WP Mutter 1 Ouch
Ouch doesn’t really cut it. Ouch is for things bandages and mom’s kisses can cover. Ouch as an exclamative is reserved for things like touching a teakettle too soon. Even OUCH!!!!!! Doesn’t convey real pain. And Corey was definitely in pain.
If I had to spell what he said it would look like this: “Errahhhrg!” but say that as one syllable really really fast. That’s more the sound Corey made when the 4th hit made full contact with his jaw.
1st contact had been something to the back of his head. If one can be ready for a hit to the back of the head, Corey was not. Although in a shady part of San Pedro at the LA harbor, which is not to say there’s a nice part of the harbor, Corey hadn’t bothered with shields or protective fields because he was just following a trail . He wasn’t even snooping. It was in the middle of the day for Gaia’s sake! “Who clubs people in the middle of the day?” had crossed his mind as he fell to the ground. Not out but slumped. And not in a sexy slumped hot movie star slump where the hero sort of gently rolls and ends up posed for a Rembrandt portrait. More like thud drop bang out the knee slap the chin on the ground mangled arm kind of slump. And those didn’t even count as hits!
2nd hit was a punch to the gut after he had been lifted. This gut punch made him fall again. Corey was apparently impersonating a yo-yo. His eyes blurred and the adrenalin of getting your ass kicked started pumping. Yo-yo Corey almost deflected the 3rd hit to his face. Almost, as in it would have been a full on punch if he hadn’t tossed his arm up defiantly which took a bit of power out of the punch and simply made the fist and his arm slap into his face. Still only counts as one hit.
Everything went dark then. Partially because his eyes were, as said, blurring but more from the suit jacket that was pulled over his face. Corey was conscious enough to know he was being dragged into a warehouse because the men’s steps made an echo. Can an echo cause pain?
Being polite they offered Corey a seat. That is to say they slammed him down in a chair and immediately cuffed his arms to either side. Detectives frequently find themselves in bad positions. Witches over the years, and yes let’s include Salem, have been in, ok I can’t say hot spots because that’d be a really inappropriate pun mocking a horrible crusade and Corey would probably turn me into a toad…and that was probably offensive too…whatever….point is: Witches have been in bad positions as well. Corey being a witch-detective had probably never been in a worse scenario.
Wait, that was before the 4th hit to his jaw. : “Errahhhrg!” yelled Corey as he heard his jaw crack. Now he was in as worst-case scenario as a witch detective could be in.
How much worse could a worst-case scenario be if a worst-case scenario could be worse? Answer: the very clear distinctive sound of a knife being flicked open. Which, not surprisingly, was very motivating for Corey’s mind to grasp some clarity and call for help. Through the haze of pain and adrenaline he brought her image to his mind’s eye. The site of her made him giggle a little, even under the current knife-threatening circumstance. Then he simply thought:
Mutter 2 Oh age…you rascal
“I am feeling the BURN!” yelled Madame I Ogli excitedly. Sweat covered her arms but her perfectly matching sweatband held it away from her painted face. Madame I Ogli’s visage was actually an intricate spell based in cosmetics that focused her power. It also made her look very weird. To say she is a drag queen is to say a Luis Vuitton suitcase and bag set is a piece of leather. No offense meant to the fierce and fabulous girls who entertain the troops (wink wink). Madame I Ogli is a 2-spirit-walker with an immense gift, a lot of training, the proverbial heart of gold, and a romantic soul all set in a glittery goofy box.
Currently Madame was aerobicizing with the legend of shape-shifting. Shifting into a smaller size that is. Not quite vain, Madame had recently become aware that time was catching up with her and her thighs. Madame was not the kind of girl to go down without a fight. Thus the new, with rather old videos, routine and a healthy can-do attitude took up her free time when not helping lost souls-living or passed, fighting crime-on any number of planes, or demon killing. Yes demon killing. Do not be fooled by the cover. Read the book. It will terrify you.
“5 more. 4 more. 3more. 2 more. And done! Yes let’s cool down Jane, let’s. Phew! Oh age…you rascal.”. Madame did nothing if not dressed the part. She covered her shiny one-piece workout appropriate ensemble, complete with legwarmers and thong, with one of her many brightly colored moo-moos and sipped a smoothie. She collapsed on the well-threaded sofa and drank. If said smoothie had a hint of liquor in it well she had well deserved it after performing a full video in which she had only stopped thrice!
Madame normally wore one of many huge purple wigs. Obviously threaded into the fake hair were bindings of spells, magiks and talismans all of which helped her commune with the spirit world. No one quite knew why the wigs were purple, Madame would simply say, “of course it’s purple,” like you were a child. Even Corey let her have that argument. Perhaps it was because she was wearing the sweatband and not her purple wig that she missed it.
