Sisters Trine 1 of 7
Madame I Ogli stepped, or rather sauntered somehow, out of the cab. She waved at two of her three compatriots who looked around sheepishly. They always did. Madame was a sight to behold. She was over six feet tall, even taller with her giant purple wig, and wearing a multi-colored moo-moo and in full drag queen face, at noon in front of the army supply store in Silver Lake.
Regency laughed as the cabbie brought out Madame’s matching vintage suitcase. He had only packed a large over-stuffed over-night bag, which was about the same size of the shorter super nerd. He felt out of place…again. Madame had real luggage and Barbara Demilla, the witch-cop person, as he called her, to his left, carried army-issue back packs and some sort of cooking ware that clanked a lot. Demilla herself wasn’t in fatigues but the fierce and strongly built woman didn’t need them to look intimidating. Regency thought they all seemed to be cast in different movies. Obviously there had been some kind of misunderstanding in Corey’s message or radical interpretations of it.
“Greeting and salutation my dears!” Madame purred, “I love outings!”
“How are you possibly going camping in that?” huffed Demilla.
“The same way you are,” laughed Madame, “only with more style and less to prove.”
“Snap!” Regency added, “you guys brought so much stuff. How long do you think this expedition is going to be, Private Benjamin?”
“No idea,” said Demilla ignoring all jibes, “but since we are meeting in front of an army supply store I guess it’s kind of hardcore?”
“Oh my…” Madame did the math, “well crap. I was thinking more fabulous Catalina.”
“I was going with Joshua Tree and some shrooms.” Regency laughed until he saw Demilla’ face, “the legal kind of course!”
“Because there are so many legal psychedelics…” scowled Demilla.
Madame and Regency at the same time whispered, “in a perfect world…”
They stood in silence. Each wondered where the hell Corey was and if they should be shopping for more supplies or what. Not that they didn’t like each other, they did. But they only really had Corey in common. That is to say fighting demons and stuff that you simply can’t talk about during daylight in front of normal people. They were also from different worlds had little common ground. Each caught the group reflection in the storefront glass. They all had the same thought, “one of these things is not like the other…” Which just goes to prove no matter how different things might appear, they can all be on the same page, or in this case, reflection.
Demilla finally broke the ice, “want coffee?” She gestured to the shop across the street.
“I’ll take a drip. Black.” Regency shrugged his shoulders.
“ummmmm,” Madame paused. She knew she would hence be judged by the other two. Any sort of fancy half-caf or skinny what-have-you would be met with eye rolls and scrutinization. She thought she had better butch it up this once, “me too, but is soy too much trouble?”
“No I can do that,” Barbara pulled out her wallet and asked the other two to mind her, very loud, back pack, “one black, one soy and one half-caf skinny vanilla with extra foam for me.”
“Bitch.” Said Madame once Demilla was out of range.
Regency was fumbling with his phone relentlessly. Annoyed, Madame asked, “what is it you are doing?”
“Keeping up with the world,” Regency huffed, “you should try it.”
“You should engage with real people!”
“Would that be you?”
“Sorry,” Regency put down the phone, “So how are you Madame?”
“Oh go back to your phone,” she snapped, “I don’t need pity conversation.”
“So sensitive,” Regency apologized, “ I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m just on my phone a lot. Have you been using yours?”
“YES!” Madame beamed, “I use it to find everything! Maps. Shops. Sales! And it knows me. It really knows me. I only get updates for things I want…usually. Occasionally I get ads for dating sites, which is awkward.”
Regency had been schooling Madame and Corey in technology. He guessed that Demilla learned a thing or two from these lessons but was too proud to admit it. Madame had had the most trouble with the “thing” as she called it. Regency thought it was because she was “just so damn old.” She occasionally called the movies talkies. “Which was super weird,” Regency told everyone. But then he had to re-think the age thing. He wasn’t sure, but he guessed Corey was around when the abacus got invented. Literally. And ‘Corey was awesome at his smart phone…Corey was awesome at everything,’ or so Regency thought to himself.
Demilla came back with coffee and some pastries of some kind “for the road.” They all sipped and waited. Hipsters strolled by with their own more pretentious coffees. Musicians idled by, their fingers twitching newly learned chords. Strollers of entitled future brats were pushed by Hollywood Moms out-mom-ing each other. A homeless dude asked for change and was ignored by a girl with a clipboard asking for money for a cause she knew little about. Ya know, Silver Lake stuff.
A man came out from one of the shops. He seemed glossy eyed. He pushed by the coffee-trio and awkwardly into his car parked in front of the army supply store. He got in a drove away looking for parking. Madame rolled her eyes and laughed, “can’t he just find parking like a normal person?”
“I can’t WAIT to be able to do that!!” Regency beamed. He loved magick and spells and anything cool! Corey had done this trick before but always said magick wasn’t a game and he shouldn’t use it to go shopping. Regency had agreed but then thought if the next play station was on the line, he was SO going to do this spell. When he learned it. If he learned it.
Demilla scowled at the interference with civilian’s rights but kept it to herself. She had other things to worry about like the HUGE Hummer barreling down Sunset Blvd, barely missing pedestrians and coming to a screeching halt at the newly abandoned parking spot. Corey jumped out. Threw a couple of quarters in the meter and ran up to them.
Demilla was not impressed, “real quarters? You couldn’t just magick the meter for your personal pleasure?”
“THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!” Regency barked and then settled with glare from Detective Demilla which he returned.
“Corey?” Madame who had not been impressed or shocked or mad at the display of talent, had taken time to take Corey’s appearance in, “Are you alright Dear?”
The other two stopped the glare fest and looked at Corey. He looked…unlike Corey. First of all he was wearing commando fatigues. Full on military gear. In his belt he so obviously carried a gun even Regency noticed. Demilla had noticed a second earlier and had, almost undetectably moved her foot back and twisted her hip. Shooting stance. His tall usually firm-standing frame was shaky. His arms seemed be suspended and his fingers twitched like grabbing at imaginable guns or spells. But his eyes were the worst. They were sunken in to the point of looking like a deranged raccoon. And his heavy eyes darted back and forth waiting to be jumped.
Madame continued, “Corey? Talk to us?”
“I will,” he jumped, “but first we got a get supplies and then in the very big car truck thing.”
Demilla calmly faced her obviously upset fiend, “Corey. Look at me.” She paused until he did, “what’s wrong? Where are we going?”
“ALASKA?” all three responded too loudly.
“Shhhhhhhh,” Corey whispered, “yes Alaska. Let’s get a move on!”
“Boss,” Regency did not want to go to Alaska, “what the hell is on Alaska?”
“It’s really really far from LA!” Corey pointed out.
“Ok,” Demilla continued the calm cop routine, “what’s happening in LA?”
Corey leaned down so the passing hipsters couldn’t hear. “It’s going to be destroyed. We can’t stop it so we’re getting out before it goes boom. Like super boom! Like gone. They are going to eat it. And no, we can’t get everyone else out. Not enough time. We need to leave now. But first I need some lines for traps and fishing.”
And he headed into The Army Supply Store as the other three stood jaw-dropped and wide-eyed.
