I know the family had already written the boys off. I know the boys are keeping their distance so their lives don't touch mine, even though they do. I know there's nothing I could have done to save any of them. I know they chose their lifestyle.
The only thing I can do is give Andy a proper send off-but there was no one to invite. I didn't even know what kind of services he'd want any more.
Knight Errant has been trying to get all over this investigation and Lone Star and the Marshal Service have been doing what they can to 'cooperate'. In this case 'cooperate' means giving them the information they need to close out their investigation while running interference so I can do what has to be done in relative peace.
Mario bless him, as soon as he heard what had happened, came in. He explained what was done and why to the police… and to me. He was a lot less clinical and a lot less detailed with me. For the police I know he looked at the coroner's report and explained the ritual, each strike. For me, he held me, explained what they were trying to do.
We all know it was done where they found him… in the steam tunnels where Roz had started my experiences with blood magic.
The Walkers, my medics, Case's people, everyone I knew at the Star… They all paid their respects… and all of them made sure nothing was there to keep a hold on Andy. They didn't know him. In the end neither did I, but they came for me-and we all made our way to Council Island and the long house.
There we celebrated the life I knew… It's sad that I couldn't tell them anything about the past ten years of his life. To me ten years doesn't sound that bad, but Bri can tell you, it's a lifetime.
Tomorrow we'll worry about the case, but tonight… tonight is for family and friends, for saying good-bye and for gathering our strength to face tomorrow head on.
In the end, it's all about family.
After everything that's happened, I wasn't the least bit surprised when I woke up in the middle of the night, soaked in sweat. I was however surprised to find Case in the same state next to me. He was still trying to get reoriented when Bri came into our room.
At first I thought we'd woken her up with our dreams, but it didn't take long to figure out she'd had one of her own.
One is bad enough; two is a warning. Three? Three is two too many.
Bri wasn't nearly as scared as she should be if she had the dream Case had. She should have been climbing the walls if she had mine, but instead she just sat on the edge of our bed trying to figure it all out.
It wasn't until that moment I realized that Bri had never had a nightmare before. I tried explaining things to her, that sometimes people's subconscious speak to them through dreams but instead of settling things she looked at me and asked. "what is it trying to tell us?"
Us. Not you, or me or Dad… us.
I headed out to the kitchen and started fixing bowls of cereal for everyone and by the time we were finished there were four bowls of cereal, a dream dictionary and a future cub reporter asking us to relate what we'd seen.
Sometimes it really feels like the world is too subtle to understand, but times like these-I feel like it's screaming to be heard. Too bad the message got lost in the scream.
Ethan has given up on finding a job for the summer instead he's opting to work on a research project of his own design.
As he put it, we've been in the middle of a maelstrom and what we needed was a change in perspective. He's planning on interviewing everyone in 'the family' and then giving Case and me the data.
While he's doing that, I'm researching incidents around the steam tunnels while Case is following the forensics. It feels like all the pieces are there but I'm just not getting it.
By the time I got home I was ready to start musing over what's been going on only to find someone had taken all my 3x5 index cards.
Case honestly had to keep from laughing because I just couldn't think without them.
Normal is highly overrated, and in my case, nigh impossible.
It was supposed to be a nice quiet day of contemplating how to take over the world-okay, contemplating how to protect the world, but sometimes taking it over sounds like the only option if you want the protection to last. I had spend an hour copying and collating business prospectus … prospecti? Whatever you call it, I was collating it.
Anyway one minute I was filing and the next I was on my way to Seatac to backup airport EMS crews and set up the command center, yes, I'm allowed out again-but only with the supervision of a bevy of ERT bodyguards. At least one of them was a 'brother' so it was better than it could have been.
The plane never reached us. It never even made it to the layer of foam the airport emergency team had laid down. It seems the plane was lucky enough to have several mages traveling with them.
It was nice to see elementals helping a plane rather than ripping it out of the sky and smashing it into the sound. It wasn't entirely a false alarm; I did get to help with a heart attack as we were packing up. Someone really needs to give Seatac's Rescue team some relaxants.
Okay, by my standards, that is a normal day. But that wasn't it. Things just kept getting weirder and weirder until we ended up with a fire scene where everyone working it seemed to be speaking a different language-literally.
Every word was a jumble of sounds. It got to the point we had to resort to hand signals, which is fine when you're in visual range, but when you're relying on radio… it gets really interesting really fast.
It took the magical staff about half an hour to figure out a work around spell that would get the message through.
No… you know… the more I think about it… it was a normal day.
The Star was able to trace Andy back to the coffin motel where he was staying. There were very few possessions there, there but it makes sense since there's very little room in them to begin with. They're more like beds in pull out drawers than rooms.
Anyway, one thing they did find was a letter, supposed from me, with my blood on it…. A lot of my blood. Forensics also reported that there was enough of my blood found at the crime scene that I either had a twin or someone had been manufacturing my blood.
At least there was no talk about how I'd managed to pull it off and how I managed to kill my brother with no one the wiser-well, no talk at the Star or the Marshal Service, but I'm pretty sure the boys at Knight Errant are still trying to noodle it out.
It's been almost a week and everything has been replaced with a surreal numbness. I wasn't expecting it, I'm still not.
I am ready to go on the offensive and I know certain parties in my merry band of miscreants have already been doing the legwork. We just need to know where.
At least now we know why the marrow sample was taken.
I hated asking Mario for more information, but he's the one I know and trust in this matter. I asked him if manufactured, vat grown blood would have the same value in a ritual as 'real'. What followed was more information that I really wanted, and the need for several other magic types to translate and or try and explain.
And they say medics are bad with their jargon. Let me tell you, medics have nothing on Mages when it comes to Jargon, esoterica and just plain weirdness.
Okay, yeah, we get our share of weird, but it follows rules. Well, okay, from what I've heard so does the world of magic… I just don't get the rules.
As near as I can tell, it has some value but not as much as if it had come from a person… something about Mana … and a bunch of principles I'm not sure I even want to understand.
On the bright side, there are only a few places with the tech and pockets to manufacture that much of someone's blood… even fewer that would have cause to.
Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here. I mean… Ten years ago I came here trying to find out what had happened to my brothers. Ten years ago the trail had led to Atzland and involved Aztechnologies. Ten years later, my brothers are in bigger trouble and we've lost one already.
I'm being sucked in all over again… and they were trying to keep me out of their wake. It's times like these I wonder if I've really learned anything. I'm right back where I was with a lot more at stake, a lot more to lose.
… and a lot more people to see me through. It's like starting over but this time I'm much better prepared. I just hope it's enough.
Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker