The Blake Chronicles

Down-home Dirty Demon
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Manakiki 18green
I awoke with a start, sweat drenching my robes. I seemed to have dozed off during the PGAs, 1926.

“Silas, did you see that one? Priceless!” Tarot whispered to me, munching sounds coming from inside my boar-skin drum hanging from my hip. “Oh, and you need some Axe – your salty sweaty aromas are contaminating my twinkie,” his voice taking on a very morose tone. Twinkies were hard to find in the twenties, and he was on his last one.

“Sorry, Tarot. I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but it’s such a gorgeous day… Besides, it’s always easier to take my ‘dreams’ head on when I am asleep.” I started to get up from my seat under a tree near the 13th hole. My veil wasn’t hard to keep up, even though it had been up for most of the day, as it was just big enough for me to be covered; like a large blanket wrapped around me. As such, I didn’t have to worry about talking aloud to Tarot, though he always erred on the safe side. I started to pick my way down the hill through the spectators.

“Ah, gotcha. What is it this time? Adolf is speaking in public again?” he asked with a sarcastic undertone. “Oooh, or maybe Mussolini’s wife broke his nose again? Let’s go watch, last time I was going through T withdrawals, so I didn’t enjoy it properly.” Excitement dripping from his words.
Twinkie the kid
“No, something more… magical. It’s another one of those forks. Not a big one, mind you, but big enough. The Blakes are involved.” And with that I stepped through the passageway onto the corner of Never and Never. I wound my way through the ups and downs, ins, outs, this ways and that ways, side ways, top ways and bottom ways. I finally got to where I needed to go, the familiar guttural tug toward the mortal realm, almost as strong as the pull the Nevernever has on me.

I pushed through the veil, onto a rainy street near the cathedral I had seen in my vision. Looking behind me I saw the fell beasts slinking in between shafts of waning light sifting through the Chicago cloud cover, about five kilometers away and closing. Time was running out. Veil still up I sprinted to the cathedral. I started to pound on the door as I clipped the string of power running to my ‘blanket.’

The door swung open, and a polish man, the cop from my vision, walked out of the door, obviously frazzled. He skulked past me, and the door shut.

“Augh, why did we have to leave the PGAs? Hagen was about to clinch it.” The sudden onrush of rain dampening his spirits… hah. Spirits. I crack myself up.

“Yes, tarot, I told you, we have important things to do, and besides, you already know how the PGAs turn out.” I curtly stifle his complaints. And I continue to knock. Finally the door opens on a very clean cut young – well it’s one of those Immortal ‘young’ looks, but still – man. The ‘Anjo Caido.’ The one to be careful around, walking on egg shells, it’s called in English, I think. Immortals creep me out anyway; they’re harder to see from a chronomancer’s standpoint.

“Yes?” he asks, and invites me in. Well not immediately, they have a cloak-and-dagger moment with me at the door; I play along, and they let me come in. I explain who I am, and why I am here to the group of rag-tag heroes. The fox, a Kitsune I believe, welcomes me nearly instantly, though still curious… of course that’s his nature. I put his fears to rest, or rather I distract him from them by introducing Tarot, who immediately becomes a floating tennis ball in the eyes of the canine. The angel has his hang-ups, which is understandable, seeing as who I am, or rather what. There was a rumble of thunder, and under my stress I thought it might be the minor alarm ward I had set on my way. I poked my head outside, and the shadow beasts were still a few kiloms away. Still have time. I walked back in, and started going through theories and battle plans with the group.

The reporter, Knighten, has an interesting viewpoint on magic. Of course it’s obvious we would come at it from different angles, after all, he used to be a ‘straight’ and I was raised in the Court. We both realized (well I did at least) that there wouldn’t be a need for the outer circle of magic (a circle surrounding the entire building) to be set up, and it would cause more trouble than solve, if we had truly activated it to stop the demon, so we resolved to put the bare minimum amount of power into it to put the straights’ minds at ease. Knighten told me he wasn’t familiar with activating a circle, so I let him be the one to activate it… what better way to practice than on one fifty times bigger than normal? After we had resolved a lot of the issues, and Krzystof had brought in his ancient Waterguns for the Holy water, we split up till later that night. Till after the Reds and Blues was empty – Less collateral damage.

After a quick communion, I popped outside to deal with the Fell Beasts sent to spy on us. I started the spirit dance, my special brand of Capoeira, and drew the proper circle in the road, effectively taking away the power from the beasts’ spell, the sunlight doing most of the rest to kill them off. Easy peasy. At that point, Knighten popped outside to see what I was up to. He seemed to be curious about me and my magic. I knew he was a bit ‘vanilla’ so I made sure to keep his hands clean in my preparations. For the upcoming fight, I was sure to need my reanimated friends. He helped me to create the circle, and set a few pieces of the construct up. I was able to raise my Anaconda, and my Aranhas, the tools needed for the job. Everyone was off-put by my creatures, but none as much as Krzystof. I could see the pure fear in his eyes as he looked from the snake to me. I veiled my companions. No need for extra complications, right? Knighten and i then went to the club and drew the gigantic circle.
Anaconda4
That night, we crossed to a top room from the building next to it. The fox ran off without us, while we were finalizing our plans. Henry decided to be a distraction, as he was the only one with reason to really be there. He walked through the front door. As he was down there, we passed through the window, and Kyle played a few tricks on the poor dirty accountants counting blood money like honest Joes. I sent my spiders to find our target as soon as I was through the window, and my snake was nipping at the heels of the group… an anaconda isn’t something you want to trip over while its veiled. We made our way down to the main floor, and I could feel the flow of energies from one of my sentries cut off. The second one made its way quickly back to me. In our way, it told me there’s crap going down in the basement. I stopped sneaking, and ran straight to the basement.

Benny and the rest weren’t too far away. We got down there, and I immediately went to draw the containment circle. The rest of the group was able to bring the demon to its knees without needing the circle, but I had already done my part. There were excess energies of entropy flying around, of course – I never leave home without them. The group decided to let the warlock be executed immediately, though they should have gotten more information from him on what’s going on in Chicago. We did have an entropomancer in the pocket, after all. Either way, we were able to get through it without any casualties.