Sisters Trine 2 of 7
“Did he say They are going to EAT Los Angeles?” Regency said more to himself but looked at Madame for clarity.
“Apparently.” Madame’s concern was growing, “what could eat Los Angeles?”
“OMGod the Koreans and Armenians are battling over Beverly Bvd!” Regency joked in the face of horror.
“Philip!” Madame made sure not to laugh, “that’s very culturally insensitive!”
“I’m sure it’s a metaphor,” Demilla was actually not amused, “let’s go in and see. Stay calm. He’s upset. Don’t get him more excited.” She lowered her chin to look at Regency.
“I’m calm.” Regency pointed at the Hummer, “and if it’s not a metaphor I got a ride too!”
The three entered the crowded and crammed store. The older men behind the counter eyed Madame. She nodded and said “gentlemen…” as she always did to judgmental folk.
“Hiya.” Said one of the men in a very non-judgmental way, “we got lots of stuff. Knives and rape whistles in the counter!”
Madame was thrilled “ooo two in one?”
“She wants to rape some guy and then let everyone know…” Regency was on a roll. That happens when he’s nervous.
The men looked at Regency with slightly less disgust than Demilla who said, “come on and shut up.”
They found Corey in the camping supplies. He was reading line weight info on two different spools of fishing line. He was very focused. Ok, he looked crazy. Regency gulped. Madame slowly walked away and to the side of the group. At first Regency thought she was flaking but then as continued behind Corey, Regency realized she was flanking him, should something go horribly wrong. Madame preparing to take down Corey? That was odd. As Demilla put her hand on his shoulder he jumped up and into a rack of tenting equipment.
“Cronos!” Corey uncharacteristically yelled. “Don’t sneak up on me!”
“I’m hardly sneaking,” Demilla reminded herself about the calm part, “this is a public place. Lots of folks walking around. Shopping. So….Corey? What’s going on?”
“Well I’m trying to figure out which weight of string to buy,” Corey said obviously as he reexamined the spools.
“I hear you and it’s great you want to learn,” Corey didn’t look up, “but we have little time and a lot of road….”
“Boss,” Regency tried to stay calm, “I hear you and I want to help…”
“Great. I’ll get some extra blankets. Warm ones. Regency you grab some of that supply food. Like two weeks worth….” Corey decided which spool would be best and set it in his carry-all. He looked up to see the other two staring at him. “Move. GO!”
Madame came up form the opposite side and approached Corey, “Corey dear? Detective Demilla has told us to stay calm. I disagree.” And she SLAPPED him in the face. Hard.
“OW!” Corey dropped his carry-all and held his reddening face, “you put magick into that!”
“Yes I did,” said Madame simply, “you should recognize the spell as you taught it to me. Now. I have just whipped up a silence circle. No one can hear us. ” She grabbed Regency’s arm as he was about to look, “as long as no one breaks the circle, we can talk. Take a moment and explain what is happening. You look like you’ve been summoning Hel herself. It seems the last time you slept a Republican was in office. And you’re wearing commando gear which is just horrible one you, I mean how 80’s!”
“It’s bad.” Corey couldn’t find the words. He looked like he might cry. “Please trust me. We have to leave.”
“I can’t Corey. You know that.” Demilla would never turn her back on the oaths she swore.
“Then you’ll die.” Demilla gulped at Corey’s plain delivery.
“umm all for leaving and living but can’t we at least tell our friends? Notify… anyone…someone… buddies, give a fighting chance…”
“Cause city-wide panic and road closures? Not before we are gone! Once it starts it can’t be stopped….”
“What can’t be stopped?” Madame said firmly.
“The Sisters Trine.” Corey paused to let the information sink in or for dramatic effect.
“Who?” they all sort of said together.
“The Sisters Trine!” Corey did not want to go over this but knew he had to. “I don’t know what they are. Ancient Gods maybe? Forces of Nature…well malevolent nature. Older than oral record. And they HATE humanity. A lot. Like all of us.”
“And there’s three of them?” Regency asked.
“Hence trine.” Corey gave Regency a confused look.
“…and they’re sisters?” Regency obviously needed clarity.
“Hence the sister part of Sisters Trine,” Corey had enough, “Look I can’t really explain it. I don’t totally understand it myself. It’s just bad as bad can be and we really have to go!”
“Corey please one more minute or two won’t matter,” Demilla placed her hand back on Corey’s shoulder, “if it’s that bad I’ll give you a police escort to the Yukon ok? But first you have to trust us enough to give us some information. How are these Sisters going to do whatever it is they do…”
“I don’t know exactly.” Corey dropped the carry-all. “They appear from somewhere, and no one knows from where. Other dimensions, worlds, from anti-matter? No one knows. There are no signs or omens. I only know they’re coming from a Future Reader. He got a bad sight. It almost killed him. He came to me two days ago. I wasn’t positive it was them but it felt like it. So I searched out other forms of future-see. And yes, Madame, I did summon many dark worlds for prophesy and vision. I contacted the Enchanted Forest to see the Eye-Hag. I even called upon the Hail Forever.”
“Forever Hail” all three chimed in. Then gritted their teeth.
“…and no one is sure it is but no one is sure it isn’t. If it’s them, and I assure you I am 99% sure, we have to leave before they eat us all.”
“Ok that’s the weird part,” scowled Demilla, “eating?”
“THAT’s the weird part?” laughed Regency, “man we have been at this too long when words like future-see and Enchanted Forest aren’t weird but eating is.”
“Well it’s not eating eating. It’s more like consuming…or rather making it not there and into them? Swallowing? Absorbing?? But with with fire and hail and earthquakes and storms and ya know, bad eating.”
“Wait,” Madame’s light bulb went off, “Sisters Trine. The reverse legacy of the Triple Goddess? The Three of Despair? I thought they were men?”
“Well they’re not exactly really women. I doubt they have vaginas and…stuff.”
“Stuff?” Demilla coughed? “So misogyny aside…..”
“Look there are few reports but they all seems to have wavy huge hair and giant lips and somewhat curvy figures..”
“Drag queens are going to eat LA?!?!?” Regency had to joke.
“The Three of Despair come at a time of economic or artistic triumph, if memory serves and they destroy, utterly destroy, the epicenters of civilization. Like Machu Picchu right?” Madame searched her thoughts.
“No. Machu Picchu is still there. Think more like Atlantis. Gone. Or like Mesotoria!”
“Where’s Mesotoria?”asked Demilla.
“It’s just above what you now call Turkey and below Russia.”
“..ummm” Demilla was something of a geography girl, “Corey the only thing there is the Black Sea?”
“Yea.” Corey looked at her like schooling a child, “now! It used to be Mesotoria then the Sisters bloody Trine came a calling, ohh about 5,000 years ago or so and BAM. Black Sea! That’s the largest account. Atlantis. Mesotoria. Chow-Ram. Gomorrah . Gone. And those are just the one I know about. ”
“I thought God destroyed Gomorrah ?’ Regency said before he thought.
“Why would She destroy a city?” Madame answered before she thought.
“It was them. I was there. It was bad. We have to go.” Corey’s eyes drilled through Demilla, “we can’t win this. We have to go! Everything they touch is divine disaster.”
