Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Going on Instinct

"Oh, God, I think he's seen me," Cati said. "Look, he's coming over here. I don't know, Henri. Ask the fella whatever you want. I don't know if it's going to make a difference now."

Thelonius forced himself to sit upright, his paranoid instincts forced him to quickly search the cramped studio apartment for … well … he didn’t know exactly what. He realized that he had been checking the surfaces for bugs, half expecting to find a swarm of the black crawly things massing out from beneath his ice box.

Once he had assured himself that he was indeed back in his apartment, he then realized that he was more than a little hungry, and thirsty. He rummaged through his cabinets and ice box, devouring the last remnants of bread, cheese, and pickles he found stashed away. He chased the meager meal down with what seemed like quarts of water.

Sated, he briefly thought of lying down and resting. No – he had to talk to Henri and Cati before the memories of what happened began to fade. He picked up the telephone, dialing first Henri’s shop and then Cati’s residence in an attempt to contact someone and warn them.

But would they believe him? Surely Henri would. The man must have experienced something similar the previous evening.

Thelonius tapped his foot anxiously against the dusty wooden floor as he waited for someone to answer the phone.

But no one did, not at Henri’s shop. Fine, he’d try Cati – her number was in the phone book. Three, four, five rings – Thelonius had just pulled the phone from his ear when he heard a tinny voice. “Hello?”

“Yes, hello. This is Thelonius Jones. I need to speak to Miss Predoviciu.”

Closer to his ear now, the voice was deeper and feminine; gruff, though, tired. “Miss has gone out for the evening.”

There was a dull metallic scrape in the kitchen. A pot had settled in a cabinet – perhaps, or perhaps something had shifted it. The sound would certainly have come from the cabinet next to the sink, for Thelonius didn’t have many pots and pans. But hadn’t he just checked in there?

“Vill you leave a message?” inquired Cati’s proxy, who was apparently of Transylvanian origin – or from one of those numerous Eastern European nationalities jockeying for their own state. Predoviciu – was that a Romanian name?

The pot shifted again. “Please wait just a second,” Thelonius replied.

He moved to the kitchen. Standing behind the cabinet door, he peeked inside. Nothing: two pots were stacked in a pan. They must have had been disturbed by his tired foragings. They must have, but Thel couldn't take his eye off the kitchen as he returned to the phone.

“Hello. Do you vant to leave a message?” repeated the voice.

Thelonius glanced sidelong at the cabinet speaking a bit distractedly, “Uh……I mean could you tell me where she has gone, if you do not mind. I am a friend of hers, and I have an important message I must relay to her as soon as possible.” Hopefully the housekeeper would reveal where Cati had gone. Thel suspected that the flapper was out at one of the various speakeasies about town.

Magda detected the hints of stress and sincerity in Thelonius' words; she recalled eavesdropping on some of the miss's phone calls and hearing the reporter's name; she was tired and annoyed. She sighed. "Miss went to SoHo."

There was silence. As if she had just committed a calculated sin for some greater purpose.

"Thank you, that's all I need," Thelonius finally replied. And it was. He was there in thirty minutes.

Cati would have taken a cab, so there would be no car to search for – as if that'd work. Thelonius would have to follow his instincts here. Those strange talents that were both cultivated and somehow innate all the way to his bones; Thelonius knew he could trust his nose. He parked the Nash behind one of the more up-and-up clubs, near a cluster of luxury autos. A Bugatti, a custom-bodied Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, a '24 Hispano-Suiza. A couple of young men in drivers' uniforms leaned casually against the Rolls. One of them let the driver's side door bear his weight as he leaned back and gazed skyward. He was that car's driver. The other man had, then, driven the cabriolet. The Bugatti had been driven by its owner most likely – after all, if you're going to have someone else at the wheel, why get a Bugatti? These were the sorts of things that instinct could reveal.

He went into the street. The upper crust was about. A tux and a night gown stepped into the Palace. No, not Cati's style; she might have had the money but probably didn't have the interest. Three women with bobbed hair and feathered headbands crossed the street onto Thelonius' block, and proceeded around the corner. Probably off to The Teepee Club, a gimmicky flapper dance hall. That was more Cati's speed, Thelonius thought. But too obvious; The Teepee Club was a fad, it'd be gone in a year. Where else was there? The Cellar. One block away. There was watery jazz, it catered to the upper class, there was booze in the basement. Its owner was in on an informal consortium of liquor vendors who had come to agreements with both the mob and the police. In exchange for monetary gifts, both authorities kept out of The Cellar. This much was an appreciated fact in the underworld currents. The establishment's special mixture of seediness, safety, and class would have attracted Miss Predoviciu. Perfect.

The bouncer was an old acquaintance, an informant from the voodoo case six months ago. He was more credulous of Thelonius than Thelonius had been of him – invisible bullets, indeed! – and so it was only too easy for the reporter to gain entry. He stepped inside the foyer, but before Thelonius could take in the dining and dancing arrangements of the main hall, he was jostled by a man in a leather coat and a cap. And shocked – when the man's elbow brushed his own, there was a brief flash. No, not like a flash of light, more like a flashing-out of reality: a quick flash-forward of the consciousness into the next moment with none of the normal seamlessness of the usual experience of time. When the reporter looked behind him, the man was out the door and in the street. He was short, dark-haired, thick, sweaty.

He jogged outside. The man had gotten into the driver's seat of a cab and was already pulling out. Thelonius had to resign himself to memorizing the license plate: NY 1923 153-512.

He went into the basement level, and immediately made out Henri's form, standing out in the best of ways, even in this crowd. Beside him, standing, was none other than Cati.

Thelonius began to move across the tearoom floor towards the groups, but he saw a third figure moving towards them. He paused, wisely taking the opportunity to assess the situation before interrupting. The man was tall, blondish, dressed all in grey. His clothing was cut in almost harsh lines that suited the man and made him seem statuesque, like a piece of architecture, a component of the skyline.

The man stepped directly up to the pair, as if homing in on them. Henri and Cati had only a moment to prepare themselves.

"Good evening, miss," he greeted Cati, and then turned his attention to Henri. "Sir." With no bashfulness, he examined Cati. "You look just stunning in that dress, would you care to step upstairs with me for a dance?"

Cati glanced about nervously, searching for her answer in the crowd. She caught sight of yet another familiar face near the stairs: Thelonius. His presence was slightly reassuring. But strange – how had he too come to this place at just the right moment? The blonde man put her ill at ease . . . but her allies were all around, and she was in a crowd.

(I by Teresa. II by Dan and dsolomon. III by dsolomon.)


Teresa said...

"I'm sorry," Cati said with a sudden air of confidence. She was still holding onto Henri's arm. "But I'm with this fella here." Aside to Henri, she added, "And there's another familiar face over there."

She waved over to Thelonius. "Why, Jones! Fancy meeting you here."

Thelonius Jones said...

The reporter sidled his way over to Cati and Henri, the club's patrons oozing away from him as if they were afraid of the touch of his cheap suit.

"Am I interrupting anything?"

He gave the big man a once over, wondering if he was going to back off now that Cati had two men beside her.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"The mademoiselle wishes you to leave her be. Here and anywhere else. You and anyone else. Do you understand?" Henri said firmly to the stranger.

da solomon said...

". . . I'm with this fella," said Cati, clinging to Henri's arm.

The man in the grey suit smiled evenly. He lifted his eyebrows and turned to Henri. The guy was banally handsome; not striking. He had a face and body that were nearly perfectly symmetrical. It struck Henri that the man could have filled any designer suit and have made it seem like it was tailored to him, for no one would even notice the face disappearing behind the clothing.

The man opened his mouth. He began, "Well, then you -"

Henri spoke over him, maybe even accidentally, and the man let his sentence fall. "Do you understand?" Henri queried.

He nodded and replied to Thelonius without looking away from Henri. "No, sir, but it appears I am." He apologized to Henri and wished him a good evening.

The man turned away. He greeted a pair of women sitting at a table near the stairs, soon taking a seat between them and placing an order with a waiter.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri let loose a slow, relieved breath. Confrontations made him tense and protector was not a role that came naturally to him. He felt glad that Jones had arrived. It was a comfort to know that someone who presumably knew how to swing a punch was present.

"Voilà" said to Mlle. Predoviciu, bringing up a smile.

Teresa said...

