Premium Content (Monthly): Draft NN4 – Chapter 18

Movement in the Shadows Rewrite is continuing. I hope to have it to the editor by March 10th. On Wednesday I was averaging 2,000 words an hour and made up a lot of lost ground as a result.

Chapter Eighteen

Jerome and I set up my office as workspace to lay out all the information we had about the five people involved in most of the crimes, six if we included the shadow. It wasn’t much, it covered less than a fourth of one wall. One had to be of angel stock, given that everyone was happy to be victimized by the crooks, especially the stodgy bankers. Also, the effect of it wore off faster than a happy spell did, if it had been a happy spell it would have lasted for hours after the criminals left, but it usually lasted less than twenty minutes once they were gone, which was like holding a neon sign with the word angel flashing on it. This limited the suspect pool for the angel down to 995, since I had decided to eliminate Jerome and myself from the suspect pool.

They were bypassing magical and standard alarms, making it fairly certain at least one of the people was a witch or wizard. The face blurring spell also seemed to point to the involvement of a witch or wizard. Jerome had discovered a face blurring spell in one of the books Remiel had given him. The description had specifically listed it worked best when cast by someone able to use witchcraft. This meant there were thousands of suspects for the witch accomplice just in the St. Louis metro area, even if I did eliminate Jerome.

“It will be easier to discover the angel in the group than any of the others.” I said. Jerome nodded. For the other three suspects we knew the gender and nothing else. We couldn’t even make out a hair color for them. The angel suspect was female though and I wondered whether more angels were born male or female. My parents had two daughters and Helia had two daughters, but I felt like there were more male angels than female angels and I wasn’t sure if it was true or just my perception.

“We need to get the name of Janet’s date,” Jerome said. “Didn’t she say he was half angel, half asshole?” Jerome asked.

“I hate to say this, but I don’t think even the AESPCA can arrange to interview all 995 angels in the world to eliminate them as suspects.”

“997, they would bring us in and interrogate us too.” Jerome corrected. “Why you don’t put off happy-happy joy-joy feelings.” I said and then I wondered if maybe he did. I had yet to meet anyone who didn’t like Jerome. Even in Chicago with the US Marshals, they had all instantly liked Jerome. For that matter, they had all instantly liked Valerie too. At the time, it had seemed completely natural, he gave us valuable information and a little help with our case. But looking back, I was less convinced that was why Duke hadn’t minded Jerome calling him “dude sir” or Tabitha instantly going into protective mommy vampire mode. Even Walter who was used to being surrounded by fairy glamour had instantly taken a shine to Jerome.

“Is it possible you radiate angel happy-happy joy-joy magic?” I asked Jerome. He blinked at me.

“No.” He said.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Would I know if I did?” He countered.

“That is a good question. Has anyone ever disliked you, I mean really disliked you?” I asked. “Have you ever been seriously bullied for being poor or fatherless or anything?”

“No,” Jerome said. “And before you ask, no not even Leon has called me Orphan Boy or anything along those lines.”

“Being nephilim, I don’t really notice that sensation that everyone talks about when an angel is around them of feeling happy, calm, and at peace. But, when you said they would bring us in to interrogate us, it dawned on me, that I don’t know if you radiate angelic bliss or not. I was thinking, it would prove you weren’t the angel in question, but now, I’m not sure that’s true. I think it possible you do have it. Helia’s is so intense, it even affects angels and nephilim. That’s why she earned the archangel designation. It’s why she is basically universally adored. But angelic bliss makes it difficult to even dislike an angel. I would think, if you didn’t have it, someone during your life would have hated you. But even the US Marshals instantly liked you and your mom. I can’t help but wonder if you both did it but didn’t know.” I said.

“Maybe we should ask Janet.” Jerome said.

“Maybe,” I said skeptically. “Janet’s a good witch, but will she know if you are influencing her with angelic bliss or will she just think it’s because she’s gotten to know you really well over the last couple of years.”

“I’m not sure, we should have asked Magda.” Jerome said.

“Next time she breaks into our house, I’ll try to remember and ask.” I smiled at him.

“Well, I don’t think there are 995 suspects for the angel, while the majority live in St. Louis and the surrounding area, not all do. I suspect only about five hundred or so live close enough to be a consistent partner for this gang.” Jerome said.

“Great, 498 suspects than? I’m sure the AESPCA will be thrilled to interview all of them.”

“You’re leaving Raphael and Helia as suspects?” Jerome asked.

“If my father had a midlife crisis, I could see him turning to a life of crime,” I said.

“Really? I picture his midlife crisis involving buying a town.” Jerome smirked.

“You could be on to something there; he is getting closer to three hundred thousand years old.” I said. “Maybe he bought a town, a Porsche SUV, and was still struggling with being middle aged, and decided to turn to a life of crime. Although, I have always suspecting falling in love and marrying my mother was my father’s version of a midlife crisis.”

“You don’t believe it was love at first sight?” Jerome raised an eyebrow.

“Meh,” I shrugged. “I know my father loves my mother a great deal, but he’d been alive more than two hundred and sixty thousand years and never been married or had any children, so…” I let the sentence trail off.