Corey wiped away the circle and headed to the blanket section.
The three exchanged looks of horror and disbelief. Regency had to add, “I was right. Drag Queens.”
Sisters Trine 3 of 7
Demilla decided not to probe Corey in the sleeping section. She couldn’t see him anyway over the ridiculous amount of blankets in her arms. He kept piling on more and more. Then, just before Demilla was going to drop them all Corey said, “great! Can you bring them to the front? Regency I thought you were getting food?” and he pushed by the staring Regency and Madame and headed to the dehydrated food-like bags.
It was clear Corey wasn’t divulging more information. He did that a lot. Sometimes to protect his friends, some times because he forgot how much they didn’t know and other times because some facts about the universe can be un-learnt. Apparently there is a lot of information that would make a normal human’s head explode…ya know, literally.
But sometimes, and this may well have been the case on this sunny LA morning, Corey just didn’t want to remember. Think of all the bad things that may have happened to a normal person in a typical life. How much of that, say traumatic childhood, heartbreak or bad times, do you try and escape? How many things that truly upset you years later were a joke, because if you had to really keep thinking about it you’d never smile again? Now multiply that by someone as old as Corey and get a scope of how many events Corey willfully tried to forget all the time. It must be exhausting.
It might also be terrifying. How many real-life nightmares must he have seen? How many horrifying truths thrown at his feet? How much carnage and disaster could his many-fold life have witnessed? If he was choosing to not share it may have been more from self-preservation than protecting his friends. Which is probably why Demilla said little as Corey frantically swept through the store.
Regency and Madame seemed to follow suit. They all sensed something was intrinsically different. Corey was being too not Corey for this to be run of the mill problem like slaying a demon or un-hexing a virgin or banishing a ghost. This was more. Apparently more meaning the size of Los Angeles more.
Corey paid a huge amount of coin for a pile of camping stuff that would provide shelter and food to six underprivileged families or three excited Boy Scouts. Corey loaded up the Hummer. As he jumped in the driver’s seat Demilla, quick as a ninja, stole his car keys, like a friend would do for a drunk.
“Hey!” Corey complained.
“Talk.” Demilla explained.
“I already did!”
“You know too well,” Demilla was staring him down now, “that no way in Hades am I going to leave LA to the desires of the trinity of overeating sisterhood. We don’t run. We fight.”
“We can’t” Corey almost cried.
“Corey dear,” Madame hated when Corey was upset, “please talk to me. If you say Madame fight! I say how fast! But if you say Madame run. Deny your honor and forsake your oaths. I need to know why. I have to look in the mirror every morning at that strange woman looking back at me, Corey. I need to know I did right by her. I deserve to know why I would cowardice myself.”
Silence fell as Corey tried to shoo away reason but failed. He slowly explained:
“They are coming. They will each arrive at a different place. Sometimes high ground, sometimes sacred, but each place is outside of the epicenter. Most people don’t think of LA as an epicenter of culture and arts but is has become just that over the last twenty years hasn’t it? And that’s exactly the sort of place they’d want to destroy. Perhaps they feed on it? I don’t know. They arrive with little warning. They claim the ground they stand on, or steal it or something…. They form a sort of triangle. A geographical triangle possibly not a mathematic one…of sorts. Anyway, they create a barrier of light. A barrier you cannot escape. By any means. It is into the Earth and through the Skies. Birds cannot fly over it nor moles tunnel under. Once the connection is made…disaster follows. It does not stop until every building is crushed and every life taken. When possible, they continue to destroy or consume the Earth Herself until the Sea rushes in. Obviously the disruption of the Earth and Sea causes following quakes and tsunamis and the like…. They have from the sun hitting the horizon till it sets then they vanish. At least that’s what happened last time…. This has happened every few thousand years or so. No one is sure when or where or exactly how long in between sites. But it happens. You cannot fight them. You cannot stop them. Even if you called a city-wide evacuation, which no one would believe, millions will die anyway. We have to get out of town. Can you possibly have any questions now? I will wait five more minutes for you to ask, then I drive with or without you.”
Corey was completely willing to let them die. This fact stunned all three.
“If…th-th-they…” Regency mumbled and stuttered, “they destroy everything how does anyone know? If a Sister Trines easts a forest and no one is left how do you know she was there?”
“There..ummm..”now it was Corey’s turn to stutter, “there are witnesses. Trust me. They make sure someone knows. Someone gets to….watch….”
Again, Demilla broke the silence,” where will they arrive?”
“Damnit Barbara!” Corey yelled.
“I have five minutes to decided the kind of human I am going to see in the mirror too. Answer the question!” she yelled back.
“I’m pretty sure Griffith Park Observatory, it looks a lot like…another place they’ve been. Possibly the cliffs below Malibu…? Lastly I’m guessing Palos Verdes Bluffs?”
“It seems you thought about this already?” Demilla guessed.
“Yes,” Corey admitted, “I put up wards to try and dissuade anyone or thing from using the sites. I’m also pretty sure they won’t work…”
“So you tried something?” Regency was reaching for reason Corey would be brave.
“Of course I tired something,” Corey seemed offended, “I’m not a complete coward. I figured the best way to stop it was to stop them from arriving.”
“That seems improbable to do to divine beings…” Madame thought aloud.
“Really?” Corey’s sarcasm was bitter, “thanks for the input and hence the whole it probably isn’t going to work part.”
“Well, if we can’t stop them from arriving,” Demilla threw in, “maybe we can stop them from connecting?”
“YEA!” Regency got a bright idea, “like mirrors! Deflect the light and they can’t make a barrier!”
“Mirrors won’t work,” Corey’s yes looked defeated, “we tried that back…mirrors don’t work. Tried that….”
“I was thinking more tanks or grenades,” Demilla said matter of factly.
“YES!” Regency loved military stuff, “YES YES YES! Let’s get grenades.”
“Won’t work.” Said Madame and Corey at the same time.
“Go ahead and try it,” reassured Madame, “but if they are beings of this caliber no projectile weapon is going to do anything, at least projecting matter…..”
“NUKE ‘em!” Regency yelled!
“Have no idea if that’d work. It might work, but it wouldn’t leave a lot of LA anyway.” Corey half smiled at Regency’s energy.
Demilla looked at Madame’s face. It was twisted in formulating-an-idea mode, “Madame, we only have like two minutes before Corey skedaddles if you have an idea please say it?”
“Well it’s absurd but,” Madame was used to being mocked so she said her idea, “you said they claim ground or take it? Well the very idea of owning the Earth is very modern. But laying claim is tribal, ancient. Like hunting grounds.”
“..and your idea or point.” Demilla sighed.
“Well,” Madame paused, “who says they have a right to use the land? Perhaps they can be contested? If I say I own Griffith Observatory perhaps they’d have to leave or challenge me? Or what have you…”
Regency laughed, “You are going to challenge Divine Super Beings? To What? A moo-moo making contest?”
“Honor and manners may have taken a back seat in common culture but I assure you, they mean a great deal more to the Ancient Ones!” Madame was not a fool and didn’t like Regency’s tone at all. “Your very wards, Corey, will not stop them but may, in fact, cause them to honor tradition and make their first course of business to, as you said, make a claim to the very ground they stand upon.”