Cati wasn't as relieved. "I don't believe for a second," she said, "that that fella's been deterred. His cabbie friend had definitely something up his sleeve. He was using those mumbo-jumbo words..."

She happened to glance in the direction of Emma, who raised Cati's abandoned glass and beckoned her back to the table.

She looked at the two men. "Now what do we do, boys?"

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri shrugged.

"I agree. It cannot be so simple. This taxi driver he used words like those that took me away? What happened? We must go somewhere quiet and talk..."

Henri paused, looked toward the dully handsome man.

"but perhaps for now we stay here where there are many people. I do not like that this man has not gone away. Perhaps we will sit with your friend and drink a little and dance very much and s'ennuiera and he will go."

Henri made a gesture something like that made by a magician when he makes a coin or an egg disappear from his palm.

Thelonius Jones said...

"I'd like to talk to you both, somewhere private."

It was clear that the reporter was anxious about something. His normally drawn face looked a bit more wan, as if he had been up all night without sleep.

The reporter gave Henri a determined look.

"I especially need to talk to you. the vial."

He glanced between the pair, nodding at their silent questions.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Mon dieu! Henri breathed.

da solomon said...

Stealing a glance to the threatening man, Cati noticed him getting up. He raised a finger to his two companions as if to assure them, or warn them, that he'd back in one moment. He took a few short steps to the back of the room, past a boy bearing a towel, and into a short hallway that led, Cati knew, to the men's restroom.

She could not believe that he was just going to the bathroom.

Teresa said...

"He won't be gone long," Cati remarked.

"Shall we go gab somewhere then?" she continued to Thelonius. "I could use another cocktail."

Thelonius Jones said...

Thelonius nodded to Cati, "I could use a whiskey as well. Lead the way."

He waited for the young woman to lead them to a place a bit more private than the middle of the dance floor.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"Should I go see what it is he does?" Henri asked, tilting his head toward the hall to the men's room. "Or do you think he just waits to pretend and to see us leave so he may follow?"

da solomon said...

People milled around the trio, chatting happily, oblivious to the dilemma at hand. (Of course, most of the Cellar's patrons had neither a potential wizard stalking them in the men's room nor any extra-stellar experiences to recount.)

Emma stirred. Waving in Cati's direction, she gestured to her own drink and then pointed at Cati, Thel, and Henri - You want one of these?

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri gave a quick shake of his head to Mlle. Predoviciu's companion. No drink for him. Rather than wait for Cati's response he chose to slip after the man in the grey suit, just to see what the fellow might be up to.

Teresa said...

Cati looked over at Emma. She raised her finger for her to wait, then pointed towards the bar.

"Let's dip the bill over there," she said to Thelonius. "Better that we don't let Emma in on this."

Cati led the way and ordered them each each a drink. As she waited for the bartender to fill their glasses, she mused, "I hope Henri knows what he's doing, going after that slick egg."

Passing Thelonius his whiskey, she gestured toward a quieter spot on the far side of the bar. Then she asked, "So what's going on, Jones?"

Thelonius Jones said...

The reporter tossed back the shot, wincing as the alcohol burned down the back of this throat.

He set the empty shot glass on the bar.

"I..uh....went someplace. After I opened the vial know....said the chant."

He seemed a little afraid, perhaps he was just wary about relating an odd experience to two relative strangers.

"It was so real. And I met some people. And saw...things.....bugs...and other...things...loopers. We got out...with the chant. I need to do some research...maybe I can see if he's mentioned anywhere like the papers."

Thelonius waved the bartender over to pour another drink. The man was rambling a bit, and clearly something about his experience with the vial has upset him in some way.

da solomon said...

Henri stepped past the bathroom attendant and into the men's restroom. The door gently closed behind him, quieting the already muted horns on the ground floor. The bathroom was too exquisite to be associated with a cellar; but then again, so was The Cellar itself. Another attendant stood by the sink, towel on his arm, basket of mints at his side. A little past him, there was a row of three shoe shining chairs, all vacant; across from those, six bell-shaped urinals adorned the wall; and along the back wall of the restroom, there were five chicly designed wooden stalls.

There were only the three of them in the room – the attendant at the sink, Henri at the door, and the man in grey in a stall. The tail of a plume of smoke, now snuffed out, rose from behind the stall's black door. Henri knew the scent - frankincense? Surprisingly, the man was making very little attempt at subtlety.

