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The Sorrows of Red October

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A Whateley Academy Second Generation Story

The Sorrows of Red October

By

E. E. Nalley

Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

Heart, These Dreams

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Syndicate Rental Operational Facility 221b, Pine Street, St. Louis, MO

“No, NO, NO!” shouted Kayda as she stood from the casting sigil she was sitting on. With a gesture the containment wall of the spell vanished and the naked red head in the Formal Circle was released. She shared a glance with the blond at one side who stood and brought her a robe, careful not to disrupt the precisely drawn circle on the floor. The red head walked over to Kayda and gently took her shoulders into her hands. “I can't!” she shouted into the wall as tears streamed down her face. “I can't do this anymore! I can't live this lie and I won't!”


“Kayda...” the red head cajoled softly, “We've been through this...”

Unexpectedly the dusky-skinned girl whirled, her face a contorted mask of grief and rage. “No, God Damn it!” she shouted up into her face. “God damn you for asking and me for letting you!”

“You think you've got the market cornered on grief?!” Elaine shouted at her. “You don't lie to him every day! I will not allow him to be hurt, Kayda!”

“I won't!” the young Lakota woman shouted, wrenching her shoulders free of the red head's grip and fleeing the room, sobbing. The room rocked as she slammed the door. Elaine turned to follow, but was held by Deberah's soft voice.

“Let her go,” the blonde whispered. “Let her have her cry and calm down, she'll just dig her heels in more if you don't.”

Elaine gazed at the door then sighed, nodded, and pulled the robe tighter. “I know. God! I hate this!” She walked carefully around the sigil to look out the windows. “Is there any booze?” she asked as she looked out the window. “I want to get drunk.”

“That will solve everything,” Deb remarked, rolling her eyes. That didn't stop her from stepping over to the fridge in the next room and returning with a pair of beer bottles. “Buy you a drink, sailor?”

“Hell yes,” Mrs. Cody replied as she took the bottle and drank deeply. The room they stood in was in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, across the street from the Hyatt. No one would have given the building a second glance, let alone thought that it contained a fully stocked casting area rented out by a major criminal organization. “Isn't this hard enough?” she muttered to Deb. “Why does she have to do this every God damned year?

“You know she's hurting just as much as you are,” Deb replied in that calm, steadfast way she had the kept her two emotional friends on a more or less even keel. “She misses her just as much as you do.”

The bottle tipped up again. “I wasn't looking to open up a big tit contest,” Elaine replied. “We all miss her! Yes, damn it, it's my fault she's dead! I can't bring her back, but I can damn sure see that her husband doesn't suffer because of me!”

Deb laid a consoling hand on her shoulder. “I...I can't imagine what you go through, carrying on this way, and for what it's worth I think what you're doing is...well, it's the most selfless thing I've ever seen, Elaine! God bless you, but Kayda doesn't have that certainty that you do. She never spent the kind of intimate time with you that she did with her. I know this started as a temporary thing, but it's deeper than that now. Maybe we should have told him when it happened...”

“No!” snapped the red head, taking a drink again and turning to stare into the blonde's eyes. “I promised, Deb, I gave my word, and God as my witness I am going to keep it.”

Matson raised her hands in surrender of the point. “Alright, just thinking through all the angles is all. Do you have any idea what set her off this time?”

Elaine sighed, looked at the bottle and set it on the window sill as she sank onto the bench under it.

“Yes,” she admitted softly after a long moment of staring at the casting circle. “She...she probably sensed that...I'm...”

Debbie blinked in surprise. “Pregnant? Jesus, Lanie I'm not a mage and even I know you should have...”

“I wasn't sure!” the red head snapped. “I...I just missed one period and...and the tests said...” She broke down and began to weep. “God, Debbie, what am I going to do?” The clock struck the hour and Elaine stiffened as the time was up and the spell ended.

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Times Square, New York, NY

Kayda stepped from the alley where her shadow walking spell had taken her. She wrapped herself in illusion, appearing to be just another young woman out on a shopping trip in jeans and a stylish jacket. There was nothing about her to suggest a sorceress or shaman, or even that she was upset despite the tears that flowed down her face. She looked about, no longer startled as to why the spell always brought her here when she was upset and not concentrating. It had been her intention to go to the apartment she and Deb maintained here in New York, but knew enough to know she didn't have the mental discipline to open the gate again.