“Maybe….it could..” Corey fumbled, “but then what? Regency is right. We can’t battle them. Time is up. We’re leaving. Let’s go.”
“NO.” said the chorus of three.
“I’m staying. Live or die, I’m fighting,” Demilla got out of the car.
“I am Madame! I do not shirk in the face of certain doom!” Madame exited the vehicle.
“I don’t have a death wish boss, but I’m not going to look in a mirror and see the Jedi that let Alderaan go boom.” Regency slowly exited the car waiting for Corey to stop him.
He drove away.
Sisters Trine 4 of 7
“He drove away….” Regency said for a seventeenth time still in disbelief.
“Yes. Again, yes he did.” Demilla was in disbelief as well but she had her focus on, “we need a plan and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve sitting at a café feeling lost.” They were in fact sitting at the same café at which Demilla had bought the coffees earlier. When they say an annoyed too-cool-for-school waitress told them they had to leave. Demilla flashed her badge and the girl shrugged her shoulders. When Madame cast “go-away” the girl got glossy eyed and let them stay.
“Oh good,” said Madame, “I was afraid I was the only scared one who felt lost.”
“Regency pull out your tablet and lets’ bring up a map of LA and those three areas. Later, if we live, we’ll deal with our disappointment in Corey. If we don’t live then Corey can say I told you so.”
Regency did as told, “you gunna call the cops in on this?”
“Not sure,” Demilla looked worried, well more worried, “we’re not exactly TOTALLY sure this is going to happen and what exactly do I say?” She whispered, “Bomb threat? Three threats? Terrorists? If I just send a small unit they’ll be done for.”
“…and you can’t call out he cavalry for a possibility. Or even an eventuality you can’t quantify,” Madame tried to help, “I think it’s up to us dears.”
“That sucks.” Regency spoke truths.
“Talk to me about this claim to lands thing,” Demilla held up her hand, “and we don’t have a lot of time so with as little drama as possible.”
“The facts ma’am,” Regency half- laughed, “just the facts.”
“Funny.” Madame said without humor. “Ok basics: Land cannot be owned. It is sacred. I’m glossing over a lot and dumbing this down.” Regency and Demilla nodded and didn’t care. “BUT, I may hold rights to a piece or part of land. For example hunting rights. If you hunt on my land I get part of the animal, or your daughter maybe, or some payment. OR it could be an act of war…”
“Well if these Sisters are about to destroy I kind of think they wont care about an act of war, right?” Demilla followed.
“Yes but we are now talking magickal rights.” Madame paused for them to catch up. “If you own magickal rights on a piece of land I cannot simply show up and make a Hell-portal. I mean I could but it probably wouldn’t work….”
“Corey made a Hell-portal open once. Fire was everywhere!” Demilla corrected.
“No.” Madame re-corrected, “Corey tried to make a portal on land he did not have rights to and ended up in a fire dimension. DO you see the difference?” They nodded. “If they are in fact doing magick, even evil destructive kind, they still need sacred space. More so in fact. I’d dare to say the darker the spell the more permission you need. I mean who cares if you’re doing a love or prosperity spell on their property? Has anyone ever said ‘Hey don’t add bliss, joy and abundance to my land!’ No. But you probably don’t want ill-will, neglect, and vile skipping around. See?”
Regency was trying to find the link, “so these Sisters arrive to do their spell, at a basic level it’s still a spell, Corey once said even the will of Gods was a type of spell. So to do bad mojo spell on the sacred Earth they’d need permission? Like a permit? Or rights?”
Now Demilla carried the thought, “but how would they know we had a real claim? Would they just believe us? And what if we said no? They just go ‘Oh ok then later?’ I think not.”
“That’s the second part of the problem. IF we can convince them we have claim over the land, and by the way, being tax paying citizens of Los Angeles who says we don’t, the second part becomes they will likely challenge us or fight us for the deed as it were.”
“Like playing chess with death!” Regency brought most things to a movie association.
“I’m pretty sure these things are settled with the spilling of blood.” Demilla put her hand on Regency’s shoulder. “So we challenge them. We don’t have to win just stall so they can’t do the barrier thing at sunset.”
“So we close the window, how long is last light? 15 minutes?” Madame did the math, “can we distract them for 15 minutes?”
“…without dying!” Regency laughed.
Madame and Demilla exchanged a look. They knew the scope of what they trying to do. This was a suicide mission. Even if by some miracle they could stall ancient wise creatures of non-linear matter, there was no way all three were going to make it out alive. Not against heavy hitters like The Sisters Trine.
“So what do we do?” Regency had his map open on the tablet, “do we work together or separate?”
“What do you mean?’ Demilla asked.
“Well,” Regency thought this was obvious, “either we all try and stall one of these Sisters and like gang up on her or we each go to a different location and try to attack slash stall each individually.”
“Oh dear,” huffed Madame, “so the problems are thrice. Things are better in three’s! 1) establish ownership of the land 2)meet a challenge we have no way of winning at the exactly right time and 3) do we do it alone or together?”
“Separate.” Said Demilla.
“WHY!?!” almost yelled Regency.
“Because I don’t think we’ll have much problem with owning the land thing. As you say Madame things in three’s: We’re each witches. We set up sacred circles..” She calmed Regency, “it can be a very simple circle. That’s one. Second, as you say, we are all citizens and thus clearly have a reason to say no you can’t eat LA! And three each of us has sworn oaths of one kind or another to, for lack of a better phrase, protect and serve this town and mortals in general. We already are a force to be reckoned with…sort of. At least it’s an angle we can work?”
“I think you might be right Barbara,” Madame smiled, “I have to collect some articles and we should all gear up. Do you have any rocket launchers?”
“Rocket launchers?” Demilla laughed, “of course!”
“No reason not to armed to teat!” laughed Madame.
“None at all,” Demilla made herself feel better, “as long as you know how to use it!”
“I actually do know how to use anti-aircraft!” Madame laughed at a memory.
“Why am I not surprised,” Demilla patted her on the back, “how about you Regency? Can you handle a grenade?” Regency didn’t respond. “Regency?”
“Why do you think Corey left? I mean why wouldn’t he fight?” Regency gulped. The conversation came to a halt. Each looked away for a second.
“He’s not telling us something,” Demilla could read Corey easily enough, “I have no idea what but something about these Sisters terrifies him. I’ve seen fear before. It changes you.”
“I don’t think it’s fear,” Madame conspired, “I think it’s loss. Corey has a long memory. He faced these Sisters Trine or Three of Despair before. And he lost. Lost the fight, obviously but lost something else…”
“I have no idea.” Madame smiled at the two, “but come along. We have work to do and need to be in place by sunset. We have only a few hours left to prepare.”
“I feel bad…” Regency looked at the sidewalk. “He left…”
“Don’t blame him,” Demilla stood up, “Let’s do this for him!”
“That’s the spirit!” Madame stood too. “Come on dears, we have an imminent doom to prevent!”
“Stopping the unstoppable is my middle name!” cheered Demilla.
