Chapter 10 Proof of Death
“I am so happy for both of you,” Gilly hugged his brother and then raising Ellen’s hand to his lips, gave her a kiss. “A celebration!” You could hear the joy in his voice. “How auspicious that it is here in the green house. Both of you surrounded by those growing things that you love.”
“Thank you,” Jon smiled at his brother. “It is indeed pleasant. This is the first time for me to visit here. It must be mesmerizing to see it with the sunlight streaming through it, enhancing all the color. And the fresh herbs. I can smell their delicate aroma. This is very pleasant Gilly, thank you for being so mindful of us.”
Mentally, Ellen switched gears. Somehow, she was queen…just what the fuck! She would come back around to that later. But Gilly had said “Both of you surrounded by those growing things that you love.” How the fuck did he know that about her? And Jon agreeing with what he said. “Thank you for being so mindful of us.” And Jon saying how lovely it must look in the sunlight. What? Did Gilly think his brother could not day walk?
Bases were loaded. Well okay. It was game on.
“But first of all,” the young man looked earnest. “Before the joyous toasting, I have bad news. Reginald is dead. As in a healer has been called in and there is a document stating proof of death. His estate has been allotted out. That happened right after the healer left. I have not ever seen one done so quickly, but his property has been divided and claimed. He is not coming back. A silver bullet in the back of his head,” he shuddered as he said the words. “Mother is in a state of hysteria.”
“No,” was all Jon said as he helped Ellen into her chair, his hands lingering on her shoulders and then sliding down her arms.
“Do you know the question?” Gilly asked as he and Jon pulled out their chairs at the same time.
“Of course I do,” he stated matter-of-factly. “She wants Reginald’s body to lie in state in the King’s residence. No,” he slightly shook his head as he motioned the waiters over with a wave of his hand. “A very hoppy IPA for all three of us to start,” he said to their personal staff for the evening. “No salad. A clear garlic broth instead, in a beef stock. My lady’s steak is to be cooked medium rare and rare for my brother and I. Steam the broccoli and green beans. Thank you.”
All three watched the two disappear out the door and then the conversation continued.
“How about the King’s gardens in Ireland?” and you could hear the pleading in Gilly’s words.
“How about their house in London?” Jon’s voice was pointed. “That is all I am offering…”
“Mother is…is in a bad way…” he mumbled.
Jon shook his head, his features set. Clearly, he was not happy. “Gilly, tell Mother the next time she spells someone and sends them after me, I am coming for her. And there will be a healer in attendance signing her proof of death.”
For a moment, Ellen thought that must be what you looked like before you were hit by the bus.
“I did not know, Jon,” and there was horror on his face. “I swear, I did not know that was her intent!”
“Well, you do now,” his gaze riveted on his brother.
“And I had a most interesting experience last night…someone used your MO to kill a young woman…left her alive long enough to tell me that he was coming to eat my eyes.”
“What?” Gilly choked out, panic on his face. “I did not…you know I did not…”
“Keep that in mind,” Jon’s voice was sincere. “Come the night of no moon and you had best be locked in someplace…and not in my area or there will be a proof of death for you as well.
That unpleasantness is out-of-the-way. Next on the list: What the fuck are you doing here?”
A dark, dank cloud seemed to lift from the youngest brother. You could see the relief to finally be to the matter at hand. “Mother sent Reginald and I here two weeks ago,” his voice whispered, as if he could be understood by the plants, themselves. “I, I wanted to contact you, first thing. As is the law,” he stressed. “But she spelled me so that I could not. “
“Spelled you?” Jon’s voice rumbled through the quiet air. “I am calling bullshit on that one,” and there was a great deal of displeasure in his voice.
“Not spelled,” he closed his eyes. “I am sorry for the lie,” he said softly as he opened them. “She is the one that locks me away. She threatened me that if I did not do this for her that she would…”
“I get the picture,” Jon nodded in a more controlled voice. “Continue.”
“She wanted to know how you were doing. She had heard rumors…that there was a woman,” he bowed his head to Ellen. “She had heard that she was with child and she wanted a first hand telling. The file that I read did not say that our Queen resembled Drust in any way, Jon. I swear. If Mother knew that, she kept it to herself.
And you can now see what a bind this has put me in. I believe she was hoping you would kill me on sight. That is how it happens. You break the King’s Law and you die. So, for some reason she has marked me and I am now disposable.”
“You are,” he stressed. “Malcolm’s heir,” Jon said reassuringly.
“Well,” his voice was hollow. “Until I can be put aside. If I am dead, there is no reason for the union to hold and Mother will not bear another heir for Malcolm. They have had that discussion loudly. So I die, Mother is granted her freedom and Father dearest is free to marry and have other heirs.” Leaning in, Gilly’s words were soft and scared. “She wants out, Jon. Away from Malcolm and Grandfather. And if she cannot gain her freedom in a legal manner, I believe that she would slay both. Father at the height of passion, Grandfather while he dozes in his chair by the fire. And to gain her freedom and her legacy, a healer will also have to declare proof of death for me. And with us three dead, she would inherit the Twillard estate.”
“What is it that you want me to do?” Jon asked as the drinks were set on the table.
Shrugging Gilly picked up his beer and drained it. “Another please,” he said to the waiter as his attention was back on his brother.
“I know you can do nothing until the crime is committed. It will be too late for me at that time, but so be it. But if you would, attend Reginald’s wake and lying-in-state, wherever it happens to be. I think that would make a statement.”
Jon turned to Ellen and smiled, raising her hand to his lips. When he had finished with the kiss he smiled at her and said, “Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to London?”
“Of course,” she placed her hand on top of his arm. “I would be most pleased to do so.”
Jon sat back in his chair, Ellen’s hand safely tucked into his. “Lay him out at the Malcolm house in London. I will walk past his body one last time before it is shipped to the stars. Tell Mother I still have not decided whether to curse it.”
“Thank you,” Gilly heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you, my King.”
Ellen watched as the rest of the meal progressed. When dessert was brought out, so was a bottle of champagne and their health and happiness was toasted.
When the meal ended, they said their good byes and made their way to the front of the hotel where the car was waiting for them. Once Jon had driven out onto Fifth Street, Ellen began. “That boy can think on his feet. He has been here longer than two weeks.”
Jon grinned and squeezed her hand. “And why do you say that?” he asked.
“The way he Tulsa twangs some of his words. And these are not general conversation words about the weather or the price of gas that you would chat about standing next to someone in line. He has been here long enough that it has seeped into his vocabulary. And I gotta tell you it is damn odd to hear a British accent twang while he dozes in his chair.
And you do know you two look, alike.”
“What?” Jon looked over at her. “No, he looks like his father.”
“That may be. But you both have the same head shape. And body shape. Hairline. You can really see it when you stand side by side. Same profile. Same brow.”
“No,” Jon laughed half-heartedly.
“Yes,” she replied, conviction in her voice. “There was not that type of resemblance between you and Reginald. So you both carry that very robust Twillard gene.”
Her concentration was fixed on Jon. “Who does Joniad look like? Did I say your mother’s name right?”
“Yes and she looks Grandfather,” he put on the blinker and pulled over to the side of the street. “Talk to me,” was all he said.
“After I died the second time,” she began carefully.
For long minutes he said nothing. Then she heard, “Fuck…the second time…” as he laid his head back into the head rest. “That explains a lot about you,” he chuckled. “So, when you came back the second time, what gift did you have besides seeing dead people and talking to crows?”
“I can see auras. Some folks better than others. Some not at all. Sometimes I can see them in the daylight, sometimes only in a dark room or at night. It just depends.
You know how when you go to family reunions, there are generations and distant cousins and…”
“I get family reunions, Ellen. And you see what? Direct links between folks?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “And I can see where you and Gilly are related, but you are not brothers. Not even half brothers.
