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    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    Wizard Part XVI



    Part XVI

    The Old Man got a can of tuna and a quarter teaspoon of potion for breakfast. I started some coffee and found that Carl had left a half eaten box of chocolate coated Entenmann's donuts on the kitchen counter. The day was already looking up.

    I tried not to spend much time contemplating what had set the Old Man off. He'd not turned after two days with the corpse of Pirate Jane, but he'd turned within only one and a half days with me and no potion, so I had to assume that the potion suppressed his true nature, but could be exacerbated by the stress of having some goon enter his field of angry hunger.

    I knew I needed to reconnect with Em once the sun went down, but before that I need to figure out who had gotten into my house and what they wanted. Cup of coffee in hand I went out front and took a peek at the van. Nothing had changed. There were no scratches or anything to give me the feeling anyone had tried to get in. But, when I looked up I noticed a car, parked on the street, I'd never seen before. That didn't mean anything though, I hadn't been here in a week.

    Before I made it to the end of the stone path that led to the street, a wiry kid, who liked he was tweaking, jumped in the and sped away. I almost mumbled under my breath to make the car hit a tree, but it wasn't worth it. I took another sip off coffee and walked back inside.

    I found Em Sitting in the living room. The dust in the room ran through her like it was caught in the rays of the sun.

    What the Hell are doin' here Em?

    I waited for you, but you didn't come back. I came over to see if everything was OK. I got here just in time for you to throw the switch. You looked tired so I spent most of the night looking around. You need a girlfriend.

    I apologized and threw the switch on the banister that shut off the water and quelled the pipes.

    Sorry about that. You should have said something.

    Trying to see Em in the light of day was like looking for something out of the corner of your eye. Even with the windows of the living room covered in plastic she was elusive.

    I moved to the edge of the sofa to finish my coffee.

    What made you come all this way. You knew I would have found you again tonight.

    Em paused a second before she answered.

    After you left, I had a talk with what was left of the gentleman your cat ate. He was scared Aubrey. Usually what is left is not scared, but he was. It took me a minute to calm him down, by that time the hounds had already sniffed him out. He barely said anything before they dragged him away.

    This was why I needed Em, she had access to those moments us meat sacks didn't. The hounds themselves were a rare occurrence, and didn't exactly fill me full of hope. Most people shuffle off with the help of a Reaper. Reapers are generally cool, they're just biding their time before they too get to move on, but when the hounds come for you it means someone doesn't want you to have a good trip. That someone has a thousand unspoken names.

    What'd he say Em?

    She went in and out of focus as the light from the other rooms grew more intense.

    He said he'd been hired by a gentleman the name of...

    The first syllable rolled out of her mouth before I figured out what was going to happen next. My coffee cup shattered on the wood floor as I ran again for the switch. Em finished uttering the name just after the switch kicked in. I heard the pump gear up and then the house began to shake as the water met itself in the pipes under the house, creating a loop of running water, seconds before the Tall Man materialized on the lawn and tried to gain entry.

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