“Wicca Please!” Regency chimed,” we so got these bitches!”
It’s almost funny how spirited one tries to make oneself when one runs off to face ones own mortality. Yet, of course any other option, like honesty, would only remind one of implausibility and therefore fruitlessness of being spirited. In fact it would send one running, scampering out of town, perhaps to Alaska.
Sisters Trine 5 of 7
Gomorrah was beautiful. A masterpiece of newly learned masonry and ancient resources. It grew out of the land, a seamless from the Earth, a jewel of the valley. Tall towers kissed clouds while pools and fountains carried fresh water to everyone. Temples to all sorts of Gods spotted the roadways. Displays of beauty, mandalas, flags, murals and such, decorated every surface. Of the five sister cities, Gomorrah was most noted for its loveliness. The people liked to joke that by the time Gomorrah was built the architects had figured it out. (The first and oldest city was apparently the ugliest.) Perhaps it was this newness that made the people so grateful for their gem of a town on the eastern border of what they called civilization. Diverse peoples from many places called Gomorrah home. Perhaps due to trade or perhaps folks were drawn by beauty or perhaps a place they could be beautiful? On any given day the splendor of Gomorrah could only be matched by the rich colors and fabrics of its inhabitants.
The people of Gomorrah were as sweet as their surroundings. To that measure, beauty, in action as well as spectacle, were held in highest esteem. Judgment and cruelty were the vice of other places. Nothing so sinister was entertained here. It seemed holidays of celebration and thanks out numbered the “normal” everyday days. In fact, an idiom was used in neighboring towns correlating its celebrations with anything obviously absolutely true. E.g. “Do I want a free beer? Is there a celebration in Gomorrah?”
Perhaps it was Gomorrah’s beauty, or her laid back attitude, or maybe her welcoming of any sort of worship to all things good, that made this city chosen as the meeting place for The Supreme Alliance of Magick and Witchcraft, Sorcery, Divination and other forms of atypical behavior. Unfortunately, the academic need to be inclusive had given the Alliance a horrible name and no notable acronym, in any tongue, so most people just called it the Atypical Alliance. (This nickname did not go over well with those few who made the Alliance “supreme.”)
The Atypical Alliance held a conference every three years. Lessons were taught. Secrets traded and bartered. Networking wrought. Friendships forged. But mostly, debates fought. Magick users were common in every village and city and every area of government. But the point and purpose of magick was hotly debated. Users had strong opinions about these issues. It was debated in the great temples and chambers of importance. It was also argued in taverns and occasionally in drunken brawls outside of said taverns. It was even, sometimes bickered about in beds.
Corey had not chosen to fall in love with Yakzi. In fact, he didn’t even really like him. Yakzi was hot-headed and arrogant. He was standing on a table in the tavern waxing politics and preaching power. The son of a rich noble, he had been educated at the very best schools and by the very best masters of magick. In contrast, Coriander’s provincial background and insignificant school might make Coriander keep his mouth quiet for he would most definitely seem, or at least his opinions would seem, uninformed and unsophisticated. However it was Coriander who stood up to Yakzi at the Seadragon’s Tail Tavern and called him a bully.
Ruling class and warrior-magick types typically felt might was right. That it was their divine duty to protect, and by protect read boss around, the non-magickal non-military populace. Coriander felt that if he had a duty to protect non-magick folk it was from magick bullies. Yakzi laughed at this commoner’s bravado and naiveté. He attempted to ridicule Coriander and by doing so assert his position as the correct one. Coriander pointed out that in doing so he was simply proving Coriander’s point, “that is to say, by trying to unhinge me you attempt to make my words have no meaning. And yet, the words have been said and meaning holds true. My opinions, under magickal law of free thought, hold the same weight as yours and yet you would insult me for having them since they differ from yours? And even now plan to force me silent because you have no answer to my truth except to silence it. That is the path of a bully.”
Youth occasionally realize too late they have said things that should not have been said. At least in public. Coriander was very young and quickly realized this would end badly. He had insulted a political superior. The nobleman’s son could challenge him. He could jump him right there. Beat him to a pulp and probably get help. Coriander realized he had said too much too fast with too heated words. Yakzi’s snarl became a terribly loud laugh, “get that man some decent wine and take note not to argue with farming logic!” The crowd laughed and the tension left the room.
Yakzi sauntered over, a bit drunk, and smiled at Coriander, “fair meeting friend.”
Coriander hesitated. He didn’t know if he was being played, “fair meeting,” he responded while taking note of the “bully.” What he noticed first was how handsome Yakzi was. His eyes angled, his chin was pointed, his smile genuine and all came together around eyes that could pierce darkness. Coriander then noticed how strong he was. Usually the rich are fatted up and soft, not so with Yakzi. In fact Coriander thought Yakzi might be stronger than he.
Yakzi put that strong arm on Coriander’s large shoulder, “you would dare to argue with your superiors? That amuses me. I am so tired of looks of fear.”
“I do not fear you.” Coriander said but he stuttered just a little, “I disagree with you. There is no need for fear.”
“Good!” laughed Yakzi, “I like a good fight, a decent spar. How about you?” Yakzi’s eyes poured over Coriander who shifted awkwardly.
“I…I” Coriander hated that he was stammering, “I like a good debate…”
“What else do you like to do?”
“umm..I ummm,” Coriander started sweating. He was not sure what was happening, or rather he was not sure what he wanted to happen. “I like studying….ummm learning?” He said lamely.
The two men looked at each other. Coriander realizing how handsome Yakzi was making his stomach tickle. Was he nervous? He had said he was not afraid of Yakzi, now he was terrified.
Yakzi leaned in close. Coriander could feel the heat of his wine soaked breath, “then school me? Yes?” His arm trailed down Coriander’s bicep and took him hand in hand. He moved towards the door. Coriander was hesitant. Yakzi smiled, “Come then. Let’s have a lesson.” Coriander licked his lips. Why were they so dry? He definitely needed to get out of the tavern. And then he realized he wanted to leave with Yakzi. So, he nodded.
Over the next few weeks the Atypical Alliance met, fought and taught as did the two young men. No sooner would Coriander open his eyes when Yakzi would wipe away the morning dust and start the arguing all over again. “Let a man wake first…” Coriander would complain. But that just made the ever-laughing Yakzi jump on top of him and make his point, usually over something terribly like slavery or forced labor, as he kissed Coriander. It was all terribly confusing. One minute they’d be yelling over peasant-rights and then the next be covered in sweat and collapsing from passion. One evening meal was ruined with Yakzi’s idea of forced testing and regulated magickal levels. Coriander, furious, threw his plate against the wall and then in the same fervor took Yakzi on the table. It was a study in contrasts. More a study in youth. Hated difference and the commonality of love.
Yes Coriander was in love. And he hated it. He had never felt this way before. He didn’t understand it. Why Yakzi? Why did his stomach get all in knots when they spoke, when they were quiet, when they slept. Coriander was miserably taken by the strapping rich boy. It made no sense. ‘But maybe love doesn’t make sense?’ he thought while taking a long walk. He had to get out of the city every once in a while. He was a country boy and needed to feel dirt under his feet and trees in his eyes. It was supposed to make him feel better. It made him more lonely.