I heard the boys discussing dumping the body in the river, and I blanched. Why not throw a name tag on him and put him on the steps of the police station? These mortals have to live here for decades, they can’t hide when the river is eventually drudged, and forensic technologies catch up enough to get them. I take the body to one of the best places to dump a body – not that I have had so many bodies to dump – a deep dark corner of the Nevernever that I don’t have the stomach to describe to my newfound friends.

Now on to the real challenge.

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No Redemption Here
The Trail goes Cold
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111205b ryan goslingIt took a while but I finally broke out of the trance and awoke to my room in the church. I awoke ready to yell at…….well nothingness was there. That foolish white court defender royally screwed up. It turns out I was right, the mage was in cahoots with someone else. It turns out that someone was a sinister kid. So I contacted Krysztof and the other guys who told me they would come. Everyone was there, but Krys brought that foolish knight or mage. He tried to claim he was still in the right. This guy makes me so sick. He doesn’t care about humanity at all. His kind should just go back to the NeverNever and never come back! After a short discussion I was quite upset with Krys for bringing the knight into God’s house. This heathen should not be allowed in here. None the less Krys did redeem himself slightly. He told me where to find the phone this kid used. So the fox and I left to go check out the phone. We sat there for a while until we were asked to leave after the owner found out I was with a church. That was when I saw the man that seemed to be watching us. It looks like he was looking in to check us out again. So I approached him and coaxed some information out of him. It looks like the diner I was in was an alcohol running business and they thought I was a cop trying to push for an extra share. I assured him that wasn’t my goal and let him loose. After that I let Kyle go home and I watched the scene unfold a bit more. I saw some police pull up, but had no clue who they were. I head to check out the kids home after picking up some senses of evil and I find it only to have Tommy’s pointed at my face. I back off for now. So I made my way back home. On the way I thought about what I was doing here. It seems like this city doesn’t need me. The guys can handle themselves and we can’t help others without having Fey jump down your throat with threats of being at odds with them the entire time. Maybe I should just find a different city. I hear Los Angeles has had a lot of activity from darker fallen. For now I will try to see if God still listens to me. I shall try prayer. It works for the humans; I hope he will hear it. For now I must reevaluate my position with my friends and their need for me. I just hope I can find my redemption soon whether it presents itself here or somewhere else.

Benny

Picture from the Gangster Squad.

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Night Out on the Town
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Blake puts Benny in a mind warp. It was what Benny asked for. Henry wigs out on Blake. I work with Kyle to correct his mind. When I get him to wake back up, he begins to speak in some Oriental language, possibly Japanese. I tried to ease his damaged psyche or at least provide him a foundation to begin recuperating. We carry Benny back to my car. Henry and I take him back to the church to the care of Father ???

Benny is out for 24 hours. During this time, Krzysztof, Henry and I go to see Dr. Johnny P. Johnson. His middle name is Prometheus. Dr. Johnson shows us three bodies. After examining the bodies we determine that they were probably killed by a ghoul attack.

Meanwhile, Krzysztof has to go back to work. He heads home first to grab a few hours of sleep before his shift. Benny wakes up. Kyle has been coming around and realizing that he is not a full kitsune. Benny goes straight to the library. He is fixed on something. Finally after about an hour of looking through the library, he as a Eureka moment. “Here it is!” He shows us one of my books that I had purchased from a second hand store. The book is definitely worn with wear. While we take a look at what Benny found, he begins to tell us what he saw over the last 24 hours. He tells about the boy, the vessel to who the sorcerer was channelling all off his life force. He tells about their arrangement to meet that night. Benny can remember the phone number that the sorcerer had dialed. He decides to find this boy.

We reach Krzysztof at the station just as he is about to step out to start his beat. Benny asks him to get the address of the phone number. Krzysztof puts Benny on hold. After 2 minutes he is back on the line. He tells Benny that Betty at the front desk cross-referenced the number to a pay phone at the corner of Braun and Wichitah.

I go home and begin telling CG what had happened. I am able to talk about some of the frustrations with working with Krzysztof.

Benny at this time takes a taxi with Kyle to check out this phone booth. After all day and most of the night, Benny comes back to the church basically empty handed. He relates what had happened. He find the phonebooth, but no mysterious activity. He checked out a sandwich shop right in front to ask the owner some questions. Nothing, although he did notice that the guy was having quite a bit of business for a simple sandwich shop. From inside the shop, Benny notices a rough looking guy keep walking in, eyeing Benny, then walking out. Benny and Kyle sneak through the back of the store. Benny sees the guy across the street peaking his head out of an alley. Benny pays him a visit and finds that the thug is a collector for the mob. The sandwich shop is selling alcohol. Sirens are heard coming from the distance. Benny uses this to pressure the thug. Once Benny finds out that the small time mob collector doesn’t know anything about the boy, he let’s him go. Soon the sirens reach the area. An undercover federal agent comes out of the shop with the owner in handcuffs. Elliot Ness gets out of one of the vehicles congratulates the agent, then gives the command to his team to raid the building. Most of the customers fled at the bust of the owner. Only one drunk guy is cuffed along side of the owner.

Once the dust settles on the scene, Benny walks back over to the pay phone. He picks up the receiver and senses the presence of evil. From the phone his is able to follow a trail of this evil. It leads him to a residential house. When he knocks on the door, two large thugs answer with side arms in hand and say, “What’s the matter, Buddy? Lost or something?” He answers discretely. But is told to push off.

PIC OF BENNY AT THE PAY PHONE

During these events, Henry is trying to find out what happened to his band. He knows that they were supposed to have a gig several days ago, but were not reachable. He checks out the agency where his manager usually gets all of his work from. The secretary informs Henry where they are playing tonght. Henry decides to check it out. It is at the Red and Blues Club, which just happens to be my favorite dance club. Pretty ritzy, but my father is good friends with the owner, Warren Crowley. So, I am able to visit there whenever I am looking for a good pick me up.

