Another chapter from the original draft of NN4.
I was glad we stayed to watch the AESPCA show up at Wrigley Stadium. It burst into flames and people stampeded for the closed exits, which had to be opened. The division of magic crimes with the help of the AESPCA tried to search everyone exiting for the first minute or so. Then they had to give up and just let people get the hell out of the stadium. The grass was burning a pure white and the soil beneath it was vitrifying. None of us said a word. When the Stygian flames reached the stadium wall, they snuffed themselves out. I sat wondering if I should do something. I could open a portal and take Jerome through the Stygian to get to Chicago in about five minutes. I could round up my uncles and have them fly us there in about half an hour. Or I could sit on my couch and send demons and command them to obey Magda Red. Or I could sit on my couch and send hell hounds to assist Magda Red. Or I could do nothing.
Ultimately, we sat on the couch and watched about three dozen witches, angels, and fairies wearing AESPCA badges try to contain the mayhem. The real problem wasn’t the Stygian Flames burning the grass. It also wasn’t the stampede; it was the magic. It was as if in the chaos, every supernatural at Wrigley had started casting spells and that magic was out of control and doing all sorts of things, I doubt it was intended to do.
“There’s another amplifier,” Jerome said. “Another large one.” Neither of us questioned how he knew that with the certainty his voice contained.
“is it possible the time spell at Busch Stadium was an accident?” I asked.
“I suppose so,” Remiel said.
“Leon Vance and Art (last name?) said they weren’t trying to cause Mr. Barn-Nagal to become possessed, they were trying to hex him into having his words appear in the air as he spoke. I don’t know that I believe them, but what if this gang was trying to cast a different spell and cast the time spells by accident?”
“If they weren’t confident with the magic they were using, it is possible. Even minor spells often go awry in the school classrooms.” Jerome said.
“What if whatever spell they are trying to cast, isn’t just one they aren’t comfortable with, but one that requires a great deal of magic. I thought earlier, they could be placing the amplifiers near Busch Stadium solely for the collection of people in attendance. The amplifier is pouring out so much extra magic from all the supernaturals, that it overwhelmed the protection spells at Busch. At which point, the time slip happened, allowing shadows of the past to appear in Busch, the things we thought were ghosts, but not ghosts.” I said.
“Shadows of the past,” Jerome said. “Maybe the time slip was the spell they meant to use. I wonder if the shadow is a person trapped in some kind of time differential? Could that be it?” Jerome asked.
“You would know more about that than us,” Remiel replied.
“I need to visit the AESPCA archive and library,” Jerome announced.
“I’ll take you,” Remiel stood up. I also stood.
“We have special permission, but we are still going to set off the possession protection spells. As his guardian, I should be there for that, especially with Magda in Chicago.” I said.
“It’s Sunday,” Remiel sighed and flopped back down on the couch.
“Are you saying the library is closed on Sundays?” I asked.
“Yes, they do a decontamination and preservation thing on Sundays. It takes twelve hours to complete, and it’s toxic for another four to five hours after that.” Remiel said.
“Fuck,” I flopped back down next to my uncle.
“Yes, it is completely impossible to visit it today under any circumstances. The process kills and mummifies even supernaturals.” Remiel told us.
“Damn,” Jerome said. “What time do they open tomorrow?”
“Six in the morning,” Remiel told him. “However, you’d be better off waiting until eight. The first two hours on Monday morning, they will hold you at the gates for hours while they reset all their alarms and spells.”
“There has to be something we can do today.” I said.
“We can look through missing persons for supernaturals,” Remiel suggested.
“Would that help?” I asked.
“If someone entered a different time dimension, surely they would be reported as missing,” Jerome said. “I wonder if black magic sacrifices in an attempt to get someone back to this time dimension could explain the murders. They all seemed mildly ritualistic, if they are done by people who don’t know what they are doing or how to do it, maybe that’s why they are both strange, somewhat ritualistic, and pointless.”
“Could be,” Remiel nodded. “One question, what is another time dimension?”