Of course, I could be wrong. I mean, I am just as full of shit as the next person…”
“No,” his voice was stern. “Do not. I will not allow you to mock or belittle your gifts.”
When she did not say anything, he reached for her hand and took it. “I will not accuse Charles of doing so. I understand about scientists. But I will not ridicule your abilities and I will not allow you to do so either.”
Nodding, she took a deep breath and continued. “I will be able to tell more if your family comes for Reginald’s lying-in.”
Putting on the blinker, Jon pulled back into traffic.
“It was interesting,” she said watching him drive. “Gilly thinks you are a sleep-by-day vampire. And he was more than a little surprised to watch you drink that beer and then have a steak.”
“They all know that the vampire king of the Supernaturals has unique gifts. I have found it to be most helpful if they think I sleep during the day. This should add a little extra something to the mix when we go and pay our last respects. I am actually looking forward to this. Reginald finally is useful. About fucking time. Because as my accountant, he sucked.”
“Jon,” she began slowly, “without any of the Twillard charm, how is it the Gilly called me queen?”
“Well that should be obvious,” Jon said, his voice sincere.
“It is not to me, Jon. I agreed to be your mate.”
“Well, yes,” he shrugged. “But I am king and that makes you my queen. Do you not see the connection?”
“Jon,” her voice was soft and gentle. “Not anywhere was queen mentioned. I would remember that.”
“But I told you I would not mate with the others. They desired only to be queen.”
“Your reasoning is no reasoning,” she eyed him. “You are giving me a migraine, Jon,” she said slowly.
“Impossible,” he grinned. “The tonic you drink will not allow for that.” He thought maybe he heard her moan out a chuckle. That was good. It had not occurred to him that she would not be neutral about the title. Time to move on…
“Where do you want to sleep, tonight?” he asked. “If it is my place, then I’ll go ahead and turn here, but if you would rather sleep at your house?”
“My house,” she was thoughtful. “So…I am at a bit of a loss here, Jon. We are not married. I am okay with that…” she paused. “Do we go on living our separate lives? Do I see you once a week?”
“What?” his voice sounded surprised. “We are mated. Why,” and she could hear the tension in his voice. “Why would we sleep apart?”
Once more he pulled off onto the side of the road. “Ellen,” he took both of her hands. “You are mine and I am yours. We both agreed to this. I will sleep wherever you prefer. If you are more comfortable at your house, then we shall live there.”
“I like my neighborhood,” she said.
“Understandably so,” he replied. “I will just leave the car parked at the hospital. My things as well. I can dress for work from there and that way I will not make a big impact on your house footprint.”
“Mated and married, that is the same thing?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “Only in the old houses, where there is much at risk, is there an actual ceremony. This allows for many witnesses before the killing actually begins.”
Hesitating for a moment, she realized he was serious. “Then, if you are my mate, we live together. Your things do not impact my…our living space. I will clean out some closets. Sadly, there is no space for your herb pantry.”
“It is fine where it is,” he smiled at her. “Now, I have business of the King sort. I need to find who murdered those college students. I am going to be on the phone for a while. Gladly I would enjoy your company if you would like to sit beside me. Or,” he grinned, “those pillows on the floor. That was very sweet.”
“Charmer,” she arched an eyebrow at him as they pulled into the drive.
As she unlocked the front door, he swept her up into his arms and carried her across the threshold. “Something a little more traditional,” he laid his forehead against hers.
“Jon,” she ran her hand down his face. “Why does The Realm,” she raised her eyebrow, “want to know if I am with child?”
“That is the only reason you take a mate,” he replied as he set her down and helped her with her coat.
“But I am past child-bearing,” she said softly. “You know that.”
Shrugging he closed the closet door. “I am rebuilding you at your cellular level. I have no idea what this is going to do to you. Like I said, I would do this for Drust. But she was an empath. And to heal the earth or the plants or from time to time, another Supernatural, this drained her. I would make this tonic for her.”
“She could heal plants?” and there was amazement in Ellen’s voice.
