. “According to Devereux, this place has been getting vandalized pretty regular, often after he spends a weekend.”

“Someone is breaking into his vacation home after every weekend he visits?”

“Yeah. He even installed an alarm that the perpetrator has set off on multiple occasions throughout the week. So far, law enforcement has been ineffective in finding the perp or putting a stop to the break-ins. They had a guard posted for a week but, the perp wasn’t brazen enough to try. After that, Devereux had cameras installed hoping to catch the offender in the act. They captured a single male suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt and dark pants but, he could not be identified at any point. I pulled a still and sent it to one of my guys at the department. Hopefully he gets back to me with an ID soon.” 

“Anyway,” Mike sighed, as he placed the key obtained from Devereux into the lock. “We’re just gonna have a look around. See if we can find something the police may have overlooked.”

They entered the log cabin home and each started in different directions. Mike focused his attention around the front of the house: kitchen, living room, dining and den while Derrick took a look through the office and bedrooms. “Never would have pictured Devereux as the outdoorsy type,” he shouted loud enough to be heard from the master bedroom.

“Yeah. From what I gathered, he came here to escape his stalker back home but, that obviously didn’t work.”

“Especially when the stalker seems to focus around his waste.”

“You find something?” Mike asked, joining Derrick in the back bedroom.

“Trash bin,” he motioned as he continued combing through the closet.

A sticky residue clung to the top of the basket. The strong odor of rotten eggs quickly made Mike back away and cover his nose as he dry heaved behind his hand. “My god! What is that?”


“Why is there sulfur…?”

“Demons. And having met Devereux, I can say without a doubt, that’s not from him.”

“Ok. Can this…goo help us identify our perp?”

“Not really. Most creatures who’ve spent any significant time in the underworld would carry with them a small degree of the stuff. Although, it’s not normally viscous, more of a powdery substance. It does tell us, however, that we’re dealing with a supernatural and not just some average Joe.”

“Awesome. Just once, I’d like to have a normal case. Just once.”

“You mean you didn’t get enough of that when you were on the job?” Derrick grinned at Mike’s exasperation and followed behind him as he trudged from the room.

“Devereux gave us a list of people he thinks may have hostile feelings towards him. I say we go take a look and see if you maybe recognize any of them as—otherworldly.”

Victoria stood in a bedroom that wasn’t immediately familiar. Taking a look around at her surroundings, she slowly worked on gathering her bearings. Pictures and awards on the walls sparked a memory and her mouth curled into a smile. She was home. Or more accurately, her childhood home; though the year was not clear.

“Victoria, hurry up or you’re going to be late for school and I can’t drive you today.” She heard the voice of her mother shout from downstairs. The door to her closet opened and Victoria was staring at a teen version of herself.

“I’m coming, Mom!” the teen shouted in return. Victoria watched her teen-self move closer to where she stood but, seemed to look right through her. Teen Victoria grabbed an object from the dresser behind her before taking one last look into the mirror and stomping out the door.

You know they’ll never accept you. She heard another voice float over her, sending shivers down her spine. The little hairs on her arm stood and she rubbed her hand over them to calm her nerves. They will all leave when they learn the truth about you. They always leave. Shaking her head to focus, Victoria started over towards the closet. The door flew open and she was faced with more pictures and newspaper clippings.

Articles about things happening around town, unexplained events and strange disappearances. Pulling one clipping from the inside of the door, Victoria read over it and gasped. The article was about a woman who had gone missing after a night out with friends. It was dated March 14, 1996. Quickly, she realized why this particular memory had resurfaced. It was the day she first asked her mother about magic.

It had been an innocent inquiry. After a nightmare, one particularly frightening involving red smoke and dragons, she’d awaken with a mark on her left arm. Victoria glanced down, touching the spot. Her mother had reassured her it was only a dream and she must have been so frightened that she accidentally injured herself somehow on her nightstand. Victoria hadn’t been convinced and began doing her own research but, that ended…how had it ended? She couldn’t remember.