He wandered up to an old tree over looking the city. Gomorrah looked even lovelier from up here. Weeks had passed and neither had spoken of the eventuality of the conference coming to a close. Evening had fallen and the sun was about to set. Nature was about to go quiet when he heard his name. “CORIANDER!!!!!” Yakzi yelled coming up the steep hill, “wait up!”
Coriander laughed. For all his muscles Yakzi wasn’t used to running outside or climbing apparently, he was terribly out of breath as he gasped, “hi.”
“Fair meeting?” laughed Coriander.
“Why did you leave?”
“I needed to think,” Coriander blushed.
“What about?” Yakzi blushed too. “are you very mad at me? Please don’t leave!”
“I’m just thinking. Why would I be leaving?” Coriander laughed again.
“I saw you up the hill, from our window, and I thought…oh phew. I’m exhausted! Don’t scare me like that!”
“What are you….. he laughed at his friend’s ragged breath, “Ah. The Alliance departs tomorrow You thought I’d just leave?.” He stopped laughing.
“No. No? I don’t know. I panicked.” Yakzi paused. Then he pulled out a piece of leather. His hand shook as he held it out to Coriander. “It’s just leather. I grabbed it off…my coat. I mean, I’m quite fond of the coat…I mean I just saw you leave and …you can’t. So I grabbed it. And here. Take it. Please.” A long pause followed as the two looked at the piece of torn leather. “I’m saying this all wrong. So much for my career as Magistrate if I can’t even say….Eye of Cronos say something! I know it’s not…I can buy you a gold one? I can get any kind of bracelet you want. I can…” and he stopped talking because Coriander kissed him.
“You know what this means?” Yakzi pulled back and held out the leather bracelet.
“Maybe? Are we going to argue about it?” laughed Coriander.
Yakzi got really still and quiet, “never. We never argue over how much I…”
The air shifted around and between them.
“What’s that feeling?”
Suddenly Gomorrah was alive with activity. Yelling and orders filled streets. Warrior-mages ran information to the city walls. Spells, wards and curses were flung. Portals opened. Giant refection stones were carried out of the city gates and immediately erected with magickal assistance.
“What’s going on?” Coriander gulped.
“War” Yakzi starred wide-eyed, “They prepare for war. But at what? Whom?”
“We’d better go back!” Coriander yelled over the growing noise.
The sun hit the horizon. Both turned and looked behind them. She was beautiful. Made of clouds and stone. Her hair wild like the Sea. Her gown became roots into the Earth. Her eyes flare of gems sparling tears.
Yakzi put himself between the creature and Coriander, “Sisters Trine! Be gone! Leave this place! Avant!”
The woman, she seemed female, laughed, “bear witness boy. See Our destruction. Note and log the power of We!” Light emerged from the figure. Coriander stood motionless. Confused and disoriented. He had never seen war. He had never beheld this kind of power before. She was amazing.
Then Yakzi pushed him down the hill. It too Coriander a few rolls to realize he had been pushed. He stopped half way down on the opposite slant. The one away from Gomorrah. He looked up and saw the light that had emerged from the woman was now a wall. A wall that separated Yakzi and him. He ran to the wall. He banged on it. It was like hitting rock. Rock he could see through. Yakzi’s eyes were wet. “RUN” he was shouting. “YAKZI!” Coriander screamed back. “RUN!”
The fire and hail started. Gomorrah was pummeled with destruction. The reflective stones, he realized later, had been meant to reflect the light-walls but they barely reflected faces let alone magickal light. They were quickly smashed. Temples of every god fell. Towers cracked. Children screamed. Coriander frantically looked at the woman made of stone and clouds and tried to tackle her. To stop her. She willed him to cease. And so he did. Powerlessly, Coriander could only watch. He was stuck eyes-wide, forced to witness to fall of the city and with it thousands of innocents. Yakzi futilely tried to cast a spell at the light-walls and at the creature causing the violence. His magick was strong. It didn’t matter. Her eyes looked at him for less than a moment and he caught on fire. Frozen like a statue, Coriander watched his love burn to death. Yakzi never dropped the bracelet.
Sisters Trine 6 of 7
Corey had to pull over. He was weeping waterfalls. He, almost with incident, pulled over on the grapevine out of Los Angeles. He wept more. He could still see the destruction of the city. He could remember the powerlessness he felt as he witnessed. He could still feel the rawness of his screaming throat. He could almost remember Yakzi’s face, sort of. Yakzi his first love who had saved him from destruction.
He would now lose his friends to the same terrible fate. If he had known then, would he have run with Yakzi? Would they still be together? Or would they have stood and fought? Like his friends were fighting now? His completely ill-prepared friends who were going to die. He could either go back and die with them or runaway and live.
Like all decisions there are pro’s and con’s to both. He weighted them. Tried to weight them if he could just stop crying. He adjusted the mirror. “Take a good long look, Corey,” he said aloud to himself, “Madame was right. You’ll have to look at this face for a long time. Can you live with seeing a coward?”
Regency got dropped off in Malibu in the afternoon. He had been told he should “tune” into Corey’s ward and thus find the location of one of the evil three. He wandered around the bluffs for an hour or so looking. He was getting annoyed. Dying while doing he right thing was cool. Dying cause you’re too stupid to find the correct spot was lame. He was still in shock about Corey ditching but now, as evening approached he couldn’t wonder if just maybe he should stand on the other side of that light-wall thingy and live another day.
He sat down more annoyed as his bravado fell. He stopped looking. He felt the wind on his face. Smelled salt and rotting seaweed. Heard the Pacific. Cruised a hot bicyclist. Took a deep breath and pushed out all doubt. All concern. All nagging suspicions, depressions, questions and desires fell away. Stillness took over. A new awareness came to be. A sense or perception that cannot be described to those not in-the-know. Simply a sense of self and place and time and other. That “other” was, in this case, a slow pulse, like a muffled beat or slowed-down sci-fi weapon. Regency stood and followed it. He walked almost blindly to the source: a small quartz bound in some kind of string and nailed into the ground.
He needed to cast a sacred circle around the ward. He bowed East to new beginnings. “Let no one come to bring us harm. Let tomorrow be free from bane,” he said to the Goddess. He turned South “Warriors of Wee and Tall Ageless and Lore, let this spot be blessed. Harm none and bear no harm.” He turned to face West….
Madame took her scooter to Palos Verdes. It took her longer than she thought. Usually a pedestrian, she wasn’t used to rush hour traffic. She cursed many gods of travel during her trip and arrived late, wind blown, and annoyed. “Certainly not a creature of Love and Light!” she half laughed to herself.
The sun was still above the horizon but not by much as she labored up a huge staircase from where the ward called. From her vantage point, on top of the hill, she could almost feel the triangle before her. Yes yes, straight away over the sea to Regency and to her right up to Griffith Park and Barbara. Not that she could see anyone but she was sure she could sense them. She positioned herself at the point of the angle and looked down. Sure enough, there was Corey’s ward. So small as to go unnoticed but so powerful she was surprised no one noticed it. Mortals tend to be drawn to magick, but she reminded herself they also run from it. “Not always fools these mortals be!” she laughed.