“Yes, she was a true healer,” he said with pride. “I was just a teachable healer.”
“Teachable healer,” she shook her head and chuckled. “But, you had no children,” her heart was once more engaged. “So you did not heal that part of her.”
“There is a lot to that story,” he said thoughtfully. “The bottom line is that Drust was a born an empath. A child would have been possible for her before she took the sacred oath. After that, there was nothing in her to nurture a child in her womb, as all is spewed out to be absorbed by the living things around her as she mother’s all.”
“So, if I drink my tonic everyday, the possibility could exist that we could have a child,” she said.
“Ellen, I dare not dream, hope for or wish for anything that sacred. Your good health and vitality is what matters. That you knees no longer hurt, bonus,” he grinned.
Penthouse Bar, The Mayo Hotel
The happy couple had left at nine. The not-so-happy brother was still at the bar and he heard the clock chime ten. He was in some serious shit. “Another,” he pushed his glass to the barkeep. “And a bottle. Put it on my room.”
Sadly, he would miss out on the red-head. “Gilly old man,” he laughed at himself, “you have stepped in it this time,” as he walked out of the bar through the small lobby and used the key to open the elevator door, then stepped through the elevator to the small lobby that would allow him access to the penthouse.
“Fuck,” his sighed as he entered the suite. Tossing his jacket onto a chair and topping off his glass, his phone rang.
“Mother!” he hissed as he looked at the caller ID. That the bitch had the audacity to call him! Her day must not have been the very best, either. Hitting the button, he said nothing. When she said “Jon,” he knew she had set him up to fail. Fucking b-i-t-c-h!
“No Mother,” he said speaking into the phone. “It is I, your youngest. Shocker, I know, you bitch. Our king has spoken. Reginald is to lie in state at the Malcolm house in London. For how long he did not say. But he will be in attendance. I suggest Reggie still be there when he does bloody hell show up.”
Hitting the off button, he sat down in the chair overlooking the city skyline. “I can see why Jon likes living here. He is far away from that bullshit,” he hissed at his phone. When it chimed, he just about jumped out of his skin.
Picking it up he checked the caller ID. Good one of his. “Douglas, talk to me,” he said.
“Oh good, man, you are still alive. I just got off the phone with our king. Shit fire!” his voice went up an octave. “He wants to know who killed those college students. It is a Were MO he said. And he knows you have been here longer than two weeks. More like two months. Fuck dude, I told him everything I know. This keeps me intact and married. No way are we moving out of the Tulsa area. My old lady would skin me.” The phone went dead.
Was it a good sign or a bad sign that he was still alive? “Maybe not a sign at all. Fuck,” Gilly whispered. “I am so fucked.”
Until one, he sat on the couch, drinking and fielding phone calls from acquaintances and being told that their king had called and asked them questions.
It became stifling in the room. “How good can this be? Jon has personally called these Supernaturals with the message, ‘Bring me this fucker who killed these students. If not, I will go on the hunt myself’.” Removing his shoes he wanted one more drink. Something to knock him out so he could sleep and perhaps death would come for him and take him unaware.
Then came the phone call that changed his life.
Gripping his phone next to his ear, he hung on every word. “How high is the fever?” he asked.
“One hundred and two,” was the sacred response. “Can you come home?”
“Yes,” he said, “Yes, and I am bringing a doctor with me.”
His hands were shaking as he dialed the phone and he felt like he was going to throw up. “Jon, brother,” he sobbed, “my king. I am so sorry for lying to you. But I need your help. Can you please pick me up? I will be waiting down stairs at the curb. My infant daughter is running a high fever. I fear it is some of Mother’s doing.”
Jon hung up his phone. “My bag is in the car,” he said to Ellen. “Grab a coat. We are going to pick up Jon and then we are going only God knows where.”
Jon could see Gilly standing in the rain. Pulling up he said, “Get in and where are we headed?”
“Owasso, this side of 169,” responded the scared voice as Gilly closed the door.
