Officer Nathara Washington had been to a million crime scenes. No matter what the similarities were, each one had their own unique stamp. Some we weirder than others, and the weird ones tended to not be clumped together closely. Not as closely as she had been attending today.
Earlier, when she helped wrestle Evie off Officer Daniels, she knew something strange was up. Everything about that set off every Detective-Sense she had tingling in her body. Later but still earlier, when she was questioning Jeff about the reason Gomez had died trying to get to Evie, she still had a strange feeling about everything... mostly that it meant that Evie was right and the actor Nicolas Cage was trying to take over the world.
Which is why they were now on the road in Alabama, far outside her jurisdiction, sitting outside a restaurant called “The Dnier”.
“You sure this is the place?” Evie asked.
“Two guys and a cat were assaulted by three people in robes,” Nathara replied, “Now listen: I’m on leave right now and I’m technically not supposed to be here.” Evie wasn’t even supposed to be in the car. “So stay in the car.”
Of course she wasn’t going to stay in the car. As soon as Nathara was out talking to the police, she left the car and walked over to the conspicuously placed ugly car that say in the parking lot. It was one of two cars that was there, and the other one had a broken window. Given that in the years she’d known Mars he never mentioned his ability to hotwire a car (although part of her wondered how such a subject would come up) she assumed that the ugly one was his.
The police had already searched the car and come up with nothing, but Evie figured she’d give it another look. After all, the police were looking for the standard contraband such as weapons, drugs, and perhaps a reason two men and a cat were attacked by people in robes. Evie opened the door and sat down in the car, gripping the wheel for a moment. She wasn’t sure this was going to help, but it made her feel comfortable. She was startled by a knock on the window. It was Nathara.
“So... when I told you to stay in the car, I meant that car. Over there.”
“Sorry. What did you find out?”
“Apparently what we heard on the radio. Two guys enter a diner arguing over a map tying to get to New Orleans. Their cat attacks one diner. Three people in robes, they swear one was a woman, gets up and attacks them with tasers. One of them throws a chair at the window?”
Kaplan, Evie thought.
“And it ends up getting two of the men arrested, who are being held in the local jail. Clearly not your friends, they were some of the robe guys.”
“So, what’s our next move?” Evie asked.
“My next move is to drive you back to Tennessee so you can take whatever transportation you want to take home. I’ve stuck my neck out enough.”
Evie sighed. She did have a point, it’s not like they even knew where Mars and Kaplan were headed. It was at that moment she noticed a man leaving the Dnier. He clearly wasn’t a cop. For some strange reason, she was almost... drawn to him. Hypnotically, she stood up and approached him. She was even more surprised to find out that Nathara was doing the same.
“HELL-o good people. How can I help you?” Jacob Whelan said, smiling.
“Wh-what are you doing here?” Evie asked.
“Just doing a little bit of cleanup. My friends’ really made a mess out of the place, didn’t they?”
“You knew who did this?” Evie asked. She wasn’t really asking any questions. It was like she was watching herself ask all of these questions.
“Of course, I did, frienderinos! It’s the Cult that Worships the Actor I endowed with all my mystical powers. Hey, I just realized that you’re Evie McCarthy! That’s fantastic, my next stop was to come visit with you!”
“How-- how do you know my name?”
“Now Evie, I think you know how.”
Nicolas Cage raised a demon. The ritual failed twice. He was obviously taking matters into his own hands.
Jacob Whelan stuck his arm around Evie, walking her past Nathara who was currently staring off into space. Evie gained a moment of free will when she noticed that all of the other cops and Dnier workers were also staring of into space.
“Yeah, that can can be a little unsettling at first, but not to worry,” he replied. It wasn’t until she was a couple hundred of feet away from the diner that she noticed that he was holding a sword.