All around her the crowds went about their business, shopping or sightseeing, taking pictures and selfies in the neon and flat screen draped walls of Time's Square. Most people ignored it, the collection of statues at the edge of the little corner made by Broadway, 46th Street and 7th Avenue. They were all bronze, their eyes all turned north east at Two Times Square, all in somewhat fanciful skin tight clothing. It was the Heroes Memorial, the homage New York paid to the paranormals that had given their lives over the years to save the city.

None of the statues stood on pedestals and all were exactly life size, the argument being from the original artist that the subject of the statue was larger than life already. Of course no memorial was complete without a statue of Harry 'Champion I' Holbrook, and his greenish face seemed forlorn behind his mask, and perhaps his shoulders drooped a little under the load. Most statues were of the subject in some heroic pose, hands on hips, or crossed over manly chests, lantern jaws set at defiant angles, but those that stood out were the different ones. One statue, that of Magno-man, was on one knee, forever playing with the statues of his beloved grandchildren. There were others, they had just finished adding the statue of Lady Astarte battling Odinson, Red Wing smugly holding a hand of cards, Quarterhorse, Atlas-like, holding up the collapsing Chambers Street Subway Station on 9/11, but there was a single statue that held Kayda's attention.

It was of a breathtaking woman, in the process of dying. She was leaping with every ounce of strength she had, hair billowing in the explosion that was about to overtake her, having just thrown the most ubiquitous of things, a tiny USB drive on which was the cure to the Night Death plague. In front of the statue's outstretched hand, through some complicated trickery of permanent magnets, what appeared to be a bronze USB drive floated just from her grasp, spinning slowly in response to the Earth's magnetic field.

Before it, in bronze, was a simple plaque reading, 'Solange, October 1st, 2013, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' The Gospel According to John, Chapter 15 Verse 13.' As it always did, seeing the statue opened the floodgates of her heart and she sank to her knees before it to weep.

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Saturday September 14th, 2013
The Nalley residence, 2170 Kellogg Creek Rd, Kennesaw, GA

It was a fine early fall Georgia day. In the early afternoon it was eighty degrees and the humidity was only seventy percent or so. And while Wyatt was assisting his father in law at the grill and sweating like a bride groom, the four young women seated at the table further down the deck were obviously having a grand time. They were all heart breaking, breathtakingly beautiful women, a pair of blonds wearing swim suit tops and sarong skirts, a red head in cutoff jeans and a halter top that was currently bunched up around her neck as she fed a newborn from her ample breast. The other girl was brunette and dusky skinned and wearing a one piece swim suit and a pair of shorts. “I hate you!” Debbie growled as she stirred her tea with her straw. “One week, one damned week, from delivery and you're already at your pre-pregnancy weight! Look at your stomach! I'd swear you haven't ever been knocked up!”

A pair of toddlers went running by, screaming with delight as a famous pair of New York superheroes chased them. “Ah beg to differ,” Elaine drawled sardonically as she carefully reached for her own glass and took a sip. “And Ah have the unholy terrors to prove it!”

“Oh Junior and Connie are sweethearts!” Tansy protested. “They're absolutely adorable!”

“Says their aunt who is only good for showing up at odd times, spoiling them rotten and stuffing their faces with sugar, and then running off!” Lanie shot back. Tansy grinned a cat-in-the-cream grin and carefully shifted her leg.

“Well, I won't be running anywhere anytime soon with these pins in my leg,” Tansy replied.

Elaine shook her head in amazement.

"Honestly, Ah don't know how you can walk as busted up as your leg was!"

Tansy stretched her leg out carefully, then returned it to its previous position under the table. "Whatever else you can say about them, The Committee doesn't skimp on health insurance. Kayda, can't you please...?”

“No,” the brunette replied, not taking her eyes off the newborn, who was contently suckling. “It was a mythos weapon, Tansy if I mix accelerated healing with it there's no telling what could happen! You just have to let it heal naturally.” She leaned forward toward Lanie and whispered, “Cuwe, what...what is that like?”