". . . ish hai wo-tum hak gah-rath," he pronounced. The top of the man's blonde head was exposed, and Henri could see him bow twice, quickly. ". . . Ia! Larsom mahal jee-tah! Rashfal! Ia!" cried the man, and then thrice more, "Ia! Ia! Ia! Rashfal!" He completed his strange recitation with a sound not unlike the neighing of a horse, or the vocalization of a shiver. It was finished before Henri could even have completely formulated the thought of interrupting.

Henri looked to the bathroom attendant, who lifted his eyebrows and shrugged.

The man in grey flushed the toilet and undid the latch. He opened the door and stepped out much too proudly. Straightening his lapels, he looked directly to Henri. "Hi." He tipped the attendant four ten dollar bills.

The attendant smiled and nodded. "Thank you, sir."

Overflowing with confidence, the man in grey continued. "There's three of you in on it now? Just like at the Audubon? You're onto my venture, I think. And so what?" He smiled. "Friend, I'm not sure who you are, but you're in a very weak bargaining position right now. Not as bad as the doll's, no. I was going to try to do things a little more subtly. But what's the point now?" Leaning towards the attendant, he shielded his mouth with the back of his hand and feigned an aside. "Business is murder! Be happy that all you've got to do is hand out mints!"

"Yes, sir!" said the smiling attendant.

The man in grey leveled his blue eyes to Henri. "There are some real monsters out there. Why don't you go tell her to just bring her caboose over to my table and deal with me? I can make her problems go away."

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri scowled at the man.

"I will pass on the message, monsieur, but the mademoiselle makes her own decisions. As for bargaining chips," he gave a slow shrug, "it is not how many chips one has, but rather what cards are in one's hand, no? Good evening, monsieur."

Henri tipped the attendant a considerably less impressive half-dollar coin and left the washroom. He scanned the room, and seeing Cati and Jones went quickly to their table.

da solomon said...

A moment later, the man in grey exited from the restroom and resumed his place between the two young women near the stairs. Their drinks had arrived during his absence. The man in grey tasted his, and nodded approvingly to his companions.

From their seats in the quieter corner of the bar, Thelonius and Cati could not quite see everything that happened near the stairs. But when the man extended a long arm into the air and waved broadly in their direction - they saw.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri slid into a chair next to Cati. He tilted his head toward the man in grey.

"Mademoiselle, he says he wants to bargain with you. He says he can make your troubles go away, whatever it is he means by this. I do not trust him. He was chanting in the washroom, not the same chant M. Swami taught us, but another similar one. You say you used the vial, M. Jones, and so you know the power. We are in some greater mess than I could have realized."

Though he had not been present for Jones' describing of the incident, just that the man had used the vial and was shaken by his experiences made Henri feel more confident in the reality of his own experiences.

Thelonius Jones said...

Thelonius stood by the bar, turning his attention back over to the man in the grey suit as Henri explained what happened in the wash room.

"Maybe you should first explain what was going on in here...with that guy over there."

The reporter looked between Henri and Cati in turn.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that we have another occultist dogging our heels. My tale can wait, at least until we're sure that we are out of danger."

Teresa said...

"He wants to bargain with me?" Cati said. "I don't even understand who that fella is."

She drew her eyebrows together in concern. "Look, I'll go talk to him, if it'll make a difference, but I'm not going alone.

"And I still want one of you to explain to me what exactly is going on here."

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"You will not go alone, of course, Mademoiselle," Henri said firmly. "As for what is going... well, M. Jones may want to say what he saw and heard when he used the vial before I say anymore."

Thelonius Jones said...

Thelonius shook his head, "Not here...not yet. Let us deal with the problem at hand first. Care to tell me exactly why this occultist is hounding you? Does it have to do with the Swami and the vials?"

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"M. Predoviciu met a taxi cab driver, who chanted and took her in the wrong direction. She left him and came here where the taxi driver arrived with that shard of glass of a man. I believe this is what has happened so far. Then he is here and troubling her, which you saw. Then in the washroom he says to me that he will 'end her troubles' if she will talk to him. As I said, he chanted in the washroom as well as made a strange noise like a horse. I cannot get away from the damned horse."