Evie had little experience with swords. Once, after watching The Princess Bride she wanted to take fencing lessons, but was surprised after her first one that it was remarkably not anything like what they showed on television. Still, she knew to be afraid of most swords, especially big threatening ones like this that tended to glow a little bit. The only thing that calmed her slightly was the fact that he was clearly holding it in an informative manner, not in a threatening manner.
“Hey, your buddy Mars... do you happen to know where he got such a nice looking sword?”
Evie had never seen that sword in her life. Also, she was pretty sure that Mars had no idea how to wield a sword. She indicated this to the Demon that had his arm around her. She also pondered how she got to the point where she could talk about magic glowing swords with Demons that worked exclusively for Nicolas Cage.
“Well, I appreciate that. You see, this is a magic sword, and it can hurt me pretty badly. Oooh. Ouch, amirte?”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Evie said, “But, as I wasn’t found with the sword...”
“I hear ya. You want me to let you go, since you’re just a bystander in all of this. Just in the bar when those Angels came atcha. Just in the car when Tyler died. Just assaulting a police officer.”
Evie started to speak by Jacob Whelan stopped her. “Hey, that’s quite fine, lady. I’m actually a little impressed with the whole assault thing. I didn’t think you had it in you when this whole thing began.
“But you have to understand my position, dear, sweet Evie. You have to understand that in a few scant days I’ll be tasked with controlling an army to take over the world, along with Nicolas Cage. You have to understand that you and your friends have been sent to stop me, and I really can’t allow something like that to happen, hon.”
Evie unfortunately knew what was probably coming. She braced herself.
“Hey, I’m going to make this as painless as possible, ok? And consider yourself lucky: I’m not really allowed to interfere with any of the official Chosen One stuff. So it’s kind of an honor! Plus, this sword: Magic. how many other people where you’re going are going to be able to say they were killed with a Magic sword? Not many, I’ll tell you that.”
Despite the hypnotic spell currently calming the area, this was of little comfort to Evie.
They often say that when you’re about to die, your life flashes before your eyes or you experience some moment of great revelation, or even you think about things you regret. Evie really wasn’t experiencing any of this. Right now she was thinking about Mars, and the fact that he’d probably blame himself for her death. She was thinking about Mr. Cunningham, and the fact that she’d never get to expose his many, many mistresses. She was thinking about the fact that the world was doomed, and she was going to be the second to go in this battle, and would anyone ever really know about it. She knew knew the answers to a lot: Mars would blame himself, Mr. Cunningham wouldn’t find an assistant able to schedule all of his mistresses, and no one would really know her sacrifice.
She wasn’t thinking about the fact that she was sitting here for an awfully long time, wondering why Jacob Whelan hadn’t run her through yet, and if he was getting some kind of sick pleasure out of all of this, which was probably the most important thing for her to know at the time.
The thing was this: a lot of her current situation came down to what she didn’t know, and a lot of things were currently going in her favor. For instance, she didn’t know that when Izzy showed Mars and Kaplan the list of pre-approved death paperwork a few nights ago, he was technically making her part of the group of the Chosen Ones, so Jacob Whelan couldn’t really do anything about it. She also didn’t know that Mars and Kaplan had picked up that magical glowing sword from James Franco’s house, and that it was enchanted with a spell that kept Jacob Whelan from using it as a weapon against anyone.
She also didn’t know that when Poe and Elizabeth grabbed Mars and Kaplan, leaving the Man in the Dark Hood and Kyle to head off to prison, they neglected to grab a white cat with a yellow eye and blue eye that was drenched, hiding under the table.
“Should we grab the cat?” Poe asked.
“Naw. He’s going to be nothing but trouble,” Elizabeth responded, zip tying Mars’ hands behind his back, and for the second time that day throwing a bag over his head.
“I think I can grab him, though,” Poe said.
“Look, in about five minutes that waitress there is going to gain enough courage to call the cops. I don’t want to be chasing some flea infested animal. Just leave him. He’s a cat.”
Poe gave up, and led Kaplan out to the Man in the Dark Hood’s car.