Unfortunately, my conversation with CG ended in a heated debate. Sometimes I feel like when I am talking with her, she is not really listening. She still has not told me anything about where she comes from. It feels like she is hiding something very dark, or at least something very hurtful to her. What ever it is it seems to terrify her. When ever I ask her about her past, she loses eye contact and begins looking over her shoulder or over my. In the end, she flew off somewhere, goodness knows where.

Since CG was no longer available to talk about my issue with Krzysztof, I decide to just go dancing. Warren told my father last week that Benny Goodman was playing at his club all week. With all that has been going on I forgot that he was planning to go one of these nights. Here it was Friday night. I knew Saturdays at the Red and Blues Club were always packed, so tonight would be my best night. As I grabbed my coat, I thought how historical it would be to hear the jazz wizard himself play some sweet magic on his famous clarinet. That would cheer me up and help me forget about Krzysztof’s rivetting remarks.

PIC OF THE RED AND BLUES CLUB

I got to the club just as Benny Goodman took the stand. Incredible, magic in the making.

PIC OF BENNY GOODMAN

Before the band was done, I glanced to the side of the stage. There was Henry! He looked all out of sorts. I made my way through the croud, since there was too much noise for him to hear me from where I was at.

“What’s wrong, Hank?”

“Knighten! Where did you…wait, that doesn’t matter. You gotta help me, kid. The band, they are…then he…and he said…a-and now I gone! I’m done! Its over.”

“Wait, Hank. Slow down. Take a deep breath.” I had never seen the big guy like this before. The gent literally could scare the pants off of anybody if he so desired. And here he was, almost in tears. “Tell me what happened. But this time take it slow.”

“I’m sorry, Knighten. It’s just that the band is about to kick me out. I just went toe-to-toe with their new clarinetist, a pastey thin guy. He was good, real good, like he was tripped out on the Green Faerie or something. Speaking of, where is CG.”

“Well, its, err…”

“Complicated!” Henry said it simultaneously with me. I shrunk a bit, now just realizing that it was so obvious.

“Anyway, CG is not important right now. Continue, Hank.”

“Oh yeah! I just don’t know what to do. I got myself one more chance to prove I got what it takes. But, I don’t know if what I have is enough.”

“Hank, why is this band so important for you? I probably could get you on full time here at the Red and Blues Club if you need a job. My father is friends with the owner. How about I just buy you a drink?”

“Knighten, you don’t understand. They’s like family to me. The guys were there for me when no one else was. You’ve had it easy, Knight. It hasn’t been easy for me. I need them. They need me, not that sickly toothpick, no matter how good he plays.”

“Okay, okay. I have a plan…Granddad would turn over in his grave watching me. But, I want to help you.” I proceeded to tell Henry what to do.

He took me back stage on the right side. From there I had a clear view of the opponent clarinetist’s sheet music. Henry had shown me a quite lesson in music. With his lesson and the sheet music just 15 ft away, I tapped my cane on the floor boards, focused intently on his pages, and spoke a few pseudo-latin words. From the end of my cane spew a fine spider-line of spirit magic. It slithered through the air, half hidden in the darkness of the low lighting of the club. It crawled up the music stand and ticked the edge of the paper. Magically, the ink on the page began to slow dance. Several of the notes shift up, some shifted down. Natural notes became sharps, while sharps changed to flats. The notes and marks subtlely danced in time with a Hungarian Waltz that my mother used to sing to me when I was younger as a eerie lullaby.

I finished just in time before the band took the stage. They began playing, “Singin’ the Blues” made famous by Frankie Trumbauer& Bix Beiderbecke. There was a lot more drum, though, and they had increased the tempo from the standard 80, all the way to 150. It was cruising. What great swing! They croud loved it. I threw on a subtle glittering razzle-dazzle veil over Henry’s clarinet. The lights hit it like it was made out of thousands of 10 carat diamonds. Henry was playing right to the croud. They began enthusiastically shouting, “Swing, Darky, Swing!” I helped out some more by magically dimming the lights on the club and putting the “spotlight” right on Henry. Too bad, Benny Goodman wasn’t still there. Because, He would have probably gave Henry a spot on his band. It was amazing.

What a night! I felt great. In fact, I no longer was concerned about what Krzysztof had said. I was just doing his job. He didn’t mean anything with it. Boy, how music really calms the soul! I was so glad I came that night. Thanks, Hank…I needed that.

Knighten signature

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Evil Children?
Werewolves, Vampires, and Ghouls- Oh My!
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After Benny came back to us from his communion with the dead wizard’s thoughts, given to him by Mr. Blake, he came up with a phone number for “the boy”- C85124. I, using my badge #, traced the phone number to a pay phone on the corner of Brown & Worcestershire. Turns out that this kid is somehow hooked up to Davy Jones and the British Mob.

We all gathered at 2 am for a meeting with the eccentric Dr. John Johnson, police mortician in of all places, Little Italy. He showed us some bodies, well, in one case, just a leg, that have evidence of ghoul attacks. He says that Liberty Park is the common thread for them.

We all decided to meet the next evening- I know that Benny, Knighten, and Kyle will do more research. Henry mumbled something about seeing if he has a gig- hope that he does, I think he blew off the last one to take down the wizard.

Well, I have to get some sleep- still have my day job tomorrow. I remember when police work was exciting, but now it seems to pale to this extracurricular activity- if only I could combine the two….

Krzysztof Krystkowiak

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Impenetrable Walls
Call Me When You Need Me
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We were back to where we were at the beginning. I approached the car with caution, ready to fire at a moments notice. My only problem was they weren’t looking for a fight. I see one leap out and start bookin’ it towards his only route of escape. His only problem? He was too slow! In moments he was taken to the ground and made a nice lounge chair. “It’d be really nice of you to tell me where your boss is,” I said as I placed the muzzle of my Tommy into his the back of his knee. After that he sung like a canary. We got the location of the place, but not before Kyle decided to mess with the guy by taking on the form of some monstrosity. The guy literally pissed himself.