Henri sighed and paused a moment to readjust the knot in his tie.

"I do not like the look of him. I assume he is wanting the last vial."

He shrugged.

"Or maybe he feels she has something else for him. He feels powerful. He gave the washroom gardien forty dollars for a tip to attempt to intimidate me. He hinted that he would be willing to kill by tell the gardien that 'business is murder' at the moment."

Teresa said...

"If all he wants from me is that vial," Cati said, "well, then he can have it." Her hand moved to the purse tucked under her arm.

"Either way, I suppose this is the safest place to confront him," she went on. "What can he do to me in a room full of people?

"So which one of you is coming with me?"

Thelonius Jones said...

"I'm coming,"

The reporter said, "But you're not going to give him that vial. Do you hear me? Don't give it to him. These occultists were after it in the first place, and we cannot let them get their hands on it."

It was clear, from the desperate look in Thelonius' eyes that the reporter was dead serious.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"Je suis d'accord, Mademoiselle," Henri said. "You should not give him this thing. Look what was done to M. Swami to get it. These are not good people. We should find for certain if this is what he wants, but then we must make it clear you have passed it on to either M. Jones or myself. That will keep you free from des difficultés."

da solomon said...

Cati's lips tightened into a momentary frown. She nodded, tossed the remainder of her drink down her throat, and tucked her purse under her arm.

Rolling her tongue in her mouth, she scanned the other tables nonchalantly as she moved across the tearoom floor and towards the grey-suited man's table. Thelonius was at her side and Henri dodged around a table to maintain his proximity to the dilettante.

Seeing the trio approach, the man in the suit said something to his companions. Thelonius caught the tail of it: ". . . a deal to make, girls. Five minutes." The blonde rolled her eyes. The brunette winked. They headed to the ladies' room.

"Hello!" the man greeted them as they closed the distance. He did not rise from his seat or extend his hand. "Let's be honest!"

"Yeah, let's!" snapped Cati. "What's the problem, daddy?"

"Who are you," demanded Thelonius.

The man snorted. "Who cares? Names are much less important than people think. The problem, candy, is that you have something that is mine, rightly mine, by all rights mine and only mine." He swirled his drink - maybe a whiskey sour - around in his cup. "I was going to try more subtle methods to get it back, like my man had tried. But you obviously spotted us together. What can I say? I'm not much of a thief. I'm far more used to bargaining. And I always bargain from a position of strength."

Cati: "Meaning what?"

"Meaning . . . give me my damned vial."

"She doesn't have it," protested Henri.

"This is one thing you can't lie to me about. Of course she has it. It's right here, right now. And I'll tell you what's more." The man's back had been straight upto this point, but now he sunk into his chair, relaxed. "If you go outside this establishment of mine, you're going to have someone much less reasonable than me to deal with. Someone who is entirely unreasonable, I'd say. Not even capable of it!"

He paused for a moment to take in Cati's reaction. He smiled. "This is the deal I am offering you. You can give me that vial right now or you can take your chances with Rashfal."

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

"And who is this Rashfal?" Henri asked, frowning at the man.

da solomon said...

"Rashfal." He shrugged. "Rashfal is my bargaining chip. What can I say? If I'm any judge of character, you'll walk out of here no matter what I say, and soon enough the world will be short three amateur occultists." He pulled a cigarette from his vest pocket, lit it, inhaled.

Teresa said...

Cati reached into her purse, fumbled around a bit, and pulled out the vial. Its contents oozed thickly inside.

"I assume this is what you're looking for?" she asked. She held it tightly in her hand and went on, "It's a glass vial, isn't it? Wouldn't it be too bad if I inconveniently dropped it?"

With that, she tossed it to Thelonius.

Thelonius Jones said...

The reporter caught the vial with both hands, clenching his right hand around the glass as he shoved his hand into his jacket pocket as if to hide the object from sight.

He glared at the smarmy occultist, "This belongs to the Swami, by rights. Or do you think that you can steal another man's essence and claim it as your own?"

Thelonius looked to Cati and Henri, then turned back to the occultist.

"I'm surprised that you think your bathroom ritual and threats regarding your 'Demon' Rashfal would scare us in the slightest. That may work on the rubes you usually deal with, but we all know that your power comes mainly from the obsessed thugs that you control via your violent blood rites, hate filled speeches, and drug-hazed depravities."

