Game Time: March 16th, 2012
Real World: May 27, 2012
Isaac waved to the barkeep for another round. He was not sure how long he had been at the bar, but he could still see the faces of his attackers. Wide emotionless eyes started at him as he watched Dom and Padrig beat them down in the flickering light of his camera.
The thought seeing those eyes again in the photos he took first needed to be washed away by the whiskey. How many had that been? No matter. The cool bar top stopped the room from spinning. Sort of. Isaac knew he performed better when drunk. Sharp as a tack.
“Another round for my friend here”. Isaac felt someone sit on the stool next to him. As he raised his head he saw the tennis shoes, faded blue suit and that ugly 40 year old hat. Kolchak. “Better make it a double.” Isaac slurred.
“Isaac my friend. You look like you are have a good night. Celebrating some big new story? What you working on?”
“Nothing today Kolchak. Nice and quite day.”
“Really. A slow news day for you? Huh. I’ve had quite the day. In fact I was just out at a church on the west side that had been broken into and vandalized.”
“Oh, it is. It is. You see they broke a large glass window, went all the way across the main hall and then carved up the podium.”
“Whoopee. To think when we were kids they just looked for a wall to spray paint.”
Kolchak draws a quick sketch on a napkin. “Well, they carved this into the podium. Ever seen anything like that.”
“Huh. Just saw that down at the Ward Library. Er. I mean no. Never saw that before. It was like a carving I saw. At the Library. I mean the Newberry. I mean a museum.”
Kolchak jumped out of his chair. “Thanks Isaac. Knew I could count on you.”
Yup. Sharp as a … a … pointy thing.
Imogene woke early to get a head start on the day. A few good engagements and she could establish a good reputation for her business, Heavenly Cupcakes. If the work didn’t overwhelm her. Mentally adding picking up a Help Wanted sign to her to do list she focused on the baking.
The knock on the delivery door startled her. It is too early for a normal delivery. Wiping her hands clean she tried to think what special delivery would show up at this hour. Who ever it was they were persistent as the knocking grew louder. And why wouldn’t this red paste get off her hands?
Imogene slowly started to back away from the steel door. A hand reflexively went to a pocket to ready a potion.
The door flew off it’s hinges revealing a floating cowled figure which raised a robed hand which was pointing at her. She fled toward the front room, screaming.
The cool morning air breezed against the light layer of sweat Dom had built up. Running down the shoreline with the sun just on the horizon. The day was off to a great start. Passing by a few pedestrians on the thinly populated path Dom kept a steady pace.
The voice brought him to a full stop. It couldn’t be.
“Dom? Is that you?”
Dom slowly turned around. She looked as beautiful as ever.
“Alahandra? Is that you?”
Her smile dimed the rising sun. “Dom it has been so long. Ever since…” The smile faded. Dom’s faded back into a memory. Of that last mission. They had died. All of them. An only survivor.
“You are looking good. Since when have you been in Chicago?”
“I grew up here. Came back after Joe was buried. To start over.”
It was then Dom noticed the small lump attached to her hip. The boy was maybe 6 years old.
“Say hello Joseph. This is Mr. Donatello. He was a good friend of your Dad.”
The little boy pressed harder into her leg, as if he could disappear inside it.
“He is a little shy. I am actually in a bit of a rush. We should have lunch sometime, yes?”
Dom was lost in the little boy. He recalled when he had introduced Alahandra to his best friend. While he had wanted her they were such a good match. And the boy looked so much like Joe. “Um, yes. Lunch would be great. I have a shop in town. Here’s a card. Give me a call.”
“So good to see you. Bom dia.”
The pair left Dom alone with the shades in his memory haunting him.
The sting of the pop quiz he tanked still fresh Paddy pushed the pace. Maybe journalism was not the right major for him. He could all but hear a clock ticking as his sophomore year was winding up. Soon he would need to declare a major as he could not stay in General Studies.
Reaching the office his manager called out. “Paddy! Where have you been. I have been trying to call you all morning.”