The redhead looked down, then back up. “You have a spell to start lactating, don't you? I'm sure he won't mind...”

Kayda blushed fiercely and shook her head. “Oh, I, I couldn't...”

“Being female, you can,” Lanie countered with a sardonically raised eyebrow. “Though it might make you want to go man hunting. The old biological clock is tick-tocking away...”

Debbie snorted as she took another sip of tea. “Super dyke here? A man? I'd almost pay money to see that.”

“Hush,” scolded Kayda as she sat back, blushing even harder.

Tansy held up her fore arm and tapped her elbow. “Wyatt has a very persuasive argument...” she teased.

“Stop!” wailed Kayda, even as her eyes boggled. “He is not...”

“Oh yes, he is,” Lanie and Tansy chorused and then giggled. “Whenever Ah'm in the hardware store Ah buy him the longest hose they have.”

“It's what he's used to working with,” Tansy replied, holding up her glass in toast. Turning to Kayda she asked, “You ever see Wyatt in a speedo?” Kayda shook her head.

“You won't,” Lanie finished with a salacious waggle of her eyebrows. Kayda snatched up a napkin off the table and threw it at Tansy, much to the amusement of the other girls seated around it. The infant pushed away from the breast, let out a massive belch, and then yawned. “Life is good, huh sport?” his mother asked with a kiss to his forehead as she pulled down her shirt. A soft snore was her answer.

“Should we be quiet?” whispered Deb, but Lanie shook her head as she settled the little boy down into a cushioned play pen in the shade next to her and got him comfortable.

“Oh, please,” the young mother replied with a laugh. “This is his father's son and he'd sleep through a bomb going off. He only woke up twice last night.”

“Put that on a flier and wait for the collective wail of Humanity First! Bitches around the world,” chuckled Tansy. Toccata in fugue in D minor began to drift from her purse, causing her to frown. She got her bag up on the table and rummaged through it before she withdrew the current model Gizmatic Communicator. “Hindmost,” she greeted guardedly. “No, they're here with me...at a family gathering in Georgia...Amelia, I can't, my leg...WHAT? When? No...no...I'll figure something out...! I'll contact you when I'm on my way.” She put the phone down and her face was pale in the warm Georgia sun shine.

“Baby?” asked Elaine softly. “What's wrong?”

“Ty...Mr. West has discovered his apprentice was a mole.”

Kayda's dusky face went pale. “Who for?” she whispered, already dreading the answer.

“Night Death,” Walcutt replied somberly.

“Tell me the apprentice is dead,” demanded Elaine with a fearful look down at her son.

Tansy, her mouth hanging open, shook her head. “Mr. West found him snooping in his private records. West fought him, but the room was too small for his true form...he got away. And he knows where Night Death is imprisoned...”

“If he gets out...” Deb breathed, horrified.

Tansy looked around the table at her friends and lover. “The Committee has everyone chasing him....”

“What about...?” started Kayda as she saw Stephen and Marty settle to the ground, looking at their phones.

“Everyone,” Tansy repeated, as the two were enveloped in a golden mystical sigil in the air that clothed them in their hero attire and they vanished. She turned to Kayda. “You have to heal...”

“If...if he has everyone then...”

Walcutt shook her head. “West knows where Night Death's New York lair is. We've never entered it because we didn't think it was worth the risk. They want me to go in and find the cure for the plague they are sure he'll unleash! The one he was rumored to have nearly completed when he was taken down. You have to fix me!”

"We don't even know there is a cure!" Deb protested.

Elaine shook her head firmly. "Night Death might be a sick, psychotic sonofabitch, but he is just as human as the rest of us! He has to have a cure, it's the first thing he would've invented."

Kayda leaned forward and hissed, “It could kill you! Not later!” she added over Tansy's retort. “Not at a dramatic moment! Right here at this table! Or worse - it could turn you into some kind of mythos abomination! I can not and will not speed your healing, Tansy!”