Jon hit the button on the steering wheel. “911,” he said.
The phone rang and then was picked up. “What is your emergency?” the female asked.
“Miss Darcy, this is Doc Jon. I am on my way to see a sick infant with a high fever this side of Owasso. My niece. Can you clear me with any and all of yours between here and there. I am going to be traveling at a high rate of speed.”
“Not a problem Doc Jon,” said the pleasant voice of an older woman. “I’ll spread the word. You just be careful and you see to that baby.”
“Thank you Miss Darcy,” he said cordially as he hung up. Then he was furious! “What the fuck, Gilly,” he hissed. “Talk!”
“I just want you to know,” he could not stop his voice from shaking, “that technically, I am not in the Tulsa city limits. And I know that is the letter of the law, but not the spirit. And I do apologize for that,” the tears started as the horrible possibilities for his daughter stretched out before him.
“But this was the safest place I knew to keep them. Close enough to you that no one would bother them.
Close enough to you that Mother would not come sniffing around.
And you know Mother is the one that locks me in. Her favorite threat Jon, is that she will just leave me there, caged up. And all I can think is that a thousand years from now I will still be locked away and my family will not know what happened to me and they will be dead and I will never get to see them or hold them again.”
Jon waited for his brother to get control of himself before he asked the next question.
“Did you marry the girl?” he asked.
“In Vegas. When she told me she was pregnant I booked us flights. I did not want my child to carry the burden that you did.”
“Damn thoughtful,” Jon muttered. “You said them,” he turned his head to look at his brother. “How many children?”
“Three. My oldest is Sara, then Willy and the baby, Gretta.”
With his eyes on the road, his mind raced along with the car. “Do not lie to me. Who killed the college students?”
“A Were out of the Baltics. Mother dosed him with something. Or at least that is what I was told. But it was just to be a straight Were kill. Chew them up. All of them. Leave one alive so that you would find her before she bled out. Shit, I had no idea she told him my MO.”
Both brothers were lost in their own private hells, Ellen thought, if the looks on their faces were any indication.
“How old are the children?” Ellen asked.
“Three, two, and Gretta is six months.”
“Are they cursed?” Jon asked.
“Wha-a-at?” Gilly stammered.
“I mean, do the children carry your curse? Is their mother Were? Or any type of Supernatural?”
“No,” he said. “No. The mother is not Were. I, I do not know about the children. I do not know how to begin to know…”
“You loathsome cocksucker,” Jon spewed. “If it were not for the fact that the baby is sick, I would stop this car and spread your carcass all over the road.”
“Look Jon,” he began, his voice sincere and sad. “I know I am not brave or noble like you and most of the time I am just scared out of my fucking mind. And now the baby is sick and Jody sounded so scared she was crying and I am doing all I can just to hold it together.
There was a red-head in the bar, tonight. Oh please, hurry…” he sobbed. “I thought I recognized her. Dragon clan.
Then Jody called me. And right now, all I can see is that this bitch found my family and did something to my baby. And I am scared out of my fucking mind!”
“Gilly…” Jon began.
“Please, dearest brother, do not,” he was crying, his howls echoing around the car. “Do you think that I do not know that I am a fuck up! That I should never have done this but Jody is so sweet and she loves me and she lets the children love and I know I am not worthy,” he howled, “but I do not care. When I am with them, I am a better person. When I am not, I am so horrific, I should be dead. Let the healer stand as witness and sign the fucking paper. I know this Jon,” he sobbed. “I know what a horrible monster I am, and that is without the dark of the moon. On a daily basis, I am scum. And I know it.”
Ellen turned to look at the slobbering mess that was in the back seat then her focus was back on Jon. If he gripped that steering wheel any tighter, it was going to shatter.
“Who did you name the children after?” she asked.
“Ah-h-h shit,” Gilly wiped his eyes. “I am a fucking mess,” and brought himself under control and she thought she saw a smile. “We named Sara for Jody’s momma and Willy for her father and Gretta for our nurse.”