Something had passed by her. The hair on her arms was on end! Had she missed some contact? Had the beyond reached out and she covered in the sweat of vanity had missed a message? Diving for a wig Madame circled the room with a chant. Was it Nezeryak? She hadn’t heard from him for sometime. Certainly he owed a visit but why such a weak message? Maybe something sinister? “Call again and pronounce yourself! Be ye friend or foe, fiend or frightened freak come to the awareness of Madame I Ogli and let consequences be measured!”
Nothing. Waited. Nothing. Deflated Madame laughed at her paranoia and wondered if she had accidentally called upon a spirit with obesity issues? Perhaps a passing soul drawn to Ms. Fonda as so many… THERE IS WAS AGAIN! A tingle. A tiny tingle of awareness! Madame threw her hands into the air in a protective gesture 2 creating a cone power around her aura.
Unfortunately, 3 that was just too strong for Corey’s message to penetrate. His power dwindled and his message fell to the floor of the warehouse unheard by any. He whimpered. The knife tore off his shirt and pants. The cutter didn’t care too much if Corey got cut in the stripping process. His now ripped clothes we checked. “Phone. Wallet. No id.” Corey shook in the cold. Bruised, bleeding and naked his magic held firm. No one wishing him harm could see his id. Large hands covered his body and checked him HEY! …more thoroughly than Corey had been checked in months. He heard another voice say, “No wires boss.” “Ok let’s talk. Take off the hood.”
Madame stood her ground. A warrior. Shields up. Weapons drawn.
Completely unaware that she had missed the “call” that could have saved her friend a whole lot of pain.
Mutter 3 Uhhh
The hood, actually a jacket, was ripped off Corey’s head. A ridiculously bright light was thrust in his face. When he turned his head down BAM he got backhanded. “Uhhh!” he grunted. A fan of action movies, Corey almost laughed at the re-creation of every interrogation scene ever made. He wondered if they’d play good cop/bad cop but then remembered these were the bad guys.
If there is a good way to bind a witch, this would have been it. Not in general witches should be bound and not that any “normal” person would not have also been incapacitated, but if they knew what Corey was they were doing it by the book. A really nasty book that Corey would soon destroy. Or so he hoped to, soon. Right now, however, he, one of the world’s most powerful witches, was completely impotent.
The light in his eyes stopped him from focusing on a single person. No line of sight. It also over taxed his brain, which combined with the head trauma made clear thoughts difficult. His snapped jaw stopped him from pronouncing the complicated words for spells. The fact that he was freezing made his blood constrict so the flow of blood power would be limited. His hands cuffed separately made any flick or flair of a physical manifestation near impossible. His feet, now as bare as the rest of him, were sitting on a piece of plastic tarp so Earth magic would be difficult as well.
Did they know what Corey was? He didn’t know. The plastic tarp was probably to make blood easier to clean up. Everyone is weaker with hands bound separately and who didn’t go for the jaw when rendering an enemy with a right cross. And the light? Well that was sort of a staple of interrogation. He needed to know what they knew. And he needed to find out what hey wanted. And he needed to buy time.
His hair got pulled back as he was every so politely asked, “what are you doing here?” Now a smart assed answer would get him another hit which he didn’t want. But the truth, I was zeroing-in on a traumatized little girl, would set him up as cop or a freak or psychic and that would get him dead. So bravely he feigned feeble, well feebler. “..w..w…water?” BAM!
Brass knuckles to the temple hurt. That might be the understatement of the year. A near death-blow sending pain screaming through your entire body and head literally ringing with screams…it hurts…a lot? Corey’s head flipped down and he purposefully sagged his shoulders to appear knocked out.
“I told you we needed to talk to him! Put the knuckles away. Get ‘m some water…”
“Ahh water. Thank Gods,” Corey thought.
The voice continued, “…and a battery.”
Corey contained the shutter so as to still appear out. Desperately his mind pulled together another image. Corey hated electricity and never really forgave Ben for discovering it. Lightning was for Gods to play with not to read by. There. She came into focus. He imaged her at her most bad-assed. Gun-toting, anger-issued cop with a chip on her shoulder. The image itself made Corey fell better somehow. Then he took a labored breath and sent her a message:
Mutter 4 Phooey!
Detective Barbara Demilla’s hard-core bad-ass routine had been washed away. Exfoliated clean with a luffa 4 and scented soaps. She now stood in a plush bathrobe with matching white turban holding up and drying her hair. Almost a zing in her step and a hum on her lips, she stepped over to-be-folded laundry and crossed to the stove in this uncharacteristic manner. Bending down to the oven, she gosh darn it almost cussed and humphed, “Phooey!”
“Phooey?” a voice laughed. The startled Demilla spun and spat, “You shouldn’t sneak up on a cop. I could have had a gun.” The woman, gorgeous, tall and slight, gave comical sneer, “you’re telling an attorney you’d randomly shoot before facts or disclosure?” “In my own home. Hell yes.” The taller woman paused then laughed, “wow are we on different sides of the law…but you shouldn’t give me keys if you don’t…”
“I do want you here…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted that way. I wouldn’t…..I suck at this!” she finally returned a laugh, “it’s new for me. Sorry Amanda.”