“Ah'll go,” Elaine said softly. The other women looked at her in shock. “Tansy and Ah know each other's moves, hell we fooled Wyatt that Halloween...”

“Sister,” whispered Kayda. “This isn't a Halloween prank...!”

“Ah know everything Tansy knows,” Elaine retorted. “We've shared a husband, body and mind enough to the bottom of mah soul and hers, every trick, every move. Make me look like her and Ah can fool whoever Ah have to, get where ever she needs to and get that cure, or we are all dead!” She forced a grin. “Call it mah last adventure before Ah settle down for good to Mommy status.”

Tansy nodded. “Make me look like Elaine and Wyatt won't ever know she's gone.”

“I...I don't...” Kayda stammered.

Tansy and Elaine stood. “Deb, would you watch Stevie...?” The blonde nodded. “Come on ya'll. We'll do it in the League Headquarters. Last ride of the Tres Amigas!”

“I'm going to regret this,” muttered Kayda as she was whisked off by the other two women.

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Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
The Apartment of Debra Matson, 64W 40th St, New York, NY

The TV droned on unheeded by the three women who sat in the apartment in shock. As the talking head blithely used phrases like 'a city in mourning' and 'selfless heroism' the coverage of a group of stone faced superheroes carrying an empty casket towards a hastily constructed mausoleum. The hopelessly charred and unrecognizable body that had been recovered was on it...her...way to New Hampshire at the tear-filled request of Marissa Walcutt who wanted what she thought was her daughter buried on the school grounds.

“What are we going to do?” asked Deborah for the third time of her lover and the red head who sat with them, all of their eyes red from non-stop crying.

After the silence strung out, Tansy stood and from Elaine's face and with Elaine's voice announced, “I'll tell you what we're not going to do. We are not going to break the hearts of JoAnn Nalley or Wyatt Cody, or Junior or Constance.”

“What are you saying?” Kayda demanded from her tears. “We can't bring her back...”

Tansy turned to face her with an unholy fire burning behind her eyes. “Ah never left,” she declared, emphasizing her accent. “Tansy Walcutt is dead, and Elaine Cody is alive and everyone around us is going to keep believing that because you are going to make this permanent....”

“This isn't a game, Tansy!” Kayda shouted at her. “You aren't...”

With tears running down Elaine's face, Tansy screamed, “Do Ah look like Ah'm playing a game?! Do Ah?! Ah killed my best friend! It's my fault she's dead! Mine!”

Deb jumped to her feet and wrapped the hysterical young woman in a hug. “Ok, ok, calm down, Tansy, calm down...” The muffled sobs from Tansy drifted from Deb's rapidly soaked sweater. As she soothed the wild red hair she looked over at her soul-mate and asked, “Could...What can you do honey? If she wants to go through with this, can you make it permanent?”

Kayda opened and closed her mouth several times as the analytical, problem-solving half of her brain had a war with the grieving emotional side. “I...there is no such thing as permanent.... Jesus Christ, Deb, what are we talking about? Lying to Wyatt? For the rest of our lives? After all he's done for us? For the World? Without so much as a god damned thank you?”

Deb frowned as Tansy's hysterics deepened and she began to flail. She shifted her arms and pinned the other girl's arms inside her own and continued to rub her hair. “Shhh, it's alright, we'll make it alright,” she soothed, glaring at her lover who stood dumbfounded next to her. “And you want to add to all of that by waltzing in and telling him his wife is dead? Oh, by the way, since we fooled you, you don't even get to say goodbye. Is that the kind of bitch this shaman crap is turning you into?”

Tears filled Kayda's eyes. “Debbie...”

“Tansy is willing to do this. She and Wyatt and Elaine were already lovers and she was already helping to raise those kids. They lost their aunt; do they have to lose their mother instead?” Kayda walked over and hugged both women. Deb slowly released Tansy and she looked into Kayda's face.

“Tansy, do...do you really, really want to do this?”

“I...I...” she hiccupped and held her breath for a moment to try and get control of herself. “Ah promised her Wyatt would never know. Kayda, Ah have fucked up everything Ah have ever done in mah whole life. Let me keep mah word once. Let me get one thing right...”