The Sun was seconds from hitting the horizon when Madame was finally finishing her circle. It was a good circle. She had barely lowered her arms when she felt the air shift. A cold feeling hit her spine. A presence was behind her circle at her back. Power reeked from it. Madame remained still, “Hail City-eating Sister! Devourer of Nations! She that Rids the World! Hail and Farewell!”
Demilla’s circle was lame. She knew it. But the observatory was full of people and a group of school children. She was not about to end up on YouTube as that weird lady doing magick in front of the Astronomers Monument. No way. Of course she did wonder if her circle was weak it might not work then there’d be no Detective Barbara Demilla to be embarrassed or a Los Angeles for that matter, but pride goeth where pride goeth and she was not becoming a public display. Besides, what if they won?
“Yea…that’s going to happen,” she mumbled to herself despairingly as she sat legs crossed n front of Corey’s ward. She wanted to be all “up with people,” “we are the world” but Corey ran. COREY ran. The strongest person she ever met RAN! Maybe she was just being stupid. Maybe there was a chance. “There’s always a chance!” she said to herself.
Rain poured down like hydrant left open above your head. She was drenched in seconds. She instinctively threw her hands over the small crystal to protect it or make sure it didn’t get washed away. The hill was suddenly empty. Obviously. But then it was not. She felt the creature before she saw it. She jumped up flashing her badge in one hand and her athame in the other. She swallowed once as she caught sight of the beautiful lady of storm clouds and stone. Her hair was wild and seemed to never end, an infinity reflected in her dress. Demilla fought the urge to throw herself on to the ground and worship this being. Instead she took a breath and loudly said, “Leave now! You are trespassing. I am Detective Barbara Demilla of the LAPD this land is protected by me and my power. Be gone…Lady who..ummm eats cities. I am also a Wise-One who lays spiritual claim to this sacred space. Be gone! You may cause no harm here! AWAY! I SAY THRICE!”
Demilla couldn’t be sure but she thought she saw the Sister smile.
Corey always trusted his instincts. Unfortunately his instincts were having a civil war in the pit of his stomach. If only he could think of a way to stop the inevitable. “Paradox much?” he rolled his eyes and paused at his reflection. This was the first time Corey had paused since the Future Reader had arrived on his doorstep. It was in this pause that Corey forgot to panic. Forgot to fear. Forgot to fly. He stopped and assessed what was happening. He looked at the sun. It was setting. He was too late even if he did want to fight. He suddenly realized, in this pause, he had abandoned his friends. Abandoned the very world he had sworn to protect. Abandoned the person he chose to be. He grabbed the mirror trying to rip it off. Knowing he would forever see the face of……mirror……he remembered the reflecting stones from Gomorrah. How dull those had been, basically polished rocks used for vanity or design. Corey wished he had one of those today so he couldn’t see his face as well as he could now.
Corey jumped out of the Hummer, made the fastest circle of his life and opened a portal to his ward.
Regency screamed in pain, “WAIT wait wait! Not fair! You accepted the challenge now we have to set the rules and stuff!”
“Rules?” the creature of clouds and sand looked confused. “You claim this spot I wish it. You challenged. I accepted. You die. Those are the rules little human,” she said almost sweetly.
“Yea ok….but umm how do you even know English?” Regency had to know.
“I speak all languages ever and after in worlds and in none. You hear what you understand. Now know death,” she spoke as if Regency was a child…well, a child about to be murdered.
“That’s awesome! Not the death part. I mean I like LA and all but not really into dying for it. Is there some other way…” Regency babbled on thinking to himself all he had to do was stall her.
Then a voice cried out in Regency’s skull, ‘Childe do you think you can stall Omegana?’
“You can read my mind?” Regency said.
“Obviously,’ the voice rang in his brain.
“And your name is Omegana?!” Regency was always a nerd first and warrior second, “that is the coolest name ever in the mega-verse!”
The Sister laughed. It was creepy how sweet she was. “I like you boy. You shall bear witness to my greatness. Live to tell the tale!” Regency turned to stone. Not literally. He was frozen still eyes wide. He force-watched out over the bluffs as Omegana raised her hands, “behold the ruin of your city.”
Madame cringed a tiny bit as the woman of mist and silt spoke her titles without being told, “2-Spirit, Shepherdess of Wolves, Walker twixt Worlds, Shaman of Stregheria I Ogli, Bearer of Brigid’s Breath, and much more, so much more dare to challenge me? She Who Knows Better I call you!”
Madame shook her head clear, “I challenge all who dare to defile the glory and spirit of humanity! Innocent lives made naught for sport!”
“For sport!” Madame had clearly offended the powerful being. “She who knows the nature of Nature must know all must be called to balance!”
“What are you balancing? What action has been brought against you to do such a thing?” Madame dared to hope she may right a wrong.
“Arts and inspiration abound do they not? Progress progressed? Debted are your people. A toll must be taken for all the inspiration We have given. It is the way. All must lead to balance or fall into chaos will We all,” spoke the being so calmly, so clearly for a moment Madame agreed with her.
“Do you still seek to challenge me?” whispered the woman.
“I have to,” whispered back Madame, less sure.
“Then be the first to die this night. The honor is yours.”
Demilla knew she couldn’t exile or even stop a creature this powerful, but she had hoped she might be able to stall her. She was wrong. The Sister had called her bluff with ease. The ground was public and thus open to all. Her ward and circle were so weak she could scarcely call herself a witch. The Sister accepted the challenge anyway and mentally lifted Demilla 5 feet of the ground and sent her flying into the statue of James Dean.
‘Rebel Without a Cause…perfect,’ thought Demilla as she stood.
Light emanated from the woman. She became even more beautiful. Demilla knew what was coming next: impenetrable light-walls and death. She gave a warrior scream and hurled herself across the lawn and onto the Sister of Light. She landed in the driveway as the Sister turned and ignored her. Scuffed knees and chin. She was drenched and certain she was about to die alone. She would have started to cry but she really hated being ignored.
A figure ran from behind the monument and to the side of the observatory. Demilla prayed that someone didn’t have a waterproof camera phone. Then she thought how silly she was protecting her ego in the face of imminent death. She stood again, favoring her right leg. She shoved ahand into her pocket. Her voice carried through the rain so loud it shook the wind, “hey BITCH! I am not done with you!”
Corey saw Demilla whip out a small ball and throw it at the Sister. The grenade was loud. It almost annoyed the creature. Almost was good enough because she brought her hands back down and faced Demilla, “humans and your weapons. You think they improve but are so far from what once made Us abandon you. Payment must be made childe. The Sun sets. You must cease. Hail warrior who tried.” The woman made a gesture and from behind her the ward came at Demilla nail first and plunged into her chest.
“NO!” cried Corey as he stumbled down the lawn of the observatory carrying a weighty bundle in his arms.
“YOU!” screamed the ancient one, “How is that possible? You who witnessed Gomorrah?”
“You who killed my Yakzi!” hissed Corey as he approached.
“How? You smell human enough….” she demanded.
“Long story,” Corey, “why don’t we sit down and talk about it?”