“Me too,” Amanda smiled gently, “next time I’ll come in singing!”
“That would be even more startling,” and Demilla..well now Barbara, took down her towel, “I burnt the cookies.” Barbara pulled the baking sheet out of the oven and the scent of chocolate, nuts and spices filled the room…and also a hint of carcinogens.
“Oh that is a phooey! Were you planning on taking them into work?”
Demilla snickered, “yea right. Bring my chauvinistic asshole co-workers baked goods? You’ve got to be kidding! I made them for you…”
If Detective Barbara Demilla could look sheepish, she did. This whole relationship was out of her league and safety zone. Hell it was a zone of its own probably somewhere on Jupiter cause that rhymes with stupider. She and Amanda had been seeing each other for 5 months now. It wasn’t exactly fraternization but it wasn’t actually totally cool either. If Amanda worked as a D.A. at least they’d have goals in common, but no. Demilla had to fall for a lefty. A hippie. A bleeding heart who got the bad guys back on the streets. But damn she was hot and maybe opposites attract? Or Maybe Barbara wasn’t as hard-core a she seemed. Maybe she wanted a little softening up (and if she reads this I’m fairly sure I’ll be softened by her fists).
Amanda purred, “you remembered what I said about cookie crumbs?” “yea sure…kind of…I mean I had flour…so whatever…no biggie…sugar…right here…” she continued rambling, or finding footing as Amanda slinked over and leaned against her, “and well butter who doesn’t have butter…it was just…I mean….”
“Just let it be a sweet gesture. I promise not to get mushy,” she lightly laughed as she breathed into Barbara’s ear. The heat made her shoulders melt. The hot spot on her neck, devoured in lips, made her entire body ripple, which somehow loosened her robe, which slid open, and 5 revealed her muscular frame and soap scented desires. She gasp… “Demilla!”
“What?” asked Barbara.
“huh?” moaned Amanda.
“I thought you were asking me something…never mind…”
Passion returned. Lips clashed, caressed and forgave the outside world for never knowing bliss. Barbara pushed forward searching for Amanda’s perfect collarbone and unraveling her blouse in the quest. Her lips followed cur… “DEMILLA!”
“What!” jumped Barbara.
“You just called my name again.”
“No I didn’t.”
“You just said Demilla.”
“Why would I call you by your last name?”
“wha……” Barbara’s 6 mind spun, jumped up and down and freaked out for a minute. Did she just think of Corey while having foreplay?? He always called her by her last name. Did she imagine his voice? Yuk! What did that mean?!!? She was spending far too much time with the super natural weirdoes! “Oh man did I just mess this up?” she angrily thought…
“what’s wrong babe?” Amanda’s voice sounded concerned but comforting.
“I forgot about a work thing…”
“Can it wait?”
Barbara realized in that single answer she had found the best girlfriend EVER! Someone who knew the importance of her career and the work that had to be done. And someone who cared about her a lot. She smiled, lifted up her head and blocked out anything other than the sound of their beating hearts.
“No. Not important.” The kissing continued over the smell of burnt cookies.
Corey jumped aware from the smelling salts. His faux-passed out had turned really-passed out and now he was jarred awake. Some kind of large battery with wires attached sat just off the plastic. A man with a slight smile looked at him. And by smile I don’t mean a have a Disney Day smile. I mean a: I hope you don’t say nothing cause I like hurting people smile.
Mutter 5 Ahhhhhh
There’s a reason you don’t tell your captures anything about you. Any information is an instrument to let them into your brain. Even your name can make you trust them. The way children will trust a stranger who knows his or her name, which is why police don’t like those family stickers with nametags. The slightest or most insignificant thing could be like a door handle and the right person could swing you wide open. So far Corey had said nothing. Well nothing other than painful grunts and gasps.
He could feel himself wearing down. His firm resolve was shaken like the rattling in his head. His body ached. The endorphins had left long ago and now there was only pain and the same questions. “Who are you.” How did you find us?” “Which department do you work for?” “Who knows you’re here?” “Name. Give me a name!”
The ugly guy in the leather jacket smiled again and dropped the wires into the puddle at Corey’s feet. “Ahhhhhh!” A stinging pain slammed into every cell of his body as it shook. His mouth slapped closed. He could smell blood in his mouth and burnt toenails sizzling. A moment of sheer terror later, the juice stopped and his body convulsed in after shocks for a few minutes. Part of Corey begged him to tell them something ANYTHING just to make this stop. But the other part of him, the smarter part, knew they’d never believe the truth and any lies would just get him deader faster.