“I’m not sure.” Jerome admitted. “I know time is different in the Stygian and Third plane though, meaning time isn’t a constant, possibly even in our world. I sorta have a theory; if someone attempted to alter time in order to commit a crime and it backfired on them, sending them into a different timeline or time stream or time dimension, maybe they can only be seen in our time as a shadow. The gang can’t tell anyone, because it’s a time spell and forbidden, plus they were committing a crime when it happened, so they are now doing their best to get the person back, but they don’t know what they are doing and they don’t have enough magic, even with five of them to accomplish it, so they continue to commit crimes to fund whatever they were trying to fund when they started committing the crimes, while also searching for a way to return the person, so the person follows the gang around.”
“You have a truly amazing brain,” Remiel told him. Jerome smiled.
“If that’s the case, we need to find a crime when the gang had six and see if that gives us any clues as to who is missing, as well as checking missing persons.” I said.
“I will call in some favors at the St. Louis police department,” Remiel said digging out his phone. I wasn’t sure if he were going to see what he could learn about crimes committed by gangs of six people or about the missing persons files. I did the unimaginable, I dug out my cell phone and called the school, leaving a message that Jerome would not be at school Monday. If the kid needed to use the AESPCA library, he was not going to make it to school. It had taken me three hours to exit the one time I had gone. Jerome raised an eyebrow as I left the message. I held up a hand for him to wait. Once I was finished, I explained about the possession alarm in the library and the general suspicion of anyone using the library and how I suspected even with the carmucci, we’d end up being there forever, possibly under interrogation. I then remembered Magda’s coded text and opened the key file. Her text message said that I was to contact her on a special phone and gave the number. It also gave me the ability to use the same code to reply to her text. I used the cipher encryption system and told her, Jerome and I would be visiting the library tomorrow and that Jerome had a pretty good theory about what was going on. Remiel hung up the phone and looked at Jerome and me. He sighed heavily.
“We can get in to look at the missing persons files, but we have to go to their central records, and we can’t get in until tomorrow. They recommended we use the amateur contact website Help Find Us. My contact said they do a decent job of keeping it up to date and while it won’t have all the missing persons of St. Louis, it will have a large portion of them, because they recommend families of missing persons use it. They are also going to find all robberies or thefts, where a gang of suspects were involved and is still unsolved. But it might be Tuesday before that’s ready.” Remiel said.
“Then to the living room, we’ll hook up the computer to the TV in there, so we can all see it,” Jerome said.
“Nah,” Remiel shook his head. “I have a better idea. Why don’t we install a TV in here? That way we can still access the crime wall.”
“I don’t have another TV. There’s the one in the living room and one in Jerome’s game room, but that’s it.” I said.
“Well, it’s almost Easter, just consider it a gift from the Easter Bunny,” Remiel stood. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes.” He stretched his wings, walked into the living room, and flew away.
“A TV from Remiel is a hell of an Easter Basket, he has a 90 inch in his living room.” Jerome said.
“Yes, but it will probably be a practical TV, it’s not going in his house, it’s going in mine.” I said and realized how stupid that sounded. I felt a 32 inch would be big enough but knowing my uncle it would be a 43 inch or something. “I hope he remembers to get a wall mount.”
It took Remiel twenty-seven minutes to return. He had three bags from the electronics store hooked to his pants via a piece of rope run through the belt loops on his jeans and a 55-inch TV in his arms. I tried to remind myself that in Remiel’s life a 55-inch TV was probably a hardship. He had remembered the wall mount, along with some other stuff, including a doohickey that would wirelessly cast my laptop screen to the TV. I didn’t even know they made such things. We spent fifty minutes getting it all set up. Then Remiel took another break to order a very late lunch that might have doubled as dinner if Jerome hadn’t been growing like a weed. However, it was three in the afternoon, I’d have to feed him before sending him to bed. Remiel returned several minutes later, grinning.
“What?” I asked him as Jerome got the website going for us.
“I ordered Italian from the Romance Room Bistro. I ordered you a large pasta loaded with bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, had them make it with penne, and smothered it in extra white sauce. I also ordered an entire loaf of garlic bread, got Jerome a meal for now and added a meal for later, as long as he’s willing to eat lobster pasta for lunch and lasagna for dinner. Oh, and to ensure you didn’t feel left out, I had them add lobster to your veggie pasta dish. It cost me extra, but it was probably worth it.” Remiel replied. “Now, let’s check out these missing persons. It will be an hour or so before it arrives.”