This was all fun and games, but now it was time to get serious. I told Krysztof where we were headed and we took off. We must have got loss because we were there for less than a few minutes and everyone except Krysztof was there. So we began examining the area. It gave off a strong sense of evil and the evil seemed to be coming strongly from the back cellar. We were gonna break it with an axe, but Kyle said, “Why use an ax when we’ve got a Scotsman.” With that Henry began to beat the door in. After a few minutes we were in the basement with what looks to be some kind of alter and candles spread throughout the parameter of the room. It was here where we found some kind of invisible barrier. It was impenetrable by myself. Suddenly something was causing the fox some serious pain and he passed out. I asked the kid to take him out of the room to get some fresh air, so he did. When he returned some type of flame filled the room. I barely avoided it, so I decided to sit up top till I was useful. After a few minutes I came back down to see a creature of complete evil and horror. So I did what anyone would do. I shot at it. The creature gave off a shriek of pain, but it was pretty tough. After a few moments Kryz came down with some guy. The guy mumbled some words and did some magic, which knocked a man down from the ceiling. At this point the evil creature turned into Henry and he stood over the man that emanated pure evil. I approached the man to interrogate him, but before I could Kryz’s new friend lopped the man’s head off. This guy pissed me off to no end. He was the most arrogant, self-entitled person I have ever met. It took everything in me to keep from laying into him with my fists. He made a bunch of claims about how he was doing right, but he has a long way to show he’s not the douche he presents himself to be. For now I shall avoid contacting him at all costs.

Benny

Picture from the Screencrave.

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Showdown
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Before anyone jumps out of the car Henry threatens, “Keep this inside the Law! Or else we cost Kris his badge…I’d rather not be thrown in the pokey again, either. Angel-boy this means you!” Something about his presence felt uncomforting as he said this.

As the car was rolling to a complete stop and before I even put it into park, Benny flew out his open door and pounced on top of one of the thugs trying to flee the scene. I saw Kyle throw a horrifying glamour like a cloak over his small fox-like body. The glamour liquidously lurched upright into the form of hideous wolfman with vulpine features. The visage had a narrow muzzle full of razor sharp teeth; thick gelatinous drool dripped from its blood-red gums. Its black ferociously charged lips were pulled back and quivered with readiness. If I didn’t know it was Kyle underneath I would have felt the urge to pop the clutch back into drive and run him over with my bumper.

The one thug still in the car was suddenly barred from opening his door as he stared bare faced into the eyes of the Vulpine Man. The thug couldn’t speak or even move. I could not seen the exact details of his face from my point of view, but I thought I saw his eyes closed tightly and is lower lip shaking. Even from my distance I could hear him mumbling something incoherent.

The last thug escaped the gaze of Kyle’s glamour beast. He raised his gun to shoot it. Bang! A gun went off. But it was not the thug’s gun. Krzys was now out of the car bracing his shooting arm on the open door, smoke rising from the barrel of his pearl-handled revolver. The thug dropped the gun losing immediate strength from the bullet that had passed through his hand. He dropped to his knees clenching his jaw to the pain. He tried holding back a scream so as not to appear weak. Blood fell in large drops onto his black brightly polished Ferragamo shoes. Although he didn’t prove to be much of a fight, he was being paid well to afford those shoes.

Being the last one out of the car, I had seen this all unfold. From seeing how well dressed these thugs were, I immediately saw the marks of organized criminals. Usually these forms of low life deal in high priced crimes, ones that were easily controlled and monitored. Crimes that could easily be covered up with high priced attorneys and bought-off politicians. That way, the profits were higher, the risks were lower. Kidnapping was not one of these typical crimes. I had to ask myself, what did these suits want with a handful of girls? GIRLS! My goodness I forgot almost about the reason we risked our lives in that deadly car chase.

I raced over to the back of their car. I took out of my pocket my Grandfather’s knife that he had entrusted me before he died. I used it to jimmy open the lock. A young woman in her early twenties was gagged in the trunk, terrified as a mouse waiting to be attacked by a lurking viper and swallowed whole. The street lamp behind me cast my figure as a silhouette. The girl look at me with terror. I immediately recognized her confused fear. “Its okay. I am Knighten Foraine I am here to help you.”

Her body immediately let go of her tension and began to shake uncontrollably followed by an deluge of tears and uneven breathing. I helped unbound her hands which had been tied behind her back. I picked her up out of the trunk and carried her to the curb to sit and reform her composure.

“I am sorry this is all happening to you…Ms.?” I let my voice subtle elevate in pitch to infer a question.

“M-masters, I mean Karen. Well, i-its Karen Masters…b-but you can just call me Karen. I mean, not JUST you…m-my mom and dad of course call me that…what I meant to say is that ‘just’ meaning you don’t have to call me Ms. Masters…that sounds too much like a librarian…”

“Karen.” I said with a sincere smile. “Karen it is. That’s a very nice name, Karen. And don’t worry about ‘Ms. Masters’, you might think it sounds like a librarian, but I happen to like librarians. My mom was a librarian before she met my father.”

“Really?” She asked dreamily. Oh no! I probably went too far on revealing this to her. But it worked. She was no longer shaking and her voice wasn’t trembling. She was transfixed on what else I liked. Not wanting to push it too far I shut my mouth after asking her about what happened. Unfortunately, my strawberry blond hair was distracting her from remembering too many details. Or at least in details that mattered to solving this case.

Fortunately, Benny had more useful talents than getting girls to stop trembling. He manage to rough up the guy he was sitting on to reveal some valuable information. Lucky for Benny, the officer and the Scottish band stander didn’t see the semi-illegal position of Benny’s gun to the thug’s head. That was the true talent…making it look like it was all clean.

Meanwhile, Henry went to find the nearest phone to call in the police…the one’s who were actually on duty. Benny let us know what he found out. We had an address where our suited friends were taking Ms. Masters…I mean Karen. Dang it now she’s got me doing it.

Krzys and I stayed with Karen to await the police. Krzys had already detained the thugs. Once Henry got back, he, Kyle and Benny all caught a cab to the address.

