“You’re Wilson’s brother?” asked the Librarian, staring at the disheveled man. “I thought you were supposed to be dead?”
“Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but your brother is toast,” she said.
“Toast? What does that mean, exactly?”
“It means he’s dead,” said Mr. Waters.
“Dead? How can he be dead?” asked the man, starting to sway a little.
“He was stabbed in the chest and bled out,” said Detective Stone.
“But, he can’t be dead. He’s my brother.”
“Yes, well, that doesn’t really mean anything,” said the Librarian. “Now do you want something to drink before you go, or are you okay as you are?”
“Go? Go where?”
“I have absolutely no idea. You must have come from somewhere before all of this happened, so go there,” she said. “You certainly can’t stay here. Would you like me to call an ambulance for you?”
“Why?” he asked, looking down at himself. “Oh, yeah, I guess I look…like a mess. Do you know where my brother is?” he asked, wiping at the blood on his shirt with his hand.
“No. The EMT’s took him to the hospital yesterday. I don’t know what happened to him after that.”
The man nodded, and tried to run his fingers through his hear, which was completely impossible. “It’s my fault, you know. He didn’t really want to do it, but I told him that stealing the spell would make us rich. I mean, it was only one spell.”
“Bad plan,” said Dusa.
“Do you have a gun I could borrow?”
“Why?” asked Mr. Waters. “What are you going to do with a gun?”
The man shrugged. “I’m going to kill the guys who beat me and killed my brother, then I’m going to kill myself.”
“No,” said the detective. “We don’t have a gun you can borrow.”
“Okay,” he mumbled. “Thanks anyway. Did you see a gargoyle flying around outside, by any chance?”
“No,” said the Librarian, “Did you?”
“I did,” he said, nodding so hard he almost fell over. “I didn’t know they could fly like that.”
“Is there anything else we can do for you?” asked Dusa.”
“What hospital was he in?”
“Northeastern Memorial, I think.”
“Good luck,” said Mr. Waters.
The man waved goodbye and staggered toward the doors.
“Do you think he’ll be okay?” asked Mr. Waters, biting his lip.
“Of course he’s not going to be okay, Jim,” sighed the Librarian. “He’s been beaten, told that his brother’s dead and he doesn’t have a clue what he’s up against.”
“Maybe I should help him.”
“Be my guest,” said the Librarian.
“Hey,” shouted Mr. Waters. “Wait up. I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
“That was nice of him,” said the detective.
“We have bigger problems…”
A gigantic male, made of solid muscle, with a face, and body, so perfect, that it put fashion models of either sex to shame, appeared on the table. His wingspan was such that the tips of his wings almost touch wall to wall.
“You rang?” he said, staring at the Librarian.
“What? No fireworks? This entrance is a bit much, even for you, isn’t it, Zeek?” she said.
“Are the Aces screwing up again?” he bellowed. “They never seem to learn.”
“Okay, first of all, lower your voice, unless you want to break all the windows in the library, and second, lose the wings. Third…I sent you a full report.”
“You know I hate reading those things,” he whined, jumping to the floor. “Just tell me what’s going on.”
“Idiots,” he snarled. “What do you want me to do with them?”
“Shouldn’t that be up to you? I mean you are supposed to be in charge of these things. This is your JOB, if I’m not mistaken. Right now you might want to check on the battle taking place between the Aces and their offspring.”
“Did you hit Gabe?” asked Zeek, smiling, already knowing the answer.
“She did more than that,” laughed Dusa, and not just to Gabe, either.”
“I wish I could have seen that.”
Dusa took out her cellphone and said, “You can. I took a video.”
“You what?” asked the Librarian.
Zeek was wiping tears from his eyes, and replaying the video again.
“Go to the next one if you want to see her cut John,” said Dusa.
Zeek started pounding on the table and letting the tears flow freely. “You are one tough cookie,” he said, patting her on the back. “I’m glad you work for me.”
“I don’t work for you,” sighed the Librarian. “I never HAVE worked for you. Why can’t you ADMIT THAT?”
Zeek shrugged, “Because I want you to work for me, so I just pretend you do. You did call me.”
“BECAUSE YOUR IN CHARGE OF THOSE IDIOTS.”
“Either way,” he said, putting his huge arm around her. “You could work for me. You know that, right?”
“Don’t make me hurt you, Zeek,” she said, suddenly still and smiling.
He removed his arm and nodded. “Right,” he said. “I’ll just go check on the fight then. Dusa, will you come with me?”
“Sure,” she said. And they were gone.
“He’s afraid of you,” said Detective Stone, in amazement. “He’s ten times bigger than you and he has muscles that would let him tear a mountain in half, but you scare him.”
“No. Not whatever. What are you? What could you possibly do to him, that would make him afraid?”
“More to the point,” she said, “what are you going to do with the knowledge you now have?”
“I don’t know. Nothing is really the same. I mean my people may come up against something we think is human, when it’s not, and they won’t know to fight it.”
“That happens all the time.”
“There will be cases we can’t solve. Violence we can’t stop.”
“Yes and yes.”
“Can you tell me more? Can you tell me what to expect, how to see them, and how to fight them?”
“I can,” she said softly, staring at him. “But once they know that you know, who and what they are, they won’t be nearly so nice.”