Tobias gazes out the window, looking at the streets below. Rain glazes the road with shimmering puddles that explode as cars glide through them. He grinds his teeth together as he thinks about the murderer that is targeting people that were not born like him. When he was a child in Canada, his birthright was a death sentence. He would hear the little memeres whisper hushed warning to each other as he would pass.
“He’s a Loup-Garou.” one said, pointed a wrinkled finger his way.
“No, no. He’s worse! He’s been sentenced for his whole life.” said another. Looking at the rain, he remembers the day a boy pinned him to the ground, cutting him deep enough to draw blood. The boy meant to cure Tobias, but instead he became a victim of the beast that lives inside of Tobias. At age twelve, Tobias began to run, afraid that he would be punished for the boy’s murder. More than a decade later, he remembers the murder and knows that it will haunt him to the grave.
He had decided to let August go to the morgue with Malcolm, as he wants nothing to do with the spell they will work; while he welcomes the quiet, it draws out the ghosts that stir in his shadow. He considers Minerva, his wife; by now she’s asleep, sound and warm in their bed. Meanwhile, he lingers at the office, a small television broadcasting muted news. While not inclined towards holiness, Tobias says a brief prayer to Saint Ailbhe, praying for his intercession.
“Watch over the animal-children, and watch over the Otherkin. Bless them, and keep them, and guide them away from peril.” he says, quietly, under his breath, and feeling embarrassed. His eyes wander to the television and he sees the face of Detective Green. He sees the newswoman’s thin pink lips mouthing the word murdered. The bones of Tobias’ feet shift, the animal inside him stirs. He paces, wondering what he should do.
The sun rises, shedding diffused light on a dreary city. Tobias leaves the office, locking the door behind him. He’s heading towards The Haven; if he were just a man, it would take him two and a half hours to walk there. However, the beast inside him blesses him with speed. He will be there in less than an hour.
Malcolm is trying not to look at the body. It is too nightmarish to look at the woman he spoke with only hours prior laid out on a stainless steel table. Instead, he watches the mortician wince.
“Are you sure you need to do this? This, this isn’t really going to do anything, is it?” asks the mortician disbelievingly. He wrings his hands and his eyes dart about the room. He watches as August completes an intricate design on the cold skin of the woman once called Zeeb. “I mean, all of this is just ceremony, right? Like you get her memories or something? I saw a program on the History Channel about this kind of thing.”
“No. Actually, she’ll tell us what happened. It just requires breath now.” says August, feeling slight apprehension. “I learned this from a miracle worker that apprenticed under Skuld herself, so this is both old and powerful. And not my specialty at all.” he says, forcing a smile. “This usually calls for a bellows, but since my skills aren’t that strong, I need to actually use living breath, at least that’s what Max said on the phone.” Taking up a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, he dabs the corpse’s lips.
“I sure hope he wasn’t just pulling my leg.” says August before putting his lips to those of the corpse. He feels repulsed at the touch of the cold flesh; he tells himself that it is not a kiss, and that if anything, it is like CPR. The mortician watches in morbid fascination while Malcolm feels bile creeping up his throat. Breathing into the corpse’s mouth, August feels a slight tug that pulls along his esophagus. Pulling away, he feels cold, and the body looks warmer, its belly distended with breath.
The first sound she emits is a scream that never escaped her lips while she was alive. The mortician hit’s the floor with a thud as the corpse screams again and again. Zeeb, now partially alive, realizes that she can’t see.
“Where am I? What’s going on?” she asks, only her lips moving.
“You are in a hospital,” says August, not lying, but obscuring the truth. “We need to know what happened.” Malcolm wants to disapprove, but he knows there is no better way.
“I was talking with a bunch of people, then I felt a sharp sting in my back. I could hear a whispering voice, and I saw a face; it wasn’t human, and it wasn’t an Otherkin. It was an Anthropo, a real animal-person. I could tell by the eyes. They were cold and reptilian, and the lids closed vertically. No one can do that with surgery.”
“What was the voice saying?” asks August, aware that time is running low.
“It was a woman, and she was saying gibberish. The only one I’d heard before was Bodon.” said Zeeb quietly, running out of breath.
“Who is Bodon?” asks August.
“He’s a surgeon. He makes the dreams of any Otherkin come true. He’s so good that you almost can’t tell an Otherkin from a real Anthropo.” she responds. “Will I be okay?” she asks, “I feel funny.”
“You’ll be fine.” assures August, unable or unwilling to tell Zeeb the truth. “The best doctors will take care of you, and we’ll catch whoever did this. Do you know who did this?”
“It was Lana, I’m sure. Are you sure I’m going to be okay?” she asks, “I can’t see, and I can’t feel my body. Oh my God! Am I blind and paralyzed?”
August doesn’t answer; tears run down his face. He leaves the morgue, Malcolm following closely. From afar, they can hear her tearless wailing.
“You’re gonna leave her like that?” asks Malcolm disapprovingly.
“She’ll be gone in a minute, maybe less.” replies August, wiping the tears from his cheeks.
“You really shouldn’t have done that.” says Malcolm.
“I know.” replies August. The pair walk out into the gloomy morning in silence. August tries to justify what he’s done, while Malcolm looks stoically ahead. Despite the horrible pit in his stomach, August feels good for the first time in a week. He knows that Lana is working for Bodon, and by knowing his enemy, he knows that justice is only a call away. He dials Detective Green’s number, but he doesn’t pick up.
August leaves a message, saying that Lana needs to be brought in as soon as possible. He doesn’t know that Detective Green is dead. He also doesn’t know that Lana has the detective’s cell phone, and that she smiles when she listens to August’s message.