Astonishing herself by saying it, she whispered, “No spell can be made permanent on a living being. We would have to renew the spell every year.”

“And some kind of...of prohibition like Mrs. Horton used so you or Deb don't accidentally call me Tansy...” Kayda said nothing for several moments, aghast at herself for allowing her friends to manipulate her into this position. It went against so many ethics and regulations, not just of the United States laws governing the use of Sorcery, her own conscience was screaming at her that there would be a heavy, heavy price to be paid.

And if it should ever get out... “Kayda??” Tansy whispered. “Please, Kayda I can't let her down, for the love of God, please...”

From a great distance, Kayda heard her voice say, “Alright.”

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Our Lady of Mercy Hospice and LTC Center, New York, NY

It had been dark for so long. Dark and quiet, floating in an endless emptiness without form and void. The girl flowed through the darkness, blind, deaf, when slowly a sound echoed in the emptiness. “...Knockout!” It was a voice, a sound, a word. The word stirred memories blinding, flashing too much too fast, whirling and buffeting the girl like a raging river.

“...Meat when she got here...”

No sooner had the girl thought of a river than blindingly bright after so long a darkness she was on a river, in a raft with a man and she was laughing with exhilaration... “No way! That's impossible...!”

“Regeneration, my friend, this is a mutant exemplar...”

The river washed away to a laboratory with strange machines and a roly-poly little man who was balding and had kind eyes and too many pins on his lab coat. “You're an exemplar, my dear...”

“Who's paying for this?”

A dark haired girl in expensive clothing smiled at her as she produced a check she gave her that had so many zeroes on it. “Now that you're rich, who's paying for lunch?” she asked with a wink even as she was removing a card from a man's wallet she had for some reason instead of a purse.

“Insurance, can you believe it? I didn't think you could get insurance this good, but...”

At long last the girl found her mouth and made her throat that was so horribly dry speak, “Stop...shouting...” Two men screamed and with a thunderous crash preceded more screaming further away. Then there were wheels and shouting...

LIGHT! Blinding horrible bright... “Miss Kelly? Miss Kelly can you hear me?”

An arm moved to protect her eyes but it was so weak. “Jesus Christ she is awake. Get me a twelve lead, two units of chlorpromazine and somebody get the lawyers on speed dial.” A face appeared out of the blur, dark skin, kind eyes, short curly hair and breathtaking white teeth. “Don't worry Miss Kelly, you're alright, you're in a hospital and you're going to be fine...”

“Who...” The will strengthened. “Who am I?”

The dark face looked away. “Get a psychologist on speed dial too. Your name is Jennifer. Jennifer Kelly. What is the last thing you remember, sweetheart?”

Fire roared up around her, pain, endless, heartless agony. “Pain!” she screamed. “I'm burning! I'm burning!” Strong hands held her down.

“Two milligrams Valium, stat!” the dark face shouted. “Jenny, Jenny you're alright! You're alright honey, calm down for me, ok, calm down.” Something hot flowed into her arm, she was burning and thrashed harder, but the hands were stronger. She wailed and the heat reached her head and suddenly nothing seemed important. The darkness came back and it was welcome.

“No! No! I said two...”

“...Losing...”

So dark, so cool and safe and, “CLEAR!”

Pain raced through her as a giant punched her chest. “You stubborn bitch! I could have killed you! I was an Ultra-violent...”

“CLEAR!”

The giant hit her again and the universe opened and she saw so many things, so happy and warm... “CLEAR!” Something had her hair. She couldn't get her hair free and she was falling and it was cold and the dark face was angry. “Get off my floor and don't ever come back!” The kind eyes looked at her again and she was smiling. “Hey there, girl, don't scare me like that! You just take everything easy, ok? Sarah is going to take care of you.”

“You...you're very pretty,” she murmured and the world faded away again.

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Syndicate Rental Operational Facility 221b, Pine Street, St. Louis, MO

The red hair washed out into sunshine gold and the green eyes faded into icy blue and after three years, Tansy Walcutt wore her own face and body again. “God damn it,” she muttered. For a moment a panic set in and she looked, terrified, at Deborah. “Oh, God, Deb! What if she can't...!”