“I’ll get it out of him,” laughed the guy with the knife as he approached. “Hang on,” another voice interrupted, “He doesn’t seem to care about his own life. He’s some hero. You some hero? Huh? Well let’s bring him someone to save, like heroes do.” There was laughter and hushed voices. Corey tried to focus on another image. Maybe Madame would hear him this time? Maybe he could remember that spell and set off an alarm…or…open a way to another plane…could he do that? He seemed to remember being able to do that…did he need his hands…wasn’t there a spell…..
His mind swirled instead of raced. Thoughts, spells and sacred words fell back upon themselves. His usually clear mind was muddy and confused. Then the blinding light was removed. A sigh went over him. Any relief of any amount of pain was glory. Until they shined the light on a terrified woman.
She was only wearing underwear, and would have looked perfect in a Victoria Secrets ad had she not had a gun to her head. She cried for help as she shook in the cold. The guards looked at her and pushed her around like they’d done it before. The man with the trigger made it simple. “Tell us who you are or we shoot her.”
Corey flexed his muscles and jerked his chair in anger. They laughed, “ha ha he is a hero!” “Who are you, hero?”
Corey knew if he said the truth, that he had locked onto a psychic trauma pattern that only he could hear, this woman was dead. But he had to say something…something that could ring of truth even if false. “I’m no one, man. I’m a reporter. I got an anonymous tip. I came down here to check it out…please I’m no one. I just wanted a cool story…” “who called you!”
“I don’t know!”
They all seemed to visibly relax. Even the underwear clad woman. In fact, she gently pushed the gun away from her head and walked, almost sauntered, over to Corey. She straddled his lap and sat down. She felt warm. She smelled of spices and flowers. One of them men laughed. The woman shushed him and leaned into Corey’s ear. “There there. No one is going to hurt you now.” She had a slight accent he couldn’t place. Turkish? No. She tickled his ear and pushed his face into her bra.
It was nice and warm there. For a moment there was solace. He was happy for the lie. It made him warm. She was warm. “Ahhhhh.” Maybe if he told her something else, a new lie, she’d make him even warmer…maybe take off the cuffs? Wait didn’t she just have a gun to her head? Were they making her do this? She blew in his ear, “I got you baby. It’s ok.” It dawned on Corey that this wasn’t the sound of a woman forced. In fact she seemed to like it. A lot. He quickly gathered she wasn’t the victim. That had been an act. She was a bad guy. I mean bad girl. Bad Victoria Secrets model. Bad! Maybe all Victoria Secret models are evil. It would explain a lot.
Corey smiled to himself. She was attempting to stimulate and confuse him. She hoped to make him want, trust and confide in her like any man would…well any straight man. But to Corey? Well it just made him giggle. The irony and supposition slightly cleared his confusion. Now it was their turn to be confused. And as he played the part and nuzzled into her, his mind called out to the one guy he knew was less attracted to women than he was… “Regency,” his mind begged, “I need help.”
Mutter 6 Geez
“Focus.” “Balance.” “Be at one with the force.” Ever since Corey said the Force was real, Regency was hell bent on being a Jedi! He pulled all his old posters out of storage and lined the walls of his small apartment in DTLA with familiar faces, childhood heroes, who would now be old friends who understood his calling. He had all the requirements of a true hero. Misunderstood childhood. Criminal record. Hacker extraordinaire. And now, part of an alliance against the dark forces of the world. He was friggin’ awesome!
He performed his martial arts mediations as best as he could remember. Corey said they were a form of what he’d know as Tae Kwon Do, but Regency was sure it had a cooler name. A secret name he would learn after having proved himself! After the 7th step was repeated 7 times…or was it all 7, 7 times? Whatever. He sat down. Almost lotus.
Using his inner eye he drew breaths into his belly and out. He spoke in the most solemn voice he could muster, “I am Philip Regency. Student of the ways of the Force. I am open to the universe.” A mild sensation gently tugged at his mind. Regency breathed more deeply remembering that if he spaz’d 8 out the connection would go away…again.
Corey had tried in vain to explain what letting go and opening up meant. Each answer confused Regency more than the last, until Corey, annoyed, yelled just let all your muscles slack, especially your jaw and think of nothing, you’ll look kind of like a Buddhist-redneck-trout. That had oddly made sense and now Regency was going to put it to the test.
He let all his muscles relax to the point of letting his belly get full. “Ah that must be the Buddha part,” he realized. Then he let his face go completely blank…kind of looking like a stupid redneck faced with algebra…”UUUUUUU.” Then for the trout he let his jaw fall open. There he stayed…no existed, not expecting…just being. Slowly, like a small wave, Regency felt it. He felt something tingling at him. He felt a connection. He felt a one-ness. The Force! And then he felt….
Please don’t make me say it. He felt something wrong. A crossed signal of sorts. He felt himself opening up to a problem. Then he heard a voice. Corey’s voice. ““Regency I need help.” WHOA!
