Tobias sat beside Minerva on the park bench. His baggy, black attire was a sharp contrast with his snowy white skin. The only worry that creased his placid face was a slight frown; Minerva was worried, and Tobias was concerned.
“I want to help, but there’s nothing I can do.” said Minerva woefully.
“Do you want me to go?” asked Tobias in a sweet, soft tone. Minerva considered Tobias’ offer, and then felt a sudden tightness in her chest. She could feel the seams of reality ripping; she was only a mile away from the retirement village, but yet she could feel that something was happening. Tobias studied her face closely, trying to see what was going on inside of her mind. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a mind reader.
“There’s something bad coming; something powerful. August and his uncle won’t be able to handle it on their own. It is an anchant power, and it is sucking in magical energy wildly.” said Minerva, concern etched across her face. Tobias leaped to his feet and began to pace.
“I can’t let anything happen to him, Minnie. I know you’d never forgive yourself if he died and you could do nothing to stop it. I’ll go, you stay here.” Tobias felt his strength growing within him. Minerva looked up at him.
“I couldn’t bear it if something happened to you,” she said, wrapping him in a tight embrace. She could feel his musculature writhing and twitching under his skin. She kissed him lightly on the cheek, tears nearly welling up in her eyes. “You need to be careful. I don’t want to lose you.”
“I’ll be fine.” said Tobias, starting to jog and then breaking into a sprint. Minerva watched as he left, praying that he would be back soon.
“Duck!” I yelled, pulling at my uncle as an antique ottoman blew through the air, whisked by magical currents. Dealing with Ms. Belmont had been simple; we told her what was happening, and she wanted to make amends for her actions. I regretting bringing her along, as her body was still twitching from a lightning bolt hurled by one of her former coven mates. Lucretia Bell and Monica Swift seemed like average women, but once they saw that Ms. Belmont had turned against them, they became as wild and ferocious as harpies. Lucretia, an accomplished witch, was hurling spell after spell, keeping my uncle and I running about the tiny apartment which had become a Hellish hurricane.
An orange gout of flame exploded from the floor, and I fell backward, trying to tuck into a roll. Uncle Carl had managed to get out of the way of the ottoman and was dodging a barrage of knitting needles as inky darkness spilled into the room. I pulled a tube from one of my pockets and popped it open, tugging out a tiny piece of bone and some crumbled parchment. It was the last trick I had left, and with a brief magical gesture, a hazy apparition formed.
“Hi August,” she said, “How’ve you been?” A beam of energy seared through the intangible spirit of a smiling young girl dressed in a blue floral dress, bonnet, and apron.
“Sorry Bea, but this isn’t the time for chatting. I need help.” a hideous spark of green energy bolted past my face, crashing into the wall with a thunderous clap.
“Oh, fine.” she said sullenly, “But make sure you call me later. It’s been too long.”
“Okay Bea, I will.” I said, rolling out of the way of a brass elephant that sailed through the air. “See that lady?”
“The mean one?” she asked innocently.
“Yes. Go keep her busy for a while. Get into her or something, okay?”
“All right!” she reponded cheerfully, skipping through the smoldering wreckage that was once a sleeper sofa.
“You have a lot to learn, boy. A ghost is something I can handle easily.” announced Lucretia as a preamble to an extended chant. I would need to hurry before she finished; if Bea didn’t possess her, or if I didn’t somehow stop her, she could easily destroy Bea’s soul. I looked up to see my uncle running into the kitchen and towards the strange darkness. I picked up a broken piece of a table leg and rushed towards Lucretia. Bea was wrestling with her, trying to get inside, but the old witch’s chanting would not cease. I could see a magical bubble start to form around her; it was the first stage of an exorcism spell.
Without warning, the bubble popped and Bea disappeared. Enraged, I charged at the witch, swinging the table leg. She lifted a hand and made a complex gesture with her fingers; I could tell that the spell would hurt, and the fact that it was aimed at my groin still makes me wince in agony. However, when the hand gesture was complete, no spell erupted. She was shocked at her impotence, and didn’t even manage to get a hand up as I smashed the leg against her head. She fell to the floor, clutching her head.