“Gretta,” Jon smiled, lost in a memory. “She was a good soul.”
“Yes,” Gilly inhaled through his nose and pushed air out through his mouth. “Yes she was.
Here,” he said, “turn here, then take the next right then the next left.”
Ellen was quiet but observant as they were driving through a middle class neighborhood. Nothing special, just a place where blue-collar workers raised their families. And there was nothing wrong with that. She had been such a child herself.
“Here,” Gilly said and he was out of the car before it stopped.
The door to the house opened and out stepped a young woman in the dim light, holding an infant. Gilly had her in his arms, then the baby, as he wrapped himself around both and went inside.
“Well all right then,” Jon exhaled. “Time to meet the family,” he said as he reined in the look of this is un-fucking-believable on his face. “You know, out of all of us, I always thought Gilly had the worst case of the bat shit crazies. This just proves it. Let me grab my bag.”
Introductions were made and Jon was all business as Gretta was carefully inspected. Then the other little ones were roused from their sleep as they all clamored for kisses from their daddy.
Jon took a sniff gave a slight shake of his head to indicate there was no supernatural involved and then smiled at his youngest, insane brother who had done the unthinkable. Hid his human family where only the most desperate of the Supernaturals would come looking for them.
There were three little faces sitting on the couch, snuggled next to their father. The smallest face was being held in her father’s arms. Each had opened wide and had the light shined in their ears and nose and throat and into their eyes.
“Pinkeye,” Jon smiled “all three. Miss Sara,” his smile got bigger as he kneeled down in front of her and tweaked her nose. “Do you go to pre-school?”
“Yes Uncle Jon,” she gave him a grin. “I am this many,” she held up three fingers.
“I thought so,” Jon nodded his head sagely and rubbed his nose against hers and then turned to the concerned adults. “They all have pinkeye. And Gretta has an ear infection. That is what is driving the fever.
Pinkeye is highly contagious,” Jon looked at both parents. He had a moment. Gilly was a parent times three. What fucked up universe did he live in? “Wash your hands, wash their hands. Wash their sheets, pillow cases, towels. Anything their hands come in contact with.”
“Do they need medicine?” Jody asked.
“Gretta needs an antibiotic for her ear. And the pinkeye is bacterial. So they are going to need drops for their eyes.”
“You can tell that?” Jody asked in awe.
“Yes ma’am,” Jon was very serious. “Their eyes are starting to pus. I have seen enough of this in the ER, that shade of green means bacteria. I would stake my reputation on it.”
“We can get some,” she said with relief. “Gill, baby, you have been drinking. I’ll go to the 24-hour pharmacy. I am going to use the credit card. Mom and Pop had to officially cut my hours three days ago and I don’t get benefits anymore. I have not been able to get online for the government’s insurance. So all of this will be out-of-pocket. You stay with the kids and I will be right back.”
“I’ll go with you,” Ellen smiled at her as Jon wrote the scripts.
“The last name on the scripts?” he asked politely.
Jody looked confused for a moment and said, “Irving.”
Ellen laid her hand on Jon’s arm and then leaned in and gave him a kiss. “We’ll be right back,” she tickled little toes as she went to pull on her coat.
Once the women were gone, Sara laid her head against Gilly’s side. Willy did the same as his big sister and they both put their arms around their daddy.
“Sara darling,” Jon tickled her foot. “I know you are three. And you are a big girl. Can you tell your Uncle Jon your name?”
“M-m-h-m,” she giggled. “Sara Drust Irving,” she said proudly.
Jon said nothing. Just sat there. His face a blank.
“Why?” was all he could think of to say as he studied the back of his hands.
“She loved you and you loved her. Unheard of for our families. I just wished that same love for my daughter. There is nothing more to it than that.”
“And the other?” his voice was soft as he looked at his brother.
“I am proud of you Jon, I always have been. And I am proud to be your brother. And if I did not come back…if someone put it together, they would leave them alone.”
