SPG: October, Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly serial that updates on Mondays. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! PLEASE let me know what you think!

When they finally made it back to the shop, Pete went home. He watched her go from the gateway, the stone cats flanking him. He could see her check to her sides and up above. Luckily, nothing had tried to kill them for several weeks, and the neighborhood was normally safe. He should’ve walked her back, but he wanted to sit in the shop for a while.

It was 2 a.m. His phone shone in the dark shop while he scanned Facebook, played Candy Crush, looked over his fake inventory, his real inventory. He walked the rows of merchandise, practicing seeing both forms of each strange object.

Eventually, his feet took him to the stairs. He walked up them slowly, almost as if he were being pulled against his will. He passed the second floor and its larger merchandise, and went on to the third.

The door to Ike’s old bedroom swung open. He had unlocked it weeks ago, but done nothing more than stand in the doorway.

He’d thought dying unexpectedly would leave all your secrets exposed. You wouldn’t have time to hide or trash anything. He thought about his own computer, his Google searches on goblins and gargoyles. His mom would be so confused.

Ike’s room wasn’t at all like that. It was meticulously clean. The bed was made, the bedside table drawer empty, the floor free of dirty clothes. A look in the closet produced rows of neat shirts—plus a few weird-looking hats, proof of the zany side Ike kept well-hidden.

He ended up shutting the door again with no more clues.

On his way out of the shop he caught sight of the emerald necklace where Pete had placed it. He picked it up. She’d been a big help that night, she deserved something in return.

Dakotah was walking in the middle of the empty st. Paul streets when he stopped. A familiar prickling on the back of his neck sent his senses roaring. He turned—and as he did, transitioned into Other St. Paul.

“There he is.”

The man who had spoken was a thirty-something Indian man. He was dressed in a Nehru jacket and his voice carried an Indian-English accent. He wore his black hair a little long, slicked back with gel.

In his left hand, he carried the severed head of a man.

No, not a man, a gargoyle.

Michael.

Dakotah’s jaw dropped.

The man went on, “Dakotah, Icarus’s Heir Apparent.” He spread his arms like he was revealing something to a large crowd, though they were alone in the grey-edged world of Other St. Paul.

Or, almost alone. Despite only being able to see the man in front of him, Dakotah still felt surrounded by a sinking, slinking dark force. It prowled on the edges of his vision. The mist-wreathed lampposts did little to improve his view.

Michael’s head swung by his hair in the man’s grasp.

“Makes me feel sort of poetic, holding this.” The man lifted the head slightly. “Know anything about Indian culture?”

Dakotah shook his head.

“Ah, public education. Nevertheless.”

Dakotah averted his gaze. “Who are you?” he demanded.

“I,” the man pronounced theatrically, “am Sunil. I’m glad I met you before you Ascend, Dakotah.” His eyes flicked over the boy. “You’re a hard one to track. What Heirs lack in power they make up for in cloaking abilities, I suppose.”

Dakotah waited. He waited for the man to say something more about the fucking head.

“Icarus surprised us all by even choosing an Heir. He always was a loner. And now that I see who he chose—well, you understand why I’m not afraid of you in the slightest, don’t you, Dakotah?”

“You don’t have to be afraid of me,” Dakotah said. “I’ve got no issues with you.”

“Well not yet,” Sunil responded smoothly. “It was Icarus who had issues with me. Would that I had been there to watch him die—that would have been the next best thing to getting my revenge. Which, by the way, I haven’t gotten. No, Icarus escaped by dying—and threw you right into my path. I’m sure he’s told you all about our relationship, hm?”

“Of course, “Dakotah lied. “But that was before I came around. If you just leave me alone…”

“I’m afraid I can’t. You know how the fey world operates. If I leave a loose end,” he held up Michael’s severed head, “suddenly I’ll be looking at a hundred loose ends. No, my only choice is to kill you before you Ascend.”

Dakotah could barely muster a snarled comeback when Sunil gestured with one hand. Out of the shadows rose the prowlers. They looked like smoke panthers, moving close to the ground, black muscles tensing. The first sprang for him.

Dakotah yelled and threw up his hands. But the prowler never connected. A bang sounded and the prowler screeched in pain as it was blown away from him. It hit the street on its side and didn’t move.

Sunil growled, suddenly looking more like an animal than a human. “A powerful talisman. You’re smarter than you look, Dakotah.”

“Leave me alone!” shouted Dakotah.

“No, I don’t think so. You’ll have to come back to the fey world—like when you Ascend. At that moment, the House, your talismans—everything will be stripped away. And that is when I will shoot you down.”

Sunil vanished in a flash of light. By the time Dakotah blinked and his vision cleared, he was back in St. Paul, shaken.

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