He spun around expecting Corey to be standing behind him. He wasn’t. Regency calmed. He wondered if it was a joke. But if it was, it was a really cool joke. But something was not funny about it. Corey’s voice had been…weird…different…hurt. Yes hurt. “OMGod Corey’s hurt!”
“Corey can you hear me?”
“Regency! IS that you?”
“Geez! This Jedi stuff is awesome.”
“It is you!” Corey could feel the corners of his mouth lift, “Honey, I need you to help me…”
“Honey? Did you call me honey?” Regency blushed.
“Listen please. I’m in San Pedro at the harbor…”
“LISTEN! I’m in a warehouse and hurt real bad. Don’t know if I’ll make it but there’s some kids here who need your help…Call Demilla. Tell her this is major. Pull out all the stops…Did you…..
“Regency are you there?…Reg……help me…please…are you….”
“COREY!” Regency leapt up “OMGOD OMGOD OMGOD!”
He took a deep breath. Knights do not panic! He got his thoughts in order. His first assignment: to save Corey. “Wow.” He opened his laptop and phone with a single bound. With the left hand he dialed Demilla and with the right he flicked his tracking program! He was going to save the day! He was already a hero! “Oh darn! My Jedi robe is at the cleaners!”
Mutter 7 ..of course…
The former-victim turned lap-dancer was gyrating on Corey. Although having little sexual effect, it was at least warming. His internal laugh had turned to a summoning and he thought he had contacted Regency…maybe. Perhaps this would work out while he still had all his body parts attached. “You like?” the woman purred. Corey didn’t know what to respond. Did she want him to like it? Was he supposed to respond or was he just in her thrall. That’s when it hit him.
Why was this woman giving him a lap-dance in the middle of a freezing warehouse in front of a bunch of guys with guns? Had she just been playing good cop, she would have started the questioning. What did she want? She was just there, breathing on him and playing with his head…sticking her fingers in his brain….looking into his eyes. Yup. That’s thrall. A vampire. Perfect.
Most people think of vampires as bloodsuckers. Some are and they’re kind of nasty and obvious. Easy to kill too. Most aren’t. Most feed off of emotions. They drink it like a cold beer. It allows them to stay on this plane. This one was drinking everything Corey had: humiliation, pain and now pleasure…yes pleasure. Don’t underestimate the power of friction by any gender on any sexuality. And when the friction provider was a thirsty professional demon, you bet the physics started being physical.
And all this rattling and excitement mixed with all his pain was, apparently, delicious! The vampire giggled and drank his very essence. Like some over the top shampoo commercial where she’s so excited to have healthy hair she meows. Prrrrrr.
She wouldn’t stop at slurping off the top of his recent emotions. She’d use that as an amuse bouche to pry open everything that made Corey-Corey. And he wouldn’t be able to stop her. Once Corey was drained it’d be only all too easy for her to know everything. Anything. He’d talk. He’d spill. He’d beg her to let him squeal. Corey had to get his brain in gear and close it down. He had to breathe and cast a spell or he’d never cast another one. He shuttered a breath and said a mental command to ward off such an invasion. It took a massive effort. His brain or rather the walls attaching his brain to the cosmos slammed shut.
It worked too well. Either she had felt the magic or he had accidentally said it aloud. But she knew Corey now 9 and he knew she knew. The woman/succubus/vampire/thing leapt off of him with animal grace and landed like a super model…well a super model that snarled and hissed. Her fangs shot out. She paced him like a tigress. Corey had no energy left to meet her gaze. He heard her laugh. A deep cruel laugh. Corey gulped as she proclaimed, “A witch! Boys we have ourselves a witch! Oh this is going to be fun!”
Have you ever gone to party, maybe a lobster broil with buckets of beer and a good game on the tele? Ya know, how you slap the backs of your buddies and you all smile wider than previously possible? Everyone through the door knows this is going to be awesome. There’s absolutely no way with this killer combination you aren’t going to have a blast. The time of your life! Memories will be made. Laughter will abound. Old friends remade and new ones found. Now. Pretend at this party you’re the lobster.
Corey knew exactly how that felt. Hell one of them was even drinking beer. And he was weak. Too weak. With any slight effort of magic, she would force him open and reveal a lot more than locking onto a distraught girl’s energy. With even a basic understanding his now-weak wards would fall. Maybe he’d be lucky. Maybe this lady was just a sucker and not a practitioner? She probably didn’t have magic. Most of them are too predatory to bother with anything requiring such an effort as the learning of magic. It would be like the Great White bothering to…
The vampire pulled her hands into the air and started a chant. “..of course…” Corey whispered. He knew at that moment, it was just a matter of time and he would be broken. One witch lobster roll coming up.
Mutter 8 Whatnot
“Day OFF!” Demilla almost yelled at poor Madam I Olgi, “It’s my day off. I almost never get one and tonight I have plans..”