As she reached for another article, a bright flash of light struck outside the bedroom window and Victoria’s head exploded in pain. She hit the floor, crying out as the throbbing intensified. Curling up into a ball she tried to conjure a spell to help ease the tremendous ache but she couldn’t think straight.

We know what you did. Blood magic. You’re unworthy of your magic.

“What?” Victoria asked as images of Mike flashed before her. “No, wait, you don’t understand. I had to.”

You risked us all for some lowly human. You’re unworthy of your magic.

“Mike’s not…I didn’t…”

“Victoria?” Brad shook her, trying to rouse her. “Victoria, wake up!” She mumbled but, didn’t stir.

You will soon get what you deserve. You’re unworthy of your magic.

“Please,” she cried, crawling into a corner as more images rushed through her. “Please.”

There is a price for blood magic. There is always a price. You’re unworthy of your magic.

“VICTORIA!” The door to Brad’s office flew open and a dark figure stepped inside. Jumping to his feet, he turned to face the intruder and gasped. “You?!” Brad charged the man, shoving him away from a prone Victoria as he started towards them. “Victoria, wake up!” Brad shouted as he and the stranger wrestled around his living room floor. “I won’t let you take my power,” he growled and pushed the man away again.

“Foolish demon. Who said it was you I was after?” the stranger laughed, his yellow eyes glowing with rage.

“Here we are!” Mike announced in a singsong tone.

“And where is here?”

“117 Maple Avenue.” Mike pulled his truck up to the curb. “This is the last known address for our suspect from the DMV.”

“Oh,” Derrick said, peering up to the tiny home centered between two large oaks in the middle of suburbia. While Derrick went through the portfolio of suspects Devereux had given Victoria, Mike got a call from one of his old police friends who had been able to identify the man in the video using face recognition software: Alan Thomas. He hadn’t been in the folder as a possible person of interest and after Mike ran a few background checks on him, he found nothing that would connect the man with Devereux. Now they had gone from demons to a random stalker. Nothing in this case was making sense. “Looks vacant. And I don’t hear any heartbeats. No one’s home.”

“Really? You can hear that all the way out here?”

“Perks of the breed.”

“Right,” Mike said, sliding out of the driver’s seat. “Still, I’d like to have a look inside at least. Who knows, maybe you can SMELL where our perp got off to.” Derrick smirked and followed along behind him to the front stoop. “Wait,” he paused, placing a hand up before either could move up the first step. “You see that? Looks like…”

“Blood. Days old. Maybe three.” Mike turned back towards Derrick and he pointed to his nose. “The dirt beside it though, that’s fresh.”

“So someone stopped by either to check on the suspect or make sure they didn’t leave behind any evidence.”

“And they left in a hurry. A few twigs in that shrub beside you are bent and the flowerbed has been trampled. Whoever it was, didn’t want to waste time using the stairs.”

“Nice. I can see why Vik lets you tag along.”

“Surprisingly, Mike, my intelligence isn’t the only thing the detective is so fond of,” Derrick replied with a smirk.

“This must be what it’s like for Vik,” Mike sighed and shook his head.

“How’s that?”

“She tells me I overshare. Now I get it,” he said with a smile.

Something exploded across the street and both men turned. Soon after, there was another burst mimicking gunfire. Mike jumped, his hand instantly moving to his sidearm as a loud crack rattled in the streets. It was followed by several pops and ended in childish laughter. Three kids ran from behind a dumpster, heading down the street, the remnants of their firecrackers sizzled and extinguished.

“Kinda jumpy aren’t you?” Derrick smirked, folding his arms into his chest as he watched the Detective take a breath. “Don’t worry, Mike. I won’t let those kids hurt you.”

Mike rolled his eyes and started back towards the house. “You coming?” he asked, tossing a look back at the vampire. This time, it was Derrick whose face twisted in fear. “What? What is it?”

“It’s Victoria. She’s in trouble.”

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