He glared at the man, his hand clenching tighter around the vial in his right front jacket pocket.

"Harm us, and you'll never find the Swami. Or perhaps you have another supply of ectoplasm that you can readily draw upon, hmm? I suggest you call off your 'Rashfal' and rethink your approach. I'm sure we can come to an....equitable...arrangement that will satisfy everyone involved."

He wasn't sure if his bravado was going to work, but Thelonius stood firm, resolute in thought as he waited for the occultist to either back down or call his bluff.

da solomon said...

Cati removed the vial from her purse and the man's eyes greedily latched onto it. She tossed it to Thelonius and the man, seeing this, moaned, "Oh, no, don't drop it - wouldn't do to have a man's soul spilt all over the floor of a bar, to be mopped up with the filth of the floor -" Thelonius interrupted the man in grey.

By the time the reporter had leveled the final of his accusations, the man in grey's face had pulled into an incredulous smile. "Me? Hate-filled? This? Drug-crazed depravities? Ho-ho, ho!" He snickered and put a hand to his chest. "You've got me all wrong! And from the looks of it, I have to think that I am the first genuine wizard that you've ever met. Look, gentlemen, lady. I'll admit, I'm playing hard here, but I'm also saving you trouble. It's not a hard choice. I doubt you're ready to deal with my contracted employee. Just hand it over. The other vials . . ." He stopped. His smile faded. His eyes fell from Thelonius and Cati. "Well. That monkish fellow only had one. Say, you haven't actually ingested - well, consumed or implemented I should say - the contents of the others?"

He looked at the trio for a moment. "You have, haven't you?" He drew on his cigarette and wrenched his lips thoughtfully. "You must have. Everyone except you, miss." He rolled his eyes and let his head sag over his shoulder for a moment. "Well, he knows exactly what he's -" The man in grey squinted. "- she? Who's to know? - is looking for. You're in no danger if you've already implemented the contents - but if that's the case, then you surely understand what's at stake here, for you must have seen the Arcade by now?

"Suffice to say, I'm not calling anybody off. There's not much you can do to me here; or anywhere really. If you think I'm bluffing, just take that vial out the front door.

"And as for you miss, you've done the right thing handing it over to someone, anyone but yourself. You've avoided a great deal of trouble. If I were you, I'd go join your friend." The man looked towards Emma, who's head was resting deeply in the vault of her palms as she watched people mill about all around her. "She seems bored."

da solomon said...

The man blinked several times. "Actually. I think I really do hear the call of nature." He stood.

"Then it's settled? You'll be here with the vial when I come back? Or perhaps you'll be outside, talking to . . . my contractor? (Yes, I rather do like that way of describing him.)" He smirked. "Ta, then."

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri turned to Mlle. Predoviciu.

"It is yours," he said. "What do you wish to do? Give it to him? Face whatever he claims he has called? Or do you wish to use it? Even this exécrable man says you will be safe if you use it, but it is not a pleasant thing to use it. If you do not use and do not want to give it to him, I believe M. Jones and I will do all we can to keep it from him and his creature. You will be safe."

Teresa said...

"I'd rather not have anything to do with it, personally," Cati said. "Which is to say that I don't want to use it.

"But give it to him? That sounds like an equally bad idea."

Cati shook her head. "This whole thing's crazy, if you ask me. There's three of us, and I've got a heater. We could go storming in after that bruno and catch him by surprise with his trousers around his ankles.

"Does he really have some button man waiting for us if we leave? I say we get outta here and dump the vial, like the Swami told us to."

Teresa said...

Cati turned and headed toward the stairs. Over her shoulder, she said, "Are you fellas coming or not?"

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri nodded. He followed Mlle. Predoviciu, willing to let her choose to deal with the vial as she saw fit.

Thelonius Jones said...

Thelonius followed reluctantly, quietly slipping a hand on Henri's shoulder as he whispered, "I don't think that this Rashfal is a man. Steel yourself. Be prepared for...anything."

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri nodded.

"Oui, mon ami, I think you are right," he murmured back.

da solomon said...

(Action continues in "The Stillness of the Hunter".)