“Just at school like normal. I’m not late.”
“Not for me, but your Mom’s been calling. She’s really upset. Seems to think you were in some sort of fight last night and has been unable to reach you.”
Paddy recalled Imogene handing him back his ruined phone. One of the cops on the scene must of called her. “Um. I can explain. My phone broke last night. I had not had time to pick up a new one.”
“Well go give her a call. You can use the land line in that office.”
As Paddy dialed he could already hear the fight to come. She would want him to move back home. He would have to quit his job as a bike delivery and go back to working with her at the shoe shop.
With no answer at home or the shoe shop Paddy considered where she might be. She is probably camped out on his apartment door step. With none of his roommates in she was likely in the hall building up steam. Definitely not a lucky day.
Isaac turned the corner still unsure how he was talked into this. “All I ordered was a cupcake. Not to act as a witness.”
Paddy sighed. “It should just take a moment. I just need her to see I am all right. She might be a bit upset, but it shouldn’t be too bad as long as there is a witness. Right? And I brought a chocolate cupcake to help smooth things over.”
The pair walked up to the apartment entrance where Paddy’s mother stood vigil.
“Padraig! Where have you been? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine mom”
Isaac munches on a cupcake from the box as he watches the show.
“Your cousin called last night. I have been worried sick. Why didn’t you call?”
“It was too late to call when I got home last night.”
Wow the rum cupcakes are good.
“That’s no excuse. You were in a fight with a gang. You call.”
And the icing delicious.
“I told you the city was much to dangerous. You will of course move back home now.”
“No mom. We have been over this. My work and classes are down here.”
Ohhh! This one is chocolate!
“Padrig Murphy! This is no time to argue. You will move home and help me with the shop. No more of this city business.”
“Mom, I love you. But I am staying here. I’d like to introduce you to my friend Isaac.”
“Mice mo meem mu.”
“You are hanging out with drunk hobos?”
“Sigh, no mom. We found this great cupcake place. I even got you your favorite.”
Isaac offers up the now empty cupcake box as he tries to swallow.
Alex wakes early to a throbbing head and a ringing door bell. Checking quickly in a mirror on the way to the door he sees the outline of the wall on his face from the night before is starting to turn black a blue.
Behind the door Alex finds a currier holding a message from his stepfather. The man does not believe in phones. Of course he wants to meet right away this morning for some physical exercise and fire evocations.
Tipping the currier Alex closes the door and readies himself with a 5 Hour Energy drink as he dresses. Just like his stepfather to want to do more combat magic. The guy just loves his hero, the hotshot warden of this town. Don’t they know there are other ways to use magic. More subtle, not to mention pleasing?
Bolting out of the condo complex Alex bumps right into Cordelia Brown, a local socialite he has been trying to meet again for months. She seems to be his best bet to finally get into club Excalibur and up his clientele.
“Pardon me. Oh, Alex? Alex! Oh my, what happened?”
“Good morning Cordelia. Oh, I just had a small disagreement with some architecture.”
“Oh no. It looks painful. Do you need a doctor?”
“No need. It is nothing. It is wonderful running into you this morning.”
“Oh, poor baby. Come. We must do breakfast. You can tell me all about this offending architecture.”
“How could I possible refuse such an invitation?”
Stepfathers can wait.
Imogene sits awake in bed screaming, her alarm clock gripped tightly in her hands. It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.
Shoot, I’m late. Need to get started on cooking for today.
Rushing down stairs she heads into the kitchen and starts to ready supplies. The steel door catches her eye. Grabbing a basting brush and a vial of holy water she keeps around he bathes the door.
It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.
She pulls together various dough and mixes and soon in lost in her work. While working on a special order red velvet cake she hears a light knock on the rear door. Startled her hands are suddenly covered in red food coloring. Much too early for a delivery today.
It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.
She wipes her hands on a handy towel as she slowly spies the door. “Who is it?” she calls. Imogene does here a muffled voice from the other side. She slowly approaches.
