Henry and I were at my place recovering from the run-in with the d’Evil Child. When my father came in. I quickly stood up from exhausted slumped relaxing on the couch. I immediately looked around my apartment at the mess that hadn’t been attended to for several days due to all latest adventuring. A sickening feeling weighed heavily in my gut like a brick. I visually scanned the open rooms quickly to make sure that CG was not in sight. A mess was one thing, having my father see a faerie. His mind might just end like old Pompeii—-blown!
“Father?! Uh—-what brings you over, sir?”
Father didn’t look at me. Instead, he too was scanning the room as he talked to his son. He clearly recognized the mess. The feeling got a bit heavier. It was now like I had swallowed a wheel barrow full of bricks. “Our dinner appointment Saturday?”
-Knighten! How could you forget your dinner appointment with your parents?!- I thought to myself. But responded not showing my mental slip, “Yes, with you and Mother. I have not forgotten, Father.” Granddad would be turning over in his grave right now. The heaviness started feeling like I had downed a whole chimney of bricks. But wait! It was still Thursday, so I technically had not yet forgotten. It felt a little bit lighter, back to a wheel barrow full.
“Actually, Knighten we have been invited to the Alfieri’s Party this month, a birthday celebration. I expect you can make it? Here is your ticket.”
“The Alfieri’s Party? This is wonderful news, Father. Of course I can make it. I will have my tuxedo and tie pressed first thing in the morning. This is an incredible opportunity for you Father.”
The Alfieri’s were the top echelon of high-society in the Lake Region of Illinois in the 1920’s. Anybody who is ‘somebody’ gets an invitation to their monthly parties. Every month 100 invitations are sent out. These lucky ‘Centennials’, as they are called dine with the finest. Some few receive a repeat invitation and add a prefix to their elite moniker, such as “bi” or “tri” for those who have received 2 or 3 invitations in their lifetime, respectively. Only a handful of the elite carry the moniker of being a ‘Millennial’. These are the regulars at the Alfieri Estate, personal friends of Hr. Renato & Fr. Rosa Alfieri.
“Yes, Knighten, it WILL be an opportunity. In fact, it will be quite the opportunity for you as well. Col. Robert McCormick of the Tribune will be there. I hear that he has nearly won the circulation war over Hearst’s paper, the Examiner. It is with that audacity that you need to pursue life, Knighten.” It hit me hard. As I have stated before, Father has never approved of my association with the Ripley Register. I felt a whole brick house sitting right at the bottom of my stomach. “Carlton will be by with car at 5 o’clock.”
“And Knighten…do keep the place more respectably.”
“But I…yes, Father.” I cut my explanation short for what I knew he ‘wanted’ to hear. I don’t think there was room enough for inside of me for an excuse since it was all being hoarded up by the full size brick house.
Once my father shut the door, I began picking up the gentle mess around the apartment. Henry was on the couch. He was now stirring.
Henry had lost his apartment after he wasn’t able to make rent for the second month. His old band still owed him a sizable sum for a few gigs that Seamus had blown on gambling debt. But now that Seamus was dead with his brains plastered across the floor in a basement of one of the local nightclubs, and his body…wait…wait…it should have been thrown into the Never-Never…but that was Silas’ handiwork. My goodness we threw him instead in the Chicago River?…which means we must have hauled his dead bloody body in MY car! They will trace his death back to me! How could I have let this happen?!
Oh wait, wait. Seamus is NOT dead. That’s right. It is still hard to distinguish one time-line from the other. After seeing what Henry was capable of ‘last’ time, and knowing that Silas wasn’t there ‘this’ time, I prevented Henry from killing his despicable band leader. Even Benny agreed this time to turn him over to the police. I guess once he could see how time can be changed, he started to see that Ol’ Seamus might not be so ‘beyond redemption’ after all. Needless to say, Seamus was not in a place to collect a debt from while being contained inside Dunning Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
Henry was looking a bit down.
“What’s up Hank? Looks like something is on your mind.” I asked while stooping to pick up a pile of clothes and an overcoat.
“Huh, what?” Henry shook his face back and forth as if shaking off a daze. “Oh. I-I haven’t felt myself lately. Ever since I cast the Fetch out of me, I have felt so cold. Kind of ironic since the Fetch are beings of death and cold. But, somehow the Fetch blood gave me some warmth. Knighten, I wish you could understand the feeling. You see the Fetch has always protected me, kept me safe. I never told you this before, but many years ago my family was viciously taken from me. I am alive today because I was half-Fetch at that dark time. Their murders could not touch me because I was not quite human. I was more than human. Now? Well, now I am just Henry. I feel as though I betrayed that part of me when I chose to repeal the Darkness…I regret I did it.”