The officers that arrived had a lot of questions for Ms. Masters. They wanted her to come down to the station to give a statement. She said she would only go if I went with her. Well, a hero has got to do what a hero has got to do. Besides, Krzys would need a ride back once he got the paperwork done that he said he needed to fill out.

The precint was a mad house. Apparently there was a bootlegging bust that went down at the train depot less than an hour before we arrived. It was like an Italian family reuinon at the station, except someone forgot the food. Man, one could have made a fortune selling Chicago dogs to all these hungry, disgruntled Italians. The scene didn’t get any more friendly when our party arrived with members of the North Side Gang.

I stayed with Karen for as long as I could stand, until she gave her full report to the cops. At that point, I knew there was a greater good that was calling me. The group needed me. I found Krzys at a spare desk thumbing through files. We had been there for almost an hour, surely he was done with his paperwork.

“Krzys, you ready? The guys might be in trouble if we don’t hurry.” I thought I said this gently….

“Dammit, kid! Can’t you see I am working?!”

…Apparently not.

“Look Krzys, it not supposed to be on duty anyway. Didn’t they put you on mandatory leave when Andreas…” I trailed off knowing I should have gone there. Krzystof gave me a look of a bronze Gorgon, one of those that could kill a man.

“I get. I get.” I thought myself. I could take the hint. He did have to say anything more. But he did anyway.

“Listen Knighten. You might have been raised with a @&%*ing silver spoon in your mouth where you didn’t have to raise a hand to do any work. But this is the real world, kid. I am working. This my job. People depend on me to consistently give it all I got. Unlike you, writing for a worthless, no-name paper that nobody reads anyway. The only one that really cares if you miss a deadline is YOU when you belly clenches the slightest when you’ve run out of mommy’s and daddy’s caviar a day early. Now go away and leave me to my work!”

I stood there feeling like Karen might have felt in that trunk. Something sunk inside of me. Repressed emotions swelled up in me about my father talking to me stearnly after I had ‘carelessly knocked over’ a tray of Burboun at a gala he had been hosting with many of his business associates. The Burboun had spilt on to the dress of a gorgeous young lady I had been standing next to. She was the eldest daughter of a senator, at least twice my age. I can still remember the smell of her sweet perfume. I had been leaning in to steal a wiff, while holding the tray and serving the guests. It was embarrassing enough having dropped the jar of spirits on the girl, but to be reprimanded by my father was unbearable. I remember that everyone was silent, looking at me. I ran up to my room and cried into my pillow. I felt so sissy afterward.

Here I was again. The whole second floor of the police precinct was suddenly silent. All were looking at me. I froze. Then I grabbed my coat and gentleman’s cane, turned and walked out. I had learned over the years that sissy doesn’t make friends. I tried to preserve my dignity. I made it out of the station and into my car just in time. It was hard to breath, like I had got hit in the gut. I struggled to regular my breathing. I could feel the adrenaline kicking in. My hands were shaking, now.

I was good at helping others work through their feels. But not so good at doing it for myself. I could actually feel myself burying something deep inside of me. I knew that it would hurt me later on like the memory of the spilt Burboun. Yet, I didn’t stop it. I let it seep down into an empty recess of my heart. One thing was for sure, I wouldn’t mess with Krzystof again while he was working.

I started up the engine of my Mercedes-Benz Mannheim 350 Tourer. The purr of the pistons instantly calmed my hand tremor. I looked over the curved cabriolet body, with its red high-end fenders and golden brass trim. I suddenly remembered that perfume again. I shift her into gear and peeled away. Krzystof would have to get his own ride.

I arrived at the address and went around back. The root cellar doors had been blown to pieces. I smelled gun powder and saw 5 or 6 empty shotgun shells on the ground. The number of shells immediately put me into alert mode. I raced down the steps expecting to run into trouble. I entered into a black narrow stone hallway. At the end was a faint light. Kyle was on the ground, muttering incoherently. I ran to him. He lay in an open doorway. Beyond the door, Benny and Henry were inside a morbid room. The walls and floors of the room seemed stained with blood. It was being lit with thirteen torches mounted on thirteen iron candelaras standing at least six-feet tall encircling an alter.

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Leave Me Alone
I Am Working!
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We had stopped the bad guys- see the logs Car Chase and Paradox- now we had to bring them in. I got a lucky shot off, and disarmed the guy with the tommy gun. I put him in cuffs, and looked over to see how the others were doing. Kyle had changed into a slobbering werewolf like that movie Wolf Blood- scary stuff. Benny was sitting on the guy. I asked Henry to take care of calling the local precinct, and looked for Knighten- who was right where I figured- comforting the damsel in distress, the virgin girl that had been in the trunk, a Miss Karen Masters. Knighten seems to have that way, always around the young beautiful women, it must be his youthful face.

Knighten & I accompanied the cops when they arrived, Henry having stayed until they showed up. Benny and Kyle had already gone ahead, seems they had gotten an address from one of the bad guys. Must have been their natural charms, or the fact that Benny is house size and Kyle had been a werewolf, and somehow I think Henry had something to do with that as well. All I knew is that I had a lot of paperwork to do, and was surely going to have to say that the bad guy was hitting the sauce too hard- I could not let the cops think I was working with a magic fox!

Arriving at the station in the Italian district, for the second time in less than a week, was more than a bit uncomfortable. The Chief, I am sure, still blames me for my cousin’s death, and the looks of the officers told me the same story. I was, however, getting some pats on the back for nabbing 2 of the guys that were responsible for the kidnappings of the 14 young women.

Paperwork. That most rancid of duties. It must be done, especially now, especially here. Then Knighten shows up, while I am in a most foul mood, at this temporary desk, where half the force hates me and the other half thinks I am a good cop, which means even more hate me. He tells me that the girl, Karen Masters, is fine, and it is time to go. I ask him nicely at first, to go ahead. He then starts badgering me. I think, trying to shut out his words. Lucia is sleeping with her dead husband’s brother, my dead cousin Antoni. Antoni’s former partner is staring at me. Knighten keeps going. Finally, I snap.

“Leave me alone” I scream. “Can’t you see I am working here? Work comes before anything! Now GO!”