“Always hedging your bets,” Jon’s voice denied what he was actually thinking. Instead he asked in a calm voice, “What do you do for a living? To be away.”
“I am a roadie for whatever band is touring at the moment,” Gilly’s response was quiet. “I am not proud of the way I handled this…but…”
“One lie turned into another,” Jon shook his head at his brother.
“Something like that,” he said shame-faced.
“How much did tonight cost you? Fifty thousand? And your wife works and your children need meds…” his voice trailed off. “And they are here while you are chasing ass all over the continent.”
“I protect them the best way I know how,” the tears washed down his face. “You are not the only one that is watched from time to time. The family cannot ever know about them, Jon. If something were to happen, it would rip the soul from me.”
The two men sat in silence as the children chatted back and forth and would love on their father.
“There was a storm with thunder,” Sara stood up and looked at her father with big eyes. “I wished you were here, Daddy. I was scared,” she said wrapping her arms around his neck.
“Oh,” Gilly pulled her in closer. “That was just the potatoes, falling out of the potato wagon as the goats pull it across the sky,” he smiled at her and kissed her on the nose. “There is nothing there to fear my darling.”
“The women are back,” Jon said as he made a silly face at Willy who giggled back at him. “The best thing for all three is for me to make an astringent to put in their bath water and in the washer when you do their laundry. But we will start with the anti b’s.”
“You would do that?” and there was wonder in Gilly’s voice. “Truly, you would do that for them?”
“You imbecile,” he rolled his eyes. “I would call you something much worse but there are little ears.”
The antibiotics were administered, sheets changed and small ones tucked back in. “We will be back to check on them later today. I’ll bring a tonic for them to bathe in,” he said to the worried parents. “All of you need to stay home for the next twenty-four hours,” he directed that remark at the parents. “Get this under control and see if these lovelies have infected their mom and dad. Wash everything in what I am going to bring you.”
“Baby,” Gilly smiled at his wife. “The rain has picked back up. You get the babies to bed and I am going to walk Jon and Ellen out to the car. I’ll be right back in.”
“Thanks,” Jody gave them each a hug. “Thanks…I’m so tired that is all that I have now. Really, thank you,” she smiled.
“They will be fine,” Jon smiled at her as he helped Ellen with her coat.
“The red-head,” Jon turned to his brother once they were at the car and he helped Ellen in. “If she was looking to tag you or kill you, she should still be at the hotel.”
“Yes…I was staying in the penthouse. If she is not at the bar,” Jon fished around in his pockets and handed him the key.
“I’ve got this. Stay home.”
“Get inside, the rain is picking up. I’ll talk with you later.”
Jon felt himself wrapped in a hug. “Thank you,” Gilly took a step back and wiped his eyes. “Thank you.”
“Take care of your family,” he touched his brother’s cheek.
Carefully he observed his baby brother until he was back inside and the door closed.
Getting into the car, he shook his head to displace some of the water; ugly, unkind thoughts, and just how fucked up this was in general and sat back in his seat.
“Do you think they are safe here?” Ellen asked.
“For now. He has taken a horrible risk. I will have to go back to the hotel for the red-head. If she is just a hooker, that is one thing. If she is a runner…that is a Supernatural that runs back and forth between both worlds, then she is dead and I will have to make an example out of her. If she really is a dragon, I think her carcass hanging from my castle wall will be a most excellent place to start.
Fuck…” he sighed and then smiled at her. “What did you learn?”
Ellen chuckled. “She loves him. His parents are dead and the only family he has is his brother Jon.”
“That fucker,” he mumbled and rolled his eyes.
“When he is home, he plays the piano on Sunday afternoons at their church. Apparently Sara has his gift of music and she sits on his lap and plays along with him.
Jody works for her parents. They run a small gas station. She takes the kids to work. Saves her on child care and there is always someone to hold them. Her brother is the mechanic and she works inside and business has been slow. The health insurance that her dad bought into…well, these fuckers actually come out from time to time and audit the time cards. Since Gretta has been born, she has not worked as much, so therefore she lost her insurance.”