“What are you talking about? Like CG said, your path only had two choices. Your other choice would have ended up probably hurting one of us. Or worse, Benny would have probably KILLED you. You know how he gets when he slips into that mantra of his: ‘They are beyond REDEMPTION!’ Its like he thinks he’s God himself. He wouldn’t have let you go on as a full Fetch, you know that.”
“I know. But still. Its gone.”
“What about that cloak you have been talking about?”
“My uncle Philip’s cloak?”
“Is that who gave it to you?”
“Yah, I am wearing it now. You want to see?”
“What you are wearing it. I thought it was a cloak, not a trench coat?”
“You call yourself a budding wizard and you assume things are always what they seem to be?” Henry jested with a much needed smile. He took off his seeming trench coat. As he did this, the stiff canvas cloth of the coat softened to a flowy, glossy drape made from a fine selection of dark brown furs. Surprised by the illusion, I took a closer look, examining the surface of the cloak with amazement.
“Is this sable fur? And these runes…I am unfamiliar with them. But look how they seem part of the fur. They are neither dye, nor paint; but seem to be made from the very hairs.”
“Yah, large mustelid related to a weasel and badger with dark brown fur with golden markings found in the northern parts of Eastern Europe and the Ural Mountains…you know, a sable.”
“Mustelid? Look all I know is that when I put it on I could take a full-on hit from a 20 pound sledge right to my face, and didn’t even take a step back let alone flinch.”
“That is astounding! Why are you still feeling powerless then?”
“I never said I was feeling powerless…just cold and empty. Anyway, I wonder what the rest of the gang is up to.”
“Man! I forgot all about our meeting with Dr. Johnson at 1 am. Dang, ever since Silas was—-well erased, I have been having a tough time remembering things.”
“What? Silas? Erased? You mean that really happened? That wasn’t just a bad trip I had? I was trying to drown out my racing thoughts the other day with a drink or two. All I could find was some moonshine. I thought it was tainted with wood alcohol or something worse with all those ‘visions’ I thought I had. Wooh! That is good to know.”
“Henry Angus McDougal Sutter!! Moonshine? That stuff kills. Just last month three bodies were found in the streets, dead from methanol poisoning. I believe Mother reported 9 new cases of alcohol blindness found at the shelter last week; 3 were permanent!”
“Relax, Knighten. Three out of nine? Those are good odds in my book. And what is a Scot supposed to do? Who the hell thought it what a Christian act to make drinking illegal? Do you know how many Scots live in this country? Did they ever consider our pain? PAIN, Knighten! Lots and lots of pain!”
The Scot began to blubber.
“May the Saints save me! I came THIS close, the other day.” He pinched his thumb and index fingers tightly together, and squinted through the obvious non-existent space between them. “This close, Knighten, to throwing up my arms and shoving off back to Scotland where its a crime NOT to drink and be merry. How else are we Scots supposed to keep up our large families if not for getting the occasional drunken spirit that makes all wives seem like the goddess Aine herself? Mark my words Knighten, when they finally revoke this god awful law there will once again be a boom of crying babies back in the Scottish-American homes; whole generations of them!”
“And THAT is why a Scot will never make it into the Oval Office.” Knighten chuckled lightheartedly. “Come on we might still be able to catch them at the Station.”
CG flitted hastily in front of my face as I turned towards the door. “Knighten, I needed to speak with you and your friends.”
“Well, as soon as possible; but before you go to this hoity-toity party. Its very important.”
“Just tell me now. I will tell the gang.”
“No, no! They have to be here.” She was becoming more excited on the angry side.
“Okay, okay. I will bring them here. Do no trickery around them!”
“Trickery? Knighten, I never!”
“CG, you need to promise me that you want do any tricks, you have to behave. Or, I won’t bring them over.”
CG bit her upper lip and shook in the air clearly put off by the word “promise”. She hated when I made her “promise”, only because she knew it was her fault for revealing that secret about the Fae, in which they could not break a promise.
Finally, just as it seemed she would explode from the pressure building up in her itty-bitty face, she suddenly change to a pleasant demeanor and respond. “Okay, Knighten. No tricks. I promise.”
“I will try to bring them over tonight, even though it will be quite late.” With that Henry and I left for Dr. Johnson’s.