“Easy, easy,” the model soothed. “I asked her about this once and she said even if the spell dropped, she had what she needed to recast it. You're ok.”

Tansy sighed with relief and leaned back against the window glass. Raising a hand to rest lightly on her belly she looked down and contemplated the life growing inside her. “When...when Elaine and Wyatt and I talked about this, when it was going to be the three of us and we wouldn't give a shit about laws we swore all of our kids would be brother and sister, not half anything. That I would nurse hers and she would nurse mine and...and Wyatt would formally adopt mine so they'd never be called bastard...”

Debbie smiled and encouragingly rubbed her friend's shoulder. “I think that's a beautiful thing.”

“We had a little ceremony to ourselves,” she went on. “Just pledging to each other. I was still active in the Committee and having a family would be dangerous, but I always thought...someday I'd settle down with my wife and my husband and we'd be happy...”

“You already know Wyatt is a good father, Tansy,” Debbie told her.

“This...Do you think I'm betraying her? By being happy with Wyatt? By having his child?”

Matson cocked her head sideways and shook her finger. “What kind of nonsense is that?” she demanded. “You just told me you all three had pledged to each other, that your plan all along was to make a family together. How is that a betrayal? How could you possibly think, after all you've done, that she wouldn't want you happy?”

Tansy smiled and hugged her friend tightly.

“I'm so scared, Debbie! I love him so much! And I never stopped loving Lanie but God help me, sometimes I forget about her!”

“She wouldn't want you to grieve forever,” Debbie assured her. “Love him, bear his child and be happy, Tansy, if anybody walking this Earth has earned it, you have!” She smiled. “Besides, if you think you've forgotten about her, just go look in the mirror.” The two girls shared a giggle and sighed.

“I will once Kayda gets over this,” she admitted, standing and looking at the other blonde. “You think it's been long enough?” Debbie nodded and the two walked around the sigil on the floor to knock on the door. “Kayda?” Tansy called softly as she opened the door. “Kayda, can we...?” The door opened onto an empty room and they found Kayda was gone.

Debbie frowned and kept Tansy from working herself into a panic. “She ran home,” she declared. “Get dressed, and we'll go after her. I have a charm to open a gate.”

Tansy nodded and headed back into the other room. “I'll just be a minute.”

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Times Square, New York, NY

The brunette could never put her finger on what drew her to Times Square every October. Wherever she was from originally, she felt herself a New Yorker now. This was her home, where she had found her life and her love, and whatever had come before didn't really matter. And being a New Yorker it was very kvetch to go to Times Square, as it was such a tourist trap. Normally she would consider herself far too jaded for such garishness.

But it was October and the chill was in the air and there was something.

She stepped out of the AEO building with a latte against the cold from Drink NYC, Starbucks was for the tourists after all and looked about. Every year she shlepped down her from apartment on the Upper East Side and tried to find what it was that drew her here. There was the typical tourists being gouache with selfies and gawking, the hipsters and the art mavens scowling at each other over who was more aloof from common fashion than the other, and as there always was some rube crying at the Paranormal Memorial.

There were...stop the press! She watched a pair of blondes walking through the crowd, and every one near them noticed. These girls weren't tens, they were twenties and if she didn't already have a girlfriend, she would consider very strongly... Odd, they were both going over to the crying rube. Some people have all the luck. One was bent over talking to the girl on the ground but the other was looking around nervously. She was beautiful in a way few women could be, that ethereal, perfect kind of beauty, like Helen of Troy or Aphrodite there was an unearthly quality to her beauty.

And she would swear she knew this girl from...somewhere...

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Debbie bent down over the sobbing form of her lover and took her by the shoulders. “Kayda, my love?” she asked softly.

“I can't,” she wailed softly as her shoulders shook from crying. “Debbie I miss her so much! I can't! I can't keep lying about it!”

Deb kissed her head and soothed her hair. “I know baby, I know it's hard, but...” She couldn't continue as something too loud for a firecracker and too soft for a flash-bang exploded nearby. The three girls looked up, startled to see a crowd of black clad, masked teens, many caring red hammer and sickle flags, many others just carrying rocks or clubs, began to stream into Times Square chanting something unintelligible about the evils of capitalism. “What the fuck?” Debbie asked from holding Kayda.

“Commies,” muttered Tansy in reply. “They're going to 'celebrate' the revolution by having a riot. Get a fucking job...”

A half dozen broke off from the main group and began running at the girls, cans of spray paint in their hands, shouting “Imperialist Dupes!” as they came. Kayda snarled as her grief turned to rage and she lashed out, seizing the anarchists and hauling them into the air with magic.

With the voice of thunder that echoed throughout the square, like an angry goddess she shouted, “Don't you dare disturb her memory!” The anarchists kicked and thrashed, trying to get free as their paint cans exploded, coating them in paint. The now brightly-colored would-be rioters were flung back into their brethren, knocking down dozens like ten pins.

But Kayda was just getting started, her eyes ablaze, she gestured and a feathered serpent rose up from the concrete, screeching its anger at the riot. The black clad teens began to fall over and trample each other in an effort to flee. Some diehards tried to rally their dorm room revolutionaries, but the ones making the mistake of blocking the way out of Times Square were thrown down and trampled.

Tansy quickly pulled her hood up lest she be photographed and turned to Deb. “We got to go, right now!”

Sirens wailed in the distance as the NYPD began to respond. With a quick, “Sorry!” Tansy struck Kayda sharply across the jaw, knocking her out. Deb grabbed them all and they vanished.

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Syndicate Rental Operational Facility 221b, Pine Street, St. Louis, MO

Kayda squirmed as she held the bag of ice against her jaw and shot daggers with her eyes at Tansy. “Part of me always wondered what getting smacked by you would be like,” she drawled with heavy sarcasm. “Now I wish I hadn't.”

“I'll smack you myself if you keep going down that road,” Debbie told her as she pulled the bag away for a moment to check the bruise, then let it return to the skin. “I ought to be enough for you anyway,” she said primly.

Tansy chuckled and raised her hands in apology. “I am sorry, Kayda,” Tansy told her as she fetched a round of beers from the fridge and returned with them. “Here, deaden the pain and drown your sorrows.”

“Did...did we make the news?” she asked hesitantly around her sip.

“Oh, ya think?” Walcutt shot back as she turned her phone around to show the news feed.

Kayda blinked and looked, trying to focus. “You have an alert,” she said as she saw the screen change. Tansy turned it over, squealed in surprise and dropped the phone. “What?” Franks asked, astounded as she had never in all her life seen Tansy act this way.

“It...it can't be,” Tansy whispered. “I don't believe it, I won't!”

“What?” Deb and Kayda demanded at the same time. Tansy looked at them, wild-eyed, then pointed at the phone on the floor. Deb walked over and picked it up. “Wicked (Villain) ID used 3OCT16 15:27 Manhattan, New York,” she read. “I don't understand. Wicked was Lanie's hero ID, not that she ever used it...”

“When,” managed Tansy with some difficulty. “When Mrs Carson took Lanie and Jadis to New York to arrest Freya, she had Ms Hartford create a fake ID called Wicked. And while Elaine took that as her permanent codename, Ms Hartford created a complete second identity for it, birth certificates, college transcripts, everything.”

“So what?” asked Deb.

Kayda turned from Tansy to her lover, a look of astonishment on her face. “She never turned those credentials in, baby. She kept them.”

“I...” stammered Tansy. “I told her you never knew when you'd need a good fake ID. And when Kayda was going through one of her 'I know she's still alive' phases, to humor her I put an alarm on all of her IDs, to ping me if they were used.”

Debbie jumped to her feet and got between the two girls. “Whoa, hold your horses, you two! Just because there was a hit on that MID does NOT mean Lanie...”

“Who else would have it?” demanded Kayda. “I knew she was alive!”

“Stop!” shouted Deb. She breathed for a moment, then in a calmer voice continued, “For all we know, some homeless bum just found it. Now, we'll follow up on it, but first, you,” she ordered, staring down her lover, “are going to do what we came here to do.”

“But...”