“I fucking hate insurance companies,” he growled. “I would like to hang all of them from my castle walls. Just let the healers write the final death notice for all of them!
When we get home, I am going straight to the hotel. I will do some scouting around and handle this.”
“Just tell me what you need me to do,” she reached for his hand. For a moment, she thought she could feel the strength and kindness that flowed through him touch her.
“Just hold me when I come back,” was all he said as he kissed her hand.
They had ridden in silence for several minutes. “Just might as well do this,” Ellen thought to herself.
“You think your mother set him up?”
Ellen smiled to herself. He sounded just a bit different. There was just a trace of a British accent. His fangs must be down.
“And that he is telling the truth about everything else?”
“And your mother would hire someone to poison them? His wife and children.”
“Oh yes…if not worse.”
“In my mind,” Ellen snorted, “this is starting to sound like a B-Grade slasher movie. When all the stars align and the moon goes dark…and her family’s blood will burn upon the altar fires,” she cackled. “That is when the son she stole from her father is to be offered as a sacrifice,” her voice was melodramatic. “The middle son, a gift from her lover,” her voice was low and sultry, “will be her confident. And her youngest son,” her voice slithered on the words, “the child of her husband’s brother, she poisons as an infant and turns into a monster to do her slashing and killing business.
End scene,” she rolled her eyes. “Cut and put it in the can.
I still have not figured out what she gains from that.”
Jon sang: *“Ring around the rosy
A pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes we all fall down.
“A nursery rhyme holds the clue?” she looked pensive.
“That is actually carved into a rock in our henge. It has been there for ages. Legend says it was carved at the same time the henge was built. But no one remembers by whom or when any longer.
So let us let us see what we have here:
A stone henge. We have one. And our night sky, because of the pink stars, we call it The Rosy. When things line up, our stonehenge…the white on it reflects the pink off the sky, creating a pink circle. The Rosy on the ground echoing The Rosy in the sky.
A posy in our language is a bastard son. A pansy, by the way, a bastard daughter.
You burn them in the center of the henge and the portals to off our world all open, or fall down. Not just the one or two thin spots but places all over the world.
“Does Malcolm have brothers?” she asked.
“Oh yes he does,” Jon’s voice was cold. “Three. So we have the correct criteria. Three bastard sons to burn in the center of the rosy. By all that is unholy…” he spit out.
“If this red-head,” Jon was pissed, “turns out to be a dragon, mommy dearest is in some seriously deep shit.”
When he pulled into the drive, his car chimed. “Yes,” he said hitting the button.
“Sorry to call,” Gilly’s voice was low and anxious. “But Gretta’s fever has not gone down. I am holding her and monitoring her.”
“Baby brother,” he smiled, “on the human side, these things take time.”
“I know,” and you could hear the worry in his voice. “But Jody has gone to sleep and I am here with the baby and I am worried. May I please bring the family and come to you?”
“What is wrong Gillmore?” Jon’s voice was calm.
“I do not know, but I don’t like it. Being the only one up and the baby not well and…and this storm is getting ready to push back through and Sara dislikes the sound of thunder. And myself as well, I do not care for it. And it does not bother me to say it, I am scared.”
“Bring them,” Ellen smiled at Jon. “But Jody needs to drive. She has my number and address.”
“You heard my lady,” Jon smiled at Ella as he shut off the engine.
“What do you think?” she asked. “Alert the crows? One might be a traitor.”
“If there is one, he would have followed us, tonight. Let us put the crows on watch.”
Jon got out of the car and then helped Ellen out. “Clive,” she said to the wind that was beginning to stir the leaves, “get your ass out of bed. Family is coming and I want to know if anything is amiss.
Go,” she said to Jon. “Get this done. They will be here in less than an hour. He sounded scared.”
“Let me get you in the house,” he hugged her to him. “Then I shall be gone.”
*Kate Greenaway, 1881 edition, Mother Goose; or The old Nursery Rhymes