“I take your point, about Grandpa Raphael,” Jerome smiled. “ And maybe I do have a touch of angel mojo.”

“Aside from the cow painting that is supposedly priceless and the convict, they have hit mostly high value targets. The home burglaries were all wealthy homes in the very elite section of Maryland Heights where they mostly robbed safes, which seems weird, and took small but valuable items like Rolex watches, but the left an assortment of Karen Green jewelry that they had to know was worth a ton of money.”

“Karen Green jewelry is traceable.” Jerome said.

“Rolexes are registered too.” I pointed out. “Why take the Rolexes, leave the jewelry and the electronics, if they aren’t worried about the items being traced through the registries?”

“I would think it would be a lot easier to sell a 50-inch flat screen or a brand-new MacBook out of the trunk of your car than a Rolex.” Jerome replied.

“Me too. I mean I can see not having a buyer for Karen Green jewelry, but I would think the same person buying Rolexes would buy Karen Greens.” My phone dinged. Are you watching the game!? Remiel’s text asked. I texted back that we weren’t, and he told me to get it turned on immediately. I said we would and asked him to come over, my uncle knew more about crime than I did.

We went into the living room, unhooked the laptop and turned the TV on. It was still the first inning. The score was 33 to 30. An announcer was talking about how the Division of Magic with the Chicago Police Department was currently sweeping the stands trying to find out how someone was interfering with the game. They had also closed all the gates, preventing anyone from leaving. Then he changed topics and said loudly the AESPCA had investigators on the way and that everyone could expect to see them fly into the game any minute. I wasn’t sure if this was what Remiel wanted us to see or not. But we didn’t wait long. He rang the doorbell and then walked in.

“Somehow someone is doing magic inside Wrigley Stadium.” We told him we had figured that out about two minutes in the game and had been unsure if we should do anything about it or not. He flopped into a chair. “You could have texted me a head’s up,” he said with a slight whine in his voice.

“I didn’t think of it, I decided to look at the cases Magda gave us instead.” I said.

“Me too,” Jerome told him. “Why would someone buy stolen Rolexes, but not stolen Karen Green jewelry or electronics?”

“Fences aren’t normally that specific.” Remiel said. “If your thieves are only stealing Rolexes, they have a different motivation for it than that’s what their fence will buy.”

“What’s a fence?” I asked.

“You’ve watched TV and movies,” Remiel said.

“People who buy and resell stolen merchandise are called fences in real life?” I asked.

“Yes,” Remiel nodded. “Have you gotten anywhere with it?”

“We have narrowed down one of the five members of the gang to 995 supernaturals.” I said.

“Wow, just 995 suspects?” Remiel grinned. “Are you turning that into an alphabetical list or just randomly putting down the names?”

“It’s the number of angels in the world,” I said. “Well, minus Jerome and I.”

“You left me on the suspect list?” Remiel raised an eyebrow.

“It is unlikely, but yes, we also left Dad, Helia, Ariel, and Aurora.” I told him.

“Good to know,” Remiel said. “Except your angel needs mojo, so that would rule Jerome out.”

“I’m not sure it does.” I explained to him my conversation with Jerome earlier and it was obvious he had never considered it before either.

“Yeah, I’m not useful there, I’m immune too. You should call Duke and ask him.” Remiel suggested. I didn’t call him, I texted Megan, Tabitha, and Duke asking them if being alone with Jerome makes them feel in a similar way that being alone with me makes them feel. I hoped they understood, because I didn’t want to lead them down the road to the answer. I was also sort of worried, they would all know Jerome so well, they would say no without realizing he did. My phone almost immediately dinged. It was Megan. Yes, Jerome has angel mojo, when you are together its even stronger. My kids notice it, Walter notices it. You’ve never noticed it? I texted back a thank you and explained that I was immune to everyone but Helia’s angelic bliss magic and passed the info along to Jerome and Remiel.

“Huh, I don’t know why I’m surprised.” Remiel said. I then told him Magda’s theory on why Jerome was so powerful and about the akashic record. “That all makes perfect sense. Even the akashic record stuff. I don’t know if I believe in the akashic record, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that DNA carries a collective memory of sorts, which would be similar to an akashic record, except in this case it would be the collective memory of my brothers and myself, with a larger dose of Raphael.”

“That might be the answer, and since Zadkiel had a hand in the creation of the other supernaturals, it might explain why I understand all magic so well.” Jerome said.

“I’ve never had that thought around you,” Remiel said.

“No, but Leviathan has.” Jerome replied.

“You can read demon thoughts?” Remiel asked.

“Yes, when I’ve been around you. Don’t you hear demon thoughts when they are around?”

“No,” Remiel said. “I sort of figured they didn’t have coherent thoughts.”

“How did Zadkiel have a hand in creating the other supernaturals?” I asked.

“Divine blessings,” Jerome said.

“The kid would make a killing on Jeopardy,” Remiel said. Fantastic.

“Come look at your crime wall and see if you notice anything we missed.” I said, heading towards my office.

“You have a crime wall?” Remiel asked. “What about the AESPCA showing up in the middle of a baseball diamond?”

“Fine, we’ll look at the crime wall later.” I said and sat back down.

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