She laughed and spoke as if talking to a child, “another time He Who Live Too Long. Bear witness again childe.”
“I don’t think so,” Corey glared, “once was more than enough. Leave. You’re not killing anyone else I love.”
She gestured to the almost set sun over the Pacific, “you and I are out of time.”
“I’ll stop you!” Corey yelled as he positioned himself.
“There exists no weapon that can stop Me…” she said confidently.
“Did you know telescopes use mirrors?” Corey said as if talking to a child right back to her, “this one, in the Griffith Observatory, uses three. I borrowed two.”
If a monstrous yet beautiful creature of vague ancient origin could roll her eyes, she did. “Your reflecting stones didn’t work in Gomorrah as I consumed your city, your magickal Alliance and the one you loved.”
“That was then,” Corey held two 13-inch mirrors in each hand. One faced the murderer and the other, in an exact line, towards Palos Verdes, “this is now!”
Sisters Trine 7 of 7
They already had the equipment and cleared their schedules. Corey paid cash for the giant Hummer so was temporarily stuck with it. It was a beautiful California day. Corey woke up feeling adventurous. He made a call, a text and a psychic bond. Sooner than soon, all had been gathered into the tank of a car. Off they went to Yosemite to go camping.
They didn’t speak a whole lot during the drive. There was a sing-along moment when 100.3 The Sound played a triple shot of the Eagles. Afterwards Regency played ipod-nazi with music that was only 5-minutes old and would be lame in another 5-minutes. They were also oddly silent while choosing a camp ground. Demilla and Madame slightly tiffed over the exact tent but soon found one agreeable to both. Camp was set up with little speaking as well. It wasn’t so much that they were afraid to talk of the previous day. It lacked that tension or suspense element. It was more robotic, or rather innately understood, as if each knew the time would present itself, when it was appropriate, and none wished to rush propriety.
Corey saw Demilla rub her chest and stretch her neck. He wanted to go to her and heal her or help in some way but knew better. Not that she was mad at him, she just wasn’t the kind of woman who liked to be babied. No one was mad at him. It made him feel better and worse. Better mostly. It would be hard to feel worse.
After he deflect the Sister’s light , while yelling something that sounded like terra-firma-stop-it-eous or something, the Sun had passed the horizon and the Sister was no longer there. No fabulous exit. No warning or last-word or “I’ll get you next time!” just gone. Corey dropped the mirrors and ran to Demilla. Frantically he laid his hands on her head. She stopped him, coughed and pulled the nail from her Kevlar vest. She was bruised but not badly and seemed more relieved than hurt or angry.
Security ran out of the observatory as the rain stopped and the world turned pink, as it does in LA when the sun dips down. They were reasonably upset having seen an explosions and the fact that someone had somehow torn out the mirrors on their famous telescope. A near impossible feat. Corey mouthed ‘sorry?’ Demilla told them where to find her badge and to secure the area so as to give them something to do. Something away from the two exhausted witches.
“Where’s Regency and Madame?” Corey asked looking around.
“The other two spots….” Demilla whispered. Not from fear that they’d be overheard, fear of saying: they were probably dead. Corey got the message.
He fell over and for the zillionth time on the last two days wept and struck the earth in fury, “my fault…GODS how could I have done this!!! GODS…I swear….”
His oath was broken by the sound of Darth Vader walking through the Death Star.
“It’s Regency’s ring tone,” Demilla smiled, “I can’t figure out how to change it!” she laughed and answered. Regency was fine. He had been un-turned to stone as soon as the sun went over the ocean.
Corey grabbed his cell phone and called Madame faster than thought, which is saying something for Corey and Madame.
“Is Barbara alright?” Madame said before hello.
“Yes she’s fine. You?” Corey couldn’t keep the joy out of his voice.
“Oh dear!” Madame loved to humble brag, “it’ll be weeks before I can conjure a good spell! My head is ringing from my feeble, yet obviously effective, shield spell. That Sister did not lack power! Threw me into the ocean! Swatted me, and my shield, like a…beach ball, I suppose! Into the very water I tell you! But alas I am Madame…still and you Corey? Are you still Corey?”
“Yes Madame. I certainly am!”
After that Demilla and Corey hugged. Then, done with emotions, she stood up, wearily but up, and took charge. They lied. Lied well. Had the whole affair wrapped up by dark and the LAPD on the look out for some Frat-boy type rascals with m-80s and who managed to rip apart steel…well ok maybe they didn’t lie well. But it was over and Yosemite was nice.
More than nice it is beautiful. However, saying Yosemite is beautiful is kind of like saying Pluto is far. It is, also, a kind of perfect. As the evening fire blazed and wine was shared Madame, obviously not as unable to spell as she said, put up another silence circle. This time the quiet was tense.
Regency broke it first, “you left.”
“Yes. I did. I never stopped to think. I just reacted…to fear and memory…” Corey wasn’t sure he could relive Gomorrah again. He knew his friends deserved to know, “it’s a long story…about Gomorrah….I lost someone very special to me. It hurt. I didn’t even know it still hurt. I reacted badly. Forgive me.”
“Forgive?” Demilla laughed, “for saving millions of lives? You came back. That’s the only thing that matters.”
“What if I didn’t?”
“You’d be camping in Yosemite alone!” Regency laughed.
“Emotions motivate us Corey,” Madame smiled, “it’s what keeps you, us, human.”
“Do you think they’ll be back?” Demilla already knew they wouldn’t be back right away, something to do with planet alignment and inter, or was it intra-world bridges, but she needed to know if there was a when.
“Probably.” Corey shrugged, “but we’ll have warning and I’ll get to break apart another telescope!”
“They said they were here to restore the balance? Do you think that’s true?” Madame knew beings lived for balancing the scales, “that they are our source of inspiration and we owe them a debt or many debts?”
“No idea,” Corey re-shrugged, “I guess we have some research to do. But I knew a wind spirit that claimed she gave Aristotle all his idea and troll who said he schooled Confucius. So who really knows?”
“A troll?” it was Demilla’s turn to shrug, “ya know, I don’t want to know.”
“I really don’t!”
Their laughter was followed by silence. This one was nicer. Sweeter. It again was broken by Regency, “what was his name?”
“The person you lost,” Regency “did you love him?”
Corey realized he hadn’t said the name out loud in thousands of years. That didn’t seem quite right. So he said to the three, “his name was Yakzi and he was kind of jerk! Thought magick users should rule on high and that might was right and that kind of thing. And I loved him first and more than any other being on the planet since.”
Regency reached forward with his glass of wine and raised it to Corey, “and he is avenged! To Yakzi!”
“To Yakzi” they all toasted.
“I guess he is…” smiled Corey.
The remainder of the night was spent going over the fight in detail. They had notes to make and information to share with other worlds. Then the conversation turned to spilling secrets about first loves. Corey told them more about Yakzi and then stories of kingdoms and the glory of Gomorrah. This turned into a “cool places I have visited” conversation. Which then somehow turned into a “what crazy thing I’ve done for love” competition. (Madame won.) Then finally a whole bunch of gossip groping and speculation followed by a game of truth or dare.
Ya know, friend stuff.