Knighten is a good guy, but the pressure of 2 worlds is starting to get to me. Hopefully he understands. I sit back to my paperwork, and a few minutes later a man in a coat who sticks out to me comes into the station. He asks questions of the detective that I had made my verbal report to, and something he says catches my ear.

“I am trying to prevent more deaths.”

I introduce myself, and ask the man to join me outside. He tells me his name is William Blake, and he is a lawman for the magic side of the world. For some reason, I trust this man. I finish my paperwork quickly, and we take his horse and carriage to the address that Benny, Kyle, Henry, and Knighten were bound for. I will not detail my conversation with William, but I like him, trust him, and I think we can help each other.

Arriving on the scene we found an unconscious Kyle. I knew I had made the right decision on Mr. Blake when all he said was, “A Kitsune? Fascinating,” and continued through some shattered root cellar doors. (I learned later that the discussion of how to get in ended with “Who needs an axe? We have a Scotsman!” Henry, Henry, Henry)

We entered just in time- the battle was not going well. Mr. Blake disabled a wall of force, Henry got to the bad guy, and Mr. Blake literally cut his head off.

Strange, the situations we are in now. I feel that light is coming in over the city, although it is the middle of the night- oh, got to get back to Dr.John Johnson at 2 am!

Krzysztof Krystkowiak

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Kitsune Pride
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I’m hungry.. well I often am..I choose to try to get some food from a human I knew but since he didn’t like my fox look I tried being a human I knew named Benny. But the humans I knew seemed to be grumpy today and Krystof made me eat out side. After that they wanted to find the missing girls and hoped they where by the waters they called the docks.

And so the human that guarded human law and I went there and I showed myself as a human child and I smelled the missing girls. Later we went in and I made them all unseeable and all was well. That is up to when we got to the human boat.. forgot moving water washes magic away.. I feel bad I chose to guard these humans I’ll do better..I promise…a Kitsune learns..a Kitsune grows, the bad humans will not get away I’ll make sure of it!

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Paradox
Or is it Triodox?
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It is strange enough to have a friend that is a fallen angel. Now I have a companion that is a magic fox. The events of the past few days have led me to believe that anything is possible- in fact, probable.

My dead cousin left me a note- a note that read, "Mr. Moran,

We expect to receive our next ‘Shipment’ tomorrow night at nine. This is working out better than any of us could have hoped…except for the human portion of the cargo. Still don’t know what he needs all of those virgins for, but as long as he keeps up with the whiskey we’re good.

Just make sure that the police are looking anywhere but at the Harrison and Sons warehouse tomorrow at nine and we’ll have our booze in and you’ll be set for another week.

Bert"

Talk about not needing any investigation, stuff falling into your lap, etc… This one even Henry could figure out (great guy, no one better in a fist fight, but lets face it- the Scot has had his bell rung a few times). So, we cased the place out- first with Henry, Kyle, and that kid reporter Knighten, who has turned out to be invaluable and a good guy- although I don’t think he likes borscht…. They saw a few thugs from the Purple Gang with guns, but no signs of the girls, other than a whiff of perfume. After work, Kyle disguised himself, with MAGIC, to look like a kid, and we slowly walked by. This time, we got it- the girl was on a boat, and the whiskey was in the warehouse. We called in the cops for the warehouse, and went after the girl ourselves.

We decide that we will sneak up on the 3 goons holding the girl by going under an “invisible glamour” cast by Kyle- yes, more MAGIC. We will use its cover to sneak on the boat unseen, and take out the Italians quietly- or so we thought. Somehow the magic users, Kyle & Knighten, forget that the moving water of Lake Michigan would dissipate the spell! So, one moment we are quietly sneaking up, the next the veil has dropped and we are standing there, in clear view, on a gang plank! Oops!

The battle went quickly, however. They decide to try and make a run for it, one of them laying down a stream of tommy gun fire. I swing at one before he gets past the covering fire- and hit an invisible wall of force- Paradox! Henry decides to throw a crate at the shooter, and he proceeds to shoot the rigging around Knighten- who of course goes unconscious on the dock. Hmm, wasn’t Knighten unconscious at the beginning of the Car Chase? I yell to Henry to drive, grab Knighten, and with Kyle still wrapped around Henry’s neck we get to the car- and see Benny on the corner. He mumbles something about a divine message to meet us there- and the chase that happened before, happens again.

When hit by 3 paradoxes, is it a triodox?

Krzysztof Krystkowiak

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Man Down
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Newspaper article01

Crap! This is just a bunch of crap! Why won’t Ripley let me publish what I really want to publish? He goes and takes my article and chops it up. This only gives the public a mere fraction of the events that really happened. He says that the public just won’t believe it. Isn’t he the one who’s catch phrase is, “Believe it, Or Not”? I mean really! Ripley even changed the name of the downed officer. How far from the truth can you get? Well, in order to make sure that these truths are never forgotten, I am writing them here. Where Ripley has no authority and editing rights.

The new troupe that has promised to help me on my latest case, started the day early. Officer Krzysztof Krystkowiak headed over to the Little Italy Police Precinct to get some assistance. He is very “by the book” kind of guy. In my opinion this slows him down a bit. I think he sometimes doesn’t see the bigger picture at times. Yet, I realize that if he steps over too many lines, he could ruin his career. That would be terrible for his family; and would probably ruin all his possibilities to work on leads. So I respect him for that.

Officer Krystkowiak met his second-cousin at the precinct. His cousin told him that nobody was looking into the 14 missing persons case. In fact, they didn’t even think it was a case. I don’t know how Krzysztof even kept his cool at moment. Krzysztof asked to talk with the police chief, a big broad man by the name of Captain Luigi Armario (interesting name; I wonder if he is keeping any skeletons in his “closet”?) The Chief was not very please to even meet with Officer Krystkowiak, yet out of respect for a fellow officer he gave Krzysztof some time to address the recent events. I wish I could have been there. From what Krzysztof told us, once Krzysztof opened his mouth the Chief bowed out like a whipped dog. One quip from Krzysztof and the Chief turned the case over to Krzysztof. Unfortunately, that “by the book” code took over, and Krzysztof realize that he still did not have any jurisdiction in Little Italy; so he gave the assignment over to his cousin.