“M…an…” The voice is much too soft to make out.
Saying a prayer she slowly unlocks the door and peers out into the alleyway. She spies two young girls, a lanky one and a shorter, heavier girl. Both look like recently reformed goths. The tall one is handing her a piece of paper. Imogene takes the paper.
I heard through the grapevine your store is in need of some hired help. These two young ladies could really use a good start in the world and I thought your needs would overlap. Please see it in your heart to take them in.
Father Anthony Forthill
Saint Mary of the Angels Church
“One moment ladies.” Imogene makes a quick call to Father Forthill, who she knows by reputation only. By phone she quickly confirms the note is from him. He explains the girls are coming out of some sort of abusive situations and need a job and a home.
“Come on in ladies. Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself.” While not ideal candidates she pictured for her store, the tall one has some retail experience and the other is somewhat familiar with a kitchen. Soon she puts them to work and gets on with the never ending chores of a small business owner.
The rush of the early morning behind her Imogene sits down with the strange book she picked up the previous night before. She recalled grabbing it out of instinct from the table Paddy was looking at just as the lights had turned off. It wasn’t even until she got home did she realize she had stuffed it in her purse.
History of the Chicago Coin Club. What an odd book to pick up. She flips through it quickly. Nothing of note in the book and it read as dry as the title.
Over the next few moments individually Dom, Alex, Isaac and Paddy enter the store. Discussion turns to the symbol found the previous night which Imogene and Alex both agree it is an arcane symbol which means unlock.
Imogene hands the book over to Alex hoping he can find something she might of missed. Alex is also provided some knives by Dom from the night before and the PROJECT TOMORROW tags by Paddy. Using his ward-sight glasses Alex reviews the items, but finds no magical ward on any of the items.
Alex decides to take the items back to his condo to review the collected items in more detail and is joined by Dom. Paddy and Isaac decide to visit the hospital the assailants likely ended up at to see what they could learn . Imogene stays at her business and plans to join the others after it closes.
Isaac drove as Paddy read the report from the morgue.
“Get this. The coroner says that the body showed typical signs of a rough street life. During the autopsy a centipede crawled out of the subjects abdomen, fell to the floor and crawled down the drain. I know when hungry enough people will eat anything, but ick.”
“Clearly you have not tried a good tequila.”
“Um, yeah. Not gonna ask.”
The church was in the suburbs and a fairly large size. The empty parking lot said not much was happening this Friday night, but they do find someone working late to let them in. Their investigation finds the only damage to the building is a large glass window had been smashed as a point of entry and one of the wooden pulpits had that same odd symbol from the library craved into it.
The helpful member of the church mentions they recently finished a major renovation on the structure by Rezmar Corp. The name rings a bell with for Isaac, but he is unable to place why until the name Tony Rezco comes up as the one providing the donation to fund the renovation.
Back at his condo Alex reviews the Coin Collection book Imogene took from the library. A closer physical inspection of the book reveals nothing hidden in the binding or margins. The check out log in the book shows it has only been out 6 times over the last 10 years, 3 times by a J.B. in the last 7 years.
Alex decides to summon a spirit of knowledge to learn more about the knives. He repeatedly tries to build the containment circle, but has trouble focusing. Ensuring Dom is well protected he continues to try, slowly building the energy. Dom can’t resist taking a small peek.
Paddy, Isaac and Imogene meet up in the hallway leading up to Alex’s looking at what looks like a blown out light fixture. It seems out of place in such a nice place. Carefully they approach his door and knock. Alex answers the door. With glowing eyes and pointy teeth.
“Welcome all. We had a little trouble.”
In the background the trio see Dom lying on the floor mumbling something quietly to himself that sounds like gunfire.
Imogene breaks the stunned silence. " My Alex, what remarkably sharp teeth you have".
As they help Alex revive Dom they review the clues collected over the day. To the pile Dom adds he noticed the library where the attack was had just been renovated. Alex adds a picture of the class of 1924 found in the coin collecting book where each them find someone that looks like them.