Demilla quickly shut her up, “Yes yes you sense something. I get it. You’re probably sensing a bill collector. Look Madame I don’t mean to doubt your powers or whatnot. But ‘I sense Corey is in some kind of trouble’ isn’t gunna call out the Nation Guard.”
“Whatnot! WHATNOT!” Madame became indignant, “Barbara Rose St. Theresa Maria Demilla! How dare you! We have been through some thick and thin. Not that I would ever be so vulgar as to count, but I have saved your life a few times dearie. And if I say someone, as close to us as Corey, is in trouble then by Hecate he IS!”
She had her there. Madame I Ogli, weird as she was, had in fact saved Demilla a few times, hell saved them all. And if Corey was in trouble who else would he try to contact? Demilla motioned to Amanda this call would take another second. Amanda smiled and rolled over in bed purposely exposing a bit more than necessary.
“Barbara? Earth to Barbara?”
“Sorry,” Demilla half laughed, “I didn’t mean to offend. I am aware that you’re…hang on..” Demilla went into the kitchen so Amanda wouldn’t think she was nuts. Oh Amanda knew all about Corey as Amanda too worked for him occasionally, BUT Demilla would not publically admit to knowing or believing in the occult. She pretended to be a nice Italian Catholic at work and that eased a lot of the tension of her weird ass job. IF the boys knew she was a witch, well as the Italian-Americans
say: Fuggget about it. Not that she thought Amanda would run and tattle, but she had been in love before and was smarter now. Need to know basis only.
She whispered, “Ok. How or why do you think Corey is in trouble?”
“Well, and don’t fly off the proverbial handle,” Madame knew this was going to sound odd even for her, “but I got a weak message and couldn’t identify the source. I went to call Corey, psychically obviously…and…well nothing.”
“Are you telling me you’re upset because he’s not answering his brain? Seriously?”
“Well,” Madame ignored the possibility of something being more important to Corey than she, “I thought you could make a circle with me, over the phone and we could..”
“I am NOT doing a spell with you right now!” she harshly gritted through her teeth, “He’s probably busy or indisposed…”
“Like you are? Yes dear, I’m aware there’s a naked woman in your bed Barbara….”
“How did you …”
“Oh! Philip is about to call on your other line.”
Sure enough the phone beeped and it was Regency calling. Now she knew something was wrong. Cops nor witches believe in coincidences, “Uh-oh. Regency?”
“Detective Demilla! Hi. Ok I know you’re gunna think I’m nuts…..” he prattled.
“Corey’s in trouble.”
“YES did he psychic message you too?”
Crap! That had been the voice she heard. Corey had tried to call her. Of course it was him. He always picked the worst time ever. Now she’d have to do a spell with Madame and that meant getting Amanda out of the house. “Days off,” she reminded herself “are for shmucks.”
Demilla left annoyed mode and entered professional mode, “yes. Kind of. Listen we have to figure out where he is..”
“He’s in San Pedro at LA the harbor. And I think he’s dying. I tracked his cell, which when he finds out he’ll probably kill me. I mean if he’s not dead. Do you think he’s dead?”
“I don’t know Regency. Did he say anything else?”
“Yea, said to tell you it’s major and pull out all the stops..”
“Wow. Ok. Then Let’s bring the cavalry.”
“Can you pick me up? I only have my bike and San Pedro is hella far.”
“Be right there. Meet me outside. And don’t call his cell. If something has happened to him, well, whoever is doing it to him must not have thought to turn it off.”
“10-4!” Regency was on it, gurl!
Demilla rolled her eyes and clicked over to Madame while throwing on clothes from the laundry basket in the kitchen, “Madame? You were right…”
“I know. I heard it all. I’m already casting a clear traffic spell down the 110.”
“Umm thanks? I’ll call you when I know something.”
Madame hung up the phone and rushed to her table. Lighting green candles she called up Gods of speed and travel. Then she snorted, “whatnot.”
Demilla hung up while running into the bedroom and saw Amanda. She had forgotten there was a naked woman in her bed. But true to form, Amanda was no longer in her bed, but standing and holding out Barbara’s jacket. Man did she love this woman.
“Don’t apologize. Just go. I’ll let myself out if you’re gone very long,” smiled Amanda.
Barbara tried not to gloat at her fortune, “have I told you yet, you’re kind of amazing?”
“No. But you can tell me later. Be careful.”
Demilla grabbed her gun off the top of the taller dresser, checked it, and stuffed it in her holster, “Thanks. Hot tip but we’re going in blind.”
“Then be very careful!”
Mutter 9 un-mutterable
Sharon Houston, an intensely funny comedian, has an expression when she’s on the phone and can’t possibly place the background noise. She says, “Ma’am excuse me, but are you building a skyscraper out of cats?”