This was a very important conversation. It’s odd, really, because some of the most important conversations in history aren’t recorded, or even really thought about being important until well after their impact on society, and by that time they’re not really remembered. This one wouldn’t be.
See, if the conversation had gone just a little bit differently and Hamlet had ended up in the back of the car with Mars and Kaplan, bags over their head for a second time, then Jacob Whelan would have realized he couldn’t directly affect Evie. If that was the case, then he knew she would be one of the chosen ones, used some of his mojo to convince the police she was the one they wanted, and bam, a lot of his issues were going to be solved.
However, as the conversation went the way it did, he lifted up his sword. Hamlet, who had been drenched, starved, and dragged around in a car all across the country, wasn’t about to let this mean man hurt the warm woman he had shared a bed with the previous night. So, for the second time that night, he went on the attack, leaping into the face of the Demon Jacob Whelan.
The Demon, who at the time had been lifting a sword dramatically above his head, was extremely off balance. By adding eight pounds of scratching feline fury to his face, it was just enough to knock him off his feet, backwards, into a nearby bush. The caused Evie to open her eyes, which she hadn’t realized were closed.
“HAMLET!” She screamed when she saw the white animal sitting on the ground.
“Meow,” Hamlet responded. What he tried to say was “RUN! RUN! RUN!” but sadly, Evie didn’t yet speak cat.
Evie had seen enough horror movies to know that she had to grab the sword before running away, and she did as Jacob Whelan struggled to his feet.
“You know I have to admit, I didn’t see that happening. That was a mighty good play, Hamlet,” Jacob Whelan said to the two fleeing companions.
Hamlet’s attack was enough to break the hypnotic spell surrounding the police officers, who now saw a woman holding a sword and cat sprinting towards them. Fortunately, this time, Evie knew better.
“Officer Washington! Him! Him!” She pointed back towards Jacob Whelan, who was straightening his tie and slowly walking towards them.
“My friends, why the violence?” he asked, arms outstretched. At this point, Evie got behind Officer Washington who had her gun drawn.
“Stop now, or we will shoot!” Nathara yelled.
“He’s a demon, I don’t think that will work,” Evie whispered.
“Well, excuse me for leaving my Excalibur at home!” Nathara hissed back.
It was at that moment both women looked at the sword, which still had an unearthly blue glow.
“Well, Miss Chosen One, go. Go stop the demon.”
Evie thought back to all her day of fencing lessons. She figured that probably wouldn’t work and rather swung the heavier sword like a baseball bat, just barely missing Jacob Whelan as he ducked out of the way. Officer Washington held her hand up so the other police didn’t do something stupid, like shoot the one person that had something that might possibly kill whatever this was.
Another swing, another miss. Jacob Whelan was fast, and Evie wasn’t used to handling a sword.
“Listen, I really appreciate the fact that you’re handing the sword like that,” Jacob Whelan said, “And I know that we got off on the wrong foot what with me trying to kill you and all, but come on... we can start over fresh.”
“Like hell!” Evie immediately wished she had thought of a better line before swinging the sword this time. It looked so much easier in the action movies.
She missed again.
“Now, now... let’s be careful with the sharp mystical item of death, ok, hon?”
It was the “hon” that did it. She wasn’t even sure why, but this filled her with a particular rage... like she wasn’t supposed to be able to do it. Like she wasn’t supposed to be able to save the day. Like this guy here, underestimated her, the same way Mr. Cunningham did... all the time. So, instead of the smiling face of a sort of handsome demon, she was now swinging with all her might against Mr. Cunningham. Only this time, rather than simply being able to sidestep the blade, Evie readjusted and managed to get him in the shoulder... deep. His smile didn’t go away.
“Hey, that really smarts,” and with a shimmer, he vanished.
Evie collapsed to the ground, out of breath. Hamlet walked over to her and started purring.
“So, I guess we’re headed to New Orleans?” Nathara asked.
Evie, still puffing, looked up at her, “Let’s make a stop first. I have an idea.”