“But nothing!” Deb told her. “If it's nothing, Wyatt needs his wife back. If it is her, she must have some reason she hasn't come forward and if we go thundering off half-cocked we could get her killed! Night Death may be dead, but if she's hiding in what's left of his organization we have to be extremely careful. She may even be mind-controlled and we need to rescue her. So! Spell, return to normal life and we'll start researching slowly. And no one is going to get their hopes up, alright?”

Kayda nodded slowly, turning to Tansy. “You'll start as soon as you get home?”

“No,” the blonde told her. “I'm going to arrange a sitter and make love to my husband like I'm a thousand dollar a night hooker to ease his mind because he thinks I come here to have a lesbian romp with you two and I'm cheating on him. And once I'm certain he knows who is buttering his bread, then I'll start looking.”

After a sardonic half smile, Kayda said, “Yeah, I guess that's important. Get naked and get in the circle, super hooker.”

Tansy pulled her blouse over her head. “I'm going to smack you again on the other cheek, Tonto.”

“Hi-ho Silver,” taunted Kayda.

linebreak shadow

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Apartment of Jennifer Kelly and Sarah Williams, 151 E 76th St, New York, NY

Jennifer kicked the door shut and threw two of the four locks. “Sarah?” she called into the apartment as she took the pistol from the small of her back and removed it's magazine. “I'm home, baby.”

She opened the closet and put the pistol into one of the two safes there, locked it, then the magazine and the spare carrier with two more into the second safe and closed it right as a pair of welcome hands enveloped her from behind and her lover buried her face into her neck and kissed her. “There's my Irish rose,” Sarah murmured as she hugged Jennifer, then helped her out of her coat. “I was worried, Jenny, there was a riot...”

“I got caught in it,” Kelly replied as she took her coat from the other and hung it up. Seeing the worried expression on her lover, the doctor's face she forced a smile and kissed her more passionately on the lips. “I didn't do anything,” she assured her. “The damned MCO showed up and because my MID is still Red Band they took that as an excuse to hassle me.”

“Why won't you go and appeal for a review...?” lamented the Doctor, but the Gem Courier shook her head.

“I don't know who Wicked was or what she did, baby and I don't want to. I'm not her anymore. I'm a respectable lipstick lesbian, and a native New Yorker who bagged herself a drop-dead-gorgeous doctor!”

“My sweet talking Irish Rose! You just love me because...”

“I love you for you,” she replied. “My beautiful, wonderful, my God what she can do with her tongue, Nubian Princess!” The two women giggled like school girls and laid their foreheads together. “I might get to act wicked with you, but I'm not Wicked, not any more, my love. Let the dead stay buried.”

linebreak shadow

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016
House-mother's Apartment, Poe Cottage

“You wanted to see me, Mrs. Horton?” asked Laura through the half open Dutch door. “Oh, hi Mrs Cody!” The redhead smiled and waved as she turned from overseeing her children playing on the floor.

“Come in, dear,” Mrs. Horton instructed. “Mrs. Cody has a favor she wants to ask.”

“Well, not me,” Elaine drawled, removing her hand from her purse. “Mah good friend Mr. Hamilton,” she said, holding out the note and putting it in Laura's hand. “Was wondering what you were up to this evening? See, he knows it's short notice, but he would really like to have a get together with you, mah kids, and his friends, Mr Jackson, Mr Grant and Mr Franklin. What do you say?”

Laura's eyes boggled. “Um, you can tell Mr. Hamilton, Party on Alex!”

“What luck - I have an unused Junior High room you can use for a party room,” Mrs. Horton added with a sly expression. As Laura took her fist full of cash and the Cody kids next door, the house-mother stood and kissed her former student on the forehead. “Congratulations, my dear.” she said, winking at the startled look she gave. “Oh, never mind how I know, go surprise your husband, tell him he's a father again, and make him glad of it.”

“You're the best, Mrs. Horton!” she enthused as she gave the older woman a deep hug and practically skipped out.

Bella watched her go and smiled. “No, I'm not the best,” she whispered. “You are, Tansy.”

* Finis *

Read 2553 times Last modified on Saturday, 21 August 2021 22:31

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