Which is not exactly the sound Corey heard as he sat there naked and bleeding to death. But it was close. Screeching. Sirens. Guns firing. Lots of screaming. Metal being…scrapped or banged or both. A loud and familiar voice on a megaphone. All that to the beat of his pulse pounding in his head. It was like some crazy dub-step cop show in which he was the dance floor. Then it all stopped.
Only the slow pulse in his forehead told Corey he was alive. He’d never wished for the end but if it death would live up to its name and deaden this pain, then it was welcomed. A door opened. Somewhere inside Corey wanted to be on guard but that ability had gone away a few hours ago. The empty shell left didn’t care enough to worry.
A voice called out, “Found him. I need an EMT and a couple of blankets STAT!” The voice approached followed by footsteps maybe…?
“Corey? Can you hear me? He’s not dead!”
“SHHHHH. Corey it’s Barbara.”
Regency chimed in, “It’s Regency and Demilla. We totally rescued you!”
Demilla cast Regency a look that froze his bravado and made him step back. Her hands came gently to the sides of Corey’s face. Looking over her shoulder, she had 10 seconds or so until the EMT’s arrived. She slid the plastic from under her shoes. 10 She took a deep breath, down…hold…out, “Goddess grant him strength.”
Whitish green light came from the cold concrete and poured through Barbara. She whispered a soft prayer and the light went into Corey. Stabilizing him.
“Thanks” Corey shuttered.
“Do you know who we are?” She had to know if he could process the next statement.
“Yes. I can’t think of a wise-cracked answer. Detective Barbara Demilla and Philip Regency.” Corey was usually good at wise-cracking. He should have said Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle or the like. The absence of humor worried all three of them.
Demilla pressed on, “listen the feds are here, everybody’s here. Don’t forget I sent you here. I told you to follow a lead and then never heard from you so we came in to save you. Got it.”
“Right,” Corey somehow processed that there was some due process or right to entry or E Pluribus Om Shante or something happening…he would think about it later if he ever stopped hurting.
Blankets came and surrounded him with warmth. The cuffs came off and he was gently laid onto the floor as professionals did their thing.
Time passed. Bodies counted. The living accounted. Statement accepted. Children helped.
Corey was still out of it but the morphine had help…a lot. And buy a lot I mean thank the Gods for drugs at times like these. He saw Regency and Demilla approach his gurney. The paramedics had just sort of left him high and strapped down. He knew he could heal himself once he was out of immediate danger, but being high and thus not in pain was nice.
“How you holding up?” Demilla smiled at him sort of half way between friend and cop.
“Drugs nice.” He slurred.
“You look horrible boss…but in a sexy tough guy way,” Regency covered.
“Glad I’m sexy.” The three laughed.
“Corey, I gotta ask, since we’re alone,” she leaned in, “what were you thinking! Taking on a human trafficking ring on your own? I mean I know you’re powerful but here were like 23 of them!”
“I didn’t mean to!” He stammered, “I…didn’t know what they were…doing…I just heard the cries…you know in my head…of a traumatized …little girl…so I followed it all the way down here. I thought she was just lost…lost…no idea she…was taken or I wouldn’t…they tortured me…that’s why…couldn’t figure out…stumbled upon…they had a battery too…”
Regency grimaced, “ewww torture? They beat you up to figure out how you knew about them and you didn’t? That’s almost funny.”
“No. No it’s not,” Demilla and Corey said at the same time.
“At least you didn’t break,” Regency said proudly.
“No one could break Corey!” Demilla glossed on tenderly.
“No…” groaned Corey…..
“Wicca Please! N one could break you!” Regency laughed.
“…No. They did! I totally broke you guys! I told them everything. I told them my address, bank account and pin number. I told them how to contact the Hidden Elf Grove. I told them the launch codes for nukes in Venezuela. I told then how to summon a Faerie Prince. I broke about a 100 vows of secrecy. I told them dark magic words of power. I told the formula for iron into gold. I told them where the door to Shangri-La is. I told them how to divide prime and unlock dimensional doors. I told them…I muttered the unmutterable mutterance! I muttered it! I did!”
Demilla tried to not laugh, “So why did they dance on your face if you told them everything?”
Corey almost cried, “They didn’t believe me!”
Mutter 10 …honey
Pay all you want for a spa, and you can spend a lot in LA, nothing comes close to Deep Creek Hot Springs. 2 hours outside the city, a bit of a walk down a trail and voila: you are at Mother Nature’s Healing Center for Hippies and Their Naked Friends. (And wouldn’t that be cool if it were the actual name of it?)
Corey needed to sit down for the 6th time on the trail to catch his breath. He was moving slowly. He had only been in hospital for 2 days when he demanded to be let out. Regency was all set to hack their systems if they put up a fuss. But no one did. Either having a detective strong arm the doctors or a drag queen coming in every day to sing over the patient had the staff quite ready with release papers. They seemed relieved.