Meanwhile, Benny took us all to his library. Its not actually his library, it is more like His library. The collection of books belongs to one of the local cathedrals, the same church that Benny has been staying at. The priest was very kind and let us all peruse all the ancient text. We were looking for something that fit the description of the supernatural creature or being that could be causing all the Red Court Vampires to be leaving their territorial feeding grounds; and that could be behind all the reports of the missing girls. Our searches didn’t reveal any direct details, but it did narrow down some hunches. Henry could have been a little more help in providing more clues about his specialty, Vampires, but it seems that he hung out with his band the previous night drinking. I suspect that he didn’t get to bed until 4 am. I hope he will be of more research help on later days.

Other members of the troupe were kind enough to add to the library. I gave what I could from my personal collection. A few minor books on magic that I have been collecting in old book stores. I don’t know how much of it is useful or not. The only book that I kept is the one that I am still “borrowing” from my old university’s library. It is a book on Parcaemancy.

After about 3 or 4 hours of researching in Benny’s Library, Krzysztof returned from Little Italy. He told us what I have already written. He then went on his own again to get some more leads from a “friend” in his neighborhood. I offered to give him a ride, but he preferred to walk. I think he just likes to do things alone. His “friend” was a leader of a small Prussian Syndicate named Ludomir. Ludomir would not reveal much. Fortunately, one of Ludomir’s cronies, Petrov was a little bit loose with his tongue. Not one of the brightest chaps, but not someone I want to meet alone in a darkened alley. Petrov let slip that some mob activity might be involved in all this supernatural goulash.

While Krzysztof was away, I felt that we would best be of help if we looked from some clues on our own. Even though he directly advised us not to, we decided to go to Little Italy and ask some questions. Ripley had given me two names of the girls that went missing. I knew that it wasn’t much, but they were something. Kyle, Henry, and Benny joined me. I wanted to find out if there were any connections between the missing girls. This might reveal the reason why they were taken.

At first it seemed like a great idea, all up until we arrived at the first house. As I knocked on the door, the wretch of an demon, Kyle decides that he is not too keen on “just” going to ask questions. He decides to have a little fun with our friendly Scotsman. The Scot stayed friendly all the way up till he found himself wearing a lady’s-dress-of-a-kilt with bosoms to match. The grandfather that answered the door became startled when Henry’s deep Baritone voice came out of a woman. Henry, though infuriated, quickly changed roles to play the part. I vouched for him stating he was getting over a cold. But all that was for not, when suddenly the Kitsune beast, who was masterfully playing as if he were a fur tuff on Benny’s collar, suddenly proceeded to have a conversation with the grandpa. The grandpa’s heart might not have been well (that rat might have killed him if he pushed him any further), he collapsed in a sudden faint. Henry and I carried him to the couch. Benny (who should have been keeping that fox in check…I suppose it didn’t seem out of the ordinary for him, after all Benny was still getting used to being human).

Benny began searching the man’s house. We did not finding anything out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, I was looking around the house for some ammonia to use as a smelling salt. I couldn’t finding anything. The way the house looked, I bet this guy could afford a maid to come in and clean twice a week. No wonder why I didn’t find something as simple as ammonia. Once Benny was satisfied that there were no clues to be found, he filled a glass of water, took one sip, then threw the rest on the elderly gentleman. This woke him up with a jolt. But that didn’t last long, when Kyle opened up his big mouth again. We decided to leave him on the couch and go our way, since there was nothing to be found.

The next house went better (Kyle was not permitted on the grounds), but our results were the same. Nothing. As we were leaving, a patrol car pulled up to our car before we could get in. The officer put on his lights. “Were you three the ones that just came from the Giacomo Estate?”

I couldn’t lie. I told him we were. “Might I ask what this is all about, Officer?”

“No you may not! I am taking you in for interfering with an police investigation.”

“Taking us in? But why what did we do?”

“Old man Giacomo is pressing charges on you three for illegal interrogation and disturbing the peace.”

“Officer, I can explain.”

“Try me”

“I am a reporter for the Ripley Register. I was asking Mr. Giacomo about his granddaughter. Here is my press pass. What ever inconvenience we caused Mr. Giacomo, we apologize and would like to make restitution…”

My apology was rudely interrupted by Kyle yawning, “BORING!”

“What the?! Okay, who is the ventriloquist?”

“Ventriloquist? Where? I want to meet one.” Kyle blurted from Benny’s collar.

“Okay who is the wise guy? If you don’t tell me I am taking you all in.”

That is when Henry stepped up and took one for the team. “It’s me, Officer.”

“A wise guy, eh? You are coming down to the station.” The officer put the cuffs on Henry. Once in the car, it became apparent that Henry had more plans than just “taking on for the team”. We could see him wailing on the defenseless Kyle. He was doing it for REVENGE!

Before, the officer got into his vehicle, Benny notice a vague resemblance to our friend Krzysztof. Benny point this out. The officer confirmed that he was Krzysztof’s second cousin. We tried to use this as one last pitch to get Henry off. Unfortunately, it blew up in our faces. The officer just turned to get in his patrol car and scoffed, “Krzysztof’s friends, eh, should have known.” Then, drove away.

I didn’t know how Krzysztof would take that. It turns out that Kyle’s little stunt affected more than just an angry Scotsman. Krzysztof was livid that we had directly went against his advice. He believed that our simple actions might have lost his influence in the Little Italy Precinct, which meant that we were about to get shut down complete from this story. Fortunately, Krzysztof knew a thing or two about family. He told us there might be a chance if we stuck to his lead. After all the dead ends we hit to day, I wouldn’t mind some much of sticking to the book if it meant we could get some answers. We all agreed to follow Krzysztof’s lead. His first command: Borsht.