“Run!” bellowed my uncle as he ran from the kitchen. I could smell a sulphurous stench and I surmised that my uncle hadn’t been able to stop Monica Swift from casting her spell. “Big! Fish head!” he yelled, pointing at the kitchen door. I could hear Ms. Swift’s agonized screams and the loud cracking and snapping of bones. I inched towards the exit; out of spells and out of my league, I knew all that was left was running. The creature stepped out into the light, and I saw all of its vile appearance. It had the head of a fish atop a fat, bulging torso covered in wiry hair. A set of spidery hands held what was left of the witch once known as Monica Swift.
My uncle had all ready managed to leave the room, so there was only the creature and I.
“She is deliscious. Full of power, full of flavor!” said the creature in a gurgling voice. “Do you want to try?” it asked, holding out the witch’s head, and pulling a section of cheek off. It held the meat out, fully expecting my acceptance of its generous gift. Instead, a huge werewolf bounded through the door, leaped over me, and tackled the hideous creature. The werewolf locked its jaws onto the creature’s thick neck; the fishy eyes began to bulge even more unnaturally as the creature’s limbs flailed. The creature pounded hard on the werewolf’s sides ineffectually. After what seemed like ten minutes, I heard the sound of flesh tearing. The werewolf looked at me and swallowed the fishy meat.
“I guess that’s my omega fatty acid for the day.” It spoke in a gutteral, growling voice, but it was unmistakably Tobias.
“A gas leak! Do you believe that? A gas leak!” my uncle was irate and unwilling to accept the story that the police forced us to tell. “Somethings never change. People have a right to know!” He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, letting loose a resigned sigh.
“So, that’s why you wanted my uncle to change his books?” I asked Tobias.
“I guess it’s part of it.” he said with a smirk. He licked the soft vanilla ice cream and smiled widely, “So this is what you do everytime you blow something up?”
“We don’t usually blow things up,” retorted Minerva, “it just kind of happens.”
“When were you going to tell me about Tobias?” I asked Minerva.
“I thought you would have figured it out by now.” responded Minerva.
“He’s not a moon changer, so there goes that evidence. I don’t see a wolf skin anywhere, nor does he have a pentagram scar.” I considered the evidence, and then asked, “You have six sisters, don’t you Tobias?”
He smiled at me and gave a nod.
“I should have thought of that before.” I laughed happily, until I noticed that Uncle Carl hadn’t really touched his banana split. I moved nearer to him, and asked him quietly if there was something wrong.
“I’m just tired, and being tired just reminds me how old I am. When I think about how old I am, I just think of how little time I have left, you know? And what did I leave behind? No wife, no kids; just a pile of rejected newspaper articles a mile high and a library of pulp fiction that could choke an elephant. Then something like this happens, and no one believes me again.”
“We believe you,” said Minerva.
“I know you do, but what choice do you have? You’ve seen this stuff. It isn’t a question of belief when you know that something exists. I just feel like I’ve done nothing but chase after spooks; when I’m gone, I’d be surprised if anyone even remembered.”
“You know, uncle, you’ve inspired me to follow my path, and look at the good we’ve done. We stopped a coven of witches, and probably staved off a demonic invasion. That’s something to celebrate. Just stop feeling down; there’s too much to do. Let the non-believers shun us, as long as we walk the path, that’s fine.”
“Amen!” shouted Tobias and Minerva with huge smiles. “When did you get your preacher’s liscense?” asked Tobias jokingly.
“Besides uncle, if you’re worried about dying, I know a few vampires that can help you out.” I said with a laugh. So we sat and ate ice cream, talking about our adventures. I looked at my uncle and he had seemed to have cheered up. I was happy I could help put a smile on his face. However, deep in my heart, I knew that trouble was brewing else where. King Bodon had exercised his influence more aggressively than any demon in recent memory. He was up to something, and I had to find out what it was. For a moment, I wondered if my uncle was smiling because of the jokes we were sharing, or because the desire to do good had been reignighted within him…