Corey, bound in casts, sat in a healing circle for 2 more days sipping teas and calling upon different elements. Regency, Demilla and Madame stood guard in the outer room. Demilla had taken out the vampire queen, first with 14 bullets and then with fire for good measure. They knew she wasn’t a threat. But they weren’t sure if all the “bad guys” had been accounted for. Corey spilled a lot of information while under torture and none of them, especially Corey, were truly safe.
Corey could take solid foods after the next 2 days and finally started joking a bit. That was a relief. Corey never took anything very seriously. He was a bit of a prankster and seeing him so stoic was more unnerving than the wounds and swelling of his face.
Sooner than welt marks should have, they were healing and Corey was laughing a bit more. Much more so after a visit from a mysterious friend no one was allowed to see. Corey just said it was a guy with healing power and all left it at that. Weirder things had happened to them than that. When you are friends with witches you just have to go with it sometimes. And they did.
Now, they were headed to a natural spring where Corey said most of his outer wounds would heal quickly. It was mid-week so hardly anyone would be there, but Madame had cast “stay-away” so they wouldn’t be bothered and Corey wouldn’t feel uncomfortable with his remaining bruises. Regency watched nervously as Corey tried to walk alone and now helped Corey to sit. Then Regency sat down next to Corey in case he slumped or because he wanted to be needed and near him. Corey sat, sipped on some more tea, this kind he said was for energy.
“I do wish Barbara had come. She needs this almost as much as you do,” Madame eyes swept the desert.
“She got some time off and she deserves it. She doesn’t need to play nurse with yours truly. But you’re right. She’d love it here,” Corey agreed.
“What do you think she’s doing?” Regency asked in the quiet space.
“Probably just having some alone time,” Corey guessed.
“Oh I don’t think she’s alone!” Madame teased.
“Now Corey hush! I can’t go and spill all the dirt we girls keep to ourselves!” Madame scolded playfully.
“Well good for her,” Corey was genuinely please to hear Demilla might be dating. He worried about her, “Hey Regency help me up?” They stood and continued towards the water.
Deep Creek Hot Springs are found in a very cold river, oddly enough. A rock formation thrusts out of the water and holds various almost-natural, pools of hot water. The larger tubs are the temperature of a hot bath while the smaller ones are ferociously scalding.
Madame made it clear she would not be wading naked through the river but would climb around and meet them at the top of the rocks where the largest and most tepid pool sat. Regency blushed the color or apples when they both disrobed. Corey had warned him that it was a clothing optional spot, some even believed clothes polluted the water, but he could remain in a bathing suit if he wished. Regency didn’t want to be compared to Madame I Ogli and thought this was probably a test in his Jedi training. Off his cloths came and were put into a large backpack with Corey’s. Turns out: it was nice.
At the top of the rocks, Corey sat back exhausted from the climb. Madame and Regency helped him sit down. He mumbled some words, power shifted, and, assisted, he sat down into the water. The effect was immediate. As if he had been carrying the weight of the world, and a lot of guilt about spilling information on his friends to thugs, seemed to fall off his shoulders.
Madame seemed content with this and wandered off to pick some sage to add to Corey’s bath. She sang a bit too loudly but no one was around, thanks to her spell, and it did Corey and Regency good to see her happy. Or perhaps they were laughing at the site of an aging drag queen in a moo-moo running through a meadow singing like Julie Andrews.
It’s good to laugh.
Pulling out a breathing apparatus from his bag, Corey turned to Regency and said, “Thank you Philip. I’m not sure if I said that yet. But I’d be dead without you. You were smart and efficient and I am so glad you work for me! Ha ha,” he paused seriously, “….and I’m proud to call you my friend.”
“geez thanks Corey. We make a good team!” Regency blushed again.
“We sure do!”
“So, teammate,” Regency had been DYING to ask, “so what’s the unmutterable mutter thingy?”
“Ah that.” Corey knew his assistant’s curiosity and penchant for super natural cool stuff mostly based in movies and fan fiction, and had suspected the question, “well that’s the thing honey…”
“…honey?” Regency poked.
“Sorry. I guess I break the walls of propriety when injured,” he laughed, “but the point of a mutter is that it’s not meant to be heard. By anyone. It’s the source of its power. So I can’t tell you because then it’d have less power. Wait..” he knew the next question, “I know I said it to those thugs and the vampire queen but they might not have heard me and might not remember. It’s a big mutter of power…did I just make a joke? Anyway when I’m better, I’ll test it out. If it’s no good I’ll tell you.”
“Yup.” Corey held up the tube. It was the kind snorkelers use. It holds your nose closed and has a tube to the surface. Corey continued, “Now If you don’t mind, I’m going to slip this on and go under for a few hours and try to look less ghastly.”
“You got my back?”
“of course…..” Regency watched Corey slip into the water. Over his shoulder, in the distance, Madame was singing to sage or some such plant. Regency returned his gaze to the already sleeping man under the water and he muttered, “…honey.”