We were invited to eat at Lumita’s place. Krzysztof introduced us to his mother. But before doing so, he gave us the strictest of instructions that there was to be absolutely no funny business in front of Lumita. She was a precious portly woman with dark hair and a bright smile. Her cheeks were warmly, just like her Borsht. She took pride in her culture. Her house was decorated in small trinkets and curios from the old country. Though her English was a bit broken, she described each piece in exquisite detail as she provided us her personal tour. My favorite was a painting of a mountain cottage painted by Krzysztof’s great-great grandmother. That mountains, oil on canvas, seemed so bold and life like with color. The cottage though was serene and simple. The detail with in the windows of the cottage was something to behold. I could not fathom how she capture such detail with a brush. It reminded me of some of the works of art forged through magic, that I have read about in my book. Maybe, Krzysztof comes from a magic bloodline after all.

She sat us down at a large wooden table. By now the whole house was filled with the savory aroma of her homemade Borsht. Benny was the first to finish his bowl. Krzysztof was hardly even touching his mother’s Borsht. Instead he seemed lost in thought gazing through the shear drapes hanging in the front window.

“Mama, excuse me, there is something I must do. He stood up and put his napkin on his empty chair. He did this so neatly, it was clear that this was a tradition that meant he was only leaving for a short while. I left out the front door. Sure enough, he returned but he was not alone. Behind him heavily walked a large man, definitely Polish with a large chin and wide-spaced eyes. His two eyebrows nearly touched each other in one continous hairy arch. “Mama, this is Petrov. He is a friend of Ludo. I did not want him to wait out in the cold.”

Within seconds another chair was added to the table.

“You lika Borsht?”

Petrov just responded with a big grin and a single slow nod. With one scoop of his spoon his bowl was emptied. I sensed that this did not set well with Benny, who was trying to make a good impression on Krzysztof’s mom. Benny asked for another. Petrov realized the challenge, filling his bowl again, too. Bowl after bowl the two were locked in barf-inducing beefy buffet battle. Neither had the desire to be bested. In the end, Benny had to pull out all the stops to finish his last bowl. Petrov bowed out just shy of a tie by less than half a bowlful. Krzysztof enjoyed their enthusiasm, but was just grateful no one stained his mother’s rugs with a slip of emesis. By the end of dinner everyone seemed to be old friends. Incredible the magic a pot of Borsht possesses.

Once Petrov had left we were all replaying the events of the Borsht Contest. The laughing and gaiety was broken with the phone ringing on the wall in the sitting room. Krzysztof paused before answering it. He picked it up, “Hello?”

“Yes, yes I can…. where do you want to meet?….okay, I can be there in an hour.” He then hung up the receiver.

“What’s going on, Krzys? Do you need a ride?” I asked.

“Its nothing…actually, it might be something. How good are you at not being seen?”

I had been woking on some veils in my spare time. “I am pretty good. What do you have in mind?”

“Well hopefully nothing. But just in case, Benny do you still carrying your ‘you-know-what’?”

Benny looked a little confused until Krzystof gave an unsubtle gesture directing Benny’s attention to Lumita who was clearing the last bit of dishes from the table.

“Oh! Yes, yes. I left that out on the back porch as you had asked.”

“Good. How about you come with us? Knighten, I will take you up on that ride. Do you know the way to Wrigley’s Field?”

“Yeah. Who doesn’t?”

“Mama, I might be out late to night. Make sure to lock up.” With that we put on our coats and hopped into my car. Krzysztof had us park about a mile away from the field and walk.

“What ever happens, I want you to stay hidden. If anything goes wrong you run and get Benny. Benny, I need you to keep your distance a bit. It will all make sense a little later.” Benny and I both agreed to the plan. The rest of the mile was all in silence. It seemed like a long single mile.

I stayed in the shadows while Krzysztof entered the park. He had told us he was meeting his cousin about something important. He was gone only five minutes when I saw him drop to his knees. I struggled to decide whether to stay put or run to his side. I made up my mind once I heard him wailing in to the night. I ran to see what had happened. I found Krzysztof splayed out over the body of his cousin. I recognized his face as the officer that had taken Henry and Kyle to the station. The body was clearly lifeless. His mouth was gapping horrifically, as if his last moments were spent in agony. I immediately felt the pain Krzysztof must have been feeling. In the dim quivering light coming from Krzysztof’s flashlight I could sort of make out the wounds left in the victim’s neck. Krzysztof was not thinking about holding his light steady. Rather, his mind was transfixed on the macabre scene in front of him that was so close to him on more than one level.

Deadbody

“Go get Benny!”

“But I can help look for clues.” I was ready to cast a light spell to illuminate the scene.

“No, go—-get—-Benny—-NOW!” The tone of his voice was slow and deliberate. I didn’t question him. I ran off the field and down the road where we had left Benny.

By the time Benny and I had returned, Krzysztof had already combed the area for any clues. He had skillfully regained his composure, and was back to being an nose-to-the-ground beat cop. Krzysztof pointed out the lack of blood on the body, even though his cousin’s wounds must have cause a lot of hemorrhaging. There was no blood on his clothes or even on the ground. He also pointed out that there was no forced entry into the park. It appeared as though Antoni was murdered in locus alterum and planted here inside Wrigley’s Field.

Once our search revealed nothing else, per Krzysztof’s request we carried the body off the field. It was a cold, lonely precession just the three of us. It felt very eerie. Something just didn’t feel right. Maybe I was sensing something magic (CG said as I became more in tune I would start to feel something, much like a sixth sense); or maybe it was that fact that this was the first dead body I had ever seen, let alone touched. I never did get to see Granddad’s body, unfortunately it was a closed casket; his death still weighs at my mind.

It took us about ten minutes to carry him to the street. Once we arrived, we propped Antoni’s dead body in a sitting position on the sidewalk with his back leaning on the stone wall, which surrounds Wrigley Field’s perimeter.

Without warning, local cops showed up to take the body away. This seemed strange and out of place. I did not object to it because Officer Krystkowiak wasn’t concerned. Officer Krystkowiak went to the precinct to accompany the Little Italy officers. I took Benny back to the church and went back to the office to write somethings down. Late that night I got a call from Krzysztof to meet him in the morning. I am very curious what it is all about.

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