Minerva lies on the bed, the sheets twisted and thrown back. Contorted in an attempt to get comfortable, sleep alludes her. She wonders if Tobias is okay; since his fight with Sebottendorff, he has been distant. Now, with this case, he seems frustrated, and Minerva worries that he will do something foolish. She remembers how he was when she first met him, and she remembers how she was as well.
The cathedral had been altered; the statues of saints replaced with grotesque forms that seemed to move when viewed from the corner of the eye. As a member of the Esoteric Order, it was her duty to obey Father Tolland’s wishes. She had been a superb mage; she could call lightning from the sky, alter lines of fate, and even raise the dead. However, the fallen priest needed her to do something beyond her ken; he had heard the call of the Elder Gods, and he pushed her to open their way into the world.
Staring at the ceiling, Minerva sees the shape that she called long ago roiling within its texture. The digital clock lends a sickly green glow to the spectral display. Minerva turns on the lamp on her nightstand, dismissing the apparition as easily as she wished she could on the day she called it. Closing her eyes, she says a quiet prayer for forgiveness. She found some comfort in the silence that God granted her. When she worshipped at the feet of the Elder Gods, she knew that they were pushing at the boundaries of reality like a horde prepared to rape and pillage. However, the God she prays to now gives her peace.
In the silence, her mind is freed of tension and her consciousness expands slowly. The night is mostly silent. The bodies of her neighbors sleep peacefully, their souls having wandered into the Dreamlands. A few sit sleeplessly, watching television through half-closed eyelids. She reaches out, feeling for Tobias, and she is startled because he is at The Haven. Minerva rolls off the bed and rushes to change out of her nightgown, leaving it in a silky heap as she rifles through her closet. She wriggles into a pair of jeans and slides a shirt over her head. She pauses, only for a moment, to look at a small box at the bottom of her closet. She shakes the idea out of her head; the box’s contents would be a burden, and worse, if she had them, she would use them.
Winding her way down the creaking, carpeted stairs of the apartment building, she dials Tobias’ number on her cell phone, but he doesn‘t answer. A second call goes out to August, who answers.
“Heya Minnie. What’s going on?” he says. Her call alarms him, but he hopes that she is just calling to talk.
“Tobias has gone to The Haven. I felt his anger rising as he went; I’m afraid of what he’s going to do. We need to stop him before he does anything rash.” Minerva’s voice is armored with concern. Standing on the stoop of the building where she and Tobias call home, she looks up at the last stars in the early morning sky. She knows that they would offer her no solace; the dim void of space only reminds her of what lay beyond the world’s boundaries.
“I’m only a few blocks away from you. I just dropped off Malcolm, and I’ll be there in a minute.” August wants to say something reassuring, but he does not want to say the wrong thing. He does not want to tell her that everything will be fine, because it may not be. Instead, he ends the call and concentrates on driving.
Minerva sees the station wagon bob along as it rattles down the pothole lined street; it looks like a drunken turtle as it ambles down the road. Her feet carry her swiftly down the stairs with the grace and speed suited to the wind. The car lurches forward as it comes to an abrupt stop before her; she reaches out a hand and opens the door. She throws herself into the car, slams the door behind her, and casually glances at August.
He looks haggard; the past few days have taken a toll on him. His hair, while usually a tangled bush, looks doubly unkempt. Dark circles stand out prominently under his eyes, accentuated by his pale skin. He drives in silence, cautiously performing rolling stops at lonely intersections. Minerva nervously dials Tobias again, and he still does not pick up. The radio fills the air with a droning pop song about love that doesn’t bring her any comfort. She crosses her fingers, hoping that August and she will arrive in time. Unconsciously, she crosses her big toe across the toe next to it. When she notices, she also notices that she neglected putting shoes on.
August struggles to stay focused on driving; his mind wanders as his body drives the car mechanically. He nearly misses an exit on the highway, shakes his head in dismay, and turns up the music. He considers asking Minerva to drive, but he knows that she is in no shape. A car blares its horn as August nearly drifts out of his lane; he knows that he is in no condition to drive, and he is in even worse condition to tangle with the forces of evil.
Flashing blue and red lights streak across the façade of The Haven; six police cars huddle around the building like baby skunks suckling on their mother. August parks near their perimeter and scans the street, looking for Detective Green’s car. Minerva pulls free of the seatbelt and rushes out of the car before August manages to put it in park. Her feet slap against the pavement as she runs headlong into an officer that blocks her way, knocking him off his feet.
“Stop that crazy bitch!” he yells, drawing his pistol from its holster. Two other officers swarm over her, pulling her to the ground. Shots are fired as a slavering, wolf-headed man swats them away from her. August recognizes the werewolf instantly. It is Tobias; his silver and black coat is coated thickly with blood, his pointed white teeth have scraps of flesh hanging from between them. As bullets tear into his body, his blood spatters against the sidewalk.
Defiant of the shouting police men, he stands, cradling Minerva in his arms. Someone shouts to cease fire, but it is too late; the werewolf has leaped, impossibly, out of range. August tries to find out what transpired, but many of the officers are shaken and traumatized. He manages to discover that Tobias attacked Lana, leaving her in a bloody heap on The Haven’s doorstep.